i've spent the last 12 days in l.a. & i feel like my head is melting. i've done nothing but sit on my ass, eat, & see movies [gangs of new york, lord of the rings, catch me if you can, drumline, star trek: nemesis]. & i haven't even seen that many - but really what i've been doing is surviving - & in a very different way than i do in new york.
having been bi-coastal most of my life [i went to boarding school & college on the eastern seaboard, spent summers at music camps in Vermont & working in DC, while my parents lived in l.a.] i have always been struck by the marked contrast b/t the two coasts. my first moment of reflection regarding this fairly obvious disparity was in the school van to the airport my first thanksgiving at boarding school - all of a sudden i realized i was going to have to fundamentally shift my conversational tone, my way of dress, my perspective in order to function in these drastically different environs. this may strike the casual observer as a bit drastic & unnecessary, but its just not. i've attempted to avoid it before, with dramatically icky consequences, especially with my family.
so after years of fundamentally adjusting my persona for brief [& not-so-brief] periods of time, i've come to realize that i just don't like it all that much out here. its not that the universal things that make people human simply don't exist here, although one could make that argument - more itís just the general foregrounding of bullshit sentimentality & superficiality which drive me fucking nuts.
so here i am, 24 now & soon to return to new york, my "home." & all of a sudden i'm thinking about re-engaging in the hubbub of the city, taking a deep breath & plunging back in to the icy waters between the hudson & east rivers - & its not that i'm reticent, or unexcited - i'm simply wary. please excuse the word-play, but i'm weary of the job-hunt, of the drinking & the carbohydrate-heavy diet of the single cook. i'm not necessarily looking forward to being back in the same place i was roughly two weeks ago.
part of this, i think, is a phenomenon i noticed back in college. leaving the rush & press of constant activity for the relative sanctity of the home meant a time to collect my thoughts & engage in rapid psychic development, to such an extent that i got pretty used to having different friends every semester, because i'd come back to my regular environs a moderately different person than i was when i left - different enough that it just didn't feel right to stay in the psychological & physical space which had been so comfortable only a few weeks before.
but that would also [at least for right now] be giving myself a bit too much credit. i think that honestly, i'm just not looking forward to being broke & lonely in the big city. as difficult as it is to be at home with my family, i'm also spending time sitting out on the porch in the 60 degree weather. i'm physically feeling more rested because iím sleeping more, eating healthier, & generally drinking less, not to mention avoiding la vida blanca, boys who are unhealthy & interested in one thing only, & a job where i'm not getting paid.
so all of this thinking comes because today i interviewed for a perspective job here in la la land.
what a weird thought, to not only move "home" [literally into my parents' house], but to work for as an agents' assistant in beverly hills. talk about joining the borg collective. yet there's something appealingly easy about it. just think of all the wonderful opportunities to complain about the idiocy of the Hollywood machine! to criticize the way people dress, & bleach their hair, & get boob jobs & wear anything as long as its expensive - the desire to drive big stupid cars because they're bigger than anyone else's - the opportunity to be psychicly exhausted not because i'm creating some drama, but because my family this, or my boyfriend that, or my boss is such a psycho bitch, or the traffic or the outfits or the fucking whatever.
the challenge then would be to "be happy" in this context. yikes. what a daunting task. then again, the challenge is always to "be happy," in whatever context. & though i'm not sure its ever easy to be truly happy, the important part is to be in an environment [or context, if you will] that doesn't leave you cold & angry - that in its little ways forces you to take pause & just notice the little things that are _good_. i'm not sure what it is about l.a. that obfuscates the _good_ for me, while in the dark cold weird world of new york i feel more in touch with what i like about the world. i suppose it could be something about the raw power running through everything there, the energy & excitement which pervades even my darkest moments. there is something magical about the city, something this bizarre urban sprawl can't even begin to touch.
when i didn't move to new york after college, i was glad because i wasn't ready. i wasn't ready to hold my own, to swim instead of sink in the undertow. on a certain level, i'm more ill-prepared to be there now, with my very foundations shaken by the city, than i ever was as a naive ivy-league graduate who believed the world existed for my taking. but there is something about the new year, the inherent "starting over" i always experience when i return to the east coast, which excites me about this going back. yes, i am discouraged. yes, i am disheartened & afraid of what the next few months will bring. but the hunger hasn't gone anywhere. & when the dust settles, as it always does, i will stand naked before the world with nothing to fear but my own bullshit. & that's why it works for me out there. because there is no other distraction from the harsh reality of my _self_ than the veils i throw before my own eyes. there are no false promises except for those i make to myself. & that hard, cold, steel context is exactly what i need, want, & thrive on when i force myself to see only what lies before. not beneath, behind, or inside myself or anybody else.
so i guess i've made my decision about staying home. which is not to say i won't go to the interview or pursue them next week if the opportunity arises - i'd be an asshole to turn down anything at this point - but i think i know where i belong, at least for now - there is no place i'd rather be waking up to question myself than in a city that couldn't care less one way or the other.