My heart defines quite clear reality,
My flesh confined to ground by mortal means.
But through thine eyes a radiant world I see,
A courage, truth, forsaken e’er to glean.
Farewell, said thee, my heart will never leave,
But towards my fear, I found my reverie,
For path of fate is none but ours to cleave,
My future mine, forsake heart’s treachery.
Thy value known for only thee to see,
My lesson learned in thine reality.
This sonnet came about after many hours of trying to voice just what Agent Carter, the series, meant to me. Sure, it’s fun. A fanciful hour with swing music, excellent taste in hairstyles, and witty banter between television's most blissfully platonic couple. But, Agent Carter presented me with an anomaly amongst my many, fictional favorites: In Peggy, I found the first character that truly and consciously inspired me.
I had graduated with a Bachelor’s degree a year before Agent Carter began to air. While in college, I was pursuing a career which I realized (too late in the game) I was not destined for. It took every ounce of my courage to simply tell myself that I would not apply for – or attend – veterinary school. Could I have gotten in? I’d like to think so. But, truthfully, my heart wasn’t in it. I had the knowledge, but not the drive. I was too impatient, wanting desperately to find a way to use talents I was rediscovering my passion for and try new things in the process.
But, let me tell you – trying to convince yourself to pursue a complete 180 after years (and an exorbitant amount of Franklin’s) reaching towards it was one of the most torturous things I’ve ever endured. I compartmentalize very well, something that lends itself well to the veterinary industry, where unbiased, but empathetic, care is a must. I consider it a great strength...but possibly my greatest weakness. And so, I used that ability to hide away that now-forlorn future and grabbed onto the one thing I found constant – my location.
Truth be told, I was happy on the Central Coast. There, I had discovered friendships that will last me beyond lifetimes. There, I had peace and silence, independence and growth. There, I had experienced my entire adult life. There, I had found myself. (Shut up, it’s true.) And there, I fell into a blissful monotony.
And then, Agent Carter came along. A girl in a man’s world, showing the who’s who and not taking anything from anyone. I fell in love with the characters, the setting, the kick-assness of our kick-ass Peggy. I exalted Peggy’s confidence, proud that there was a figure for young girls and women of all ages to look up to.
But, I didn’t think I needed Peggy. I didn’t think I needed her lessons in assurance that I championed every which way on podcasts and the Internet. I was a confident, young woman who had friends, a job (or 3), an adorable kitten, and a super cool hobby that involved interviewing famous people. I mean, what’s not to be confident about? No one ever told me that, because I was a girl, I couldn’t go to college or graduate or be on a red carpet. No one told me that I wouldn’t go anywhere because of who I was. No one ever told me I couldn’t be everything I wanted to be.
It wasn’t until after the finale of Agent Carter that it hit me that the person telling me that I had limits – the person defining me – the person preventing me from being everything I wanted to be was me.
This realization come from weeks of muddling through my mind, trying to figure out just what I was trying to figure out. And then, it finally clicked.
In my mind, I’d already failed. I’d already resigned myself - compartmentalized my consciousness – to accept that the goals of 17-year-old Amy had been obliterated and dusted to ash. I had no back-up plan. I had no second choice. That monotony I’d yielded to had become a crutch I didn’t even know I was walking on. My failure to define my future had become such an integral part of my life that I did what I do best – I buried it, and with it, my core self-being. All my talents, all my passions, and all my dreams disintegrated behind a microphone, 50-hour work weeks, and excuses to sleep in. I had abandoned my hopes and dreams; I had betrayed my own future.
And then, there was Peggy and the line that, for different reasons than most, inspired me in a way I didn’t even know I needed.
“I know my value. Anybody else’s opinion doesn’t really matter.”
It was one those moments where you sit there thinking, ‘Damn, good line,’ and you jot it down and make a note to talk about it.
But, over the course of the next few weeks, I began to define what that line really meant to me.
It wasn’t about me proving my value to the world.
It wasn’t about proving to professors, to my family, or to my friends that I could achieve greatness.
This was about me, finding and cherishing my own value. It was about forsaking the betrayal I felt I’d committed to myself, and my future. It was about finding the courage to explore new dreams, using the talents I possessed and the passions I’d cultivated and cared for so tenderly in my early adult years. It was about taking that education I thought I’d deserted, that money I thought I’d just thrown down the drain, and rewriting it a beautiful, new melody, combining forgotten lyrics from times long past.
So, I quit three jobs, packed up my cat, left my home of 6 years, moved back in with my mom, and took a job that was, by definition, part-time and temporary.
But, here’s the thing – for the first time, I wanted to get up and go to work. I wanted to be asked to stay late. I wanted to be scheduled for 50 hours a week. For the first time – my value was known to everyone, including my biggest opponent, myself. I’d found the perfect harmony of my dreams and my talents in this brilliant symphony that continues to compose itself to this day. I found a way to say farewell to one dream but keep its core center.
Only nine months after the move, and nearly a year after Season 1 ended, I cannot describe how beautiful that symphony has become, with its varied themes and brilliant melodies. That future I felt I’d betrayed has redefined itself, for that temporary, risky, terrifying, part-time job transformed into – by every account and definition including my own – my dream career.
Now, to chalk this all up to Peggy would be irresponsible. Without the constant, unwavering support of my mother, I not could have traveled down this road. Without the encouragement of my friends, I don’t know if I would have had the strength. Without God and my dad pulling their magic strings in Heaven, I don’t expect things would look the way they are today.
But, Peggy was the spark.
I know it’s just a show.
I know she’s just a fictional character.
I know that, inside, I’ve always had the courage, but every reality needs a little bit of fiction.
Every symphony needs a downbeat.
Every story begins with a line.