I spent four years in high school with a drama coach who taught us how to hide our accents to be taken seriously.
These days the southern accent is cool even attractive.
Nashville has become the place to be as of late. The television show Nashville (on which, one of my books was used as a prop! Oh, my God!) has a lot to do with that.
I, personally, have tried to remember everything that my speech/drama teacher taught me. I speak with articulation as often as possible. I did an excellent job of blending in when I visited the Northeast.
While I still refuse to say “y’all,” I do find that when I am sleepy or around my family my accent is thick. It is as if my tongue grows three sizes larger than usual. My mouth is full of words that all have added R’s in them.
I’m not ashamed of my southern-ness, but I do fear that I sound stupid when my accent is thicker. I don’t have the charm of Reese Witherspoon or the wit of Trae Crowder. I am not sure my accent would endear people to me.
So, I store it away for those special occasions like talking to an elderly woman at the grocery store, family reunions, and when I need to go Cheatham County on someone’s ass right quick.