I grew up in a town where everyone knew everyone. I grew up on a dirt road. I grew up with my best friend living less than five minutes away. I grew up in a town with a McDonald’s, grocery store, and not much else.
I couldn’t wait to get out. I couldn’t wait to see the rest of the world. I couldn’t wait to be somewhere where no one knew who I was. I couldn’t wait to get away from the same 70 kids I’ve known since kindergarten. I couldn’t wait to leave.
I felt like I was in the middle of nowhere. Where’s St. Charles? I found it was easier to tell people I lived near Saginaw, which was slightly bigger. I felt like I didn’t belong because I didn’t love country music and didn’t hunt or fish. I felt like I wanted more. I felt like I needed more.
I was different. I didn’t care about Luke Bryan or Little Big Town or any of the country stars. I immersed myself in pop and hip hop music. I didn’t care for the country music played at school dances. I would sit out those songs instead of dancing with my friends because I felt out of place. I didn’t hunt deer or turkeys or whatever other animals all my friends shot. Instead I dreamed.
I dreamed of skyscrapers. I dreamed of busy streets. I dreamed of constant noise. I dreamed of big cities. I dreamed of the Hollywood sign in California. I dreamed of the Statue of Liberty in New York. I dreamed of the Bean in Chicago. I dreamed of the sounds of honking taxis and city sounds. I dreamed of Central Park and The Grove.
I wanted more. More than the same crowd of people. More than a one-stoplight-town. More than the one grocery store. More than just a Subway and McDonald’s. More than backroads and a constantly dusty car. More than country music blaring in the school parking lot. More than Friday night football games being the highlight of my week.
I even dressed different than everyone. I didn’t wear camo every day of my life. In fact I never wore camo. I didn’t wear cowboy boots, instead I opted for Converse sneakers or cute flats. I didn’t wear baseball caps, if I needed protection from the sun I had sunglasses.
I was just a small town girl with dreams of the big city life. I have roots in this tiny town, but my heart aches to get out. I want more than what this town has to offer me. I want change. I want something different and new.