Just a small town girl living in a lonely world? Okay, hold up. I’m not gonna put this overused lyric as my Instagram bio or cry myself to sleep tonight while Journey plays in the background. But I can’t help feeling a connection through my current situation: I am in a small town, and I am a lonely girl. I guess you could argue that Laramie, Wyoming isn’t exactly a small town, especially with its incoming flow of rowdy UW college students this past week (pretty hard to miss them). However, it’s definitely way smaller than the greater Washington DC area I came from. Pretty sure you could drive straight through this city in ten minutes. My commute is imperceptible and the grocery store is about a mile away. There is one high school and it has about 800 students, which was the size of my graduating class in Virginia. And the second you leave the city limits, there is practically nothing; I know this because last week I almost ran out of gas on the interstate on the drive in. In my books, this is pretty dang small.
It’s crazy to me how one can feel just as insignificant and vulnerable in a place like this as you can in a big city. I could even make the case that it’s worse, due to the fact that it’s much more obvious you don’t belong there. I admit I got sort of lucky because the constant coming and going of college students here makes for a much less stagnant atmosphere than a lot of places in Wyoming. That said, I can’t even begin to explain the loneliness that sets in when you realize there is no one within forty miles who loves you–no one who cares if you make it home safe at night or that you have something fun to do over the weekend. To see other people my age doing things with their friends that I wish I could with mine back in Virginia is sometimes heartbreaking. I’m not saying at all that life was perfect in my old city, but with good friends and family it feels so much easier to conquer what is thrown at you. My new life in Wyoming is practically seamless right now–good job, good classes, good apartment, good weather. And yet something huge feels gone, sucked out of me.
When it gets to be too hard, I remind myself that this is rock bottom: it only goes up from here. I know this because I have been the new girl in six states now, and with the right attitude, a lonely town can become a home in no time. For anyone dealing with what feels like the end of the world–it does get better. Give it three to six months. Three to six months of feeling like an old person because you have nothing to do but sit at home on Friday nights. Know that what you are going through, many people could not fathom. I once had someone in my last city tell me, “You’ve really only been here for two years? But you have so many friends…”
One day you’ll wake up and realize this is your new home, although the old one will always have a special place in your heart. Or perhaps you now have two, that’s cool too.
As one of my favorite bands, Twenty One Pilots, puts it, “Shadows will scream that I’m alone, but I know we’ve made it this far, kid.”
Cover photo found here.