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Big Trouble in a Little Town

Why Small Towns Aren't an Aesthetic We Should Strive For

(Disclaimer: I'm going to avoid naming my town in this piece, as I don't know how many creepy people there are on the internet). 

I grew up in the world's smallest town. Well, not really the world's, we're not even my state's smallest town, but that's always how it felt. Like the entire world past the county lines just... didn't exist; the countries and cities we learned about in school always seemed like they belonged on a different planet light years away. Always places that the poor ones (and there were a lot of us) could never afford to visit, and we had to get what we could from those who could afford the trip ten times over. We were all just living in a book, the same story over and over again. Like a sort of... modern antebellum period. Almost as if we never stepped foot past 1962. 

In my good ol' town, no one's happy unless they're drugged, drunk, or dead. In high school, there weren't very many of us that were sober enough to be interested in school or higher education, opting instead to go into a trade after they graduated. But the trades were always in town too, so after they learned how to fix an AC unit or got their cosmetology licenses, that was it for many of them. Always complaining about their lot in life, but never doing anything to change it. 

Of course, it's really never their fault. It's not like any of the adults in our lives ever inspired us to leave and go anywhere else, unless it was to dig ourselves into thousands of dollars in debt for higher education, or enlist in the military. No one wants us to have dreams or pursuits that take us far away, so we lost hope. We get discouraged and beaten down like our parents were, and their parents were, forever and ever amen. Just because we have history, or heritage, or property, we're expected to come running back home as eager as a pup to just plop our roots down in the same soil we'd just yanked ourselves out of. 

For example, my own family wants me to move back home as soon as I graduate from college so I can be prepared to take over my grandfather's land after my mom and my aunts pass away. I, obviously, don't want to do that. If it were up to me, I would just sell the land to the highest bidder and invest the money in my retirement, or my future kid's college fund, or something like that. I don't have any use for it. My mom, on the other hand, "would rather [you] didn't. Your grandfather fought hard for this land." I don't want to be stuck there for the rest of my life; there's a huge world out there for me and everyone else, and so many people to meet. I'm going to get out of this state, or die trying. 

And I know what you're probably saying, because it's probably the same thing my mother has told me over and over in hopes of making me feel guilty so that I'll change my mind: "Oh, well aren't you sounding stuck up? Because the world doesn't revolve around you." Maybe I am. Maybe I'm making myself sound more important and smarter than I really am, but that still doesn't mean that I'm wrong. Ask anyone my age from the same town, and they'll tell you the same thing: "Just because my family has history in a place, that doesn't make it my home. I'm not home if I'm not happy." We just want to be happy. We weren't put on this Earth to pay bills and die. 

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Big Trouble in a Little Town
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