www.whyville.net Dec 18, 2011 Weekly Issue

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I'm a country girl, through and through, born and raised in the lone star state. I've lived in the same town all my life, seen the same faces every day for fifteen years. In my small town, you can't go to a single grocery store without bumping into people you know - and news travels faster by word of mouth than any other form of communication here.

You can't go a quarter of a mile without seeing crops, horses or a herd of cows. And every other man you see is decked out in boots, worn out jeans and a cowboy hat. We all speak with country accents, say "y'all" and use many different phrases, such as "You're cuter than a opossum," or "Well, hack my legs off and call me a shorty!" We're what you think of when people say "a small, backwoods, country town".

I hate it.

I don't want to live here. I don't want to graduate high school, get married and raise a family. I don't want to give birth to children in the very same hospital I was born in, and my mother was born in, and her mother was born in. I hate everything about this town, every last bit of it. Call me harsh, rude . . . or whatever you like, but I can't stand it here.

My parents, they don't give my future a second thought; I mean, isn't it obvious I'll marry a nice man who'll treat me right and then give birth to his children? You see, that's what every woman does here. Not to say men think they're above us or anything, it's just the social norm. Women clean, cook and take care of the kids.

I don't want that. I want to have a career, I want to meet people, see the world! I've never been out of Texas before. I wonder what it's like in places like New York City, or Washington D.C. How do so many people fit in one place? What's it like to walk down a street and there be no grass or animals, just cars and concrete?

I have five older brothers and two younger sisters, two nieces, four nephews and more cousins and uncles and aunts than I care to mention. I've never had my own room, ever. I've never had a moment of peace and quiet, never been alone. Would I make it, if I left, all by myself? And yet, I'm surrounded by empty fields and spots of pure serenity. I have this special place where I go to sit and just exist. Not thinking, not worrying, nothing. Just inhale and exhale. Could I go to a place where it was constantly noisy, and where I couldn't see the stars?

Everyone tells me that I won't leave this little town. I told my brother about my dreams the other day, he laughed and said "You're chasing wild horses, Melody. You're stuck here just like the rest of us." Am I stuck? Do I have to stay here? No one believes I'll make it, and truthfully, I'm terrified at the idea of leaving.

But I will. Someday, somehow, I'm gonna leave this place.



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