Growing Up On A Farm

“It seems a little strange to them when I get people overload.”

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Transcript for Growing Up On A Farm

I am originally from a small, rural area in southeast Arkansas.  I live on a farm.  Growing up on the farm is very different from a lot of people’s childhoods, I’ve learned, because most of my days as a young Arkansan were spent outside.  Like, I didn’t get to watch television, didn’t have a computer, didn’t have a phone, didn’t have a gaming—like a game console, so like, we would spend most of our days with our—my—grandpa and he would say, ‘Go outside,’ and we would go outside.

Having grown up like this, yes, I would say definitely there are people that don’t understand this difference between living in a fairly isolated place versus and then coming to a more populated place.  Because it doesn’t make sense to them to have to sit and contemplate what you’ve seen on the day because you’re used to having time to sit back and say, ‘Ok.  I’ve seen this. What does it mean?  What can I do with it?  How do I feel about it?’  So, it seems a little strange to them when I get like, people overload because they’re like, ‘What’s wrong with you?  Why don’t you want to talk to anyone?’  ‘Well, because I’ve talked to five other people today.  I can’t take anymore!’  There’s definitely a ‘You’re weird.  Why does it bother you?’ kind of dynamic.

There are many, many assumptions about rural communities.  Most of them are kind of goofy stereotypes like you don’t have straight teeth and you still use outhouses.  Or like, you’re not intelligent because you’ve grown up with nothing but coyotes and rabbits for company.  I don’t want to be thought to be less intelligent than everybody else around me just because I didn’t grow up with like, fifteen different friends and social events every day.  Because you can learn a lot about life just by being in the woods versus in a city.  But a lot of people get kind of nervous about like, ‘Oh, you’re taking me into the woods.  What are you going to do to me?’  So, it’s kind of hard to bridge that gap.

I will talk to some of my friends, and the biggest, like, area of trees they’ve been in is the grove over by the new Welcome Center where the bridge is, and that’s—that’s the forest.  The woods are actually a beautiful place.  I mean, yeah, they’re kind of scary in the dark if you don’t know where you are, but if you just pay attention and go with somebody, you can learn a lot.