Lately my ego has been in overdrive. Just full overdrive, out of control. It started when I found out I won the grand prize at RedRoom, plus the Summer Reading Experience contest. Then I found out I won a contest sponsored by my local library; I read more books than anyone in Lafayette! Whoo-hoo! It has made my head so big and my ego wants more, more, more! It also made me realize my ego is made of two parts. I call them Loretta and Veruca.
The Loretta part of my ego is named for Loretta Lynn. I had better explain. When I was a kid, I saw Coal Miner's Daughter, based on Loretta Lynn's memoirs. We all know Lynn's story; married at thirteen, four children by eighteen. Her husband noticed she was a good singer, so she started to do some nightclubs. After her dad died, Loretta (Sissy Spacek) and Mooney (Tommy Lee Jones) left their kids with Loretta's mother, and then they went to radio station to radio station to plug the record Loretta just made. They went all around the South, counting down the stations, and before they knew it, Loretta had a record on the charts! Number fourteen! She's performing on the Grand Old Opry! She's meeting Patsy Cline! She's having a nervous breakdown! Well, I tried to ignore the last part. What I noticed was they did a do it yourself deal. Before the internet, before anything, they went town to town, station to station, and they worked hard, they did it themselves.
The second part of my ego is Veruca, for Veruca Salt in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Veruca wants everything right now! She wants instant gratification, she wants everything and she wants it right now! She doesn't have time to look for the golden ticket, she has her daddy's workers do it for her! She wants an Oompa Loompa! She wants golden eggs, presents with ribbons give it to her now!
Normally Loretta and Veruca work together; this Southern lady and a little British girl. Then there are times they go into overdrive.
When I won the contests, I decided to be like Loretta Lynn. I made up a press release and sent it to my local newspaper, the San Francisco Chronicle, the local TV stations, two NPR stations, and my local hippie/socialist/Green radio station. I contacted my college and the college newspaper. Now it wasn't all about me; I mentioned Ericka Lutz, Jessica Inclan, and Susan Browne for the local angle. I was sharing the wealth, like Loretta singing Patsy Cline's songs.
Life of course happened; suddenly the contest felt very small. However, I sent more press releases, and I waited. I was interviewed by Mills' newspaper, but nothing else. I kept on checking the answering machine, my e-mail. This is when Veruca came in. She started to pace around, wondering why wasn't anyone interested in this story? Okay, John Edwards cheated on his wife and there was war between Russia and Georgia, but THIS WAS IMPORTANT! This was good news! Local ladies worked hard and made good! Why didn't they understand this?
The final straw came on Tuesday. An appointment I made with a counselor to discuss getting a Masters in Education was canceled because the appointment wasn't written down and my counselor completely forgot about the appointment. It was hot and I was wearing a long-sleeved shirt. Mills' e-newsletter came out and I wasn't in it when they said I would be. I felt crushed, disappointed, and depressed. Nothing was turning out. I let everyone down. I let Susan, Jessica and Ericka down by not writing a better press release. I let Huntington, Thomas and Ivory down as well for not stressing RedRoom enough. I'll never get a book published. I'll always be broke, and I'll never own a house.
My bad mood continued until the next day. I picked a fight with my mother after we couldn't get the camera to work and I stormed out of the house. I sat on BART frowning, probably scaring young children. Veruca was in charge, full speed ahead.
I went in my local Peet's and ordered an iced tea. I threw in a dime for a tip, Veruca wasn't totally taking over. I heard two people talking about Stephanie Tubbs-Jones, a congresswoman from Ohio, died of an aneurysm while driving. After I got my drink, I looked at a newspaper to see that Christina Applegate had both breasts removed after checking positive for cancer. Christina Applegate is my age, thirty-six. However, she was acting more our age than I was.
I caught my reflection in the window. Suddenly I saw a tired, but pretty woman. A woman who did the best she could and she had been through an awful lot. A healthy woman who was alive.
I wanted to cry but I couldn't, I had to go to work. After work the camera worked, everything was good again. Before I went to sleep, I had a talk with Loretta and Veruca. I told them I was grateful to them and they are good ladies, and I might need them again someday. However, I was really tired and I just needed to not think for a while. They understood. Well, Loretta understood. Veruca pouted and stormed off.
It doesn't mean I'm giving up on them. They'll be there when I need them. I just don't need them right now.
Causes Jennifer Gibbons Supports
Gilda's Club, Greenpeace, Rosie's Broadway Kids,Westwind Foster Family Agency, Amber Brown Fund, Linda Duncan Fund for Contra Costa Libraries