I Don't Hate My Hometown But I'm Never Moving Back

I Don't Hate My Hometown But I'm Never Moving Back

Whenever I decided to move away, people doubted that I would stay away for long but sometimes the reasons people leave are a little deeper than moving for school.

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For some people, moving away from their hometown is one of the hardest things that they will ever do. And I cannot tell you how many people I know from my town personally who move away for a semester only to return when they realize that moving away isn't all that it's cracked up to be.

And when I told people my senior year that I was moving away and never coming back only a handful of people actually believed me. I got the common responses like "Oh you say that now but just wait a few months" and "This is a town that everybody claims to hate but nobody ever leaves".

I also got the slightly more founded statements that can generally be summed up as "But your whole family and life are here". And I understand why people said these things because, for the most part, those things are all true.

But these things weren't enough to warrant me staying in a town that I truly felt smothered. For me, I didn't move away because I got accepted into a prestigious school or got an amazing job offer that I couldn't pass up. I moved away because I wanted to build roots in a community that would love, accept, and embrace me.

And I say all of this with the utmost respect to my hometown. I truly believe that living there was a step along my journey and I'm thankful for all that I gained while living there. I truly believe that you can learn things from every stage in your life even if it's not necessarily a great one or it's the worst experience that you've ever had.

And living in my hometown certainly wasn't awful but it was incredibly stagnant and stifling, to say the least. As I grew up and my worldview started shifting from what I had always been taught was the "correct" way of believing, I stuck out like a sore thumb. My environment around me was not at all conducive to the development of new ideas and ways of thinking.

Like much of the midwest, I grew up in a tiny red town that was every farming, conservative, Christian's dream. And as a closeted gay, liberal, feminist who actually believed in things like evolution and global warming, you could say that I didn't fit in all that well.

But despite these things, I don't resent growing up in my small town, regardless of how well I fit in. Living in an environment that is uncomfortable, as long as it's not hostile, is something that I think everyone needs to experience at least once in their lifetime.

Even though it's incredibly challenging, it's worthwhile because it teaches you how to view people who can easily be labeled as "the other" as fully human. And I know that might sound obvious to some of you but I know from experience that it is so easy to only see people as their political or religious views.

And I truly think that it is vital, if we wish to make any sustainable change, that we find the common ground that unites us instead of what separates us. Now that I have it, I wouldn't change my community for the world and I certainly won't be moving back to my hometown now or ever. And I'm so thankful that I have this privilege because I know not everybody does.

I'm a big believer in finding your place and taking up space. Each and every one of us deserves to be surrounded by people that are not necessarily always going to agree with us but people who will challenge us to become the best people that we can be. I'm so thankful that, at least for the foreseeable future, I have found my place and I am definitely taking up space.

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To The Boy Who Will Love Me Next

If you can't understand these few things, leave before things get too involved
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To the boy that will love me next, I need you to know and understand things about me and my past. The things I have been though not only have shaped the person I’ve become, but also sometimes controls my life. In the past I’ve been used, abused, and taken for granted, and I want something real this time. The guys before you were just boys; they didn’t know how to treat me until it was too late. They didn’t understand how to love me, until I broke my own heart. Before you truly decide to love me I want you to understand these things.

When I tell you something, please listen.

I’m my own person, I want to be loved a certain way. If I ask you to come over and watch movies with me please do it, if I ask for you to leave me alone for a few hours because it’s a girl’s night please do it. I don’t just say things to hear my own voice, I say things to you because it’s important to my life and the way I want to be loved. I’m not a needy person when it comes to being loved and cared for, but I do ask for you to do the small things that I am say.

Forgive my past.

My past is not a pretty brick road, it is a highway that has a bunch of potholes and cracks in it. I have a lot of baggage, and most of it you won’t understand. But don’t let my past decided whether you want to love me or not. My past has helped form who I am today, but it does not define who I am. My past experiences might try and make an appearance every once in a while, but I will not go back to that person I once was, I will not return to all that hurt I once went though. When I say those things, I’m telling the complete and honest truth. I relive my past every day, somethings haunt me and somethings are good reminds. But for you to love me, I need you to accept my past, present and future.

I’m just another bro to the other guys.

I have always hung out with boys, I don’t fit in with the girl groups. I have 10 close girlfriends, but the majority of my friends are guy, but don’t let this scare you. If I wanted to be with one of my guy friends I would already be with him, and if you haven’t noticed I don’t want them because I’m with you. I will not lose my friendships with all my guy friends to be able to stay with you. I will not cut off ties because you don’t like my guy friends. I have lost too many buddies because of my ex-boyfriends and I promised myself I wouldn’t do that again. If you don’t like how many guy friends I have you can leave now. Don’t bother trying to date me if you can accept the fact I’m just another bro.

I might be a badass, but I actually have a big heart.

To a lot of people I come off to be a very crazy and wild girl. I will agree I can be crazy and wild, but I’m more than that. I’m independent, caring, responsible, understanding, forgiving, and so such more type of woman. Many people think that I’m a badass because I don’t take any negatively from anyone. Just like we learned when we were younger, “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it at all.” Most people can’t do that in today’s world, so I stick up for myself and my friends. I don’t care what anyone thinks about me, or their option on how I live my life. The only thing I care about is being able to make myself happy. Even though I’m an independent woman, understand that I do have a big heart. Honesty when I truly care for someone I will do just about anything they ask, but don’t take advantage of this. Once you take advantage of this part of me, all respect will be lost for you.

I’m hard to love.

Sometimes I want to be cuddle and get attention, and sometimes I don’t want you to talk to me for a couple hours. Sometimes I want you to take me out for a nice meal, but sometimes I want a home cooked meal. Every day is different for me, sometimes I change my mind every hour. My mood swings are terrible on certain days, and on those days you should probably just ignore me. I’m not easy to love, so you’ll either be willing to find a way to love me, or you’ll walk out like so many others have.

I’m scared.

I’m scared to love someone again. I’ve been hurt, heartbroken, and beat to the ground in my past relationships. I want to believe you are different, I want to hope things will truly work out, but every relationship has always ended up the same way. I’m scared to trust someone, put my whole heart into them, just to be left and heartbroken again. I sick and tired of putting my whole body and soul into someone for them to just leave when it is convenient for them. If you want to love me, understand it won’t be easy for me to love you back.

When “I’m done.”

When I say “I’m done” I honestly don’t mean that I’m done. When I say that it means I need and want you to fight for me, show me why you want to be with me. I need you to prove that I’m worth it and there’s no one else but me. If I was truly done, I would just walk away, and not come back. So if I ever tell you, “I’m done,” tell me all the reasons why I’m truly not done.

For the boy who will love me next, the work is cut out for you, you just have to be willing to do it. I’m not like other girls, I am my own person, and I will need to be treated as such. For the boy that will love me next, don’t bother with me unless you really want to be with me. I don’t have time to waste on you if you aren’t going to try and make something out of us. To the boy who will love me next, the last thing I would like to say is good luck, I have faith in you.

Cover Image Credit: Danielle Balint

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It Was A Culture Shock To Come Back Home To Pick-Up Trucks And Sweet Tea After Being In A City

It seriously makes you wonder, 'Like how did I ever live here?'

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Going to college in the north is very different from the south for obvious reasons, but going to college in the north AND in a big city is even more interesting and culturally different from the south.

Not a day went by during my first two years at Temple University where I wasn't completely entertained by the wonders and crazy moments the city had to offer to me. I love living a fast-paced life, and living in the city definitely gave me that opportunity, but what I was never prepared for was well...the trash.

Like, Philadelphia is dirty. Dir-ty dirty.

I've grown accustomed to seeing trash in the streets, on the sidewalks, and in the few patches of grass between buildings, but it doesn't make it any less disappointing when I come face to face with it.

Despite the trash, however, I love how open-minded and accepting everyone is in the city. It was nice coming face to face with strangers and being able to sense that they had the same progressive viewpoints as I did.

Now let's flip the switch and talk about coming home...

For those who don't know me, I'm from a city called Macon in the good ole peach state of Georgia. Now, Macon is country. I feel like when people think of the south they think of all the cute little things about the south like country accents and sweet tea, but there's a lot of unpleasant things about my city that makes me reluctant to come home.

For one, it's slow as hell, but I guess leaving the city makes anything else seem slow right? I mean, talk about a culture shock. One second you're almost getting run over by city-goers rushing from point A to point B, and the next, well you're surrounded by pick-up trucks and MAGA hats. A culture shock.

I guess I'm one of those people that isn't proud to say I'm from the city of Macon, but I have to pay homage to it because if it weren't for growing up in this conservative, significantly slower-paced city, I wouldn't be the outspoken, bold woman I am today. My hometown made me want to get out, explore the world, and be my own person, and now Philadelphia has become my second home--a place where I finally feel free.

So yeah, you could say it's definitely a huge culture shock coming back home to my hometown of Macon, Georgia, but in a way, I'm thankful for that culture shock, because it is a testament to my growth and shows how far I've come since the last time I was home.

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