Thursday, September 12, 2013


You will be shocked to hear that I am still having FEEEEELINGS.

Invariable, when I meet new people here, they ask where I moved from.  "Cold State," I say, "but I'm from Virginia."  And then, invariably, I feel... off balance.  Like a lego tower built by a two-year-old.  I want people to know I'm a Southerner, even though I'm also kind-of-not a Southerner.  (Some part of me also wants to skip the inevitable "The South isn't that bad/ this is a nice place to live/ you'll get used to it/ here are the local attractions/ the South is great" conversation that otherwise ensues.)  I want them to know that, although I have largely rejected the perfomative femininity and gender roles that stereotype the South, I do know where it's coming from; that I don't think cows are 'sooo cute'; and that my desire to, one day, keep chickens is grounded by a full knowledge of how smelly and bird-witted they are.

I want a purpose in life beyond herding around a screamy, screamy 4-year-old (seriously, not a day goes by without him throwing tantrums for at least an hour) and making more jam than we can possibly eat.  Even with the people I already know, I feel like I'm failing at negotiating friendships in an equitable and mutually agreeable fashion.  (I'm probably not. I'm probably just full of woe.)

I feel like a round peg in a square hole.  In Cold State, I worked at the bicycle company with a bunch of overeducated nerds.  In other words, I fit right in.  Here, I think my back brain wished I'd find more kindred spirits in a rural area full of PhDs.  But it turns out there's the same distribution of fairly-well-educated wackaloons here as anywhere else.  The nice woman who bakes her own bread also thinks echinacea tincture will cure her chronic infection.  The outdoorsy person who hikes and hunts has a magical amber necklace on her kiddo.  The women with PhDs are all professors with full-time jobs.  The hippie-ish lady who just planted her first garden seems nice enough.  The vet who stays home with her kids, and whose favorite website is PubMed, seems both nice and smart.  But I need to give it time, to let relationships grow organically, to not push it.

I would also like to note that Rural County here is stuck in 1998, and has not yet discovered the Internet, and therefore the main way to hear about things is by signs posted on fences,* or people telling you, or occasionally the classified ads or the extremely-local paper.  I am not making this up.  (Mountain Town does have an events website, but a) it is incomplete and b) usually the events suffer from not having a schedule online.  No, I do not want to call the number provided.  I want to look it up on the fucking internet.)

BUT.  These feelings are accompanied by a natural reluctance to invest too much effort and emotional energy in relationships here.  What are the chances we'll still be here next year? I HAVE NO IDEA.**  To be honest, there is a part of me trying to reject it (it's so hick!  I can't get anything!) just so I won't be disappointed. And there's another part of me that really likes how we can go watch the horsieeeees where horsies mama? more horsies? where tractor?? every weekend, and having beautiful fresh eggs, and the monthly bluegrass jam full of very sweet retirees, and the hilarious sixty-something farmers and their honeybees.


* No, really.
** While Belle astutely pointed out that everyone's lives are full of job-related uncertainty, still, a one-year contract practically guarantees you'll be fired.  So!  It's a SPECIAL kind of certainty!


  1. So many feelings! (I've been spending quality time with the Harry Potter franchise.)

    1. I am so glad my church has chickens. It reminds me how very much I don't want my own.
    2. I feel off balance every time I explain that yes, I AM a biochemist, and I'm home with my children.
    3. You do not fail at friendships, you just are feeling insecure. Everyone likes you. Really.
    4. Oh, the wackaloons. It is sad to find well-educated people who don't think logically. My 3rd cousin, once removed, who has the dairy business just posted on FB that she is juicing veggies and her grey hairs are disappearing. I'm like, no, they're not.
    5. I don't want to call, either. What is with people that talk on the phone?
    6. Awwww, horsies! At least the little guy is still adorable, and not screamy. Most of the time...

    1. Perhaps some quality time with fowl would cure me. In any event! (I'm sure there's a fine proportion of people who dislike me, but I'm sure I dislike them back.)

      I don't mind the phone but I don't want to use it as a screening tool for attending events! THE INTERNET!!!

      (Teething today. AAAAAARGH THE SCREAMING.)

  2. I have very similar feelings when explaining I'm from Germany. Although the language probably makes some of it obvious. It hadn't occurred to me until this visit that I might be the first in my extended family to go back to work before the kids are, like, in primary school (not entirely true, now that I think about it, but almost). This led to some awkward conversations... The German tax system is designed such that one parent stays home, day care for little ones is hard to get, although they're working on it. It seems that there's no concept of a woman who loves both her kids and her job. So yes, I'm from there, but also, different, and I have no idea how much of that is "me" and how much of it is "exposure to different parts of the world".

    1. Isn't it fun when people's prejudices are enshrined institutionally? While it's still relatively hard to find high-quality yet affordable daycare in the US, still, there is a fair bit of it. I think you're right- some of it is me, too, and some of it is a lot of moving around.

  3. If Dr. S keeps the job and you can find Sugar one, we'll come keep you amber necklaces, promise, though my reflexive contrarianism (word?) does sometimes lead me in odd directions. But I will be right with you in the "I moved from these various cold places, but I'm really from this warm place...which is full of transplants, yes, but my people are in the very, very old cemetery. But no, my parents didn't grow up here. Can we just talk about something else?

    (I've decided those necklaces are not the hill I'm going to die on, friendship-wise. I try to blink very hard and think of them as sort of like yarmulkes on the little boys around here: Not For Me but Meaningful To Others and Mostly Harmless. Except yarmulkes aren't choking hazards. AAAARRRRGGGHHHHH!!! MAGIC ELECTRON RAYS!!!! JUST USE THE DAMN IBUPROFEN; YOUR CHILD IS SUFFERING NEEDLESSLY!!!! ...It's a work in progress, my relationship to those things.)

    1. There's a huge law school here!!! Except we might be somewhere else next year. SIGH.

      I'm okay with any symbol of faith or tradition. But not something that claims to be 'scientific', or at any rate 'medical'. However, yes, probably not an appropriate time for with my shield or on it.


Comments are moderated, so it may take a day or two to show up. Anonymous comments will be deleted.