I’ve always been vague about my actual location in anything written on the GB, even though it’d take five seconds of research to figure out, or you already know. Possible reasons for this vagueness are mystique or the fact it is doesn’t matter, but I also admit a natural fear of public perception that comes with being from… Alabama.
Why have I been afraid to publicly state this, and why am I really okay with it?
If we didn’t know from media, travel and talking to people who have moved here tell us what the rest of the country thinks about the Deep South. There are indeed some walking stereotypes of true southern grit roaming the heartland, living the simple life on their porch or forming militias or whatever it is they do, so I can’t say the image of the south is completely fictitious. But living in the metropolitan area of Birmingham is basically like living in any other large city that’s not in New York or California. This goes without saying to civilized people who don’t discriminate, but there are lots of diversely brilliant minds here. And the middle and lower parts of the intellectual bell curve becomes mostly entertaining after a certain point. There is a sacrifice of a progressive mindset in exchange for simple good-heartedness, sometimes referred to as southern hospitality.
Having personal ambition in a culture where life goals rarely exceed raising a good family can feel bewildering. In such a large world of experiences and knowledge all for the taking, these people are happy with what many of us consider modest life achievements. And hey, I certainly can’t judge anyone for being happy.
So let’s break it down into pros and cons of the South:
Overt Public Racism
Lack of infastructure/public transportation
Cost of Living – You can own a decent house at a young age
Sweet Tea and generally great food
Mountains, rivers, beaches, whatever you’re into
Lots of trees
Slow pace of life
But above all the south is home, and I think that’s the only really important factor to people like me. I can’t say it always feels right when I look around and see a triple-wide with a confederate flag hanging in the front yard, but my heart weighs me down and seems to always bring me back to the region I reluctantly embrace calling home, the Deep South.