I remember sitting cross-legged on my grandparent’s olive-green shag carpet watching The Gong Show on the black and white. I loved watching the performances. I loved the crazy, over- the-top funny judges bantering back and forth while one of them tries to hold the other back from ‘gong-ing’ some terrible fool. In the end, one of the judges somehow manages to successfully sound the metallic ring of failure.
Not much has changed in the last forty years: faux wood flooring replaced green shag and only one grandparent from that couple is left, and I’m still waiting for that gong. I spent too many of those pre-forty years worrying about permission, doing the ‘right’ thing, being a good girl(whatever that is). But when I hit forty, I decided I needed to worry less about who was judging me and more about if I was doing what I wanted, acting in ways that made me happy, and if I was pushing life a little over the edge, just far enough to risk a Gong.
Like the contestants on that silly 70s show I’ve finally decided to put it all out there and let everyone else just deal with it.
The first half of my life was unpredictable – crazy adventures punctuated by stupid choices. Some paid off and some left me broken, literally and figuratively, but all those choices paved the winding road to the back-half. Like Miss Edee, my partner in post-forty crime, I am a writer and I am not a biological reproducer. I love being with the animals in my family – dogs, chickens and even the cat (only on Halloween. he’s black and when he sits on the mantel i think he’s the coolest ever, but otherwise he’s just a cat, a very self-righteous cat). I’m lucky and amazed to wake up everyday and still feel in-love with my partner of twelve years (my other attempts didn’t end so well).
Oh, yeah, and my two non-biological children, they hang at the center of my universe.
That said, I have PMS five days out of the month, not always consecutive; I cuss like an educated sailor (not in front of the kids); and I refuse to give up wine and chocolate to lose the post-forty pounds(there must be another way). i’m also oddly irritated by capital letters and feel naughty when i don’t use them, and i like feeling naughty.
Imperfection drives me in this back-half crazy life. The more I let myself go and forget about the Gong the crazier and better my life is.
So here’s to all the carpet rakes, t.v. trays and televisions that required pliers to change channels. Here’s to all the women who’ve landed in the post-forty years and started to wonder ‘is that all there is?, who am I? and is it too late?’
And to those women I say ‘Fuck the judges. Hop on and let’s see where this goes!’
Risk the Gong.