I've been in a 10-year romantic relationship with California. I've gone through so much with Cali; ups and downs, joys and happiness like I've never known, as well as heartache and heartbreak. We've loved and explored one another. And now I am breaking up with California after 10 years. It's not Cali, it's me. I just need to move on to the next chapter of my life. Yes, I am grieving. It hurts in my heart. It's as if someone reached inside my chest, gripped onto my heart and squeezed and twisted it. I will heal with time. I will never forget the way California made me feel. The good and the bad.... But really it was always good. I hope I will start to feel normal and happy again when I become busy and find another love to fill my time.
"What's going on?", everyones asking... "Why the sudden change of heart?" It wasn't so sudden. It's been a slow process, just like most break ups. I finally decided to move back to Florida. I know, I know…. Why?! You must be asking… Why?! Loads of people come running out to California everyday, running away from where they came to join the party out here with the rest of the west coast lunatics. I understand why people run away to California . It's abso-fucking-lutely wonderful out here. That's why people say, "the west coast is the best coast". I believe it to be a very true statement. There's such variety and color and culture out here. It's more than beautiful with mountainous ranges and views galore. Jagged cliff coasts, nooks, crannies, and caves to explore. Drive out to the open desert and you'll see Jurassic Park-like rocks that you scramble onto and over and Joshua Trees line the gravel roads. Drive up the lush coastline due north through gigantic redwood trees or venture out to Yosemite to lounge in hot springs and camp among wildlife. Within the concrete jungle of Los Angeles, you can find any and all types of interesting people, many are here for their version of "Los Angeles and the American Dream"... success, money, fame, fortune. Once you venture outside the big city livin', let's say... due north towards San Fran, and for atmospheric aesthetic purposes, more towards the Oregon border you'll find the doggone cutest towns filled with salt of the earth, self-sustaining, granola type people. Truly, I love it all.
I spent the first 18 years of my life in Florida. Running around and hanging out on quiet, clean, soft, white sandy beaches and suburban intracoastal waters. At 18 I came out to Los Angeles to attend college at USC and was introduced to the glitz and glamour of LA. So many experiences and so many different kinds of people available to me at my fingertips. These days, I feel like most growing up is done in our 20's. No one rarely (in the city) gets married or has kids anymore until about their 30's... So LA is just a bunch of 20-something's having the time of their life creating the HollyWeird that most people only get to see on TV and in movies. My HollyWeird expands much past LA into the deserts and the mountains, down into San Diego and sometimes around the Bay Area. I love exploring the west coast and meeting all sorts of artists, visionaries and gypsies that cross my path. Everyone has a story and something to show you and teach you.
Usually when one explores too much there is a danger of getting lost. I got lost in LA & around California so many times and I’m not talking about driving directions. I'm talking about, I lost sight of who I am and what I was doing a few too many times. Too much fun to be had here that quickly leads to chaos. Super fun chaos, but chaos nonetheless. I was finally able to make a decision to ground myself, bring myself back to reality after a 10 year long trip. The big decision was to move back to Florida. I think the only reason I feel more grounded now is because of the fact that I've been lost. Same idea that says, "one cannot truly know what happiness is if they've never experienced pain."
Good, bad, scary, funny, bizarre, ridiculous, enlightening experiences; it's all been apart of the journey. I've experienced USC football games when they were at their peak in popularity. I was in a sorority with girls from all over the world. I've gone to the Playboy mansion (a few times) and swam in the grotto. I've ridden in a motorcycle crew (gang? Still don't know the proper terminology) and filmed guys poppin' wheelies while I was also on the back of a bike. I've sat at famous people's tables at clubs. I've gone to red carpet events and worked movie premieres. I've worked the weirdest and oddest jobs with the most absurd people. I've camped in so many beautiful places all over California. I visited Yosemite and it was an incredibly magical place. I've seen the most amazing art! Huge interactive art installations in the middle of the desert at Burning Man and music that I cannot describe that makes me feel things I'm not sure I'll ever feel again. I’ve dabbled in a few different careers and finally found a passion that I have dedicated my life to studying and sharing with students. I have done so much here… It seems as if I have lived 5 lives here in Los Angeles. I said recently to a good friend, “I believe that living one year in Los Angeles is equal to living 5 years somewhere suburban and more slower paced”. I’m terrible at math, but if I do the math, I’ve been here in LA for 50 years! I believe it… I really do. All in all I've made lifelong memories and forever friends. These experiences have filled my soul and will be with me forever.
What I really want to say is that California is a head-trip, man. I don't want it to end, but sadly most good things eventually come to an end. In a few weeks I'll be off on my next adventure. I have no idea what to expect. I'm almost certain it will be a lot quieter and much slower paced. I'm hoping to bring a slice of the party with me though. You can take the girl out of Cali, but you can't take the Cali outta the girl.
I hope you understand, California, why I must leave you. You have been so good to me. Your sexy coastline will always tempt me and make me want you, oh so badly. Who knows? One day I might come crawling back, begging for more, but for now I need some time and space. I love you forever. You will always hold a special place in my heart.