Waco, TX

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.

Scandalous Tank Top strikes again!

Scandalous Tank Top strikes again!

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!

Clearly, the selfie of a naked person.

#Selfie #Naked #GroceryStore

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.

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5 thoughts on “Waco, TX

  1. I’m originally from Philadelphia, and my family and I relocated to Temple – which is about 40 minutes south of you there in Waco, I think – in 1999. I’m also a pretty liberal person, and I practice a minority religion. Well, neither of those things helped me adapt to life in Texas. I knew it was going to be a rough transition, but I wasn’t prepared for a place where teachers could get away with telling me that homosexuality is a sin and evolution isn’t real, where most of the local politicians seriously believed that the Rapture could happen at any moment, and where you could get expelled just for wearing a Metallica t-shirt. This was the era of Y2K as well, so things got really scary because everyone was convinced the world would end on January 1, 2000. And then there was the 2000 presidential election; things got even scarier when Bush became president. Everybody treated him like he was the Second Coming of Jesus or something.

    Anyway, I live in Michigan now (thank the Gods). But I know exactly what you’re talking about here. I saw things like this happen to my female friends many times while living in Texas. I think major cities like Austin and Houston tend to be better, because at least there are more diverse populations…but the smaller towns and “city” areas of Texas just aren’t nice places to live, in my opinion.

    I’m sorry you were treated that way, and in public no less. I’m also very sorry about your foot. I’m glad you have at least been able to make some friends; that’s a mighty big help. Here’s wishing for good fortune upon you and your husband.

    Liked by 1 person

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