I am beyond excited to present the first ever Guest Post on Rambling with the Barba. It’s not that I didn’t want to have Guest Posters, it’s just that you have to have someone willing to be associated with you to submit a post. Today’s inaugural Guest Poster long ago pushed aside her angst at having been lumped in with me to such a degree she decided to marry me.
I didn’t like the idea of having someone funnier than me post here but she’s my wife, meaning she held a certain leverage. She usually blogs about our missionary happenings over at Hagermans on a Mission but decided to sow some oats over here. Beware she is a specialist in the art of the Jesus Juke. So, crack open that can of “Crunk” energy drink you bought from Big Lots and rustle up a bag of Funyuns, sit back and enjoy.
Embracing My Inner White Trash
Don’t hate on me yet. I happen to despise racial slurs and don’t particularly care to hear people called names of any sort. But you have to admit that “po’ white trash” carries a certain connotation, a certain je ne sais quoi. A special redneck mystique that can’t be imitated, though I’m not sure people other than female teenage rock-stars would even try.
I’m coming to the conclusion lately that I kinda like the white trash in me. Mind you, I’m not full-blown stereotypical or anything, but I got my roots in the right place. I grew up in a rural area of South Carolina near Charleston, where camping on an island at the lake was my idea of a de-luxe vacation, if we could get the boat to crank.
I came from a great family, but we weren’t living high on the hog or anything. Just regular folks gettin’ by. I never lived in a trailer park, but lots of my friends did, and I never considered that a bad thing. It just meant your buddies lived close enough to hang with every day. I ate corned beef hash from a can, Vienna sausages, Spam, and grocery-store brand grape and orange sodas, and on a good day, even enjoyed a bag of Funyuns. I used an ungodly amount of hairspray and caught crawdads out of the ditch in my front yard.
I was blessed to go to high school in a small school where everybody knew each other. And when I visit home, a trip to Wal-Mart proves that everybody STILL knows everybody. We had a pretty even mix of black and white students, and I don’t remember that ever being a problem. We cut up with each other, but nobody ever had to say, “Can’t we all just get along?” I was named Miss Swamp Fox the year I graduated, and I never even minded that the word swamp was in that title.
I’ve since moved away and lived in several different places. I married an upstate boy, made friends all over South Carolina, then later all over the world. I don’t even live on the same continent anymore. And every now and then—not often, mind you, but every now and then—I’m tempted to act like somebody I’m not. I’m tempted to try to dress myself up and act like the kind of people I used to mock poke fun of laugh at wonder about. Especially if I’ve spent time around snobby conceited more cultured folks. Now, I’m not talking about how my accent changes when I’m visiting my hometown, or how I may use different words when talking with my cousin than I use when talking with my surgeon, although that does play into it. I’m talking about forgetting that who I am is just fine.
I’m learning that being po’ white trash does have its benefits. I actually ENJOY being around farmers who spend their days in the mandioca fields. I soak up what impoverished people have to say, recognizing that they have much they can teach me. I like to spend time with the elderly and handicapped, and they don’t make me nervous. I’m okay with drinking water that’s not 100% pure, eating an animal someone killed in her backyard in honor of my visit, and sitting outside on a stump because my neighbor doesn’t have a chair to offer me. It’s cool if one door of the Mission Mobile has to be temporarily wired shut with a clothes hanger.
What does scare me is that occasionally it matters to me what folks who aren’t privileged with a hearty white trash background, think about me and mine. The older I get, the more I appreciate the skin I’m in, and the more I understand the value of liking me. And as long as the One who made this skin is happy, this slightly white trash chick is content to be who she is, take it or leave it.
What parts about you are really okay, but you sometimes try to change them for other people?
When she is not making appearances as Miss Swamp Fox, Christie writes our family blog at Hagermans on a Mission. She also has an extensive book review page on that blog as well as the Hammock Librarian fanpage on Facebook. Check her out and drop some comments on her.