I like em. Toads and frogs and mushrooms, that is. Why? Because they’re neat! But, and this is more important than that, I also like what they represent. Or at least, I like the symbolic meaning that we humans have assigned to them. What is that meaning that I’m talking about?
Change and growth!
Frogs and Toads and Change
If you’re a regular reader of Freshly Stale, you might have noticed that the site recently got a new logo. That logo has a toad in it, and I’d like to explain my reasoning behind that branding decision. Also, if I’m being completely honest…. I just want to talk about frogs and toads and mushrooms! Ever since I was a kid, I’ve liked to go out to creeks and try and find them, just for fun. Even now, I still go out mushroom hunting, and even almost missed my bus today because I saw a leaf that looked like a frog and just had to check it out!😳
Freshly Stale has gone through a lot of changes these past few years, and so have I! From earning my degree to moving across the country, life is so very different for me today than it was when I first started blogging in 2018. According to my SnapChat memories, it was exactly one year ago that I was working at a Goodwill and found what looked like actual human sh!t in the fitting rooms. I still don’t know what it was. But today? Today I’m sitting in a cute lobby of a restricted access building with Cage the Elephant playing on the radio, able to do what I love; write for you!
If your American public school education was anything like mine, then there was a whole unit in elementary school that went over the life cycles of both frogs/toads and butterflies. The point of the lessons was to learn about metamorphosis, to learn that nature is full of weird and wonderful changes. And then, a few years later, there would be another science lesson, this time involving real frogs.
My science class was so disruptive the year that we were supposed to dissect frogs, and that year the school had a shortage of bullfrogs and had to replace them with another kind of smaller frog. Thanks to our unruly behavior, my class got the small, sad looking dead frogs to dissect. Earlier that year, I had decided to become vegetarian. Thank goodness for that, too! It allowed me to talk my way out of the lesson and go do a virtual dissection in the library instead. Ethical concerns aside (that was the argument I used), I’m just far too squeamish to do a dissection!
That vegetarianism very quickly gave way to pescatarianism. What can I say, I love sushi! Aside from leaving everything I knew back in Ohio, I also left my pescatarian lifestyle last year, which you might have guessed when I posted this recipe for an omelette wrapped sausage.
As I’ve added white and red meat back to my diet, I’ve cut two other things from my diet. Alcohol and marijuana. It’s been a great decision so far!
Substance use was a little bit of a crutch for me for, oh, only a little less than a decade. Why work on my problems when I could just get high, or get blackout drunk and pretend that everything is alright? Right? But, like a tadpole eventually grows it’s legs and leaves the water, I’ve finally left the bottle and learned how to stand on my own 2 legs!
Toads and frogs, of course, represent change. But they also, at least to me, represent happiness, too! They jump and they hop and they lounge in mud baths singing their hearts out. What’s not to love? I jump and hop and sing when I’m happy, too! And they’re more than just unbothered by the rain, they even enjoy it. Guess who else loves the rain? This Seattle-dweller, that’s who!
And now, Freshly Stale is going through yet another change, as I’ve decided to try my hand at lifestyle blogging again. It isn’t only changing though, it’s also growing! That’s where the mushrooms in the logo come in. I’ve grown so much over this past year. Or at least, I like to think so.
For a while, I was somewhat afraid of mushrooms, even though they always fascinated me. As a kid, my mom had told me that if I went around touching random mushrooms, they would release spores that would get into my lungs and make mushrooms grow inside of me! I’ve since learned that this is absolutely not true, of course, but I think it’s a good analogy for a lot of my old fears and anxieties.
They’re neat, mushrooms. Most of the organism grows underground, out of sight. It’s only when the fruiting body pops up that we become aware of the fungus among us. And that’s how I like to think of Freshly Stale! There’s a lot of invisible work that goes on in the background, and it sustains the site. The same analogy can be made for working on ourselves, too.
Aside from realizing that smoking weed was giving me anxiety instead of calming me down, I got over my fear of being alone in public. Even riding buses used to scare me! But this past year I’ve learned that the world isn’t nearly as awful and scary as I believed it to be. Living alone in a big(-ish) city has given me so many opportunities for growth that I don’t think I would have had otherwise. Leaving home felt a lot like a sink or swim scenario, and I’ve never been a very good swimmer.
But now? Now I go mushroom hunting in my free time, take the buses everywhere, and go on cute coffee dates with myself wearing outfits I would have been too embarrassed to wear in Ohio just for fun, just because I can. That’s growth, baby!
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