I grew up in a different world from the one I currently live. Despite my family not being southern at all (my mom is from Ohio, my father is from Queens/Long Island and they met in Connecticut), I lived in Alabama for 14 years, so I have no choice but to identify as southern. While there are a LOT of negatives about the state, here are some upsides
  1. The sunsets.
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    I'm from Fairhope, which is on Mobile Bay, and home to the world's best sunsets in the whole goddamn world.
  2. The weird pride I feel for having never dated a guy with a pickup truck.
    Ever. It's a massive sense of pride. I've been friends with a lot of guys with super old beat-up Toyota trucks (and a few with huge fancy brand new ones) but I've never DATED one. Pretty sure I've also never dated someone that owned a camo jacket, but I don't want to claim it, just in case.
  3. Hurricane days/hurricane parties
    We never had snow days, but we had hurricane days which were WAY better. Because you would wear shorts and I learned how to drive my little Bby Civ through flooded streets and we'd play Rockband and take selfies on MacBooks. Ivan and Katrina happened when I was in elementary school and while those storms have not so positive memories for me and the rest of the gulf coast, the mild storms in 2007-2010 were pretty okay. I know my privilege is showing, but I'll do another less glossy list soon.
  4. Instantly having something to talk about when you see someone wearing SEC football gear
    May have slapped someone for saying "fuck auburn" at the bar last weekend, it's fine. Initially bonded with some of my closest friends in Brooklyn because they're Florida grads, and now we're inseparable. College football is a religion in the south, and I stand by it.
  5. Driving past fields. Cotton, sunflower, corn, everything.
    I hated them growing up, and hated what they symbolized, but now I recognize that they're still a significant part of the economy. Driving past them, I get a chance to reflect on how much the area has changed, and seeing the sharecropper shanties nearby reminds me of what scars are hidden in other regions.
  6. Jubilees.
    Have you heard of these? Of course you haven't, because they only happen regularly in Mobile Bay, Al and THAT SHIT IS PRETTY COOL. Basically, the oxygen levels in the water change too rapidly for the sea life to adapt so they ALL COMMIT MASS SUICIDE & BEACH THEMSELVES. It's pretty bleak, but being from a town where seafood is a big part of our diet & source of income, it was a celebration- as long as you heard the call to come to the bay. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mobile_Bay_jubilee
  7. The food.
    Grits. Casseroles. Shrimp. Catfish. Fried green tomatoes. Fried everything. Turnip greens. Okra. Zapps chips. Sweet tea. Waffle House. Po'boys. Beignets. Pepper jelly. Lemonade and sweet tea vodka. Barbecue white sauce. Moon pies. Gator (to be fair I also had this when I lived in Florida in the 90s). Tex mex. white queso. Fried chicken. You don't even know. You. Don't. Even. Know.
  8. Mardi Gras.
    Mardi Gras first began in New Orleans, right? WRONG, ASSHOLE. Mardi Gras began in Mobile, Alabama FIFTEEN YEARS before New Orleans even EXISTED. They may have a bigger, more touristy celebration, but we did it first, and I marched in a LOT of parades when I was on flagline in high school. Also nothing tastes better than a freshly stepped on moon pie (still in the wrapper obviously) 👌🏼
  9. The gumbo mixture of cultures, histories and people.
    My home state has a lot of really dark, shameful history, and I will be the first to admit that. But my little pocket of Mobile Bay has been French, British and Spanish. It's been a port city since before New Orleans existed, it was the first capital of French Louisiana, involved in countless wars, and home to creole culture, plantations, utopian societies (wuddup Fairhope!), artist and literary havens (again, Fairhope) and so much more.
  10. Icons from the 251
    Me, Tim Cook (also a fellow Auburn Tiger alum!), Jimmy Buffet 🍹(also got expelled from the high school my mom teaches at and went to my parents' church), Rick Bragg (I spilt coffee on him at Page & Palette. Twice.), Fannie Flagg (no cool stories 😔), Fred Nall (weird dude. Very odd man), Dean Mosher (also my brother's best friend's father), Winston Groom (supposedly Forrest Grump was based off of a man in Point Clear), Brady Cunningham (met her + Jason Schwartzman in line at Coffee Loft)
  11. Did I mention the sunsets because they're fucking spectacular.
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  12. This may not look like much, but it's from when I visited the set of Spectre from Big Fish. Because the set is still standing and now it's an abandoned town on the river and it's magical and fantastic.
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  13. The Huntsville space museum is also pretty legit.
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  14. I took this picture at my college graduation and it wasn't weird or ironic at all because Alabamians fucking love our college mascots. Aubie 4 prez
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  15. Everyone that isn't racist or homophobic or horrible is very vocal about that and you instantly bond (almost always in Gifted/Talented classes/AP classes/ theatre classes / literary magazine meetings / the skate park)
    Proud to say I'm still best friends with a lot of my high school friends. From teenage needs to adult nerds, I wouldn't have survived Alabama without my group of weirdos)