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Does it really matter where you’re from?

In pondering the fact I’m moving from Tennessee back to my birth state of South Dakota, I wondered why it matters where a person is from.

I wish I had a dollar for every time someone in Tennessee asked me where I was from. I’d be able to really retire in style. I know my accent – or actually the lack of a Tennessee accent – was their first clue. It was probably just a conversation starter in most cases. However, there were times when I felt like an outsider, and not truly an Appalachian.

Isn’t this country (and world) prejudiced enough that someone has to constantly answer  where they are from?

It doesn’t matter where I’m from as much as it matters what I’ve done,  what I’ve seen, where I’ve been, and most important who I’ve become because of the events in my life. We all have different perspectives. They are all valid based on our live experiences.

I love being from South Dakota. It makes me feel a little bit unique. Someone once said they’d never met someone from South Dakota. My joking reply was “They let a few of us escape when they raise the border fence to let in the tourists.”

I needed to see a bit of the world and a lot of the USA before I could truly appreciate the diversity of this planet. I don’t mean the diverse races, but the diverse places, and the diverse experiences. I have found wonderful people (and some not so wonderful) everywhere I visited and settled.

Has being from South Dakota (West River and mid-state) made me somehow different? Has living in northwest Nebraska; western Montana; eastern Colorado; middle and southernMaryland; Crete, Greece; and northeast Tennessee made me more interesting. Maybe, maybe not. See how we slice up the areas and get even more specific at regionalizing?

Celebrate who you are and where you are from, but don’t put someone down because they are different.


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