Random Messes

Southern Expressions to Heal Your Life

Being from New York originally, I had a bit of a culture shock when I first moved to Atlanta. Although the A is a vast metropolis full of people from all over the country, the underlying vibe around here is definitely Southern (with a capital S). I’ll never forget the first time I said “You guys” rather than “y’all” and was teased unto high hell for my Yankeeness.

Over the years, I’ve grown very fond of Southern colloquialisms. I’ve embraced the “y’all,” have been known to “might could,” and once I was even “fixin to.” 

There are a few special Southern phrases, however, that over the past several weeks have helped me suck things up and move on with my life. Listen up y’all, these sayings might be fixin’ to save your ever loving ass!


Busier than a one legged man in an ass kickin contest

This one cracks me up. Just this image makes me giggle inside. But then I wonder…. why does this poor man only have one leg? What happened to the other one? Where are we that there’s a deranged contest for booting people in the ass??

I digress.

I spent the week of Thanksgiving at home at my parents’ house in New York. It was nice, but after a few days I was bored to tears. And nothing is worse for a broken heart than boredom.

I vowed when I got back home to the good ol’ South that I would stay busy, and stay busy I have. I’ve brunched, painted, danced, lunched, yoga’ed, ran, dined, ad infinitum. And you know what? It’s kinda working. 

Not only have I met some really fun and interesting people, but I’ve witnessed firsthand that there’s life outside of romance. Almost anything can be fun when you’re doing it with the right people, and even the wrong people can surely teach you a little something about how not to pole dance…

I don’t think I’ll stay this busy forever. Distraction is not something that is sustainable in my life. But for now it’s been nice to spend time with people outside my normal circle, even if there’s no actual ass-kicking involved.


I tell you what!

The first time I heard someone say this, I followed up their question with, “What?”

They subsequently looked at me like I was made of paperclips.

It wasn’t until about three years later I learned that “I tell you what” is a complete sentence! It’s apparently used as an exclamation of exasperation, for emphasis, or simply to close a statement… often uttered while shaking one’s head in disbelief.

Sometimes in life when shit happens, there’s just nothing to say. Nothing that will make things better, nothing that will bring clarity, and nothing that will change the situation. This phrase is something to say when there’s really nothing else to say. It encompasses all the emotions, all the regrets, and all the fear of the unknown in one expression.

It’s  a lot easier to say this one now than it was 8 weeks ago. There’s almost a resignation of the inevitable with this phrase. When the despair is lifted, and you can just hang your head and say “Boy I tell you what!” you may have finally turned a corner.


Bless their heart

As I understand things, “Bless your heart” can sometime be considered the Southern equivalent of Fuck You.

I’ve also heard it used when feeling compassion for someone, when you wish them luck, or when you just don’t have anything nicer to say.

Me? I think I’ve combined them all in this experience.

My Love Coach (yes you read that right) Jonathon Aslay says that, in order to move on from a relationship, you should consciously send the person love. Inwardly focusing on love and gratitude with the object of your pain in your mind can cosmically release you from them, and also set you up to receive more love into your own life.

“Blessing his heart,” whether I mean it in the moment or not, is a step in that direction. While I do feel compassion for his experience and I do wish a great life for him (just not with another girl grrrrr), I sometimes just don’t have anything nice to say, nor can I always muster the gumption to send him the warm fuzzies.

It’s not that I hate him, mind you, I’m just still in that ever confusing cesspool of emotions leaves me not knowing what I’m feeling. Sometimes it’s just easier to say “Bless him” than to root through the well of crappy feelings and come out dirty on the other side. In fact, it’s helping me to ground myself. Even if it does sometimes have a squeeze of Fuck You on the side.


I think after ten years in Atlanta I’ve finally turned in my Yankee Card. There’s just so much more sweetness down here, and I’m not just talking about the tea. Whether they say it outright or just smack their lips and offer you a slice of pecan pie, Southerners are teaching this cold hearted New Yorker how to deal, and even how to heal.

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