One year ago this month, Nashville was hit with a 500-year flood that rocked our community. Yet, despite the mass of people affected and damage done, the world remained unaware of our dire situation—that is, until a sports writer by the name of Patten Fuqua decided to write a column on why we weren’t getting any press.

“A large part of the reason that we are being ignored,” Fuqua wrote, “is because of who we are. Think about that for just a second. Did you hear about looting? Did you hear about crime sprees? No…you didn’t. You heard about people pulling their neighbors off of rooftops. You saw a group of people trying to move two horses to higher ground. No…we didn’t loot. Our biggest warning was, ‘Don’t play in the floodwater.’ When you think about it…that speaks a lot for our city. A large portion of why we were being ignored was that we weren’t doing anything to draw attention to ourselves. We were handling it on our own.”

So who is Nashville?

When I decided to move to Nashville ten years ago, I couldn’t have answered that question. All I knew is that Nashville was Music City, USA, and I loved music. So I packed up my car, left my friends and family behind, and headed south.

Initially, my “Nashville” consisted of one friend who had just transferred to Belmont University, a friend of my aunt’s, and a roommate whom I had met online. Over the years I’ve met more people and gotten involved through friends, work, and church. I’ve gotten to know the city and the people in it.

I’ve learned that Nashville is a transient town. There are always people moving here from all over the world. Nashville is so welcoming because most people here know what it’s like to move here. Most Nashvillians remember how big this small town can feel. Like me, a majority of the city’s inhabitants chose Nashville.

A few years ago, I hit a major rough patch, one that cost me my job and my apartment. Through friends, I found a family who let me live with them and several odd jobs until I got back on my feet. During that time my family desperately wanted me to move home, but I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t do it because Nashville is my home.

Ten years ago I couldn’t have told you why I was choosing Nashville. Now, I actively choose Nashville every day because it is Nashville. It is a warm and welcoming community filled with people who are ready and willing to help each other. While this transient town continues to change, that sentiment never does.

I may not have been born and raised a Nashvillian, but I feel as though I have truly grown up here. And I have more growing to do. Things may not have always been sunshine for me this past decade, but of one thing I am sure: I am Nashville. We are Nashville. And I am proud to share this city with you.