How does The Wizard of Oz remind me of menopause?
Watching the 1939 film with 16 year-old Judy Garland through menopausal eyes—the only way I see these days—I reflect on the alien world Dorothy finds herself in.
She’s not in Kansas anymore, and neither am I. Someone has died, in Dorothy’s case the Wicked Witch of the West, flattened under a farmhouse.
Some days I feel as though my old self has died, the weight of a house collapsing on my head. Some days I feel like I’M the wicked witch, times 10.
Dorothy is growing and changing. She will never be the same after Oz, and I am going through my own emotional evolution/revolution, one that I didn’t surely didn’t anticipate. No way will I be quite the same after weathering this twister.
Watching TWOO this time, I focus on Dorothy’s bravery. Plunked down in a land where she knows no one, told to walk to a faraway wizard for help, she doesn’t hesitate. She starts down the yellow-brick road, all alone, with only Toto for company. How very strong is that? I want to emulate her fearlessness.
She meets those wonderful friends along the way: the Scarecrow, the Tin Man, the Lion. They are seekers, like her, and I’ve met friends on my meno journey without whom I’d have little hope of making it to the other side of this emotional storm. Friends are a main ingredient in the prescription for menopause survival.
Dorothy already has the brain, heart, and courage that her friends seek. I have these too, although many days they seem to have shrunk to the size of the grains of sand in the witch’s hourglass.
What about that hourglass? Dorothy watches the grains trickle down what she believes may be the last minutes of her life. This passage of life and my upcoming 55th birthday reminds me of my mortality, prodding me to set priorities with a sense of urgency I may have lacked previously.
It’s time for me to pay attention—to do what I have been putting off—to take risks. To write the book I’ve been mulling over for years, for Pete’s sake. To save up for the trip to Italy, a dollar at a time if that’s the only way.
I can’t wait around for the Good Witch Glenda in a sparkly gown and magic wand to point me in a new direction.
I’ve got to get going, on my way, to the new land. Whether the road is through Oz or Kansas, I don’t know.
But here goes.