My dad was born in Hot Springs, Arkansas. This was hard to tell because the only time he sounded like he was from the south was when he was fired up about something.
I always thought it was kinda cool. My dad is from the south.
But he hardly talked about it. He was ashamed of it. Like, deeply ashamed of it.
He had some bad juju there when he was younger. When he was an adolescent, he and his family moved to Nebraska. I think when he moved, he left that part of his life behind.
Or did he?
Because, it always struck me as odd how angry he’d get when me or my mom would bring it up. He’d get this shitty look on his face and retreat back in his shell like he didn’t want to talk about it.
Plus, he was a staunch conservative. He despised Bill Clinton. And Bill was from Hot Springs too. So he got embarrassed in front of his conservative friends when someone would point out that they were from the same town.
Looking back, he may have thought he was leaving that home town of his behind. But in actuality, he was merely suppressing it. And we both know how suppression works. If you don’t make peace with something, its shadow side keeps popping up in all sorts of ugly ways.
So here’s what I say. Own where you’re from. If you don’t like it there, own it, make peace with it, realize it helped shape you (for better as much as for worse), and then move.
Please don’t hate your home. There’s not many mental atmospheres as toxic as this.