My Love/Hate Relationship with Kansas

Say it with me: “I DoN’t ThiNk wE’Re iN KanSaS aNymOrE”

I was born and raised in the great state of Kansas. Before you ask, no. I didn’t ride a tractor to school. In fact, it wasn’t until recently that I even learned what a tractor does (It churns the soil for crops? I think?) Anyways, I feel like there’s always an expectation to love your hometown. I can’t lie, I adored growing up in Overland Park, Kansas, and I feel truly fortunate to have had such a wonderful childhood. That being said, there are an infinite number of stereotypes that come with being from America’s heartland that simply drive me INSANE. 

Just a small disclaimer: Kansas is a decently sized state. I grew up in the northeast corner, about 25 minutes outside of Kansas City. Those who live farther south and west are possibly more inclined to be stereotypical Kansans. I do not speak for the state of Kansas; I just speak for those of us KC Metro townies who don’t know the first thing about milking a cow. 

Dog in a witch hat Photo by Karolina Grabowska from Pexels

We all LOVE The Wizard of Oz

Did I play an Oz Citian in a production when I was 10? Yes. Can I still do the infamous “We’re off to see the Wizard” step? Definitely. Did I sing a jazz arrangement of “If I Only Had a Brain” in choir? Perhaps. Do I hate The Wizard of Oz with all of my being? ABSOLUTELY! I went to college out of state for my first semester, and whenever people found out I was from Kansas, there was about a 70% chance that the next thing out of their mouths would be, “Well you’re not in Kansas anymore!” My entire origin has been boiled down to a fever dream movie that isn’t even that good. It doesn’t help that I grew up with childhood friends who were OBSESSED with it. Don’t give in, guys! You’re part of the problem! Okay, maybe the movie IS a cultural phenomenon with historical significance. But if you EVER ask me if my terrier’s name is Toto, you’ll have another thing coming.

Canva

We were all raised on farms

Okay, so maybe I did have a neighbor who raised chickens at one point. And maybe there is a children’s farmstead down the road from my house. But I’m sorry, you think I was BORN in a BARN?! My mom would NEVER. I grew up in your typical suburbia within walking distance of McDonalds and Starbucks. And while it would have been nice to ride a horse through the drive thru, this was not my reality. The only animals we owned were house cats and dogs that would be more scared of sheep than they would be of them. My home on the range was most certainly NOT an actual home on the range.

Summer Field Photo by FelixMittermeier from Pixabay

Kansas is a flat land of nothing

If you’ve ever been on a road trip through our beloved state, you might disagree with me on this unless you’ve ever ventured off of the interstate. Kansas is filled with rolling hills, lakes, forests, and even cities. There really is nothing like the Flint Hills at sunset (a picture I took out my window was my wallpaper for quite some time!) And if you saw pictures of the Red Hills, you would not BELIEVE you were still in the so-called “flattest state”.

Andre Furtado

We get constant tornadoes

Um, no. Mind you, Kansas DOES get all four seasons, and tornadoes kind of depend on at least some warm weather (warm air meets cold front- science!) Our tornado season is usually between April and June, and if I’m being honest, I’ve only had to really take cover for a handful of tornado warnings in my entire life. A couple of those times weren’t even in Kansas either! We do get quite a few tornado “watches”, but that just means the weather sucks. I do find it funny how non-Kansans get confused when we all go about our day like usual when sirens are blaring on the first Wednesday of the month. But no, I don’t have to duck and cover every day, and you won’t either.

Mahreen Ansari

In all, I really do love my state, no matter what anyone says. After all, there’s no place like home!