I was raised in a small town in South Carolina and have lived in this state all my life. I’ve traveled to other states, seen other places, and come to the conclusion that I’m pretty much a country girl at heart. Most of my favorite cities are southern cities and every time I go above the Mason-Dixon line, I have a good time, but I wouldn’t want to live there. Therefore, knowing that I’ll probably live in the south for the rest of my life I’ve come to just expect certain things.
- People will hug you despite your preference to shake hands. This bothers me, but I deal with it when I meet someone new and they say “We don’t shake hands we hug.” Fine, enter my 3 feet of personal space for a second.
- College football is the only thing that matters when you live in South Carolina. Not that I care much either way, but just know that when you try to discuss the NFL you’ll get a lot of, “I only follow college sports.”
- You’ll be asked what church you attend by strangers and new co-workers. Why my religious preference matters to you, I do not know, but, oh well, lets talk about places I can dedicate my Sunday mornings to.
You also get used to other things, such as seeing the confederate flag. It’s on cars, belt buckles, flying in people’s yards, etc. Though a part of my brain understood the flag is a symbol of some people’s heritage, for me it’s always been a sign that the person sporting that flag isn’t to fond of people like me. Maybe because of the KKK rally through my home town when I was younger and they had that flag. Maybe because when I worked the drive through in high school a guy called me a nigger, threw something at the window, and had a flag in his car. Maybe because people tell you about a guy who used to be in the Klan and rode around with a huge flag in the back of his truck, but it’s okay because now he’s not a part of that anymore. Who knows, it could be other things, but I’ll go with that.
So being from the south, seeing it everywhere, and knowing how much of a fight it was just to take the thing off the top of the state house and put it on the grounds, I’d just gotten used to the flag flying at my state capital. I resigned myself to it being there, never going anywhere, and that was just part of the burden of living in, and being from, South Carolina.
Then I hear on the news that the flag is coming down. That the house and senate voted to remove the flag (something I doubted would actually happened) and it’ll be gone by the end of the week. Tears came to my eyes.
I’m not one who’s prone to tears … except when I’m pregnant, and I’m pretty sure there are no babies growing in this oven.
As I wiped my eyes it struck me that even though I was used to seeing that flag all my life, knowing that the flag would no longer be on the capital grounds of the state I grew up in and live in filled me with hope, pride, joy! I can’t explain the feeling adequately. I don’t know if I ever will, but what I do know is that as of this moment, I am proud to say I’m from South Carolina.
I guess you really don’t realize how much changing the status quo can matter until it actually happens.