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Tuesday, December 14, 2010

A Southern Lady or a Southern Belle?

We have lived in Georgia for a little more than a year now.  I was the last to get on the Georgia is great bandwagon....but I am finally aboard.  And while I am finally comfortable that this is our home and excited for what the future will hold, I still don't feel totally comfortable here in social situations.  Most people have told me that I will still be considered an outsider for many years.  And, I am pretty sure it will be true.  I am different.  Where I come from there are different ways of talking.  For example, where I come from "Uffda" is a multi-purpose word.  Here, I am pretty sure they think I am talking gibberish when I say it. 

There are different social norms.  Recently, a friend of mine at church teased a few of the little kids about something, including A-man...(it had something to do with K-I-S-S....something, something, G)  This particular tease was one that I have been teaching the kids that it is not nice to do.  So, I went and talked to her about...not in a confrontational way...but in what I think was a "Minnesota Nice" way.  I just basically, jokingly, asked her if she could restrain herself from this particular tease in the future. I didn't think it was a big all. 

Another one of my friends was mother to one of the other "teasees" and asked me if I had heard what friend number one had said/done.  I told her I had and I had talked to her about it.  She looked at me with kind of a shocked look on her face...her mouth even dropped open a little bit.  We had all the kids around so nothing was discussed, but later, in a follow up conversation, I asked her about her reaction to the fact that I had spoken to this friend and asked her not to tease the kids. 

She told me that, here in the South, you can be upset with people or not like something they have said or done(we weren't happy about the way this embarrassed the kids), but she said you never know how a Southern Lady will feel because she will just say "Oh, bless your heart!" and move on...even if she is furious.  What I had done was very out of character. 

Then I got to thinking. 

I know that "my heart" has been "blessed" many, many times since we moved here.  Oh no!!!  Was I offending everyone with my Yankee ways?  Was I considered too brash?  Were they all blessing my heart and then talking about me behind my back? 

In my Yankee forwardness, I asked my friend.  She reassured me that people can really say, "Bless your heart", and actually mean, "Bless your heart", but that phrase is apparently kind of the multi-purpose phrase of the South - similar to Uffda in the North.

My friend assured me that I shouldn't try to change my ways to fit in and that maybe I could be an example of a different way of communicating for the ladies here.  I don't know.  We will see.  It just feels strange to feel so like these Southern Ladies and yet so very, very different.  I am not sure I will ever be able to say that I am a true Southern Lady, even though I have become a sweet tea convert.

On another note, S-Girl, my 3 year old, seems to be adapting and turning into a Little Southern Belle. 

She has recently started saying fer.  What is that, you say?  It is fer...not fur.  She will ask things like, "What's that fer mom?"  "What are we having fer dinner, mom?"  I have tried to get her to say for...but it seems to be a losing battle.  She is becoming a little Southern Belle. 

On the other hand, the rest of us still giggle and nudge each other when someone says, "Can all y'all pay attention, please?" Or any other variation on all y'all!

So, in closing, I say, "Bless all y'all hearts"! 


Kandi said...

Hmmm. SOOO many things I want to say right now, but I'll restrain myself! :) You just be yourself and if any of those Southern ladies has a problem then it's their loss. I agree with your friend - you can show them a new way to communicate - with honesty and kindness! ;) S-Girl is so cute...your younger ones will probably be true Southern girls!

Jill said...

My Mom always told me "A Southern woman rules with an iron fist in a velvet glove!" It's so true. As Kandi yourself. YOU are the BEST!

Oh my gosh! Becky is always saying "fer." Drives me nuts! She hasn't even been to GA!

You and your girls are all Georgia Peaches!

Anonymous said...

Oh uffda.

Jess said...

Oh, my friend, I could say so much right now. I'm a southern transplant (transplanted about S-girl's age). I learned to "speak" Southern Belle so well that I made my non-southern grandmother cry with such phrases as, "It's fixin' to rain." :) However, I've never learned to carry myself as a southern belle. Thus the reason I have to sit back and bite my tongue many days until I can muster the tact to not go totally spastic. You can rest assured that there was no blessing your heart and then talking behind your back going on in my world bc the only time I say "bless her heart" is in total sarcasm. I'm usually the one whose heart is getting blessed. And I am so thankful for your presence in my world!!

Anonymous said...

Kayla your the best and you keep right on being you. That is what makes you such a special person and a very good friend. Debbie