Monday, October 17, 2016

Yep, I'm Southern and Proud

     So… I’m about to go on a little bit of rip-roaring tirade here… you’ve been warned. Fasten your seatbelts and put a hat on, it’s gonna be a full-on blow. The other morning, I woke up after a good nights’ sleep and was feeling pretty good. Yeah, well that didn’t last long. The morning went to shit fairly quickly. Why? There were actually a few things, but I’m going to focus on one in particular that really irked me.
     I may be white. I may be middle-aged and yes, I did grow up in the South and I prefer to live in the South. I love my biscuits and cornbread. I love my pinto beans, collards, and pork bar-b-que. That does not mean that I am uneducated, stupid or… wait for it… a RACIST! Yep, that is exactly what I said. Can you believe it? I live in the land of Dixie and I am NOT a racist.
     I will never understand why so many people in this country think that if someone is born in the South they are somehow stupid, degenerate or think it is sad. WTF? I once had someone ask me how I got out [of the South]? Huh? It’s not like it’s a maximum security prison. Yes, that is true. I’m from East Tennessee and damn proud of it. Yeah, I may speak with a bit of a twang, but that does not make me some degenerate who plays a banjo on the front porch!
     And then…
     I have seen several posts from people who are calling people out for being bigots or being racist and/or making slurs against people. Sorry, but in my opinion, that isn’t much better than actually being one. It is hateful and hurtful. My mamaw told me when I was little that ‘that you catch more flies with honey than you do vinegar’. She was so right. Took me a while to learn the art of that, but with practice, I got it.
     When did we become so divisive? How did we get to the point where we think it is okay to say things online that, more than likely, we’d never say to another person’s face? At what point in time did we decide to disregard anyone else’s opinion, whether we like it or not? What made us disrespect one another so venomously?
     I try to be a good person. I do not always manage that, but I do try. There are times I fail to mind my momma’s words, ‘If you can’t say anything nice, shut your mouth.” By no means am I perfect, and I don’t pretend to be. I do have my faults, just like everyone else. But let me tell you now, I have too much respect for myself to do the kind of shit that I’ve seen posted on social media lately. Yes, I said respect for ME. I have to look in the mirror each morning and I want to feel okay with ME. I have to answer to me first, no one else.
     Here’s what’s been my rule for years…
     As long as you don’t mess with my family, in whatever form that comes in, we’re good.
     As long as you don’t mess with my house or my stuff, we’re good.
     As long as you don’t mess with my money, we’re good.
     As long as you don’t steal from me, we’re good.
     As long as you don’t lie to me, we’re good.
     Now then, I have been lied to and have forgiven, but I don’t forget. I have been stolen from and have forgiven, but never forgotten. You go after my family and we’re not good and you won’t be good at all when all is said and done. And yes, I do consider my dogs to be a part of my family.
     Things I won’t do…
     I’ll never tell you how you should feel. They are your feelings and you own them, but do that. OWN that shit. That does not mean that you need to spread them out for the entire world to see. There are some things that people just don’t want or need to hear. Learn to use that filter.
     Opinions are like… belly buttons… yeah, that’s what I meant to say. They are yours and you are entitled to them. Don’t expect me to always agree with them and I might even try to change your mind, but I will always respect them. That goes for book reviews too.
     I will never tell anyone that they don’t matter. Every life matters. We each have a talent or a gift. We need to support and help each other find and develop those special skills.
     What to do…
     Personally, I think people have forgotten how to get along. The skill of minding one’s manners has all but disappeared. Mutual respect has flown out the window and people seem okay with this. I am not. I do not like rude people.
     I wish everyone would remember that we all have more in common than we may think. Take away the politics and yes, there are a lot of people on opposite sides of the aisle that can, and often do, get along. Yes, there are things that we can agree on, things that we share. Actually, there are a lot more things that can bring us together than separate us. BUT you have to be willing to listen. Not just hear what they are saying, but actually listen and try to relate. That common thread is there; you sometimes have to look for it, though.
     Now I know it’s not always easy, but who said that things in life were going to be easy? Sometimes it is easy. But honestly, we each need to put forth a little bit of effort. Try to put yourself in other’s shoes, if only for a minute. Try and see the world from their perspective. If we each would take the time, this world would be a much better place.
     Here’s an idea…
     I’d like to challenge all of you. Find a person you don’t think you have anything in common with and start a conversation. It doesn’t mean this person is going to become your new best friend, but you never know. Just talk to them for a few minutes. Find out something about them. Anything. Do they have hobbies? What might you have in common? Just communicate! That’s all I’m asking.
     This is the time where I’m going to ask something else of you. Do something nice for someone else. It won’t hurt, I promise. It might actually make you feel good. It never hurts to rack up some of those good Karma Coins. Bank them bad-boys. 
     Have a grrreat week, y’all.

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