As usual, I’ve been thinking a lot lately about Kermit. In fact, in between sobs a few days ago, I managed to say to my partner, “I feel like I let Kermit down.”
In case I haven’t made this abundantly clear: Kermit the Frog is MY HERO. When I first heard “The Rainbow Connection” as a child, I knew that Kermit was singing directly into my soft, bleeding, dreaming heart. “The lovers, the dreamers, and me.” And Kermit. Kermit and I were always in this thing together, and for the long haul.
Who are we without our dreams, after all? I’ve always taken my dreams very seriously. Giving up has never been an option. And, so, I’ve crafted a life for myself based directly on one of the dreams I first had when I was 13-years-old. As soon as that dream took root, I never wavered. Every decision I’ve made for the past 17 years has been in pursuit of that specific dream.
And it’s been lovely. And heartbreaking. And simple and impossible and joyful and infuriating and just everything.
Here’s where I fear I’m letting Kermit down:
It’s not my dream anymore. I don’t want it anymore.
And I don’t know precisely what happened. There are days when I can look at things encouragingly, and think, “Oh, great! Growing up and moving on! How exciting!” I’m having that day a little bit today, I think. I haven’t cried yet today anyway. More often, I feel like a failure, that classic thesis statement of my depression. I feel lazy and weak and cowardly for not wanting to keep going.
This is the picture in my head: It’s like I’m hiking Stone Mountain, and we’ve made it to just before the super steep part near the top. And there’s that little rest stop off to the right. And to my friends who are still moving and grooving and doing all the coolest stuff, go on ahead! I’m so super proud of you! I don’t want to turn around, and I don’t want to give up. But I’m exhausted right now. I’m going to sit on this bench, and drink some Powerade, and cheer you on for a little bit. I’ve got a lot to think about.
Growing up is hard, and mental health is weird, and dreams have the capacity to… I don’t know the right word for it. Fade? Transform? End? I still don’t know exactly what’s happening.
There’s a moment towards the end of The Muppet Movie when Kermit is walking alone in the desert, and he confronts himself. He’s doubting himself and his dream. “I didn’t promise anybody anything,” Kermit says at first. After talking to himself for a minute, though, Kermit was the realization:
“I guess I was wrong when I said I never promised anyone. I promised me.”
I promised us, Kermit. I love you. You’re my hero. To misquote Walter: you’re on my hat.
I’ve heard it too many times to ignore it.
I mean, I listen to “The Rainbow Connection” nearly every day. I HAVE heard it too many times to ignore it. It is something that I’m supposed to be. I don’t know who I am right now without my dream, but I feel hopeful that a new one will come to me.
Honestly, I’m scared to even commit this to text. I’m scared of everything right now. Leaving behind a dream is hard, and I think it’s hard regardless of how old you are or wherever you are in life or whatever your dream is. So, if you’re going through something similar, I hope you can give yourself a little space to breathe. ‘Cause this whole process might hurt like hell. Drink your Powerade. Take a break. Listen to “The Rainbow Connection” on repeat.
Let’s make Kermit proud.