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A Southern State of Mind


I have passed a milestone in my writing; I have been blogging for one month. Fear of being overly transparent and laid bare for the world to judge almost kept me from writing. The fear of having something to write but nothing worth reading also plagued my thoughts. Fear can be a great motivator. Refusing to allow fear to dictate to me, I stepped up and stood toe-to-toe with fear; and blogging has shown itself to be something completely different than what I thought it would be.

I have discovered that I intuitively have a healthy dose of caution in my writing and don’t feel it necessary to say everything I am thinking, just the way I am thinking it. I am finding the balance in the self-deprecating humor that is my life and the vulnerability that keeps me honest. A personal transparency is emerging; and I suspect that as I continue to write and become comfortable in this medium, my writing will begin to blossom in other ways as well.

As I was reflecting on the process of the writing I also began to reflect on what I’ve learned about becoming a Southern girl. It was said to me that being Southern is a state of mind. I had to think about that for a few days to grasp what that meant. Though perhaps I still only have a shallow understanding, I expect it will deepen as I continue to become more Southern myself.

What have I found this Southern state of mind to be? It isn’t about geography nor is it a Hollywood depiction of a girl in “daisy dukes” or a full-length, lace dress carrying a parasol sipping sweet tea (well, maybe sipping the sweet tea). It isn’t about having the right designer handbag or the perfectly augmented body. Being Southern is about the heart of a person. There is an incredible spirit of generosity that is prevalent without regard to one’s own or anyone else’s economic status. People give freely whatever they have to give. And if they don’t have, they will find someone who does to help meet a need.

There is a reason that the South is characterized as hospitable. It is true; Southerners are hospitable. Because people are regarded as an extension of their own families, everyone is welcome. There is no real concept of “stranger”. It is a beautiful sense of community.

People of all walks of life have this Southern state of mind. It is truly a way of thinking- a kindness towards, great value for and a respect of human life. And since being Southern is not determined by birthplace, I do not have to relinquish the pride I have as a SoCal girl because I can be both. Being Southern is a state of mind.

5 Comments

  1. I once read that a Northerner could be come an honorary Southerner, but a Southerner could not become an honorary Northerner, nor would they want to. 🙂

    I’ve been in Michigan 25 years now, and still long for home.

    Don’t know how that works our for a California girl- but I appreciate your sensitivity to the pace and value of Southern life.

  2. You put this very beautifully. The South has it share of bad traditions and cultural patterns, but there is much that is good as well, and I am proud of southern hospitality. 🙂

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