Note: I started writing this post about three weeks ago when I was feeling really crappy. But then I decided not to share it because it was boring and depressing. I’m also a pretty private person, and even though I have been sharing the events of my life on the internet, sharing my feelings about those events was harder. And my friends had been saying really nice things about my blog like how “perfect” my life seemed and how in love I looked. Well, I am in love, with my boy, but not my [entire] life, and my life certainly isn’t perfect. But I had to let my feelings calm down a bit before I put them out there. So here are my honest feelings about living here.
I have a confession to make: I don’t love it here. And it’s really hard for me to admit that.
When I first announced to family and friends that I was making the leap and moving 3000 miles away, I was met with mixed feelings. Obviously I didn’t really expect my mom and dad to be super pumped about me moving so far away from them, but I did expect excitement and support from my friends. Most of my friends were incredibly supportive, but some weren’t. And I was shocked. When I told one friend that I was thinking about moving to California, she said, “Oh.” And that was it. So this obviously fueled my desire to make things work and not admit that I made a mistake.
Mistake is probably not the best word, though. I do feel that I did the right thing for myself and my relationship. M moved away from his home and his family five years ago for school, something that is very tempting for a lot of eighteen-year-olds (myself included). But he always knew that he wanted to move back after graduation, and I knew that. It was actually a stumbling block for us when we first started dating (remember: Chandler and Monica?). But I really couldn’t justify staying in Massachusetts. Despite having a job that I loved, it wasn’t a career, and I couldn’t have survived on $12/hr for long. I wanted to start grad school the following year and would be taking a year off, regardless of where I was living. I was used to being away from my family, having lived more than 300 miles away from them for the past five years. And who wouldn’t like living at the beach? It was kind of an easy decision.
When I first left, I was overwhelmed and sad. When the Joplin, Missouri Sonic gave me grilled chicken instead of crispy and the hotel check-in desk lady took half an hour to check us in, I cried myself to sleep. But we got here and started settling in and throwing ourselves into projects, and we were both unemployed and got to spend lots of time together, so it was kind of like a fun little vacation. Then I got a job and it was something new to concentrate on and keep me busy, but kind of disappointing because it didn’t really give me the opportunity to make new friends like I had hoped. Then Marcus got a job and all of a sudden, I was left with alone time. When I drove home at lunch time, he wasn’t there waiting for me to make him a sandwich or share a frozen pizza. It was just me and my thoughts. I knew that I should have been using that free time to work on projects I had pushed aside or explore my new city, but I couldn’t make myself do anything but sit on the couch and absentmindedly watch tv. I hinted here and there to different people that I wasn’t entirely happy here, but I felt like I couldn’t talk to Marcus about how I was feeling because he would feel bad for “making me” move here (even though he didn’t), I couldn’t talk to my “old” friends/family because they would know that I had made a “mistake,” and I couldn’t talk to my “new” friends because I didn’t have any.
I was finally able to “come clean” to pretty much all of the major players in my life, including some new friendly figures in my life here. What I have learned is that many people feel the same way I do now upon moving to LA. It is a huge city with a much different feel from pretty much anywhere else. It’s hard to find your place and feel like you “belong” here. I have also learned that the people who truly care about me never judged me for the decision I made in the first place, and certainly don’t judge me for feeling sad about it now. I have also learned (though I of course always knew this), that being here isn’t permanent and there’s no reason why I can’t move at any time, but there’s also no reason why I can’t make the best of my time here.
So, based on a suggestion of my mom’s, I’m going to create a sort-of “West Coast Bucket List” of things I want to do while I’m here. Here’s what I have so far:
- Visit San Francisco – I have heard so many good things about this city and I really want to see it in person. It’s not exactly local to LA but I’m closer now than I may ever be again.
- See a [real] celebrity – I have seen a few minor stars around town that I probably wouldn’t have recognized if I wasn’t so obsessed with tv, but I want to see a real, A-list celebrity by chance.
- Be in the studio audience of a tv show – Now that my boyfriend is in “the biz,” I know that most sitcoms aren’t filmed in front of live audiences anymore, but you can watch a screening of a show and become part of the laugh track.
- See Ellen – Related to number 3, but I also desperately want to see the Ellen show.
- Go to a wine tasting at a vineyard – I know there are vineyards other places in the world, but I want to go to a Californian one.
- Try surfing – I took a lesson once in North Carolina as a teenager and nearly froze to death before ever standing up on a wave.
So there you have it. My honest feelings, out there, for the world to read. I really am much happier than I was when I first started writing this post, and I have learned that talking about feelings, even if they aren’t always good ones, is a good thing. I have also learned that my friends, family, and boyfriend are the greatest.
Have you ever moved to a faraway, new place? Any suggestions for my “bucket list”? Any volunteers to add to or join me in my “bucket list” tasks?