Monday, August 12, 2013


And now, back to the issue at hand.  
Where have I been?  
Memphis tn, Memphis Tennessee girl, red lips with denim shirt, gold and silver statement necklace, button up shirts, bold lipstick outside, girl sitting outside, down in the south us, southern united states girls, Dixie girl, those kinds of girls, north Carolina wedding, Winston-salem north carolina what to wear,johnny cash everwhere, johnny cash quotes, I've  everywhere
I've been everywhere, man. Twice.
-J.R. Cash, the late and great
Now that you've seen what I wore, you should at least hear the story, right? It's show then tell, remember?

My first destination was Winston-Salem, North Carolina. It was an affair. A marriage took place in my immediate family. Yes, that's a big freaking deal. Besides spending time in a breathtaking state that I'd never really had the opportunity to do so, my family joined from all over to celebrate. These days, that's momentous.

"Headed down south to the land of the pines,
I'm thumbing my way into North Caroline."

It was absolutely divine. With my sisters surrounding me, I stood on a sprawling downtown rooftop (YES, they do have a downtown in W-S, big ballers),  and I could see such an expanse of land...for miles and miles. As far as the eye could see. It's been awhile. And, believe me, although I enjoy a good rooftop here in New York with bridge and city skyline views, so full of life occurring in all directions, it was such a liberating experience to not be completely confined, nestled in between slabs of concrete and steel. Deep breaths. No exhaust? No jackhammers? No honking?
I didn't shout this aloud in a Scottish accent, unfortunately, but I was feeling the urge. You're welcome. After wedding festivities and many (many!) lovely emotional moments (and buckets of joyous tears--hey, I'm a sap), I meandered my way further south, with a quick stop in Nashville and an unexpected pit stop (a laughable car-ride experience with mother, sister and nephew) in Hurricane Mills, Tennessee before putting on my blue suede shoes. 
[MAKE NOTE: I do own a pair, and you will be viewing them soon]
Memphis, my birthplace.
    In New York, it is an everyday occurrence to ask and even more commonly, to be asked, "Where are you from?" It seems to be New Yorkers’ second favorite preliminary question before choosing to take a leap in escalating this initial exchange into a further relationship.
            A large percentage of those of us in New York are transplants, but being from the South and responding with that, elicits a range of responses, from surprise to confusion to disgust and even pity. Pity being my least favorite, thank you. 

    I'm from the South, and you know, part of me takes great pride in that, despite all traces of bitterness and frustration I have dealt with in overcoming throughout the years. I’ve wrestled with much of the social, cultural, and emotional stigmas that still reside there in a land that is rich in terms of tradition and customary expectations of a young girl’s role in life.
     So, I'm back. Picture it---surrounded by my hometown of Memphis, Tennessee, and all of those things one’s hometown represents or at least, implies. I’d been born here—Dixieland, the controversial southern United States. There are any number of associations with the south. It was an undeniably influential factor in molding who I was, who I became, and who I am now. In some ways, I’m thankful. In some ways…well, not quite as much. I think that a lot of people feel this way about their childhoods. These pains- they are the unspoken, unseen ties that bond us all. But, take comfort in knowing that we all possess baggage--whether it's a handbag or storage room full.  

      Where I'm from...glorious land of fried peach pies, pickles, and really anything you had lying around to toss into the pan. We’ve tried it all. The land where grease was a mark of a successful cook. The perfect scald on a deep fried chicken, the right texture of hand-mashed potatoes, and a healthy balance of butter and honey on the flakey homemade biscuits in the oven were somewhat of a rite of passage in the world of growing up southern. Sweet tea was practically pumped through an iv pack into our veins since birth. Social etiquette requires smiling to strangers, and terms of endearment slip into conversations with cashiers and anyone else in passing, acquaintance or not. Southerners speak slowly, not necessarily because they’re ignorant, but generally because they’re just not in any particular hurry. Everything in due time. There’s a process for everything. And, everything’s a process. In general, everything is a mouthful. To say that I ate, drank, and talked my way through the town...well, that would be accurate.

 Days and nights consisted of soaking up family, seeing childhood friends, and even reminiscing with some unexpected ghosts of my past. It was another breath of fresh air. The major high point, for me, was a visit to our family's cabin on Pickwick lake, just under two hours away from Memphis. To say that it's an alternate universe from New York City...well, that would be an understatement. Swimming in the middle of a lake where there's no rushing of life around you...not a soul, no activity can be seen (except for my parents on the boat next to me), now that's foreign to me these days.

You feel so small. I'm awed by moments like these. Humbled. Unshockingly, I used to find these types of moments...boring. Simplicity was associated with small-mindedness, the uninteresting, and the tedious. I couldn't appreciate these feats of nature and this so-called "simple life."

Now, that's what my fantasies consist of! Oh, how we evolve with a smidgen of age, eh? All I long for is a serene boat ride at sit on a dock with my feet swishing one another in the water...or even simply ten minutes in a rocking chair on a porch, gazing at the sway of the trees, paying homage to the young morning sunshine. Birds chirping. Buzz of crickets.


Without my beloved New York, or my sprawling Tennessee roots, I, at the very most, would only be half as interesting, I’ve deduced.

It's who I am. It's in my blood, ingrained in me, embedded into the deepest layers of my skin...
and there's no denying that now.
            I guess that I'd say my heart sits on both sides of the fence at the Mason-Dixon line.
Truly, I don't think it, the heart, differentiates.
I don't even think it's aware that a line exists.

It lives in me.
All of it.
 And in all actuality, I am always everywhere.
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