“To be born a Southern woman is to be made aware of your distinctiveness. And with it, the rules. The expectations. These vary some, but all follow the same basic template, which is, fundamentally, no matter what the circumstance, Southern women make the effort. Which is why even the girls in the trailer parks paint their nails. And why overstressed working moms still bake three dozen homemade cookies for the school fund-raiser. And why you will never see Reese Witherspoon wearing sweatpants. Or Oprah take a nap.” – Allison Glock
I grew up raised by true southern women. They all can make a great stitch and create clothes from patterns. As a little girl, they let me drink coffee in tea cups and my mother knows how to do big hair like nobody’s business. Most of them can drive tractors and ride horses. Others can make a mean Mac and Cheese recipe. Lace and Monogramming is a thing and they take it very seriously. There is tons of stuff about being raised in the south that I loved and there are things I didn’t.
Living in a southern small town I also got the flip side of the “southern living” style. Not the glamorous magazine one but the one that involved lots of hard work. I received training on the grueling details that “poor farm life” is real, and that everybody knows everybody’s stuff isn’t always a great thing. I saw cow tipping at its finest, and every boy alive drove massive trucks with ball bags hanging off the back. Let’s not even go there when it comes to the closed-minded mindsets toward any kind of change. Enough said, period the end.
It took me years to appreciate country music and I think it was due to some of these not so cute things about the south. Here is the thing. Everyone can tell you the negative’s or the positive’s of where they grew up. Whether you grew up in the city, the suburbs, the country, or even “Jersey” itself. In this season I am learning to appreciate so much. What builds you as a person is the good and the ugly. The harder topics are sometimes even more important because they seem to explain more by what you are not saying.
As soon as I could, I traveled the world and I moved to bigger cities. The thing I have stuck with? I am still in the south. I really love it.
We all have the good, bad, and ugly when it comes to our memories of where we grew up. I am learning to encompass all of it as it has shaped who I am today. As I sit with my daughter having a tea party I am able to see and be very grateful for where and how I was raised. There are so many wonderful things about it, and certain strengths I pray I can teach her.
Here are all the beautiful things about growing up southern. These are the things I believe every person should emulate. Southern or not, they are great ways to live life and to respect others.
- Slower pace. – people say “Hi” and are taught to look at you. They wait for your answer to “how ya doin?”
“All your life, you will be faced with a choice. You can choose love or hate…I choose love.” ― Johnny Cash
- Making people a casserole is always a good idea – babies, showers, sick days, tea parties, sunday potlucks, and funerals. Food can sooth. Learn a go to dish and stick to it
- Country music should be respected for the art that it is
“A lot of people don’t realise I came out of the Smoky Mountains with a load of songs.” -Dolly Parton
- Horse racing should be a sport that everyone watches – like soccer or football
- Manners – “yes sir” and “thank you” go a really long way
- Dress for success – No sweat pants were allowed at church, There is a time and place for everything. Overalls were for the farm, not a church wedding and not on a plane!
“My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style. “—Maya Angelou
- Children are considered part of the adult conversations and should conduct themselves accordingly. Or go outside and play. No tantrums were permitted at the table.
- A party is always a good idea – to celebrate everything and anything! the south throw parties for absolutely everything.
“Barbecue may not be the road to world peace, but it’s a start.”— Anthony Bourdain
- A strong work ethic – is knowing when to start but also when to stop. When it was dark it was time to come in and be done.
“Real courage is when you know you’re licked before you begin, but you begin anyway and see it through no matter what.”—Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird
- Growing your own garden and knowing how to make a stitch is becoming a vital and artsy skill again. It is looked at as rare and important. I’m grateful I have those skills, If you want to learn them – I’d be happy to help!
- Respecting others was never an option to opt out of. Everyone is a child of God and should be treated as such – bully’s were called bully’s and not tolerated. A foot note on this topic: My husband came home the other day saying someone at the office told him that “nice guys, never win.” I was furious! Are we telling grown men now that bullying is not only acceptable but required for making good business? This is unacceptable in my book. Kindness is magic.
Living gracious, bold, stylish, and thankful is what true southern women do at all times. I am proud to follow in suite.
“Southern girls are God’s gift to the entire male population. There is absolutely no woman finer than one raised below the Mason-Dixon line and once you go southern may the good Lord help you never go back.” – Kenny Chesney