March 5, 2012--it has finally happened. Exactly a month after I turn twenty, my home doesn’t feel like home anymore. Now don’t get me wrong--in some ways my home will always be home: it’s where I learned how to be me under the guidance of my parents, it’s where my dog died, and I watched my brothers’ music change over the years. It’s where I escaped from the heartbreak of my first love and where the solace of the wind in the cornfields, a supportive family, and more importantly a God who thinks healing should take a lot longer than we’d ever imagine collided, and for this, I will always have deep-set sentimental emotions about home.
Nevertheless, there is something uncomfortable about it now, and it started in Walmart. I was doing some quick errands with my mom, and as I looked around, I don’t ever remember feeling the way I did. When my mom used to tell me about her friends who wouldn’t step foot in a Walmart, I always asked myself, Why? What’s wrong with Walmart? The funny thing is I don’t really think there’s something wrong with it even now...I just think I’ve changed.
My major issue with it was that people seem to have settled into this lazy, mundane life that they never wanted. I saw tons of girls my age with their hair tied up in a ponytail, hair that looked like it hadn’t been washed or brushed. They were wearing oversized hoodies and had this look on their face, like how did I end up like this. Adults were the same way. People that worked there, dead inside. And I get it...maybe they have had really hard lives. Maybe they never saw themselves working 9 to 5 at a Walmart in the middle of nowhere, but that’s the thing...the middle of nowhere has so much to offer. I pull into my driveway and marvel at the beauty of an open field, the seclusion I’ve had the privilege of experiencing rather than being stuck in the craziness of city life. When the sun sets, orange fire and purple streaks, glowing behind the silhouette of the silo, my breath catches. When I entered college, deep down I never saw myself living anywhere else. But now, as I walk through Walmart, I can’t help wondering where the soul of the Midwest is. What happened to the cowboys who used to roam through it with a goal over the horizon and a lady in their hearts? When did the breakdown of strength happen, when did people stop seein the beauty? I studied a Hispanic woman wearing a bright purple shirt with a bright blue hoody thrown sloppily over it, and I wondered what in her life made her stop caring about the art of presentation. I understand that some people don’t care about fashion, but this was something else entirely. This wasn’t poverty or lack of fashion sense. This was intentional, deliberate attitudes of I don’t care, and mindsets that think it is totally acceptable to leave the house in pajamas.
I can’t live near people who don’t see the beauty in something. It’s stifling, suffocating. I want to be in a place where my students celebrate their diversity rather than stifle it. What’s diverse about the farmlands of the Midwest, one might ask. Well do you have any farmlands where you live? Not everyone has experienced the serenity of the plain states. So these children may have grown up resenting their setting because they see all these stars with these incredibly amazing lives, but they seem to have completely ignored the Lindsay Lohan specials about how many times she’s been in jail or the Michael Jacksons who molest kids in sadness or the Whitney Houstons who overdose on drugs because they have been so blinded about what’s good and honorable. Their lives are hard, and sometimes money makes them harder.
As much as I loved growing up here, it’s not the same anymore, and it’s for the better. I used to be so nostalgic while away at school about my town, my friends, the familiarity. This place will always have a place in my heart, but it’s just one of many, not the only one period. I want my home to be built around people who make me come alive, with places that are bursting with life, with fashion that proves people are still connected to their own confidence. I want to be in a place where I’m inspired to write, and most of all, where everything screams of God’s glory through the brokenness and into the beautiful.