Monday, October 9, 2017

I Could Have Been One of You



There’s an odd pain that stays with you long into adulthood when you grow up in a place that is the exact opposite of everything you represent.

There’s jealousy too, I think. Last March when I was back in Jackson, my dad and I went to the famous St Paddy’s Day parade. Rows and rows of white women in their college sweatshirts and fake Mardi Gras beads laughing with friends and yelling at their children with twice the syllables that need to be (“John” is “Joooohaaaaan” in the Deep South). I could have been one of them, I thought, walking past. If only I hadn’t wanted more. If only I hadn’t asked so many questions in Sunday school. If only I hadn’t reached my hand across the expanse of racial lines. If only I hadn’t winced walking into a room with mounted deer heads. If only hadn't stormed out of my Music Appreciation class when the teacher used the word "fag." I could have stayed in MS, married a lawyer from Ole Miss, started a family in a white flight neighborhood, made banana pudding for tailgating at football games, went to church every Sunday, stayed unwoke and unaware of the sufferings of the world around me Bc my world was jus’ fiiiine, praise the Lord. — maybe then those plastic shamrock cups with warm beer would taste like mother’s milk. And I would be happy and content and not a fuming mess waiting for Mango Dumptruck’s next tweet, waiting for the ground beneath to shake, for the familiar outrage to swell and take my breath away.

I loved you, Mississippi. But you could never accept me. I didn’t fit into your mold. That’s why I had to go.

- Erin Passons, 10-7-2017
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