Tuesday, September 22, 2009

A Year of Change...

It is another gloomy day this morning with the added bonus of mass amounts of humidity. It feels nasty out there. It's the type of day where I begin to try to do something with my hair and I realize that the minute I walk out of the house, it'll fall flat so it's a ponytail day instead. The weatherman, having been wrong about the heavy and steady thunderstorms we were supposed to get yesterday looked slightly defeated this morning, almost like a puppy that has been scolded. He was far less bold with his predictions stating that while it was likely we'd get thunderstorms, we might not.

I have decided it might be quite nice to be a weatherwoman. Apparently, it's all about being vague. You can say things like, "There's a chance of rain," and "Parts of the area are seeing clouds." I mean, really, every day there's a 'chance' of rain: It might rain...it might not. It's a nice safe prediction to say that there are going to be clouds somewhere in the viewing area. It's a big viewing area.

But, as it stands, it's grey and nasty out there. It's definitely a stay-in-and-do-nothing-really-productive type of day. Unfortunately, since I'm at work, that might be a bit hard to do given that I am being paid to be productive.

Today actually marks the day when, a year ago, my friend and I packed up my little Toyota and left Los Angeles for the Great Midwest. Given everything that's happened in the past year, it seems much longer than that. In the time I've been gone from L.A., I've started this blog, learned to cook and bought a house. Depending on how you look at it, it may not seem like much but to me, they're components of my life that make up who I am.

It's amazing how much life changes in a short time. It seems like if you're born in L.A. you tend to stay there but if you move there later in life, you tend to enjoy it for a while and leave. When I first moved out, there was a steady wave of my college friends also slowly moving out. My only friend in the scary world of California was a former college roommate with whom I had been friendly but never known well. We had been joined as roommates by another friend. We had all been theatre majors. In the undergraduate school I attended, the theatre department was very small and very "exclusive.". I put the exclusive in quotes because, looking back, I realize it was exclusive in a fairly bad way. Overall, the atmosphere was arrogant and self-congratulatory. There have been some immensely talented people to come out of there but to survive and come out the way you went in...that was a feat. It was a place where if you tried to be slightly different, you would either be broken like a horse and tamed or you would be made miserable to the point in which you'd leave. I saw both happen in the three years I spent in the department. To this day, that phase of my life remains a muddled confusion. Doing theatre was what I loved but it was the only thing I was allowed to do. I felt as though I were sneaking away when I enrolled in other, non-theatre classes.

Needless to say, as a theatre major, you lived, breathed, slept and ate theatre. You also had little time for non-theatre activities. This meant that the only friends you really had time to socialize with were fellow theatre majors. It was a good thing and it was a bad thing. To this day, I regret some of the friendships that weakened because of this phase of my life. Ironically, while I keep in touch, mostly on Facebook, with some of my former theatre friends, without the bond of the stage, we really don't know each other any more. It's sad but we bonded over our 'craft', it was the tie that connected up. Most of my former close friends from my theatre days, like me, drifted away, having felt burned out from doing so much of it during college.

I digress. I do have a point, surprisingly. It is that when I did move to L.A., I was still fairly recently graduated from college and so reconnecting with former theatre friends, all in L.A. to try to break into movies or at least the theatre scene was easy. The problem that ended up happening was that we all 'came of age' at the same time. When I say that, it means we found the things in our lives that we truly loved. My former college roommate found love and a career and he ended up moving closer to his boyfriend. Another friend went back to the Midwest, still dabbling with theatre but still trying to figure out what she wanted. Then there was me; I'd found my writing. It was no longer screenwriting, it was novels. Over time, I realized there was no reason for me to be in L.A. I could write anywhere and then, slowly, the pull of home, of my family began to be stronger than the pull of L.A.

So, seven years after I'd moved out, I found myself coming back home. As I left, I was 'friended' on Facebook by two other former theatre friends who were just moving out to L.A. It's an interesting pattern; you leave and there's someone always waiting to fill in the gap. Los Angeles represents a city of dreams if you live far away. When I was in high school, I had a friend who was obsessed with moving to California. She was determined to go there and have a rock-and-roll-lifestyle. She had originally planned on marrying Bret Michael's from the band, Poison. Then she decided it was all Axl Rose from Guns n' Roses. Either way, the lure of L.A., the dream of California was all-encompassing.

As far as I know, she never did go out there. I think she actually lives in Cincinnati. Due to the fact that she went a little mental in high school and would talk about having me killed in notes to her friend, I'm really not that worried about where she is. I just hope she's happy and a little, um, less deranged.

I still find it ironic that I went there. For me, it was really just a question of me getting out of the Midwest, to see what else was there. It was between New York and L.A. I chose L.A. because it was cheaper. That's pretty much the only reason. I do wonder what path my life would have taken if I'd have gone the other direction. However, choice I made, to this day, feels like the right one. I'm just glad it led me back here. I had my years of seeing life from a different point of view, immersing myself in a city that's so diverse you can walk from one street to another and see a whole new culture spring up.

Yet...I'm glad I left. I love the peace of the Midwest, the fact that one day it can be stormy and humid and the next a crisp, Autumn day with the hint of frost on the wind. I love the fact that the trees are starting to change colour and that I can be one of those people to put a pumpkin out on my porch and welcome trick or treaters on Halloween night.

I'm not saying that there aren't days when I don't miss my former life. There are days when I miss it so much, it's hard to remember where I am in the world. That might be due to the fact that I stream KROQ, my beloved L.A. radio station, online. It's awfully disorientating to be working in Ohio but hear advertisements for restaurants, concerts and events in the L.A. area.

Whatever the reason, it's now officially been a year in which KROQ sent me off with Viva La Vida, one of the few Coldplay songs I can actually stand, as I drove out of the city and lost reception, moving away from L.A. on a new path. I'm still finding my way but I'm glad it brought me here.

Even if it did give me Nutley 2.0.

Happy Tuesday.

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