North Carolina and her girlish charms

(WAYNESVILLE, NC) — The longer I stay in Western North Carolina, the more its beauty tries to seduce me. Its small, country roads bat their eyelashes at me, and those pristine, babbling streams give me a come-hither look. On my ride to work, I see pastures and cornfields and lush mountainsides licked with fog. Constantly, I am lulled into a major sense of awe and a minor feeling of security.

It’s almost enough to make me forget that I’m pissed.

Of course, this isn’t a constant feeling. My anger hides in the back of my mind and waits until I see a Confederate flag or the newest lineup of terrible, popular movies at the local theater to spring into action. Then, the floodgates open. I retreat into my head. Maybe I call my dad or a friend. If I’m in the car, I turn up my music, sing along and pretend I’m somewhere else. The other day, this very feeling prompted me to buy a bumper sticker that reads “What Would Morrissey Do?” Even if I don’t say a word, in my mind I am complaining and complaining and complaining. In these moments, I do believe that I am an asshole.

I tell you all this because I’m trying to change it. People here are friendly and warm, and they deserve better. I can say my discontent is due to my low pay or my lack of understanding of the genteel South that surrounds me. But that might just be crap. I think I’m still simply having a hard time settling into normal life. I miss my trip. I miss being outside of everyday culture and being able to leave a town whenever I want. I know this sounds like complaining, and I sincerely invite anyone who wants to slap some sense into me to do just that. But my goal here is not to complain. I swear. It’s to ask a question.

How am I going to make my life work? How does anybody?

I want to commit to whatever that answer is. If it means staying here a long while, settling into the down-home atmosphere and writing stuff for the paper I can be proud of, OK. If it means going back to California and waiting tables until I figure out who I want to be, bring it on. If I let go of my fear and worry, I can actually get excited for a moment. Something is going to change soon. It has to. And it has to be new and invigorating enough to get my attention.

For now, here are some pictures of Austin, ones I took months ago. Maybe it seems random, but for some reason the segue works in my head. This is my favorite street in the city, a wooded, residential lane that runs parallel to South Congress Avenue. Even on the days I was terrible at my job, the beauty of this little area always woke me up. This street somehow made me feel like an artist.

OK, time once again to remind myself of the possibility in the world.









1 comment to North Carolina and her girlish charms

  • linda drake

    Stina, your writing always intrigues me. I had to comment because I too have lived in the south which has always struck me as such a place of contradictions. There is real beauty there, and lots of sweet gentle folk. But there is also a lot of ugly narrow minded thinking. I honestly don’t think it’s more than anywhere else, I think it’s just southerners seem to wear their hearts on the sleeves, so you see good and bad more often.
    Perhaps this is what you need to be around at this time in your life. And while we can’t always change the world to our liking, we can walk a path of our own choosing. Small changes happening daily can mount to big changes. A bit of Stina might be just what the south needs!!!!
    I adore your spirit.. hold tight to it.
    hugs from one of your fans!

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