11/4/14

Seven Years a Kansan (Confidence) . . .

Continuing my "Seven Years a Kansan" series is the thing I regret most about Kansas . . . its confidence (or lack there of).

This gripe might be seen as scandalous and somewhat dismissive so let me be proactive here . . . I'm stereotyping and clumping and least-common-denominator-ing here and I am well, well aware that this is not a uniquely Kansas phenomenon but I really, truly think that Kansas has a lack of self love.

Let me count (some of) the ways!


Let's start with how our state is seen by outsiders. If the orange line (generally flat - you try to use Microsoft Paint to make illustrative points, yo!) is how others see our great state, the blue line (so deep a cavern it falls out of the image) is how too many Kansans see our state. There are problems here. There are issues. None of them so absurd that we can't at least see ourselves and safe enough to walk on in flip flops.


That leads me to our perspective. If the handsome, blue-eyed bastard is how other states steady their gaze (straight ahead with a slight, optically impossible uptick at the horizon) than the green-eyed fella is Kansas. I know MANY Kansans who truly believe our best days are behind us. Aviation is challenged, drought conditions challenge our crops, etc. That is no reason to not know we are a great state or to believe we can not rise again. Look at Texas. They are just south of us and they truly believe they are the greatest state not only in the union but in the WORLD! We could be a little more like them (just not a ton, please).


See that glass above? Is it half full? Half empty? It doesn't matter - be thirsty, my friends. Drink life! Drain this glass. Fill again. Repeat. Stop just taking what you are given and presuming and accepting that that is all there is.


Those 15 green dots on the left are what my fellow (Upstate) New Yorkers feel they are capable of. They could be intelligence, professional achievement, kindness, lovers, Neflix binges, etc. I'm presuming 15 is as entitled as one could feel. The yellow set of just five? Yeah. That is the unconfident Kansan. As they will tell you (and with good reason) humility is important and hard work is its own reward and - frankly - if they took all 15 dots those loud, crass New Yorkers might be angry or jealous or whatever. Best that they have those dots elsewhere. Five is plenty. Pisshaw.


The one thing I like about Kansas's collective lack of confidence is what I like the call the "Warm Blanket" effect. It breaks down like this . . . if you try to push the envelope. If you get greedy, or assertive (often confused as being interchangeable) and if you, regrettably, fail you are not ostracized here like you might be elsewhere. You are forgiven and embraced. You are welcomed back to the fold. You are wrapped in the warm, fuzzy blanket. Of course you will - in time - be reminded that you should have known your place to begin with but there is mercy in beauty to be found in the interim.