May, 2017

High school graduation. Just eight months ago I was sitting in straight rows with hundreds of people that I’ve pretended to like for the past eighteen years. Fun, right? Wrong. It wasn’t that I hated everyone I just never got to truly be myself. You see I’m from a small town, and when I say small, I mean small. We’ll call it Smallville, fitting. Smallville , Alabama.  Unfortunately living in a small town doesn’t give you much room to grow. You’re conformed to small mindedness and old ideas. Lord forbid someone in town doesn’t go to church every Sunday or is gay. Not that I don’t sit on the conservative side on some ideas but I believe that everyone should be able to believe what they want to believe and not be judged for it. Let people be free. Well you can’t do that in Smallville. I was the 103rd graduating class of Smallville high school. The middle school was the old black high school. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t awful. There’s a certain charm about a small town. The Friday night lights, the mom and pop drug store, Main Street and the principal who knows you and takes care of you like your own mother.  I had a fairly normal high school career and I do have to admit that the teachers were loving and actually cared unlike most kids experiences. But, with the charm comes the curse. You know everyone, and everyone knows you. You can’t hang out with certain people or your entire reputation has been changed. Who you hung out with is who you were. No questions asked. In Smallville there’s a major divide. The goody goody Christian’s or the country “yee yee” partiers. I was in between. I wanted to be the sweet good girl but I also wanted to have fun and be free with myself. So that’s exactly what I was, in between. My childhood friend was more on the fun side. She didn’t care what people thought about her and I loved that. I inspired to be that. Her name is Elizabeth but everyone calls her Lizzie. Yes, she was more country than city but I didn’t care I mean we are from Alabama. Her mom is a hairdresser and a good one at that. She was also an electric person. So full of life and fun. They didn’t care. Lizzie and I were always off and on through the years. We would hang out every day for months and then never talk for a year. Constantly leaving but somehow always coming back to each other. Near the end of my junior year and in to my senior year I found two best friends to fill the gap of Lizzie. Let’s start with Blair. Petite girl but full of sass. She stood at a tall 5’0 stature and a weight under 100 pounds. She had long blonde hair and big blue eyes. Her nickname in sports was Bambi if that tells you anything. But she’s sweeter than any person you’ve ever met, in love with love and strong in her faith. Next is Lily. Small like Blair but just as much personality. A preachers daughter who is hardworking and is also strong in her faith. She works at the small mom and pop drugstore on the corner of Main Street to save up for college; she still works there. She has curly brown hair and blue eyes, I never new how she didn’t see her own beauty. Little did they know but these girls were who I looked up to. They were the perfect example of a good girl. Blair was settled down at the age of 18 with a long term boyfriend who she knows she’s going to marry and if she doesn’t everyone else does. Lily was strong; she could make it through anything. She had some family struggles but she worked hard to break the cycle. I loved them and at the time they were exactly what I needed. Later I would realize that I was holding back from them, scared to say how I really felt and what I really wanted to do. Scared to be judged because they were so perfect. But they were, perfect. Just like the rest of Smallville.

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