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@loripalminteriTweets by @loripalminteri
Frogs are among many of Mother Nature’s creatures that fascinate me and I find adorable in their own little weird way. Did you know that when a frog ejects it’s tongue and munches on an insect, it then blinks, it’s eyes are pushed in, helping the frog digest it’s meal?.
Out on Long Island where I grew up, we didn’t have frogs in my neighborhood but family and friends who lived in more wooded areas out east sometimes got frogs in their gardens (or pool filters!). This, actually, I’d inform them, was a very good sign. Because a frogs’ skin is so porous, frogs are the first to die off when their environment becomes too acidic or basic. The existence of frogs means the pH levels of the area are balanced. So if you see a frog in your yard, rejoice! (Though I know in Florida they can be a problem when they try to get in your house.)
When I was in Costa Rica last year I was having a meal and a drink at the little café at the hostel we were staying at (Mitch had gone to another surf spot where the waves were bigger and had not returned yet, so it was just me). I was talking to an Australian at the bar about these little frogs the size of your fingernail that my brother and I saw on our hike to a waterfall. I’m not exactly sure it came up, but the Aussie said, “all black people are afraid of frogs.”
I laughed at this, “I’m pretty sure that’s not thing or a stereotype.” Furthermore, my ex who was black LOVED frogs—he was a talented illustrator and he often drew pictures of frogs. However, the Aussie insisted on this, saying it stems from an evolutionary fear of deadly frogs in Africa.
In perfect timing, a black guy (very built and fit) walked up to the bar and ordered a drink. So, the Aussie asks him, “hey mate, I’m trying to settle something here. Are you afraid of frogs?”
“Hell, yes! Those hopping poisonous fuckers, I don’t want them anywhere near me.”
Naturally, I started cracking up. The Aussie gave me this, “I told you so” look though I insisted this wasn’t actually a stereotype. Then the black guy called me crazy for being a surfer. Costa Rica is home to one of the worlds most dangerous creatures—a sea snake. “It’s like white people have a death wish on themselves,” he said, “I like my life.” And then we all smoked a joint, the sound of frogs keeping a rhythmic beat in the background.
Anyway, that anecdote is not meant to mean anything metaphorically in light of today’s climate, I just think it’s a funny and cute story.
Here’s where my metaphor is going to come in. I feel like a frog (not because black people are afraid of me, I’m pretty sure no one is afraid of me, I’m not at all intimidating). I feel like a frog because I’m a talented climber and I like to jump off of things. Okay, okay, that’s not the reason either, though we do share this.
I don’t think I can exist in a toxic environment. It sinks into my skin and affects me mentally. It clouds my thoughts and poisons my inner child. Mental suffering gives way to physical suffering. I find it hard to eat. I get stressed with a side of stomach cramps and diarrhea. Suddenly I’m fragile, and I remember that every fucking therapist I’ve ever seen tells me that I’m incredibly sensitive and pretend I’m not. When there’s too much yelling and not enough listening, too much ego and not enough empathy, yet too much emotion and not enough logic, the pH levels have tipped and I cannot survive here.
A place I once belonged doesn’t feel like home. So much venom has been spat out that everything is poisoned. I’m sick, do you understand? Of course, environments can be nursed back to good health. Literally and metaphorically. But life is too finite and I don’t want to spend it being sick.
“Here’s some simple advice:” says Kermit the Frog, “always be yourself. Never take yourself too seriously. And beware of advice from experts, pigs and members of Parliament.”