Dear Hometown, I Hate You, But I Thank You
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Dear Hometown, I Hate You, But I Thank You

I never thought I would say this, but... thank you.

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Dear Hometown, I Hate You, But I Thank You
Sami Newland

Dear Hometown,

I’m going to be real with you. I hate you. Starting in middle school, you made me feel claustrophobic and unfulfilled. I wanted nothing more than to run away and never return.

And thus far, since leaving for college, I’ve been fairly successful. Last year, my mom sold my childhood home, disposing of any real relationship with you.

However, retrospect is a form of magic and, two years later, I am able to say that I appreciate you.

Like a post, first love breakup, I don’t want anything to do with you anymore, but I am willing to acknowledge I would not be the person I am today had I lived somewhere different.

Though I hated that everyone seemed to know everything about me and my family, at the same time it provided a feeling of safety and security. I could have knocked on any door in a time of need and found a second-degree connection to the face who answered.

You taught me the importance of the little things in life: the simple bliss of reaching the highest branches in a magnolia tree, the childhood freedom of running from backyard to backyard without a worry in the world, and knowing the mailman by name.

You taught me how to dream and set goals. My detestation of the small town pushed me to seek adventure in life. It was this drive that pushed me to attend high school in the big city and move 1,000 miles away as soon as I graduated. The lack of extracurricular activities led me to seek new experiences in the form of literature and film.

The lack of diversity in opinions and backgrounds caused me to wonder what else is out there.

You are the place where I learned it is okay to be different from the crowd. While I passionately resented climbing through the years of puberty with the same 27 kids, it was through this experience that I learned the importance of individuality. In that tiny, private elementary school, I learned how to defend my opinions, even if the majority was against me. It was this experience that inspired me to permanently brand myself with an alien tattoo, embracing the fact that I am an outsider to your idea of a perfect world.

Had I been surrounded by peers with the same interests as me, I never would have made a fifteen year (and still going strong) friendship with the only other person who liked theater and period piece literature. Had I gotten along better with my peers, I never would have confided in my mom, who is now my best friend. I would never have stayed home on the weekends with my little sister, igniting the realization that a three-year gap means nothing to kindred spirits.

I used to despise you. Sometimes I still do. But as I near graduation and begin the next chapter of my life, I am willing to admit that had I never been involved with you, I wouldn’t be me.

So, Everett, I never thought I would say this... but thank you.

I wish you the best. I heard you might be getting an Ikea. Congrats.

Here's to the mems.

Sincerely,

Sami

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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