His voice was raspy and his speech was tentative on the phone when he called to inquire about meeting with me. He sounded anxious as he explained that when he sang in public he warbled and croaked. He said he felt nervous, depressed and blue. He identified himself only as K. We scheduled an appointment.
Needless to say I was surprised when I opened the door to my waiting room and saw a very famous personality sitting on the floor- a frog. As we walked (me) and hopped (the frog) to my consulting room, K’s mood was somber and melancholy.
After we sat down, I invited the frog to tell me why he had identified himself as K. since, as a famous amphibian, there was a very good chance I would recognize him immediately.
He admitted, indeed, that his name was Kermit. He said that he felt ashamed to seek help for his stage fright problems and did not want to admit that to me on the phone (or to himself). Kermit believed that if you were smart (and he was) and worked hard (and he did) that you should be able to solve your own problems.
I told Kermit that smart, hard-working people (and frogs) have stage fright. I added it was a sign of strength that he had let himself ask for help and had not tried to deal with his feelings all by himself. Kermit seemed to relax and started to talk.
“It’s not easy bein’ green”.
I wondered what distressed Kermit about being green. He got curious about my question and continued to speak. As I listened, it was quite clear that Kermit was sensitive and reflective. He was motivated to better understand and manage his performance anxiety, his sadness, and his longings.
“Having to spend each day the color of the leaves.
When I think it could be nicer being red, or yellow or gold
Or something much more colorful like that.”
I was curious why Kermit wanted to look like something (or maybe somebody) other than the hue of green leaves. Did he fear he would be laughed at or humiliated because he was not like the red, yellow, and gold foliage ? Did he worry about rejection, despite his accomplishments and fame? Perhaps Kermit felt green with envy toward the other brightly colored leaves. His self-image was pretty low.
“It’s not easy bein’ green
It seems like you blend in with so many other
And people tend to pass you over ‘cause you’re
Not standing out like flashy sparkles in the water-
Or stars in the sky.”
Kermit did not want to be an ordinary frog. He was an ambitious amphibian. He was fearful that others would not like him or would pass over him and ignore him. Kermit felt he needed to be flashy or sparkly in order for others to approve and love him. Kermit was struggling with his deep wish to feel accepted, yet in order to feel loved, he felt he needed to be special in a particular way – i.e., more colorful, or like flashy sparkles in the water, or stars in the sky. He was sad and nervous, and also green with envy because he felt he could not be like others whom he believed to be “better”. Being green was very painful for Kermit and contributed to his stage fright when he tried to ribbit but could only croak.
Kermit and I spent our time together talking about his shame, his envy, his longings for connection (and his ideas of “perfection”), his fears about rejection, and his self-concept. He acknowledged that when he compared himself unfavorably with others it left him feeling miserable, untalented, and lonely. Even knowing rationally that he was famous did not cheer him up. Kermit was embarrassed about feeling blue instead of feeling good about being green.
Kermit began to develop new ideas that were not jaded:
“But green’s the color of Spring.
And green can be cool and friendly-like.
And green can be big like an ocean, or important
Like a mountain, or tall like a tree.”
Kermit began to realize that it was his own self-definition that contributed to feeling inferior. Green gradually acquired a different hue in his mind – he could be Spring, cool, friendly, big, important, and tall. Green was a good color to be.
Kermit started to perk up when he realized that there was room for all shades and colors, and that it was within his grasp to change his ideas about being green and “ordinary”. Kermit came to the conclusion that as he accepted his greenness he could appreciate himself for what he was (and also accept his limits and uniqueness without downgrading himself). He did not long for what he was not or could not be. As his change of attitude evolved, Kermit better managed his stage fright.
When we approached the end of our time together, Kermit’s eyes sparkled as he sang:
“When green is all there is to be
It could make you wonder why, but why wonder why?
Wonder, I am green and it’ll do fine
And I think it’s what I want to be.”
Unlike when he first hopped into my office, struggling with stage fright, depressed with self-doubt, and feeling in a blue mood, Kermit now jauntily leapt out the door. I heard him singing “ribbit ribbit ribbit” as he disappeared out of my sight. Kermit realized that he better understood himself which made it easier to manage his stage fright.
It was easy to be green.
IT’S NOT EASY BEING GREEN
Composer and lyricist: Joe Raposo
Photo:Natilija Mislevica (Pexels:Creative Commons)