To only talk about the positive things and to never re-post a negative comment is, in my opinion, a manipulation of the truth. It’s not how things really are here.
I have certainly faced my share of problems and struggles while here. Yes, every place has it’s problems. I understand this. However, for those that are coming here from outside this general area (meaning North Dakota and the surrounding states), the problems here are not typical of what you face in another city. Make no mistake, I am a city girl. Some of the problems we have encountered here are solved simply and all it takes is a course adjustment. Others are much worse and make me doubt myself and the choices we have made. I can tell you this, I have more respect for the people of North Dakota (and this area in particular) than anywhere else I have ever lived. Mostly because the situation that currently exists here is a difficult one to navigate and the change to this area is happening quickly and it’s not always positive.
You take a community living in a small town (even the biggest city in North Dakota is a small town to me) and turn it upside down, there’s going to be some hurt feelings. Quiet life, slow pace, plenty of time and desire to stop and smell the roses. These are things that are cherished. But now those same roses are dust-covered and come with the continual sound of trucks driving by. There is no easy solution to any of this. I’ve heard it both ways. Locals want us gone and their quiet life returned. Newcomers insist change is coming and that’s part of life, and sometimes that change comes right to your doorstep. I can see it both ways. There is this constant undercurrent of hostility that isn’t going to help anyone. If you put negative energy out there, don’t be surprised when that’s what you get back.
That being said, I still think it’s important to keep things real (at least from my point of view). I posted a comment on my Facebook page which I often do when someone emails me. The comment went like this:
Everyone says they miss the old Williston “small town feel”, but people were just as weird as the new gross Williston. It’s the Bermuda triangle of the Midwest… -end of rant Xo big fan of yours
I experienced some hurt feelings from people after posting this and I probably lost a few fans as well. One poster said that I lost the respect of many people because of posting that comment. These things are all probably true however I chose to post it for a few reasons. Life here is not perfect. This was not a newcomer stating this, rather it was someone who has lived here before the current oil boom. Just because an opinion is not a positive one, does not mean it isn’t valid. No one wants to hear anyone malign something they love but at the same time, criticism is part of life. None of us are perfect. Our cities and towns are not either. Believe me, I’ve gotten my share of criticism since starting this blog. Sometimes it hurts but mostly you have to take it for what it is.
One poster said to me that it was unnecessary to re-post that comment and that there was enough tension out there already. She went on to say that the people of Williston (even though she herself doesn’t live there) are sick and tired of people saying negative things about their city. Ok, I can understand all of those points. As for people saying negative things, you have to get over that. It is going to happen. There isn’t a place that I have ever lived that was not maligned or made fun of, some more than others. From Orlando to Las Vegas, Savannah to New York…. they all have their share of haters. That will never go away. I grew up in Florida and let me tell you, Floridians are constantly being made fun of. Shoot, read the “weird news” section of any national news source and more of those stories come right out of Florida than any other state.
Perhaps in hind site it was unnecessary to post it. I get A LOT of emails from people and some are over the top negative. In comparison, that post was gentle. My page was never meant to be a positive comments only club. You have to face the good with the bad. It’s life. At least it’s how I run my life. This sort of reminds me of those people who on the outside look perfect. Perfect kids, perfect husband/wife, perfect house…. all is glorious. They don’t let the world see the cracks and flaws that most certainly are there. In the end they crumble hard because they didn’t face up to what everyone already knew. It’s ok to be flawed. It’s ok if someone doesn’t like you. It’s ok to let others vent and say what they need. It doesn’t change anything about you. I certainly don’t wish to add tension to a situation where so much already exists but to ignore the feelings of some to make yourself feel better isn’t doing anyone any good. It’s ok if someone criticizes your city and your state. You create your own power and the moment you let someone else’s opinion get you mad and angry, you have effectively given up that power to them.
By all means, embrace the positive aspects of life (everyone should) but don’t ignore the negative. Ignoring a problem never makes it better.