Staying Behind, or, Why I’m Choosing to Remain in Greensboro.Feb 15th, 2013 | By Avalon Kenny | Category: Misc
I have changed a lot in the past three years.
When I was fifteen, I looked at anyone who stayed in their hometown for college as lazy, or thought they would never go anywhere. I told myself I would be a failure to stay in Greensboro for college. I had dreams of going to art school in New York City, or at the very least, attending school in the beautiful mountains of North Carolina. Certainly not the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. I was better than that.
I’m not sure exactly when I decided to stay. A few months before I turned seventeen I was still planning on applying to NYU or Pratt or SCAD or a variety of other prestigious schools. A little bit after my birthday, I attended my first open mic night at the Flatiron (something I probably will not be doing again for two and a half years) where everyone was sure I was much, much older than I actually was. Immersing myself in this group of people, most of whom were Greensboro natives born and bred, assisted in making me change my mind. Perhaps it was the overall familiarity of Greensboro, or maybe it was the music scene. After all, people have learned to finish my sentences when I say “my favorite band is–” (The Leeves, in case you weren’t certain by now).
A year ago today, most people thought I was nineteen. I lived in constant paranoia that someone would find out (and several someones did) and I lacked any sort of remote self-confidence because of that. When I met a boy (who is not the reason I am staying in Greensboro – just an added bonus) last May, it felt wrong to keep lying to him (not that it didn’t feel wrong to lie to my friends). Unfortunately, I wasn’t the one who told him – but the mere thought of being able to stop lying
was wonderful. Most people think I lied about my age to screw older guys, but that wasn’t the case. Honestly, if you were in your late twenties or early thirties, would you even consider being friends with a seventeen year old? However, in the process of “coming out” of the seventeen year old closet, I didn’t lose a single friend, even though I probably should have. Sure, a lot of people look at me different, and it took some longer than others to forgive me. I was briefly bullied (humorously) by a certain friend but that’s since stopped, and we are back on “annoying brother/sister duo” terms. But my point in this paragraph is that because I’m able to tell the truth, I have more self confidence – and that’s another reason I am so excited to be staying in Greensboro. In that window of time, I learned just how wrong lying was and just how important trust is. I can be honest (ha) when I’m saying I haven’t told a lie since then – except maybe to my parents about silly stuff teenagers lie to their parents about. Oops.
In actuality, the reason I’m staying is for the people. A lot of people in Greensboro suck, but there are so many wonderful, creative, talented individuals here that the people who suck don’t even matter. And even the people who suck are good at something. The people I have met in the past year and a half have proved to me Greensboro isn’t a shitty, small, southern town. Greensboro is a community, with friends in every corner and new bands rising up every week. We have not one, but two really great college radio stations, one of which I have had the privilege of DJ’ing on for the past 4 years. I also had the chance to start up a radio show for Avant Greensboro on that station, but I’m sure you all know that by now. Avant on Air has surpassed any expectations I’ve had for it.
Of course, we have our faults. Our music scene isn’t entirely cohesive (but it would be boring if it was), our downtown is a mere few blocks (but there is so much beyond downtown), you get trapped (and maybe that’s what I am). However, in no way does Greensboro live up to this “Greensboring” stereotype that has been making the rounds the past few years. On any given night, I can check my Facebook events and there will be a show. Even if there’s not – for now, I can call up a friend and I can sit beside him or her as they drink a beer at New York Pizza and in two and a half years, I can drink a beer with them. I can’t remember the last time I was actually bored, alone, in Greensboro. Perhaps I have been bored with friends, but when you’re with friends – it’s hard to be entirely bored. And that’s what Greensboro truly is – a city of friends. It’s rare I go out and don’t have anyone to say hello to. I’m by no means popular, as I am by far the youngest in the “scene” I’m involved in, but people seem to like me anyway, for the most part. And even if they don’t, it’s okay – I have so many close friends I’ve been blessed with. And honestly, I can say I am looking forward to starting school this fall in Greensboro – my hometown.