Much respect to the people who can emotionally afford to stay in Oklahoma without putting their mental health in jeopardy. I was not one of those people.
Oklahoma is a land of very little culture and diversity, which ultimately means fewer job opportunities. My public high school didn’t even offer Arts & Humanities in its curriculum! Unless you’re a man who can work as a farmhand or in the oilfield, your economic opportunities are limited. (College-educated women can basically choose from one of three careers: teacher, nurse or secretary).
The laws in OK are INSANE for things like simple possession of marijuana, which has landed some Okies in jail for decades or even life. Oklahoma incarcerates more women than any other state and has notoriously botched multiple executions (which many people are actually proud of. How Christ-like). Our abhorrent school system prepares students to become nothing more than manual laborers or inmates in the state’s private prisons, which are the only thing keeping some small towns afloat.
OK ranks 49th in education funding and has a very high teen pregnancy and sex trafficking rate compared to other states. Our roads and bridges are literally collapsing before our eyes. And don’t even get me started on the meth epidemic. All this, yet state leaders choose to focus on non-issues like attacking a woman’s right to choose and putting the Ten Commandments at the state capitol.
Every state has its problems, but Oklahoma’s are too numerous and too severe to make the state livable in my lifetime. Moving away was the single best decision I ever made. At some point you have to be honest with yourself about the conditions around you and ask yourself if you REALLY want to waste your years living that way. Life is too short to wait around hoping for things to change.