Right at this moment, Dorothy's famous chant is echoing in my head - together with a whole heap of recognitions and a flood of emotions. Surprising ones. Strong ones. Some that a few months ago I would have labelled 'negative' and others that I choose now to label 'liberating'.
The road to Oz is indeed a strange journey fraught with surprises, dangers, reality-checks and realisations along the way. My yellow brick road is still winding out in front of me - still beckoning, inviting, and even daring me to continue. And continue I will for there is no going back. But at this particular moment in time it seems to me that I have a little bit of the Lion, Tin Man and Scarecrow not as companions, but rather within me - as a part of me.
The Lion thinks he's a coward - and while I certainly don't apply that name to myself, there are times when my courage sometimes seems to have walked away. Or, at least have taken a back seat. Then there's the Scarecrow who calls himself stupid. OK, I don't exactly call myself stupid. But I do sometimes find myself doing stupid things, quite often as a direct result of my courage or the "push the limit" part of my nature. Danger, sometimes, holds an almost irresistible pull. In my old life I would have gone there without a thought. In my real life (life since Cam) I believe I'm much more aware of what I'm doing, and apply plenty of questions, rules and rationales before making a decision. "And anyway" I remind myself, "I know what I'm doing - this is a perfectly conscious decision, so all is well!"
You know what, though? Sometimes it isn't all well. Most times there's no need to even consider pushing limits in the first place. And this is where my Tin Man takes shape. He believed he didn't have a heart. Well, sometimes I wonder whether my heart is actually functioning properly. Yes I love with depth and with passion. Yes I nurture with honestly and openness. Yes I listen with interest and compassion. So yes, it's there - I clearly have the capacity to feel. But the automatic response for these positive feelings seems to be exclusively reserved for other people. Because sometimes there seems to be a lack of love respect and understanding for myself - it's tons better than it was but it's not yet automatic.
And the Scarecrow? Well... he's a funny one. More elusive than the rest in many ways. I trust my brainpower. I believe in my ability to solve problems, find solutions, learn new information and communicate all of this effectively. So it seems that the Scarecrow is perhaps my friend. And yet... there are times when I absolutely prove to myself that I really should not be allowed out on my own. I forget directions. I read information incorrectly. In fact just last week I boldly knocked at a strangers door believing it to be the same place I visited just a couple of weeks earlier - and when they said they hadn't heard of the person I was looking for, I honestly thought they were joking with me!
So the Scarecrow's fears seem to creep up just when I'm least expecting them. And perhaps... perhaps... it's my intelligence I'm pushing to the limit. Perhaps it's my thinking ability I'm choosing to test, because at a core level it's a quality I'm pretty confident about. And then... and then... just by stating that peculiarly unique way of thinking out loud, surely it actually demonstrates the warped workings of my brain....? I think I'm not the only one, though - remember Furniture's song I Must Be Out Of My Brilliant Mind?
And through all of this those Munchkins continue to mock me. "Follow the yellow brick road!" they taunt from below knee-level. Their gaudy costumes, grimaces masquerading as smiles, and sing song voices that tease and cajole creating a primal fear within me that warns me to pull away. A sudden memory of Mia Farrow in Rosemary's Baby tells me to stop. Take stock. Trust my instincts. The brain's trying to tell me something!
But no. Because I think I'm lacking in courage I carry on regardless. Because I think I'm lacking in compassion I forgive my tormentors their hideous appearances and instead choose to look for the message they're bringing. And so I carry on even though my instincts and compassion tell me I really don't need to be doing this - and in the process I manage to prove to myself that I am indeed lacking something "up top". I'm not the full picnic. The lights are on but there's no-one there. Pah! The Wicked Witch of The West is clearly still working her magic - or perhaps Derren Brown just tricked us in to believing she was squashed by the falling house? Did we imagine the whole thing....?
Damn those bloody little people! There IS no Wizard of Oz - there never ever has been! I just need to recognise my bravery and stick with my instinctive thoughts. I need to trust my ability to love, and turn it on myself - and lovingly keep myself away from danger and flourish in safety. And I need to trust my own intelligence. I AM good at what I do. I AM on the right track. I AM moving in to the life of my dreams.
So how come I continue to test myself? How come I continue to place myself in the line of fire? And how come, when things really are coming together, I allow the chants of those bloody annoying small people to goad me and knock my belief? Those god-damned little Munchkins are now jigging up and down with glee - their voices louder, their grimaces wider. Thriving on my critical self-analysis. Questions, Mel, think of the questions you're asking yourself... be gentle, be caring, and remember the magic affirmation "There's no place like home!"
There's no need to click your heels my girl - you're already here... just KNOW it and stop testing yourself OK?