Feb 1, 2024
Her Perspective

I’ve Gotta Be Me

Caught up with an old friend in the neighborhood the other day and he jokingly said, “You know, behind your back people call you the Martha Stewart of East Hill.” I don’t know that much about Martha Stewart so all that came to mind is that she was arrested and served jail time for insider trading. I blurted out, “Hey, I’m not a day trader like my mom was. And I’ve never been arrested.”  He laughed and said, “Noooo, it’s a compliment. Like on her TV show — you always make the impossible look effortless.” But I still couldn’t take it as a compliment. It freaks me out that someone would think I’m perfect; I want them to think I’m authentic.

Some of my friends like to post affirmations on social media and I saw this one listed in the “7 Rules of Life”: What other people think of you is none of your business. The older I get, the more I find this to be true. “I’ve Gotta Be Me,” the famous song sung by Sammy Davis Jr., comes to mind. It’s not healthy to worry about what others think or say about you.

I was born an extreme extrovert. Six out of seven children, my mother informed me I was not like the others. As a baby, when she took me on errands, I was thrilled at the faces of strangers who stopped to notice me. She said I tried to say googoo gaga to every human I encountered. Most babies love their mother’s face, but I got bored with that same face every day. My sister was born two years later, and my mother said we were opposites. My sister cried if a stranger looked at her. (My sister became a very successful accountant; I did not.)

As soon as I could walk, I walked down the street and knocked on doors. I couldn’t find any kids my age, so I asked elderly neighbors if they wanted to come out and play. Surprisingly, they did. At five years old, some of my best friends were retired 70-year-olds. We chatted for hours while we pulled weeds, watered the plants and played with their cats and dogs.

Maybe this explains my oversharing tendencies. I like to engage with people. I like to interact with other humans. When all my humans are too busy to hang out, my Facebook friends are there for me. Judge me all you want; I’m just going to keep on being me. I mean, I’ve gotta. Who else would I be?

I may dance like a crazed weasel on meth (I’ve never done meth!) but I will never stop doing the pogo. When I am 80, I hope people are whispering behind my back, “Can you believe she’s still doing the pogo? That went out of style in the 80s.”

That’ll be my affirmation taped to my fridge:  “Pogo like no one’s watching.”

Yes, I love semicolons; periods are so abrupt. Someone’s got to keep using semicolons or they will become extinct. Yes, I hate oatmeal and yogurt, so I eat canned hearts of palm for breakfast. They are delicious. And I love the Avengers spin-off show, “Loki.” I have to watch it alone because my husband and children hate it. How can anyone hate a bromance between Tom Hiddleston and Owen Wilson, time travel to the groovy ’70s and ’80s and Ke Huy Quan’s nerdy/techy character? I guess my mom was right; I am not like the others.

Full disclosure, to research this story, I googled Martha Stewart. She had a TV show but it was during the years I was working full time and had four children, so I’ve never seen it. She had a magazine, but I guess I was reading Rolling Stone back then. But dang, she was just on the cover of the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue at age 81 and she rocked it! I’ll take that compliment after all.

Liz Biggs is a Pensacola native and mother of four. Once upon a time, she had a high-pressure career but now she has a pension and is a freelance writer for Bella Magazine. Liz enjoys music, dancing, tennis and travel and tries to find humor in everything.