(Out of) Southern Comfort Zone

By April 7, 2013Travel

I’ve gotten a lot of…I’ll just say it–crap for being from the southeast during my travels in the States. I still remember a rather humorous moment my freshman year of college at Boston University when someone looked shocked when he found out I was from Atlanta: “I thought you were from Connecticut!”

I’ve been listening to “Southern Comfort Zone” by Brad Paisley on repeat lately. It’s a fantastic song that encourages people to see the world while incorporating some southern flair. I love this line: “I know what it’s like to talk and nobody understands…I know what it’s like to be the only one like me / to take a good look around and be in the minority.” 

It can be jarring leaving one’s comfort zone, much less having someone remind you that you’re an outsider. At one point, I changed “y’all” to “you guys” because I didn’t want to hear the teasing, the redneck jokes, or the most common, “But you don’t have a southern accent!”

A particularly funny party story from early into my 3 years of living in San Francisco:

Over the years, I’ve realized that there are times to blend in, but more often than not, it’s important to celebrate who you are. Rock the curls! Wear your favorite goofy-looking socks under your business suit. Embrace your accent and authentic voice.

I brought back “y’all” and say I’m from Atlanta. I give people a chance to see that I come from a unique and beautiful culture and that most southerners are not rednecks who still think the “War of Northern Agression” is going on.

I believe in taking the time to get to know people. To be curious about their backgrounds, their cultures, and to adopt some of their customs if you see fit. You never know, you might find you like BBQ and banjo!

THIS gypsy lady in Spain could dance!

THIS gypsy lady in Spain could dance!

While watching Justin Timerlake host his 5th time on SNL On Demand, NBC did something commendable. Instead of the typical ads that you can’t fast forward, they had brief “The More You Know” segments.

The most powerful one was about the most dangerous word in the English language: ASSUME

The guy said, “Don’t assume anything. Get to know people.”

Right on! How different would our world be if we actually got to know people? As Brad (we’re on a first name basis now) says, “I can’t see this world unless I go outside my southern comfort zone.” Whoever you are, wherever you’re from, celebrate it—get to know people and get out there and see this world!

 

Join the discussion 6 Comments

  • I get this all the time too as I am from Birmingham, (UK not Alabama!). Great post and loved the video. Very funny!

  • C Ohara says:

    Totally! I think the banjo is pretty rad!

  • I grew up in Ohio near Cleveland and moved to Indiana at 20, then Atlanta for 12 years before moving to Southern California in 2003. I went from You Guys to Y’all and back. LOL.

    Looking forward to chatting with you on Saturday. Congratulations on stepping out of the comfort zone. Each day I discover another gift that I am honored to share and am so honored to serve as a catalyst for positive change. It does stretch one a bit and if you would have asked me about these things 10 years ago, I would have looked back like I was talking to someone with 8 heads.

    Cheers!

    • Jacqueline says:

      What a small world, Kimberlee! I lived in SF for 3 years, so we have the CA connection as well! I also look forward to chatting and thank you so much for your kind words. I can’t wait to hear more about your journey and how we can collaborate to share your incredible message with the world! 🙂

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