Currently chillin’ this evening with the tunes from this album, suggested to me by my pal Wyrd Smythe, Gerry Rafferty’s City To City:
Okay. A thought that recurs to me frequently is that I am a Mississippian, by half my blood (the only bloodline I am familiar with) and early socialization. Nearly all my (known) family remains living within the state of Mississippi, excepting myself, my ex-step-dad, my brother, and my mother, all of whom live a state over in the Midwest. Heard some of my Papa’s kin moved to Texas years back but can’t say much on that. Basically of all the blood family I know of they’re all residing in the Deep South and primarily within Mississippi. As had much (if not all) of my maternal grandparents’ ancestors for at least the last 150 years, mostly restricted to two counties in south-central Mississippi. That’s the family I know anything about and are who I was partially and initially raised by. That’s where I was returned to live as a young teen and where I spent the most years until age 21 when I permanently relocated to the Midwest.
So, that’s where I learned my first values — in the Southland. And I do obviously maintain a loyalty to at least the idea of what the U.S. South was and is supposed to still be about. Rebel pride. I get it and feel it down in my bones. Probably doesn’t help in terms of possessing a rebellious nature considering half my blood and genetics came from the Arab region thanks to a foreign exchange student knocking up my mother during her freshman year in college (probably partly to blame for why I’m such an asshole). (No worries — she shares those details pretty frickin’ openly to whomever.) But I know nothing of that side of my bloodline directly. No contact, no personal knowledge. Might be why I turned out to be a rebel without a cause or clue. Ha!
Anyway, that’s all an important part of my identity. To me it is. To others it’s an interesting blend. A “sand-honky,” lol. And the only one I’ve ever met who happens to be a southern blend and a Saudi. Just is what it is. I had no choice in the matter obviously. ha But such is life. Happens.
The U.S. South was my original home. And now I’m up here living among Midwesterners and their German influences from way back when their ancestors originally migrated here. Not many Germans down South, I’ll tell you that. More English, Scottish, Irish and Native American-blended ancestry down that way. Creates a difference in cultures. As do the other European cultures heavily represented up this way, like Czechoslovakian and Swedish and Polish and Dutch and whatever else. The largest minority up in this state is Mexicans, yet they represent less than 10% of the population. Big difference from Mississippi’s historic and current nearly 40% black population. Makes for different types of sub-cultures within the United States.
Which makes for confusion for me while living within a region that has a different modus operandi than where I was originally socialized. I realize plenty of people make these sort of transitions, even without family nearby as I have. And I understand plenty of people adapt, as I have to some extent. But damn. Since moving to this particular city 9 years ago, I just do not feel like I fit in here. Just can’t seem to. I do try, but perhaps I possess some sort of hang-up. Part of that has to do with the expectation of what I see as superficial niceties and the general docility of the people here. As a hot-head with a bit of an aggressive streak, not unlike plenty of my family members and hometowns-people, this matters. As well as coming in as an outsider not terribly interested in keeping up with their local events and stories. *shrugs*
Just sometimes feel like a fish out of water. Or an Indian without a tribe. My “tribe” is spread far and wide and consists of some blood relatives but mostly friends I’ve bonded with over the years. We live in a whole new world where this nearly can’t be avoided. Though people here live in a bigger metro area, some of them are just as locally oriented as the least traveled persons from my hometown down south. And that’s kinda depressing. Talking about so many people who’ve lived here or near here all of their lives and maybe traveled some but still are in fairly close association with the people they went to high school with, even into their 40s or 60s and beyond. Feels like a series of small towns that grew too fast into a fairly big city, which is what it is. Such an odd place to observe unfold over these years.
Anyway, no big point here. Just rambling before bedtime. Hung out with some Bosnians tonight and am reflecting on how strange my own transition felt and can only imagine what they’ve gone through in moving here in the ’90s as refugees from their native country.