Practically everyone who has encountered me in the last 10 years knows that I'm not from Oklahoma. When someone asks me "where are you from?" I immediately answer "I grew up in Montana." I tell this proudly to random people who I won't ever see again. Every doctor, dentist or other health professional I have visited in the last 10 years know it. Everyone I met in college knows it. Sometimes people involved in conversations that have nothing to do with me know it. Its one of the things about myself that I like the most, because the mountains and people they house shaped me much more than you would expect.
I've now been living in Oklahoma for as long as I lived in Montana. Next year, I'll have lived here longer than I've ever lived anywhere in my life. At some point down the line... I'm going to need to start saying "I live over in the Meadowgold edition" instead of citing a far away state simply for awe factor.
People who are close to me know that Oklahoma has been a battle for me at times. College is an interesting and insightful time as far as discoveries about the world, and what an idiot you were when you left high school, believing fiercely that you had everything figured out. Discovering that you are half as smart as you anticipated would be a difficult truth to face anywhere, but I found myself facing it under foreign conditions with people that didn't know me well enough to ground me in the person that I used to be. I was a blank slate to every person I encountered, and I buckled under the pressure.
When you drill down to the bedrock of the problem, it has nothing to do with Oklahoma, and everything to do with the fact that being a grown up is vastly overrated.
Over the last couple of years, I've made sort of a game of widening my definition of beauty. Growing up I always associated beauty with the mountains... because how can you not? But there are many beautiful things in the world, the majority of which have beating hearts and open arms.
I've made a collage of photos I've taken over the last 10 years that don't have beating hearts, and they are from a variety of states. I bet you a dollar that you can't tell which beauty came from where.