I Am Cherry Alive!

My love for literature goes way, way back. I remember my parents reading to me as a young child, and I was truly mesmerized.  I listened to their breath change as they spoke the words on the pages.  I knew then that The Written Word and I would always be pals.

When I was a sophomore in high school, my English teacher left in the middle of the school year to take a job with a non-profit educational foundation.  His last day in the classroom was emotional, but it was particularly memorable for me because I saw a grown man cry freely over something that wasn’t sad.

You see, my friend Joelle’s tribute to him was reading this poem aloud, and it was the first time I was truly breathless over the power of literature. It winded me, just as sure as I had been sacked by a linebacker.  I saw Mr. C’s feelings crescendo as she spoke, and as his tears fell when she stopped speaking, all he said was, “thank you.”

Yet it’s surprising now, even after all these years, and as many times as I have read this poem, that it can still catch my breath. But then again, not such a surprise at all. And that’s the whole point.

————

‘I am cherry alive,” the little girl sang,
“Each morning I am something new:
I am apple, I am plum, I am just as excited
As the boys who made the Hallowe’en bang:
I am tree, I am cat, I am blossom too:
When I like, if I like, I can be someone new,
Someone very old, a witch in a zoo:
I can be someone else whenever I think who,
And I want to be everything sometimes too,
And I put it in along with everything
To make the grown-ups laugh whenever I sing:
And I sing : It is true; It is untrue;
I know, I know, the true is untrue,
The peach has a pit,
The pit has a peach:
And both may be wrong
When I sing my song,
But I don’t tell the grown-ups, because it is sad,
And I want them to laugh just like I do
Because they grew up
And forgot what they knew
And they are sure
I will forget it some day too.
They are wrong. They are wrong.
When I sang my song, I knew, I knew!
I am red, I am gold,
I am green, I am blue,
I will always be me,
I will always be new!”

“I am Cherry Alive,” by Delmore Schwartz

This is Not Even Remotely My Most Embarassing Moment

My Grandmother Juanita was born on July 23, 1923 and lives a happy little life in a happy little town in the Ozark mountains of Arkansas.  This is what she looks at from her front and back porch every day.

Pictures of Mountain View

Mountain View, Arkansas

Her life has not always been a cakewalk, but that doesn’t keep her from being awesome.  She lost both her parents at a young age, was taken on to raise by her aunt, worked hard on a chicken farm all her life, and then lost her husband at the young age of fifty-six. Oh, and then there was that time when visited me for my high school graduation, only to have lightning strike her house and burn it to the ground.

But, she’s not the kind of woman to let any of that curtail her Jesus-loving swag, and if you ask her, she’ll fess up that she’s got a great life. Undeniably, she’s been a bright shining light for everyone she meets, and I’ve never been around her when she didn’t remind me that I’m her “pride and joy”. She plays 42 (the domino version of spades) with the precise cunning and attitude of a straight up gangsta.  I learned most of my moves from her, the rest from the fellas in the blue subschool at South Lakes HS.

I tell you all this to let you know that when we celebrate this woman, we celebrate the ever-loving SHIT OUT OF HER, because she deserves it.  A few weeks ago, we threw her a big-ass 90th birthday party in Fellowship Hall with 15 cakes and an ass-load of cousins.

In 2003, we threw her an equally extravagant party for her 80th birthday, except that only two of the eighteen baby cousins had even been born yet, and I can’t remember how many cakes there were.

At the time, I was a fun-loving, single gal in Washington DC working for a restaurant/bar and living the dream!  “The dream” being that I was finally making enough money to afford my first Coach purse. At age 27, I was already awesome, but could also be a medium bit superficial.  My social life centered around the restaurants and bars I marketed; I had a solid foundation of real friends, plus enough bar friends to keep my life totally interesting and a laugh a minute.

Perhaps, I deserved to be taken down a notch.

After the weekend of non-stop-80th-birthday-partying, it was time to return to my glamorous life in DC. My parents dropped me off at the airport with my cousin Denny and his daughters.  I checked my bag, and went to the airport bar to have a drink with them and wait for my flight to be called.

After about 30 minutes and one super oaky glass of chardonnay later, I bid my cousins adieu and walked toward the security line.  Since the Little Rock airport is relatively small, there happened to be no one waiting in line.  There, were, however, about 20 feet of zig-zagged stanchions.

I walked around the side of the maze of stanchions to the front of the line, nodded at the TSA agent who winked me permission, and squatted under the first stanchion, in a most Bel Biv Devoe fashion. (You’re looking for the 4:04 mark here.)

When I stood upright, things felt…a little…weird.  But if there’s one thing I’m really fucking good at, it’s denial. So, I stood up super straight and clenched my buttcheeks together so tightly they could turn coal into diamonds. I prayed to Juanita’s Sweet Jesus that he would keep the two sides of my pants together and forged ahead.

(Somewhere there is a TSA agent with a hilarious blog on which I’m featured prominently.)

So much clenching happened during the moments immediately after the dip, and then subsequently as I made my way through the metal detector, removing my BUCKLED SANDALS and then putting them back on, that I blacked out a bit.  It wasn’t until I got to the bathroom to assess the damage did I realize that I had checked my luggage and had no alternate pants into which to change.

So, I did was anyone would do:  I went to the gift shop and bought the largest sized t-shirt I could find to wear as a kicky mini-dress for the rest of the trip.  It was an XXXL and blissfully came to my knees.  I did NOT, however, buy a sewing kit, which would have been an easy fix to my dilemma.  Just goes to show you how debilitating the clenching was to my thought process.

The rest of the trip was uneventful, except for the periodic lactic acid tremors in my ass-cheeks, and I got home safely with relatively no fuss.

So.  When I start to feel a little highfalutin, I remember that one time when I had to clench to save my dignity.

Who? Me?

HI!

Oh hello.  I’m Amy.  Most people call me Bridges, which makes internet anonymity hard to achieve.  I’m a 39 year old artist, writer, environmentalist and comedian, although not professionally.

Here are a bunch of stupid facts of that are mostly superficial in nature.

My favorite colors are orange, lime green and hot pink, much like a sixth grader.  I’m bad at fashion and hate how clothes fit my body, so I would love to live in a barefoot, bra-less world of loose-fitting t-shirts and yoga pants.

I have long eyelashes, so naturally mascara is my #1 favorite thing on the planet.  This whole blog could be about mascara but according to user testing, it’s “not important” and “irrelevant” and “totally dumb.”

I love live music of all kinds.  I especially love if that live music has amazing harmony. I hate denial. I love reading. I love my cat, Otis Redding. I love debating, but I despise arguing.  I irrationally hate bell peppers.  I have an English degree and a great vocabulary but my favorite word is the F one. Making someone laugh is my daily goal.

I have a collection of crosses on the wall by the door in my apartment, a Buddha in my living room and another one in the bathroom. Mostly I believe that the universe’s* love, protection and grace is all that really matters.  I believe in giving someone a helping hand, personal responsibility and equality for all people.

Lastly, a note on Awesomeness:  When I pay attention to what I hear on television, and read on Facebook and Twitter, I hear non-stop messages about how I’m not accomplished enough, not married enough, not thin/smart/rich enough, how I don’t move my bowels or engage my core enough, etc.  (You get the picture.) After years of reflection, introspection, and self-awareness, finally, I have learned to say to myself, ENOUGH.  I’ve heard enough already. I am enough. I’ve started own mental b-roll and voice-over, chock full of how awesome I am.  Get ready to listen.

And when my awesomeness occasionally crosses the line to highfalutin, I remember the time I split my pants in the airport, and I regain perspective.

I really hope you enjoy your time here.

-Bridges

*God, Allah, Universe, Mother Oprah