Monday, February 19, 2007

Country vs. Non-Country

Yes, I'm a little bit country. But not as country as a chicken coop.

And no, not in the way Marie Osmond meant it. Turns out, an ex-boyfriend (who is now a world class photographer) told me I was "country". I believe his words were, "Ooooo, you so country". In his world, this is no complement. It's not the worst label but it really is meant to put you in your place. At the time, I remember trying to hide the offense I had taken, trying to be the cool, detached ex-girlfriend who has it all together. But I was churning. How dare Mr. Flower tell me this? I'm a college graduate. I worked and excelled in a Fortune 500 company! I have been a leader. I've seen the world! I've made a tidy sum.

Nice try, Leigh. Who are you trying to convince anyway?

Generally, in the black community, if you're called "country" it means that you don't dress in the latest, high-end fashion or that you aren't "hip" in one or a myriad of ways. It means you're not sophisticated, not elegant. In my 20's, I cared about all of this stuff. Oh, how I longed to have the casual elegance of Audrey Hepburn or the soft spoken eloquence of a
Christiane Amanpour. I wanted to be glib, and witty, and ironic. I wanted that detached sophistication reserved for the non-country.

Guess what? I really don't have any of those things. I often don't have a quick retort. I trip over my words. I've been known to wear clothes from Gap, Old Navy, and yes...brace yourself non-country people...Target. No, I don't do Wal-Mart. But Wal-Mart is a complete topic in and of itself. But what's great about all of this is that I don't care about that teetering veneer anymore. Yes, I like nice things, I have a very nice home, we drive very nice cars,blah, blah, blah. But to live like Carrie Bradshaw from Sex and the City?. Here is my perception of her character:

Do I look coordinated but not matchy, matchy? Is my clothing a statement? Do I command subtle, yet noticeable attention with my individual flair? Do I look like I tried too hard even though I did try too hard? Does one item on my person look like (gasp), I bought it from a department store instead of a boutique? Do I look like someone you would admire? Aspire to? Do I dazzle you?

One thing about being do find yourself getting over all of this nonsense. You are who you are and if you're not, you probably never will be.

To all of you non-country people...I guess I never made the clique. I never really fit in with Mr. Flower's world. Tragically hip, elusive. Thanks but no thanks.

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