An excerpt from Amy’s book Wicked Bitch.
Throughout the bittersweet years, I have been through seven Harleys, a few men, a billion camels, a million miles, a river of tears, a good bit of whiskey, and a lifetime of highways. I have painted hundreds, probably thousands, of cars and trucks. Four and a half of the most recent years I spent weeping pathetic tears, for my body finally rebelled against all that paint I breathed, and I became stricken with all manner of autoimmune disorders, such as lupus. Through lots of Steroids and even chemotherapy-type drugs, I haunted the years that I wasn’t able to ride, mournfully admiring the fact that I made it to Sturgis and back to Arkansas, most likely with the onsets of life-threatening lupus torturing my body for over four thousand miles.
These words are typed by bony, scarred hands that once swung a paint gun in the rhythm of an artist and outworked any man, yet shake with fragility and curl with the throbbing pain of arthritis. The lean, mean body of a woman who could conquer any highway with steel-assed hours on a Harley, would fight any grown man, or fix any broken car is now a ghost of my fondest memories. I now live in a crippled wispy body that is actually killing itself from the inside with autoimmune diseases. Now my every waking moment echoes the whispers like butterfly wings of my life slowly slipping away.
Never again will I indulge in a chili cheeseburger-eating contest with my biker family or go back for a second plate of turnip greens and fried potatoes. These days, I consider myself lucky if I eat an apple and my daily handful of pills and don’t end up worshiping the porcelain god. Most mornings, I awaken with a strangling gasp on my lips at the blinding pain squeezing me like a vice. I take tiny little yellow pills of chemotherapy that make me wish I could die to feel better, just to stay alive.
I live in the quiet silent hours of darkness, prowling the realms of my mind through sleepless nights searching for somewhere to escape the pain. The long legs that once two stepped all night in 6 inch heels now often strain and quiver with the effort it takes to carry me to the bathroom. Never again will I pack up and head for Sturgis with just a dream, a prayer, and my Harley. My face now bears witness to the fluttering demon that has invaded my body, the beauty I once took for granted now hidden beneath red blotches of lupus flare ups, hollow sunken eyes and scars from breakouts caused by any exposure to the sun. I do not write this in search of pity. I do not want anyone to feel sorry for me.
There is a certain serenity in knowing how you will die. It makes you treasure each day, and realize truly what people and life really mean to you. Don’t cry when I am gone … rejoice because I was here.
I have lived a thousand lifetimes in thirty four years. I have loved and lost, cried and died, and loved again. I have learned that no matter how bad it hurts, you can keep on going on. I now know it solves nothing to despair over things you cannot cure. I no longer rail at fate for allowing me to be struck down so soon … instead, I treasure the memories of the heights I soared to before I crashed. I have driven eighty miles an hour down a gravel road. I have met legends. I have laughed until my stomach hurt, and I have cried real tears.
I never would have believed I would live to see a black man elected president. Never could I have imagined Brett Favre being anything but a Packer. I thought Chargers and Challengers were muscled myths of my childhood. I never imagined you could feel so very old when you are still so young. Never could I have thought living could be so hard, or take so much effort. But what do I know? Some days I’m not even sure I’ll see tomorrow.
For nearly a decade my life has consisted of rumbling chrome dragons that breath hot exhaust that is a sweeter scent than any flower, for it also carries the scent of freedom, wind, laughter, tears, and memories. Probably thousands of these amazing memories flood my brain as I try to choose the parts that best portray my life, and who I am. I guess the best way to describe it is recently I had a conversation with my husband, when he was first contemplating learning to ride with me … He said, “I guess you will always be a biker’s girl.”
I answered, “No, honey, I will always be a biker.”