For as long as I can remember, I haven’t ever felt as though I completely “fit in” any where. When I was young, I was taller than most every one in my school class. (Not a wanted trait by many girls). My personality often seemed at odds with the life I was born into. I’ve never fit into a big group of people, but more found my comfort in a couple best friends.
Some of this not belonging was nature, but much of it I conditioned as well. I have never wanted to follow fashion trends. To this day, if there is an item every one wants, I’m instantly turned off of it. My husband still tells people “if you tell her she can’t do something, she’s going to find a way to do it”. I’m not sure if I’m proving something to myself or to others…but I’ve always done best when I’m at odds with the norms.
With that being said, one thing that has surprised me as I’ve gotten older, is the comfort I get in knowing where I’m from. I like figuring out the culture that has been passed down through generations of family; regardless of my need to resist.
My momma’s side of the family is from the South. They are all overly affectionate. (Which has always been a part of life I’ve had to tolerate). We call my grandma, Mamaw. We prefer Cream Of Wheat for breakfast (similar to the texture of grits), like pimento cheese, and love a good story to gossip about with the family. We are often too loud and un-couth when reciting said gossip. There has also been a lack in stable men; which has led to a group of outspoken, eccentric women. (Sorry to my few guy cousins). It also never ceases to amaze me, when family still currently located in the South is around the relocated Kansans, all the Southern twang re-emerges.
Then there’s my dad’s side. This side is where my lack of affection is a welcome greeting. I do not love being touched or hugged all over and I, without a doubt got this trait from the paternal side. My dad was coaching sports for most of my childhood, so much so, that I was convinced when I was a child that I would be better received as a boy. (Don’t fret-it wasn’t true). This side of my family are from the Ozarks in Missouri. I recall going to family reunions in Missouri while growing up. I remember hearing tales of the Missouri hillbillies. This side of the family has men all over 6’, and here I didn’t feel so physically different.
When I look in the mirror, I see my dad’s face. (A bit on the cuter side-I am a girl after all). But when I look at my movie collection or taste in decor, I see my momma. This used to bother me (need to be different, remember)? But it’s in this tension of similarity/difference that I have found myself. It’s important to remember (and even be proud) of where you came from, but it’s even more important to know where you’re going (the stuff you hold on your own).