Friday, October 12, 2012

Wicked


SPOILER ALERT: This post contains spoilers of the plot from the musical 'Wicked'. Read at your own risk.


This week, my friends and I went and saw the musical, Wicked. My own personal inspiration for wanting to see it was the song 'Defying Gravity'. I had first heard that song on Glee and had related to it so much that I quickly adopted it as one of my most powerful 'coping with being trans' songs. In fact, I believe you'll find it in at least one of my videos.

Anyway, everyone I knew raved about Wicked so I was excited to finally be able to see it. I went into it, the only expectation being that I would hear that song in action from the play it originated from. In fact, with some small suggestion from some friends, I decided to take it one step further and dress up as Dorothy (from the Wizard of Oz). Little did I know that I would relate much more to her enemy, Elphaba, The Wicked Witch of the West.

For those unfamiliar with 'Wicked', it takes place in Oz, long before Dorothy ever arrived, telling the story of Elphaba, a poor girl who was born with green skin and weird inherent magic ability that manifested itself through her emotions.

The story presents Elphaba in school, and as the crowd watches, she is feared, hazed, and rejected by her peers. At this time in her life, she seems pretty used to such chiding but you know it still hurts inside. Her teachers on the other hand, seem to praise her work and her abilities, some even promising that she may be given special invitation to the Emerald City to see the Wizard someday. I could relate slightly to her position in all of this as I was very unpopular growing up in school as well. Yet my teachers and parents praised me as I worked hard and did what they expected of me. This went beyond school for me, of course. I went on to live a life that my parents found pleasing and I found my own happiness in as well. In fact, like Elphaba, I didn't really know that the system I was being raised in was biased, even though clues presented themselves around me sporadically.

Then came the day that Elphaba had been waiting for her whole life. She received an invitation to see the Wizard of Oz himself. Part of her secretly hoped he could turn her green skin normal and yet her main objective was bringing her concerns about what the system was doing to the animal kingdom in Oz. You see, animals could talk in Oz but slowly, they'd been being silenced somehow, made to be like the dumb animals we know.

Elphaba's world is turned upside down when she is presented with the truth behind the change in behavior of the animals of Oz. Not only does the Wizard know of it but he's actually behind it all in the first place and he wants her to use her inherent magical ability to continue to take advantage of the animals and enslave them. Elphaba is horrified as her world comes crashing down. Everything she knew that was right is now wrong and she makes a sudden choice to change her life and go against the very system she was raised up with and praised in.

The Wizard knows that he can't have someone knowing the truth out there running free and so he proceeds in defaming Elphaba to the Emerald City and the whole land of Oz. He tells everyone that she is a 'Wicked Witch' and blames her for all of the troubles that Oz has had in the past, present, and future. She becomes a fugitive in her own land and retreats into hiding to try to rescue and shelter what animals she can.

This is where my relation to Elphaba gets stronger. Like her, later in life, I was suddenly faced with something that had been hidden from me about myself, my body, my whole world. Instead of stand back and try to live with the problem, I chose to do what was right in my heart and correct it. My parents and my church, the solid building blocks around my life, fell down around me at this choice and proceeded in defaming me. They called me wicked and evil and accused me of consorting with the Devil and some of them even suggested I needed an exorcism. All of this because I felt something they will never understand. And to even try to do so would mean questioning interpretations of their own upbringings; and they were unwilling.

Elphaba continues to try to fight the system but soon realizes that she just cannot win. In a last ditch effort, she fakes her own death by feeding the belief that simple water will make her melt. After the land praises her death, the audience sees that she is not really dead but she and her lover are free to leave the land of Oz permanently to live their own lives, happily ever after.

It actually hadn't hit me until now how I related to the ending. Earlier this year, I realized that I was getting nowhere with my parents. I had to let them go and move on with my life. It was probably one of the hardest things I've ever done but it was needed. And like Elphaba, because I don't have the constant negativity and disappointment they kept bringing to my life, I am more happy and positive on a daily basis. Sure, there will always be days where I think of them, miss them, and cry but those times are few and far between now that I'm living my life and following my heart.

They may think it's wicked........but I know nothing has ever felt so right.



2 comments:

Anaheim Pepper said...

Very well written. I identified with Elphaba, too. maybe not for all of your reasons be enough. You are a marvelouse writer.

Lady_Nikki said...

Now I have "Defying Gravity" as my theme song in my head. Thanks for the inspiration and putting into words a feeling I know only too well.

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