In 1939 Judy Garland and The Wizard of Oz made this line famous. Lions and Tigers, and Bears, oh my! Since then, these words have been hijacked repeatedly for a variety of reasons.

First, I’d like to say the following has little to do with my previous drug use. In all of my life, I’ve only had one experience with hallucinations. I’ve written about that experience and posted it on this website. It was nerve-rattling!

After losing everything in 2015, I performed an inventory of my situation. Having nothing and nobody left to lose can change perspective. Thinking, “well, what else can possibly go wrong,” I decided there would never be a better time to step on to a path only recently revealed. Down the rabbit hole, I tumbled. At the time, I certainly didn’t realize I’d be ‘tumbling’ for the better part of four years.

During this [4-year degree] period, my mind and life changed forever. I can still remember the night I first realized that I might not survive with my sanity intact. I know what it’s like to be standing on the edge of madness, looking over my shoulder and thinking, “damn . . . this is how it happens.” I had no idea how wild the ride would be.

At some point during this period in my life, I made a startling discovery. There may be more to Judy Garland’s famous movie line than meets the eye or any other sense.

Lions and Tigers and Bears! Words are powerful. Careful what you speak into existence.

Joseph Shanklin

July 16, 2022

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