This may be an unpopular opinion, but I hate the Wizard of Oz!
What a creepy movie. Even as a little girl, I could see Dorothy was a 16-year-old with a developing a woman’s body, not a little girl. Poor Judy Garland, her character was supposed to be 12, but she had to stuff her blossoming bosom into that sissy gingham dress and wear frilly white baby socks with her cool red sequin shoes.
Then there are the monkeys, those nightmare-inducing, icky monkeys. They were horrible, and whoever created them should have been put in prison for child abuse.
The final slap in the face of the movie is the end. The “good witch,” Glinda, who I think looks like a drag queen who took too much valium, tells Dorothy she could have gone home anytime she wanted, “You always had the power, my dear.” What??? Dorothy could have just gone home during this tedious journey with the tuna can, the winey cat, and the straw bag. SERIOUSLY?
So, why am I bringing up this dumb movie right now? Because the good witch’s words came back to me recently and darn it if that Mary Kay representative on steroids wasn’t right!
You see, words of affirmation are my primary love language acts of service are my secondary language. Dennis’ primary love language is physical touch and his secondary love language is pork products.
If you have not discovered your love languages, here is an opportunity.
Words of affirmation and physical touch are mine. I would rather have a heartfelt compliment than a fancy gift any day. A clarification on words of affirmation and compliments for you Dibbuns (explanation of the term July 2017 post). A word of affirmation is not a compliment. A compliment is, “Gee Dolly, your hair looks super cute and fluffy today.” A word of affirmation is, “Bubba, the world looks shinier when I’m with you.” Got it?
I have a vault of affirmations from people I keep in a safe place in my heart. I take them out and stroke them like a pet cat in trying times. They soothe my soul. Here is an example of one from Dennis, “Leana, I don’t feel disabled when I’m with you. I feel like I could walk on top of the trees,” Ahhhh, I know, that was a dating game changer. Another beautiful affirmation I received was from my grandmother when I went to visit her when she was sick, “Leana you are the best medicine.” Thank you, Oma.
Unfortunately, my appetite for approval is insatiable. It is a spiritual problem for me. It’s not good for me to constantly need reassurance and praise from others; it makes me a co-dependent people pleaser. Find me a narcissist that doesn’t want to have one of those dancing for them? I should feel secure in the assurance that God love’s me unconditionally and not need approval from others, but, I do, oh I do. I’m working on it, but my love language is what it is.
A few weeks ago had been full of doctor’s appointments, I had a cold, we had some bad nights. Then I left Dennis in the van when I went into Target with the windows closed. I also forgot my phone in the car and miscalculated how hot it was outside. I know. Parents go to jail for this. After browsing in Target like a teenager with ADD who forgot their Adderall, I finally left. I got back to the car and Dennis was hyperventilating and yelling at the mom getting out of the car next to us. He was asking her to please open the door to the van, but she couldn’t hear him over her screaming toddler. I felt horrible. He was fine though, so no emails please.
The last straw was some guy from town who we don’t know well, asked me how Dennis and I we were doing; I answered, “limping along.” He looked at me and said, with sincerity, “Well, thank goodness you don’t have a real job too.”
A real job, buddy? So, real jobs are only types of work with a start and finish time, not 24 hours. Or does a paycheck, feedback, and promotions make hard work a real job? Or is what I do not a real job because it doesn’t end when I quit or get fired but when the love of my life dies? I think what we need to be thankful for, buddy, is I don’t happen to have a taser in my purse.
My affirmation gas tank was dinging, no, shrieking like an eighties hairband, and I was getting dangerously homicidal. I begged the universe for some encouragement to keep me out of jail.
A few days later, I was meeting a lady to pick up a stamp set I bought on the Facebook marketplace for my granddaughter. We were meeting at the Applebee’s parking lot. She wasn’t at her car yet, and she texted me she was sorry she was still having lunch with her parents and asked if I could wait ten more minutes.
It was no problem, but she was flustered and distracted when she came out of the restaurant. My intuition told me I needed to touch her to calm her, so I lightly put my hand on her arm and said, “Really, think nothing of it. I am in no hurry.” she then blurted out that her parents had just told her at lunch that her dad was just diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. She was clearly in shock. I told her to take a breath, and we began to talk.
What followed was kind of an out-of-body experience for me. A third party took over my mouth and said. “Watching disease ravage someone you love is extremely difficult; I know I have been doing it every day for 22 years. You are scared and unsure if you can do this, but you can, and you will because love can make us all heroes for a while. All that weight and fear you just felt land on your shoulders is not yours to bear alone. No one has any idea how this story will go, so don’t try and be a fortune teller. Have courage; you will be given precisely enough strength for the length of this journey. There will be days when you will feel like you have hit a wall, but help will come when you ask and in ways, you can’t imagine.
She said she felt guilty for worrying about how her life would be affected. Caregiver rule #1 don’t waste precious energy judging your feelings; we are all human. Judge your efforts. We hugged and parted. I don’t know if I will ever see her again, but I hope I helped soften the blow of the initial shock of a devastating diagnosis.
I left full of hope and love and like someone had given me a pep talk? The message had gone both ways; every word I told her was what I wanted to hear myself.
I gave myself the message I needed!
The power to keep myself going was always inside me; I had needed to figure out how to access it. I had to share it!
I’ve never done the sports, but for the first time in my life, I understood what a locker room pregame speech could do for you; I was fired up. I felt like both coach and player.
I felt reinvigorated in my caregiver role. I was pumped up, and thought, why don’t I go down to The Shepherd Center Spinal Cord Institute and get another person with quadriplegia to care for! Maybe bunkbeds?
Ok. I was getting carried away; Dennis doesn’t share well.
Instead, I just went home, and Dennis asked why it took 45 minutes to pick up a stamp set for a two-year-old. However, I felt a peace I hadn’t had for a while.
So, I have adjusted my prayers. I have asked to serve people in need of encouragement. Heavens, it’s been raining the low in spirit, especially caregivers. Scared, angry, reluctant, empathetic, sad, sweet, grumpy, flawed, angelic caregivers. They have turned up at wine tastings as subjects for my articles, at gas stations, in bathrooms, and new acquaintances. Every time I open my mouth, words I hardly recognize fly out of my mouth. I’m just the messenger, and we both got the benefit.
I’ve tried to give myself pep talks, but it’s like giving yourself a massage; it does not work. It’s the human connection, serving one another is where the healing is.
So, I have been getting a lot of what I need emotionally by giving it away. How amazingly paradoxical, how cosmically confusing. I love it.
As you move forward in your journey, I hope you figure out what your love language is and that your love tank is so full that you give away your abundance every chance you get.
P.S. Dennis did have a phone to call 911 with him; he just didn’t want the embarrassment. Men!