Are you Afraid of the City?

I read an email list for Pagans in small towns. This is something I wrote for a discussion about agoraphobia, the fear of open spaces and large crowds, etc. The talk turned to the dangers of crowds and cities. I always get annoyed about misplaced attitudes about cities. I guess you can’t really take the city out of the girl, even when she moves far out into the small town/ rural city kind of area.

Large cities and large crowds are not that big a deal. Maybe some of you are giving yourself a phobia or hang ups. I live in a small city, Barrie, in Ontario. It is funny to me to hear people talk about Toronto (the city I grew up in) as if it were some big, bad place of sin and evil. Where everyone is in danger of being attacked at any moment. I’ve had people tell me all kinds of stuff they think about Toronto, how they will never go there… Then, I will be in a small town and people will tell me how dangerous it is to live here, in Barrie. There are too many people, it’s too big, there are street people and drunks coming out of the bar on main street…. Well, ironically, I’ve seen drunks coming out of bars in any town that has a bar. We had a car stolen once, in a small town – never in the city.

People build themselves up to be afraid. They sound weird to me. I still go downtown to Toronto and have a good walk around. It is not a big deal, I’ve never had a problem. I live in Barrie, I take the bus even! I walk right by the homeless street people. I’m not stupid and all Miss Sunshine about it, but I’m not living in terror either.

I’m not meaning to offend anyone. But, it sounds like you are painting yourself into a corner. People are about the same in a city or a small town. It’s more about how you see things versus where you are. We tend to find what we are looking for.

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