That Darling Kansas Girl


*This is a vintage post from my blogspot blog that was written earlier this year, I wanted to repost it to use as reference for my latest rant, cheers*

Kansas is in the news for it’s latest absurd plot, like it tends to be. Everyone has something to say about it, as they should. One outrageously close minded, backward, archaic, Republican agenda after another since who knows when, why am I not surprised? Back when I had a more faith in grass roots politics I waved the signs. Yet, we still went to war. We still underfunded our education. We still elected people undeserving of the air in their lungs.

So, this go-round I’ve chosen to not read the articles. Not because I don’t think that it’s my problem. That state is my motherland and I believe in equal rights above all else. But, because I like to remember it better. It’s like moving 500 miles away from your biggest crush. You dream about the way your hands felt running through the back of their hair. The security of your collapsed head in their brawny chest. I don’t want to think about the underbelly.

We all have assumptions about any place. For Kansas I suppose one would think: Dorothy, grandma’s cinnamon rolls, farmers, bigots, drop out 6th grade educations, sunsets, windmills, tornados, midwestern hospitality, the best college basketball team to ever grace this earth (duh). Yet, from the inside it looks different. But I, as we all hastily do, jump to conclusions. I get that. However, being labelled a Kansas Girl doesn’t sit well with me. For a multitude of reasons. The first of which is that I’m not from Kansas. I’m from Lawrence. The distinction is apparent if you’re from either place. Lawrence is the liberal, educated, progressive oasis on the prairie. No joke.

The second is that yes, I’m hospitable. That unfortunately isn’t a universal Kansas trait. I know PLENTY of assholes from there. Tons of people that have no manners and no sense of civility. I happen to be particularly great at striking up conversations. Making small talk. Getting to know people, no it’s not always on the deepest level but even perfectly good strangers are important to me. I’ve learned time and time again that a life-long amazing friend is made by simply inquiring about someone’s day and complimenting their super rad boots. Yes, I’m friendly, I’m bubbly, I’m outgoing. That’s a ME quality (and by no coincidence qualities in my very best friends because like-minded people attract).

Thirdly, yes it’s convenient to compartmentalize people: She’s the nice Kansas girl. He’s the sexy black man. He’s the mysterious author. But it does them no justice. I am a million things. I am all of the experiences that I’ve had. All of the lessons I’ve learned. All of the feet that I have put one in front of the other. I’m a running stream of internal dialogue. I’m big questions about the universe and what we are all doing here. I’m cute little dresses. Giggles and chatter. I’m a mother, a daughter, a big and little sister. I’m a lover. I’m snoopy. I feed my soul with music. I’m sarcastic. I’m fun loving. I’m a million voices most of them far from PC. I’m dense, like all of us are.

I am also a lot of tangents. This is the other Kansas moment that I had today.

You know what I miss about Kansas  Lawrence:

I miss the live music. A different genera every night. I miss bluegrass with cool blades of grass wedged between my toes alive with the beat. I miss a big name on a small stage, sub woofers throbbing at my inner ear. Crappy DJ’s and turning a concrete slab into a wild dance party. Musty basements with ceilings just barely clearing my swaying head. Feedback from the amp. Lusting for the front man. Sing alongs with musical legends. I miss the music.

Not the sound. I can emulate that. But the feeling. Feeling alive. Moving beautifully, compulsively, carelessly. Sweat beading at the nape of my neck. Being pressed against other bodies. Breath. Heat. Joy.

Kansas is a lot of things to me, most things really. But, the music is what I long for. It’ll be worth the travel to taste that again. Oh, such sweet nectar. Won’t you dance with me.


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