Monday, November 12, 2018

November 12: Texas

This will be a long post.

Texas is a rebirth. Texas is deciding that I am going to be from here and that's right, you're not from Texas, but Texas wants you anyway.

Texas is a biker ice house where Jason and I duck in when his jeep breaks down and then both of us taking a step back because wait, we are going to get hurt here. We are going to get raped and killed here. But no. The skinny lady with the hair wider than her shoulders asks us, him in baseball pants and me in a uniform skirt, if she can help us. And she does.

Texas is a pond outside a friend's house and how on earth did we all wind up without our clothes on.

It is a narrow two lane unpainted road, often with standing water, as my route to school every day.

Texas is prom and first real boyfriends and several fake ones. Texas is having to call my dad for permission for the barber to cut off all my hair when I'm 17.

Texas is being too smart for my own good and knowing it. And flaunting it. It is being my high school's first and only National Merit Scholar. I know because it doesn't exist anymore.

Texas is like that. Everything is new. Hurricanes and black mold wipe it all out over time. It is constantly churning. Obliterating.

Texas is making friends with adults for the first time. And friends with people who don't speak my language in their homes. Or have my skin color. Or my gender. Or my socioeconomic class. Texas is about a level playing field.

Texas is dancing with a boy at a bar to a song about drinking yourself to death. While on retreat. Texas is getting felt up on retreat. Perhaps Texas is bad at retreats.

Texas is saying goodbye at graduation and seriously never seeing any of them ever again.

Texas is a summer job at Wal*Mart and my father's advice ringing in my ears: life looks better through a classroom window than from behind a lathe.

Texas is many, many Dairy Queens. And Whataburgers. And Waffle Houses.

Texas is walking down the beach on Galveston Island and down in Freeport. It is the dirtiest ocean you've ever been to and it's mine. Texas is a day after a storm and so many shark eye moonsnails.

Texas is all my speeding tickets.

Texas is buying a German army coat at an army surplus store on Galveston when I realize I'm going to stay in St. Louis after all. 

Texas is belonging to something just by opting in. Texas doesn't have unwritten rules to break. Texas don't care. Texas wants you to sit at the table.

Texas is getting home well after curfew and it is still above 90 degrees in the middle of the night. It is sneaking into and out of the house. It is a fight at my brother's graduation party that resulted in the cops being called.

Texas is coming home and sleeping on my parents' couch for a summer while I figure out what the hell I'm going to do next.

Texas is saying yes at a barbecue joint and saying no in my parents' driveway. Texas is walking away forever from something that isn't good for me, even if it's been fun.

Texas is my uncle's dream to retire to a little trailer outside of Clute and his best friend from the Navy and no more bullshit.

Texas is visiting my brother and his girlfriend and their new baby, with my own baby, and then having mine get croup while I'm visiting and then spend a day in a Spanish-speaking clinic where they think I'm there to get her ear tag removed. Muy linda, they kept saying. Yes, I know she's pretty. But she can't breathe.

Texas is that same brother playing me Robert Earl Keen songs. It is my realization that I am crowding the fuck out of him. It is deciding that I have to be easy. And it is visiting him again many years later and everyone is easy.

Texas is a good place to be from. I'm not from there, or anywhere at all. But that's ok. Texas will graft me in.

I love Texas. I can't even help it. It's like the state version of my brother with all his stories and laughter and nonsense and politics and jalapeno recipes. It is big and noisy and ADHD and feels just right when I need it.

Have I been to Texas? Baby, I'm still there in my head some days.


  1. This is amazing. And I especially love
    Perhaps Texas is bad at retreats.
    Texas is all my speeding tickets.
    Maybe I should look back at my states. I am, as always, behind, after all. But nothing compares 2 U.

  2. I agree with Indigo: an amazing post. And one that almost makes me want to visit Texas, which I mainly associate with capital punishment and strident gun ownership.

  3. Oh trust me, Texas sucks big time politically

  4. Wonderful.
    Including this: "Texas is having to call my dad for permission for the barber to cut off all my hair when I'm 17."

  5. Wonderful post. I've only been to Texas once and that was to Austin, so I have not seen the true Texas.