Thursday, February 3, 2011

Am I out of place or just feeling out of sorts?

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?

Comments please!


*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.


  1. haha...i love the fine print comments:) I totally agree, and honestly never ever have thought you to be a country girl:) Loved talking to you the other day!

  2. Hey Lindsay!
    I don't agree with the hunting least no the way my husband does it. I would much prefer to know that my meat was killed in a relatively humane way and processed with my husband's hands than to buy meat from a store that was raised on antiobiotics and hormones on a factory farm and then slaughtered and packaged in a factory.
    The pageant thing, I totally agree with. I would not put my girls in a pageant unless they really wanted be. And they would be modestly covered without make up or tanning.
    Feeling out of place in West TN....always, but then again I have met some pretty awesome people and although I much prefer the mountains and all that goes with them, I have come to appreciate the beauty of the flatlands.

  3. In fact, I'd actually prefer to raise my own chickens, cows, pigs, and goats for meat and know exactly how they were raised and what they had eaten. Even wild game around here has been eating Genetically Modified corn and soybeans that have been sprayed down with pesticides.

  4. You're right Melissa! Hunter does it right and ya'll eat it. I just know tons of people around here that go and do it and then the meat sits in their freezer for years only to be thrown out. And, I actually have a friend that has a chicken coop in her back yard now. Super cool although I don't think I'd ever be able to do it. But that's why I love you...I could come bum off your chickens!!

    Tara - thanks! And we need to do it again...SOON!

  5. My vote is for Ridiculous and Judgmental. This blog was actually kind of mean.... borderline interesting.

  6. Did my brother just read my blog and comment?! I don't care if he is giving me a hard time...I consider that a MAJOR WIN!

  7. HAHAHAHA! I was really hoping for a "You Jerk" or "I Hate You"....I love that you see right through my antics!haha!

  8. I know how you feel. I went through the same culture shock when we moved to SC and I still feel out of place here some days. Being away from what is familar is hard and certainly takes time (years) of adjustment and acceptance. I worryabout Samuel being "southern" and I dread the day he says "ya'll".

  9. Haha Liz! He definitely will say ya'll someday, but that's not so bad. At least Samuel will have delicious Italian food to come home to!

  10. I think there is also something to be said of the "sport" of hunting. Its one thing to be a farmer and raise your animals to nourish and provide for your family, its a whole other thing to be shooting things for a hobby or sport...sorry but I totally agree with you.

  11. Lindsey - I agree with you and don't agree with you about the pageants. Avery will be 2 in May and has been in several pageants. I have never onced put make up on her, curled her hair, or even began to try and tan her. And yes I put her in them but they have helped her become so open and outgoing. She goes out waves, smiles, and loves the attention. It can be a confidence booster just as much as a confidence downer. It is all how they and you handle it. If she gets up there and wins, we tell her great job you did good. If she loses we still tell her great job, you did good. It helps her learn that she isn't always first and everything isn't always handed to her. She even at a young age learns it just by them walking past her and not giving her a crown. She learns sharing! And like the person before said, it has great scholarship potential for later. And I promise the little pageants we do around here and the tv show Toddler and Tiara's is completely different. And yes we still do gymnastics on Saturdays and we do music on Tuesdays. We do lots of other activities other than pageants. It is possible! You should come to one that is local around here and watch. It may change your opinion!! At least show you the difference in the local pageants and the tv show. :) Courtney

  12. Thanks for posting Courtney! I guess I should have been more clear that I don't necessarily think that all pageants are horrible. I just worry about what it teaches our girls about beauty. I've seen a local one at the mall in Paducah and some girls were dressed sweet and others were all glitzed out and done up like they were much older than they were. And in that one the little girl that got up there, had her bloomers showing, and shook her little toosh was the winner (can't remember the age group) and that just made me so mad!! To me its not about winning and losing, its the message that beauty pageants in general can send. By no means do I think you are a bad parent if you put your little one in a pageant. It's just bizarre to me because you don't hear of it much where I grew up but it seems everyone does it here. It's just one of those things that I have an opinion about that seems to be opposite of what Western, TN folk think. It just makes me feel out of place sometimes to know my opinions are SO different than the masses here.

    Obviously, there are some great people here so I know pageants aren't completely awful. Like you said, I think it's all in how the parents handle it. I have a heart for youth and society sends enough bad messages about body image, I just wouldn't want my girl(s) to feel any additional pressure about their outward appearance, that's all!

  13. I have a true disdaine/disgust for pageantry and all that they stand for. I have actually gotten into many heated arguements with a few different people on multiple occasions...apperantly I (imagine that bold and italicized!) am the one that is wrong and of the wrong opinion...blah blah blah. As for the hunting thing, neither Joe or I understand it either. I find at times he doesn't have anything to talk about to men at church (with the exception of Joey Mehlhorn) because he doesn't live and die by the thrill of the hunt, whatever hunt that may be. But if he says something about playing video games of any sort or watching live games on TV, he is looked at like he has 3 heads. So, in conclusion, you are not alone :)

  14. So glad to hear you say that Jessica! I've gotten into some conversations about it too and have felt bad, but my feelings haven't changed. I think our husbands (and us!) need to hang out more often.

    Bottom line...I think we should all get together REALLY soon! Period. The end! :)