“Dorothy did it.” I said upon being caught mid-mischief from the age of four on. Little psychiatric concern surfaced until later. My curious nature and inherent wander lust kept me to the edge of Grandma’s backyard where the neighbors reported my routine opine that “no one understands me.”
Like most girls and gays, incarnations of L. Frank Baum stories manifested worlds of exploration beset by restless ennui. Did this pass as I gradually slipped into adulthood? Absolutely not. I mooned about with small dogs on Illionois farms and still experience weekly recurring tornado dreams; my frustration ever fixed on whether folks are listening to my meteorological implorations. Take shelter! The storm is on the horizon — why am I the only one who can see that massive twister heading right toward the farmhouse? Every now and then a witch shows up. I almost always survive.
Since high school, I’ve surrounded myself with musical folks ever happy to burst into song and dance to ease our awkward journeys. Discovering missing pieces in the paramount depth of Wicked’s “For Good”; lamenting the numbing experience of a Nipsy Russell’s rusted heart in “If I Could Feel;” and endlessly clinging to better days in “Over the Rainbow.”
Don’t blame me. Dorothy did it.
Today I think of “Home.”
I have spent the past week in a beautiful land at the bedside of a dear friend, stricken unfairly with cruel and mysterious infirmity. The journey has been a whirlwind of agony juxtaposed against the majestic Rocky Mountains. I have suffered expansion as she experiences agonizing pain. I brought her a copy of “Ozma of Oz.” My queen trapped in a hospital of mirrors. We both long for home, holding tight to each other through helpless pain. I can’t help but see the entire world with new eyes. Tired eyes. Hopeful eyes but blinks away from decay and despair.
When I arrived on my sudden journey — twelve hours between “please come to Denver” and “Welcome to Denver” — I was terrified. The potential loss we faced was closer than any I’d known. Laying my grandfather to rest a few months ago, after years of Alzheimer’s and a life long lived did not prepare me to say possibly say goodbye to my heroine so young. She has been sick as long as he was, but she had less time to live beforehand. By a miracle, she pulled through. I was spared departure another day. We enjoyed precious days together. Though very painful, at least we were together. We didn’t have to go it alone.
I will say now my Ozma gifted to me bravery and authenticity the likes of which I’ve never known. The morning I woke up to the majesty of foreign mountaintops framed between slats of the hospital blind, I experienced an epiphany that shook me to my core.
For ages I have felt displaced in my own hometown. We must all suffer this infirmity – at least during our roaring twenties. Before I looked upon those mountains and saw the endless turmoil my Ozma lives in, I thought I had it so bad.
How can I be me in Dallas? I’d lost that elusive sense of home. Orphaned in a city that embraced me. I struggled with the impact I might make being myself, doing what I do best. For weeks I plotted my exodus to the West Coast — far, far from my own backyard. Somewhere they’d understand me.
A mile higher changed my whole view. Blame it on the ah-ah-ah-altitude. I just wanted to go home.
With the clarity of revelation I am now happy to announce the April launch of The Crisman Show Live from a gorgeous studio in Deep Ellum, Dallas.
Live from home.