Partly because my parents divorced, I had Emerald City dreams. I wanted the shiniest brightest marriage and the glowingest cheerfulest children and possibly a horse that changed colors, since we would be living there in the fabulous 21st century.
I set out from my Kansas (which, coincidentally, was actually Kansas)– exploring, meeting people. For all my wandering, my romantic life still resembled tornado season. Spring is lovely. And stormy, and dangerous. Joyful new surprises, intoxicating fragrances, sudden suspicious skies, then hiding in a dark cellar while something loud and scary and unknowable rearranges your house.
I love The Wizard of Oz– book and movie. How many books of that era have a female protagonist? And she’s not looking for a man. She just wants to look around and get out, and then she wants to go back home. She messes some shit up, like she actually kills this one lady, and then another lady, and she’s like: well, whatever. My bad. Accident. Self defense.
She is brave and kind and generous on the quest, and when it turns out the whole thing was a sham, she’s like: well, I tried. Cries a little. And then her old buddy that pink lady comes back and solves it all in this sweet, nonviolent way.
All the male characters in the story are fakes and half-people and weirdo sidekicks, which just makes the story a healthy balance for most of the stories in the world, not that I am bitter about that because honestly I’m not, especially because it’s just awesome that this book was written by a man! What the deuce? (L. Frank Baum, by the way, was a nut, which I mean lovingly. He failed in many endeavors before writing this popular book and milking it raw.)
So maybe it’s not that I haven’t been to Oz. I know I don’t have the Emerald City citizenship– I don’t feel safe behind sparkling walls. I have been some interesting places, though, and I have seen some weird things, like me letting go of a self-protective checklists, for example, or me backing down when I’ve gone too far. Maybe I haven’t been stuck in Kansas.
I know that the Wizard of Oz is a true story that tries to tell you that you are enough already, and that everyone you meet is broken and in a panic about it, and that nothing can actually be fixed, and that you always feel like you have to go somewhere in life, but there’s no place to actually get. I know that.
And I know it is also a story about a girl who is trying to grow up, as I am.