Bless Your Heart: An Epilogue

5 01 2014

I got my first negative blog comment. While I was initially annoyed, I soon got a tiny bit excited. I’ve been told trolls and negativity comes with the territory. So I feel I’ve finally arrived. It really wasn’t an ugly or vicious comment, just surprising.


The comment was on a story titled Bless Your Heart, that was about this quintessential southern phrase that I use all the time. Pwrjhp left the comment, What you are saying here is similar to asserting that just because someone might say, “thank you very much” in a sarcastic way, that this is always how it’s intended. To say this phrase is merely a passive-aggressive insult is a severe 
simplification of both the phrase itself and southern mood. Please stop perpetuating this idiotic myth that turns people against southerners.”

See…it’s not awful, just baffling. Has this person never watched “Shit Southern Women Say”?  My first thought when I read this comment really was…”well, bless their heart, they don’t know what colloquialism is.”

There are many idiotic things in the South that offend me. I’m deeply offended by comments by the bearded patriarch of Duck Dynasty. I’m offended by the poverty and racism and hate that still exist in this neck of the woods. But I have traveled the world and have found small mindedness is not only something that lives in my Deep South. I’m offended when I travel away from home that people feel safe to spew their racist vitriol because they assume I’m what their stereotypical image of a Southerner is, and that I’ll agree with their vicious ideas.

I will be the first to admit that living in the South has its challenges, however, so does every place. But the lovely uniqueness of the way we talk down here is not one of the problems that needs fixin’. In a world that’s becoming one big strip mall, with the same Wal-Mart, the same Appleby’s, the same Old Navy and the same Taco Bell, I celebrate the things that set us apart and make us unique.

My sweetie and I just went to breakfast at a favorite local diner called Frank’s. I love their homemade buttermilk biscuits, grits, boudin omelet and sausage from their smokehouse. I’ll have a dark, rich cup of our local brew, Community Coffee. It’s poured by a waitress who’ll call me honey or sugar or darlin’. It’s full of people wearing LSU purple. I see the cook busy serving up plates has a camo baseball cap on. I’m perfectly comfortable with the deer heads on the wall even though I’ve never gone hunting. This place is indigenous to where I live. And I prefer to go to Frank’s over Shoney’s breakfast buffet any day of the week. It’s all part of my Southern heritage and I embrace it.

So thank you for your comment. It has made me think about where I live. I wish the media would talk about William Faulkner, Eudora Welty, Tennessee Williams, Kate Chopin or Harper Lee instead of Duck Dynasty, Swamp People or Honey Boo Boo.

One of my favorite contemporary authors is Rick Bragg. When I read his words I hear his distinctive southern voice. I’ve heard him speak at the Louisiana Book Festival; he talks about writing in your authentic voice. I embrace the southern part of me that says y’all and fixin’ to and calls all soft drinks a coke. You see, I really do say bless your heart and so does my mama and dem. And it often is dripping in other meaning.

There’s really only one thing left to say to Pwrjhp, “Thank you very much and Bless Your Heart.”

 If you like My Creative Journey, I’d love for you to follow me. Here’s some other stories I’ve written about living in this part of the country.

Luzianna Friday Nite

New Orleans, a feast for the senses

When the Levees Broke

Life is Like a Song

Argo, the Ayatollah, Eudora Welty and First Apartments


The Importance of Doing Nothing

Bread, Batteries and Booze