Tired of the rush rush rush and the traffic and want to get out of the rat race? So you decided to move to the country looking for a slower lifestyle? Think the schools would be better because of the smaller classroom size? Be aware of the fact that women very seldom will stay before you get too financially invested. It might be better to rent first.
There is an inner sanctum in rural America that an outsider will never be allowed to enter. Even when you have been there for 25 years and saved their butts you will still be rejected by the “powers that be” on some level. If they need to make a change and realize that if they do not they will no longer be a community it is almost always an outsider that will be needed to help with the change. Obviously, the same people that created the mistakes can not now be called on to fix them since they never would have happened if they knew what they were doing wrong in the first place.
So momentarilly, they will relinguish some control in the effort to save their towns or villiages. Their lifestyle has been ordained by the generations before them so it is the duty (note I said duty) to live according to the dictates that have become acceptable dress, thinking, and behavior according to those that have been born there or married someone that was born there generations ago and then fell in line with their thinking.
Anyone that has a different style of dress amongst the women, especially, that has a different style of politics and usually that is anyone that is democrat or liberal and not Republican, and anyone that thinks the Churches should be playing a different role than they are playing will almost always be cast out or branded as they brand their cattle. Do yourself a favor, and leave the Churches alone, as their Grand Daddies or they have paid to see them built and have been contributing for generations and therefore in thier minds, they own the churches. I repeat say nothing, do nothing, but leave their Churches in their guidance and direction.
Once they find out that you are not easilly controlled by their suggestions then you become stupid, an alcoholic or odd in their efforts to control. The word spreads quickly as to who thinks “such and such” and the next thing you know you are held in the same lack of esteem or like I prefer to say “branded” for the duration of your stay.
Their way of thinking is a simple way of thinking so the great majority of us, “outsiders” tend to just smile and move on knowing their system is so uncomplicated that we got it the first time someone decided to sit down and have a conversation with us. It is not too unlike a lifestyle that most of us lived in highschool with the different cliques or not too unlike “the Stepford Wives.” Their favorite though is to brand a person as being eccentric, crazy, or suffering from depression and certainly,”Not like us” once they find that this is someone that they will not be able to control into their style of dressing, politics and pattern of thinking. For them to have to accept another way of thinking would only make them have to question their own sanity as well as basis for their thought.
The later one is definitely a compliment because it usually means that you have moved into the area with a few ideas that might actually make the community more progressive or generous in their thinking. I guarantee you though, it will not feel like a compliment when they say. “You do not think like us”. It is as though you have just dropped down from Mars, in the tone that they use. Whatever, you do, if you plan on staying awhile, do not lose sight of that which makes you different and build on it. I have found that a life outside of the community of both travel and antiquing has gone a long way towards making me stay in the area where my husband enjoys. He also has been fortunate, as I have been, to have both a boss and friends that we both admire and respect in the area.
The people that would question, “outsiders” never actually come right out and say anything that is spoken directly to your face. If you or your husband are in the professional level, who by necessity of the job, will be directly affecting the populace, you will especially be put under the microscope. For instance, if you or your husband or both are Doctors and the community is unhappy with the current Doctor or do not have one.
If the local man that grew up there, got the bank in trouble and you are moving in to fix the problem and run the largest bank in town, If you will be running the local utilities in town or taking over the local hospital, the new Super-in-tendant of their schools, or the Chief of Police. Any job that requires changes from what they have become comfortable with even though that comfortable level is part of the reason the past Dr., lawyer, super-in-tendant, hospital director, banker, District manager has failed.
More time than not men do make the adjustment to rural areas because men are able to combine their interests of fishing, hunting, sports in general, hang out in the local bars, run for offices that none of them want. Women are not so well received. More time than not, they are seen as a threat, a competition if you will.
Usually when “outsiders” first move to town there will be a welcoming committee that will show up and welcome them and then there will be a course on who they like and do not like and the history, what I refer to as the branding, that took place 20 years ago and then they get onto hair dos and finger nails. Almost always short, permanent, and dyed with polished and practical nails. God Bless you if it is your husband that cooks and not you or you and your husband have ,any reversal of the genders from the traditional. I sincerely mean that, “God Bless You!”
Just a sample of what I mean: a neighbor was very interested in animal rescue so she called me in hopes I too would develope an interest in the same. I went along with rescuing cats that actually already had a home until I decided to get out of climbing over dead wood. The problem is these animals were not actually homeless. Had they have been it would have been an admirable past time but the thing of it was it was her interests while I had interests that layed in dealing with the problems that needed attention within the school system. Had she been able to divert me from politics to saving cats and dogs then she would simply fade back and she would have altered the direction that I had taken.
They know if they tell us to stay out of their politics they run the risk of offending us and lose the purpose of having accepted us in the position of cleaning up the mess, so the ever so subtle approaches are sometimes used.This is just an example as to how people in small towns think that they can snooker outsiders that move in to save their communities from dieing off.
I’ll just stay with this person as it gets humorous before she finally figures out that I am not prone to playing games or bending to her will. One day she comes over with a stack of magazine catalogs and announces that such and such down the street wants her to help her find a dress for a wedding or something. She casually leaves behind a catalog that has the styles that she thinks I should wear; another time when I gained weight due to a change in medical treatment she who has never worn a larger size than a three shows up and tells me that she needs to lose weight and would I want to join weight watchers with her? Then once she got me there she would quit of course. Another time she suggested that she and I start a 4 play bridge group each week.
I knew she would play once and then I would be on my own to put 3 people together at my house each week but it was a good way for me to get acquainted so I did not care if she thought she had won on the manipulation. It would be these ladies that would defend me later when I decided to paint my home a different color from what the previous home owners had painted it, read a good book, and turn down all offers that I had no interests in.
In some areas people are worse than others. Depending usually on how exposed they are to other ways of thinking, how diverse they are in population, and how isolated they are from large cities or how industrial as versus agricultural they are. There are by necessities differences that do exist in rural areas. The same people that strike us as being so friendly when we first show up, can become very spiteful, once their curiosity for why we came is sated. Other times one in the group can remain our long time confidant but one thing for sure, whatever small town you move to, it will be a group that meets you.
Why you ask? They need to compare notes as to what you might have meant or said when you said such and such. Realy, really, really scope it out before you do make the final decision, as I have seen so many women move in hopeful and leave disheartened because they were left challenged on what a difference they could have made. If you can’t stand small,nasty, petty, judgements being made against you or someone else for that matter, or are easilly intimidated, simply because you tried to help, then please do not make the move.
Imagine office politics, hospital rumor vine and family pettiness all thrown together 24/7 and you have a good ideal what you may be looking at in some of the small towns of America. If you are making the move and expect to work in a job of the professional level.in the rural community, that you were not born in nor were your Momma or your Daddy born there, be warned.
Good luck on whatever decision you make as sometimes the experience alone is worth the risk. I do not ever believe that I will ever again be intimidated by even the best of them:)I have also discovered that I can live anywhere and find both joy and peace as it is not where we live that matters so much, in a Democracy, as it is who we live with. Starting first and foremost, with ourselves.
Who knows, I may even be able to find joy in the hell that some would suggest, I am headed for, if I do not quit standing up for those that would be denied a voice, as the “Good Old Boys” maneuver to quiet or deny constitutional rights to those that are entitled to receive them. Make it count folks!
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