I have been a lot of things in my life, but being Sadie full time hasn’t really ever been one of them. I have seen glimpses of her from time to time but totally lived in her space–never. After my marriage ended and I found myself on my own with two teenagers to raise and I wasn’t quite sure which end was up. I had no idea who I was, where I was going, or how to even get to the core of either one of those major life issues. And then…
Growing up in school, you called your classmates by random nicknames. Some are peer-inflicted while others are old family names (i.e. Peanut, Pookie, Girly, Lil Mike Mike and so on). Usually, on the first day of school, the teacher would ask if you wanted to be called [insert your government name here] or [insert nickname here]. Some kids had shorter versions of their names they preferred like Will or Maddie, but there were those lucky ones who chose to display their nickname like a shiny new toy. I hated not having a nickname. I wanted to be one of the lucky ones. It never occurred to me until searching for myself, that I wasn’t just one of the lucky ones–I was pretty damned special.
My father called me one thing (which technically is still my nickname–grown up with children and all) and that felt like a nickname but it wasn’t something I wanted to put on display. Not that there is anything wrong with it, but years later when the movie “Babe” came out about a fat cheery pig I thought it best to save myself the onslaught of inevitable jokes. Besides, your English teacher calling you “Babe” would sound way more odd than Lil Mike Mike or Pookie. So, I kept it to myself. My mother called me something entirely different from my dad and it always seemed like just another part of me–sort of like a leg or an arm. It’s there, you know it, see it, use it and move on with your day. It wasn’t until I had been faced with an enormous question (who am I…really) that I found the gift in something as simple as a nickname.
When searching for yourself, especially after a marriage has dissolved, it feels somewhat like groping around in the dark. You know there is a light switch somewhere, but you just can’t seem to find it. You are there somewhere, but it just seems too dark to tell your hand from your face–your role(s) from your core self. I thought about the people who loved me, I mean really loved me without abandon, and being a mother, I understood the value and the depth of a mother’s love. When I reflected on how my mother loved me, I found the light switch.
My mother heard a song that help her to articulate her depth of love for me in just two simple words day in and day out. Sweet Sadie, performed by the Spinners, was the essence of love without abandon–only it was a declaration of love from a son to his mother. When my mother heard the song for the first time, she felt the love in the music, beyond the words and immediately connected her love for me. From that moment on I have been Sadie May (uh, don’t ask where the May comes from–I’m not quite sure she knows either).
When I asked the question ‘who am I really’, the only thing that popped up and carried peace and light was ‘Sadie May’. My mother (much like most moms) sees a goodness, an honorable quality, a worthiness no one (other than God) can appreciate and she loves it all, good and bad (I am a Gemini afterall), deeply–beyond measure. The more I reflected on her love for me, the more I realized I am good. I am light. I am worthy. The nickname I had become numb to hearing, the nickname I had never really bothered to share because it didn’t seem anything other than just another name, the nickname that was an open, simple expression of love suddenly seemed to mean more than life itself. It is the space in which I am creating my new life. It is the space in which I am comfortable in my value. I am happily, excitedly, lovingly creating living, breathing space in being Sadie May.