“Help us build a bigger, stronger colony, and for crying out loud, try to be happy about it”

The title of this entry comes from the movie Antz. If anyone knows me, they know that I am OBSESSED with insects, especially ants. I remember as a child, I was always fascinated by them. Allow me to nerd out about ants for a minute. Did you know that there are over 12,000 species of ants in the world? It’s also a pretty known fact that they can lift up to 20 times their own body weight. How impressive would that be in the gym! When ants fight, there are no truces, instead, they fight to the death. In most situations, if the queen ant of a colony dies, the rest of the colony will not survive after a few months.

One of the things I admire about ants, besides their strength, is that they are born knowing exactly what it is that they are supposed to do. Most ant colonies have only one queen. Her initial job is to start a colony, or in some cases, take over an existing one. For the rest of her life, she lays eggs! 300,000 every few days! Eventually, she will lay the egg of a future queen who will leave the nest immediately after her larva state to start her own reign.

Male ants are usually distinguishable because of their size and their wings. The males sole purpose is to impregnate another queen. When he is an adult, he will fly out of the nest hoping to catch a whiff of the “ready to mate” new queen’s pheromones. He will then mate with her…and die!

Worker ants are the ants that we are most likely to see. They do everything from building the nest to taking care of the queen. The workers are the backbone of the colony. Without these ladies, the colony could not survive. They even bring food to the queen, the larva, and the soldier ants, who’s job is to defend the colony and attack other colonies that threaten their existence.

So what do ants have to do with counseling and mental health? Well…don’t you see? Our society, the human society, runs a lot like an ant colony. Some of us are like the queen of the society. We do very little, and we expect everyone around us to work hard to make things better. How many times do we complain about the political climate of our country, and yet, we sit around and wait for others to do the work to fix our problems. We take the mindset of “I’ve done my part” and we sit back and watch as life moves on without us as we continue to hide away in our safe places. Like the queen, we cut ourselves off from the rest of the world.

Some of us, on the other hand, are like the male ant. We believe that we have only one purpose! Whatever that purpose may be, we wait, and we wait, and we wait, for it to present itself. In our hopeless desire to find our own “queen” we miss other opportunities that are presented before us. “I can’t do that job because I might not be good at it”. “I can’t leave this relationship because I don’t deserve anyone better than him/her” Before we know it, we’ve given up our lives trying to achieve the one thing we believe is our purpose without even questioning it.

Most of us are like worker ants. We go to work everyday doing what we believe is best to keep our society, business, or family functioning properly. Did you know that most ants in a colony never see their mother, the queen! Yet, they do all of her bidding as if they are a part of a machine. We aren’t like that right? We’ve met the CEO of the company that we work for. We’ve met the god that we believe in, right? We’ve even had dinner and conversations with all of the political figures that we’ve worked so hard to put in office.

The main character of the movie, Antz, Z, says it best when he states, ” It’s this whole gung-ho super-organism thing that, that, that I – you know, I can’t get, I try but I can’t get it. I mean, you know what is it, I’m supposed to do everything for the colony, and, and what about my needs? What about me? I mean, I gotta believe there’s someplace out there that’s better than this! Otherwise, I’ll just curl up in a larval position and weep! The whole system makes me feel – insignificant!” Find yourself within the “colony”! Don’t let society dictate what it is that you are supposed to do or who you are supposed to be. You get one life! Make it work for you.

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