5 Truths About Growing Up in a Small Town
Updated: Jul 23
At 3 years old I moved to a small town and for the last 20 years I've been both disappointed and surprised by what I've witnessed. Today, I'm going to get real about my experience. Join me as I countdown 5 truths about life in a small town.
1. Someone's Always Watching
For any teens reading this, take my advice; Do Not Lie To Your Parents About Where You Are. In a small town you will undoubtedly run into someone you know in someplace you’re not supposed to be. I was 14 years old when I got asked on my first date by a 17 year old. You best believe that was not the narrative I was telling my parents. I thought I was in the clear until I got to the movie theater and heard, “Kara! Is that you?” I turned to see 2 moms of boys I’d grown up with. Then, I imagined them running into my mom at the one grocery store in town saying they'd seen me.
Sneaking around is tough in a small town so my advice is either don't do it or become really good at it. Once you get older, you'll no longer have to sneak around, but you'll want to once realize you're bound to see someone you know every time you leave the house.
2. Friendly Faces Turned Heroes
I was on a second date in a shanty bar in my small town. Right as I was beginning to feel like it’d be the last date, I saw someone I knew and sparked a conversation with the unlikely hero. The minute my date went to the bathroom I asked the hero, “When my date gets back from the bathroom, can you ask him more about his job? I have a feeling he’s bullshitting about what he really does.” The hero sprung to action, pressed my date and it became clear the dude was a phony. Once my date saw we were onto him, he darted out of the bar faster than Mentos escapes Pepsi.
As annoying as it often is to leave your house in a small town, sometimes it pays to run into someone you know. Every couple years I travel to Europe for a month and I'd be lying if I said I didn't crave a friendly face in the foreign place. That night in my small town, I definitely needed one.
3. All For One and One for Ordinary
In small towns, people cling to normalcy and thrive off a sense of ordinary in both their work lives and personal lives. Not to mention most cling to their parents' political views as it falls from their asses like a dog clings to scraps as they fall from the dinner table.
Small towns don't leave much room for people of different sexualities, gender orientation or even those who are just free thinkers. If you fall into any of these categories, don't be discouraged and don't stop being yourself. If you don't fall into these categories, respect the people who do and remember as you drive to your normal job, you may have discouraged the next Steve Jobs because you bullied them for being different.
4. What the Fuck Glow Ups
When I was in fifth grade slumber parties were a huge deal. They were filled with dancing, wrestling, gossiping and tons of sugar. One sleepover our friend’s dad hit our pre-pubescent selves with some real shit…
“Be nice to the nerdy guys because one day you’re gonna wake up and they’ll be smoke shows.”
Now that I’m 23 I can vouch for this. Yes, some nerds are now complete cuties. But I think beauty is much deeper. The boys who bullied everyone are now prematurely balding. The good guys are in long term relationships. Karma is real. Be nice to everyone and remember it's not just looks that makes someone attractive.
(Refer to "Sexy And You Know It" & "Men Are Beautiful")
5. Soul Friends
In a small town, beef runs rampant and you can expect lots of drama and grudges. But you will find some of your lifelong friends amid the chaos. These are the friends who stuck by you when you were annoying during puberty, depressed during high school and wild during college. They've been through it all and are completely irreplaceable.
You may move away and make new friends, but never forget the best friends you grew up with. Always cherish them and remember how precious lifelong friendships formed in small towns are.