For the past few days I've been feeling a little out of place here in Western, TN. I've always thought that I was a country girl but I'm beginning to realize that I am definitely NOT! I'm a Southern girl that was raised in a small town (granted it wasn't nearly as small as where I live now) but I'm absolutely, positively not a country girl. I've come to this realization because there are truly country people here and they do things that I have no interest in what-so-ever.
Take, for instance, hunting*. It seems like all the men do it around here and if you don't do it, you're less than a man. I don't like hunting and neither does Bryan. I can't imagine actually killing another living creature. I think I would fall all over myself. I don't really understand the sport behind it either. I mean, come on, sprinkling deer pee all around to attract a deer while you sit up in a tree (dippin' and spittin') just waiting for one to come around doesn't seem like a sport. It seems lazy. When you can chase that deer/duck/rabbit/squirrel/etc. down, wrestle it to the ground, and kill it with your bare hands - you can call hunting a sport. At least then you might break a sweat. And isn't that something that all "sports" have in common - sweat?
Another thing that's HUGE here in Western, TN is pageants**. I haven't met one mom my age here that hasn't had or wanted to have her little girl in one - including some of my good friends. But, I am one of the biggest ANTI-pageant women out there. I see those Toddlers and Tiaras shows on tv and my stomach turns. Introducing girls to the cruel world of rejection and society's view of beauty vs. inner beauty when they are babies (yes, BABIES -- the categories start before 1 year of age) is sickening to me. I don't even know what my baby girl will look like and I already know she's beautiful. She's beautiful because she was beautifully and wonderfully made. She was set apart by The Creator. I don't ever want her to feel any less beautiful because a panel of judges preferred the 3 year old in a belly exposing dress with fake teeth, fake hair, and a fake tan.
Thinking of the day when Jackson comes to us and asks to go hunting with a friend makes me shudder. Bryan and I have both decided we do not want him to even touch a gun until he is an adult and even then Bryan wants to be the one to show him how to use one. I worry Jackson will get teased or bullied because he's not country, doesn't wear camouflage, and doesn't hunt. I worry he won't feel masculine enough because he wasn't raised to do those things.
And, what about when my future little girl (God-willing) wants to be in a pageant because all of her friends are in them? Will she say, "Mommy, why can't I be in a pageant? Aren't I pretty enough to win one?" That would absolutely kill me.
Not only am I feeling out of place here, but I worry that my children will too. I want my children to be who they are, which will most likely be similar to how Bryan and I are (that's just how learned behavior goes). I want them to grow up in a community that embraces diversity, education, faith, and family -- where soccer games and dance class are the normal routine for a Saturday, not hunting and pageant practice.
Am I being ridiculous and judgmental here? Am I worrying over nothing? Am I truly out of place, or maybe just feeling out of sorts lately?
*If you are hunting to provide food for your family because you cannot afford meat at the grocery store, that is completely different. I've known families that have to do this and that is what hunting should be. Also, if you donate your hunted meat to organizations that give it to families in need, I'm not talking about you.
**Once children are teenagers and adults they can make their own decisions. If a girl wants to be in a pageant as a teenager to possibly earn a scholarship, I'm totally ok with that. Let that be her decision.