Tag Archives: the south

Travelling Fool

I just got home after a trip to northeast Arkansas to visit my family. It was a much-needed getaway after dealing with some health issues. Said health issues are still in progress and are causing me a huge amount of stress and worry. I know worrying won’t change the outcome of the tests, but it doesn’t make me worry any less. Some of them have come back normal so keeping my fingers crossed for the same result for the rest of them.

My family lives just across the Mississippi river from Memphis, Tennessee.  It amazes me how much different that part of Arkansas is from the part where I live.  East Arkansas is called the Mississippi river delta.  It’s flat and mostly nothing but farms and fields of winter wheat, soybeans, and cotton as far as the eye can see.  A few trees here and there.  Where I live, on the other hand, is the foothills of the Ouachita Mountains.  It’s beautiful and covered in lovely forest.  I never lived in the delta, but I’ll always have a special place in my heart for it.

All four of my grandparents grew up in that part of Arkansas.  My dad’s family, who I visited this time, grew up in Dyess, Arkansas. It’s really only known for being the boyhood home of Johnny Cash now, but I assure you he wasn’t the only one to grow up there.  I saw his old home, they’re fixing it up and turning it into a museum.  It looks nicer than I bet it did when he lived in it.  If you grew up in Dyess, odds are you were poor as church mice (that’s how my granny describes the level of poverty her family experienced when she was a girl).  Most of the old homes where the families lived are gone now. They lived there after President Roosevelt turned the area into a depression relief project.  Families (my own included) who qualified were given 40 acres of land and a mule to help plow it. They grew cotton and used the money to pay back the government when they could afford it.

My great aunt, granny’s sister, showed me where their farm had been, and where my great grandmother lived after my great grandfather died and she sold the farm and moved into town.  I saw the old high school, where my granny was the only one of her eight brothers and sisters to graduate.  The rest of them quit school by the time they were 16 to get married or start working.  The town is just a small community now, but thanks to it being Johnny Cash’s hometown, the town square is being restored to look like it did in the 30s-60s, when most of the poor farming families lived there.  It was amazing to see where my family was and how far they each came in their lives.  They may have been poor, but all the kids did well and the ones still living live comfortable lives now.

I come from a long line of cotton farmers.  All of my grandparents had 7 or 8 kids in their families and picked cotton all their growing up years.  Makes me thankful for how fortunate I am.  My grandparents, on both sides, are the only ones who left the area.  I’ve had to grow up away from my family, so I love any chance I get to visit my aunts, uncles, and cousins…of which I have MANY.  They are sweet people with thick southern accents.  I notice mine gets thicker when I’m around them.  I wish I could spend more time with them.  When it comes down to it, though, my home is near the mountains. I’m not sure I could be happy living in a place where there isn’t a mountain for over 100 miles.

My great aunt let me stay with her.  We talked for hours and travelled all over northeast Arkansas seeing the old ancestral homes.  She cooks like you would imagine any southern grandmother to cook–everything from scratch and tastes DELICIOUS.  No one makes sweet tea like she does. I think I drank half a gallon while I was there. I experienced true happiness this week, time with my family…and gained 3 pounds thanks to all the southern food and super sweet tea. That’s the good life, y’all.

The Road to Better Writing/Southern Standards

If you read my last post, you know my life is in a bit of an uproar these days.  I’m still unsure of what the future holds and I feel like I’m drifting in the middle of the ocean with nothing to grab hold of to save me.  I can’t stand this feeling of the unknown.  I’ve decided that I am going to enter college again to get a second bachelor’s degree in graphic design with a minor in photography.  That, however, is going to take some time to accomplish.  I have to wait until the Fall 2013 term to begin, and I also have to try to secure some funds and financial aid.  I have decided I would prefer this as my main career over writing.  I do intend to continue writing, however, and have registered with an online writing course website, Writers Village University.  I intend to hone my writing skills to improve my blogging and article writing.  My writing will continue, but as a secondary job.  Wish me luck on my endeavors! I’m trying to stay busy as I can’t stand not being able to work.  When I do get back to work, I’ll be stuck doing desk work.  The thought of a typical desk job disgusts me, so I have to do something to break up the monotony.  This is the best plan I’ve been able to work out.

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Now, on to part two of this post.  Southern Standards.  I recently parted ways with the man I was dating.  I posted about it on my tumblr blog, but not everyone who reads this blog follows my tumblr blog.  I was much kinder about him on that post than I intend to be in this one.  Fortunately, I hadn’t developed any feelings for him when we decided to call it quits.  The relationship felt like it wasn’t going anywhere, but it was still relatively new and I was willing to keep dating him to see if anything developed.  Well we had a date this weekend, which was going well until the end.  It began well enough, watching movies and talking.  Then the “hints” started.  The “is that your bedroom?”  and “We could go watch TV in the bed if you want…”  All of a sudden, a new side of this man was starting to emerge that I hadn’t anticipated seeing.  He had me completely fooled.  I thought he was a shy, quiet, very traditional man.  Turns out he was just a horny prick…the exact type of guy I always seem to end up with (not that I’ve had much experience in the department).  He wanted more than I was willing to offer.  We had not been dating anywhere near long enough for me to consider what he had in mind.  I know some people are much quicker to jump into bed, but I am traditional.  I’m of the opinion that you wait until you’re deeply in love, or even married, before you take it that far.  He, obviously, was not.  Once he realized I was not going to give in, he stayed a few minutes then left telling me to text him the next day to set up another date.  I thought “well, he’s going to respect my wishes, that’s nice.”

I texted him the next day saying “You said to text you today to set up another date, what did you have in mind?”  After three hours, he finally responded with “I’m going to decline another dinner date.  It was nice getting to know you and fun hanging out at your house last night, but I am just not that interested right now.  I wish you all the best.”  I responded with “Ok, adios then.”  And proceeded to remove him from my phone contacts, facebook friends, etc.  I wanted no further evidence of his ever being a part of my life.  After that text, I started over-analyzing it as girls tend to do.  I started thinking about the feelings I was having and have deduced I was more upset that he had me fooled and someone I thought was a “good guy” was really just a fat, horny jerk who only “put up” with a few dates with me to get me into bed.  I wasn’t upset about not dating him anymore, I was upset because it really seems like all the good guys are gone…Are there any traditional men in the world anymore???  Are there?  I’m losing hope.  I also began thinking of ways I WISH I had responded to his text.  Here’s what I wish I had said “I understand.  Sorry you didn’t find the whore you were looking for in me.  I’m sorry, but I’m a traditional girl who doesn’t believe in having sex after only a few dates.  I just wanted you to know I really enjoyed our few dates.  I also particularly enjoyed your leaving me with the impression that you liked me and were interested in another date when you left last night.  Above all, however, I admire your courage, telling me this bit of information via text.  You really are a top-of-the-line guy.  I hate to lose you.  I wish you all the best in your search for the “right girl.”  Best of luck impregnating some poor unwed woman, whom I’m sure you will leave to raise the child on her own should that happen.  I’m sorry I just wasn’t ready for that to happen to me.  Call me a coward, call me old-fashioned.  Take care, and all the best!”

But I didn’t say that.  It was fun to type it here though!

That brings me to the “southern standards” I referred to in my title.  When I informed my mom of our decision to part ways, she was outraged.  She kept saying “He has problems.  He has problems and he obviously can’t deal with them.”  And “His loss!  He’s crazy!”  No mom, he just didn’t want a traditional girl.  She kept calling me to “check on me” and giving me different excuses.  But I know she was calling to check on me because she expected me to be as devastated as she was.  I wasn’t.  I don’t even miss him.  The only thing I was upset about was how well he fooled me and how few good men there are left in the world, and by that I mean, good men who are single.  I’ve accepted that it may be my lot in life that I may never marry.  Some people don’t!  I also know that I might be one of those people who get married in my thirties, which I can also accept.  Living in the south, however, I’m viewed as an old maid well past my expiration date at the age of 29!  In the south, women are expected to marry by their mid twenties and become baby-makers.  At my age, I should have already been married for several years and be the mother of at least one child.  I’m not, though.  My mom is so eager for me to get married so I can start having grandchildren for her.  I think her disappointment in our split was not about my feelings, but more about her own.  How it’ll make her feel when someone asks her how he and I are doing and she has to answer we broke up.  How all her friends’ children are getting married and having babies and here I am sitting here still single.  I do not fit the mold of a southern woman, and in that respect, I’m a disappointment to my mom.  I love the south and am proud to live here, but I do hate this ridiculous expectation they place on women.

Now that I’ve parted ways with this man, have to find a new job, and am looking into starting a new career, I think I may seriously start considering a big change.  Moving somewhere different, etc.  While I feel totally lost right now, I also have the rare opportunity to daydream and begin thinking of ways to make a total change to my life. I hope I make the right decision.

Dallas Trip…and Life Update

First of all, an update on what’s happening in my life right now.  Things are still a little confusing at the moment.  I can’t see a surgeon until April 18, so until then I get to live in fear and worry.  Everything hangs in the balance until I meet the surgeon and find out what, if anything, is going to be done to my back.  One thing I do know, regardless of if I have surgery or not, I will have to leave patient care.  My back can no longer withstand the strain nursing puts on it.  No matter what, any job that requires patient care will eventually require the nurse to lift, push, pull, or twist SOMETHING heavier than him-or herself.  I can no longer take the risk of performing one of these tasks and destroying my back forever.  I may already have destroyed it, but if I don’t stop putting myself at risk, it will happen for sure.

My boss is going to keep me on for the time being.  I will only be able to work in pre-op.  Starting IVs and charting are all I can do.  I will also do any computer/secretarial work needed to help fill the rest of the time.  How long they will keep me being limited to only pre-op remains to be seen.  My boss doesn’t want to get rid of me, but the ultimate decision lies with the CEO.  He may end up wanting to get rid of me and hire someone who is capable of doing anything and everything…as I ONCE was capable of doing.

Since I am in no way, shape, or form interested in nursing if I can’t be taking care of patients directly, I’ve been looking into online degree programs for writing, graphic design, and photography.  They all seem very appealing.  I haven’t decided on one yet, it will all depend on funding (I’m working to acquire a grant).  One thing is certain, I will be getting a second bachelor’s degree in one of these three areas.  After that I will start a new career, quite possibly doing so in the big city of Dallas, Texas, where more opportunities await.  Which brings me to the trip I just returned from…Dallas was nice, as always.  Had some lovely food, fantastic time visiting with family, saw my aunt’s new home–which is fabulous–and was given some mementos of my beloved Uncle Mac.  It was very hard visiting this time, because practically everything in my aunt’s house that reminds you of Mac was gone.  Either taken down and packed, or given away to family and friends.  My aunt has kept the few things that meant the most to her, the rest of his things she is in the process of giving away to those who loved Mac, to cherish them along with his memory.  I was given some of his music, one of his treasured LSU game footballs, and some pictures of him and my cousin–his son–who sadly passed away when he was 15, back in 1992.  Here are some photos of the trip:

Welcome to Texas, y'all!
Welcome to Texas, y’all!
Driving through Dallas...
Driving through Dallas…
Dallas looks very different from Little Rock!!
Dallas looks very different from Little Rock!!
100+ year old cactus located near my aunt's present home.
100+ year old cactus located near my aunt’s present home.
The most incredible lemon bar I've ever eaten. Had about half an inch deep layer of powdered sugar on top! I love Dallas dining!
The most incredible lemon bar I’ve ever eaten. Had about half an inch deep layer of powdered sugar on top! I love Dallas dining!
Dallas
Dallas
Phenomenal steak at Saltgrass Texas Steakhouse.
Phenomenal steak at Saltgrass Texas Steakhouse.
Katie, Kyle, Michael, and me again.
Katie, Kyle, Michael, and me again.
Cousin Katie, me (in blue), cousin Michael (who died in 1992) and cousin Kyle.
Cousin Katie, me (in blue), cousin Michael (who died in 1992) and cousin Kyle.
My late cousin Michael holding my cousin Kyle...Kyle is 26 now!
My late cousin Michael holding my cousin Kyle…Kyle is 26 now!
I was given some pictures of my beloved Uncle Mac who recently passed away. Here he is about to do something he loved best: driving fast.
I was given some pictures of my beloved Uncle Mac who recently passed away. Here he is about to do something he loved best: driving fast.
The church is beautiful. Happy Easter!
The church is beautiful. Happy Easter!
Iced Sweet Tea-A Southern Staple!
Iced Sweet Tea-A Southern Staple!
Pina Coladas were glorious.
Pina Coladas were glorious.
My cousin Taylor and his lovely wife Grace, at their combined birthday celebration.
My cousin Taylor and his lovely wife Grace, at their combined birthday celebration.
The view from my aunt's new townhouse. The pool belongs to the neighbors, whom I hope she becomes good friends with!
The view from my aunt’s new townhouse. The pool belongs to the neighbors, whom I hope she becomes good friends