Graphic: More Like Glenda, Less like Fidel | TakingCareofGrandma.com

My 2019 Caregiving Resolution: More Like Glenda, Less Like Fidel

I have a confession to make.

There are times in my caregiving world where I feel  like I am possessed with the spirit of Fidel Castro.

In case you didn't know about Fidel...
Fidel Castro was the dictator of Cuba for over 30 years. Fidel Castro turned Cuba into the first communist state in the Western Hemisphere. He enacted sweeping reforms over the almost five decades that he ruled, some of them laudable and others less so. On the one hand, the changes he implemented provided rural areas with electricity, offered free education and health care to all Cubans, and weeded out racism in his country’s society. But these reforms were accompanied by more-suppressive ones: the elimination of a free press, the jailing of dissidents, and the implementation of a one-party state. [Source: https://www.britannica.com/biography/Fidel-Castro]

Fidel Castro was very controlling. Certainly there were good outcomes when he assumed power of his country… but there were also terrible things that took place— corruption, violence, destitution, censorship… the list goes on. People had very few rights

While being forceful and wanting things a certain way can be good qualities, you want to avoid taking it to the extreme of micromanaging a person’s day and completely stripping them of basic choices (where to live, what to eat, how to spend time).

Channeling Fidel is a common response to feeling out of control. When chaos makes my heart race and my stomach turn from uncertainty, I am consumed with pushing back to take back my power. I let the negative emotions get the best of me. Lashing out, desperate to regain control, I make decisions and take actions that affect others without including them. I make rules or give vague rules that must be followed and freak out when they aren’t.

Pretty soon, since I am unhappy everyone else is unhappy. Unhappy and confused and repentant.

This is no world to live in.

When I’m starting to move into this world, I play this scene in my head.

When I feel like I’m starting to feel like Fidel, I close my eyes, take deep breaths, and think about Glenda.

Glenda comes floating in, like a dream. Her voice is calm and soft. Her movements are graceful and intentional. When the munchkins laugh at  Dorothy’s comment “witches are old and ugly,” Glenda calmly and joyfully explains she is a witch. She helps orient Dorothy to her surroundings and understand what she needs to do to accomplish her goal of getting back home.

Glenda empowers Dorothy. Even though she can solve the problem immediately by telling Dorothy exactly what to do, she gives her the information she needs to accomplish her goal of getting back to Kansas. Along her journey, she made connections, solved problems, and had new experiences. Everybody knows the whole moral of the story is that Dorothy had to learn there is no place like home. Glenda was there at the beginning and at the finish line, cheering Dorothy on and pointing her in the right direction.

In 2019, I want to spend more time acting like Glenda, instead of letting Fidel get the best of me.

Can you relate? Drop a line in the comments. I’d love to hear from you.