Posted by: husbandandfatheroffour | August 14, 2013

Great Small Town Living Unless You’re The Outsider

I always thought living in a small town meant I would live in a place where everyone knows each other, it was a tight-knit community, and everyone watches out for each other.  While some of that might be true if you are from the area, it sure doesn’t feel that way if you are not.  This is my 11th year living in this small town.  I lived here from ’96 to ’99 and then moved back here in 2006 and have been here ever since.  I have volunteered with the EMS, I have helped coach little league, and I have attended my kid’s school programs and athletic events.  In all this time, with the exception of my wife’s family and a few others, I have felt like I have not belonged here.  For eleven years, stronger these past 7yrs., I have felt like I was the new kid in school.  I have felt the coldness of conversations, the loneliness of sitting alone, and the awkwardness of being around a bunch of people that didn’t seem to want me there. 

There are a few people I do know because of serving with the EMS and because my wife and her parents grew up around here.  But it is a short list and even shorter if I take all of her family off the list.  For the rest I feel like every time we are out at a school event or a town function people stay away like I am the boy in the bubble or something.  It is very daunting when you go to one of your kids’ sporting events and you seem to be isolated from the rest of the parents like you have the plague.  You try and strike up a casual conversation with one of them and it always seems to be short and rushed like you are wasting their time.  This is not at all they way I envisioned living here was going to be like and it is not fair to my wife that she gets to feel like this also.  She grew up around here and there are a lot of people that know her but most don’t treat her that way.  Conversations are short with her also and she tells me how she can’t believe how unwelcome she feels in her own home town. 

Feeling like this makes me wish I could move my family back to Noblesville.  While we didn’t have but a few people we knew there, that was our fault.  We didn’t put ourselves out there but then again when we did do things we never felt like we didn’t belong either.  Here I have put myself out there and into the community in order to try to get to know people and for them to get to know me.  I am not saying I have to be friends with everyone or they have to be friends with me I just don’t want to feel like my family or I don’t belong here anymore. 

Of course I could be looking at this the wrong way.  Since I have put myself out there and have tried to let people get to know me, then maybe it is that they just don’t like me.  It could be as simple as that.  Then again maybe I am right for feeling the way I do.  Either way I am so thankful for the people I do know and I need to find a way to let that be how I see things instead of the other way around.

“When you feel like an outsider – for whatever reason – you spend a lot of time alone.”

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