Why did I pick the name? In spite of my 5’2″ stature and the ability to get along with most anyone, I have, on more than one occasion, been referred to as “a rebel” or “contrary”. Humorous now, but surprising the first time.
About 14 years ago, I was working in a health club as a fitness trainer. After a few years, the club was sold and, in conversations about staff that the new owner had with the previous owner, I was apparently referred to as “the rebel”…huh?! Me??
What had I done to earn that label? Well, let’s see…I found and hung up a few Christmas lights and decorations around the only window on the gym floor…members liked it. I think what really earned my rebel status was when, with permission from my manager (not the owner) and the help of a couple beefy men, I re-arranged the weight room into a much more practical and ergonomically-designed area…members loved it!
That’s all I could come up with. My interaction with the old owner had been minimal, because I worked in the evenings and he was there during the early part of the day. So, he really couldn’t know me too well, but apparently those two actions earned me rebel status, in his opinion.
After the new owner took over and started implementing his own petty rules, and having already been labeled a rebel, I felt obligated to take down a sign he put up that was unprofessional, patronizing, and upsetting to the members…they were grateful.
So, that’s how it all started, I guess. I did a few little things others wouldn’t, sometimes without permission from the “powers that be”, that made people a little happier. Not too bad, really, huh?
More recently, I worked at an assisted living facility where I was nicknamed “rebel” by my young co-workers and called “contrary” by the director. She said it with a smile, but still. What did I do? Well, they all knew that I preferred working shifts that were opposite of when the bigwigs were there. The main thing, though, was that I spoke my mind in an honest and humorous manner and would say things that needed to be said. Some of the younger women tended to be a bit more reserved with voicing their opinions to the management staff, but there were a few of us older girls there. As you get older, you tend to care less about what others think about you. Oh, it can be so liberating! When we spoke our minds, we were sometimes met with laughter and, often, relief from the people we worked with and, occasionally, with red-faced chagrin from the people in charge.
These days, if you speak your mind, that’s often considered rebellious, because we live in such a politically-correct, walk-on-eggshells society. Well, too bad. Some things just need to be said. I’m not as outspoken as other people I know, but I can hold my own.
My husband refers to my speak-my-mindedness as “you have no tact” and attributes it to my being a Yankee. Which brings me to another reason I chose the name Rebel Wife.
I’m living in the Deep South for the second time and probably will remain here for the rest of whatever. My husband was born and bred in Alabama and, after living 16 years in the cold, long-wintered land of beautiful New Hampshire, where I’m from, we were led to return to his home state.
The first time I moved down here, in the early 1990’s, I lived in Birmingham. It took me little time to decide that, if I decided to go to graduate school here, that’s all I was doing: getting my degree and getting out. I was SO homesick for my family and New England and I said I would never live here, permanently. My Dad even told me, “Never mind boys; just get your degree and come home.” Oops.
I don’t think it was being a rebel, but I didn’t get my degree and I married into one of the most Southern cat-fishin’, deer-huntin’, grits-eatin’, Y’all bless yer heart-in’ families I could’ve found. That’s ok, I love ’em. And our families really aren’t all that different, when you get down to basics. We both have conservative, Christian values. We’re proud, patriotic Americans. Oh, yes–we love to cook and, especially, eat! But, then there’s that tact thing. Oh, well.
So now, here I am. The girl who told herself and her husband-to-be that she didn’t ever want to live in Alabama, the furthest south she’d ever live would be in Virginia or North Carolina, is now living 3 hours further south in Alabama than she did before. So, I picked rebel wife as a tribute to my new life in the South, not in the sense that I’m a rebellious wife. Well, not always, anyways….