15 Songs I Grew Up Listening To, As A Southerner

15 Songs I Grew Up Listening To, As A Southerner

Great music is something all kids should grow up on.

Though I may be apart of a generation whose music choices stem from a technological point of view, doesn't mean that I don't know what good music consists of. Learning songs from the 60s all the way to the 00s, my childhood had a pretty strong foundation for musical interests.

1. Renegade by Styx

Growing up, this song reminded me of alien abductions and honestly freaked me out to the point that I loved it.

2. Anything by Bon Jovi

Bon Jovi, in the Mills' household, was considered hymns, not hairband.

3. "Anything" Journey

For my 18th birthday, I got to see Journey with their new lead singer in Birmingham, and my eight-year-old self was thriving.

4. "Your Love" by The Outfield

All I can remember from my childhood with this song is my dad randomly belting out "Josie's on a vacation far away." Come to think of it, he actually still does that to this very day.

5. "Jessie's Girl" by Rick Springfield

This one is a good headbanger on the way to your summer weekend softball tournament in Florida. Anyone else?

6. "Mr. Mom" by Lonestar

Even though I knew every word to this song, I never understood what it actually meant. Now that I have a younger niece and nephews, it hits home.

7. "Picture" by Cheryl Crow and Kid Rock

I didn't have anything, or anyone, to be sad about as a seven-year-old, but this song could make me rethink all of my life choices.

8. "Sweet Home Alabama" by Lynyrd Skynyrd

Okay, if your parents didn't teach you this, and if you didn't know all of the words by the time you went to your first Alabama football game, you're not southern. End of discussion.

9. "Help!" by The Beatles

My mom's favorite band is The Beatles, so knowing pretty much any of their music was inevitable for my childhood, this one just happened to stick with me. Fun fact: I share a birthday with Ringo Starr.

10. "Paint Me A Birmingham" by Tracy Lawerence

My dad always serenaded me in the truck with this one, and even though I may have rolled my eyes at him, I look back on those times now and miss when we spent that time together.

11. "You've Got It (The Right Stuff)" by New Kids On The Block

This music video taught me how to dance, and also taught me how to fall in love with Donnie Wahlberg.

12. "Not Ready To Make Nice" by The Dixie Chicks

I didn't have much to be pissed at growing up, but this song made me want to scream my lungs out while jumping on the trampoline in the backyard.

13. "Girls Girls Girls" by Mötley Crüe

I learned this one at my youngest age, I'm talking car seat age, but that didn't stop my parents from teaching me the wonders of hairbands from the 80s.

14. "Fat Bottom Girls" by Queen

Queen is a 70s band that inspired most of the 80's I grew up on, and this song, in particular, taught me the importance of them.

15. "End Of The Road" by Boyz II Men

Boyz II Men has to be one of my dad's favorite groups, and his high school go-to, so naturally, it was something I grew up on.

As a southerner, I think it's important to make sure you get all of the hits in - from R&B to Country - while you're growing up, so new generations can remember what great music sounds like.

Cover Image Credit: @beatsbydre/Instagram

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To The Girl Who Still Has Her Mom This Christmas

To the girl with who is blessed enough to have her momma this Christmas. 

     To the girl who is blessed enough to have her momma this Christmas, please remember to soak every last bit of it in. 

      Please remember to hug her so tight, that the way she smells is locked into your nose. Listen to all the stories you've heard a million times, like you've never heard a single one. Help her, even if it seems completely silly to you, help her mix that cake. Laugh, oh please laugh. Laugh at all her corky ways, at the way she mispronounces words, try's to be hip and use new found lingo, or how she cusses when she forgot to get the rolls out of the oven but quickly asks the Lord for forgiveness. Remember her laugh, etch it into your brain. Make her happy, if she wants to go riding around looking at Christmas lights down the same streets you've went for years, do it. Don't fuss, take her advice, agree to just disagree on things. It's not worth it. Most importantly, remind her over and over how much you love her. 

     Because unlike you, I'm not able to see my mom on Christmas. I'm not able to see her on birthdays, Thanksgiving, or any other occasion. My time with her is up. Death is the most permanent heartbreak. 

     How I long to hear her voice, her laugh. To feel her tight embrace. Smell, oh god, what I would give to just be able to smell her. I would absolutely love to go riding around for hours while she ohhs and ahhs at every single house we pass. If I had the opportunity I'd tell her just how much I love her, how I'm so thankful for all the sacrifices she made for me. In fact, I'm not sure I could ever tell her enough. 

      Some days I wake up and it still doesn't feel real. Others, I panic trying to remember exactly how she sounded. Because, I don't want to forget. I don't want to forget a single characteristic about her. Not one. 

     Take time, not just on holidays, or special occasions to be with your mom. Even if it's just you two piled up watching reruns of "The Little House on the Prairie", soak it in. 

    You only get one momma. Nobody could ever take her place. She's your rock. 

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5 Unexpected Lessons The Queens Of 'Rupaul’s Drag Race' Have Bestowed Upon Us

As I anxiously await the impending season four premiere of "RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars" this Friday, I can't help but think of all the fabulous queens who are returning. Earning a spot to compete on a season of "All Stars" is no small feat, which means that only the best (and some of my favorite) queens will again grace the runway and workroom.


Boasting ten regular seasons and soon-to-be four "All Stars" seasons, "RuPaul's Drag Race" has been my favorite television show for about five/six years now. In total, I've seen nine full seasons but am familiar with every queen who's competed since its beginning. Each season, I find myself becoming obsessed with a new slate of queens and rooting for the next best queen to take the crown.

As each new season rolls around, I'm constantly reminded of the greatest life lessons drag has to offer.

Good things come to those who work for it

"RuPaul's Drag Race" offers some of the fiercest, toughest competition on prime time television. While some people may think Drag is a fun, light-hearted hobby, those people would be incorrect. The constant effort that must be maintained in the competition, as well as outside, is a tall order. The amount of time spent getting ready, alone, is a challenge. However, the glitz and glamour are only half of the requirement. As performers, drag queens must refine a multitude of skills, such as comedy, immaculate lip-syncing, and mesmerizing choreography. In essence, drag queens are asked to be the jack-of-all-trades. After watching the queens work tirelessly to improve themselves in some area or another, I always feel inspired to improve myself to the best of my abilities. No, we can't all be the best at everything, but we can always be better.

Life imitates art/Art imitates life

Originating from roles in William Shakespeare's plays, drag has been said to be an acronym for "dressed as a girl." With its roots based in theater, it's not hard to trace the evolution of drag across all areas of performing arts. From the makeup, the costumes, and the wigs to the personas and the personalities, drag queens incorporate art into every aspect of their craft. As someone who actively seeks creative outlets, I fully appreciate the variety of creativity that the queens bring to the table. Some are masters of impersonations, some have vocals that could rival Ariana Grande, and some could oust top competitors of "Project Runway." Every facet of drag calls for artistic talent, and the queens never fall short of delivering.

Do what you love (and what pays the bills) 

Making it as a drag queen, while there is more visibility and a bigger platform now, is a whole-hearted commitment. "RuPaul's Drag Race" represents the culmination of years of hard work and preparation. Some queens will audition for countless seasons before getting their chance to grace the main stage. During those off years, these queens keep their schedules maxed out with gigs and appearances to provide for themselves. In reality, it's a career. Just like in any other field, uninhibited ambition must be the guiding force to truly excel and rise to the top. I appreciate the tenacious attitude the queens approach drag with. Failure and setbacks are inevitable for everyone, but the humble beginnings most queens start with make for great testimonies once they've hit their stride.


It's true that there is no one shadier than a drag queen. Whether it's a fiery "read" or witty comeback, drag queens will put and keep anyone in his or her rightful place. Even the workroom of "RuPaul's Drag Race" can be filled with tension every now and then. However, as quickly as the queens bicker, they also make up. Not only are their feuds usually short-winded, but they also often lead to the budding of new and close friendships. "Keep your friends close and your enemies closer," right? Even then, some queens get along from start to finish. Either way, the closeness that develops between the queens is that of an idealized sisterhood. Plus, they share wigs and clothes just like any other sisters would; well, maybe not wigs.

Accept others and yourself

This is probably the best life lesson and example that's come from watching "Drag Race." In the midst of many seasons, queens will often come forward to discuss their struggles with acceptance, whether from society or family. With these emotional, and oftentimes difficult, discussions comes an outpouring of support from fellow queens. Being that many of the queens face similar upbringings and experiences, they easily identify with the discrimination harbored against them. What's uplifting in all of the heaviness of their past experiences is the acceptance they offer each other. Not only do they accept each other, but many have also reached a place of accepting themselves, as well. Self-acceptance can be hard for anyone. Period. So, the self-acceptance the queens find is the glimmer of hope we can all use from time-to-time amidst our cloudy self-perceptions.


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