If you ask most people what a country girl looks like, there’s a good chance they’ll all say something relatively along the lines of, “she’ll be in a cowboy hat, boots, and jeans for sure, probably working on a farm, she doesn’t own any dresses, she only listens to Brad Paisley, and she hates being around lots of people.”
If you ask most people what a city girl looks like, there seems to be a certain image associated with that as well; “she’ll be in expensive dresses, she doesn’t like getting dirty, she loves being around tons of strangers, she enjoys noises of the busy city, and she would rather be in a mall instead of a barn.”
What I’ve found, however, is that opposites truly do attract.
I was raised on a small farm in northern Kansas, where the skies are endless and the hills are rolling. I spent countless weekends at 4-H events, rodeos, livestock shows, working with animals, helping my mom garden, putting up fence, and exploring pastures around our house and other farms. Starting in middle school, however, I began my journey as one who loves and thrives in big cities. I was fortunate enough to participate in a choir trip to New York City, and I instantly fell in love. The hustle and bustle, the lights, and the potential of a future in a place like NYC filled my every thought. I spent that trip ravenously soaking up all of the moments and memories I possibly could. Unfortunately, it was soon time to return to the sunflower state and exchange skyscrapers for silos. The next few weeks were excruciating, as I yearned for the reckless, wild energy that the city provided.
Fast forward a few years, and my life began a whole new season. Doors were opening and opportunities were presenting themselves in ways I had never imagined, and I began traveling quite a bit. I went places such as Washington D.C., Florida, Tennessee, New Orleans, Dallas, Mobile, Atlanta, and St. Louis. All of these places presented me with new challenges, new memories, and a new thirst for the unknown. As I began this season of traveling, conferences, campaigns, and life changing moments, I expected my restlessness when I returned home to only grow exponentially.
Instead, I found myself in love in the most interesting way; part of me adored the rush, excitement and mystery of the city life, and part of me learned to appreciate and love where I came from. While there’s nothing that can compare to the brilliance of the NYC skyline or the National Mall at night, I have yet to find anything more beautiful than a sunset over a field of wildflowers or storm clouds over the Flint Hills in Kansas.
For so long, I felt an inexplicable need to escape from where I came from, but I was so thankful when I realized that where I came from IS my escape. I’ve heard it said that you can’t outrun your roots, but it’s so much more than that. Where I came from is who I am. I have a foot in both worlds, and there’s nothing wrong with that. There’s a simplicity in wide open spaces, and there’s an adventure in the cluster of buildings and excitement. I can go from heels to cowboy boots in a few short hours, but by clinging to the roots I have and simultaneously, actively growing my wings, I know there can only be perfect, challenging growth from here on out. Find what you love, grab hold, and then hang on loosely. There’s no requirement for the things you love; there’s you. I plan on rocking my big city life and flaunting my homegrown roots, shamelessly, authentically, and honestly. How about you?