Call me odd, but The Wizard of Oz has always been my favorite movie. Perhaps it is Dorothy’s wanderlust for a place to belong, the singing/dancing munchkins, the flying monkeys in fezzes, or the admiration of Dorothy continuing in the face of adversity (even if that face is green and warty).
I was reminded of the novel The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (off of which the movie was based), recently in therapy, when thinking of how my eating disorder views my life and recovery. Upon entering the city of Oz, the guardian of the gate requires Dorothy and company, Toto included, to wear green-lensed glasses. These glasses not only have the aforementioned green lenses, but they are locked in place with a key once they are put upon the head; making them impossible to remove. The guardian of the gate says the glasses are to protect the wearers from the “brightness and glory” of the city of Oz; the glasses are green because what in Oz is not green? The visitors and citizens of Oz wear the green glasses without reservation, as the guardian of the gate has assured them that the glasses are for their own wellbeing. The glasses were decreed by the benevolent wizard as a means to protect them from the brilliance of his city. What these people do not realize, however, is that the glasses are designed to be worn so that everything they see in Oz only appears to be green, when, in reality, everything in the city is the color they would imagine it to be in their lives outside of Oz. The glasses are a mechanism through which the wizard controls his populace; they serve as blinders to the truth that all is not as it appears. By requiring the wearing of the glasses, the wizard ensures that the people of Oz will see his city—and his reign of supremacy—in the way he has intended despite the fact that he is not as supreme as he, and others, is wont to believe. It is a way for him to control how his city, and his own inadequacies, is perceived.
Ed wants to be our emerald colored glasses. Ed works in much the same fashion as the wizard of Oz. Ed comes in to our life with promises to shield us from this hurt, that stress, this relationship or that hardship. Ed uses her glasses in the form of eating disordered thoughts and behaviors as a means to control you, all the while pretending to be looking out for your best interests…to protect you, even. However, all Ed does is use the disordered thoughts and behaviors to hide her own inadequacies, shortcoming and failures by projecting them onto us. Through Ed’s glasses we see only in black and white, good and bad, fat and thin, success and failure. There is no room for self-love, grace, self-confidence, or self-esteem (let alone a brain, a heart and courage); there is only Ed. And this is all there will be until we are able to take off Ed’s glasses. These eating disordered glasses are the mechanism through which Ed controls us, our thoughts, our actions, everything about us. In recovery, we learn we posses the key to take off Ed’s glasses as a means to see the world as it is meant to be seen, to love ourselves as others love us, measure ourselves in terms of resilience not pounds…to enjoy all blessings in our life rather than always looking through Ed’s glasses for the bad. Unlike Dorothy and crew, we have the power to remove our green glasses. When we cease to view the world through the glasses of Ed, we gain the opportunity to see the world and ourselves for what we truly are: wonderfully beautiful and unique people with gifts and talents that work together to create amazing things. So pick up your key and take off Ed’s glasses, you never know what you will find, but I promise it is worth it.
1 John 3:1
See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!