I can't thrive as she can.
I live in an aquarium that my "owner" calls "college." She feeds me raw hamburger meat that tastes like obligations to many things: exams, tuition, grades, coursework, and, most importantly, staying in the place she made for me. That means I can't have the freedom that she has; I can't go back to the ocean where I can regulate my salinity levels and, overall, my life. I have to live in this hell created just for me by the hands of a social media goddess so she can appear even more impressive than she did before.
She doesn't even need me around. She didn't need to hold me captive from my home so she could take pictures of me for social media and loom a large lens over me for her YouTube videos. I can already feel myself going blind from the lack of salinity in my body, but I'm going blind even faster with all these cameras of hers always in my face.
My owner only takes me out of "college" when my aquarium starts to reek of rotten hamburger meat and algae. She scrapes the hamburger meat and algae out of the aquarium while leaving me on top of her desk to dehydrate. When she puts me back, the aquarium is full of freshly mixed tap water and table salt. It's not the same as ocean water. I can tell it's not ocean water. You can't merely make ocean water with tap water and table salt; the salt occurs naturally in the ocean. This natural occurrence of salt is what I'm comfortable with; it makes me feel free and healthy. I feel like this water is slowly poisoning me. Not only am I partially blind and miserable, but my shell has also gone soft. Soon, it will melt away like soap, along with my organs that it protects.
I don't know if she knows if I'm dying or not. She's not focused at all on how sick and miserable I am. I know she doesn't care because I can see that my misery is irrelevant to her priorities of broadcasting her happy, free life. I envy her, but she doesn't know because I'm just an animal and can't communicate my feelings to her. I want to dream about what it would be like if I were human like she was- no, not just human, but also a social media influencer. Not only would I be able to sustain myself everywhere I go due to not needing to be in sea water all the time, but I could communicate my needs. If I didn't like or couldn't survive on hamburger meat alone, I could ask for a different meal plan. Better yet, as an influencer, people will treat me like a priority and feel more inclined to care about my needs because they admire me. I'm guessing that's what life must be like for my "owner." She doesn't have to be in "college," and she always appears happy and healthy.
Alas, I don't have the energy even to dream because I'm so malnourished and drained of energy and hydration. I'm nowhere as important as my "owner" is, so I guess I'll die.