I don’t recall how I discovered Just Ain’t Right, Mary’s blog, but when I did, I fell hard for this dame’s writing. Her unapologetic approach, snarky wit and elegant turn of phrase were a wakeup call that quickly morphed into an addiction.
Recently, I got to know a bit about Mary via Facebook and email. Her passion for life, her work and living her life on her terms, combined with a breezy self-assuredness are qualities I can’t help but admire and respect.
It is a privilege to present Dame Mary Vogt, a broad I hope to have coffee with one of these days.
Thank you, Mary, for sharing you with us.
Tell me about you: Your name, pseudonym, where you’re from and what your read is about?
Name: Mary Vogt
Psuedonym: Helen Wheels
I am originally from Kankakee, Illinois, and arrived in Los Angeles 12 years ago after living in Austin, Tx and Chicago, IL.
My blog started out as just an experiment in putting my thoughts out there. When I tell you that I never even hoped to have a reader, I am not kidding. I just wanted a place to rant. People found me, and I was completely amazed they actually read what I had to say. Because of the times (2005), and the fact I was becoming an increasingly bigger news junkie, my blog quickly turned mostly political. I felt then and now that my blog’s purpose is to disseminate information, to try to get the word out there. I truly believe that it was bloggers like me – thousands of us – that helped change the course of politics in the past few years.
What does being a woman mean to you?
A hell of a lot. I appreciate it every day. There are many ways in which our present society limits women; these present me with opportunities. I decided on an “alternative lifestyle” years ago (maybe as early as high school?). I have never been interested in getting married and raising a family. So, I didn’t. I found out along the way that society doesn’t view this as I do, but I’ve learned to just ignore the looks of pity I get when I say I’m single (at 45). It doesn’t seem to occur to people that I choose to be. Most folks consider an “alternative lifestyle” to mean you are gay. Not so. It’s also “alternative” to be independent (and my gay sister and I came to this conclusion together). Nevertheless, what being a woman means to me is demonstrating that women are a power to be reckoned with.
Have you, are you, or will you reinvent yourself and, of course, what does reinventing yourself mean to you?
I think I reinvented myself when I left the corporate world in 2000 to freelance as a multimedia artist. I had been a Software Configurations Specialist at a major Los Angeles firm and I jumped ship. What ensued was an 8-year struggle to stay afloat as a web designer and flash animator. Now I work at home but full-time for a nonprofit as their web designer/ webmaster, and that has eased the financial worries somewhat, but left me able to still be creative. And, the best part is that I’m working for a cause I believe in. I’ve always been an animal nut, and have done a lot of dog rescuing. When I left the corporate world, I naturally just got back to myself. I adopted a dog, then another, fostered quite a few and got them adopted. And so I feel like gradually, I’ve reinvented myself. I went from an unhappy corporate employee to a very happy animal rights activist and artist. Not bad, eh? It’s never easy but choosing the hard road was a decision I made and have stuck to.
Reinventing myself was in essence returning to the part of me that I abandoned when the hormones kicked in in high school. Before that, all I cared about was animals. I’ve come full circle.