White Rock’s Marine Drive as it looked in the mid-1980s. (Photo courtesy of the White Rock Museum & Archives)

White Rock’s Marine Drive as it looked in the mid-1980s. (Photo courtesy of the White Rock Museum & Archives)

Column – Jacob’s Junction: the blessing and the curse of a small town

“News spreads like wildfire and you’re never given a chance to grow out of some of your mistakes.”

Before I start, just wanted to give a heads up that in this column I am NOT referring to Kitimat. Only living here for roughly three months now, I am in no position to give life advice to people who have lived in a community their whole lives. I’ve lived in a handful of small towns throughout my life and what I’m explaining is my personal perspective on how I feel about some tighter-knit communities. That said, I hope a few of you may be able to relate….

The politics of a small-town community are unlike anything else. Until you’ve experienced it you won’t understand.

Living in a tight-knit community everyone knows everything, which is a blessing and a curse. It’s a blessing because you engage yourself in a smaller community that is there to support you at all times. If you start up a small business, the community is there for you, if you walk down the street with your dog, you know the person walking past you and feel comfortable in your town; which is all fun and games until someone gets hurt.

The problem with the small-town mentality is news spreads like wildfire and you’re never given a chance to grow out of some of your mistakes. If you made a mistake in high school, people tend to hang it over your head, until you’re pushed out. Which really isn’t fair for someone trying to grow up.

Being raised in a not-so-small, small-town community, I saw both sides of the coin. I had a supportive family who lived close and friends that were walking distance away, allowing me the opportunity to live out my youth in bliss.

On the other hand, I knew everything about everyone I grew up with, which isn’t really fair. Because now I’m given this biased perspective of so and so because a friend of mine told me a rumour about them a year ago. Now so and so has to live throughout that rumour until the next big thing pops up. Which is so disheartening to experience when you’re trying to grow up.

Having others influence your walk of life isn’t fair and the gossip needs to stop.

So what an acquaintance had a mental breakdown in public, if anything, we should be there as a community to help them back on their feet. Not secretly judging them because they’re having a hard time controlling their feelings.

I’ve had friends who’ve aspired to do great things but because of their social surroundings, they’re deprived of what they can accomplish because they’re stuck in the same environment, not getting the opportunity to grow.

We live with people and judge them by their cover and a little introduction that was written by someone else, not giving them the chance to speak for themselves. I’m tired of listening to people’s points of view about other people they ‘know’. If you’re going to nosey in a small community, be helpful, not a nuisance. More times than none I would hear people talking trash about others but never highlighting the good things about them. It’s like they’re trying and make themselves feel better by negatively talking about someone they kind of know.

Enough is enough, give someone the chance to grow up and not suppress them into specific characteristics they displayed at one point in their life.

READ MORE: Column – Jacob’s Junction: it’s time to kick the stigmas


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