I wrote this piece a few years ago, and felt it was appropriate to post given the devastating tornado that has ravaged Oklahoma. Besides the utter devastation and horror of the tornado, what has been bothersome about the tornado is the comments I have read about the area and the people who live in the area. Comments such as, “What do people who live there expect?” or “Why do people even live there anyway?” You want to know why? BECAUSE IT’S HOME. I am so tired of people passing judgment on where people choose to set up their lives. I am tired of seeing posts on Facebook about certain cities and how terrible they are. I am tired of people voicing negativity about certain regions of the country. I am tired of people who have moved to big cities boasting an air of superiority. The area in which a family chooses to settle does not make them any better or worse than anybody else in the country. My choice is not yours. Your choice is not his. I am not better than you, you are not better than him. Please, can we stop the judgments, the pitying, the “Why do they live there?” comments? Can we please just support each other’s decisions and stop assuming that because you would not choose to live in a certain area, does not mean that it is not worth living in at all?
I don’t mind living in the cold. To be quite honest, although I love summer and all it has to offer, buy September I am wishing for cooler weather. I don’t mind the gas bills, scraping off the car, static hair from fleece hats, numb toes, runny noses. What I really don’t like is when people from warmer weather places talk to me like I have three heads because I choose to live here. It’s a combination of disbelief, superiority, pity and astonishment that I get from my southern friends when it’s still 25 degrees at the end of March. When the people who have chosen to leave Cold Town to move south post their Facebook statuses and say, “It’s 85 and sunny here today! Stay warm Cold Town!”, you can sense the “ha ha! I moved and you didn’t!” undertone. That irritates me–like Cold Town is the only city above Maryland that is cold. Hey how about the other 20 states that have the exact same climate as Cold Town? You gonna call them out too? Because we Cold Towners sure as hell are not the only people living in the Northern US!
Here it is: I like it here. I was raised here in Cold Town. It’s engrained in me. I met my husband at Cold Town State and we make our life here. We own a house here in Cold Town, we raise our kids in Cold Town, and we kick some serious outside ass when it’s spring and summer here in Cold Town, We knock out a whole year worth of activities from May-October. And when it’s a beautiful fall day in the mid 60’s here, and my “get out and move south” friends are complaining about the heat, I like to sit back and smile, breathe in the fresh air and wrap my arms around my life here in Cold Town. And Christmas without snow? What would that even be like? I know there are more exciting places to live. I know that this weather is not for everybody. I know the lack of sun in the winter and the small size of the city is enough to drive anybody crazy. But I feel strongly about the area. I feel comfortable here, I see the progress and the potential that is happening downtown, I know the nooks and niches, the secrets, the quaint villages that only native Cold Town residents know and non-Native Cold Towners are surprised to find are here. I am proud of the people my kids are becoming because of this town and the activities they are involved in. I also feel like the small town I serve as a teacher is the little nook where I am exactly supposed to be. Not everybody has to be in the limelight to make a difference. My small Cold Town, smaller suburb, and even smaller rural community in which I teach is where I make my mark—maybe those kids or even my kids, will go out to those big exciting and warm places and change them for the better—take their Cold Town upbringing and make their mark. Which is great because I would really like to travel to warm places, sip warm-place drinks, read on the beach, and then return here, to my Cold Town home. Because really, no matter what city you live in, no matter how glamorous or blue collar, no matter how big or small, home is home.
And PS …it’s 88 degrees with sunny beautiful blue skies today. And yesterday. Oh, and for the past month. Not so bad for us Cold Towners 🙂
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