The real reason you hate your hometown isn’t because of what you tell people, so just stop kidding yourself. It isn’t because you’ve eaten at the same café a hundred times, repeatedly shopped at that overpriced boutique that imports all its clothes from China, and it’s not because you’ve gone dancing at every club that’s worth wearing you Sunday best to. The real reason you hate your hometown is because of that person. That one person whom you love to hate, but also hate that you love. As you read that sentence, did someone’s face appear in your mind like a painful reminder of the person you once were? If you answered no…you probably love your town and say cheesy lines like “there’s no place like home”. Save it Dorothy, this article is for the truly terminal hometown haters. The troubled and the broken hearted, the silent sufferers and the lonely spinsters.
He or She may have been your first kiss, your high school sweetheart, the guy you met in the elevator at work, or the best friend you drunkenly decided was meant for you. Regardless of which one of those relates to you, the story is the same; you met in an unassuming place (an elevator or school locker room), and your eyes locked in a cinematic slow-motion montage with Tom Petty’s ‘American Girl’ (insert topically relevant song here) playing in the background. You talked for hours and came to the conclusion, based on your similar interests in indie music and unadulterated hatred of Nichole Kidman, that you were meant to be together. One thing led to another, and you let that person into your pants, or worse…your heart. You spent the next few months in the pleasure of each other’s company, holding hands at the drive-in cinema, spending your Saturday nights playing naked Monopoly (How does that even work you ask? You play Monopoly…naked) and posting annoying photos on Facebook with captions like, “Love you Baby!” and “Forever”. However, what you didn’t know is that “forever” actually means nine to twelve months max. Let’s face it; you’ve grown out of your indie music phase, Nichole Kidman’s acting has dramatically improved, the drive-in has become overcrowded with teenyboppers giving their boyfriends blowjobs, and you no longer get an adrenalin rush from building a plastic hotel on Park Place. Fancy, candlelit dinners have been replaced with two-minute noodles in front of the television. Slinky black numbers with high-heels have been replaced by cat pyjamas and furry purple slippers. Beards go unshaven, dishes pile up in the sink, and the goldfish tank is emitting a rotten odour. Romantic encounters occur once a month, if you’re lucky, and are initiated with the question, “You wanna?” You have now reached the end of the honeymoon phase of your relationship.
What follows is the most painful breakup in the history of painful breakups… a real-life parting of the hearts, if you will. Heavy words are said, attention is drawn to poor habits, cat pyjamas are laughed at, sexual performances are critiqued, and after four gruelling hours of blaming each other, it is over. The person you were so sure was perfect for you, has become the last person on Earth you would want to be stranded in the cereal isle of the supermarket with. That Tom Petty-slow-motion-montage is replaced with a sharp pain in your chest and a little voice in your head that says, “not this again”. You have now reached the end of your relationship.
In the months that follow, the inevitable occurs. You cry so much that, upon entering the supermarket, the shop assists direct you to the isles where the tissues and ice cream are located (retailers should really capitalise on breakups and place those items together in the supermarket). You watch every Barbra Streisand movie ten times and drink way too much. Due to the lack of physical activity (i.e. the sex) you gain ten kilos, and every corner of your house holds a haunting memory of that person. You’re too depressed to shower, but you’re depressed because your hair is dirty. For the coming months your are caught in this vicious cycle of hatred and self-loathing until one day, you wake up, brush your hair, put on going-out attire (I don’t mean clean pyjamas) and leave the house. After watching a few too many re-runs of The Oprah Winfrey Show you are convinced that you’re simply too good to sit at home and cry over any man or woman who ripped out your heart, spat on it, and proceeded to smash it into a million tiny pieces. You are, as you tell people who haven’t seen you dressed and shaven in months, “over it”. You have now reached the end of the wallowing phase of your relationship.
While most of you reading this might assume that once the wallowing phase is over, you can start to rebuild…you’re wrong. Obviously, there is one more phase that we don’t often care to mention; a phase that we silently suffer through, which is referred to as the “I hate this town” phase. Let’s get something straight, you’re not pining for that person anymore because you are an independent woman/man who don’t need no woman/man (circle the appropriate gender), you are simply fed up with the fact that your hometown is shoving your former happiness in your face. That café, that boutique, that club…they are all constant reminders of a happier time in your life that you hate to be reminded of. I’m not suggesting, by any means, that you should get back together with that person and relive those moments. HELL NO! You left them for a reason (cat pyjamas and poor hygiene, remember?). What I’m suggesting is that you are a different person stuck in Relationshipville. If you are unable to eat at a café without thinking to yourself about the time you shared a red velvet cupcake with that person, or if you are unable to go to the library without remembering the time you made out with that person in the WWII section… then this town has nothing left to offer you. Your only option is to move somewhere else and start fresh. If you can, however, eat at that café and ignore the dull ache in your chest then perhaps there is still something left for you here.