I must say I have had several different attempts at re-inventing myself in the last, well… 47 years. I was going to say during this whole 12 years post divorce thing, but really thinking about it, I’ve spent my whole life trying to find the real Madge.
Well to begin with there was the whole name thing. I was born Margaret Frances. Jesus Christ I hated that name as a kid. Did my parents want me to be a nice Irish Catholic Nun? You know, growing up in the 60s and 70s all the girls had cool new names like Jennifer, Linda, Lisa, Wendy, Jan, Cindy, Marcia. I had everybody’s Grandmother’s name. But that’s ok because my parents called me Peg. After my Father’s favorite song “Peg O’ My Heart”. And as odd as it sounds Peg is the international nickname for Margaret (no idea why).
Then that turned into Peggy. Then of course was the phase of “Peggie”. And then Peggie with the i dotted as a heart. (gag, I think that was like 5th grade) Then as all my siblings will tell you, I had an alter ego within that, “Peggy Starlight”. (God how embarrassing) I was probably 4-6 years old and I used to wear this floppy sun hat, a poncho, and these big yellow plastic sun glasses and I pretended to be some sort of international superstar… or dried up lounge act, who knows. That became a big joke over the years. I was absolutely mortified, when I went to my niece’s wedding last year, flew into Seattle and was picked up by my sister’s friend holding a sign that said “Peggy Starlight”. SMH.
Moving right along, then I was back to Peg. Then I got to college and changed to Margaret. Then everyone felt the need to short my name and started calling me Marge but with thick Maine and Massachusetts accents people thought they were saying Madge. Thought it was funny, so we started going with Madge. I was a broadcasting major and decided to name my radio show on the campus station, “Soaking in it with Madge”, playing on Madge the Manicurist of the popular Palmolive dish liquid commercials of the time. Ta Da! And there you have it.
Oh that was just the name, honey. Then there were the haircuts. My Mother said she never knew what I was going to come home looking like on a college break. The wedge cut, the buzz cut, the buzz cut with long bangs, a braided tail, the asymmetrical wedge, the Flock of Seagulls, the bob, then normal long hair. That was just college. Then later there were the various “Mommy haircuts”. Ack. I’ve had the long hair now for about 6-7 years. What the hell is happening to me with the consistency?!
Then the jobs/careers. TV, radio, admin assistant, stay at home mom, customer service, receptionist, print sales, realtor, freelance marketing, property management, non-profit crap, writing, social media. Then I tried going back to school first for psychology (wanted to be a therapist), then for a marketing degree. I even tried graphic design and realized when it was real high-tech, I bombed. What the hell am I? Who am I? What am I doing here? What do I do with my mess of a self? The only thing I was ever 100% certain I was meant to do was be a Mother. And I feel confident in that role, “Broke Single Mom Creates Master Race of Successful Well Grounded Children”. Yea!
I think I finally got my shit straight when I read a self-help book for apparently people with ADD like myself. It said that you don’t have to have one straight and narrow path. Many of us have many tastes and desires, so dabble, diversify. Which is funny because I spoke to a psychic once that said I would need to have several streams of income, I won’t be happy doing just one thing. Well, duh now. Which goes against everything how I was raised and that was to have laser focus on one thing and do it the best of anyone. Yikes. This book talked about things like having this one career, then owning property on the side, and doing this other sideline. That’s all great, but when you have to raise 3 kids on your own, time and waiting for income to come around are two luxuries I can’t really afford.
I now realize and accept that asking me to laser in on one thing is like asking a spastic 4 year old to sit down and watch “Lincoln” and take notes. Oh shiny!
There is all this talk about going after your dreams! Which I’d love to do, but again how do you logistically do that with being a sole supporter of 3 kids. I guess now that I have one in college, I’m getting closer but being able to pay for college is still hanging there. And I still have two in high school on the way to college.
I’ve been trying to whittle down my interests. I think I have it right for now. Writing and social media/marketing. I’m doing both and loving it. Still waiting for it to be really profitable but I hope that will come in time. I’ve already taken a couple other interests off the list, one of which includes acting. I auditioned for a couple of things, didn’t really get any good parts, decided it wasn’t worth the time. Maybe I have no patience, maybe I realized I wasn’t as good as I thought I was, maybe I just realized my heart wasn’t in it like it used to be. I’d rather do my own material and just be me.
But we come back to that ever-present question… what the fuck is “me”?
Is it odd that I felt totally alive when I went to a celebrity revue drag show the other night and thought, “That’s what I want to do!”. Is there such a thing as a female drag queen? Maybe kind of “Victor/Victoria”-ish. (look it up folks, old Julie Andrews movie). I just want to be fabulous and lip synch and tell jokes on stage, is that so wrong?
Well, good news is, I’m taking one dream further than I ever thought… my book. I have a photo shoot coming up for cover and headshots. *gulp* The book is being combed over by a trusted friend and writing associate.
I feel a lot of anxiety and fear which I never thought I would. What if I spend too much money getting it out? What if my editor friend says it sucks? What if you say it sucks? What if I only sell 5 copies? I guess those questions can be answered with, “Well at least you can cross it off your list and now you know” And maybe I’ll keep trying or maybe I’ll just move on to the next thing like another name change or hairstyle. And there’s always work in phone sex…
Have any of you decided to go for broke and go for a dream? Do you have trouble knowing what you are supposed to do in life?