That Stubborn Southern Pride
Oh, southwest Virginia! We’ve got fishing, wide open (extremely hilly) spaces, nature, and more homophobes than you can shake a stick at. We’re also one of the most God-drenched areas out there - part of the infamous Bible Belt, we advertise Christian youth groups and Bible studies on our morning announcements (I went to one of those once, but that’s for another post) in public schools.
And yet, at the same time, I can’t help myself; when I walk into a room I say “Hey, y’all!” in a drawl and I’d never say “be back soon”, it’s always “be back directly.” I come home every day with grass cuts up and down my legs, I could go on and on and on (have I already?).
Do these things make me special? No, not really. In fact, I’m probably one of the most northern southerners ever. And yet (there’s that ‘and yet’ again), whenever I visit New York or Massachusetts I find myself defending my home to the death. I’ve had some pretty intense fights, actually, over my hometown; and when I go to camp in northern Pennsylvania (French Woods), I always lay the southern twinge on a little thicker than is probably necessary.
Is southwest Virginia boring? Yes. Am I moving to the north or to Europe as soon as I graduate? Yes. Quite frankly, do I hate this place? Yes. I don’t really belong here, they don’t especially want me, either, truth be told.
In fact, this place makes me feel practically nauseous. It's hard to have real conversations with most people, no one wants to hear what a Jew-turned-atheist has to say, especially not one who hangs out with the gays (I brought my gay best guy friend to a soccer game once and was practically shunned by a group of people, one of which wrote him a letter telling him why homosexuality is the devil). So why do I pretend to be proud of it when I talk to other people? It’s most likely because I don’t want to seem worse-off than anyone else. Wherever I am is automatically awesome, or at least that’s how I would portray it. I could be in the middle of Siberia and I’d still puff my chest out for my town (or village, or shack, I have no idea what Siberians live in).
Is this childish? Or does everyone do it, to some extent?