I don’t know what I am.
I know I’m American, but after that, it gets hazy. I was born in a Philadelphia suburb, but I haven’t lived there in about 15 years, so I’m not a Northerner, as Southerners like to call them. I live in Atlanta, so I’m not considered a Southerner by most Southern standards. (Besides, I’ve already considered a mortal sin with my dislike of sweet tea and football.) I live in a suburb a few miles from the city, so some people wouldn’t call me an Atlantan.
I smell an identity crisis. By people’s various standards, I’m not a Northerner, Southerner, or Atlantan. So what am I? How can I describe myself in one pithy sentence for my Twitter profile?
Perhaps it doesn’t matter.
My life wouldn’t change if I suddenly received a geographic label. So what if I can’t write “Southern belle” on my Twitter profile (a crying shame if I’ve ever seen one)? Plenty of people like me reside in Atlanta, the city few people are actually from.
Labels are the unofficial way people can put you in a category. You’re white, Asian, black, Canadian, European, Southern. I don’t think categories are always negative; we just use them to relate to the world around us.
So by various standards, I’m not a Northerner, Southerner, or Atlantan. What does it matter? Those are just words, not an identity crisis. How you see yourself shouldn’t be based on what others think, even if that’s sometimes difficult to practice.
Maybe I’ll call myself an Atlantan, and those special people in the city limits can just get over it.