Sunday, April 22, 2012

362 Days - What Makes a King Out of a Slave?

Courage.
The Wizard of Oz is my all-time favorite movie. As a child who grew up in a less-than-stellar environment, the once-a-year showing of The Wizard of Oz on one of the three major television networks that existed at the time (I call it the B.C. period of television --- Before Comcast) was a highlight in my house for every family member. It allowed me to escape to a world that I never thought I’d know, and I don’t just mean one of dwarfs, flying monkeys and green-faced bitches. I did, after all, grow up in the era of Ecstacy. I mean that for a couple of hours, usually on a Sunday night, I didn’t have to hear my parents fight about bills or booze, and I didn’t have to listen to my brothers plot their stepfather’s death, and I didn’t have to think about the fact that I couldn’t go on a field trip because there wasn’t enough money to send me. I could get lost in a galaxy that was beyond the rainbow, and sometimes, two hours is all you need to keep you going in life, even when you’re eight or nine.
What makes a king out of a slave? Courage. What makes the flag on the mast to wave? Courage.
I had a school girl crush on the Tin Man. To this day he remains my favorite character in L. Frank Baum’s masterpiece, and not just because he was sweet and loving and romantic and sincere… but because he was, well, let’s face it, The Cute One. He was the Davy Jones (God rest his soul) of the original literary Fab Four. Not super talented, and not the comedic relief, but loveable nonetheless. The Scarecrow would have been Mike Nesmith (the talent and the balls) Dorothy would have been Peter Tork (kind of green; a bit na├»ve) and Mickey Dolenz, a CLEAR Cowardly Lion (the fun one that you really couldn’t have made it without.) And while my heart belongs to the Tin Man forever, there is a huge chunk of it that has been carved out for that damn, stupid, loveable Lion. For without him, and I’m sure we all agree, the plan would have never been able to work.
What makes the elephant charge his tusk in the misty mist, or the dusky dusk? What makes the muskrat guard his musk? Courage.
I have never been one to hold my tongue and some have even said that I lack a certain filter when it comes to speaking my mind, asking for things or sharing my opinion, no matter who the listener may be. I don’t think those things have to do with a filter, necessarily. I think that they stem from a certain courage that is rare, especially in women, and that is often confused with “bitchdom.” My courage got me where I am today including right here, writing this blog. My courage moved me from Philadelphia to Atlanta, where I set out to start an entirely new life knowing no one but the man I would eventually marry. It allowed me to stand in front of my now ex-husband and tell him that I didn’t want a life with him anymore. It’s allowed me to stand in front of my now current husband and confess things to him that I never thought imaginable. It got me in the cab that drove me to the auditions for a nationally televised game show and likely won me the opportunity to be a contestant. It allows me to wear mini-skirts at my age, let my gray hairs grow in, and refrain from ever having Botox injections. It kept me alive when I didn’t know if my sixteen-week old son would die from the seizures he had suffered from five years ago. It has given me more than my fifteen minutes of fame, and will stand alongside me taller than ever as I venture into middle-age. It is as big of a part of me as my heart, my brain and my home. It is truly and undoubtedly, the Lion in my life.
What makes the Sphinx the Seventh Wonder? Courage. What makes the dawn come up like thunder? Courage.
Getting old isn’t easy, gang. But with a little courage, it’s not so hard either. Every day you are presented with choices and your courage will determine whether or not you are the player or the spectator. I, myself, enjoy a good game. I’ve always been a sports gal and plan on getting dirty until the day I drop dead. When I look back on my life I want to think of myself as the Nolan Ryan of womanhood. Like, “Yeah, I got old, but dammit, I was still giving it my all.”
What makes the Hottentot so hot? What puts the ape in ape-ricot? What have they got that I ain’t got?
Well, it’s not Courage, that’s for damn sure.

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