Being a military family means living in places we never consider to be “ideal” but you make work. For two reasons: one because the United States Air Force prioritizes the mission over feelings. And secondly because being upset doesn’t change your circumstances. It honestly makes it worse. For those who know me closely and personally, when I found out about our next base location being in Louisiana…you know I wasn’t thrilled LOL. But it’s funny how God and life come around to humble you in multiple ways whether you asked for it or not. I had no idea back then, but after only being here for 3 months, Louisiana is the move I never knew I needed. Here’s why:
Coming from middle of no where Montana should make this pretty self explanatory as a Black family. More than anything else my husband and I hated the lack of diversity in Montana in general. Once we had children it became an even bigger deal for us because they NEED diversity. All children, but especially little Black children, need to see people who look like them. As classmates, teachers, principals, strangers in the grocery store, etc. They need to see this representation as much as they need to see the variety of people who don’t look like them. This is how they’re taught the world is bigger than them at an early age. It also teaches acceptance and understanding early in life.
There are a lot of stereotypes rooted in how northerners like myself view the south. We’re usually fed an idea of it being backwards and racist before even stepping foot in the south. And while these things aren’t necessarily wrong about certain areas, I think it’s important to experience a place before completely writing it off. (To be fair, we’ve only been here for a few months so I’ll update you all on this part a year from now LOL) I also believe there’s a false idea of the north being “safer” for people of color, especially Black people. I think it’s even more important to remember that racism doesn’t believe in zip codes. But that’s a discussion for another day.
The Louisiana culture is truly something unique to this state. The love for LSU and the Saints is also undeniable LOL. The food is so flavorful and if you haven’t had it before, cajun food is delicious. How can anyone go wrong with delicious beignets and shrimp poboys? Exactly. We love the southern accent and the very real southern hospitality. You can tell we’re from the “not so nice” north because people’s kindess is shocking and it’s just another day of the week for them. Ha! I think one of my favorite parts of being here (outside of the food) is being called “baby” by old(er) Black women around town haha. However, I don’t know anyone will top the New Orleans culture. Everything from the food, to the environment, to the people are unmatched. Oh, and that Nawlins’ accent is something special!
All of these reasons for initially rejecting this move were rooted in fear of leaving my comfort zone. Our comfort zone holds us back from experiencing so much magic in life. I’m the opposite of a risk taker and have to truly push myself out of my comfort zone. I’m thankful to be married to a man who is more of a risk taker because he influences me to take more chances whether he sees it or not. One of my favorite quotes says: “comfort zones are a nice place but nothing ever grows there”.
I’m learning about myself. I’m forcing myself to fully understand who I am. And constantly understanding how much bigger the world is around me. I’m just enjoying this new military journey. This may not be our ideal location because whew child this heat and humidity is no joke! But Louisiana is the move I never knew I needed. I choose to be thankful for this chapter. Cheers to cheaper gas prices and plane tickets!
Oh, and did I mention how stunningly beautiful and green this state is? I can’t get enough of these trees!
P.S.- pray for me that I don’t see any scary creatures like snakes or alligators these next few years or I’m canceling this blog post and aborting mission. LOLOL.