Growing up I spent a lot of time coloring. My favorite coloring partner was my grandmother, accidentally named “Gimmer” when I couldn’t muster enough syllables for the formal name. On Sundays after church I went home with Gimmer & Grandad, & after lunch we would sit in the floor or at the table & color. Even though they moved to Georgia when I was still in elementary school & Grandad has since passed on, Gimmer & I never outgrew coloring, & to this day will occasionally sit & chat while filling the spaces of grown-up coloring pages.

While I love coloring, I have never liked staying inside the lines.

As a kid I would concede to color in those pre-fixed boundaries of creativity while supervised, but as soon as Gimmer’s eye was elsewhere I’d draw outside, extending the colors of an image into a background that didn’t exist until I made it. It was natural to push those boundaries, although the adults around me insisted that it was best to stay within them.

Growing up the people around us are always advising us to stay within different kinds of lines. Maybe on purpose, maybe by default, we are subconsciously encouraged to flock with the familiar. So as we age it’s easy for us to only spend time with people who are like us in the places we are most comfortable.

But doing this causes us to have a very limited view of the world around us & it robs us of the blessings of a diverse life experience. It also furthers the drawing of lines in our communities which birth stereotypes & cause division, disparity, & an unequal distribution of resources & opportunity.

For our good & the good of our city we must be intentional about living outside the lines.

The team here at YesLouisville.com has been thinking for a while about how to help people live outside the lines in our city & to celebrate what is great about every neighborhood in the metro area. We are, after all, a hub for positivity where people can connect with one another & the city to enrich their lives. Our motto is:

Discover Your City. Discover You.

So, after an inspirational Creative Mornings event focused on Symmetry, or the lack thereof, among Louisville’s neighborhoods we decided to embark on an intentional adventure of discovery beginning in the West End.

Starting this week & for the rest of the month of March we will be exploring the city, beginning with broad strokes. We’ve separated the city into four natural quadrants, North, South, East & West, & will be tackling one section per week, highlighting the things that stood out from our experience. We’ll be talking with locals in each area, learning all we can, & sharing it on our site & socials.

Our goal is to use this survey of the city to cultivate local contributors living within each of the smaller neighborhoods who can share one story a month of a person, place or thing that makes their niche of the city special. As we move forward we hope this becomes a way for all Louisvillians to gain more appreciation & understanding of the city as a whole & be encouraged to explore outside their comfort zones in daily life.

We want you to #KnowYourLou & to help you learn to love living outside the lines with us! If you have suggestions for places to go & things to see or people to talk to, let us know! You can email me at lori@yeslouisville.com.

Thank you & we hope you enjoy the journey!

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