The fight is never about grapes or lettuce. It is always about tacos.
I don’t know why we take so much time to reflect during milestones, but here I am sitting at my new favorite coffee shop in Noho trying to decipher the last year I lived. Exactly two years ago, I had surgery and was unable to walk for 6 weeks. Fast forward to one year ago when I boarded a one way flight to LA without a job or place to live. Then yesterday I graduated from the UCLA Professional Program in television writing and have been working a full time job and possibly even upgrading to get air conditioning in my next apartment (okay that last one is a long shot, LA is expensive y’all).
Even with so much excitement leading up to big milestones, I still find myself unsure about a lot of things. I am only 24 years old and barely know anything. At times I feel like I have control of LA life. I wake up (in my adult bed that is not made of air) feeling like I understand what I am doing and what is next. Other days I feel like I am clueless about life and can’t even kill handle killing a cockroach in my room by myself.
For the past year, I had deadlines every week, where some beat sheet, outline, or draft of a script was due. Then each week I would get notes and support from my workshop. Now I am back on my own (well I still have my classmates for support and notes, but not a forced weekly meeting). I am struggling trying to map out how I will bring that writing structure back into my life, so I am doing what I do best, writing it all out on here in hopes of coming to some clarity.
A lot of people ask me how I like Los Angeles, but to be fair I have not even lived in the same city consistently for over a year in the past 5 years. For anyone else who grew up in northeastern cities, you may know how different the west coast can be. I am a big believer that it does not matter where you live, but the people you are with in that location. The other day, I overhead a man saying how much he originally hated living in LA, but then just realized he was lonely and it was not necessarily LA that he hated, but his loneliness while here. I am like most 24 year olds in these giant cities. Just wondering around trying to figure out how to not be lonely while chasing dreams. I have a feeling this lasts the rest of your life.
So much has happened over the past year! I finally got a real bed after sleeping on my air mattress for 2 years. I figured out car insurance (sorta) and that one red light ticket will cause the price to go up $50 every month. I got a 401K plan and I’m very close to understanding how it works and why it is important that I got one. Most importantly, I worked full time (and overtime) while taking night classes and finished strong with three new scripts!
At the UCLA graduation ceremony one of the guest speakers told us what will define our careers is what we end up doing on Monday night in lieu of class. Just because the program ended does not mean the work of the writer is over. If you have ever stared at a blinking cursor over a blank page for hours straight you may understand the anxiety we all feel graduating. On Monday, all of us must go out there and continue writing our stories on our own.
I think back to my first months here in LA, full of unknowns (like where is my next paycheck going to come from because rent is still due), but also just trying to find purpose after a year of recovery at home. I talked about this in a previous blog, but here goes again because I love it so much. As one of my favorite poems by David Wagoner says, “Stand still. The trees ahead and bushes beside you are not lost. Wherever you are is called Here, and you must treat it as a powerful stranger.” I am here and I am not lost, but just standing still to take it all in.
In other news, I also joined a co-ed flag football league. We play at Santa Monica beach on Saturdays. A couple weeks ago we played in the playoffs and actually won the championship! Hopefully the next season will be starting again soon.
I decided to be super adult and see a dentist for the first time in 2-3 years. Let me tell you it was a giant mistake. Now I have to go back and get a lot of cavities filled and I am terrified. Please send your thoughts and prayers!
As for the future, I do have some plans. I hope to go back and revise some scripts I worked on this year as well as start some new ones. Maybe even write and film a short. I keep saying I am going to update this blog more, but I promise I am working on it. Most importantly I am going back to Philly for a visit in 2 weeks.
Now that school has finished, I also decided to take some vacation time. I am taking a trip to Alaska to visit some friends from study abroad. Not sure on our plans, but I am sure pictures and blog posts are to come. Lastly, I purchased a 10 day roundtrip ticket to Japan over labor day weekend. More to come on that as we start to plan.
Thank you to my friends and family for being my biggest support system as I moved out to LA and continued on with school and working. My father who took a week off to help me apartment hunt and move in all my thrift store finds. My mother who was always available for a late night phone call and my biggest cheerleader. My sister for always being my best friend. My grandparents who helped me afford my Trader Joe’s addiction while at the UCLA program and believing in my writing. My room mate for passing off my rent checks to the landlord and making sure I was alive each week. My boyfriend for making me coffee everyday and giving me the space to always be creative. Also to all my friends who have shown so much support and love.
Until next time, please enjoy this photo of an inspiring quote from our new favorite North African taco joint…