Hello dear reader.
I had a topic in mind for today, but then I read a post called Home is Where the Heart Lies on a blog called Wayward Scribbles. It brought up a ton of thoughts and memories. So the other topic will have to wait for another day. Naveena Shruthi, AKA Nathi, got my inspirational juices flowing.
I lived in the Northeast part of the country (Connecticut) until I was 13, at which time my mother and stepfather (for reasons I still can’t fathom) moved our family to the deep South (Louisiana). I dealt with severe culture shock. Everything was completely different. For example, I learned about the Civil war in school in Connecticut. I was taught when it happened and the basics of why. It was history, like the Revolutionary war. When I moved to Louisiana I discovered that for a lot of people there the Civil war had never ended. People actually disliked me (to put it mildly) because I was a “yankee” from the North. They flew rebel flags and had bumper stickers reading, “The South’s gonna rise again!” What was considered polite was also different. I grew up calling adults Mr. or Mrs. last name. In the South, the polite way to address an adult was Ms. or Mr. first name. In the Northeast, saying “yes” or “no” (as opposed to “yeah” or “nope”) was polite. In the South, the polite response is “yes or no ma’am” or “yes or no sir.” I actually got paddled because a teacher asked me a question and I answered “Yes.” She responded, “Yes, what?” and I had no idea what she was asking me. I think the worst of all was when kids at school would gather around me and say, “Talk.” I usually responded with, “What do you want me to say?” at which everyone would laugh hysterically ay me.
Thirteen is a difficult age. The last thing you want to do is stand out. I was a laughing stock because of the way I talked and an enemy because of where I had come from. Teenagers tend to group up. There are the jocks, the nerds, the potheads, etc. There isn’t a group for “yankees” and I didn’t fit anywhere. It was lonely, confusing, and traumatic. I desperately needed a place where I felt safe and loved, but didn’t have one. Things at home were rough, to put it mildly. I didn’t feel safe or loved there either. Eventually I made a few friends and things got easier, but I never felt like I fit in Louisiana.
I got out a few times, but always got pulled back. My sister is the only one of my siblings that never left. My three brothers eventually got out and stayed out. 27 years after moving to Louisiana, I came to the Rocky Mountains to visit. It was incredible! The feeling of belonging there was overwhelming. I felt like I was home for the first time. During my 24 hour visit, one afternoon to the next, I rented a house. I went back to Louisiana for a month to prepare for the move and was homesick the entire time. A week before my 40th birthday I moved with my husband (at the time) and my youngest two children to a tiny village in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado called Twin Lakes. I didn’t know a soul. I got a job in the General Store/Post Office in the village and began attending church in the closest town (Leadville) and quickly made several friends. Finally, after all my years of feeling like I didn’t belong anywhere, I was home.
This is turning out to be a longer story than I meant for it to (imagine that!) so I think I’ll continue it tomorrow. Have you ever felt like an outsider? Have you ever found a place that you know was your home? There’s a comment box below where you can tell me your story. I’d love to hear it!
Until next time…