I am a Bitter Southerner

Here’s the thing: I’m still trying to fall in love with the South.

A short time ago, I was dead set on joining the mass exodus of young people who are fleeing the South. My whole life, I operated under the assumption that the South was just a stop along the way. Most people who have grown up here and gotten their degrees take ‘em and run.

And honestly? I don’t blame them for leaving. The South is hard to love. It’s still harder to defend. There’s a tightrope strung between loving the South and acknowledging its many failures, both past and present. That double-edged sword of shame and pride is one that we’re keenly familiar with—you know the one. Teeter to one side, you must have a confederate battle flag or two lying around. Teeter to the other, you’re a de facto Yankee. Go on, git. You probably put sugar on your grits anyway.

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Friday Introductions

I don’t think I’ve ever done a proper “Friday Introductions” post, so, here we are. You’ve been forewarned: I don’t talk about myself very well. So this won’t be my best work but hey, it’s what the kids are doing these days.

-I’m 25 years old. Finally old enough to rent a car, y’all!

-I’m very proud of my laugh lines. I’ve never really understood the fear surrounding getting older and sprouting wrinkles. Every line I have is a marker of a life well-lived. They show up en masse when I laugh or smile. Why on earth would I want to hide that? (I have a few grey hairs that I adore as well.)

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Canyons

At night, I dream of the desert.

Most nights, my mind hits the dry, packed earth of southern Utah running. I first visited Utah in 2016, and had it been up to me, I would’ve never left.

The day we left, I sat on the edge of Island in the Sky, a mesa that rests on sheer sandstone cliffs that rise over 1000 feet over the rest of Canyonlands National Park. I sat there for a long time, tears rolling into my smiling mouth. The canyons that yawned before me, lit by the rising sun, were unreal in their beauty. The wind that rose up out of those deep gashes in the earth crackled through sagebrush and filled my mouth with rust-colored grit. I didn’t care.

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