Wednesday, May 30, 2012

What a Lady

A year ago I had just returned from a trip to Arkansas, where I was so fortunate to be able to spend some time with my great grandmother, my Mamaw B. My dad had forewarned me that she may not recognize me, but when I got to 36th Street, it was as if nothing was wrong at all -- family in and out of the kitchen, on and off the porch, and back and forth between boisterous and thoughtful. At one point Mamaw got tired and said she was ready for a nap but told us to not let her departure keep us from visiting. I helped walk her into the bedroom where she took my face in her hands and said, "I pray for you and your happiness every day. I just want you to know that." These are words that I have cherished for the past year more than you can fathom.

(Remember when I was blonde??)

There was a moment at her funeral that hit me hard. She never really traveled, she was never loaded with money, she was never defined by her career, she only loved one man, but her legacy was extraordinary. The overflowing room where her life was celebrated, filled with flowers and laughter and friends, was beautiful. And I wondered, will I have that? Am I on a track to touch that many lives for the good? Is my playful life really making a difference? Or am I just flitting about from moment to moment as life hits me? And I realized that’s what she meant… “I pray for your happiness every day.” An unsettled life can be loads of fun, but it’s not truly and deeply happy.

Her presence in my life, even from 1200 miles away, through the hustle and bustle of NYC is profoundly missed. It's funny. After I returned from her funeral (which was a trip I debated whether to make and am so glad I did... those few days were some of my best memories), I kept thinking about just how lucky I am to have had such a force to follow. I'll never be a mother to 4, grandmother to 16, great grandmother to 32, or great-great grandmother to 26. I’ll never be a pillar in a small community. I'll never be able to say I lived in the same house for 73 years. I'll never sit on my porch swing while telling my granddaughter from NYC that I've figured out the drug-dealers’ signs across the street (plant on the porch = open for business; no plant = keep driving). I can, however, show care for my family and friends the way she did. I can strive to make the world a better place and hope to succeed if only a fraction of the way she did. I can stand up for what I believe in while never making people with differing opinions feel bad or stupid or less. I can sing at a moment's notice just because the mood strikes me. I can make peanut butter cookies. I can wear fun hats and endless smiles. I can love.

One year ago the world lost the best person I ever knew, but we’re somehow still celebrating her life. I went on Facebook this morning, and was taken aback at just how many people had written about their love for this woman, funny stories about her, and just how much they miss having her in their lives day-to-day. What a life! What a lady…

(One of my favorite places with one of my favorite people)

**Click here for a copy of her obituary.  And here for my thoughts last year.**

Friday, May 4, 2012

Welcomed Predicament

I’ve been in a predicament. Granted it’s a predicament that I am not remotely complaining about. The past few months my calendar has been full of guests, opening nights, and RuPaul’s Drag Race (yay, Sharon!!), but a decent chunk of my down time has been occupied by a new and unexpected adventure as well. This blog is entitled “EnJOYing Life, Love, and Adventures in NYC,” but I’ve been in a quandary about sharing any of those three for fear of jinxing things, for fear of over-thinking things, for fear of pushing this adventure to its limit, for fear of "Being Alive."

I mentioned him here. He’s a version of George Bailey meets Roger Sterling (and I do so need a Roger in my efforts to morph into Joan Holloway). He cheered me on at a race in the snow.  He created a dessert based on my favorite foods with no recipe. He had food delivered the day after I had to make a trip to the ER for over-swollen tonsils (I know, I know, I need to have those removed). He takes me to the opera. He buys me macarons and braves Times Square to bring me coffee. He lassoed the moon. He makes me laugh.

So I’m ending this predicament today. I’m choosing to share this unplanned, exciting, and whole new portion of my adventures with you, gentle readers.

Like… next week. We’re going to this little piece of paradise, and I can’t wait to tell you all about it:

Welcome to the next chapter…

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Cracking Wrists

There’s a preacher in North Carolina who gave a sermon this past Sunday admonishing his congregation to crack the wrists of their male toddlers who might show signs of too much femininity. He gives them a special dispensation to punch the boys in order to man them up. He also allows for girls to play sports as long as they are pretty some of time too.

Those who know me well know I’m no fighter. In fact I lean toward pacifism more often than not. I will make an exception in the case of Mr. Sean Harris. My prayer for him is that this fear provoking his hatred and violence be personified and paid back to him ten-fold.  I'll provide a special dispensation... because apparently we can just do that.

The rage that is surging within me is fueled by a mixture of fury that in 2012 we still deal with this, disgust that the congregation heard in the above clip finds it both funny and agreeable, and mostly intense sadness. I’m terribly sad that close personal friends of mine had to hear this kind of tripe growing up. I’m heavy-hearted knowing that this clip might send them back into painful memories of families who don’t accept the way God or the Universe or whatever you believe in made them. I’m tearful at the plausibility that these people who have changed my life for the better just by being amazing don’t get to share that with their families fully, if at all.

And with that, I share this. I’m putting my southern, lady-like sensibilities to the side for 3 minutes, 36 seconds. To Sean Harris and all the other hateful, sad, disillusioned, so-called Christians, this is for you.  Sometimes a girl just has to let the bluntness of music speak for her.