I Have Outgrown My Hometown, But I Will Always Appreciate It

I Have Outgrown My Hometown, But I Will Always Appreciate It

I’ve outgrown my home, but I still carry with me the invaluable life lessons that my quaint, little town has bestowed upon me.
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As we continue to wind down for the school year, conversation picks up about summer plans — whether interning, studying abroad, or taking classes, most of us will visit home at some point during the summer. And this is where the reminiscing begins. Most people reflect on how much they miss their high school friends, favorite hang out spot or restaurants. I can honestly say, I don’t relate.

I used to love the seclusion that my hometown brought — everyone knew my name, I didn’t worry about locking the door, and everywhere I could walk to. Davidson, North Carolina was my safety net — somewhere that I wasn’t afraid to fall because I knew I would always be caught.

I absolutely miss my favorite barista at my local coffee shop or the fact that the deli I frequently visited always knew my order beforehand. However, in my new college town, I’ve found my new favorite barista and another deli where the staff knows my usual. I’ve made a strange place my home and given it a sense of familiarity.

Now, while I still love my hometown, it’s something that I’ve outgrown. I like that I can walk down the street and always see an unfamiliar face. I like that my friend’s mom also doesn’t double as a substitute teacher. But most importantly, I like that I was essentially given a reset button and created my own path.

As I embark on a new stage in my life, I recognize what Davidson has given me: a town square to ride my bike into, an incredible community of people, and an overwhelming sense of safety.

Davidson was where I went through all of my stages of life — whether learning how to ride a bike, registering to vote or the intense and quite frequent screaming matches with my mom, (yeah, sorry about that) my small town has nurtured me through thick and thin.

Sure, I’ve outgrown my home, but I still carry with me the invaluable life lessons that my quaint, little town has bestowed upon me: I will ALWAYS smile at people on the street (yes, even in NYC). I carry myself with an overwhelming sense of trustworthiness like everyone is my small town neighbor.

And while I love the hustle and bustle a large city brings to me, I appreciate the slowness and calculated decisions of that small, southern town.

Cover Image Credit: Rachel Figard

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I Ghosted My Old Self For 5 Months In An Effort To Reevaluate My Life

My life fell apart faster than a drunk dude approaching a Jenga stack.

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BREAKING (not fake) NEWS: It's true, you have to hit your lowest before hitting your highest.

I want to share my lowest with you, and I'm almost ashamed to say it had nothing to do with the loss of both of my parents. I like to think I handled that like a warrior.

Turns out I didn't, and the hurt I've been burying from that hit me all at once, the same moment my life fell apart faster than a drunk dude approaching a Jenga stack.

My life flipped upside down overnight back in August. I had my heart broken shattered, lost two very important friendships that I thought were with me until the end, lost my 9-5 job, my health took a hit stronger than a boulder, and I was absolutely lost. For the first time, ever, I let go of the reigns on my own life. I had no idea how to handle myself, how to make anyone around me happy, how to get out of bed or how to even begin the process of trying to process what the f*ck just happened. I was terrified.

Coming from the girl who never encountered a dilemma she couldn't fix instantaneously, on her own, with no emotional burden. I was checked out from making my life better. So I didn't try. I didn't even think about thinking about trying.

The only relatively understandable way I could think to deal with anything was to not deal with anything. And that's exactly what I did. And it was f*cking amazing.

I went into hiding for a week, then went on a week getaway with my family, regained that feeling of being loved unconditionally, and realized that's all I need. They are all I need. Friends? Nah. Family. Only. Always.

On that vacation, I got a call from the school district that they wanted me in for an interview the day I come home. It was for a position that entailed every single class, combined, that I took in my college career. It was a career that I had just gotten my degree for three months before.

I came home and saw my doctor and got a health plan in order. I was immediately thrown into the month-long hiring process for work. I made it a point to make sunset every single night, alone, to make sure I was mentally caught up and in-check at the same exact speed that my life was turning. I was not about to lose my control again. Not ever.

Since August, I have spent more time with family than ever. I've read over 10 new books, I've discovered so much new music, I went on some of my best, the worst and funniest first dates, I made true, loyal friends that cause me zero stress while completely drowning me in overwhelming amounts of love and support, I got back into yoga, and I started that job and damn near fell more in love with it than I ever was for the guy I lost over the summer.

But most importantly, I changed my mindset. I promised myself to not say a single sentence that has a negative tone to it. I promised myself to think three times before engaging in any type of personal conversation. I promised myself to wake up in a good mood every damn day because I'm alive and that is the only factor I should need to be happy.

Take it from a girl who knew her words were weapons and used them frequently before deciding to turn every aspect of her life into positivity — even in the midst of losing one of my closest family members. I have been told multiple times, by people so dear to me that I'm "glowing." You know what I said back? F*ck yes I am, and I deserve to.

I am so happy with myself and it has nothing to do with the things around me. It's so much deeper than that, and I'm beaming with pride. Of myself. For myself.

I want to leave you with these thoughts that those people who have hurt me, left me, and loved me through these last couple of months have taught me

Growth is sometimes a lonely process.
Some things go too deep to ever be forgotten.
You need to give yourself the permission to be happy right now.
You outgrow people you thought you couldn't live without, and you're not the one to blame for that. You're growing.
Sometimes it takes your break down to reach your breakthrough.

Life isn't fair, but it's still good.

My god, it's so f*cking good.

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Becoming Kinder To Myself

My biggest bully is my own mind and I'm sick of being the victim.

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I've always known how important self-love is, but I've only recently realized the depths of what it means. For me, the hardest part about loving myself is the fact that I've been conditioned to hate myself. I say the meanest things in my head and constantly try to tear myself down. While I am confident in the person I am, I don't think I love myself in the way I need to.

It's 2019, and I've decided it's going to be the year of me. This year, I will fall in love with myself. I will stop thinking I am the problem. I will stop letting my worries get in my way. I am constantly motivating my friends and encouraging them to do whatever is necessary to make themselves happy.

So, why haven't I been doing that for me?

I show kindness to everyone I meet, but perhaps I am the one who needs my kindness the most. I'm never going to get what I want if I feel as though I don't deserve it. I'm never going to achieve my goals if I don't think I have the ability to do so.

I would never kick someone when they're down, so this year, I'm going to start applying that to myself. The negative thoughts will come and go, but it's time that I stop feeding them. I see myself negatively, and the only way that's going to change is if I fight it with a lot of positivity.

Self-love is more than being confident in your own skin; it's being kind to yourself and treating yourself right. I always feel like my mind controls me, but it's time to start controlling my mind. My mind is going to become a place of positivity and encouragement, and it all starts with simply replacing my thoughts that stem from hatred to thoughts that come from love.

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