NPT "A Word on Words" Interview with Rosemary – Listen Now
You have reached the website for Rosemary Hamilton. Author of "Only When I’m High," The Runways of a Southern Belle.
As she exposes a life defined by labels, titles, and the expectations of others, pieces of all our lives emerge: the families that influence us, roles that define us, divorces that haunt us, and our spirits that save us.
A sufferer of ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder), her inability to focus takes her on an extended vacation in the mid-seventies when she accepts an invitation without really reading it:
"A normal person would’ve known that those private rooms in the brochure were padded, and the mint juleps at five—-poured from pill bottles. It was an honest-to-goodness, looney bin."
While on this, the longest, darkest runway of all, a "Yankee" therapist strips her of all titles and labels, only to give her a new one—SBD (Southern Belle Disorder). When she learns that her pedestal has stood on rocks of stigma, she takes off her tiara and chisels away! As a flight attendant she chips off a pretty big chunk; as a comedian she chips off more; she moves to Harlem and chips off the rest. There, a crash course on the long-term effects of hypocrisy and discrimination forces her to examine the stuff she has carried since childhood.
"Beneath a New York blizzard I found my apartment. But when the snow melted, I looked around and the only white thing left was me. That’s when I added yet another label to the ones I already carried. It was ‘White Girl,’ and there was not another one in sight…."
Be warned. Inside, there are emergency landings that will knock the tiara right off your head!