1. Everyone knows your business. This is the biggest clichés when it comes to small towns, but it is 100% true. When I fainted in gym class and had to be taken to the hospital, people I didn’t even know, knew what had happened. The reason for this is very simple, living in a small town is boring, so when something slightly out of the ordinary happens, people lose their minds.
2. You may not know everyone, but everyone sure does know you. Since I hated living in my small town I never made an effort to reach out to the people in my community. That didn’t matter though, because I was someone’s’ daughter, sister, best friend or, ex. I was always someone’s person, but never my own.
3. It’s hard to move on after a traumatic experience. This is a given in any situation, but it’s undoubtedly five times harder in a small town. As per usual everyone gets overly excited and has to know what, and how. And all you want is some space or time to grieve, but everywhere you turn, someone’s there waiting for you, waiting to hear everything about you, even though they don’t care and just need a good story for their friends in first period.
4. If you thought you hated high school, try going to high school in a small town. It is also five times worse than regular high school. You all grew up with each other, minus a few people. Because of this it hurts so much more when the kids you made candy necklaces with, tell you to kill yourself. Bullying is bound to happen in any school, but everyone knows in a small town, including the teachers, and nobody does a thing about it.
5. It takes an hour drive just to get anywhere. I wish I was kidding but I am not. The mall is a solid 2 hour drive.
6. Half the town consists of trophy wives and past football players who all peaked in high school. Now I know my entire town is going to riot as I type this, but because everyone is so focused on the past and how awesome high school was, no body went to college. So it has become this trend to go into the family business straight out of high school, and anyone who does go to college is a stuck up, know it all snob. This is also means that nobody really knows anything about anything, but acts like they do.
7. The ‘gangsters’ of the town. Holy cow, I cannot even deal with this subject. Let me explain, for some odd reason, a handful of boys (and I say boys because men do not act like this) like to sag their pants, wear beanies every day over their too far grown out hair, and smoke a ton of weed, all because they have a cousin or aunt or know somebody who knows somebody who lived in the ‘ghetto’. And if you’re reading this, and think it’s directed at you, it is. Stop. You’re not a gangster, or a pimp, you are a 19-year-old man child who still comes to high school parties to ‘kick it’ with the new freshman.
8. If you have enemies, you can never outrun them. They’re always going to be there, stalking your every more on social media. Talking about you, taunting you, and everyone knows it. Every move you make is a direct insult towards them. You can’t even leave the town, because that is you running away, and them winning.
9. It is home. This small town that you live in is your home, and as much as you hate it, you wonder if you can even walk away from it. It is everything you know about the world, and anything different is scary. And when you do discover what’s outside of the small town you feel guilty and sorry for the rest of your town because they will always be stuck in that small town, and you will be here, or somewhere else, living your life away from judgement.
10. The only person who understands you is your English teacher. They have travelled the world, taught in different schools, have written amazing things, and yet they choose to come back to a small town to teach a bunch of unwilling high school students. But they do far more than that, they open your eyes to the world outside of your town, so it’s less scary when you leave. They comfort you when all these nine truths eat away at you. And they reassure you, that you are more than this small town. I will never be able to thank all the teachers like this in towns like mine, but I am able to thank mine. So thank you Ms. Dunkley, for everything.