Sunday, June 15, 2014

Just One of The Many: Leaving Los Angeles

I've driven out of this city many a'time. I've learned the best times of day and night to slip out between the hordes of traffic. I know where to expect the 101 to get really bad, then loosen up again. I've learned the curves of the Grapevine. 

I love leaving this city, actually.

If I've said it once I've said it a thousand times: every time I get north of Ventura I question all my life decisions. I love seeing parts of California beyond Los Angeles. One of the things that has kept me in this city is the variety and relative closeness of a long list of great ways to spend a weekend or a day off. 

This city draws in so many. I never thought I'd be one of them, but I stand today, fully willing to admit my wrongness - that I love this place in a surprising way. 

I didn't think of myself as one of the many coming to LA - one of a horde of transient dreamers - when I arrived. I thought I came for a higher, shorter-term purpose. I knew that I wouldn't make it big here. My face wasn't going to be on any billboards above Hollywood Blvd. There are so many here who have slipped in from elsewhere, found a niche in a neighborhood and flash their dreams to one another, passing headshots and screenplays back and forth. I have known and loved many of them. 

I can even see now that I have been one of them, in my own way.

And just like so many of them, I too will leave. So many of us that came here with other plans board airplanes or drive our cars back out, blessed for all that we have been given here, and blessed to be leaving in equal measure. We will laugh with our friends and family back home as they call us "Hollywood"; as they ask, cautiously, if we used to see celebrities on a regular basis and if everyone rides rollerblades in bikinis around town (the answer is, yes, in some parts of town, both of these things can be true). We will have to contend with all of the things people who have not lived here think about this city, about the lives we've been living. All of the truths and untruths about Los Angeles, we will have to answer to them without taking it too personally.

This city won't remember me. As far as these highways know, I'm just another dreamer, not making her mark in a way worth putting name on the ground. I didn't ask this city to remember me; I only came, loved deeply and dug my fingers into this dry soil while I was meant to be here. The simple things, really. 

And now I'm another girl on her way home. 

I'm driving out of the city one last time. There will be no friends laughing in the backseat, just me and the songs we've all sung together before. The morning of the longest day of the year, I'll be taking the 15 towards Las Vegas, past Zion, past the land I've driven through before. I'll rejoin roads I know in Wyoming, and I have friends whom I can stay with along the way home. Women who I have known longer than this city, who will take me in and remind me of who I was - who I'm trying to dig back out of the hardened lines of my personality.

I'm going home - once again at the right place at the right time. This is my path.  This coming as well as this going has all been blessed. I am so certain of this. 

I am going back to where I started - another completion of the many circles that swing out from that home in the forest my Mama and Papa built - the sacred center of my little life.

Help fund my artistic journey through Northern Ireland where I will be researching and finishing my book, working title Dear Bird for 3-4 months. Learn more about my campaign and donate here. Thank you!

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