Friday, July 10, 2020

The belt was too tight

I came from country roots as far back as I can track. Grandparents, great grandparents, etc. I have had trouble over the years finding who I was outside of that long lineage. Maybe you can help me out.

The Bible belt was the main piece of garment we wore. We turned to it at least twice a week and had lives that wrapped around it. It was a nice comfy belt. When we were not allowed to dance or to wear makeup, it seemed a little snug, but it was our lives guided by the black book. 

We were all Republicans. It was the party of rich and powerful men. I was surprised in my more recent years to hear that my paternal grandfather was at one time a Democrat. Hm. Those secrets you held close so no one would know, growing up in the boonies. Rather like when I took ballet but couldn't tell anyone.

As I grew up I questioned more things. I seemed to argue with my parents more. I did not understand why there were orphanages when all the Christians could adopt a children. I didn't understand why people who did not believe in killing and violence still voted for people who took us to war. Maybe it was then that I began to question whether I was a real farm girl or not.

Growing up country gave me a great deal of incite into caring for animals and not killing them. It made me see the disparity of the people living around us, yet no one talked about it. No one helped. I saw teenage girls marrying while still children. Babies raising babies. I saw a male world where the women cooked, sewed and did chores, while men talked politics, worked together in the fields and enjoyed hunting and fishing. No wonder I wanted to sit with the men. They had it made.

I found it hard over my lifetime to voice what it was to move away from this environment and actually experience the world. It was not always wonderful, but I learned about people and their prejudices and idiosyncrasies of living in an environment where people all lived pretty much the same even though they lived in town. It wasn't until I moved to the suburbs that I could put it all together. I was an entity into myself. I did not need to believe what everyone else believed. I did not need to conform to feel good about myself. I could share opinions and also learn from others. I could even change my mind and go against the tide of believers on any one issue.

Yes, I am a farm girl. I would like to think of myself as a progressive farm girl. As with many others of my acquaintances who moved away, I understand that we cannot live in a bubble. We have to grow and change and find even more truth in life. We have to find our own ways to step away from injurious beliefs and unfounded lies. I am a farm girl who gained a voice and a wider view of the world....and, along the way, a deeper love of the people in it. 

We can be from the country but must grow into the world.