It was ten summers ago when my father informed me that we were moving to Alabama. I thought I had misheard Louisiana, Canada – Narnia even. Anything but that place. My stomach fell into itself and I pressed my forehead into the passenger’s side window. The South has always been my home but growing up in North metro Atlanta allowed me to believe that I was thousands of miles from the podunk prison that was Alabama. I was sixteen and in the thick of anguish already but this was fresh hell. How could I tell anyone where I was going?
The Watsons Go to Birmingham was required summer reading for my 6th grade English class. I was moved by the book but felt relieved when the dissection and discussion was over. My summary of the novel was as follows: White people used fire hoses on us. Four little girls got blown up. Never, ever going there. But there I was just a few years later, signing sophomore yearbooks with promises to never lose touch and saying goodbye to my home. God has a highly sophisticated sense of humor that I could not appreciate at the time.
Fast forward several months; I’d confirmed that everyone here did indeed own shoes. I stayed stony for as long as possible but I simply could not keep my heart closed. Day by day, I gave into the warmth. Theatre was where I found my people. Liberal southern folk with a flair for the dramatique and full of love. Did I have the audacity to be happy in Alabama?
I did. I do. I’ll never be a fan of the racist bullshit coated with words like heritage and tradition or Highway 280 traffic but the love I feel here is always worth rooting for. Birmingham has given me precious friends, barbecue that I don’t deserve, and happiness I couldn’t have imagined in 2007. The whole mission of this blog is to illustrate my personal and artistic journeys and how Birmingham acts as the living backdrop for that. I cannot wait to show you all the nooks and crannies here that mean everything to me !
-The Iron Sister