I am not a native Texan.
I moved to this state a little over two years ago. I was living happily in Florida and engaged to get married. I came home from work one night and the boy asked me how I’d feel about living in Texas. I giggled and asked him how he’d feel about getting married. His face suddenly got very serious, and I realized at that point, I’d made a huge mistake.
Two weeks later, we got married. One week after that, we loaded up my Mustang and drove across the country to begin a new life together in Waco, TX.
As an outspoken liberal woman, moving into Texas, I felt petrified to move into enemy territory. I knew that Waco, Texas was not a place famous for its open minded attitudes. My family lives in a small Alabama town that could be the basis for Andy Griffith Show’s Mayberry, and I went into Waco expecting something similar. Everybody is friendly and fun in Mayberry. I was in no way prepared for the hatred and personal attacks I would encounter as a free spirited woman.
Day 2 of life in Waco was quite a surprise. My first day was lovely. I drove around, looked for an apartment and spoke with tons of friendly strangers. I had some very positive interactions with realtors and apartment workers both. However, I will never forget driving down the street while rocking out to some Lady Gaga. I was wearing a tank top, my radio was blaring, and my windows were down. A Backwoods Bubba in a pickup truck pulled up beside me, his passenger leaned out the window to attract my attention, and when I turned towards him he hollered “WHORE!” The truck then sped off.
That’s the first time I’d actually been attacked in that way and I’ll never forget that feeling.
Two weeks later, I flew back to Florida to finish packing up our things in Florida to complete the move. I had a great time the first night in town. The second night in Florida, I slipped down the stairs and broke 5 bones in my foot and caused significant soft tissue damage. Packing up the house became much more difficult, but we managed and moved out to Waco for good. I was house bound for over two months, with the exception of weekly trips to the podiatrist.
When I finally managed to convince my husband I was healthy enough to go on an adventure, we went to the grocery store. I wore a comfortable dress to the grocery store. It had a V-neck. I rode my little cart. I adored the fresh air and freedom. I made it through the store with minimal discomfort. Hubsy left me by the door to go pick up the car, since I’m still unable to walk at this point. While I’m sitting outside and reveling in my close proximity to the sunset, an older lady shuffles by. She glares at me, and scuttles away mumbling loudly to herself, “Wear some clothes. Cover that nakedness”.
I turn my cart around and loudly call, “EXCUSE ME?!” I couldn’t believe someone would really say that to me, given how I was dressed.
The old crone walks back over to me and bends down to get into my face. “You should be wearing clothes! Cover your nakedness!” she hisses at me.
I was flabbergasted. Jon drove up as I waited, mouth agape. We had a long talk about it, but I still will never forgive that old bat for ruining my first outing after breaking my foot.
I’ll even post a picture of my scandalous “naked” dress. You be the judge!
And so, within the first few interactions I’d had with the people of Waco, it was clear to me that I didn’t belong. As time went on, I met some friends and found a few I could be myself with. I’m still close with a few of them and I love my Waco peeps dearly. They helped me during the hardest two years of my life-breaking my foot twice and then having surgery and learning to walk 3 times in a 2 year period doesn’t come easy.
My treatment by the general population of Waco told me a lot about the city. I’ve traveled to plenty of places and I still wear that dress out whenever I want. I’ve worn it in Florida, Alabama, and even in Washington state. I never had another problem with it, and I doubt that I ever will.