HOMETOWN
 

by,

Laura Burton
a young writer with motivation to entertain

 

I was there for seven years. From ages 11-18; the most important years, when it comes to being brought up and the development of character. They were spent in this small northern town. In my perspective, the social structure was that everything anyone had ever done from my first day of middle school to my High School graduation was noticed, talked about, and essentially remembered. We all built these opinions of each other, through years of impressions and what we’d heard from our friends. Everyone knew everything about one another, but overall we were a pretty accepting crowd of kids. The girls in town dated the same boys and eventually just passed them all around as our desires would change or they’d hurt us one by one. Sorry boys! Considering there was a small portion boys that even had a chance of meeting our standards, we’d run out of people to fancy over time. But we didn’t care, we had each other. The one thing that stayed steady through those chapters was my group of girl friends. Those same girls I’d sneak out with at age 15, to get picked up by the senior foot ball players in their late 90′s sports cars, were the same girls I held hands with while getting our diplomas. By the time we were grown we had experienced years of sharing all of our “firsts”, creating beautiful memories, and carelessly shaped our reputations. We were fun and free and everything we’d experienced helped make us into the women we’re still becoming today. On the other hand, by the time we were grown we had gone through judgement, tearful months of sadness, parents divorcing, loss of friends, and/or losing our homes.

We were so ready for new lives. Or that’s what everyone had said, at least.

 

After I put an end to my second destructive relationship, I remember sitting up in my room every night researching all the beautiful places I would rather be. It’s like I lived for the future, always rushing and never content. Nothing but the glowing light of my computer and the sound of beautiful music lit up my face in those hours. I’d write out my dreams and collect photos and articles and show them to the people I loved in hopes that they would join me on my adventures. Most of them had previous plans, which were probably made by their parents. Plans to go to the local community college, play sports at a university in the state, or some would condemn themselves to a few more years of their job they secretly hated. Don’t get me wrong, I envied some of my peer’s for accepting societies advice, their parental guidance, and I’m proud of them for completing their first semester of college; but there was something that wouldn’t let me pursue my acceptance to Boise State University. I wanted to go through schooling somewhere I actually wanted to be. Was that so wrong? I had images of sunshine and palm trees and musical visions that danced around in my mind, and I had to follow them.

I wandered 3,000 miles from home to chase this fantasy. And it has been a ride. I didn’t want to go alone, but I had to. No one shared this desire with me and I ask myself every day why the not. Life can be so exciting and amazing. Perhaps it was too risky for their liking. I didn’t care. I left anyways.

In a hurry.

6 months into my journey and I have experienced transition after transition, hopped from job to job, finding out the best way to make the most money as I could as a young girl with no help in a new city. I’ve fancied different lifestyles and learned to carry myself in such a way to keep the trouble away. I’ve met people who have tried to fill the void in my heart from being far from my family, and I have met dangerous people who’s intentions were to destroy me. Over all, I have had to work hard to make my bills and still live within my means. I have been in both uncomfortable places and also very loving ones, and every second has been a blessing in a lesson for me.


I am halfway into gaining my Florida residency meaning soon enough I will have the option to attend a college paying in-state tuition as planned. My dreams are still growing and I have about three career paths that I believe are the only things that would make me happy in life. The road to these goals are built of passion itself. Everyday, I strategically work to achieve them, back tracking every once in a while. But that’s okay, I’ve been blessed with my safety. Though I fall short, I struggle, and I end up in stressful situations that leave me exhausted by shaking anxiety, everyday I still have the opportunity to go sit in the sand and stare at the salty ocean and simply pray to God to show me the route. Or at least give me a peace of mind as I wait.

 

And he does. And that makes it all worth it.

 

It was my first time returning to my hometown, and my eyes were welling up with tears in the enormous Atlanta Airport, out of pure anxiety as I waited to board my plane home for the holidays. I was scared to go home. I’m not sure why my mother didn’t fly me out of an airport in Florida. Considering I live there, wouldn’t that be the practical thing to do? But, driving a few hours to ATL for the first time was, of course, something I’d enjoy, as it fed my obsession with exploring. Thanks mom.

 

It’s now Christmas Eve and I’m laying next to my sweet 11 year old sister as she drifts to sleep, reflecting on my life and what’s going on around me.The hugs from my mother feel both warm and cold at the same time. I know she is saddened by my absence and I don’t blame her. One day I will pay her back for the sacrifices she managed to muscle for me.

 

I’ve been observing the social structure of this small town and Its crazy how I so naturally still exist in it all. I love these people! However, along with my excitement of being reunited I also gather this feeling of disappointment. Most of the boys who used to put sparkles in our eyes are seemingly lost in delusions of drugs, alcohol, or just lack of enthusiasm for life itself. I remembered them to be so spirited, but perhaps my perception is skewed. I almost can’t see their childlike smiles anymore, or the way they’d glow while talking about things that excite them. But hey, maybe it’s the weather. I mean it’s 20 degrees and dark outside all the time; what kind of insane person can be happy in that? Almost every one of my girlfriends seem to be clung to a dependency on someone else. Thinking they’d just die if they didn’t have the approval of their current boyfriend. Others who have stayed are seemingly jaded by a repetitive cycle of negative occurrences, that I wish I could snap them out of. What exactly is happening here? Don’t get me wrong, lots of my people are actually doing amazingly well and I couldn’t be more happy to have friends left whom I can still have spirited and lively conversations with. For these are my soul sisters whom I have more love for than I can even describe. They make me feel loved and truly known. I wish at least one of them had come with me on my venture.

 

Or that one of them will join me soon.

 

All I want is to show them how dazzling the lights look at night on the ocean. I want them to hear how amazing the music sounds in the ever so glamorous nightlife. I want to show them how much easier it is to make a living as a young person in a place that is actually populated and thriving with opportunities for us. But most of all, I just want to go through this all with someone else.

 

Someone who knows my soul.Someone to run even further with. My dreams don’t stop.

 

Being alone can be hard, but eventually things aren’t scary anymore. And this is how it has to be.