I don’ t know when I started saying ‘ya’ll’.
As in ‘ya’ll come back now, ya here?’
It kind of makes me feel more country than I actually am. For I, like many faux country girls, grew up in a very nice house that was more ‘suburban’ than ‘farmer’s field’. Despite living across from some very nice people with a petting zoo and a small herd of cattle, I never had to wake up at 5 am for chores, never got stepped on by a cow, never fell in poop. Well, I mean I probably did fall in poop in some point in my life, but I most likely blocked it out of my memory. And it was probably only dog poop. Not ACTUAL farm poop, guys. There’s a difference. Trust me.
Now I’m getting very specific about poop I may or may not have fallen in.
Back to the point, ya’ll. (If you don’t remember, this post was supposed to be about ‘ya’ll’ and not poop at all. God, keep up. I’m concerned for your mental well being, I set the stage like a paragraph ago.)
Anyways, I get all nostalgic for driving past corn fields daily, having more than a quarter acre yard and actually seeing stars when I look up at night, but I really don’t think I was ever country enough for the country. Knowing all the words to most Shania Twain songs does not a country girl make. Jokingly, my friends and I started saying ‘ya’ll’ because we were too ‘valley’ (read: Ottawa valley is a very large and sometimes vague area of country side where trashy girls come from. Like my best friend Kristen. Trashy as they come. Just kidding, Kristen). None of us are real country girls at all, but when we compared ourselves to the city girls we worked with, we didn’t fit into their lives either. It’s how I like to think we became friends. None of us saw the need to wear makeup daily, we didn’t own every Apple product ever made and we found brunch to be an extremely novel and compelling concept. Not to pigeon hole city girls- or country girls for that matter – but at that time we just didn’t feel as fashionable or in the know as these 16 year old girls. We bonded that way; we talked about our field parties, seeing lawn tractors being driven to work, and being stuck at the school for lunch until you were old enough to drive a car. Our memories kind of all meshed together – we shopped at Giant Tiger and getting a Tim Hortons that was a walk-able distance from high school was a big deal. We spoke like country girls and pronounced words wrong. We were hicks who weren’t even farmers. That’s when we started saying ‘ya’ll.’
They stopped when it got old and I just didn’t. I like how it sounded and I liked how much people were taken aback by a simple conjunction.
“Did you just say ya’ll?”
“Yep. You all – ya’ll”
“You know that just shortening it to ‘you’ works just as well? And is less of a grammatical shitfest?”
(And that’s when they would turn skeptically away and retrospectively regret becoming friends with me.)
Also I think it’s hard for me to change sometimes. My friends are now the penultimate city girls: one is a hairstylist, who rocks everything she wears and has tried every health and nature related product on the market. She's like my inspiration to keep going on. The other is super fashionable, outgoing and a total closet nerd. Sometimes when I look at her, I realize what an introvert I really am. I guess I’ve changed too. I’m not the same girl who went to a country high school and played the flute in band. I’m definitely not the depressed girl who started at her first retail job and barely left her house. I’m like some kind of weird monster. I like keeping inside jokes and I like being country. I also like pretending that I can dress myself well and speak with profound intelligence. It is not a regular occurrence, but it happens sometimes, ok? Country and city combined was my point. I’m 23 years old and still trying to find myself, but at least I know that I never want to let go of some parts of the girl who lived across from the petting zoo. The good parts. The parts that say ‘ya’ll’ and get excited about Tim Hortons.