Regardless of where we end up living throughout our lives, I think its safe to say that all the quirks, annoyances, and traditions of where we grew up never really leave us — even when we leave them. In a matter of weeks, I'll be moving away from my home state of Missouri to try living in NYC, and even though I've been preparing for, researching, and getting pumped about this move for literally years now, I know there are so many things about Missouri that I'm going to miss. Missouri is a fantastic place to grow up, and if you grew up there, then you already know there are certain things only people who grew up in Missouri understand.
Of course, Missouri is a freaking huge state, (most of the UK could fit inside of it) and the state's culture does vary a bit depending on what part you're in. (I'm sure kids who grew up in St. Louis would have their own list of things that small town rurals like myself couldn't quite grasp.) But even then, there are some things that all Missourians can relate to. Here's nine things anyone who grew up in Missouri will understand.
1. People Can't Decide If You're Southern Or Midwestern
Missouri is literally the "Gateway to the West," but due to our geography, culture, cotton crops, penchant for saying, "y'all," and our role in American history, no one can seem to decide, once and for all, whether we're part of the South or the Midwest. And since Missouri is one of those places where the Midwest begins to blur into the South, it really can feel like you're in either region, depending on what part of the state you're in. If you grew up in Missouri, and ever visited anywhere north, east, or west of the state, you probably had people giggling at your accent and calling you a Southerner. I know I did. But if you ever visited south of MO, folks undoubtedly called you a northerner, because, well, you were north of them.
Personally, I don't care either way, because the South and the Midwest are both full of down-to-earth, friendly people. But if you grew up in Missouri, you know the whole regional identity struggle is real.
2. You Like Your Sweet Tea
If you grew up in Missouri, you probably like sweet tea, or have at least tried it. Additionally, if you grew up in Missouri and didn't like sweet tea, you were probably considered a bit of weirdo. Because sweet tea is delicious, and Missourians know this.
3. You Know A Lot About Mark Twain
Missourians are super proud of this guy, (we even have a national forest named after him) and we should be. He was witty, funny, talented, skilled, edgy, and a satirical genius who spoke out against slavery. He's still one of America's most cherished authors over 100 years after his death. So if you grew up in Missouri, you probably started learning about this guy in kindergarten, and haven't stopped yet.
4. You're Used To Crazy Temperatures
For most of the year, Missouri is either hotter than the hinges of hell, or it's Winterfell. (If you're from Missouri, you know I'm not even exaggerating a little bit.) Fall and spring are the only times when it's easy to be outside (which is why fall is my favorite season) but summer and winter? They make you earn it. If you're a native Missourian, you annually accept that choking humidity is going to be your summer, but it's also no big deal to you when winter days to get down to 13 degrees. Yuck.
5. Tornado Sirens Don't Make You Panic
Missourians respect the hell out of tornadoes, because they've torn our state apart more times than we can count. But if you grew up in MO, tornado sirens probably don't even make you that nervous anymore. I mean, tornadoes are still scary, but kids who grow up in Missouri are taught all about the dangers of tornadoes, and where to go the second they know one's coming.
Tornadoes are just so common in the Show Me State that overreacting to them would be exhausting. Which is why, if you grew up in Missouri, your response to tornado sirens is probably just to find a basement or a bathtub to chill out in until they stop.
6. You've Definitely Explored A Cave
I hate caves. I think they're scary, dirty, bat houses. (Plus, we all saw what happened to Harry and Dumbledore when they went to Cave Island in The Half Blood Prince .) Caves are creepy AF, it's undeniable — but if you grew up in Missouri, you've explored one or more. Caves are everywhere in Missouri, (we have 6,300 recorded caves) and there's just not a lot outside of nature to explore around here, so spelunking kind of just happens.
7. People Assume You're Conservative And/Or Religious
I'm not sure why this is, because Missouri is chock full of liberal heathens like myself, but people generally associate Missouri (especially rural Missouri) with conservative politics and fundamental Christianity. Of course, those things aren't inherently bad, but if you grew up in Missouri and you aren't conservative and/or religious, you probably grow weary of these automatically assigned labels. I know I do.
8. You Probably Know How To Shoot
Guns are dangerous, and the U.S. definitely has a gun problem that needs to be addressed. But if you're a native Missourian, you probably know your way around a firearm. Even if you've never hunted, someone has probably shown you how to safely load and discharge a gun, and I think that's awesome. I have never hunted, and I don't intend to, but I really enjoy shooting guns, and I think being educated about them is really smart.
If you grew up in the stereotypical Missouri way, you probably do too.
9. Even If You Hate Sports, You'll Always Rep The St. Louis Cardinals
I don't even like sports, but I'll always cheer for the Cards, because they're friggin' amazing! And if you're from Missouri, you probably rep the Cardinals, too.
You also know that Missouri is baseball crazy. (There is an entire massive building in St. Louis called "Ballpark Village" where fans go just to watch games on enormous screens and party.) You've likely been to at least one game at Busch Stadium, you've probably overheard several Cardinals games on your dad's radio, and you already know FS Midwest is going to be on every restaurant TV from spring training until the last game of the World Series has been played. But you're not even mad about it, because baseball is the one area where Missouri consistently kills it. GO CARDS!