I have mentioned before that I come from a small Midwest town of only around 1,000 people, it is a town where everyone knows everyone and if you don’t actually know them you at least recognize them. I was running errands the other day when someone (that I have met on several occasions) said “I’ve never seen you before, you from around here?” This wasn’t said in the sarcastic “you’ve been gone for a year I hardly recognize you” way, he legitimately had know idea who I was. So I politely answered “Yup. 27 years, born and raised.” That was the moment I realized I have never really belonged here. Yes this is where I call home, but when I actually think about it, I only call it home because my family is here, not because it is “home”. Mom and Dad’s house, Grandma and Grandpa’s house, my sister’s house, those places are “home” not this town. This is a small town with a small concept of the world, people tend to be very closed off to the ideas of anything different, looking different, thinking different or wanting different things out of life. The world outside of a small town seems foreign and dangerous to most of the people within it. I don’t mean anything negative towards Clay City or anyone who lives here, it was an nice place to grow up, I just have never felt a connection here. I look at the world differently, and I suppose this is why I never felt that I belonged here.
When I left Clay City I felt excited but guilty about the people I was leaving behind, afraid everything was going to change while I was away. I was clearly wrong about that and I realized feeling guilty about people I have left is unfair to myself. My happiness is the most important thing (for me), I have to live my life for myself and do what makes me happy. Why should I feel guilty for doing what makes me happy. That being said I still can’t help but feel a pang of guilt when every time I walk out the door my nieces and nephews now panic and ask “Where are you going? Are you leaving again?” or when my niece had a complete meltdown and wouldn’t let go of me when it was time for her to go home the weekend I returned. It legitimately breaks my heart. But, I want them to grow up knowing that it’s okay to do your own thing and be your own person, walk to the beat of your own drum even if no one else can hear it. I want them to want to see the world. My hope is that one day they will look back and want to be like their Auntie Mia and travel! I want them to not only dream big, I want them to live BIG!
Speaking of my family, I’m going to sidetrack for a second to brag on them. I can not say enough about them and how lucky I am to have the support system I do. My family is amazing! I had no worries returning home, I did not have to stress over where I would sleep when I got off the plane, with nearly no money to my name, because my grandparents insisted I would live with them. I did not even have to think about how I would get from point A to point B because my parents had a car for me to drive. Mom actually called me months before I even thought about coming home to let me know they had figured it all out for me, I have a place to live, a car to drive and a job waiting for me. I literally had no worries. This is something many people do not have, my family is amazing, I wish everyone were blessed in the way I am. And back to the original post…
Since being home this is what I have noticed, nothing has changed. Everyone has continued with their lives buying houses, getting married and having babies, living the “American Dream”. I’m happy for them. I know that sounds sarcastic but truly I am. It’s just not the life I choose for myself, and most people simply do not understand that. It is hard for people to wrap there heads around the idea that in my mid-twenties (okay I am technically in my late twenties…early-late twenty’s) that is not the direction I am heading. I am almost 28 years old, have no boyfriend let alone a husband, I don’t have a house or plants to water, very few bills to pay, I certainly do not have any little kids running around and I have no plans to change any of that in the near future. All I think about is “When can I go.” “Where will I go next.” That is not to say I don’t want those things eventually, I just am in no hurry to get there. I was talking to Dad the other day, I told him this and he said “I would be disappointed if you did.” That might surprise you as it is not something you would expect a dad to say to his 27 year old daughter, because those are the things you want for your kids especially in their late 20’s, but he understands that I would not be true to myself if I followed the same footsteps as most of my peers, it’s just not who I am.
And the moral of the story is: Don’t be afraid to be who you were meant to be!