The One Movie That Unexpectedly Comforted My Anxious Mind

The other night I was having some self-care time. Not the aesthetic type where I’m painting my nails, gorging on Cadbury’s Milk Tray and unwinding in a tranquil insufflation of pungent incense. No. I was watching the “Wizard of Oz,” wearing PJ’s that didn’t match and unapologetically crying tears of despondency down my freckly wee moon face.

For reasons that are hurtful to explain, my heart is currently a mangled mess of pulmonary discombobulation. You know the feeling. I think everyone’s been there at least once in their lives. Oh well. Boohoo. But for an anxious mind — an over-thinker — it’s more than that. Rejection.

Anyways — “Wizard of Oz.” I’ve seen this classic movie umpteen times during my early life, but as a fully developed 23-and-a-half-year-old human being, with a National Insurance number and a Nectar card and like… real responsibilities, it seemed different. This time my attention was diverted from Dorothy’s ruby slippers, her dog Toto and the litany of “no place like home.” Instead, I was focused on the tin man. The hollow, lustrous tin man, devoid of a human heart. As the movie went on and he began warbling, “If only I had a heart,” in his metallic, songful way, I couldn’t help but feel a pang of jealousy.

How much at that moment did I wish that I was a tin man. That I was empty inside? That I didn’t feel this pain that radiated throughout my body?

Answer? A lot.

Long story short, things went downhill rapidly that night. More mournful musings, uncontrollable tears, catastrophizing, sniffles and well, it was just a pretty gross state of affairs actually.

Plot twist.

The next morning brought a new day, and with it, my fire rekindled.

We all love. We all feel. We all remember. OK, so maybe I do these things slightly more vehemently than others. Some people have the ability to dull down their emotions to a point where they are not so much a shiny tin man with no heart, but more of a lump of black igneous rock. These same people are also those who, as a result, often end up throwing in the towel on something amazing when the hard work is only really beginning. For this reason, I wouldn’t trade my ability to feel my emotions so intensely (to the point where I can’t even get through the day), for anything. My absurd jealousy of the heartless tin man had gone.

For those who feel chewed up, spat out, broken, washed up, hung out to dry, used or any delicious combination of these things: never stop believing that you can have a new beginning. When you see how little you actually need to survive, I think you’ll see how powerful you are. Someone not wanting you can be the beginning of you wanting yourself. You will think you could have done more. Loved more. Tried more. But for the right person, whatever you could manage at that precise moment of torturous calamity, when your entire life felt like ruins and your soul was fragmented, that and that alone would have been exactly enough for them, until you could manage more. The right person sees all the dark and twisty inside of you and loves you anyway. This fact has shown me that as much as I am a romantic, love does not in fact trump everything. Pride does. Pride will always be the longest distance between two people. And the harsh truth is you can either swallow your pride for the person you love, or you lose them. Your choice.

In the movie, Dorothy’s dog is called Toto, and Toto means all-encompassing, whole, in entirety. However flawed I may be, Toto is what my love is and always will be, in my own warped way. So when life throws you a curveball, you go through the five stages of grief: denial, anger, desperation, depression, acceptance. The storm passes. You clean up the mess. And you always, always live in hope.

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