It’s okay if you want to move on from your hometown to new cities

Michele Mathis and Michele Mathis

The fact of the matter is, it’s not that this town has nothing to offer me; it’s the problem of consistently being let down.

I can bring you to Grounds For Thought, where I can pick out every table where all my relationships started. And then all the tables where I tried to choke down tears because they ended.

I can take you to the Conneaut Hill where I sprained my back, making me afraid to sled even to this day. I can take you to the high school, where I endured four years of complete confusion as I scrambled to feel accepted by my peers. I can take you to my house where I grew up and describe all the times I spent being the passionate musical theatre geek that no one could really understand.

I could drop you off at every parking lot, every hallway and every park where I had to watch someone walk – quickly and quietly – out of my life.

I accept that this town has brought some sunshine in my life and yes, at every place I could choke out a few happy moments.

I have many friends who have gone to school outside of Bowling Green and I’ve always had this weird feeling of jealously towards them when they’re back in town briefly. I find myself secretly living my life vicariously through all the Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages belonging to the people who had the opportunity to leave.

When I share this weird obsession with my friends still in town, I often get, “If you want to leave so badly, why don’t you? Nothing’s stopping you.”

I always find this question comical and unnecessary.

Comical because my answer is always the same: Don’t you think I would if I could? Honestly, there are a lot of things stopping me.

First, I have my tuition waived, so I will be leaving my undergrad with only a few thousand dollars in debt in comparison to $70,000+. My life is here and it’s kind of hard to leave when you have a minimum wage job and are still financially dependent.

Unnecessary because a lot of these times I feel like I’ve just ruffled the feathers of some secret townie and now they’re going to tweet and complain about the people who want to leave but never do.

When I visited New York City on my sixteenth birthday, I was the stereotypical teenage tourist. I took pictures of Times Square, I made it a point to save all my napkins and I cradled my subway ticket like it was a family heirloom.

What most people don’t know is that I constantly check the prices of apartments that lie on the outskirts of the city and whenever I hear traffic, my heart skips a beat. I still have all my napkins and I keep my Times Square selfie hung up. Not to be conceited, but for motivation.

You see, New York City was never a vacation for me; it was always a destination.

Fight me, creatures of Bowling Green, Ohio. Impress me with your simple and small arguments.

Please tell me how you are different and better than the people and places that never fail to disappoint the overwhelming stereotypes that come with them.