Hey Small Town Hater,

 

So, you hate your small, stupid, boring town?

I get it, I really do. I grew up in a town, city, community, or whatever you want to call it, right on the edge of the Texas/Louisiana border. Here you know everyone’s mommas, grandmommas, and cousins, and chances are you’ll see 5 people you know at Wal-Mart…or getting breakfast at K-Dan’s. Not to mention they will probably all already know about the teacher that is getting fired, the party that got busted last weekend, or how your grandma’s cousin’s daughter just got engaged.

Ugh! Small town drama. Dumb politics.  Ignorance everywhere. NEVER anything to do.

Maybe there is drama, and politics, and a little (or a lot) of stupidity. Maybe this isn’t where you want to live forever. Maybe you are going to be hauling rear out of here the second you can. However, bashing your roots, where you grew up and the people who make your hometown homey, is unnecessary and a little ungrateful in my opinion.

Yes, I did get the heck outta this small town, but it was never just to get the heck outta this small town. I wanted to go off for college. I wanted to grow. I wanted to push myself. I could have grown and pushed myself in my hometown too, but I also wanted to know I could make it alone. I wanted a major challenge, so I chose the University of Texas, and let me tell you, a challenge is exactly what is was. I’m not old and wise, but I’d like to think spending four years away and CHOOSING to come home has qualified me enough to say why I don’t hate this small, stupid, boring town.

    • This is my foundation. This is where I began. Your town is where you started, where you learned how to walk, talk, and in the South, say “y’all.” Whether you like it or not, your foundation is your groundwork. This small town will always be a part of you and where your story began. And who knows, maybe something about this stupid place is what planted that dream in you to move off to a big city in search of something “more.
    • It can actually be really fun. I can’t tell you how many nights my friends and I loaded up in my Honda (Shout out to Yolanda the Honda) and “painted the town” as we liked to call it. This involved ding-dong ditching, catching a late movie, going to Wal-Mart in a chicken suit, and bouncing over railroad tracks (Sorry Mom). We never ended a night without coffee and grub from Waffle House either.  Not only were we usually staying out of trouble, but we were enjoying each other’s company. Now I’m out of high school there isn’t as much shenanigans, but we still get together for wine and movie nights or visit and have snacks in face masks.  Some nights I wish I was back in Austin, Texas, The Live Music Capital of the World, but I’m pretty content sitting around a fire or the living room or a Waffle Houses table making jokes and talking with my friends. IMG_2571

I’m pretty sure we were in Waffle House for two hours this night laughing chugging coffee.

    • I have community here. You don’t realize growing up how much support you have at home. Your parents, teachers, friends, family, family of friends…they all root for you. Friday night football games aren’t just parents and friends, that’s a community supporting the local kids. The benefit lunches for those in needs make thousands and those cookie dough fundraisers make serious money! That’s because small town people support small town people, we are in this together.

IMG_1388

Cheering on the high school football team with one of my biggest cheerleaders from home.

    • I was cheered on and supported even when I moved off. Even when I left, my teachers, coaches, friends, and town were cheering for me, hoping I made it, hoping I enjoyed Austin and hoping I succeeded. Sure some of those people knew too much of my business, were a little too nosey, and probably gossiped some, but they also be were picking me up when I was homesick and weak. Get out of town, but know you will never lose the support and guidance from your small town. IMG_3351

Blessed with friends who brought a little bit of home to me in Austin, Texas.

    • I could/can always come back. Let’s say you move and hate it, move and don’t make it, or move and just need a small town weekend. The door is always open. I came home nearly every weekend first semester homesick as a dog! I know that some people thought I wouldn’t make it and doubted me at first, but the majority opened their arms and doors with encouragement and comfort. At the end of each weekend home, I would be patted on the back, sent back to Austin, encouraged to stay, but told it was okay if I want come back hom
    • Also, don’t forget all the little things: riding your bike around town with your friends in the summer, your Grandma’s home-style cooking, the manners you learned, and being hugged on by all of those old ladies at church on Sunday. Those things are simple but so special.

1 Thessalonians 5:18 In everything, give thanks.

In everything, wherever you are, whatever you are doing, give thanks. I am thankful I chose to move. I am thankful for the tears and struggle, for the support from home and the open arms when I came home. I am thankful I stuck it out for four years and for the lessons learned. I can now do my own laundry, buy my own groceries (more than poptarts and chips), and hang a picture on the wall. I’ve learned how to make friends, ask for directions instead of get lost, and dive in to the unknown.

New York, New York, LA, or the mountains may be calling your name, and by all means, chase those dreams!! Travel and see the world! I’m not saying you should or have to stay here. I am saying before you get on a rant about how awful your small, stupid town is, I hope you stop and thank this small town for what it has given you. You might not dream those big dreams you do had you not grown up in a small town.

And spoiler alert: People will be dumb-at-times, ignorant humans anywhere you go. We are just human.

Remember that verse from my last post, Philippians 2:14 Do everything without complaining and arguing…well, that applies here too…stop complaining almost daily about where you live and enjoy it while you can!  Go to small town football games, have bonfires, see people you know everywhere you go, and have your friends’ grandma’s sister ask how you are, all without complaining.

Also remember that where you are doesn’t define who you are or what you can do. You can do great works and deeds no matter your location. You can dream big and make a difference anywhere you go, so why not be thankful and make the most of your life while you’re “stuck” in this supportive, loving, homey town?

Sincerely,

An Orangefield, Texas-raised hometown gal

3 thoughts on “Hey Small Town Hater,

  1. Allie Sherwood says:

    Ashlyn, you hit the nail on the head on this one. I love you so much sister and am so proud of you and where you are in your life and walk with the Lord. You are so inspiring!

    Like

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