Growing Up

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From the young age of 3, the movie The Wizard of Oz played almost every day in my house. Even if wasn't attentively paying attention, the sounds of Judy Garland always filled my ears. After years of watching the movie over and over again, I fell in love with it, and became captivated with the story of the young girl traveling to the land beyond the rainbow. My parents had read almost every version of the tale to me before I fell asleep at night, and I had almost every doll and collector's item there was to be bought. I would tape together sheets upon sheets of yellow construction paper and drape it over the wooden floors of my house, giving me the illusion that I was walking down the infamous yellow brick road. To every new person I met, I would introduce myself as Dorothy and until they were told otherwise, that was my name.


As the fall months approached in 1996, I contemplated what I wanted to be for Halloween, although at the fresh old age of five, it did not take me very long to decide. That Halloween and for years to come, I was Dorothy Gale, the star of The Wizard of Oz. I remember going costume shopping with my mom to pick out the most beautiful, blue and white plaid Dorothy dress there was. To my mom they were all the same, but to me I was in search of the one that stood out the most. After I picked the perfect one, I would set out for a pair of ruby red shoes. Again I wanted the best of the best so I had to get the shiniest pair of shoes there was to be sold. In my eyes, no shoe in any store could compare with the shoes that were in the movie so my mom and I would set aside a day to spray paint them ruby red and douse glitter over them. Year after year, we would follow the same process and for some reason, my traditions and costume never got old. I was Dorothy year after year and back then the feeling I got when I put on my costume could not compare to anything else.


Some Halloweens later, my mom asked me when I wanted to go get my Dorothy dress. By then I was eleven and I had been Dorothy the past few years. For some reason I could not quite understand myself, I did not want to be Dorothy again. I did not want to go get that same plaid blue and white dress. I did not want to spray paint any shoes or even buy a new red pair, and I definitely did not want to braid my hair the same way it was braided years before. I was ready to leave behind my old wicker basket that would barely fit a nights worth of trick or treating and replace it with a huge pillowcase that everyone else used. Toto, my stuffed dog that was always my trusty companion could stay home curled in my bed without me dragging it around all night. And during my annual trip to the costume store, I would not be limited to a blue and white dress; I could be as creative and unique as I wanted picking out a new costume. And all these changes were not because I was sick of being Dorothy or even tired of The Wizard of Oz; it was because for once in my life I understood that change was not always bad. Growing up meant not having to live by all the traditions I set fourth as a child. It was about trying new things and not being afraid of change.





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