It Ain’t Pretty……

….but it’s REAL.

This is the advice I got from a tough Southern Woman.

I was honored to be invited to be a Bridesmaid at an authentic Southern wedding in Opelika Alabama.SouthernWomen

Quickly, I had to learn the difference between the Auburn Tigers and the Crimson Tide of Alabama (and knowing when it was appropriate to shout out ROLL TIDE)

I learned the trick on preparing and frying catfish so that it doesn’t taste too ‘fishy’ – I learned tricks to ensure  ‘The Higher the Hair-the Closer to God’ -I met men in seersucker suits and bow ties- I found that some rumors about Southerners are false (most people are not at all racist or backwards) and some rumors ARE true (they are the NICEST people in the world and can drink any Yankee under the table)

One rumor proven true-Southern women are tough as nails.

I was hanging out with self-proclaimed ‘Highbrow Rednecks‘ which meant that a woman might go deer hunting during the day and wear Chanel at night. It meant that she knows which fork to use and which whisky to drink. It means she has been through a lot and has not only survived but thrived.

Being surrounded by these women was the best thing for me for my first trip after a very bad car accident. An accident that took a friend’s life and left me with a terrible scar on my leg. Everyone noticed my scar and I found that, when people asked, my line was the same ‘It’s OK-no big deal‘.

I felt obligated to be OK-I was blessed to have survived when another had not.

But, every time I looked at my scar or freaked out over being a passenger in a white van-I realized I didn’t feel so OK.

And as much as I wanted to ignore these feelings, pushing them down only equalled a melt down in my hotel room in Alabama.

Finally, one of these Southern belles called me OUT.

When one of them asked how I was as I propped my leg up I gave my usual ‘It’s OK-no big deal’ to which she responded.

‘You are most certainly NOT OK! You were in a horrible car accident and your friend died and your leg is a mess. You are strong and you will heal but this is definitely NOT OK. Life ain’t pretty but it’s REAL’

With that comment-she allowed me to actually OWN it. Own the fact that I am injured and healing and maybe not doing so OK. And, since that discussion, it’s allowed me to take better care of myself and drop the need to pretend to be OK.

It’s said in the South (by one of my idols Dolly Parton actually) Dolly

‘Storms Make Trees Take Deeper Roots’

Hanging out with the women in the Deep South helped me realize that.

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