Tuesday, September 30, 2014

On Utah and its females

"Utah women need to stop trying so hard!" declared the young man at the table next to us, loud enough for our table of Utah women to hear. I was dining with my mom, sister, and sister-in-law, three of us Utah natives, one of us a Utah convert, all of us trying not to take too much offense to this guy's statement.

Having been born and raised in what I consider to be a pretty decent place, I was surprised to get to BYU and meet so many people who were so unhappy with the location of the college they electively chose to attend. Sometimes, not knowing my origins, or knowing my origins and not caring about my feelings, fellow students would making sly remarks about Utah, Utahns, or "Utah Mormons" as though we were a lesser species who that had infiltrated their space and housing and roads, not the other way around.

I've met people beyond college who make similar statements. Who warn about the danger of raising children in Utah and laugh at the ignorance of those in Happy Valley. I try not to get defensive. I struggle.

Look. I get it. We have our flaws. I've even been a vocal critic of Utah and Utahns at times. Winters are cold and inversiony. We're not super considerate drivers. Some of us choose questionable hair styles. Some of use name our children after our favorite Scrabble tile draws. And for the love, why are so many of us wearing our best heels to Target? Our I-15 billboards are obnoxious, and our politics, actually, I don't want to get into last one.

But of all the criticisms, "trying so hard" seems unfair. So many of the world's problems seem to stem from people not trying hard enough. So how can we fault anyone for making any sort of effort? Honestly, it's those efforts that makes me appreciate the women in my life, a good chunk of them from Utah, as much as I do. The Utah women, my family and friends, I know are kind, and thoughtful. They invite my family to dinner after just meeting us. They watch my child while I go to doctor appointments or just need to get work done. They meet me for lunch on days when I need adults to talk to, they drop off apples just because, and they generally make me feel welcome everywhere I go. I can only hope to someday try so hard.

In other Utah news, this Thursday night I'll be telling a story for The Porch, 8:30 at Muse Music. It's always a really fun event, and I'd really love to see you there.

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