Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The One With No Pictures

Look, we need to talk.

The first thing I'd like you to know is that I debated even writing this, because I know it's controversial and one of the things I try to avoid with this blog (and in real life, though that is much, much harder) is offending anyone. Lord knows I do try to keep it light. But it feels like I've been holding my tongue more and more often on an issue that really gets under my skin, and I believe that I must address it in order to be true to the title and description of this blog. Not to mention to myself.

Ladies and gents of the rest of the country, we Mississippians know that we don't live in the most ideal setting, with the most progressive people and culture. We know that - insert all evil things here - run rampant in our state. That maybe the last stand of truly conservative, ignorant, and backwards Americans is being made here. So, dammit, you don't need to remind us all the time. Unless you are here on some act of goodwill: bringing charity, nutritional awareness, sex education, or something else that demands frank talk, what business is it of yours to constantly point out our faults? We call that "acting superior," and when you do this (I confess I can't believe I'm explaining this to an adult) you are being rude.

Dang. Now I feel rude. Which is precisely why I've let it go for so, so long. But every outsider's sneering jab about some sub-par aspect of my home - that's right, that's my home you're self-righteously bitching about - is like sandpaper on my sensitive skin. And I'm just too raw to endure it any longer.

The only reason you've gotten away with it this long is because one thing my state's culture does teach is good manners. So rather than jump all over the first offense, I've forced a smile and hoped it was just a passing and forgivable act of thoughtlessness. Unfortunately, it happens now with too much regularity to be dismissed. 
Mississippi is, for me at least, something like a very difficult and perhaps disabled relative. One who embarrasses me in public. It is sorrowful and exhausting to observe this person's struggle of one step forward, two steps back, and yes, I lose my patience more often than I am proud to admit. I can and have numbered said relative's faults openly, and at times I grow weary of defending him. But it has never crossed my mind that I don't love this relative. Fiercely, protectively, and unconditionally. And god help you if you, an outsider, who has never put in your time with him, presume to throw him under the bus in my presence.

Look, if you don't like it here, no problem. Plenty of other states to choose from. No offense taken. But if you do make the choice to stay, do keep in mind that we're people, and this is our home. 

Please: mind your manners.


Courtney Brown said...


Michal said...

Thanks for the vote of confidence ;)

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