7: Small-town support?

I keep meaning to hit the gym earlier in the mornings, but I can never seem to be able to get my ass out of bed early enough (maybe I should go to bed earlier at night).  Anyway, I hit the gym around 11:20 am this morning and was pleasantly surprised by an old high school band-mate.  I hadn’t seen him in a couple of years, but he looked mostly the same: blonde hair, short stature, good-natured personality.  We were never close friends, but we always got along and because of band, had many of the same circle of friends.  As we chatted, he asked about my plans for the future, and I explained my plans for the summer and eventual move to NYC in the fall.  He seemed interested and surprisingly supportive.  I wasn’t expecting him to be quite so “go get em” about my plan since most of the people around here don’t really get what I’m all about.

In fact, support seemed to come from everyone I managed to bump into today.  I received another graduation card in the mail today, this one from one of my best friends’ mothers, and she wrote how excited she was for me.  I ran into two other high school classmates’ mothers later at dinner and after I explained my plans, they were enthusiastic.

In my brain I thought, “Huh?”

And while I haven’t yet run into any of the more judgmental members of my high school class, I’m surprised by how well people are reacting to my career choice thus far.  Though I can’t tell if the enthusiasm is completely genuine or not, I’ll take it for now.  In a matter of months, I’ll be gone from here, and none of the small-town gossip will matter anyway (not like it ever has).  I’m sure people will talk about me, good and bad, but that’s also the nature of being an artist too, so in a weird way, growing up in a small town has prepared me for both the praise and criticisms to come in the future.

Of course, no matter what I do, I’ll never be quite good enough for Callaway County.  That’s just the nature of the people around here: if you aren’t born in the county, live here, and die here, you’re not really worth mentioning.  I’m not sure why this elitist attitude exists in a place where county schools give the first day of deer season as an excused absence (whereas I only got two excused absences to visit colleges, you know, HIGHER EDUCATION), but it does, so while I live here, I’m forced to deal with it (and the deer).

Of course, by early fall, I won’t live here anymore, and THAT is something to be truly enthusiastic about.


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