I grew up in a brick ranch house in Mint Hill, a tiny suburb of Charlotte that had one traffic light. Behind my house were woods and a creek where my friends and I loved to explore and play. Across the street, behind my friend’s houses, were verdant cow pastures. I had a wonderful childhood in this peaceful neighborhood. But what I loved most about my brick ranch home was that the front porch had double (french) doors complete with glass storm doors. These doors were the perfect backdrop for taking pictures.
Standing on the front sidewalk and facing the doors, it was like looking in a mirror. My dream was to be a cheerleader at my junior high school, and these mirror-esque glass doors meant that I could practice my jumps and see how high I was getting. Jumps were always hard for me. I’m petite but solid so when I jumped I did not fly like my skinny-legged friends. It took many hours of practice for me to finally nail the holy grail of cheerleading – a Russian- but I was persistent. I finally did it.
Strangely, what I remember most about all of those years of hard work on my jumps is not the euphoria of achieving my goal of doing a Russian, but the unkind words that were uttered when I was trying but failing. I can’t remember who said it, but I will never forget the words:
“Lisa, your butt is so big you can’t even get it off the ground.” (more…)