Today officially marks ten years since I moved to Los Angeles. With my entire life packed in the back of our Chevy Suburban, on August 18, 2009 my parents and I made the six-hour drive down to the University of Southern California, where I was to start as a freshman theatre major.
I’ve been thinking a lot about her recently. My eighteen-year-old self. Of the excitement and fear she felt at moving away from home to a teeming, unfamiliar city. Of how shy she was. Of how long it took for her not to find a community, but to feel like she belonged within it. Of how starry-eyed and more-than-a-little naive she was.
And I wonder what she would think of me now, as I stand here on the far side of the decade between us.
Outside the confines of this city, in which so many of us hail from Someplace Else, when someone asks me where I’m from I tell them I’m from Los Angeles. Though still reserved, I’m bolder now – growing comfortable in your own skin has a tendency to do that. I’ve managed to surround myself with people I admire and trust and love, who make the good days great and the bad days bearable. And though the hard reality of what it means to live a creative life has tarnished the innocent sheen with which I first came to LA, I’m still here, striving hopefully onward.
I like to imagine it would encourage her to see me standing on the other side of it all. That it would give her the fortitude to navigate the coming peaks and valleys, both professional and personal, awaiting her on the horizon. That she might begin to understand she’s made of stronger stuff than she thinks.
How else could she have lasted ten years as an artist in the City of Angels?
Cheers to the first decade, Los Angeles. May there be many more.