I've been thinking about this evolution for awhile. The story is a bit uncharacteristic for me, I think.
We moved to Georgia when I was in 1st grade. That meant I lived a LONG time in the south. I don't remember much about country music until I met my best friend, Nicole in middle school. She listened to country music. Around that same time, I remember visiting family for the holidays and realizing that a couple of my cousins listened to country music. Here is where it gets uncharacteristic. I am a pretty good follower. When people I like do something, I often follow. Take the infamous New Kids on the Block summer, for example. I spent one summer in Illinois when NKOTB was very popular. I actually didn't have an opinion on NKOTB. But I spent the first part of the summer with a cousin who HATED NKOTB. So I HATED NKOTB. But then I spent the second part of the summer with cousins who LOVED NKOTB--had clothes and pins and notebooks, etc. So I quickly learned that I also LOVED NKOTB. And I bought all the stuff that represented that love and picked a favorite New Kid (I don't remember who it was, though.) I am usually easily swayed. So, back to the evolution of country music. For some reason, I refused to catch on to this country music fad in my cousins' lives and my best friend's life. I verbally disdained country music. And this continued through middle school, high school, college, and part of grad school.
Enter the season of grad school in Texas. Where my best friend (different from the middle/high school best friend) listened to country music. I probably started by verbally disdaining country music. But we went a lot of places together, and if we were in her car, I didn't feel like I could tell her what we could and couldn't listen to. So, I started listening to the music. I can't say I immediately liked it, but I will say that I stopped verbally disdaining it. And sometimes I began to sing along. And then she got a red pickup truck. I mean, come on, it was meant to be. Two girls, listening to country music, in Texas, in a red pickup truck. I was destined to failure! :) So I became a closet country listener. I still refused to admit that I liked it, but I would even listen to it in my car when no one else was around. I also kind of blame the Christian radio station in Texas. They played a lot of outdated music that I didn't enjoy. So they "forced" me to listen to something else.
So, I just admitted defeat and began verbally letting people know that I listened to country music. Recently I had an epiphany. I realized that country music fits my personality. I love telling stories, right? Well, country music is just a bunch of stories put to song. I mean, I know that other genres of music tell stories. But their stories are often hidden in poetry-like language and reading between the lines. Country music is just straight-up storytelling. And I like it. And now you know the story of how I came to love country music. :)
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