I’ve made it a point in these next few posts to give you guys a look into my life and what led to me being who I am. The place you grow up in has a culture to it and that culture in many ways shapes you into who you are, although there are ways to adjust and learn as well. We can’t always pick and choose where we spend our formative years, if I had it my way, Georgia would not have been at the top of my list at all. Yet, at the same time, it happened to where Georgia was the state I ended up spending over a decade of my life.
About my upbringing in Georgia.
I grew up in one of the major cities of Georgia which is not Atlanta, it was largely impoverished. Around the age of 10, I moved to Georgia and would spend a good bit of my youth in a poor school district around some sketchy, violent, and not so focused students. During my adolescence, I really wanted to get out to the point where I was willing to pass up a full-ride scholarship to a prestigious in-state school. I dreamed of being in California and in New York, swearing to myself I will not go back to that god-forsaken state.
The way things worked out, I ended up staying in-state for college and would not leave Georgia until after my early-twenties. At one point during my upperclassmen years of college, I toyed around with the idea of potentially staying in Georgia longer. Perhaps I can make things work here with enough self-improvement and find my place. After college, I moved to Atlanta and thought maybe I would find some fulfillment there but things never really worked out. After a series of crazy events, I said fuck it and moved to NYC.
A little about Georgia and why it is not your prototypical southern state.
Granted things can vary based on city and town, I am talking more about all of the bigger cities in the state. Georgia is a unique southern state, not as unique as Texas and Florida which some do not even consider the south, but quite unique. The people of Georgia are a lot more colder and don’t have that welcoming attitude that you would get in Tennessee or South Carolina.
You will find a culture shock as you meet some blonde girl who votes Democrat, grew up in the Atlanta suburbs, claims to be a good Christian, bumps trap music in her car, is very much a feminist, and was also in a sorority during her college days. Only in Georgia do you find such a unique combination.
Georgia combines the smugness and judgmental attitude of a San Francisco with the socially strict and sexually repressive attitude of Utah or the more rural south. Now combine that with a culture that is very much of a Country Club mindset, shallow, and tends to judge harshly based on wealth and social connections. Atlanta for example is almost nothing like a southern city and you won’t find much southern hospitality there. I argue that Atlanta is what you would stereotype a wealthy area of Southern California (Venice Beach for example) to be like, very image-driven.
I got a really good taste of this in my college days and not surprisingly, I run into a lot of my fellow alumni even in NYC but I tend to largely avoid them. Let’s just say if it is popular, flashy, and cool then you will find people from Atlanta pouncing on it.
Now for ways it actually affected me.
Growing up in Georgia no doubt had some serious affect on my psyche but thankfully, a lot of these are things I have learned to proactively handle. After a lot of thinking, I figured out how some aspects of myself are attributed to me being raised in Georgia.
1. I got in on the game late due to being raised in a very judgmental, religious, and socially strict environment.
In a lot of “Christian” homes in Georgia, things like pre-martial sex are highly frowned upon. People are very religious and quite self-righteous, this means that you do not get to “experiment” during your youth like a kid in California or New York might. Now this could be different in some wealthier areas of Atlanta for instance or in Savannah but largely, there is this strong stigma towards pre-martial sex. To add even more to that, I was not around a lot of good looking women growing up compared to my friends so I voluntarily sat out in my youth. As you can see, this contributed to me being very late to the game.
2. I learned not to take people at face value as much.
Social politics in Georgia, particular in Athens and Atlanta, are quite cut-throat. People will smile in your face and talk behind your back habitually. You will find a lot of folks who will be nice to you on first encounter but then quickly forget you if they see you again, this is especially common in the church scene (particularly youth churches). What you ultimately learn is to never judge a person by their words but rather their actions, pay little value to the smiles and the conversations.
A lot of these days, I tend not to put too much stock into a good first interaction with someone. What I do is wait for the person to really show themselves and who they actually are based on their actions and repeated interactions with me.
3. I learned how much “status” can actually matter above all else when it comes to game.
After seeing enough guys wearing khaki shorts and Polo collared-shirts while being out of shape with hot girls, you start to wonder what gives. You wonder why so many good looking women get with guys who in other cities would get crushed by the competition. On the same token, you wonder how perfectly fit, handsome, and worldly guys can struggle to get the very women some chubby Bubba managed to get. Now it is then that you see first hand in some areas how much “status” matters and how some guy managed to get a girl because he happened to be in the right fraternity years ago.
Now granted, there are ways around these games but you do see how much of a boost status can give when it comes to dating hot girls. You also start to realize how important it is to avoid certain areas if you want to have success with hot girls.
4. I learned how fakeness looks like and how fake people tend to operate. Works by authors such as Robert Greene (48 Laws of Power and Laws of Human Nature in particular) tend to really hit home.
“Bless your heart”, says a Southern women. We all know what bless your heart really means, it means to go fuck yourself or the southerner’s way of saying you’re a dumb-fuck. Whether it is the good ole “Christians” or an Atlanta native with that everlasting smile where his eyes betray his mouth, you learn how to spot fake people. You start to learn how the self-proclaimed “Christians” rarely live by the Bible and how the smiling southerner is ready to backstab you at a moment’s notice. Being around a lot of these kinds of people has made me less susceptible to the cult personalities and occasionally sniff out a poser now.
All in all, I had a chance to experience and learn how the morally self-righteous are some of the most wicked people on the planet. I learned how a lot of the moral self-righteousness is from repressing the very thing they speak out against. You can bet that the goody two-shoe who puts on the act of going to church every Sunday will pounce on your girl in a second if given the chance and take all that you have worked for.
5. I learned that maybe the south gets a bad reputation for a reason and the value of being in the US as a younger guy is really in being in a few key cities.
“America has only three cities: New York, San Francisco, and New Orleans.
Everywhere else is Cleveland.”
― Tennessee Williams
While it is not confirmed that Tennessee Williams was the one who came up with the quote, it does get linked to him a lot. I personally love the state of Ohio and at this point, I hope someone replaces Cleveland with Atlanta. At one point I thought it was unfair that Americans and the world would stereotype the south in such a bad way but after living in Georgia long enough, I learned a lot of that was warranted.
I still love South Carolina and Tennessee for their warmth, hospitality, and honest character of their people. Unfortunately, I cannot say that about Georgia and a lot of its people although I have not been to most cities in the state.
Despite what has happened, I am happy being in NYC right now and see myself here for quite some time. The opportunities to truly grow and develop into the best version of yourself are limitless here compared to my time in Atlanta where your adolescent upbringing determined everything. Maybe Tennessee Williams had a great point in what he said and this is why countless young people spend tons of money living with roommates in an NYC than settling into a comfortable luxury apartment in Atlanta. I left a luxury one bedroom in Atlanta to live with roommates in Manhattan, no regrets.
So what now?
I am happy to have made the move to NYC and plan on being here for quite some time. At times I still visit Georgia to see what is going on with my family back home. I don’t really keep in touch with any of my college friends or even do much with them. At one point, when I am ready to settle down, it might get to a point where I might consider moving back to Georgia given how much suburban Atlanta has grown but that is a huge if. At that point, there might be better alternatives for me in the US.
At times I wonder if I had grown up wealthier if my experience in Georgia would have been different but who knows.
I am just glad to have gotten this off my chest and shared it with you guys. At some point, I won’t be surprised if others feel the same way.
2 thoughts on “How growing up in Georgia affected me.”
I visited Savannah and felt like it had a lot going on, especially with a lot of artistic people moving in the city, it felt interesting. Here in California, while we do have large cosmopolitan cities, the physical distances give a small-towny atmosphere everywhere. If you have to drive an hour in traffic for a cool event after work, you tend to give up, and a lot of younger people here are very sheltered. Doesn’t matter if your parents are progressive if you are stuck without your mom chaperoning you in her car 15 miles over for the beach party. 🙂
Savannah is actually my favorite city and the people in it are pretty chill. Yeah I know the CA struggle man, my friends growing up there hated it and found it overrated unless they were rich kids from Venice Beach lol.