I'm a total transplant here in OKC. I've really learned to love the city in the last ten years and I've seen it change and grow in some pretty awesome ways like seeing the Thunder come to OKC--boy, was that huge!--and seeing the small businesses just boom. You want a really cool place to eat or shop that's got some local flavor? It's here, baby, and it's all good!
I love that it's a big city without being overwhelming. Sure, I grew up in the Dallas area, but I wasn't living downtown my whole life. Hello! Suburban kid much? Long ago my dream was to move to NYC and take up residence as another hopeful dancer hitting every audition I could find. It took me a couple of trips and a lot of soul searching to realize that was too big of a place for me and that dream just didn't fit the same any more.
It's really interesting to find out things about yourself you never knew before (Yes, I did just end this sentence in a preposition. English Teacher Mother, please forgive.). For example, my lifelong desire to live a big, busy life suddenly showed me how much I wanted a steady, slower pace. That was a door in the face. Did NOT see that coming and truth be told, I was a tad disappointed in myself that I couldn't "just do it," make the move and get comfortable with it. It's like my heart kept shouting out, "this is not what you want! Just listen to me for a moment and quit trying to force it to happen!" So much racket in my head and an aching heart slowed my roll and gave me serious pause to consider what I really wanted and needed.
To make a long story short, through a series of surprising and happy accidents, I ended up back in a city I did a lot of growing up in during college. And you know what? It turned out fine. In fact, it turned out to be what I really needed. Plans change, dreams do, too, and I think it's part of growing up, learning to be okay with that especially if you're like me, someone whose harbored a dream since childhood.
In recent days I've come to the realization that all my successes don't have to be in my twenties (Well, I just added thirties to that because that number is coming around the corner too soon!). I've got my whole life to make new dreams and see them through. I'm not too old--please, loving older adults in my life, don't laugh at that line. At one time I could not see what would happen in life after about 25 and I'm pretty far past that now so I have figured out, yes, life does go on past mid-twenties. I just had this idea that I had to have everything happen while I was young. Not really the case. Such a simple thought but resolving that in my head has been SUCH a struggle.
Okay, back to the point of this post. I can't call myself an Okie yet--I just don't know that will ever happen. BUT, being in Oklahoma sure did make me proud of something I totally took for granted: being a Texan.
I love my home state. I'm pretty proud of it and I'm glad that's a part of who I am. I love my tall Texan man, his boots, accent, and easy going way. I love true Tex Mex, salsa goes on just about everything and how Texas is mentioned in almost every country song. How 'bout them Cowboys, y'all? I've learned more about whitetail deer and Texas hunting season than I ever thought I'd have to know. I love the bluebonnet fields in the spring and big blue skies in the summer. I love how massive the state really is and that you don't have to ask if people are from Texas. They'll just straight up tell you the moment they meet you.
Best of all, I love that my family is all down there. I can move anywhere and it won't change the fact that when I say "home," I mean the Lone Star State. So I might be transplant whose big city dreams changed and dropped me in another panhandle state, but this girl will always have Texas in her heart. It's in my roots, part of my blood, and a definite part of who I am.
Now, I feel like I need to smoke a brisket, whip up a bowl of queso, and pop open a Shiner. Whose with me?
Where are you from and why are you proud of your state? Got something that makes your heart go pitter pat for your home state? Share it!