Living the Dream: I LOVE Being Me!

In all my years on this earth, I could not have imagined how often—once I actually began living the dream—I would awaken and think, “I LOVE being me!”

What?

I know that there are dozens of people who don’t even know me and have passed me somewhere and thought, “Oh, poor woman.” This was especially true during my darkest days, when I was so broke I couldn’t pay attention, working 3 or 4 jobs at a time, and taking care of a family (and biscuits and gravy were a dinner-time staple in our home), or when I was working a VERY tough job and the treatment I got from my employer was oppressive and demeaning (can you say “Nissan” or “Big Law Firm”?). When co-workers saw the mistreatment I often received—when I had DONE NOTHING WRONG—they could only support me in secret, fearing that an open display of support would bring the wrath of the corporate demi-gods down on them, too (*see the funny story following this blog post for more on the secret support I received). My being an intelligent, stand-up-for-myself kind of person whose wit and fast thinking intimidated people created a lot of problems for me. Not that that let it stop me. Nope. I said what was on my mind and in my heart, damn the consequences. I was not popular among the corporate management anywhere. ANYWHERE.

However, I could sleep at night. I could look myself in the mirror and still respect the person I saw there. Hey, I was Tiny Fields’ daughter (and, as Joel Osteen says, “a child of the Most High God”), and that meant I am a resourceful, resilient woman of substance. Even during my hardest times, I still liked me.

Yep--I LOVE being me!

Yep–I LOVE being me!

Fast Forward to Living the Dream

I have talked about how difficult it was to MAKE THE DECISION about leaving one settled, stable life and taking up residence across the country in a completely new and unknown lifestyle. I felt like I imagine people feel who have a fire moving closer behind them, and a 5-story drop into a waiting firemen’s net below them: IF YOU WANNA LIVE, YOU GOTTA TAKE THE LEAP. The Dream was taking over, and I couldn’t fight it, so I HAD TO JUMP. In case some of you don’t know, I have regretted NOTHING. Day in and day out, I am thrilled to meet other artists and writers and performers, each of us taking risks, meeting people, learning and growing.

I LOVE Being Me

So each sunny California morning, I awaken to a golden sunlight flooding into the master bathroom in our trailer (YES, I AM A TRAILER PARK HONEY!). Several times a week, I have fresh oranges off our tree—the sweetest, juiciest oranges you can imagine. Each day can bring such surprises and joy and excitement—each day is an opportunity to ACT, to AUDITION, to LEARN, to MEET people. The experiences I’ve had are things I could never have imagined: a billboard on Hollywood Boulevard, a tiny little picture in People magazine, working with Tom Ford in an award-winning film, appearing on episodes of weekly television series, and so much more. Yes, I am as round as a pumpkin (still). Yes, I have financial challenges (still). Yes, I am 61 years old. All those things are true. And also true are that I am LOVED by a man who adores and supports me in all that I do, I am happy and living the life about which I have dreamed since I was a very small child, and I am TRULY LIVING LARGE each and every day. There are no words that can express how grateful I am for all of that.

Thanks for being here.

DREAM BIG! If you can’t dream it, you won’t have it.

peggy!

FUNNY STORY:

Most people don’t know that several years into employment with a large Nashville law firm, I was singled out for abuse and racial discrimination.  I begged the managing partners to “call her off,” but they refused to do so, and I was forced to file a Title VII action (for discrimination) in Federal Court just to protect my job.  It was not easy to go to work each day and receive the cold shoulder, but I was determined that someone with an ax to grind was NOT going to rob me of a job that I (up to that time) enjoyed doing or a decent salary and benefits.  So, eventually, I was deposed, and something really interesting happened.  You see, I had a LOT of information that “management” had no idea I possessed, and their attorney demanded to know how I had gotten the information.  “I don’t really know,” I told her.  “I work nights, and sometimes when I come to work, there are papers stuck under my keyboard.  I never know where they come from or who left them, but obviously they’re things that SOMEBODY thinks I should have.”

She was livid.  “You expect me to believe that you just FIND things under your keyboard and don’t know where they come from?”

“Ma’am,” I responded, “I don’t care WHAT you believe.  There are cameras everywhere and I’m obviously not wandering places I shouldn’t go at the office, so how do you think I get it?”

By this time, she was completely ticked off and trembling.  “And you expect me to believe that people just want you to have this information and leave it under your keyboard and don’t leave their names?  Is that what you expect me to believe?”

I took a long moment and smiled.  Y’all know that kind of smile.  “Ma’am,” I said once more, patiently, as if talking with a toddler.  “I am going to say it one more time:  I don’t care WHAT you believe.  Obviously, there are people who want me to do well.  People who like me.  So you believe whatever it is you’d like, it doesn’t matter to me one way or the other.” (Final Note:  once the perpetrator had been fired, even attorneys privately told me they hoped my life was easier with her gone.)

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