It’s time to try Defying gravity I think I’ll try Defying gravity And you can’t pull me down!
— lyrics from “Defying Gravity” by Stephen Schwartz
“Defying Gravity” is quite possibly one of my favorite songs of all time. I experienced the musical Wicked on Broadway a few years ago and fell in love with the score. It is such an powerful anthem about believing in one’s self. I believe it is particularly powerful for individuals who dare to “think outside the box” or who are perceived as non-conformists whether intentionally or unintentionally. I identify with Elphaba, the misunderstood Wicked Witch of the West, in the “Wizard of Oz” who sings this powerful ballad to her classmate and friend Glinda, the Good Witch of the East before strikinig out on her own in the world.
Although I don’t think I am inherently wicked, nor do I have intentions of breaking ties with everyone in my life and flying off on a broom to a secluded castle to live out my life like Elphaba, I am approaching an age and time in my life when I want to be more independent in my thinking; more focused on my goals. I want to move away from being a “people pleaser” and try defying gravity by being truer to myself.
The other night, after a particularly aggravating conversation with someone, I was out of sorts. I raged around the kitchen, searching out a comfort food to suffocate my angry feelings even though I was not particularly hungry. Instead of stuffing my feelings down, I decided to take a walk and figure out what was eating at me.
I grabbed my gear — iPod, Garmin and brand new sneakers — and set-off into the twilight with no destination or plan. Within minutes “Defying Gravity” blasted in my earbuds and my pace picked up, my adrenaline surged and my spirits began to literally soar. Endorphins are a beautiful thing. I felt very powerful. I had quelled my anger and made a healthy decision because I could. When my children were younger, more often than not, I couldn’t just “walk away” from confrontation, aggravation, intimidation and frustration because they needed me to be present and attend to their needs. So I would “stuff” myself — literally– and push those feelings down with food so I could take care of them and get through the moment. At this point in my life, the girls are now old enough for me to take a walk, consider what is gnawing away at me and find a better way to respond.
I did my usual route and was at the 2.5 mile mark when I was stopped by a neighbor who inquired how far I had walked. I told him I was training for a half marathon, said good night and continued along my way. When my phone rang at mile 3.5, my hubby told me he had made dinner and asked when I would be home. I thanked him for taking the chore of dinner off my plate and told him to eat without me because I wasn’t done walking.
“OK, ” he said. “How much longer will you be?”
“Not sure,” I huffed and puffed.
“Be safe. See you soon.”
It took me 3.2 more miles to reach my destination – home – that night.