Ask anyone-- I am the first person to call my town a black hole. It's a place where people get stuck in,a place where generations live because families never really get out. It's a place where I can't go anywhere-- and I mean anywhere-- without my mom finding someone I went to preschool with or my dad throwing jokes at a guy he went to high school with.
When I got the chance to run 1,700 miles away, I took it. Heck, I've been dreaming of getting out for years now, finding a new city and making a brand new name for myself, being able to drive somewhere without having hundreds of memories attached to the places I pass on the way there, or with the place itself. I love my family, but I was looking forward to having them be a phone call away instead of ten minutes away. I cried when I got my acceptance letter, threw the rest of the mail all the way across the driveway-- because this was God telling me it was my time, and my chance. It was time to go. I wasn't going to get stuck.
My hometown is a black hole. It's a place to disappear. It's a place where everything is somehow familiar and there is always someone who knows your name, the awkward person you were in high school, your family. Everyone knows Mt. McCoy is one of the best places in town and, more than that, it's much easier to say 'the Cross' than 'Mt. McCoy." The new Target (because it will always be the new Target) is the place you see everyone you know, and that cross-town school rivalry is just as much in your veins as your genetic DNA is-- especially if in my case, you and your parents are on opposite sides of the football field (my new school may be maroon, but I will always have a soft spot for that green and gold, no matter how ugly the colors are together).
This is the place I grew up, with pictures of me sitting in a front yard of dirt and with my big black Labrador by my side to prove it. My high school is four blocks away from the house I've lived in my whole life. My grandparents live just across town, 30 seconds from the library that has known me since I could read and two minutes away from the doctor who has seen me from childhood shots to anxiety issues and everything in between. I've watched buildings change and businesses come and go. I saw the controversy over a lawn mower happy face on a hill and laughed along with everyone else at the rumor that the Denny's will get shut down (please).
This is where I found the first person who ever made me want to write out my feelings-- where I realized I can't do anything else besides write out my feelings so other people know they aren't alone in feeling them. Where I had a volleyball coach who became my English teacher and who was always my friend. Where I went to prom with a guy who met me in my awkward middle school and rebel-without-a-cause high school phases and was still brave enough to ask me to go with him. It's where I found and lost and-- most importantly-- once again found my best friend (and where we drove through empty streets celebrating the nights we were back and together once again, because thankfully she got out too).
This is where I'm a sister, a Highlander, a writer, a photographer, a performer, a best friend, the girl everyone knows, my father's daughter with the sharp tongue, the one who's just like her mother, currently at Seattle Pacific University.
More importantly-- this is the town that made me all of that.
This is the black hole town that made me realize I am not a black hole town type of person, and still lets me disappear here every once in a while anyway.
I've lived here for 18 years, and I've spent so much time dreaming of getting out I never realized just what I was getting out of.
I do now, and I'm so glad I do.