Hometown Ramblings

My mom lives in an economically depressed part of the Midwest.  The recession hit my hometown hard.  I lived in this town until I was 18, and I have deep family roots here.  My family owned and operated a family business for five generations in this town.  The one of the biggest employers is an Evangelical Christian institution.  For me, this is the kind of place that I’ll never sink or swim on my own merit.  I’d swim because of my family roots, or I’d sink because I’m not an Evangelical Christian, or more likely I’d flounder like most of the rest of the town floating between the two.  I’m incredibly proud of my family ties and what my family has done, but while I’m one of them, I’m also me and it’s important not to let my roots define me because they will eventually limit me.

This community feels claustrophobic for me.  I knew when I graduated high school and left town, I’d never make a home for myself here.  For one thing, my mother would never allow me to move back here.  There are really only two expectations for young women of my community.  Have babies young, many start in high school and float between dead end jobs while you live life as a single parent or graduate high school, go to college far away, and never come back.  I clearly did the latter and maybe I chickened out, because my community has a serious need for women like me.  Smart, fearless, educated, and fiery young women, but that isn’t my cross to bear.

I am one of the best possible products of my hometown.  I make no apologies for my decision to get out and stay out.


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