Wednesday, May 27, 2009

I'm Not A Sissy, I'm a Texas Woman...

I grew up in East Texas so I learned from my environment to be an East Texas kind of woman. An ET woman can give you a hard time about whatever you need to be given a hard time about, but usually won't, unless it's about her children. She will just complain to her friends so that it gets back to you. ET women know how to cook, my goodness! They can whip up a complete meal in a black iron skillet that smells so good it will make the whole neighborhood hungry. ET women generally sew, craft, and love to shop, shop, shop! ET women would NEVER, I mean NEVER go out of the house with their hair undone, without makeup, and in unmatched clothes. ET women do womanly work around the house...they don't generally take out the trash. Many of them still iron. My best friend even mentioned her ironing on FB recently. ET women are used to being somewhat taken care of by ET men. Okay..I know I've ticked off a few ET women out there...but remember, I'm one of you, so I know what goes on.. (and of course, I'm speaking, or rather writing, in generalizations).

When I moved to Central Texas at the age of 42, it was culture shock for me in so many ways. The shock that really sent me into a tailspin was that Central Texas women were not like ET women! What?? Weren't all women sort of alike?? I just wondered where the women were who were like me. I couldn't seem to find a woman who cooked, I never met anyone in my town with a sewing machine (I have a very nice sewing machine, AND an embroidery machine, and my sister's serger in my sewing room...YES, ET women have rooms that designated for SEWING!) These women liked to hunt! I met more women who had killed a deer than women who had ever crocheted anything. They drank beer for goodness sake! One of them I met did drywall, and laid floors..on the side. But, I instantly liked and admired these women. They were smart and tough, and still managed to have a feminine side.

Okay, I had to get to the bottom of this. I began asking questions. CT women thought I was just as odd as I thought they were. They really didn't know that ET women were different from them, either. They seemed shocked at my discovery, but they understood when I explained. Then, the answer came. I read True Women by Janice Woods Windle, and figured it all out. The book is about the women who helped settle Texas. You've been to CT and you know it's rocky, hilly, hot, cactus-y, snakey, and full of scorpions. You know there isn't a flat piece of land with enough dirt to plant a seed, much less a tree, and if you manage to plant something and it comes up, a deer eats it. It's tough here, and I cannot even imagine being one of those women who fought Indians. But, these women raised families here, grew and hunted their food, and settled before air-conditioning existed. They had better be tough, and they had better not expect to have someone take care of them. My CT sisters were the offspring of these women! They learned how to be women from their environment just like I had.

My grandmother, Nancy Milam, was a CT woman in the 1800's, so I did have some of that CT blood in my veins. Maybe, I thought, that's why I admired these women so much. I decided wanted to find a way to enjoy both parts of my female heritage..after all, I still love being an ET woman, but I wanted to "get in touch" with my CT woman side. So, I just started trying it out. I helped my husband lay floors, I found ways to plant in spite of the deer. I occasionally go to the store (in the country, not it town...haven't arrived there yet) without makeup. I starting hauling rocks and my husband bought me my own girl-sized pick-axe so that I could actually dig a dig a little, pick out rocks, dig a little, etc. What I learned is that it's not either or. We can do it all, all of us, and now I think of myself as an ETCT woman. Women are a beautiful creation of God, and I for one love being a Texas woman from whichever location.

By the way, my boss is an ET woman, and she recently bought an embroidery machine.....


  1. ET or CT woman, this is one of my favorite movie quotes ever, and I think on it often.

    "Jim Morris, I'm a Texas woman, which means I don't need the help of a man to keep things running."

    Rachel Griffiths, The Rookie.

  2. Kim, when you said you loved to shop at the Farmer's Market, it brought back memories of when we used to share in the co-op! I miss those days when our kids were babies and were got together for play-groups. I am thankful for all the friends I made in those sweet years, and thankful for all I learned from the more experienced moms! Being a ET woman, I have a sewing room, and a year or so ago, I laid tile in my sister's house, so maybe that qualifies me as a CT woman as well! :)


Thank you for your sweet comments!