I had a friend whose little girl refused to wear anything except her “ruby red slippers” (just like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz) everywhere she went. Her shiny red shoes were her statement to the world that she was HERE, and that she was a force to be reckoned with.
That beautiful little girl didn’t need a heart like the Tin Man, or courage like the Lion, or even a mind of her own like the Scarecrow (she clearly already had one of those). She WAS Dorothy, and the world had better take notice and love her as she was. It certainly worked for me, oh how I loved that little girl and her little red shoes.
My life has turned out nothing like what I thought it would. When I started grad school (my Masters program over a decade ago) I did so with the plan in mind that once I had my Masters, and then later my PhD, I would have the flexibility to teach and write, allowing me to be home with my babies.
Well, the best laid plans . . . . The babies never came and here I sit in my ruby red slippers. I tried clicking my heels and when I open my eyes, I’m still here.
Lately some major life “choice points” have presented themselves to me–most recently the opportunity to apply for a job, which would keep me in Corporate America, working long hours, with a big job title and corresponding paycheck.
So here I sit, looking at my ruby red slippers and all the dreams their sturdy and shimmery shape hold. I wonder to myself, should I still keep them on or is it time to hand them back to Dorothy and put on a pair that looks like all the others, a pair that allows me to blend in?
No matter what I do I keep coming back to my little friend dancing and spinning and laughing and determined to NEVER let her mother take off those shoes. I wonder if I shouldn’t be more like her, be bold in following my dreams off the beaten path. Because really, who else is more qualified to know the steps than me?
And maybe, just maybe, one day when I’m skipping along the yellow brick road in my ruby red slippers, having nearly forgotten about the dream that started me down this path, I’ll look over and find a tiny pair of red shoes skipping along next to mine. And without even clicking my heels, I’ll be home.