Austin, Hipstercrite Life

I May Hate Its Politics, But I Love Living in Texas

texas chili parlor

Me drinking a High Life at one of my favorite places- Texas Chili Parlor

It’s been a both a challenging and inspirational year for forward-thinking Texans.

As many of us continue to watch the ongoing HB2 saga unfold, we often feel confused in our emotions for our home state.

How can this wonderful and unique  state have such ass-backwards politics?

How can a state that  Molly Ivins, Jim Hightower and Wendy Davis calls/called home be so punishing? So foolish?

Sadly, many of our politicians only propel the outsider’s myth that the entire state is full of idiots and hillbillies. While Ted Cruz was busy being the ACA’s cock-block, many of my friends from elsewhere in the world posted social media updates saying they would rather die than live in a state like Texas. This sentiment broke my heart for if anyone who has lived in or spent time in Texas will know, it has been and will continue to be filled with many innovative and inspiring individuals.  I feel a guttural urge to defend the state and the people from it. Though I myself am not a homebred Texan, this state took me and it is my home now. Though I may not agree with its politics, I feel fortunate to live here. There is no place quite like Texas- for good and for bad (though I may sport rose-colored specs, it’s not lost upon me that the reason these politicians are our leaders is become the majority voted for them).

But sometimes I have to remind myself of my cheery feelings towards Texas when our leaders act carelessly and foolishly. Our politicians will often try to break our spirits, but every day I see tiny moments that remind me of why I enjoy living here so much. These may sound like simple observations to you, but they help keep me going.

I could dwell on the bad; I could dwell on the aspects that are unfair to women, children, the poor and the people of different races. But I choose not to.

I choose to focus on the good and try to fight the bad with my voice and my vote.

These tiny moments of joy I keep socked away in my journal, to read at a later time when I need a boost of confidence.

Here is my list:

1.) It never ceases to amaze me that my server in a restaurant asks if I would like to take my iced tea or coffee to-go. After five years, these words still make my giddy.

2.) It never goes unappreciated when a person of the male gender holds open the door for me or tips his hat or says, “Hello, ma’am!” Though my leaders may try to take away our rights, many Texas men respect us.

3.) It never goes unnoticed when a passerby smiles because they want to see me smile. Or say hello to hear me say hello.

4.) It never stops tickling my heart when I see the sense of state allegiance and pride that exists in Texans. Some may say it’s over-the-top, but to me its beautiful. In our growing nomadic way, it’s refreshing to see a sense of pride in where one is born.

5.) It never goes unloved when I get lost in one of Texas’ many tiny towns; it never goes unwanted when I step back into time.

6.) It always lifts my wings when I see the comradery that exists within the state’s creative communities. No tearing down and stepping on; we’re all in this together.

7.) It always baffles me that I could love fried okra so much.

8.) It always makes me smile when I find myself in a new and unfamiliar part of this vast, open and strange land.

9.) It always fills my heart with joy when I see Texans come together in the face of tragedy.

10.) It always inspires me when I see the Texas “can-do attitude” live and in person.

I’ve been a fan of David Byrne since I was a teenager, so I of course saw his love letter to Texas, True Stories, many years before Texas was even a blip on my radar. I appreciated the movie then, but didn’t fully understand it until I became a Texas citizen. Set in the fictional town of Virgil, the film showcases the “special-ness” of Texas in the nuanced stories of its individual people. Whether its the flatness of a country Texas road or the strip mall in a developing city, each shot was framed with beauty and interest by its creator. What makes Texas ugly is what also makes it beautiful. As the Narrator, played by Byrne, drives in his rented car through the concrete webbing of Texas’ highways, he turns to us and says, “Some people say ‘Freeways are the Cathedrals of our time. Not me.'”

But you know he’s not telling the truth. The Narrator and Byrne look at Texas and all its weirdness with absolute wonder.

It’s the way everyone should look at it.

Here is the Narrator’s introduction to Texas below.

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  • Reply Leigh Ann November 7, 2013 at 8:47 am

    How do people live in a place where no one smiles at anyone? I could never cut it in NYC. I fear I am too nice, and I wouldn’t ever want to lose the ability to smile at a stranger.

  • Reply Tish Haridass November 7, 2013 at 8:47 am

    Can’t really say I had the same experience of Texas but awesome to read this any way! 🙂 And the photo is uber cute.


  • Reply Eddy November 7, 2013 at 9:33 am

    Though I never visited Austin, I spent many weeks in Dallas, Houston and El Paso. I always thought I could only ever live in Chicago, but I found Houston to be a good fit.

    For the most part I agree that Texas “is a whole other country” in many and exceedingly delightful ways.

    And, while Illinois has yet to come with a marketing tag line that captures it’s fiscal irresponsibility and its history of political corruption, perhaps they’d agree to use something like ”
    Illinois: The A-hole of the country.”

  • Reply Carol November 7, 2013 at 11:42 am

    My niece moved to Texas and has decided she never wants to live anywhere else. On a side note, my roommate just lost his current health plan, so Ted Cruz isn’t such a villain in my house.

  • Reply Lauren November 8, 2013 at 2:27 am

    This is a fabulous post. As someone who moved here just three months ago I have felt very similar towards the Lonestar State! But at the same time, I am originally from Utah… the place where kegs are illegal, there are still “dry counties,” where you can’t buy liquor or beer, you can’t order a drink at a bar without ordering food to go with it, & bartenders have to hide behind a wall when they mix your beverage. So in some ways, I’m glad I got out to a state that may be just as ass-backwards, but at least I get to drink my wine in peace!!!

  • Reply Kij January 10, 2014 at 7:17 pm

    You should get the bumper sticker ( stick it anywhere ), ” I wasn’t born in Texas, but I got here as fast as I could”. Being a person born in this state and love it ( well, mostly Austin), I love people who love it as much as I do. You deserve the title of an Honorary Texan!

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