I've never wanted this blog to become a source of negativity, so I've tried for many years to hold back and put the laptop down even when I'm at my most upset, negative, stormy state. This time, I thought about it for a long time and then I finally decided to put my thoughts into words... Because I think it's important.
I've run into this problem for years. Ever since I was a little girl. I've repeatedly met a certain type of person that sets my teeth on edge and causes me to sit on my hands to avoid throwing the nearest object. I am a lady and I'm polite... But here, on my blog, I feel I can speak freely.
The conversation usually starts with an assessing glance at my handbag or my clothes and then, "Where are you from?"
I respond with, "Well I grew up in Iowa, Illinois, and London, but I went to college and law school in Nebraska." The speaker's eyes usually get large and then they say something that equates to 'Oh, I'm so sorry... How did you get out alive?!'
This infuriates me to my core... And it's not because they're trying to put me down. I can handle a lot more name calling and looking-down-the-nose than that. It makes me mad because I realize that the condescending person is someone more small-minded than any person you will run into in rural America.
The particular incident that caused me to write this blog post started when a person scoffed after I said I loved Omaha and I loved the university where I attended undergraduate and law school. I told her that I had a wonderful job there and I found the people to be honest, hardworking, and genuine. I made some of my best friends in Omaha, and for that I owe it everything.
Now... I didn't expect - we'll call her "x" - to agree with me. But I did expect her to hear what I said and appreciate it for what it was worth (as you do in a normal conversation when meeting someone new). I made a statement and I backed it up with reasons from my own personal experiences. She could have even disagreed and then backed it up with reasons from her own personal experiences. But she didn't.
Instead, x rolled her eyes and made a few grunting sounds to signal how horrible she found Omaha to be. She never said why... But she followed it up with the profound statement, "I just always knew I was a BIG CITY GIRL."
I literally had to bite my tongue to keep from laughing. I love Denver. And it is a city. But it is not BIG CITY LIVING.
Insert rant here... I've lived in London and New York City and Los Angeles. Apart from that, I've been traveling all around the world since the age of six. But x did not know that, and I'm sure she thought I was impressed by the "big city of Denver" and how worldly she was in it. I held in my inner Dragon-Bitch and I smiled. I channeled my inner Kate Middleton.
But inside I was thinking about how sad it is that people like x can exist in such a modern, high-tech world. I was thinking about all the wonderful, brilliant, kind people that live in rural America and make the world tick... And how people like x lump those people into a big pile of something far beneath their "big city selves".
As one of my law professors said, "Some of you are incompetent. But far worse... Some of you are incompetent without knowing that you are, in fact, incompetent." Miss R. is of the latter category.
x probably didn't stop to think about how many Fortune 500 companies there are in little old Omaha. She probably didn't think about the fact that people might like and want to live in a small town. Some people prefer wide open spaces, having houses with huge yards, and not fighting traffic every day. Some people hate the city. And you know what?? There's nothing wrong with that... But I bet they don't judge the x's of the world like she judges them.
There is something my mother has always said... "Bloom where you're planted." It means that, no matter where you are, you should fully experience that city or town or haystack. You should enjoy your life, make your own fun, and soak up every aspect of that place. Even the most depressing slum in India has a flower growing somewhere... You can find beauty in every place you go if you look hard enough.
I have to say, I've found something wonderful in every place I've ever been. If you're having trouble, try looking for something positive around. Appreciate the weather, a kind person, the beautiful scenery, maybe even the beauty of ugly scenery. Soak it up.
Enjoy yourself. If you're not creative enough to make your own fun, look online, visit a tourist's center if they have one, stop and ask someone in a local restaurant or gas station what you should do for fun. Read the local newspaper.
But whatever you do, don't be a negative person who closes themselves off to people, places, and possibilities. That's not a healthy way to live life. And it just makes the person seem dull, ignorant, and uneducated.
At the end of the day, there is beauty in every place. And you know what?? We're all doing the same things anyway... Visiting with our friends, spending time with our family, falling in love, vegging out on the couch, entertaining ourselves on the weekends, procrastinating all the chores we should be doing. Does the population of the place we're in really make a difference??
Thank you for putting up with my rant and release of the Dragon Bitch. I've witnessed this kind of ignorance too many times and I didn't think I could handle another experience without a vent session. :)