Sunday, October 30

White Trash Part 3

It needs re-visited every now and then. Believe it or not, the idea of "White Trash" was a God-inspired quest. It has deep, significant meaning for me even if it does sound terribly tacky. You can follow that journey with the ancient posts "Part 1" and "Part 2" if you're interested, but summing it up: It's coming to terms with who you are and losing the pressure to perform and impress. Embracing the words genuine, sincere, and real. When I hit 30 (a few years back,) I still felt like a child sitting at the grown-up table. I was awkward and immature. And, boy, did I have hang-ups. God took me on a journey (or twenty) and helped me to realize how self-centered my thinking was and helped me to get over myself.

Now, not everyone with class and tact is a phony. I know a good number of people that are genuine, sweet, and graceful. They aren't judging anyone for being less-than-graceful. But that doesn't stop many of us from trying to measure up. And a good many of us were not born with class and tact.

So what is a White Trash Mama? Well, of course we all look different. That's the beauty of embracing who you are: no longer worrying that you aren't like everyone else. The stereotype evokes images of a bleached blonde with dark roots, wearing pajama pants in Wal-Mart with a cigarette dangling from her lips as she threatens to wallop her 7 children of various ethnic descents. This is a stereotype, not a dress code. The factor that truly makes her a true White Trash Mama is the fact that she really does NOT care what you think of her. You can raise that eyebrow, shake your head, and sneer all you want; she'll just snort at you and grab another box of ding-dongs off the shelf before sashaying away.

If you've seen The Help, you've watched a beautiful example of a woman embracing her inner-White Trash Mama. Ms. Celia Foote is a sweet character struggling to fit in. She has no idea why local society shuns her. "The Help" are well aware of the fact that poor Celia is White Trash, regardless of how much money she has. Her dresses are too tight, she drinks too much, and she is too open and honest.  But with a bit of help from Milly, Celia eventually accepts the terms and grows into her own skin with beautiful confidence.

 I love Celia Foote. I love Milly Jackson. These are women who can't help but be anything other than who they are. Sincere. Genuine. Both of these characters have that White Trash streak, though both have very different personalities. Again, the beauty of it rests in being the person God made you to be and being okay with it.

But what about the times when you aren't happy with who you are? Then change it, stupid. That last bit of advice is for me, actually. I've not been accomplishing half what I want lately and rather than face that fact, I've sought out distractions. My life isn't tidy, so I continuously seek the comfort of my tidy internet world, lesson planning pages (that never make it to the printer) and other tidy endeavors that don't impact my real life. I can deceive myself that they are worthy pursuits, but they are only distractions.

I recently heard a quote (which I cannot find and I cannot remember,) that said the reason many people seek distraction is that they do not want to face who they are. It's been haunting me for weeks. And it's true. And now that I know it, I can pursue improvement or I can pursue distraction.  Perhaps you're like me and you never quite grasped social graces. Perhaps you'd love to embrace your inner-White Trash Mama, but aren't happy with your present skin. I advise embracing the fact that this is who you are at this moment, and this includes knowing that who-you-are wants to be better. Be comfortable in the skin of someone who knows she hasn't "arrived", someone who is growing, someone God can use.

And in the  meantime, remember:

  • By prevailing over all obstacles and distractions, one may unfailingly arrive at his chosen goal or destination. Christopher Columbus

  • Work is hard. Distractions are plentiful. And time is short. Adam Hochschild

  • And this I speak for your own profit; not that I may cast a snare upon you, but for that which is comely, and that ye may attend upon the Lord without distraction. 1 Corinthians 7:35 


Nezzy said...

I do believe this is one of the grand benefits of growin' older...ya just learn to accept you are uniquely just the way God made ya and grow quite fond of the skin your in.

Great read sweetie and now I want to see 'The Help' more than ever before!

God bless and have a terrific day.

Jenn said...

Ha! This is a review I wrote for The Old Schoolhouse Magazine. I haven't been sharing them here because they have to be released before I "own" them. I honestly forgot about them, but recently pulled them together and will start them over the next several weeks. The dates are going to be wayyyy off, but that can be our little secret. :D

Beth said...

I have mostly found it much more effort than it's worth to try to be someone I'm not. I'm very WYSIWYG. I think people get caught up in being something else when they've been hurt being who they really are. Does that make sense? I love when people like me and have been known to agonize when they don't, but for the most part, I'm learning to accept it. Most days, anyway. :-)

Lawanda said...

Great post! I loved The Help and loved those characters. I mostly don't care what people think of me. I do want people to think I am a good person even if they don't like me tho!

Jenn said...

Lawanda, I think you're an awesome person and I'm glad to know you!

Jenn said...

Beth, I'm just now seeing your comment! And it makes total sense. I'm learning to be more and more like that, but it's been ingrained in me since childhood.

Laurie White said...

Jenn, I came on your site to read the review of my book (Kg Alf's English) and wandered onto this post. Oh, my, you have hit some wonderful points and I couldn't resist commenting to tell you! I loved The Help also and I certainly agree with what you had to say about it and the freedom we need to accept who we are. And I tell you what, "white trash" works for me! My husband and I live on a dirt road in the country and if you saw us in our completely dilapidated pickup truck, you'd think we were the genuine article. And, heck, after all, when we say we're sinners isn't that just another way of saying white trash?

And just one last thing--all you ladies at age 30 are still soooo young! I literally laughed out loud! I'm 62 and still learning to accept who I am! It's a process, and probably we never totally arrive until we're made perfect in Him. Don't you think? So be happy to not be who you want to be yet, if that makes sense. :)

Thanks, once again, for the great review, and I love your blog!

Jenn said...

Laurie, thank you for that. What a blessing to find on my computer this morning!

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