There is a recurring story arc in "The Wizard of Oz," that resonates with hundreds of thousands of people if you look at the epic success of "Wicked" on Broadway and stages around the world. My particular story began when I was an eight-year-old cast to play Dorothy in a Houston lower school production of "The Wizard of Oz." Standing on stage singing "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" must have laid a foundation of mythic proportions. This past Sunday, as I watched the Dallas downtown sky change in a handful of minutes I commented to my significant other that it looked like an "Auntie Em! Auntie Em!" moment.
We sat in our downtown brunch spot, because we had no choice, and watched a small twister lift and move people, trees, and almost everything that wasn't tethered to cement to a new home. When it was over, we surveyed the remarkable changes thrust into being through that two-hour window. In addition to the loss of power all over the city and available restaurants left open were thirty-year-old trees pulled out of the ground with their root ball still intact and laid to rest on their side.
Dallas storm clouds via Dallas Morning News photographer, Tom Fox
As I contemplate the upside, which is always more inspiring than focusing on problems, I'm reminded of a dear friend's comments who had grown up near Yellowstone Park. He said the fires that spring up in the park clear out the deadwood and underbrush and are the park's way of maintaining its own ecosystem. That thought always gave me peace. Maybe upheavals of all kinds, personal, political, social or even financial bring us new beginnings and new ways of looking at our lives. Even the loss of a loved one, as painful as it can be, brings new opportunity along with the grief.
I lost my mom a few months ago and this blog is now possible. My mom would have been proud of my writing, much as she was of my acting and fashion careers, but I doubt I would have felt the freedom to write with any consistency. My caring for her took up a lot of emotional bandwidth including thinking and planning my trips to see her. Besides all this, my writing upended her. "Why do you have to take such chances?" she would ask. "Why do you make it so hard on yourself? You are too honest." While I miss her at times and will be forever grateful I had her as my Mom, I feel freer now—I feel more confident to tell my truth and be seen.
Dorothy was lifted to a new understanding of herself when the twister carried her into a reality she only dreamed existed somewhere over a rainbow. And when she returned safely to Kansas, she had a new understanding of what it meant to be home.
"You've always had the power, my dear, you just had to learn it for yourself." ~ Glinda the Good