Maybe You Have to Hurt Others to Change

Carrying your roots with you is the secret to growth

Kyle Chastain
ILLUMINATION-Curated

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I was sitting in my driveway when I got the text from my mom.

Without even reading it, I knew it wasn’t good. After all, it was the middle of March on a Monday morning and I usually talk to my parents on Thursday afternoons. Why was she texting me this morning?

With a hard knot in my chest, I opened the text message and read: “Good morning. Your dad heard last night that the mill is shutting down.”

The mill she was talking about was the paper mill in my hometown in rural Appalachia. The mill was more than a hundred years old, and my dad had worked there for forty years. I stared at the text — re-reading it several times — hoping I’d misunderstood.

News of the mill’s closing devastated the town. My dad was luckily old enough to retire, but more than a thousand other employees weren’t so lucky.

Difficult as it was for many people, the Spirit of Appalachia has helped my hometown pull through and move forward. What’s the spirit of Appalachia? It’s the simple values instilled in us as children.

The media often stereotypes Appalachians as backward and ignorant. But as your resident Appalachian, I promise you it’s not that simple.

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Kyle Chastain
ILLUMINATION-Curated

On a mission to become a better writer and storyteller | Building my "Insight" newsletter to 10k+ | Create the life you want: https://chastain.substack.com/