Just married and looking for a place to call home, we scoured Texas looking for the perfect house. We were both raised in suburban areas so the charms of a smaller community beckoned us. Neither of us had reservations about leaving city conveniences behind and delivering ourselves into the welcoming arms of a small town. After an exhaustive search we found a cozy, stone, lakefront cabin in West Texas that was perfect. Although the town was severely limited, it did have a Walmart (no comment) and a few other stores for basic needs. Quality restaurants and places to grab an adult beverage were pretty much non-existent (only beer here) but fast food and greasy home cookin’ were in abundance.
In October of 2015, we made the move. One of the first things we did was find a church. For the first few months we attended regularly and even assisted with a few church activities. The Christmas bake sale in particular sticks out in my mind. Baking is something that I loved to do am was good at it. This was a great opportunity to help raise some money for the church and have fun in the process. I baked mini versions of carrot cake with cream cheese icing, pineapple upside-down cake, and three variations of cookies. I meticulously wrapped each in a holiday- themed, cellophane treat bag, carefully tied with a ribbon and attached a hand-crafted label. Excited and ready to help and mingle about with the other ladies, I headed to the church. When I arrived, a group of about 30 women were gathered at a long table in the gym working on packaging turkey dinners for the following day. As I approached the table with my treats for the bake sale, I said hello to everyone and……nothing. They kept working as if I wasn’t even there. Did I not speak loud enough? Did I somehow put on my invisible coat by mistake? The second time I singled out a lady, said hello, and explained to her that I was here to drop off some items for the bake sale. Without even glancing up from her work and looking me in the eye, she pointed to a small area of the gym and said, “Put it over there with the others.” Almost in tears at this point I reluctantly walked over, placed my desserts with the others and quickly left. Thinking back, I should have just brought everything back home. I wanted so badly to go back up there and tell them how I was feeling but decided it was best to just leave it alone (that was hard to do). We have not been back to church. Since then I came to the realization (ah-ha moment) that church is wherever I want it to be and it’s working out beautifully.
On another occasion, I was asked by our realtor to join a few ladies for game night which I found to be fun….at first. Most of the women just wanted to gossip, ask questions and try to figure out what ‘my story’ was. When they figured out that I wasn’t going to sing like a canary, the invitations ceased. The whole thing never made sense to me anyway, pray before we play and then gossip. It should have been the other way around, play and gossip, then pray about gossiping. Truthfully, there have been too many similar things happen to us here.
Like I said in the beginning, we had no reservations about relocating and giving a small town life a shot. We do, however, have reservations about staying here any longer that we have to. Our misconception was believing in the illusion that small towns create of being united as a community, working together toward common goals and being one big happy family. Blah, blah, blah. Our town boasts, on TV and radio of all places, of being a thriving community full of possibilities. This is so far from the truth. New businesses open, yes, but rarely succeed because of small town politics and negative lip service. Growth could happen if the people would allow it but they make the choices that allow it to become stagnant. This is the case with many small towns and I find it very sad especially for the people of the community that REALLY try hard to make a difference. One such person is my math instructor, she is awesome and goes above and beyond.
As far as my husband and I, we have bigger goals and plan to relocate once I finish college in April. We both realize that all places have pros and cons but there is something out there that is a better fit for us and we intend to find it. For now, I have shielded myself with armor and refuse to let this town suck any more from my soul. Rant over.
Have a wonderful day. May the universe shower us with an abundance of blessings. It’s freezing outside so I think grabbing a canvas and some paints sounds like a groovy idea. 🙂