“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose, by any other name would smell as sweet.” As much veneration as I have for William Shakespeare, and his character Juliet Capulet, I have to amicably disagree. To me, so much is in a name. History is in a name. A story is in a name – a comedy, a tragedy, a drama, a great romance. And that’s exactly what’s in Ocotillos and Magnolias. Simply said, I’m an anomaly – a Southern conservative with a wild heart.
For those that want more content: from a couple weeks old until my 26th birthday, I was raised in the good ‘ole Lone Star State. Growing up, I thought everything in me BLED Texas. Unless you’re Texan, it’s indescribable. We are Southern, AFTER we are Texan. I was raised to respect my country – both Texas and America. Our neighbors were Pop and Grammy, not Mr. and Mrs. Brown. I grew up drinking my Tia’s sweet sun tea, saying y’all, and waving on the road, often at strangers. Praising Jesus and watching Cowboy’s football were fall Sunday agenda staples. I was raised to honor and fear the Lord, respect my parents and one day husband, and to always persevere.
Days after my 26th birthday, I moved to Arizona for a job and started a personal journey far deeper than I knew I needed or wanted. In moving away from most family and all that I know, I found myself a mess. I loved traveling growing up, but this wasn’t traveling. This was my new reality. I felt disconnected in this place that wasn’t 100% home. As I tried to explore this new place, looking for the state history I had richly surrounding me in Fort Worth, I felt excited then scared, fulfilled then empty, awestruck then disappointed, surrounded yet alone. Some days were laughter and smiles and others were wailing tears. For me, Arizona may not have the same tradition that Texas does, and that’s the beauty – I am free to experience life without what came before! I can seek mindfulness in nature, in a way unique to Arizona. What I’ve come to understand is that I was forcing myself into an absolute. A black or a white. Neither place is 100% home anymore, and I’m okay with that.
I’ve been told I have a romantic view of the South, and I’ll admit it, I do. I also like to think maybe I have developed romantic views of all the natural beauty that is Arizona.
When I hear, “What’s in a name?”, I can’t help but smile and whisper to myself, “everything.”