As I stated at the start of this writing challenge, some days would have longer and more developed posts, while others would have shorter musings. Let’s see if you can guess what kind of day this is.
In the last 4 odd years, basically since I joined the workforce, I have been traveling a lot. Whether for work (shameless plug to read more about Consulting as a career and associated life style under the “Business” section of my site), or for pleasure, I’ve had the privilege to go to many great cities across the US and abroad. I have enjoyed new cuisines, new cultures, and most importantly, new people. Throughout all my travels, the interactions with locals of any given city are as unique and cherished as you would expect…except for one back-and-forth that always seems to pop up in conversation whenever I leave my home state of Michigan. Ahem, alright, let me try my best to set the scene:
[Scene: At a bar during happy hour in X city]
Local: “Haha, yea X city is awesome. So where did you say you were from again?
Me: “Yea, I’ve really been enjoying myself here. I’m from Michigan!”
Local: “Oh really? Oh man, Detroit is rough right?”
Me: “Actually Detroit’s pretty great, but it has problems like most cities. I have a lot of my friends that live…”
Local: “OH you must have seen some stuff, huh? And that situation in Flint – just terrible.
Me: “Yea, that is a terrible situation that hasn’t even been properly dealt with yet. You know…”
Local: “Ha, I bet you love it here compared to Michigan.”
The “…” represents me trying to convince whomever I’m with that I actually and genuinely do in fact love the state of Michigan.
This is a trend I’ve noticed more times than I can count in my adult life. When I tell people that I’m from Michigan, it is like I’ve put myself in a boxing ring against an opponent several weight classes above me. I’m constantly dodging assertions about the dangers of Detroit, I’m weaving in-and-out of jabs about the dying and corrupt automotive industry, I’m ducking underneath assumptions made about the school system or the uneducated electorate. And if that wasn’t enough, the powerhouse right hook comes through in the assumption that I must hate where I’m from because it’s Michigan, and anywhere is better than there.
And this pisses me off. Don’t get me wrong – there is plenty to improve about Michigan. Just like every other state in this country, there are a large number legislative, economic, racial, and cultural issues that plague the state. However, I feel like those issues have been the primary narrative told to people outside of the state and they are missing out on so much of what this state is.
For whatever reason, Michigan is a hard sell, but I’m here to make the pitch. To combat the negative stigma about Michigan, I’m announcing a sub-series within my 365 challenge that focuses on the amazing aspects of Michigan. Occasionally, I will be focusing my daily pieces on what makes Michigan great – so be on the look out for that in the next year. Hopefully by October 2nd 2018, you’ll see why I think it’s the best state in the US. As for today, enjoy some Michigan pictures from all the seasons.
*Note: Even though this says published on October 5th, it was actually published on October 4th at 11:38 PM Eastern.