Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Not What I Moved to California For

When it rains in LA, which is not that often and far less often this year than this time last year, I find myself saying things like, "This is not what I moved to California for."

My tone is akin to Paul Giamatti's character in Sideways when he says, "I am not drinking any f-ing Merlot."

But my refusal to accept the inevitable - that sometimes it will rain, even in the desert - begs the question, What did I move to California for?

The easy and most obvious answer is that I moved here for a job, one that ultimately didn't work out. And now I have a different job.

The deeper answer is that I really needed to leave New York City, and that it was driving me away so powerfully that I would have moved away to live anywhere but there.

But while I was trying to move, I really wanted to run towards something rather than away from the drama and damage I'd sustained during my last few years in New York.

So did I move to California for the weather then? Not really, but it is nice, most of the time.

Did I move to California to become a different person? Not really, but I think it's happening.

Did I move to California to forget my past? A little bit, and it's working.

I did move to California to have a better life. And, on the surface, between my apartment and my car, I do.

But I didn't move to California to be heartbroken, yet I am.

I didn't move to California to be alone, yet I am.

I didn't move to California to wake up hung over and dread getting up, yet I do. (Though, admittedly, far less than in New York.)

I didn't move to California to stay in bed all day, even while the sun shines, though I have, three times in the last nine days.

I didn't move to California to sit at a desk all day while the world passes me by and doesn't even notice that I have arrived.

When people ask me how I'm doing, how LA is treating me, how I'm enjoying myself, I usually say, "Great." And I mean it, I think.

But I'm not happy. I don't know what I'm doing here. At night, I don't have anyone to tell how my day went. In the morning, I don't have anyone to tell how my night went. I'm just fumbling around in the dark, exploring and learning on my own, with very few shared experiences to validate my existence.

Am I really even here?

It's not the best life, but it's certainly not the worst. It has been much worse for me in the past. But I think it could be better.

After all, at some point I've got to be able to say that withstanding the trauma of uprooting myself from the East Coast, which I called "home" my whole life, no matter how bad it was in the end, and separating myself from all of my close friends, was worth it.

I hope one day it will be.

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