April 19, 2016

What I Found when I Followed my Own Yellow Brick Road.

Michelle Spencer/Unsplash

Along our path in life, we encounter all types of people—people that differ from us in many ways.

In a conversation with a friend about this topic, he compared me to Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz. Dorothy finds herself searching for a way to get home. She only has herself to rely on in a land she is unfamiliar with.

Minus the trusty sidekick of Toto, her and I are similar in many ways. There’s no Yellow Brick Road that I’m following, but I am seeking a path home. Searching for where I belong.

One lesson I am learning is that this journey of self-discovery is not for the weak of heart!

Much like the road Dorothy is on, mine is long and winding, thwarted with ups and downs. At times, there are dangers and other times it offers a familiar comfort. Like Dorothy, who blindly trusts the munchkins when they tell her the Yellow Brick Road will lead her to what she desires, I am trusting my inner voice that I am on the right road as well.

Along this path, I have met some very interesting characters. Some people I have encountered want to help me on my path by offering advice or becoming part of my support system. But like the Wicked Witch of the East, some want to stop me.

People question why I would want to change. But I don’t feel I am changing—I’m improving what is already there.

When things don’t remain the same, there are people who can’t or won’t handle it well. Then there are others who just want a travel partner. Folks who are lovable enough, but you wonder how they’ve made it this far in life on their own, much like the Scarecrow. They make statements that leave you scratching your head in sheer amazement at their lack of thought process. We’ve all been that person at some point.

We do something, then look back at ourselves and wonder what we were thinking!

Along the way, I’ve also met many Lions. Their outward appearance is scary and gruff, they growl when you come near. Every day, they wake up in a pissy mood, determined to make sure people keep their distance. They are not approachable, but the mask they’re wearing shields the lack of courage they have underneath. Until one day, someone sees through that mask and calls them on it.

I’ve been told that I can be intimidating. I know I’m a little rough around the edges in conversations. And I’m not always the most eloquent, but I do speak my truth.

Then there’s the emotionally draining Tin Man, who believes he gave his heart away when he lost his true love. He’s always rusting up, needing to be oiled just to keep going—much like when we require validation from those outside ourselves.

Dorothy is the leader who welcomes those she encounters along the way. She is convinced that the great Oz can provide what they all seek. While I have no great Oz that I am seeking answers from, I have welcomed people to join me on my journey. With each step I take, I gain confidence that I am heading in the right direction and don’t mind sharing that with whoever might be walking beside me.

Of course Dorothy is faced with some devious bastards along the way. I mean, flying monkeys—talk about your average, everyday problems!

But who of us hasn’t encountered evil flying monkey in our day? Living in my thoughts, these monkeys undermine me and my growth. They challenge me to turn around and head straight back to where I came from—the old me. I fight them off and persevere.

When the travelers finally get to their destination, Dorothy questions the big head in the sky giving her advice. Looking behind the curtain, she discovers it is really just a small man with a big ego trying to make his way in a world unfamiliar to him.

A favorite indulgence of mine is people watching. I would love to pull back their curtain and see just who they really are. I often find myself looking at others and wondering why they made the decisions they did—the outfit they are wearing, coffee orders, or behaviors. Not in a judgmental way, but rather more curious.

Now it may seem egotistical that I identify with Dorothy, but as I look out at my Yellow Brick Road, yes indeed…I am Dorothy. Offering people the chance to walk with me and a willingness to share my journey are how I pull people in close to me. I am willing to battle the flying monkeys and wicked witches just to continue on my path.

Like Dorothy, I have an uncanny ability to see in others what they sometimes lose sight of themselves—smarts, heart or courage.

Sadly, not everyone finds the Dorothy hidden deep inside themselves. Not everyone can see their inner strength. Some sit on the side of the road waiting and hoping that she will come along to take them to the great and awesome Wizard of Oz to solve their problems. I have learned that people must see it for themselves in order to evolve. No matter how many times I point out a person’s strength, sometimes they just can’t see it.

As I look back on my path and see how far I have traveled on this journey, I can say with a confident voice that Toto, we are not in Kansas anymore.


Author: Debbi Serafinchon

Editor: Nicole Cameron

Image: Michelle Spencer/Unsplash

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