O. K. I’m in love with a frog. Well, strong like. Really strong.
I always thought the fairy tale went like this: the princess kisses the frog and he turns into a prince. Well, I’ve kissed my frog several times and he’s still a frog. I don’t mind. I like frogs.
No, I LOVE frogs.
It all has to do with my mother and the resentment I had toward for sending me to live with my grandmother, separating me from her, my dad, and my siblings (except for one who went to Texas to live with my grandmother’s sister when I was sent away because he wanted to be with me). Mom used to call us “froggie” when we were little, so when I was given the opportunity to dissect frogs in eighth grade science class and my grandmother bought me my own dissecting kit (she bought be a microscope, slide projector, and anything else that was at school so that I’d have it at home and be able to study around the clock) I became The Frog Killer. I dissected approximately 200 frogs that my brother got for me from our numerous ponds on the ranch. Years later I realized I was killing “froggie” or my betrayed inner child.
My parents betrayed me twice when I was a child. The other betrayal was using me as a guinea pig to integrate an all-white school in Ardmore, Oklahoma when I was in first grade. My mother had been my Kindergarten teacher (she taught me how to draw – I taught myself how to read and write) and I was not prepared for the trauma of being the only black child in an entire school. I don’t know exactly what trauma I suffered because I have absolutely no memory of my first grade year. I believe had I been physically or verbally abused, I’d remember. So, I think I was just ignored. Treated as if I didn’t exist. I still feel like I’m not wanted or accepted when I go into new situations and I think it’s because of that year as a pariah.
Anyway, much later as an adult when I finally confronted my resentment toward my mother, who really is one of the most loving and wonderful people I know, I realized she was manipulated by my grandmother to send me to live in Texas and by my father to send me to that school. Moving to Texas saved me from oblivion because the black kids at the all-black school I went to hated me and let me know it. I was a teacher’s grandchild and I talked like “white,” whatever the hell that means. I did learn how to speak Nigritic Ebonics over time and actually enjoy the language created by my slave ancestors. I’ve used it in two plays and several monologues that I’ve written.
Once I faced my resentment toward my mother, I was on the path to healing. That healing got a boost from a display of frogs in Toledo in the 1990s. Seeing those beautifully painted gigantic frogs all over Toledo’s downtown changed my life and my psychological health. I saw in those frogs all the beauty and love my mother saw in me when I was a child and she called me “froggie.” I re-claimed my childhood and its joyous moments and I re-claimed my love for my mother. So, that’s how I Learned to Love My Mother and Discovered My Inner Child In Toledo, Ohio (title of a book I hope to write some day).
I started collecting frogs, which soon got out of hand. Everyone found out about it and I got frogs for birthday, Christmas, Valentine’s Day, Easter, and Halloween. I finally stopped collecting the frogs and gave all of them away except for a few pricier ceramic, china, and glass ones. I also kept my favorite stuffed ones. I still love frogs and salivate every time I see one like the one painted on a planter by my desk at work or the one my sister gave my mother for Valentine’s Day this year. One of my mother’s greatest gifts to me was a huge planter she’d had for over thirty years that was given to her by a close friend. Unfortunately, a huge wind knocked it off my steps and broke it.
Now, I have a real frog in my life. I’m serious. My new romantic interest looks like a frog and even has a voice that sounds froggy. He’s shaped like a frog. He stands like a frog. He has eyes like a frog. He’s even shaped like a frog. And he darts his tongue when we kiss like a frog. Don’t care much for the darting tongue, though. Otherwise, I don’t mind him not turning into a prince, because although he doesn’t look like those plastic-faced, broad-shouldered illusions in the fairy tales, he is quite princely. He gives me the royal treatment, defers to me, treats me with great respect, and is as loving as any man I’ve ever known.
Sure he’s probably got undiagnosed Aspergers and has some annoying habits (like standing to watch TV), making weird faces, and flapping his hands at times. But none of that bothers me (except him standing to watch TV and my brilliant grenouille analyzed why I don’t like men standing over me – I was sexually assaulted when I was fifteen). I’m pretty sure I have Autism Spectrum Disorder since I had the early sign of this developmental disability, watching people’s mouths instead of their eyes when they talk, as well as other assorted issues, such as being socially withdrawn naturally, having peculiar eccentricities, ritualizing things like having to eat one of each color of M&Ms (my favorite candy), plus many other things.
However, my frog has the brilliant mind of someone with Aspergers and is a mathematician and computer programmer. He’s also sometimes lacks social tact and says things most people wouldn’t say to me, occasionally getting my hackles up. Part of that is because he’s a Republican and I’m definitely not one, although I’m a DINO (Democrat In Name Only).
But his attributes and good qualities far outweigh any character flaws he might have. I have far more than he does. He told me while we were together last weekend that I was a handful. But he can handle it. Frogs are very resourceful, quite resilient, and not at all reticent about going after what they want.
I’m glad he wants me.
All I want is for my frog to NEVER turn into some vapid prince and remain true to his nature. If he does, we might just live happily. Ever after? When the hell is that? After what? The Deluge? The Apocalypse? December 21st?
Whatever time we have, I hope we can spend many happy moments of it together.