My Town

October 22, 2007
By Kayla Gonzalez, Milledgeville, GA

I’ve always hated Milledgeville. Ever since the seventh grade I’ve been counting down the days until I graduate and leave to go to college. I’d dream of cities with skyscrapers reaching into the heavens, ominously looking after me as I’d go about my day. I got bored with the idle, redundant small town life and prayed for something more. I dreamed I would willingly and eagerly burn the bridges I’d crossed, never looking back for the life of me. Breaking the locks and posting my bail; having done my time I anticipated my escape from the prison I had envisioned around me.

I’ve never been able to settle for mediocrity. In fact, all my life I’ve never been able to settle at all. The happy stay-at-home suburban wife with two kids and a dog just was never a satisfying enough thought for me. I’ve always imagined seeing the world and living life to its absolute fullest. I’m still not quite sure exactly what that is yet, but I burn with the ambition to find out. If you had asked me one year ago what my biggest fear was, I would have responded with, “to live, rot, and die here knowing that I never took advantage of the opportunities granted to me.” That still scares me. The difference, however, is that back then I was certain that if I didn’t leave Milledgeville as quickly as I could, that the provincial “small-minded small town” mentality would engulf me and cause me to become old and grey before my twenty-fifth birthday. I was also convinced that if there was a slower death then living in Milledgeville, Georgia, then human kind had not found it yet.

I was wrong. If you’ve attended E.B.L.A. Academy with me for some period of time then you’ll know that this tends to happen quite often. I was sitting in the library by a window overlooking the streets of downtown when it hit me; all the memories that I’ve had growing up here with all my friends came flooding back to me. From money wasted at Taco Bell, to hanging out in the Walmart parking lot ‘cause there was no where else to go. From the countless strawberry smoothies to exploring Putnam County’s “beach.” From the weekly infatuations who loved us to the losers who left us. From the bonfires in our backyards that lasted all night, to the ones that flickered out in less than thirty minutes.

Only in a city so notorious for its insane asylum will you find a youth so eccentric and unpredictable. Regardless of belief in life after death, they each fervently search for life after birth. Yes, in such a small town issues like abortion and interracial dating tend to be subjective. Yes, Milledgeville is a town where people also tend to think they’re able to judge you because they’ve heard your name before. Yes, there are a lot of rumors. Yes, there’s a lot of drama. Yes, you will run into your ex-boyfriend and his new girlfriend when you make a quick dash into Walmart without any makeup on. But you know what? My experience living in Milledgeville is filled with nights that never ended with friends I’ll never forget and I wouldn’t trade that for New York City any day. This is my last year here. I’m ready to make it even more memorable than the first sixteen.

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