Sunday, May 13, 2012

North Vs. South

It's terrifying how you can be in a heavily populated area one minute with diversity, some equality and intellectual human interaction and then you take a wrong turn, drive fifty miles and you find yourself on a gravel road approaching what could be the inspiration for the film Deliverance. That doesn't happen in real life you say? Well I suppose it depends on your definition of real, because it was certainly real to me. That's where I grew up. I was born in Corinth Mississippi about 5 miles from the rail road tracks. Corinth played a huge role in the civil war. The Union won nearly every battle there and some say that Corinth was one of the primary reasons that the Confederate lost the war. Thank God. (For all you bible belt, bible thumpers out there you can relax. I'm not taking his name in vain... I'm genuinely thanking him. Then again, if you've read any of my last 6 or 7 posts you've now realized I'm a liberal lesbian and how i take his name is the least of your concern.) Back to my point. Why is Corinth so important you ask? Well, it's known as the Crossroads of the South because the Memphis and Charleston Railroad, running east and west, and the Mobile and Ohio Railroad, running north and south, crossed in its downtown. Whoever had access to that point had access to travel and supplies from every direction. History lesson is almost over I assure you... It's my personal belief that the most vile of Confederate Rednecks fled the Union controlled Corinth and headed for the rolling hills of Tennessee.  Particularly Olivehill, which is where my mother moved me to at age 5. Now before I get into that please understand that I don't think everyone in Tennessee is an ignorant hick, nor is there proof to  back up my theory (historically), however life experience and generations of inbreeding tell me I am correct. See where I'm going with this? My area was known for two things... The best catfish you've ever tasted, and the most meth ever produced. I find it unbelievable that African Americans are stereotyped as drug dealers and dangerous thugs. I assure you nothing is scarier than a family of 4 generation inbred, uneducated meth making rednecks with shot guns and bear traps who've spent their lives casing the 10 miles of woods they grew up in and still sign their name with an X.. Even gang members have to be able to spell blood or crypt. These people, many supported by their drug production and welfare are not the type of people you want to mess with. Now my family never produced any drug of any kind. Just hay, and purple hull peas. However the extended family that my mother married into was often related to each other in more than one way. And the drugs weren't far away. My mother raised me to know that college wasn't an option for me. It was a requirement, which was a good thing. My high school didn't really encourage college attendance although some of the teachers tried their best. I remember one instance where my graduating class (there were 27 of us seniors total) went to the local community college to a "college fair". There were 3 representatives present and they spoke for 10 minutes each. That was the extent of our college preparation as I remember. Maybe 25 of us graduated high school. Nine of us went on to some sort of higher education (tech school and 2 yr university included) and the last I heard 6 of us didn't drop out. Only 3 of us graduated college on time. I haven't started Grad School yet, but when I do I will be the first and only one to do it. I was the only student to go out of state, the only one to play two Sports on scholarship and the only one to not have any of my accomplishments announced at Graduation. (Let's just say they weren't so fond of my sexuality.)  I went home this weekend. I surprised my mother and step-mother both for Mothers day. They were both in shock. They laughed, they cried. We talked. We reminisced. I enjoyed it, but at the same time it was really sad and hard for me. As I get older and look back on the way I was raised I understand how poor we were. I understand why I never had the nicest clothes and family vacations were a fantasy. Our closest thing to a vacation was my parents renting a local hotel room for the 4th of July so us kids could swim in a pool instead of the creek for a change.  Two months ago my step-father took a trip with his son to New York City. My step brother delivers materials to different companies in an 18-wheeler (a job that didn't require a degree of any kind). It was both of their first trips up north, and my step-dads furthest trip away from home. He didn't want his son to make it alone. When the got to NYC the were early (it was 2 am and they couldn't unload until 6) so they parked on the side of the street in the middle of downtown to wait until morning. Dad wanted a coke (I'm southern. We call every carbonated beverages coke. He saw a man standing outside of a bar so he got out and asked him where he could find a drink. Fortunately the man wasn't a drunken psycho and politely directed my father down the street. He told him there would be a convenience store on the left past the subway. Of course the man was talking about the underground form of transportation however my father walked five blocks looking for the yellow and green sign of the sandwich shop. He never found a subway but he found the convenience store, got a drink and returned to the truck only after passing three hookers standing at the top of the subway staircase. It was his first and only big-city experience. He is 49. That is the reason why I can't seem to remain in one place, the reason I won't settle for anything less than the best. Life is meant for living. We only get one chance to do every thing we've ever wanted. At our college graduation the president said something to us that I will never forget. She said "Say yes first and then back track to no." You have to take chances and risks. You have to step outside of your comfort zone.  No one ever achieved greatness by sitting back and waiting on it.  People tell me all the time "I'm not like you. I can't do the things that you've done." That's simply not true. If I can achieve my dreams, then anyone can. I'm not even there yet. I have a really long way to go in life, but I think I'm off to a good start. Think about what you want in life. Don't think is it realistic or not. Everything in life is possible you just have to determine what is important to you. If you want to earn six figures then you have to go to school. You're probably not going to win the lottery. People say that they can't afford an education, but will you really be able to afford the life you want  without one? There is an avenue to take to get to every possible scenario in life. Two wise women once taught me you don't have to reinvent the wheel. someone somewhere has done it before you. Figure out how they did it and run with it. Life happens exactly how it is supposed to and just the way that it should, but if you don't put any effort into it then it is supposed to be mediocre.  If you want it to be incredible then do the things to make it that way. Ultimately I want to change lives. I want to inspire people. I have no idea how I will do that, but in the meantime I'll gain as much experience as possible in every situation that I can. By doing so I'll be able to relate to more people in different predicaments. I believe somewhere along the way I will find my purpose. Either that or my purpose will find me. I am as average as possible.  It is my strong will and love for my fellow man that makes me exceptional. If I can be great anyone can. Thank you for hanging out with me on this Sunday afternoon. I'm looking forward to making this a Sunday tradition. I enjoy writing but I've enjoyed comments even more. I love connecting with my readers. You're the reason that I write. If you have any questions or suggestions on topics I should cover please feel free to leave them in the box below. I would love to see what you all come up with.  Until then... remember me. I'm Tennessee...

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