Of love, dreams… and frogs.

I’m fed up with the idea of kissing frogs in the hope they’ll turn into princes. It’s all part of the feminine myth that we need to go and change men – to tolerate them and reform them until we get our reward by changing them into a prince. I’ve had enough of the idea that I can solve someone else’s problems by setting aside mine. If someone can’t solve their own problems, or is at such a difficult stage in the process that they lash out at those around them, then no patience or love of mine can change them.

Which isn’t to say that I’m demanding a prince, either. One of my favourite of Robin McKinley’s retellings of the story of Beauty and the Beast ends with the beast not transformed into a prince, but remaining as a lovable Beast – as the heroine says, “I love my Beast, and would be very unhappy if someone were to take him away and leave me with a handsome stranger in his place”. People are flawed, and not fairytale perfect. And they deserve to be loved warts and all!

I want to find someone who is strong enough in themselves that their light shines through despite their flaws. Someone who will not squirt poison at me if I get too close or try to touch them the wrong way. Someone who I can love as they are without always living in hope of a magical transformation of those flaws. Someone who takes responsibility for his own problems, and does not try to take his pain out on me.

Is this a mad dream? It reminds me of the song Sapo Cancionero, about a toad adoring the moon – the message of the song is that life would be sad without illusions. And even if the dreams never come true, it is important to dream.

And yet I’m not just a toad with delusions of grandeur. By no means! I have come to know my own light, my own strength and attractiveness. There’s a strange contradictoriness in the feminine myths – as well as the woman who saves frogs through her kisses, we’re also encouraged to be both the moon (remote and pure and passively adored) and the adoring toad that looks up to the shining example of manhood in the sky above her. I’ve been trapped by both these myths simultaneously, and neither is at all helpful in having an authentic relationship.

I am not perfect, but neither am ugly or earthbound. I am a frog whose inner light shines like the moon. A light of inner strength and beauty that outshines the warts of my weaknesses and fears.

I want to fall in love with another frog whose inner glow outshines their warts. Not someone whose warts I need to ignore or transform, but which in some way are part of the lovable whole. Someone whose warts feel like my warts too.

And while I’m not going to sit by the pond waiting passively to find that frog, I’m also not going to settle for less. I’d rather hop around the swamp in an endless quest for the right frog than settle down in the mud with the wrong one.

Yes, life would be sad if lived without illusions. But it’s also important not to underestimate our own strength, and worth, and beauty. A frog, in its way, can be just as beautiful as the moon, so long as it is content to be itself.


This is another writing practice on a topic from red ravine – this week on frogs and toads. I was rather surprised by the direction it took me in.

The beautiful picture, which also appears in the youtube video of the song, is called Moon Viewing Frog by Hikari Hirose, and was loaded onto flickr by berczeller.


4 responses to “Of love, dreams… and frogs.

  1. i am the only constant in each and every one of my failed relationships.. i think my time is better spent thinking less about what i find acceptable in others, frogs or princes,, and more time thinking about what i am find acceptable in myself…

    very thought provoking essay…

  2. Paisley, thanks for your thoughts

    I think that often the things we do wrong in relationships come from not thinking enough about what we need and want, underestimating our own worth and so feeling we don’t deserve to be loved for who we are. Sometimes that feeling of unworth stops us looking for a new partner, or makes us choose the wrong one in the first place.

    I don’t mean we should be blind to our faults, or stopping working on them, but accepting them as part of a valuable whole.

    My main contribution to the failure of my last relationship was to spend far too long thinking about what was unacceptable in myself, and being far too tolerant of unacceptable behaviour in my partner!

    Maybe behaving differently wouldn’t have saved the relationship (and given what happened I’m forced to conclude it wasn’t worth saving anyway), but it would certainly have saved me a lot of pain!

  3. I love where it took you. Such a strong, grounded declaration of what you want, who you are, what you’re willing to do and not do. It’s great.

    It also helped me see clearly what these fairy tale messages are all about. I must have known that at some point, right?, but I needed a reminder.

    Never ceases to delight me to see where people go with topics on writing practices. So very rich.

  4. Pingback: Myths « Words that sing

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s