Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Cold Comfort

Last night I went to my writing group. It is a class that I paid for and have been all of three times out of 5. There are three more classes and I will go to maybe two. I will bypass next week after I read my essay, The Carpetbagger, and it went over as a lead balloon.

The assignment was to write a biographical piece with the theme bitter so I edited and revised the master essay with the same name and the first essay (also published on here - When the Bough Breaks)to mash together to the piece I posted here. Yes it was bitter and yes that is my truth and it is one of many essays that are about my experience here since relocating to Nashville one year ago. Now all the essays are not written, some are notes and some are quite positive about what it is like to move and swim in the deep red sea. And yes on average it has been as turbulent as one could imagine. I was warned but I was and am an optimist. I do believe that this will work out for me and in turn I will find a better way to define my last quarter of living.

I tried to explain why I found this place so off putting is that my introduction came via the schools and once that tone was set it was almost impossible to rise above it. Without healthy rational intelligent companions and relationships my experiences are limited to schools, the gym and Vanderbilt Dental/Medical. And my attempts to volunteer at The Frist were also distressing as there they were an impenetrable clique and had no intent of opening their hearts to anyone outside the group. And this is why daily I see endless requests for volunteers as it is utterly isolating to spend one's free time being so marginalized in an place meant to be open and welcoming. I packed it in after a few attempts and I have no desire to change that anytime soon.

I tried and was again scolded and/or ignored. The reality is that again I have nothing in common with many whose social life centers on Church and food. I read, I travel, I write and I love pop culture. There are few women or men here who appreciate that and if they do they are well partnered off and have no interest in making new friends as we are an increasingly isolating and segregating one. And this is not an irony here in the South.

So when I read this I plan on including this in the body of one of the essays I call The Anathema of Southern Hospitality. I have written endlessly on that subject as well and a woman I met from Chicago who said that she too had felt the same way but that I was the first willing to articulate it and she warned me that it would not go well. Yes that is the permanent scold here as any problem is your problem and you are ultimately the fault and the problem. I get it. I really do. And for the record that is a philosophy of the religious right and Christian pathos. It is an oxymoron and contradiction but that is the South.

Turns Out, We're Kind of Rude

By Betsy Phillips
Nashville Scene
— Dec 5, 2013 5 AM

I guess this is the week of strange studies or something, but this one is really fascinating. By listening to recorded phone calls, researchers found that people from Ohio swear a lot and are really rude. In their defense, some of them have to live in Toledo, which is enough to put anyone in a foul mood.

But here's the interesting part. We're rude as fuck. Yes, Tennessee. We don't swear much (exceI'm a lesbian who lives in Nashville, and I'm from Palm Springs, CA.
but we're the fourth rudest state in the land! Surrounded on all sides by courteous states, we're apparently the jerks of the South. Even Kentucky is more courteous than us, which is depressing. They have better healthcare, the Colonel's secret recipe, and are more courteous? Jerks.

We have to do something to change our reputation. So, the next time you hear "This call may be recorded" just remember to throw in a few gratuitous thank-yous. We can't let Kentucky be better than us at everything

Or this from City-Data in 2012 about being Gay here

I'm a lesbian who lives in Nashville, and I'm from Palm Springs, CA.

I've lived here for three years. My girlfriend of 8 years and I have contemplated leaving.

When we meet straight couples from California and Europe, they tell us how much they hate it here because the people are so closed minded. I know this will offend some of you, but that's how it is. Nashville is not progressive. However, Nashville is the most progressive city in Tennessee.

We will be staying because our houses are not depreciating here like everywhere else and my girlfriend has a great business. However, we travel out of state at least once a month.

And I have written the love letter in the Nashville Scene about the other Seattle resident and her experience

Hey, Ladies of Nashville.

What is uuuup? I fucking love you.

Three years ago I moved to Nashville from my lifelong home of Seattle, leaving behind the land of weed delivery, gay marriage and socialist city council members for a new place in the middle of the Bible Belt. “Culture shock” doesn’t even begin to describe it.

Sure, I have met some wonderful people, because Nashville is full of wonderful people, but I’ve never felt capital-H Home. Strangers ask me what church I go to and are confused when I say I don’t go at all. I’ve been told I’m too loud and too direct when I thought I was simply stating an opinion, and I’ve been made to feel foolish for wanting the world to be a safer, kinder place for everyone — especially women. Lately it’s been particularly difficult. The fact that a very unqualified man was elected president over an overwhelmingly qualified woman has had me longing for Seattle’s more progressive pastures.

But then I drove over the Korean War Veterans Memorial Bridge on Saturday, Jan. 21, on my way to Nashville’s Women’s March. Thousands of people — the majority of them women — were flooding into Cumberland Park, filling the parking lots surrounding Nissan Stadium and lining the 3,000-foot stretch of the John Seigenthaler Pedestrian Bridge. They were yelling, chanting and waving hilarious, smart and/or poignant signs. They were refusing to be ignored.

I knew there were like-minded people here. I knew Nashville is a blue dot in the red sea. But it wasn’t until I saw women come out in droves to support other women — women of color, trans women, immigrant women, women who aren’t old enough to vote and women who have been voting for the better part of a century — that I was finally able to understand just how many of us (of you!) there are out there.

I see you, women of Nashville. I hear you. I love you. Thank you for making me feel like I have a home again.

Yours in resistance,
Megan Seling

The reality is that this same magazine recently called the progressivism here faux and I would concur. And Megan is a millennial here who writes for the same magazine trying to make it work and bless her heart! So while we share some sentiments we are very different in our perspective and age is I believe largely part of my problem and I have no intention of changing to meet the status quo.

There is something easy to profess your liberalness when you are secure White professional who possesses the few degrees here and make a decent income to continue to live here. That I call cold comfort. I have felt that chill here despite the humidity and last night only confirmed it. Confronting people with truths are not a dish served cold.

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