Small Town Boy

The Boys

I was raised in a small town. Small. As in, if you asked me where I was raised, you more than likely wouldn’t have heard of it. And that’s cool with me.

Truth is, I wasn’t always proud to be from a small town. I had weird qualms with it, in fact. An inexplicable qualm, best described as feeling less-than. That one wasn’t able to be successful if they’re from a small town. Weird complex I know.

And then I got out. I was 17.

Looking back now, when friends and new acquaintances inevitably ask where I’m from, they are somewhat shocked. “A small town? What town? Oh, I haven’t heard of that. Cool.” I dig that. I like that I’m not like everyone else from the city, raised in the suburbs and well-known other city centres. I’m a small town boy. It’s not my identity, but part of it has definitely been shaped by my small town roots. Those were the formative years. The get-in-trouble-and-learn years. (Well, maybe that hasn’t changed all that much.)

I now wonder why I was slightly ambivalent about this. But I know. It’s because the small town life didn’t speak to me. I loved it, sure, but I was always itching for more. Maybe that was it — the limitations of a small town. A great place for a quiet life, raising sheep and driving in oversized pick-up trucks. There is an allure there.

But where would I be without the hustle and bustle? The grit. The endless culture. The music. The communities. The differences. The downright oddity of it all.

I’d be in a small town I guess.

—RYAN BOLTON

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