On my final weekend in LA, there was Malibu.
For as long as I can remember, all I’ve wanted is to live a comfortable life void of anything I deem too difficult; family struggles, heartache, illness, death. I’ve spent my whole life swatting anything too uncomfortable away from me, either because I didn’t think I could handle it or because I didn’t have the courage to.
What it comes down to is that I was terrified of feeling pain and began shielding myself from it at all costs. Mostly, I noticed this about myself when I was 19 and coming out of a dark few months where my anxiety was all I could see, with very few glimpses of light. I was afraid that any sort of upset would rocket me back into that place, despite the rational part of me knowing that I was only in that place because of a chemical imbalance in my brain. There was no trauma that caused the anxiety, the anxiety was the trauma.
So why was I afraid to move? To love, to travel, to experience newness, to open myself back up again? It was too uncomfortable.
I began shutting down when I felt I was being shut out. My boyfriend and I, who were newly dating at this time, were in somewhat of a rough place while we were long distance and I prematurely prepared myself for a breakup and decided to detach. Now we’ve been dating almost three years because I finally told him my scheme to avoid being hurt.
Instances such as that would occur more than once, but not always with him. I talked myself out of more situations I deemed risky and began to spin my cozy web until this past summer when I started to suffocate in it.
I made the decision to live in LA for a semester, although I told myself that I could back out every single moment up until I stepped onto the plane. Terrified might be an overstatement, but not by much. I was truly afraid of living across the country from all of my security: friends family, campus, dog. I remember telling my friend that I was mostly excited to get back in December and be able to say that I did it, regardless of how my time was there.
Now I can tell you that my time in LA was well worth it not because of any place I went or thing I did, just because I was there. I met amazing people who have brought such light to my life and even more importantly, I found a light within myself, as cheesy as it sounds.
When I was out there and asked how I liked the city, I didn’t know what to say because it was never about the city. LA is cool. It’s sunny and warm and blue-skied and busy, but it was never about those things, so my response to, “How is LA?” was always the same: “Everyday that I wake up here feels like an achievement. I’m here.”
I actually would say that to people----I’m not making it up for the sake of a cute post. It’s how I felt, and how I still feel about the experience. Everyday was an achievement because it was another day I was out of my comfort zone and living despite being uncomfortable.
Not every day was great, but I grew through it. I phoned home when I needed to, cried when I wanted to, but every day I walked in the sun, all of the uncomfortable parts of me beaming from its rays.