3 months ago
Here's my #AppalachianLoveStory ! Appalachia is the love of my life. Our music, our food, our culture, our people; all of this is mine- is me. This region shapes me, grounds me, and continually shows me who I am, where I come from, and where I can go. But it wasn't always this way.
Like many of my friends and mentors, I have a complicated relationship with Appalachia. Growing up, I resented it. I hated where I'm from so much that I would lie and say New York. I wanted to be an actress, and I wanted to live in a big city- somewhere full of diversity, opportunities, and resources that I did not have access to in Eastern KY. I saw no possibility of my community ever being “fixed.” I didn't want to put in the work to start breaking down stigma, sexism, homophobia, racism, and miseducation in Appalachia- so, I resolved to leave as soon as possible.
Flash forward a few years. In the Fall of 2017, I discovered mountain music. Thanks to artists like Josh Nolan and the Local Honeys, my eyes were opened to the beauty of music made in this region. I picked up a banjo for the first time, and I fell in love. I had found the call of my people; the sound of five strings vibrating against a drumhead- high, lonesome voices echoing. I became deeply aware of my heritage for the first time in my life; my eyes open to the immense beauty of the mountains, my ears taking in the sounds of Roscoe Holcomb, and Flatt and Scruggs, and any Appalachian records I could find.
In the last year and a half, my whole life has changed. I am now deeply proud of my heritage, and I resolve to spend my whole life nurturing and protecting these mountains and all the beauty they hold. Above all, I resolve to STAY. This is my home.
Falling in love with Appalachia has helped me to love myself and those around me, and it has helped me to love the life I'm living. There is something about these mountains; something eternal. Something holy in the way they lift your eyes and your heart, ever reminding you that there is something beyond what the eye can see. When I die, I hope my soul rests in the mountains. Let my body lay in the same earth that is my muse. Appalachia will always be enough for me. 💛