Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

January 23, 2014

Moving forward without any fear

Lana Bellamy
The Independent

ASHLAND — The only way to move forward in life is having the courage to take steps into an uncertain future.

For a recent college grad like myself, this currently means uprooting from Morehead, a town I spent the past three of my crucial, transformational years, and leaving my friends behind for a professional life in Ashland.

Being from Pikeville, Morehead was the last place I wanted to go after high school. It seemed as though only mediocre students made it to Morehead and the truly successful academias rolled past Rowan County and into the realm of Lexington and “the beyond” in Louisville.

I can recall crying for three days after I heard I only qualified for scholarships at Morehead State University and any dreams of attending the University of Kentucky were merely that.

Now, it seems I can’t hardly find a way out of Morehead. Just ask my boss. I have spent the past month voluntarily commuting from Sharkey!

The college town has become part of my identity. It seems whenever I meet new people, they instinctively know I am from somewhere else, despite having an equally as inbedded eastern Kentucky accent as Ashland and Greenup natives.

Yet, my answer varies depending on my state of awareness at the time or the situation. Ask me where I am from outright, catching me off-guard, I will almost always blurt out Pikeville. Ask me when discussing coal topics: Pikeville. When talking about education, I say Morehead. When I’m on the clock away from Ashland: Well, it can be Ashland or Morehead, but most likely Morehead.

But for all those reading this column, I am inherently from Pikeville. I bend to the true coal-breed stereotypes, with my dad being a federal mining engineer, my step-dad working as a state mine inspector, my mom a former coal company secretary turned elementary teacher.

For people from Ashland, saying I’m from Pikeville is s good enough answer; for others from Pikeville, it is simply not revealing enough. For those who may have ventured north from Pike to Boyd and are unsatisfied, I am from the Johns Creek area, or Raccoon “Coon” Creek.

At the ripe age of 21, I have landed a job as a journalist right out of school. With a bachelor’s degree in journalism and government (technically political science, but MSU won’t call it that), I am lucky enough to have the local governments of Greenup County and the whatever-else-the-boss-wants-me-to-do beats.

I have only been with The Independent for two and a half months, but I hope I can justly serve all readers by helping to keep local government accountable and fairly report on the latest daily news. Right now, we are learning about the issues together as I learn something new about the community every day.

As I gear up to finally make the move out of Morehead, I keep this in mind: Nobody said the way forward was ever easy, but you hardly ever hear anyone tell you they regret it in the end.

LANA BELLAMY can be reached at lbellamy@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2653.