Growing up in a culture that frequently denigrates the very women that it relies upon, I had a difficult time finding models for womanhood among the women of my Appalachia. Most of the women around me appeared to exert little power or command much respect outside their families, let alone within them. Driven by a desire to break the cycle of dropping out, marrying, bearing children, and settling into manufacturing work, I abandoned the Appalachian women of my past in search of a future with the new womanhood I saw in the academy. However, I soon found that I needed to be a great deal like the women I had left behind in the rural manufacturing communities in order to create an identity for myself in the outside world. Through the discovery of the writings of one of Appalachia's earliest feminists, Emma Bell Miles, I found the value of the culture I had left behind, as well as my own ability to create space for myself within that culture on my own terms.