When I lived in Seattle, I was very, very independent. I lived alone. I paid my bills. I assembled my own Target furniture. When I dropped off my car for a repair in Ballard, I walked the 3 ½ miles to work rather than call for a ride. It wasn’t that people weren’t willing to help – because I had amazing people in my life there – it was more of my own attitude, the attitude that had been modeled to me. The liberated, liberal upper left-hand corner of the nation requires a certain self-sufficiency.
Seattle taught me to take care of myself. Seattle expected me to take care of myself.
Let me tell you what I love about living in Nashville – chivalry is not dead. Men get the doors – front doors, car doors, office doors. If there is something heavy to be carried, a man won’t let a woman carry it – even if she is capable. When a girl needed a chair at 3 Crow Bar, Hunter jumped out of his seat to offer it up. When Julie, Mel, and I have needed various things hung on our walls, Josh and Paul have been at the ready. When the kitchen drawer broke and all of the pans crashed onto my foot (and I swore and maybe cried for a second), Seth told me that he would take care of it – and he fixed the drawer. IT WAS A MIRACLE!
Because I have never been taught to expect these kindnesses, every favor feels like a marvel. Even when I was walking on a sidewalk with a guy, and he switched places with me so I would be further from traffic, and I thought, “That’s ridiculous – if a car swerves, WE’RE BOTH DEAD – why the effort?” – still, there was a little part of my spirit that felt so appreciative.
In Seattle, the feminist culture taught me to never rely on a man, and how to stand on my own two feet – and I’m glad. I prefer to drive. I can order my own meal, thank you very much. I am well-practiced in balancing stacks of papers, groceries, books, and a tray of lattes, all the while teetering on high heels.
But Nashville is teaching me what it means to open up to those sweet souls who treat me with kindness, just because – just because I’m a woman, and just because they care. As a result, my hard, independent, feminist heart is softening, and growing, and more willing to receive.
But promise me – the moment I start singing “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend,” give me a swift punch in the throat.