Saturday, January 5, 2008

"These Little Town Blues"

You first have to understand that I am from the East Coast and moved to the Midwest from California; East Coast is still my favorite though; Let's Go Mets!!!! I had an opportunity to do a lot of traveling over the last two years and one of my favorite spots was New York. I love Frank Sinatra's music but it's only been till recently that I understand what he meant by "These Little Town Blues". Now my take is a little different because I am from a larger city on the East Coast and these little town blues are killing me. It's like going to that fast food chain that begins with "W" and getting one of those nasty things they refer to as hamburgers; "No Flavor". I need more diversity and depth and the Midwest just isn't it unless your looking for that diversity in corn hybrids. Everybody has their own perspective and this is just mine.

For now the Midwest is part of my current circumstances until my kids get out of high school. Once that happens I can make some personal decisions that will provide a better opportunity for me to breath again. For now it's about traveling and as I mentioned, there's a business trip to India next month and one to Atlanta in a few weeks for a workshop. So, stop back by the Blog for future pictures of India, Atlanta and Chicago.

While in New York, I sat in Starbucks directly in front of the window, drank my latte and watched the New Yorkers' go about their business. They have an edge to them that's real life stuff and I sat there trying to delve into their minds to guess what they were processing as they moved with such purpose. I do believe that they tend to be a bit more honest about their feelings, relationship and attitudes then us Midwesterner's. It's amazing how much of who I am has been lost during the Midwest assimilation process; 11 years and counting. It's only when I talk to or visit friends and family back home that I realize that I am part of the "Borg" collective and have lost a lot of my individuality; more on that later. For now I hope you enjoy these pictures from The Big Apple!!!

Time Square

Other Parts of the City

Central Park


Kimmeesook said...

Having been raised in the midwest, moving further to the east and then to the south and then to the west, I'd have to say each place had its own appeal for me and was where I needed to be during that specific time in my life. That said, if I were to move, living in the midwest would be the place where I would have the most difficult time readjusting.

I completely agree with the "No Flavor" in the midwest. Funny... I was the flavor in my small town. Being a Korean adoptee in a Caucasian, Swiss/German family and community, everything I knew was WASPish. I had a very difficult time integrating with other Koreans. My desire to move to LA was in part due to the high population of Koreans here.

I find it a very difficult to return back home for family reunions b/c it becomes very apparent that I'm the only minority in the family.

I enjoy living in So Cal due to the diversity. I would like to move tho due to the congestion, smog, and for a slower pace of life. My folks know that I could not live anywhere east of the Mississippi... unless it's back to Florida or in Canada. I'm accustomed to a different kind of progressiveness that takes place out here on the west coast.

If relocating is in your future plans, I hope you can relocate to a place that can unleash the piece of yourself that the midwest has held captive.

Emily Dickinson said...

...they have a real edge? they move with purpose? A city doesn't give you purpose. And if you have a real edge, you live with God - not New York. Don't be burnin on lil towns. :-)

Anonymous said...

I don't need a big city to define me. I love the Midwest. It's where the words hit the pavement. It's real. When someone asks me where I'm from, I'm proud to say the Midwest. I can be from nowhere and somewhere at the same time. Authenticity lives and breathes in the Midwest. We aren't trying to be somebody or win the rat race. Too many city people forget the beauty in simplicity. Rushing about with all their "purpose", they forget to just be happy.

Beas said...

Wow, I am glad my post has created some dialogue on the Blog which was my intent; interesting that this is also the first time I've had anonymous comments. It’s okay to disagree as long as it can be accomplished without being disagreeable.

If this entry sounded like a 'slam" to the Midwesterners then I apologize but I appreciate the varied perspectives. I can see that you ladies and gentlemen are passionate about the Midwest and that's okay; I am also passionate about the East Coast. AND, it's not about Big City life, it's about depth, diversity and being proud of where you are from; I can definitely see a lot of you are proud of the Midwest and that’s okay.

Remember, it's wasn't that long ago that the city depicted in the Blog was raped by people who despised the entire country and took it out on New York. The city survived, the people have moved on, the wounds still do exist yet their souls are strong. Does this city resemble a city that went through the trauma is did not so long ago? Do these people look like they are laying in wait for the next attack? As I sat in a restaurant during another visit, I was comforted with the amount of pride they demonstrated in their city, sports and each other. The same pride I see in your comments.

In the first picture it’s as if Puffy is raising his hand in victory as to inspire the people. The shot of the Time Square subway entrance invites you into another part of the city’s experience that is very much a part of the culture. The Target advertisement that shows a woman’s leg represents the uncompromising style she “the city” has in the midst of everything; “you will see me”. The next four represents just one of the many styles of cuisine and entertainment; then sweets for the sweets and a cab ride to see if you can keep in down during the adventure to your next destination. The next several pictures depict beauty, brews and a “stage” Central Park that that is alive with the many types of cultures represented in this melting pot called New York.

Stay true to your roots and keep blogging baby!!!


Coach4Divas said...

The Borg Collective. The moment I fell in love with you. (LOL!)

I grew up in an Ohio village of 1500, the 1st black valedictorian the high school had ever graduated.

From there, Tampa, Los Angeles, Phoenix, Bloomington, NYC, and back to Bloomington again.

I'm better traveled than many, but never "overseas." (The pond is still a bit to big for me and there just aren't enough drugs yet. :))

Seriously, I get all the perspectives offered here. What I've observed is that most places, no matter how big or small, are primarily populated by drones, to stay with Dave's Borg analogy.

Whether it's running 110mph as people in NYC tend to, or being overly obessed with superficial crap like in LA (didn't matter what color I was though, just what kind of car I drove and my bra size) or believing that Chicago is too far away for your kids to go to college when you live here, group think takes over and people do whatever they need to in order to "fit in." It's what a friend of mine calls, the power of the collective consciousness.

I realize now, that no matter where I live, freedom from the collective comes from being comfortable in my own skin. If I want to dye my hair purple and worship trees, I can do that any where. What matters is what I think.

Dr. Seuss once said, "Be Who You Are and Say What You Feel Because Those Who Mind Don't Matter and Those Who Matter Don't Mind.”

If you can embrace that, it matters not where you live.

Shake off those little town blues, brother man, and just be YOU!

Emily Dickinson said...

Ditto to what Lisa said and hat's off to Dr. Suess! (The man's a genius.) Ya know, not to be disagreeable, but I don't think the terrorists "took it out on NY", they took it out on the US and targeted more than just the World Trade Center. They considered what represented things they hated -- democracy, our government, capitalism. A lot of people died or were injured in that attack and not all of them were in or from NY.

And, I know this will also sound disagreeable, but lots of towns and cities have been hit with travesties - Hurricane Katrina, Columbine, CA wildfires, the great Chicago Fire, San Francisco earthquake (to get historical) - and the people were strong and survived. They didn't give up and also took pride in the place they called home. It's not about the place, it's about the hearts, souls, resilience, and faith of people regardless of where they live.

Maybe sometimes we try to heal something in ourselves by moving to a new location or we glamorize a big city because we think if it's bigger and shinier, it must be better. Bigger is always better, right? Some people like to associate themselves with a big city because they think it makes them seem more "worldly" than someone from a small town. As you introduce yourself, if you have to attach an "I'm from (insert big city name)" then, imho, there's a bit of stereotyping there and a hint of ego-building.

Home is where the heart is and, according to Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, "if you can't find your heart's desire in your own backyard, then you never really lost it to begin with."

Letta said...

I read the comments posted here with interest. First, I'd like to say can you have "Big City Blues" as well? Can you get lost in a big city? Yes. In other words, no matter where you live you have to have a sense of "self" - who you are. You also can't "give" your joy away. And, you are in charge of your own happiness. Joy is a gift from God. You can have joy and happiness in a small town/city or bigger town or large city. If you don't like the bland burger made from "W", make your own! Do your own thing!

When I rise every morning there is an edge to me and, of course, I am a midwesterner too as you well know. There is purpose in me before I put my feet to the side of the bed each morning. I know it's time to meet the day with exuberant expectation that this is the day that the Lord hath made. Rejoice! It is not in vain. Yes we can become drones to some degree. It's up to us to give our life flavor. I love Arizona (love it!), don't care too much for Florida, I like DC, I like Texas, and I've never been to California (I hope to oneday). But, each place has it's own uniqueness and we each have our own experiences therein. They all have some pretty pictures that can be photographed. The beauty a gift that nature has given.

The Midwest can't hold one captive as kimmeesook suggests. You are responsible for allowing that captivity. As our friend CoachDiva points out "Be YOU!". No matter where you are you can walk with purpose, fulfillment, energy, happiness, love oozing from your soul! You can glean or absorb from all places that you've lived with good or bad experiences. And, be enriched by whatever experiences that you have encountered and those to come. Being a minority (whatever that minority represents) can be a blessing -whatever you make it. Rise up! Awaken! Take charge of yourself or your own backyard as Emily says. Often, we are our worst enemy. As Emily says, Home is where the heart is. Where is your heart? Or, where is your home?

Emily Dickinson said...

This is an interesting thread. I went back and reread what you originally posted. It reveals quite a lot about you. You say, “It's amazing how much of who I am has been lost during the Midwest assimilation process…” You would have lost yourself no matter where you lived. What makes us who we are shouldn’t be so fragile that a physical locality shatters our essence.
I will try to refrain from extolling upon the heart-wrenching beauty of the Midwest and how each season writes another sonnet upon my soul…heck, just the soothing song of the cicadas on a hot August night, the highway hum of 18 wheelers on Veterans, the harvest moon hanging omnisciently overhead, or the eternity in row upon row of majestic green corn brings me to my knees. For as much as you may believe you’ve lost yourself, each day I find myself renewed because of my small town roots. I’ve been to big cities and there’s no place I’d rather be than wandering these gently populated streets and taking solace in the silence.
We all need to find the place where we belong and maybe the Midwest isn’t yours, but that isn’t because of what the Midwest offers, it’s because of something in you. If there was an “assimilation process”, it was self-imposed. If you lost anything, it was something you were willing to give up. For those things we really love, we will fight to the death to ensure its survival.
What part of you do you believe the Midwest has stolen and that a big city can give back? You are who you are and I’m sure God still recognizes you. Mr. Beasley, the truth is – you haven’t lost a thing. For all those 11 years, you’ve gained. You have gained more walking these sidewalks than you would have anywhere else. If God wanted you to be somewhere else, He would have sent you the plane tickets and relocation package. (Actually, He’s probably keeping you here until you realize what a gift you’ve been given by getting to live in the Midwest.)