Thomas Wolfe wrote a book entitled, “You can’t go home again.” Well, I say you can go home, but you have to eat a lot of crow!
I grew up in a very small town in a very rural area. When I was 18, (well, as soon as I was old enough to know the difference between “city” and “country”) I wanted out of there as soon as possible. I was convinced that If I could just get out of the country, life would be better. And by better I mean, more exciting, more fun, more cultural, more anything but country. The country… where my school has a day off every year for the first day of buck season, where kids actually drove to school with shotguns and rifles in the windows of their trucks, where kids were known to actually drive their tractors to school. Not the lawn riding mower tractors either… The real deal “go plow a field” kind of tractor. Where there were actually notices posted at the doors of the school in raining weather to scrape the mud off your boots before entering the building! My graduating class had approximately 70 kids. Those 60-70 kids were the same ones that you started Pre-school with. When your school is that small, you tend to get a reputation early on and it sticks with you the whole way through your 12 (sometimes more in our area!) years of school. That beings said, I was never a popular kid. I had my group of friends who were two years older than I was. When they graduated, leaving me in 10th grade… I was pretty much alone. (Please note, this isn’t a “feel bad for me” story… it is simply to illustrate a point). I didn’t really make friends easily because everyone around me had their friends. There were a couple of school activities that kept me going, one in particular… music. Music was always something that I picked up easily and was good at. Then early in my junior year, the music teacher changed and the program went down will with amazing speed. I was so angry! The one thing that I loved to do and was good at… that made me feel like I had worth and an accepted place!... was gone. I got really mean and snotty to basically everyone. I got a huge chip on my shoulder and didn’t treat people very well. I was MAD and I unfortunately showed it.
So, what the point to this 40 minute monologue? Well, I graduated, moved away, grew up, got married, etc. Basically I figured out who I wanted to be in life. I met people and gradually figured out that I am not the social reject that I always thought I was. Fast forward a few years and it’s time to have kids. At the time, my husband and I were living in the “city” that I thought was so amazing. Turns out it isn’t that amazing after all (Surprise, surprise!) and we wanted to move back to the country. To the same country community where I grew up. I found out that I really do love this country living after all… turns out the grass is not so green elsewhere.
We moved back and started to interact with the community where I grew up. I have been back for 4 years now and have become reacquainted to several people that I knew when I was younger. I recently had an experience with someone (a then young teacher, now a lovely woman with kids the same age as mine) that I treated badly when I was in high school. She said something like, “Wow! You’re a nice person now.” It was said without sarcasm and almost in an amazed way. I felt awful. I’m almost in tears writing this. I was hurting so badly at that time period of my life that I didn’t care who I hurt in return. All that mattered was getting out SOON and protecting what little bit of myself was left. I am deeply ashamed for my behavior at that time of my life and greatly wish I could take it back. For all those people that I was rude to, mean, snotty, condemning, judgmental, or otherwise… I apologize. I did not know how horrible I was until I was fixed.
So as it turns out… you can go home again. You just have to eat a LOT of crow.