Dorothy and Me This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

January 18, 2013
On my sixth birthday, I sat amidst a scattering of shiny pink wrapping paper and half-eaten birthday cake, holding a wrapped rectangle on my lap. My best friend’s eyes were bright, urging me to open it. I ripped off the paper and lifted the lid and there, nestled between two folds of ivory tissue, was a pair of sparkly ruby slippers, exactly like Dorothy’s.

My best friend knew that Dorothy, survivor of Earth’s most menacing disaster, conqueror of the Wicked Witch of the West, and healer of three lonely, lacking souls, was my hero. My obsession with Dorothy went beyond her adorable pigtails and breathy voice; Dorothy represented everything I wanted to be: strong-willed, compassionate, brave, independent. From that day on, I refused to part with those shoes. However, I never wore them. They meant too much to risk destruction on the playground or death-by-glue at arts and crafts. Rather, I toted them in my schoolbag and tucked them under the covers at night, one little hand wrapped around their glittering heels.

Years after my ruby slippers had begun to gather dust on a shelf in my bedroom, I began my freshman year of high school. My best friend and I—the same girl who got me the gift no one else could understand—stopped talking. It was my fault. I wanted to meet new people and try new things, and my best friend was anything but new.

The texts always came when I was with my new friends. Hey! Do you want to hang out this weekend? I pounded out a flippant reply or just ignored her altogether, much to the amusement of my new friends. But keeping up with them was like trying to keep up with the Kardashians—exhausting, ultimately impossible, and maybe even a little dangerous.

Later that year, I was brooding over being forbidden to go to a sleepover when the ruby slippers caught my eye. Long lost memories of my friend’s eager expression as I opened her present flooded back to me. Only then did I realize that I had strayed far from Dorothy. In reality, I was the Wizard of Oz, hiding behind a sparkly façade, pretending to be something that I would never be. It wasn’t what I wanted. I crawled onto my bed, placed the ruby slippers in my lap, picked up the phone, and called my best friend.

Now, she and I have our own group of friends that I feel comfortable being myself around. While my freshman year friends stay up late partying, we sip Dr. Pepper, record songs (no, they are not good songs), and play cards in my basement. Meeting new people may be an important part of high school, but it’s just as important to stay true to yourself. Though I don’t think Dorothy would quite understand the crisp taste of a Dr. Pepper, I know she’d be proud that, ruby slippers in tow, I found my way back to Kansas.

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This article has 3 comments. Post your own now!

Jessbug said...
Jan. 28, 2013 at 11:36 pm
This is very good! I love the closing paragraph. A few sentences in the middle sound awkward. Read it out loud and tweak it a bit, but very nice!
taona said...
Jan. 28, 2013 at 11:00 am
brilliant essay from the ive read so far.  
WaffleOcean2934 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Jan. 25, 2013 at 7:57 pm
I think this a  really fresh and creative essay.  Good work on it!
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