think bigger/look closer

The Midwestern stereotype still exists for a reason, of course, but guess what? It’s just a stereotype, and it’s not the only one out there. On average, perhaps big-city folk are less likely to judge you for being gay than their rural counterparts, but an alarming number of them will judge you for almost everything else you can imagine, including visible panty lines and meals at chain restaurants. They are more progressive, but they can also be more shallow and almost exhausting in their hatred of any fashion trend or any style of tattoo or any other gesture that could be seen as conformist or contrived or played out.

…kindness and positivity get more done than a subscription to any particular creed or belief system, and that intolerance and bigotry are both more widespread and less uniformly present in any given group of people than a lot of us enjoy believing.

“Man, I bet you’re glad to be out of there!” is a sentiment I hear frequently now that I’ve moved to the Bay Area–a subtle, sometimes anxious request for confirmation that I don’t have a Glenn Beck poster on my bedroom ceiling. I don’t really mind, but I can’t help but laugh at the irony: if I wanted to walk around promising people that I’m just like them and always will be, I might as well have never left home.

This article.

I grew up in a town with a little over 45,000 people. I attended a small, Catholic school with less than 300 students, where my siblings and I provided the only diversity in our elementary and high schools until the smaller Catholic school with a few Latina students integrated into ours. Before that, it was us and the Italian family. Italian was diverse; anything not German, Swedish or fourth generation Kansas was out of the ordinary.

I have dated sons of farmers who work from dawn until dusk during summer months. I have dated wannabe rappers and white gangsters with no sense of reality from towns with less than 2,000 people. I have driven on I-70 through fields of nothing. I have sped down backroads at 100 miles per hour on country nights, collecting dust and memories in towns smaller than the size of the residence hall I worked in sophomore year. And I have played sports and visited towns where people assumed I was a foreign exchange student because it’s Western Kansas, and where else could I come from?

My experience growing up was typical in some ways but so different than anyone I know. The storyteller in me (the majority of me) is so obsessed with it and wants to share it but I never know how to do that. Because Western Kansas may as well be Timbuktu to most people. I grew up in a “flyover state.” A state people assume isn’t interesting because they’ve never gotten a good look.

But I promise you there’s a lot there and eventually I’ll tell you all about it.

I’ll Be Here When It All Gets Weird

This post really only works if you scroll down to the bottom and press play before you start reading.

I came home for the weekend for the free food, official start of summer and to pick up my Bonnaroo ticket.

It seems every time I get back there’s less and less here for me.

I finally quit the part-time job I’ve worked here for the past couple of breaks; I’m not sure which kids from my graduating class are living at home for the summer and the big kicker?  When I grabbed stuff to bring home I left my laundry and grabbed my toothbrush and face wash.  I’ve never had to bring toiletries home.

Here my bed is unmade, my winter coats and boots scattered around and thrown on the floor.   I can’t find the other side to my old pair of keds and none of my favorite books are here to entertain me.  Even my library card is expired.

But even though I had to ask my mother for the spare set of house keys and lost my parking spot in the driveway I got to spend hours and hours laughing with my best friend, airing out my dirty mouth, and getting to see and listen to what she’s been up to for the semester.   I got to lay in bed this morning watching Newsies with my sister, trying to figure out what the non-Christian Bale actors are doing these days.   I baked a tray of mint chocolate brownies and had help in making them disappear, and now I’m sitting on the couch, watching shitty television with my mother while my dog begs for scraps of food from our plates.

Wherever I am you will always be, more than just a memory

No, I don’t live here.  But it’s home, homehomehomehomehome on the range.

Yeah, Bon Jovi, who says you can’t go home?

day 111.

After a 9-hour delay (yes NINE hour delay) I’m finally home.

I’ve got loads and loads of “stuff” to unpack. And miles to go before I sleep; always miles to go before I sleep.

But I’m happy to be back!

And if home is really where the heart is, then we’re the smartest kids I know. Because no matter where we are in this great big world, we’ll never be more than a few hours from home …

— “Rollercoaster”-Kimya Dawson