Once I started, and the years began to reveal themselves to me, I realized how much fun it was, to look back over my life and condense it to fit a timeline of events. Each bullet point could fill an entire chapter of a book, and each time period, a volume, and that is the gift I have been receiving since I wished for it years ago, to own my life.
We begin with the beginning, my formative years, as a little girl in the world, connected to the ground through roots that grew out of my velcro tennis shoes, sent shoots out from my fingertips, and bloomed at my lips.
- Birth, Hickory, NC to James Anthony Allen and Martha Lois Nevills. Cesarean section. Explains how ravishing I am.
- Moved to Memphis, TN in a really cool 70s car so that my dad could go to school for Theology. I ate ice cream for the first time, I hear.
- I make countless cassette tapes of myself hosting some sort of talk show. I never listened to the tapes because I always always always hated the sound of my own voice.
- I have vague memories of dirty knees, spider webs, Christmas lights, and kittens. Also countless hours digging holes in the back yard or on the playground and searching patches of clover for one with four leaves.
- I sprained my ankle on my tenth birthday when I jumped off this Hamburgler on a playground at McDonald’s that you climbed up into like a hamburger jail mouth thing. My parents regaled me with stories of the day I was born to help keep my mind off how bad my ankle hurt that night.
- Mom and Dad used to wake me on Saturday mornings by “sneaking” into my room on their hands and knees, but I always heard them coming because they couldn’t stop giggling.
- I kissed a boy for the first time in the back yard of a house in Memphis after we jumped on a trampoline and drank orange-tangerine Mystic Waters until we almost threw up. It felt rushed and close. I said, “Orange-Tangerine,” when it was over. That was pretty much it.
- I took piano lessons, sculpting classes, art classes, and drama classes because my parents were pretty intent on making me into a complete and interesting human being.
- I got my period!
- I played the flute, and I loved it. You might say, she was my first great love. In those moments I spent alone in a soundproof practice room, I learned how to be honest and open, how to think and how to feel, how to sit with myself. Then, I got scared that I would stop impressing people, and the more frightened I got, the less I wanted to play my flute, until I stopped altogether (but only after more than ten years).
- I discovered the Theater, my second love. I’m not 100% sure who, my mother or father, gave me my keen distaste for dishonesty, but the only real gift you need to be able to enjoy theatre is the ability to look life in the face and not back down from what you see. We back down from life in a lot of ways, take the easy way out, wonder what that ache is, even though we know. I felt like I could be myself in the theatre crowd. And then, for some reason, probably anxiety, I felt like an outsider, but that was much later.
- I graduated from High School.