Lincoln, Nebraska.

The only thing that resonated between our short stint in Chicago and a nine hour haul to Lincoln was the hometown of Farrah Abraham, famously from 16 and Pregnant. And while I’m being completely transparent of my struggles and flaws, I’m commonly inundated with anxiety and severe panic attacks that tend to emerge like the wrath of an underpaid reality star… Holly calls it, “anxiety with a capital ‘A’.”

I managed to keep this debilitating worry the crevasse of my Carhartt pocket, but on the road to Lincoln that fear and loathing surely did materialize just the across the Iowa state borderline. After about four hours of driving, the road started to become a visually hypnotic white noise machine. While your eyes are being transfixed on the nothingness splattered outside of you, your thoughts… your fucking thoughts become this dreadful matter of clumsy “what if’s” that accompanies it. “What if I have a seizure while I’m driving… what if I pass out… what if I have a seizure AND pass out while transporting Holly and she never takes another photograph again?! Where’s the next hospital? What if there’s no hospital nearby and no one can save us in time? What if I’m the only black person when I get to this small town hospital?!? Am I driving erratic? What if I’m driving erratic and I don’t know it?! Oh my god… my chest… this is it I’m having a heart attack! I’m going to cause us harm! Danger! Danger!” and within a few moments the fear overgrowing on the inside makes a subtle guest appearance on the outside, “Hey, Holly… how do you feel about driving for a little bit”. No sooner before I turn off that hypnotic highway to mental hell, I’m crying from these farfetched and unwarranted fears in a cultish-looking church parking lot (hell 2.0). 

Holly is the most considerate person. The wealth of care and kindness that exist in her, exist beyond words. There’s also a genuineness that resides in her. She is willing to aide the human being you are and encouraging to the human being you desire to be. After my fall off the horse (or the van), I got back on. I got back on because of the person that believed in me. The person that was empathetic to the human in me… to the woman in me. 

Once we arrived in Lincoln... 103 degrees and humid, Lincoln, exhaustion overwhelmed us. No matter what task you oblige to, a depletion can strut effortlessly around you. We eyed each home as we slowly scoped our accommodations in Nebraska. Each humble house mirrored the perfect set of a TV sitcom.  “THAT’S IT! THAT’S THE HOUSE!” We crept undeniably in front of a home that housed eight smiling faces; Jesse, Meg, Lilly, George, Ellie, Jesse Kate, Sam, and Luke. Each one of them smiled a familiar smile. Each one of them housed a familiar face. Each one them existed in that same wealth of care that Holly couldn’t help but demonstrate. Holly’s kin had it. Kelsey, Allison, Sophie, and Cecilia had it. The middle of us… the U.S. undoubtedly had it.  

We can trudge through our scope with our dogmas, ideals, and skepticism. We can look past what we don’t want to see. We can poke fingers and blame… call it right. Call it left. We can conclude that its totally you and most certainly not me. We can exist in this place… in this very strong place and forget that the state of us lies not only on the other end of the tin can, but that there’s also a precious connection for the line that’s in-between. - Ragen

P.S.

There’s Black folk in Lincoln, too!

Sophie Costello, 19
STUDENT

“One thing about Lincoln is that I don’t live on a farm or drive a tractor to work while listening to country, like a lot of people think. I actually hate country and would rather throw on some Mura Masa while driving my Jeep. I don’t even own cowgirl boots. But the sunsets — I know every state claims they have the prettiest sunsets, but nothing compares to the bright-red color of the sky on a summer afternoon in the heart of Nebraska.”