Why I Love Being From The Ozarks

Why I Love Being From The Ozarks

How the Ozarks are most undoubtedly the greatest hidden gem in the Midwest
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I see the radiance of the sun glistening through the trees

I drink in the deep, rolling hills to my left and right

I smell the freshness of the virgin Ozark air

I’m Home.


I feel the weight of the hills in my stomach as I ride through the country

I hear the gravel crunching beneath our tires as we pull into the driveway

I catch Scooter nipping at my ankles when I step out of the van

I’m Home.


I hear the cows bantering in the fields beyond the rusty barbed wire

I smell the biology of cow manure as I climb the gate

I feel the burning agony of poison ivy on my skin

I’m Home.


I hear the lonely, green glow of the creek water

I feel the moss beneath my feet that makes its home on the Big Rock

I feel the rush of water as I jump into my ice-cold reflection

I’m Home.


I hear the proud singing of the saccades at sundown

I spot the fireflies lighting for just a moment and then fading away

I smell the dead air of the downstairs basement crawl beneath my bones

I’m Home.


I head grandma yell, “Sarah Jean!” just the way I like it

I head Grandpa’s cowboy boots clicking down the hallway in the morning

I hear Grandma saying, “Skip-a-rope”, as she lays down her UNO card

...

I see Grandma and Grandpa waving in their pajamas as we drive away

And then I open my eyes and realize home was a long time ago

But I realize I can always go home

If I just shut my eyes.

Cover Image Credit: Sarah Swanson

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I Went To "The Bachelor" Auditions

And here's why you won’t be seeing me on TV.
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It’s finally time to admit my guilty pleasure: I have always been a huge fan of The Bachelor.

I can readily admit that I’ve been a part of Bachelor fantasy leagues, watch parties, solo watching — you name it, I’ve gone the whole nine yards. While I will admit that the show can be incredibly trashy at times, something about it makes me want to watch it that much more. So when I found out that The Bachelor was holding auditions in Houston, I had to investigate.

While I never had the intention of actually auditioning, there was no way I would miss an opportunity to spend some time people watching and check out the filming location of one of my favorite TV shows.

The casting location of The Bachelor, The Downtown Aquarium in Houston, was less than two blocks away from my office. I assumed that I would easily be able to spot the audition line, secretly hoping that the endless line of people would beg the question: what fish could draw THAT big of a crowd?

As I trekked around the tanks full of aquatic creatures in my bright pink dress and heels (feeling somewhat silly for being in such nice clothes in an aquarium and being really proud of myself for somewhat looking the part), I realized that these auditions would be a lot harder to find than I thought.

Finally, I followed the scent of hairspray leading me up the elevator to the third floor of the aquarium.

The doors slid open. I found myself at the end of a large line of 20-something-year-old men and women and I could feel all eyes on me, their next competitor. I watched as one woman pulled out her travel sized hair curler, someone practiced answering interview questions with a companion, and a man (who was definitely a little too old to be the next bachelor) trying out his own pick-up lines on some of the women standing next to him.

I walked to the end of the line (trying to maintain my nonchalant attitude — I don’t want to find love on a TV show). As I looked around, I realized that one woman had not taken her eyes off of me. She batted her fake eyelashes and looked at her friend, mumbling something about the *grumble mumble* “girl in the pink dress.”

I felt a wave of insecurity as I looked down at my body, immediately beginning to recognize the minor flaws in my appearance.

The string hanging off my dress, the bruise on my ankle, the smudge of mascara I was sure I had on the left corner of my eye. I could feel myself begin to sweat. These women were all so gorgeous. Everyone’s hair was perfectly in place, their eyeliner was done flawlessly, and most of them looked like they had just walked off the runway. Obviously, I stuck out like a sore thumb.

I walked over to the couches and sat down. For someone who for the most part spent most of the two hours each Monday night mocking the cast, I was shocked by how much pressure and tension I felt in the room.

A cop, stationed outside the audition room, looked over at me. After a brief explanation that I was just there to watch, he smiled and offered me a tour around the audition space. I watched the lines of beautiful people walk in and out of the space, realizing that each and every one of these contestants to-be was fixated on their own flaws rather than actually worrying about “love.”

Being with all these people, I can see why it’s so easy to get sucked into the fantasy. Reality TV sells because it’s different than real life. And really, what girl wouldn’t like a rose?

Why was I so intimidated by these people? Reality TV is actually the biggest oxymoron. In real life, one person doesn’t get to call all the shots. Every night isn’t going to be in a helicopter looking over the south of France. A real relationship depends on more than the first impression.

The best part of being in a relationship is the reality. The best part about yourself isn’t your high heels. It’s not the perfect dress or the great pick-up lines. It’s being with the person that you can be real with. While I will always be a fan of The Bachelor franchise, this was a nice dose of reality. I think I’ll stick to my cheap sushi dates and getting caught in the rain.

But for anyone who wants to be on The Bachelor, let me just tell you: Your mom was right. There really are a lot of fish in the sea. Or at least at the aquarium.

Cover Image Credit: The Cut

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10 Things We Should Do For Our Country Before Outlawing Abortion

Just take one minute to think before you act, will you?

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As we all know by now, this past week Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp signed a bill that will make performing an abortion illegal after a fetal heartbeat is detected. In 2019, Alabama passed its own abortion bill making it the most restrictive in the nation with Ohio and Mississippi following suit.

An ultrasound can detect a fetal heartbeat in as early as 6-7 weeks. This is before most women even know that they are pregnant. This raises multiple uncomfortable, jarring, but necessary questions. Why are men able to make laws regarding a woman's body? Do we except pre-teen rape victims to endure a nine-month pregnancy followed by childbirth? If enforcing stricter gun laws won't stop people from buying guns, what is telling us that stricter abortion laws will stop people from having abortions?

Instead, I would like to propose 25 alternative issues to tackle for the people of our country before we open up this can of controversial worms.

1. Homelessness

Homelessness in the US is a deepening crisis in America. In places that are doing better than ever before economically, the rates of homeless families are at an all time high.

2. Foster Care

Nearly three-quarters of US states have reported an increase in the number of children entering foster care since the year 2014. However, with this increase, there is a steep decline in families applying to be foster parents, mental health care for the kids, trauma counseling for drug abuse by a parent, and additional community resources.

3. Gun Reform

I do not want to take away your guns, caring American citizen who has a legitimate conceal to carry in order to protect yourself and others. I want to take away their guns—the mentally unstable psychopaths who think it's okay to harm others because the voices in their head told them so.

4. Plastic Waste

"Because plastic wasn't invented until the late 19th century, and production really only took off around 1950, we have a mere 9.2 billion tons of the stuff to deal with. Of that, more than 6.9 billion tons have become waste. And of that waste, a staggering 6.3 billion tons never made it to a recycling bin."

5. Student Debt

Student loan debt in 2019 is the highest ever. It is a $1.5 trillion dollar crisis.

6. Stray Animals

There are roughly 70 million stray animals living in the US today.

7. Potholes

It's just NOT THAT HARD. My car is too old to handle all of that.

8. Mental Healthcare

The American healthcare system spends roughly 5.6% of the national healthcare budget on mental health treatment.

9. Plant More Trees

Combatting climate change, cleaning the air, providing oxygen? Good enough for...literally everyone.

10. Save the bees

A third of all of our food depends on their pollination.

Regardless of our own opinions on the matter, I think it is more than fair to say that each individual should be allowed to make decisions about their own body.

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