I am a born and raised Southerner. South Louisiana will always be the place that I call home. It is in my blood and every fiber of my being. I am proud to say it, and you will more than likely hear it in my vocabulary if you ever speak to me.
Since recently moving to Kansas, I have realized just how unique the South is. It is nothing like living in the Mid-west. While Louisiana has trees, sugar cane, and water just about everywhere you look, my part of Kansas has rolling hills, windmills, and pastures.
While I love both of these places (they will each hold a piece of my heart forever) I can't help but notice how quick some are to adapt to a new way of living. When I was preparing myself to move, I thought I would hold on to my southern characteristics with now problem. I have seen over the past few months that I have definitely picked up a more mid-western way of living.
Now, it is not a bad thing. It makes sense to adapt to the place that you are living in. While it shouldn't be considered a survival mechanism, it is a natural instinct to want to fit into your surroundings. If I were have made a point to continue to live the way I did in south Louisiana in Kansas, I really would have a hard time making friends.
I just got back to Manhattan, KS after a week trip home to see my family. While it was all familiar to me, the culture that I have grown up in seemed kind of foreign to me. In just seven months, I have become accustomed to living a different kind of lifestyle.
Again, I do not see this as a negative thing. Part of what drew me out of the South was wanting to experience new ways of life. Going to places I have never been before and understanding how they make their lives. It is something that has peaked my interest for quite some time, and I finally decided to pursue it.
I think after my time home, I am surprised by how much of my culture I have kind of let go of. I am proud to be a Cajun, but I just don't embrace it as much when I am away from my people. Since it is a part of who I am, I want to carry my culture with me wherever I go, but part of me realized that it could be very easy to leave it in the past.
If I did decide to, I could totally change my way of life and never look back. It is surprisingly easy to grow away from the life that you have known, and embrace one that is totally different. My take away from my time home is just to continue to embrace who I am and where I come from.
There is no shame in throwing around my southern slangs, even if I get some weird looks. I don't tend to have a thick accent, but when it comes out, I'm gonna rock it, honey. Mainly, I just want to be true to myself, past and future.
I encourage you to keep growing, keep learning and keep living your life to the fullest. Never apologize for where you came from. Learn how to incorporate where you come from into the places that you will be going. Always remember your roots.