Los Angeles Chronicles: Ever Finding Myself

I think I’ve been at war with myself since I was 14. I’ve finally learned and come to the realization that I don’t have to be. What a concept right?

Leaving my hometown this last time and taking the ultimate risk of pursuing a dream I wanted since I was 10, was a big deal for me. I’ve spent the summer attempting to hold on to it so tight for fear of losing it, I almost forgot why I wanted it in the first place. It was a dream, a fantasy, something as an adult I never thought I’d have and now I do – because I actually took the chance. Not only did I make it here, I get to stay. Not only do I get to stay but I get to work in the industry I was hoping to become a part of as an eager 10 year old. While it may not be my dream job, I’m a lot farther ahead than I ever thought I would actually be. And yet still so far behind – but semantics.

Over the last year and a half or so I’ve become an entirely different person. One I also never thought I’d be (in a lot of both good and bad ways). I’ve let a lot of the hurt and pain from the past go – to the point where it no longer has anything to do with defining me. I’ve learned to be okay in the present, mentally and emotionally; while at the same time accepting that I am a certain way when it comes to things and ya know what  – that’s okay. Hell it’s more than okay.

I let myself be myself. I let myself figure out who – me – is. I get to define and figure out all the details based on anything I want because I can. It may not be as simple as just letting go or just doing it, surely for me it’s been a process and one that still inherently kicks my ass every so often, but I think that’s part of being a human. And if none of that makes sense to you, then honestly – good for you. But my life and my head and my world have been a mess for far longer than I ever realized they could be and in a lot of ways I did it to myself.

We as people are the worst to ourselves. Our own inner monologue ruins half of the things we could do with life because we don’t believe we’re capable. Or on the other side we’re so flattened with fears of letting go of what we have, we don’t seek that which we say we want. Or on even another side we’re so hellbent that we’re the best, we bring out that self deprecating hero flaw – ego. Either way, we’re cheating ourselves. Personally I’ve elected to try to stop.

I have goals and dreams and other things I’d like to take on in my life in the present and the future, but when you recognize that everything is temporary and everything is a flux of in progress living… you realize that things like anxiety and depression aren’t necessarily a way to live and that you won’t have to do it forever. You just have to do something else. And keep trying something else until something works.

I’ve dealt with depression, anxiety, PTSD and chemical imbalances. Yet I’ve had moments of life where I’ve felt so alive and so happy. I know those things exist for me. Whether I get down because I can’t be insanely incandescently happy all the time or I just have a bad day or I feel like the world is crashing around me, I know I have a choice to do something new or different tomorrow or even later today. Sometimes I make the attempt to change but no matter what I do I’m stuck on repeat. Maybe I need more practice or maybe I’m too much of a theatre kid and I’m just being dramatic. The things is my reality is my own as is yours.

I’m not asking those that are in pain to just think happy thoughts. It’s not that simple and believe me I get it. But you get but one life and you only get to live it one direction when it comes to time. Time moves forward whether you’re ready or not. It can hold you back or propel you forward. Being kind to yourself and allowing yourself at even a chance at a dream is worth it. Taking a risk in hopes of flying is worth it. If you hate the decision you made then after two weeks go back home. But I assure you “back” does not exist.

All you can do is keep going. If you’re stuck.. keep pushing back. If you’re flailing keep flapping maybe you’ll fly. Honestly, this is more advice to myself when I’ve had enough but this is not the end. You might as well take the risk and spend your life and your time in the way you absolutely want. And just because you want it today, doesn’t mean you can’t change your mind. Collect the experiences and hope that most of them are good ones. You’re never going to fully define who you are because you are constantly growing. Instead of trying to box yourself in, learn to build a house. Add more boxes to the pile and see where life takes you.

 

 

 

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Los Angeles Chronicles: Struggle is my middle name

I’ve never been a typical anything in life. I’ve always marched to the beat of my own drum and I’ve always seemed to be outside the proverbial box. I love with all I have and I have been broken hearted more than once. I fight because that’s how I know how to react. I keep going when I have no idea what I’m doing because I don’t know how to stand still. I’ve been a dreamer most of my life, I’ve been a cynic and a realist, and I’ve been an idealist. We all grow and change, but we get to decide what we want, who we want to be and where we want to go.

I’m from some hick ass little town in the middle of New York State. I currently live in Los Angeles, CA. I went from barely playing the game of life to playing in the major leagues. I wasn’t ready to play, but they put me in anyway. As soon as I was getting the hang of it, I got pulled out and benched and have been reeling ever since.

I’ve grown a lot in the last few months. I’ve dealt with losses I never thought I’d have to deal with and feelings and emotional spectrums I didn’t know existed. I’ve fought depression most of my life and I’ve learned how to cope and how to hide. Tie in anxiety issues every so often and there’s the middle half of my 20s. We’re all fighting our internal struggle, but what do we do when we’re not longer struggling inside, but both inside and out? What do we do when we no longer live in the past, or let the past define us but the future is so uncertain that we’re paralyzed on the spot?

Los Angeles is another city of dreamers. Everyone is trying to make it as someone here. Whether you’re from here or not, you’re still playing the proverbial game. I love LA. I am happy to live here and I’m happy to be able to play, but lately my ass has been kicked so hard I’m questioning everything I know. Down to the major question, why am I still here? What am I doing here? And at the same time I have no where else I really and truly want to go.

I’ve been reading and searching for answers within and without. I’ve been trying to move forward when the only reason I’ve survived is because my parents decided to really and truly help me for the first time. That in itself was something I never thought I’d have and that in itself was worth the hurt and struggle it took me to get here. Unfortunately, the efforts of others is not entirely enough.

We all get one life. We all have our personal struggles. We all need each other at some point to be there to help us when we’re down. I feel like my posts don’t even have a point anymore, but they allow me to let out the crap in my mind and potentially share it for the two people reading this (cheers to you guys).

We all want a voice in our own lives. We all struggle and wonder why. We all endure hurt and pain, love and happiness, boredom and indifference, the list goes on. As I sit here in my most loneliest state, I wonder what the fuck I’m doing constantly. I think I ask myself that daily in various forms. And honestly I have no idea what I’m doing anymore. I feel like I’m struggling just to struggle and I don’t see the point in that. I’m reminded of a Bob Newhart skit that would tell me just to “stop it,” and honestly wish I could.

We are all meant to thrive in this world. We are all meant to build and grow and change and love. We are meant to learn the differences between love and indifference. Pain and pleasure. Happiness or contentment from boredom. I truly believe we’re all supposed to enjoy this journey that is life. I truly believe life is simply hard because half the time we have to admit to ourselves what it is we actually want. And the struggle comes from having to relearn how to exist in a way you’ve never done so before, until now. Maybe I dream of a life without depression. Maybe I dream of a life filled with love. Maybe I have no idea what it is that will make me happy anymore or make me happy consistently because I’ve been lost in the dark longer than I was ever in the light.

I have no answers for anyone anymore. I seek my truth and my hope and my love. I have no idea what it means, I have no idea what I want anymore and I have no freaking clue how to get it. If you don’t know where you’re going it doesn’t matter which path you take. But unlike Alice, this isn’t a dream I can wake up from, this is a dream I have to create. So what comes next? I still have no freaking clue, but I have to keep going. I have to.

Los Angeles Chronicles: Figuring Myself Out – More

I found it! That Eureka moment that everything clicked. And ironically it was while reading someone else’s blog. I’ve been on a journey unlike that which I’ve known in the past. I’ve been allowing myself to feel when I feel and “be” when I need to be. I’ve actually been listening to my own intuition of sorts when it comes to where I want to go next or where I want to go at all. I’ve dealt with so many different things and I almost forget how far I’ve come. How many lives I’ve actually lived. Each part of my life I’ve become a different person. Not in a schizophrenic kind of way, but more in a different phase of life, yet still completely different persons at times.

Who I was at 5 wasn’t who I was at 15, at 20, at 25. I’ve believed in myself and not. I’ve taken leaps of faith and typical risks to get where I’ve been. I’ve gained friends and loves and family along the way. I’ve lost friends and loves and family along the way. I’m not the same person I was 10 minutes ago and time keeps moving me forward.

I’ve finally been realizing that even though I lost my job and I didn’t think I could stay in California, that I’m going to no matter what. Because I had to admit to myself that it was something I still wanted. I had to admit my own feelings. I had to get to where I got and I had to be lost along the way. I’ve been lost for the last 6+ years and it isn’t anyone’s fault. I lived life into the unknown and that’s where I’ve stayed because the next step isn’t one that is already decided for me. Nor could it be.

I’ve always hated the saying “everything happens for a reason.” I do however like the saying “there are no such things as coincidences.” Everything happens for a reason makes it sound like life is living me rather than me living my life. No such thing as a coincidence feels more real to me, more forgiving and even a little less harsh, but still more real. We all make mistakes. For some it’s a haircut that signifies the end of the world and for others it’s a divorce or the loss of a close relative or friend. Some of us have crazy amounts of student loan debt and others are already at the top of their careers ready to buy a house for their dog.

But we all go through phases. We all have to learn how to feel what we feel or at least admit to ourselves that we can feel. The aha moment I had has come after two really good weeks for me mentally and physically. It was while I was reading “4 questions Google can never answer for you.” Little to say it talked about us searching for – information – when in reality what we’re trying to figure out are – feelings -.

I spent most of my life denying I had feelings. I spent most of my life pushing them down in misery or in pain. I’ve been doing a lot of searching lately and I’ve been seeking a lot of knowledge in general. I’ve already built a life for myself in a place of my choosing. Not being ideal quite yet I still have a ways to go I did it nonetheless. I’ve made a few friends and had a few crushes, dated someone, switched jobs, made, spent, earned, lost and wished for money.

I’ve found my own world. I’ve made it one I can be proud to be a part of and one that I will continue to choose despite anything else. The time may come where I’ve grown or changed again and my location or my personal needs change as well and that’s okay.

The other thing I’ve realized is that as a kid we all look at adults like we have the answers to life’s problems. The problem is when we get there no one has a clue. Well no one but you has a clue or a key to unlock your life but you. It’s amazing to have people to enjoy the ride along the way, but you’re the one who has to choose your own fate.

If I spent half as much time fighting myself as I did just doing what I thought I wanted or needed or both, I’d be a completely different person. But right now I am who I choose to be and I will change again. So what comes next? Well hopefully a job and a bigger foundation on the life that I want.

Los Angeles Chronicles: Being Lost is Relative & so is Being Found

Here I am a year and a half into the “life I always dreamt about”… I’m without direction and fairly sick of looking to the past. Needless to say this experience hasn’t been what I’ve expected it to be – then again nothing ever is. In some ways it’s been a million times better than I could imagine and in other ways it’s one of the most life shattering situations to be in.

I am in love with Los Angeles. I love California in more ways than I can describe. The feelings of contentment and fullness. The clarity and the head space have both completely improved within. Yet, I’m so lost. I never expected to start a new life and end up with the job of my dreams, the love of my life, and a big fat bank account in a year. Honestly I’d barely expect that in the next five years (mostly because I’m realistic). But this entire experience has left me with one major thought — what do you do when you’re feeling completely lost, yet you’re finally feeling okay with who you are again?

Okay, wait a minute – hold that thought. Rewind…. I lost my job back at the end of May. I’ve been attempting to find my way since then, but I’ve been coming up short. I’ve gotten multiple interviews and have had call backs on second rounds, yet this time I can’t seem to seal the deal. After three months of agonizing over my next step and whether or not I get to stay here because of monetary responsibilities, I realized I’m just as lost as I was when I left, but now I’m a person I want to be.

I’ve come a long way from the person I had become when I left my hometown for the third time. I took a giant risk because I owed it to myself. I have given a lot and I have done what I have to do. Yet here I am worse off than I was when I got here. Feeling like a failure because I have nothing to show for this last year, but what lies within, I realize again…. being lost is relative. I may have found myself in a lot of ways, but when you’re lacking direction what do you do? I chased a dream to get here. I took a leap of faith and it initially paid off. I’m in a position to have to do whatever I absolutely must to stay, but I also have to admit to myself I absolutely do not want to leave.

All of these things come back to our own ideals and expectations of where we thought we’d be at this age. I have nothing I’ve ever wanted, yet in the last week I’ve been happier than I ever have in this country. Yes – this country. Some of it is letting yourself be. Some of it is realizing set backs happen, things don’t always fit, and it’s okay to feel what you feel. The difference is admitting the shit exists, but realizing that you don’t have to let it consume you.

I’ve dealt with depression for most of my life. I fight my own demons daily just to get out of bed. Sometimes I look in the mirror and realize hey the demon is me. Sometimes I look in the mirror and I scream internally “you fucken got this stop doubting yourself.” And sometimes I fly without a net hoping for the best because uncharted territory and the unknown have taken over my life. But I digress…

It’s been a pretty great week for me so far. The month of August is turning my world around and all of it is happening for the better. The culmination of the last two months doesn’t define me. Nothing is set in stone and this is NOT the end. I need to remember to let myself have what I want and let myself be happy when shit hits the fan. I need to remember that school’s over and the “right path” in terms of life really doesn’t exist. Never having an answer to the question “what do you want to be when you grow up” I’m still searching for a career but maybe the issue is I haven’t invented it yet.

We are the creators of our own worlds. We have to take the good and the bad. When we feel we have nothing to show, we need to find small ways to prove it to ourselves. When we feel lost, we need to do something that makes us found in the space in which we exist. When we doubt our abilities sometimes we just need a friend. And sometimes we just have to play the game and play in general. Thus realizing that life doesn’t need to be so serious and that everything in life is temporary. And sometimes – I need to take my own advice and realize that life is good. Sometimes we all need reminders that we deserve to be happy and just let ourselves accept them.

Lost Angeles Chronicles: Internal struggle in a >political< world of uncertainty

I’m finally at the point in my life where I seek information on a daily basis. Whether by curiosity or need, I spend most of my time reading. I can never seem to take enough information in and there is always more out there. The issue isn’t what is available – as Google does most of the work when it comes to searching – rather that who tells the truth, what is real, what is not and how much shit do I have to dig through to find it? And even sometimes, why is the satire just so damn true?!

Anyway…

There is a lot going on in this world, good and bad at any moment. People are up in arms about politics worldwide and people are doing everything from predicting the world’s end to ignoring that we’re even in trouble. What troubles me… what makes me fight myself internally… the future of it all. I sit here trying to plan for my future the best I can and now everything I thought was once possible is shifted. Everything I once wanted for myself seems so out of touch with reality. I find myself thinking, “holy shit I must be American because this whole thing makes me want to strap on a gun and rush the battlefield.” Yes, this is hyperbole, but anyone even somewhat like myself should totally understand where that’s coming from.

I try to go on with life “as usual.” I try to go through the motions and ignore what is out there because I know that it only ends up with me being angry that so many people are  entirely against others that they know nothing about and are so quick to call them terrorists when the United States has pretty much been the biggest terrorizer in the world since it was “born.” /run on sentence

But damn. How the fuck did we get here? Why?! What are we doing to ourselves and others?! How do we sit back and let people take over within our own country with views and beliefs that aren’t just opposite ours, but totally against everyone who isn’t them?! How did we become this completely divided among ourselves? When you wake up everyday and the threat of an attack in some form is now in your backyard, what are you supposed to do? This isn’t about being “safe” it’s about actually being able to live the life you want to live for yourself. Yes, safety plays a role but fuck man. At the end of the day our lives in the U.S. aren’t hard in conventional ways )#firstworldproblems is definitely the best way to describe it) but look at our government. We were supposed to be the system that was by the people, for the people…Now… The party that claims they want less government is the party that wants to take all your individual rights away by government mandate. The party that is supposed to be for all is totally split due to self righteousness and arrogance. And those that actually want to change for the greater good are being left unheard and walked on. So, where the hell do we go from here?

Again, I sit here and think about my future. The prospects of love and happiness, a potential family and house to raise them in. Not only are those things becoming harder and harder to attain because of the way the American world functions, but now I have to fight people off to have rights to my own body. I start thinking…”WHAT IS WRONG WITH PEOPLE” followed by, “How do I change the world around me?!” Why do I sit here in the midst of superficial shit screaming for change and no one pays attention? Am I the only one that wants to give up all my childhood dreams and figure out how to join in the political fight and change this from within? Why aren’t people more outraged? Do we not know how to ban together because we really have drifted so far apart?

Yes, my future has always been uncertain because time, unlike life is in fact linear… but the question, “where do I go from here” seems to have so much more attached to it now. As I fight for what I believe in, in hopes of a future actually worth having, do I have to fight myself too? I know this is a fight worth fighting, I know this is a risk worth taking, so why does it seem like so much of a leap of faith and why does it seem that my future is lost to me in a way it never was before? Why do I contemplate the real meaning of what comes next with such emphasis when in my proverbial yesterday  it didn’t seem as daunting? Who and what are we becoming and what do we have to do to change? Is anyone alive out there, can anyone hear me?!

 

Los Angeles Chronicles: Ever Searching

Life is a never ending process except for when it actually ends. The only issue and it’s kind of a big one – we usually have no concept of an ending, we really only have today, we really only have the journey.

I’ve noticed a few things lately and I’m not entirely sure if they’re good, bad or just are. I’ve noticed that anytime you ask someone you actually feel is qualified to answer your questions, they have no idea either. That the little things may totally add up, yet we’re always grasping at the major life moments and we forget the in between – ya know those moments that actually make up a life. We somehow spend our entire lives searching, yet what do we really find? Time is linear, life is not, yet our time in life albeit longer than we’d wish sometimes is a lot shorter in the scheme of “Life” as a concept.

There are I’m going to say a handful of people in the world in terms of types: those who dream, those who dream and manage to go after their dreams and are somehow able to pull them off, those who never dare to dream and are okay with the status quo, and those that always want, but never seek. This may be an over simplification, but it’s just an observation.

This year has held a lot of growth for me, yet I still don’t have the answers. The more I seek, the more I find there is to learn, the more I find simplicity doesn’t happen, at least not for me. The more I dream and let myself wander through the hopes and potentials of what may be out there I’m thwarted with reality of going through the motions of a 9-5 desk job that doesn’t pay me enough to pay off my student loans in the next 20 years.

With that said, I find myself to be the one that has to remind myself that you have to start somewhere. That you can’t start where you want to end up because you can’t start at the end. As much as I’ve been through in life and as much as I’ve “lived” so far, Los Angeles was my new beginning. Yes, I’ve been trying and putting effort and what not into my life thus far, but I left my life as I knew it. I’ve left my life as I knew it more than once, and despite going “back” to a place that is familiar… each time I got a different result. Life isn’t a math problem, you’re never going to get the same answer exactly. You might do the same thing 20 times before thinking “why do I do that” but you’re not at fault for making a mistake… it doesn’t work that way, not in everything. Because each time you make a mistake, let’s say with dating someone or with loving someone, or letting a friend take advantage when you think you’re just helping them out… the circumstances are different, you’re different. We’re ever changing, ever evolving, ever growing. The society we live in results in us always being plugged into something whether we use it to seek knowledge or to thwart it, it’s there. We react to what’s around us and we perceive our wants and needs and attempt to act accordingly, yet we still somehow miss the boat. We forget that we don’t go from being an entry level worker to the CEO without the shit in between. We forget that we can’t have a marriage without first putting in the work. We forget that we both lose and find ourselves so many times before we even realize we’ve changed,  but it’s okay. If we actively seek who we want ourselves to be and are constantly making an effort to grow in general, in any way… we’re going to make it. We might not end up where we thought because hey life never gives you what you expect it to… but sometimes the journey is the point, the ride to the end beats the end every time.

So whether you’re down because it’s Monday, or pissed because things aren’t going as you planned, or anxious because you’re not where you want to be, remember (this is a message to myself as well): tomorrow is another day to try your best and that’s all you can do, keep trying. Never stop searching for the answers. Maybe someday you’ll find them, if I find em, I’ll let you know.

Los Angeles Chronicles: I can while away the hours

It’s that moment in life when you’ve finally made significant progress and the same moment that screams at you – You’re not there yet!

I can say that most of us spend the majority of our week working at a job. Whether we like that job or not is the issue. Call me an idealist… but… wouldn’t it be nice to actually do something we’re passionate about rather than just taking whatever we have to, to get by and actually pay the bills?

I moved to Los Angeles in pursuit of a dream. I love my apartment, but it still hasn’t been made into “home” yet. I love LA/California, yet rush hour traffic on the 405 definitely leaves room for improvement. I like that everything is new, I like that I have a few friends but still have a lot of personal time comparatively speaking. I’m making more money than I have so far in life, yet I still stress because barely making it by is an understatement. My job isn’t terrible, but it is. I spend almost 4 hours a day in rush hour Los Angeles traffic. I beg for work at work and consistently have nothing to do (writing this at work now). My skills aren’t being utilized and my pay while may be the highest I’ve received, isn’t enough to actually live.

The progress I feel I’ve made in the last year has been great. The personal triumphs and the personal breakthroughs have been amazing. I’ve been taking more and more control over what I want and actively seeking my happiness. I’ve been putting the time, effort and energy into myself and it is paying off, but very slowly and that’s okay (progress is progress). Knowing that life is hard and I’m willing to work my ass off for it, I will always risk what I have if I don’t have what I want – in hopes of something better. So what now?

I’ve redone, updated, and sent out countless resumes. I’ve gone on multiple interviews. I end up either intimidating the interviewer or making them feel stupid (not intentionally). What do I have to do to finally land the position in which I may actually have room to grow and gain responsibility? What do I have to do to actually make enough money to live? What do I have to do to actually enjoy my life? And don’t even get me started on romantic relationships – that monster is a horse of a different color…

Why does everyone think that “hard work pays off” when the majority of people who work hard are the ones being screwed? Why is it that those willing to bust their ass aren’t the ones who are given a chance? What the hell am I missing here, because clearly it’s something big.

I get it, I’m a kid, but I still have more than adult sized bills. I get it, there’s a lot of competition. I get it, (again) life’s hard. But why is it so damn hard to the point where you have to kiss a company you aren’t sure you want to work for’s ass in hopes that you can eat that night? Why is this the world we live in? Is it terrible? Of course not. Am I sitting here asking myself if this post is even worth it, of course I am. Do I recognize that these are first world problems, absolutely. They are my problems nonetheless.

I’ve noticed something about movies and tv shows, they always wrap up life so nicely. Even when there are problems they only last so long or the viewers get bored… There’s always a little drama but the major things people tend to want, a house, a car, a relationship, a marriage, a family, a career, you name it – always seem attainable. Yes some of those things are materialistic but I’m talking about living, ya know paying for food to eat and actually having the money to do so as well as pay your rent. Yes, I know they’re made up stories. Yes, I know it’s a show/movie. Yes, I know time is a different animal in real life.  But why is it that happiness seems to be the hardest thing to hold onto in a world where you don’t have it that terribly hard, yet you still don’t have the money to live? Why is staying happy one of the most difficult things I’ve ever had to do?

When does my life become something I live with pure enjoyment despite the bad? As much as I’m a dreamer, I’m still a realist. Life has bad parts, we get hurt,  and sometimes shit sucks, it is inevitable, but when does progress actually reach fruition? When can you finally reach a point in life where you can say you’ve become successful?  What about becoming happy? Does it or can it ever truly happen? Or are we all just reaching for a dream only found on screens in hopes reality isn’t that bad?