The Story Matters
You know, I had never really ever been a fan of the Wizard of Oz. The flying monkeys always succeeded in creeping me out beyond recognition. I also do not care for some intense female villains (Ursula is the main reason I never took to the Little Mermaid). Yet, it is easy to come to view the story one way, even when the storyline fails to make logical sense, especially if you only hear the story one way.
Recently, I saw Wicked, a musical that tells the “true” story of the Wicked Witch of the West. Generally, I do not consider myself to be a revisionist, but I have to say that putting Elphaba into a more complete life context helps even the story Dorothy told us make a bit more sense. [Not only does it make a little more sense, it is also supremely less scary.]
Yet I think we tend to gravitate towards the simple stories that unite us around a common enemy. It’s an unfortunate aspect of being human that we frame the narratives of our lives around principle struggles that put the “bad guy” as someone other than ourselves. We would rather focus on where we can see the darkness in another. When we succeed, we often take the credit. When we fail, we often place the blame.
True-to-life stories often are convoluted, complicated and riddled with nuance. But the complexity can bring us to dialog within ourselves, forming stillness amidst the chaos.