Tomorrow I'm leaving the mountains again. I've felt less animosity towards this place while here than I had expected to. If that sounds like an odd statement to be making, I suppose some background would be helpful. I hated this place. I haven't thought of it as home since 2006. Now that I have a place of my own, tenuous though my ability to pay for it is, I don't have to hold on to this place.
I grew up here in the mountains, a smart inquisitive kid in a place where that sort of thing was discouraged. There were things about Westwood that aren't true of other places, but for the most part it was a logging town still separated from the mixing seen in most of the northwest.
I know more about guns and cars than I would ever care to, simply for conversational purposes. When I was small and my parents took me to San Francisco I was fascinated with black people because we didn't have any. I didn't realise that nigger jokes were offensive until junior highschool. The only AP courses offered at my highschool were done on the internet through third parties, and in my junior year I had to offer the principal an ultimatum to take more than one.
Essentially everything about this place stifled my mind. Everything about these mountains except for the ability to just leave into the woods held back my potential. Naturally I grew to resent it. I was the definition of misanthropic, and I still don't think that was an unreasonable response to the world.
I ran into people I went to highschool with while up here on holiday, and one of them said something rather telling, "I don't think I've seen you since you graduated" That's three years for anyone who's counting. There was a reason for that. Coming back up here still makes me want to listen to angry music about lost love and unfulfilled potential. Coming back up here still fills me with the desire to Fuck Shit Up.
So that I felt less animosity towards this place than I expected is a huge sign of growth on my part. The place hasn't changed, it is still enthralled by drugs poverty and redneck politics. The people are still petty, and exclusionary, with the exception of those who came here for solitude. People still know who I am, and I still know who nearly everyone is, and I still have a past here. People are still getting married or pregnant far too young, and are still joining the military because there's nothing else left for them. The place is the same place, and that will be true further in the future than I have plans.
The place hasn't grown, but I have. I feel good about that. I still feel like I could have done so much more (and could do so much more now) raised just about anywhere else in the US, but I don't feel as resentful about that now. I have come to except the good and bad that has come my way because of my upbringing. I have forgiven this place for it's shortcomings and am willing to live without bothering it, if it doesn't bother me.
I've gone from a point of view of mutually assured destruction to one of live and let live. That's all I'm willing to concede to as of yet.
I'm now willing to admit that maybe the confining character of this place has given me inspiration, and drive that I may not have had otherwise, and that perhaps growing up with a certain degree of adversity has helped me to deal with the adversity I'm likely to face in the future.
Being from here isn't something I fight or deny anymore. I still can't tell people here that I like girls and boys, and I still don't have peers who understand me here, but I am willing to live with that, and that's a big step.