Saturday, December 26, 2009
"We're moving." The words fell out of my mother's mouth, and all I could focus on were her lips. It was as if they were moving in slow motion. I wanted to snatch the words and shove them back into the hole they were plummeting out of. My entire teenage universe came crashing down on me. It got even better after that. "We're moving to a small town in Oregon." What the...? I realized it didn't matter at that point what I thought. We were moving no matter what my opinion on the subject was. It had been decided way before I was even considered.
I cried myself to sleep that night and couldn't believe my mother and step-father would think of doing such a heinous act to a minor. I had already been to several schools because we moved a lot and I knew it sucked, but I had no idea until I grew up how really awful moving around is for a child. I was very out-going and always made new friends easily, but my older brother was not. He was an introvert and it was harder for him to sidle up next to a stranger. He wasn't complaining though, as usual. I complained enough for the both of us, at all times, and this time was no different.
I woke up the next day and had to announce the news to my best friend. We both cried and lit a cigarette. It was the end of ninth grade and my best friend lived on the same street as I did. We used to walk to the corner liquor store with a note from her mother asking if the clerk would please sell us a pack of cigarettes. After we did that enough times, we finally wondered what was so great about those damn creations, so we took one from a pack and experimented. The rest of that school year, every time we bought a pack for her mom, we would take a few for ourselves. Anyway, a few cigarettes and a considerable amount of Skid Row later, we both had come to the conclusion that my parents' choice was not going to falter.
The beginning of the summer before my tenth grade year we arrived in Sisters, Oregon. It was a beautiful summer in a laughable small town. We were to live at my step-sister's farm house on five acres until we found a home of our own. My parents had bought a small restaurant in nearby Redmond, thirty minutes down the road. Fabulous! There I was, in a five-bedroom dwelling with six other people. Along with my parents, I had arrived with my younger brother, a toddler at the time, and my older brooding brother, who was three years my senior. My step-sister and her husband were living there and she was pregnant with my now young adult niece (who I adore). It was a crowded house and I was out of my mind.
During the day, I would go out to the barn and play with the animals. They were my confidants and playmates. There were pigs (which we would later kill and eat), sheep, chickens, rabbits, hounds and my favorite, horses. I was in adoration of Chance, a retired race horse that I would ride bare-back through the meadows, without reins or bridle. This was my favorite part of living on the humble ranch. At night, my brother and I would ride our bikes while sun was setting and later, watch the storms on the horizon with the dogs on the porch. It was amazingly gorgeous out there and much colder than I was used to.
When we went into town for the first time, I almost fell over because of the culture-shock. Everyone was white for starters, and everyone said, "Hi" to you while walking down the street. It was a very simple life. The town consisted of three blocks and there were no Carl's Jr. or McDonalds to be seen. This was all very different than I was used to seeing in L.A.
Somewhere between writing letters and riding the horses, my step-sister told me that a family up the road was expecting their grand-son to visit for the summer and that my brother and I would have someone to hang out with. I was suspecting some loser farm boy, but at that point, I would have been happy to greet a barn sheep that could 'BAAAA' his own name. My brother and I rode our bikes down the way to meet the new sheep. I don't think I made it much through the door when I saw Summer Frog. Wow! He was brilliant. Blonde hair and blue eyes, this whole moving thing all of a sudden became more endurable.
Summer Frog and I became fast friends. We would take long walks at sunset and talk for hours. He was older and more mature than the boys I had met before and he really acted as if he genuinely cared about what I was saying. I had never opened up to a boy in the way that I opened up to him. I told him all of my fears and dreams in life. I was in love. Not the school boy crush, but the summer romance every teenage girl dreams of kind of love. He became not only a great friend to me, but a major distraction to my horrible move.
One night, we walked down to a deserted barn down the road, and tried the door. It had been empty for a long time and for some reason, no one locked the doors. We snuck into one of the rooms that had built-in bunk beds and snuggled together in the cool, hazy night. When Summer Frog kissed me, I felt it down through my toes. That kiss was a kiss I will always remember. It was so soft and innocent, just like I had imagined my Prince Charming would give me. When it had gotten late and I knew my parents would have been sending out the dogs for me, I told him we had to go back. He was honestly sincere and pretended that his ego was not hurt from me not wanting to do more with him. At that point in my teen years though, kissing was all I could manage. I had heard enough horror stories about teen pregnancy and vowed at a young age never to get myself in that kind of mess. Summer Frog reluctantly walked me home.
That is the last memory I have of Summer Frog. I know there were some more that somehow, somewhere got left behind in Sisters, but just like most of my childhood memories, I can't remember them. When school started and we had moved to a nearby town, I cherished the summer that was fresh in my mind. That is how I got through the first days of beginning a new school with new faces, buildings, teachers and most importantly, boys.
We swore we would keep in touch, but I knew how that story went based on my experiences with Ring Frog. Nonetheless, I held out some hope that we would. I never heard from Summer Frog after that. The following year we moved from Oregon back to California. I heard through the grapevine on the weekend we were moving, that a certain family was moving into town. The name of the family was Summer Frog's. I would, to this day, never know what might have happened, had I stayed in that neck of the woods. Maybe nothing and maybe that's the way I would like it to stay. It did not go unnoticed though, that if he really wanted to have stayed in touch with me after 'our' summer, he probably would have.
Lesson learned - If a boy wants to be your Prince Charming, and I mean, really wants to be, then he will find you again, no matter what.
(Much thanks to Monster-Children on DeviantArt for the great photo!)
Monday, December 21, 2009
"All is not lost; the unconquerable Will, And study of revenge, immortal hate, And courage never to submit or yield"
After my undying love for Ring Frog withered into the darkness, I tried to look around my school to see what other boys might turn out to have some potential. There were slim pickings where I went to school at the time, unless you liked the Richard Ramirez look.
This was my chola phase, that I am proud to admit I went through. No girl is complete without donning the Aqua Fresh hair-do and the suede boots that folded over on the top. I had a 'wow' factor, too. I was the only white girl at my school, therefore had the nickname "Huera." Need I say more as to what a hot mess I was!
Among the various junior high gangs, I opted out for a much more cleaner type of guy. This is where Suspension Frog came into my life. His real name was awful and he should be embarrassed to have to walk around with it, but all the same, I thought he was hot. I don't really remember much about how we began hanging out, but I do remember writing in my journal every night about him while listening to Tiffany and Debbie Gibson tunes. As much as I liked him though, someone else did too. And that is never a good thing, unless you like competition, which I do not.
Before I knew of this other 'girl,' he would walk me to class and the best day was when I had a cold. As he said something funny, I laughed and a little snot came out of my nose. He either didn't notice or pretended to not notice, but I on the other hand, was horrified. I obsessed about it all night and to this day will not blow my nose in front of other people.
The next day was even better. My step-father liked to collect and fix up old cars. But let's just say he was better at collecting them than he was at fixing them up. He knew I hated these old cars, so I specifically told him to always pick me up down the street at the library so that no one, namely Suspension Frog, would ever see me getting into one. Low and behold, one day here comes pops with the grand daddy of them all. He couldn't just stop at the library, but he drove in front of the school, in front of all of my friends and began honking to the tune of 'Jingle Bells.' Needless to say, I didn't think it was funny and was hugely mortified. I cried the whole way home. Soon after, I began walking home. It wasn't very safe, but I was more willing to put up with ducking gunshots than I was risking my dad's clunkers and embarrassing behavior.
The next day, Suspension Frog was walking 'the other girl' to class. I still blame my dad for this one. So, I lost, whatever, it ends there right? No! This wench began to follow me around calling me names. At P.E., she thought it was funny to call me a 'bitch' in front of my group. (Yah, I had a group). Finally, one of my friends said, "You need to handle this girl or we can't hang out with you no more." Handle?? What does that mean? I wasn't a fighter and damn it, she already won, what more did she want from me? Blood??? We were in junior high!
Fine! I stormed up to her after gym and popped her right in the face. I don't remember much of the fight accept that I fell back, hit my head on the concrete bench and was knocked out. The next thing I knew, we were both in the Principal's Office getting suspended. My parents were not happy to say the least, but I couldn't get through to them that I was either going to lose my friends and be an outcast or I had to get in that fight. I know there is a lot out there about bullying and I am not saying everyone should pop someone in the nose for any little thing. BUT, there comes a time when you have to stand up for yourself or you will be forever picked on.
That was the only time in school when I was picked on and I was in a fight, but I don't regret it. The only thing I regret is that it was over a frog.
Lesson learned - Never fight over a frog (unless the other girl taunts you day after day and your friends threaten to leave your ass by the side of the road if you don't do something). The only saving grace to all of this was that we moved the following year (yes, moved AGAIN). I was out of that rat hole city and school district and I was moving on to a new swamp with fresh frogs.
The future looked bright!
(Awesome photo by John Smith. For more, visit http://jacktheabyssinian.deviantart.com/art/Street-Fighter-BW-123800622)
Thursday, December 17, 2009
"Sing Heav'nly Muse, that on the secret top Of OREB, or of SINAI, didst inspire That Shepherd, who first taught the chosen Seed"
As I mentioned in my last entry, I do not remember many of my adolescent days. So, with the horrific memory that Kickball Frog dispatched my way, I must have all together avoided frogs for many years. Oh, there was one boy I had a crush on in third grade, but when I peed my pants in line and my best friend announced it to the class, my hopes for any dreamy plans with him ended abruptly with the words (loudly might I add), "Oh my God, you peed your pants." To this day, I have much sympathy for any child who has an accident. Indubitably, she was no longer my friend after I slapped her square in the face and was sent to the office. God answered my or any child's prayer after this kind of incident by having our family relocate to another city (not because I peed my pants, but because of an occupational opportunity...but I was indebted all the same).
Between fourth and fifth grade, I went through that chubby phase that some children go through. I used to hear the family whisper 'baby fat,' but all I heard was 'fat.' No frogs hopped after me and to be honest, it was for the best. The frogs where we lived wore baggy pants down to their ankles and thought that shrieking whistles and clown-like heckling out of their cars as they drove by were arousing. I was more petrified than ever (we didn't live in the nicest of neighborhoods) that a frog might jump on my back and abduct me away to some marsh where a Run DMC record was set to 'repeat.'
Between elementary and middle school, I found solace in swimming. I swam everyday and emerged at the end of the summer, a swan. A super skinny swan, but a swan nonetheless. When I returned to school, many people did not recognize me and I was off to a great start. There were many frogs during middle school, but none really broke my heart to the point of truly, madly, deeply broken heart. Instead, I met royalty.
It was a beautiful sunny day when we showed up in (insert city and country that shall remain nameless for anonymity). I was so excited to be out of L.A. and have a weekend of fun. I did have fun that weekend. More fun than I had ever remembered. I met a prince. He was all that I had dreamed of...curly hair and everything, just like the boy on 'Growing Pains.' (It was my favorite show at the time and the main actor was dreamy.) I had actually met him years earlier when we were wee kids, but this was not the little boy I had remembered. He was breathtaking, smart, innocent, sweet and had every wonderful quality I could want at that young moment in my life.
After walks and talks, all innocent, on the beach for the brief period I was visiting, I was convinced I had just spent the most amazing time of my life with the most amazing prince I could imagine. Unfortunately, our families did not agree and the chagrined looks were enough to stop a friendship that was blossoming in its tracks. Upon leaving paradise, I dramatically ran up to my prince and folded my most prized possession into his hand. I told him to keep in touch no matter what happened and that the next time I would see him, he would give it back to me. Wow, you thought I was theatrical in Second Grade! (I watched a lot of drama...I blame my mother, partly for making me watch "The Thornbirds" mini-series every year on T.V. and partly for making me stay up all night to watch Princess Diana and Prince Charles wed.)
Inside his hand, I delicately placed my mother's engagement ring that she had given me just a few months before on my birthday.
But, that's me. Dramatic, wide-eyed looking for love, looking for my prince, in love with love...kind of like that girl in "He's Just Not That Into You." The monumental problem is that us girls are brought up on fairy tales like 'Cinderella,' 'Sleeping Beauty," "Snow White," and on and on. All of these fantasies tell us that if we just sit pretty, no matter how disagreeable our lives are, the prince will always come and rescue us in the end. What????? This is not true!!!! How dare Disney ruin us precious girls like this. This is exactly why I read "The Paper Bag Princess" to kids all of the time. It's about a girl who...well, you have to read it, it's hilarious and I wouldn't want to ruin it for you. That author should be commended.
Yes, close your mouth. I gave away the ring my mother had thoughtfully given me to a boy I hardly knew. She didn't find out until a few years ago what really happened to that ring because I couldn't bare to tell her. I had lied and told her I had lost it. With that, I'm sure you guessed I never got it back from my prince, therefore, never saw him again.
I never heard from Ring Frog that summer. I didn't hear from him the summer after that or the summer after that. I looked up his name in the phonebook, but back then we didn't have google or Facebook, so it wasn't easy. But, I tried. I tried really hard and I held onto that memory of a two-second innocent kiss.
It broke my heart because I really felt something special and to quote Taylor Swift "When you're fifteen and someone tells you they love you, you're gonna believe them...When you're fifteen and your first kiss makes your head spin round." I wasn't yet fifteen, but you get the point.
Now, you would think this would end with a lesson learned, and there was, but because of confidentiality, I can't reveal the lesson I learned...all I can say is that I never heard from Ring Frog again...
...until the day my phone rang at age twenty-three while I was painting my toe nails and I answered "Hello". The moment I heard "Hello" on the other line, I knew Ring Frog had found his way back.
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
I don't remember much of my younger years, especially my elementary days. But, I do remember one frog in Second Grade. We'll call him Kickball Frog. He liked me, I liked him. My girlfriends and I would run after him and watch him and his friends play kickball. We were his cheerleaders...I was Kickball Frog's cheerleader and I loved cheering him on. He was cute with blonde hair and big brown eyes and his eyes were only for me, as much as they could be at seven. One day, a new boy arrived at school. He was kind and quiet and not to mention, cute. No one talked to him. Days went by and finally, I went up to him and asked him to play. My girlfriends looked at me as if I had just asked him if I could eat his brains for lunch and they went off to cheer on 'our' boys in their daily kickball game. I found out a lot about this boy, again - as much as you could at seven, and I really liked him. Not in the way that I liked Kickball Frog, but in a way that I could like a lonely boy who was new to a foreign school with children who ignored him. I played with him more than one day and let's just say, one frog back in the swamp was not okay with that.
Our class had been rehearsing for some dance for who knows what assembly at the time. My partner happened to be Kickball Frog. Now, in the dance, you had to skip together, couple arms, swing around and then skip back. Sounds easy, right? No, not really. Not when you have an angry frog for a partner. Frog eyes bug out and they scream when they are angry. Kickball Frog stomped my foot everytime we coupled arms. Now, myself not being one to complain (cough), somehow let the teacher know that dancing frog was not being very nice to my foot. She uttered something along the lines like "What is wrong with you???? Why can't you just get along????" Something I might say myself to a seven-year-old (not because I teach this age or anything.) Nevertheless, I was extremely hurt by his behavior and asked him what his deal was. He revealed some nonsense about my spending too much time with the 'new boy.' My Heavens! So much drama in the Second Grade. I had no idea it would be such an issue. God forbid I show some kindness to someone who is a bit of a loner and did I mention...a little handsome?
That day at lunch, I decided I better leave new boy alone and tramp back to the swamp to give my jealous frog some attention. Big mistake. He yelled out "Get out of here DOGFACE" in front of every child playing kickball and every girl cheering on the sidelines. I turned red at first and then felt the tears burning my eyes. I turned on my heel and walked away. Not only did I lose my frog, I lost my fair-weathered friends as well.
Who knew Second Grade would be so tough. As I said before, I don't remember much of my elementary years, but I do remember that moment like it was yesterday. From then on, I was quick to cry when a frog threw a harsh word my way and have always wondered, "Do I really look like a dog?"
Lesson learned - Don't do anything that might make a frog jealous if you really like him, and if you do, do not, under any circumstances, go back to visit him at the swamp while there are other frogs around.
(Beautiful photo thanks to Miss Viola at http://missviolax.deviantart.com/art/Forgotten-Energy-128610806)
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
"Of Man's First Disobedience, and the Fruit Of that Forbidden Tree, whose mortal taste, Brought Death into the World, and all our woe"
Yah, okay, I disobeyed what my mother told me at a young age...I tasted the forbidden fruit. In forbidden fruit, I mean 'kissed a boy.' Now, I don't think it brought any death into my life, but it sure did bring and continues to bring 'woe.' That first kissed lucky frog, let's call him Adam Frog, was my neighbor. We were unbelievably young and we loved to play together. We weren't playing doctor or house or even tag, but rather, who could be the better kisser. Sad, I know. We would sit out behind the steps of our apartment building and practice kissing. I loved it. He was my best friend and we shared our secret with no one. When we weren't kissing, we were making fun of Booger Boy who picked his nose and ate his boogers. That is, until one day when Adam Frog had a red rash under his bottom lip. What the???? He said it was because he constantly licked that part of his chin, but I thought it was because he had some disease and I was not wanting to take part in contracting it. The first wart I encountered on a frog and I had to throw him back in the water. Soon after, we moved and I left Adam Frog and his warts behind.
Lesson Learned - Don't kiss boys too soon, because it's that much sooner they become a frog. More importantly, look at those lips before you kiss them, because if there are warts, you might get them too.
(Thank you so much to mozart-survivor from DeviantArt for the use of the adorable photo!)
Sunday, December 13, 2009
How did I get here? That's the exquisite question we all ask ourselves at least one moment in our lives. For me, I happen to ask it quite often. Not literally here on Earth, but here, as in the rut I'm stuck in. The truth is that we all know the answer, we just don't want to face it. In retrospect, I would do a lot of things differently with my life and the relationships I've had, as would most of you, I am sure. But, since we must play with the hand we are dealt, we have two choices. We can continue playing and risk losing everything or we can throw in the towel and never know what might have happened.
I choose the first. I have always chosen the first. I live by "love like you have never had your heart broken." The frogs in my past might have a different opinion, but only because I have always found the warts on them and frogs don't like that.
By frogs, obviously, I mean men, or boys rather in some cases. I choose to call them frogs because they never turned into the princes I wanted them to be.
Frogs have been in my life since day one. The first frog, let's call him Father Frog as all frogs in my blog will remain anonymous, let me down at a young age and started me down the road of searching for a better frog. A frog that I would be able to call my own, would love me unconditionally, teach me the important lessons in life, show me how to pick a prince, and never, never leave. Father Frog did none of those things. He left early and when he came back around for brief moments, the Johnny Walker was more important to him than teaching me how to pick a prince. The prince I wanted Father Frog to be, turned out to be a boozer I detested. I'm sure right now, he is off in some swamp cheating on some unassuming innocent while downing a bottle of bottom shelf whiskey.
I do not look for pity in telling the story of Father Frog. I just think it's amusing that my constant luck in finding frogs for my entire 34 years has not changed, although my search has been unending. There is obviously something wrong here! So this is not about wanting anyone to feel sorry for me, just a soul searching creative attempt to look at my frog past so that I can stop trying to change the frogs in my life, but rather begin slaying them.
Lesson Learned - Do not blame your parents for all of your problems (although I often will in this blog jokingly). They are human and make mistakes, just like you and I will. Learn from their mistakes and do not repeat them.
(Thank you to Fleeh on DeviantArt.com for the awesome picture.)