You moved to Los Angeles about seven months ago. It was more an impulsion than a plan, I think that’s how it has to be to an extent of moving halfway across the country. At least in your case, if you thought about it too long or too in depth, I don’t think you could have done it.
*not my address anymore*
You weren’t scared at first. You decided you wanted to move August of 2015. I personally think you jumped the gun, and I hope in the future you stay where you are just a little longer. Because it was that October when KC became your home. And while you realized in January that you could have used some more time… it was too late by then. Plans were set in motion, your lease was terminated, you were moved out of your plaza apartment and you had a date with your future career, set. By January, you were terrified. You never had second thoughts about how this is what you needed to do, but crying while packing up whatever would fit in the Jeep, I can honestly say it’s not at all what you wanted to do.
Settling in took time, and you’re still not cozy enough to call this place home. You lived on a couch for the first two months. The day you bought a mattress for your new apartment, you told EVERYONE you ran into, “I’m buying a bed today!” You got some odd looks. The queen was worth it. You job hunted like CRAZY. You didn’t need a gym membership because of all the walking up and down Ventura Blvd looking for a serving job you did. Never forget the one day you walked and walked and when you finally GPS’d where your car was, it was three miles back and your meter was up in ten minutes. You didn’t get a parking ticket, and it’s probably the fastest mile you’ve ran since high school. You do get a job, multiple, and go through them a pretty fast. You still have your hosting job, you do have a serving job even though they stopped scheduling you so it’s job hunt time again for off-photo season.
You end up shooting photos for a blogger- Jamie- about once a week, you see her more than anyone. She puts you on her payroll and you jokingly call her boss because deep down, your both just Star Wars, cat nerds.
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You shoot more in the first two months of being here than a whole year in Kansas City. Some of the shoots are paid, some are amazing collaborations. You feel like people see something in you here, and hope someday you’ll be able to pay back the kindness some industry people have shown you. The times they paid for your meal, referred you to a client, or just invited you into their lives with open arms…
Your other little half, Mackenize moved out here a couple weeks after you, to Newport Beach. She’s happy, so happy. Her boyfriend Joe and her got a baby puppy, Hudson Wookie Doodle, in July and you’re the godmother. Unfortunately you never see each other. It’s the life of adulthood and LA traffic. But she’s your person. Don’t ever forget it, even when you go weeks without seeing each other. She’s your person.
After two months, the novelty of everything wears off. It’s not a vacation spot, it’s your life. You start to find the deals: bars that have happy hour on weekends, stores that have 70% off sales all the time, the gas stations that are .50 cheaper. You drain your savings and checking account for your first LA apartment with your fast-new best friend, Madison (Madleighbee). She is positivity and light. She drops and picks you up from the airport a dozen or so times, feeds the cats while you’re gone, cooks you macaroni when you’re sick, scratches your back, has champagne waiting for you after bad days, shares her clothes, friends and life with you… she’s one of your biggest cheerleaders and motivation. You’ve never been luckier to have someone so welcoming, welcome you into their life.
Your parents visited you in May, because they’re obviously the best. Daddieoh still texts you EVERY night. 🙂
They bring some of your furnishings and dishes and help you set up your room to make it feel more like yours. They don’t like LA, say it’s too busy. The trip is over quick, and you thank god you had that time in Kansas City to adjust to not seeing your family often. You can’t imagine moving out here straight from Minnesota. It’s still an adjustment, you aren’t just six and a half hours away anymore, and the times you go home you overbook yourself… I hope you learn to take more family time in the future. You need it. They need it.
I’m only going to skim over your trip home to Kansas City in June, but it was a set back. You were starting to get comfortable in LA. You were. But when you go back go familiarity, comfort and love, it breaks your heart to leave it again, twice. But you do, and I can say now I’m so proud of you for crying your way through that airport and getting back on this beach-y soil. You’re broken, but you slowly start to move ahead and duct tape the pieces together.
You’re alone a lot. And I’m not going to lie, a lot of it is self inflicted. You aren’t really soul searching, but I think in the long run, you’re starting to learn about yourself. Not in a monumental way where you self love the shit out of yourself, but you’re learning to enjoy the silence and be okay with it until it’s filled with noise worth listening to.
The summer months fly by, there’s a stretch where you’re in Minneapolis, Las Vegas, Phoenix, Atlanta, Kansas City… it’s definitely the busiest you’ve ever been. You start to feel like you have purpose.
In March, you started writing a book, it’s non-fiction, which I never thought you’d do. You’re still writing it, although it gets harder every time to revisit. The book is about him and everything real. You miss him, I think you always will. And although the book gets harder each time, day to day life gets easier.
You’ve went on about six first dates, no second ones.
I’m proud of you, you’re not settling but you’re attempting to move on. Even if you’re just going through the motions, at least you’re moving.
Your cats. Oh, how they’re your pride and joy. Sir Remington Squirrel Cullen the Fifth and little baby Violet. Your parents have accepted the fact that they are the only grandchildren you’ll ever give them, so they just sent a cat scratcher post that’s as tall as your kitchen cabinets. Your mom also brought 40 POUNDS OF CAT LITER IN MAY. It’s real, they’re your babies. They like to eat around 6am every morning, they cuddle you when you’re sad, the two of them are inseparable.
You hiked every once and a while when you first moved here. Not so much anymore. You do have a gym membership though. Valet and parking meters is something you learn to deal with (you’ve gotten five $60ish dollar tickets and your car towed since you’ve been here… *insert gun emoji*). You go to movies more frequently, because people here actually give a shit about what’s in theaters. You’ve started avoiding carbs and milk, it’s not intentional, more of an LA habit. Two things: mexican food and champagne, something LA people can never have enough of, it seems. You go to the beach about once a week, but it’s mostly to shoot, sadly. Music is faster here, you hear something on the radio but never again for months. The other day it was seventy degrees and you saw a woman wearing a parka… *smdh*.
Your best friends, Sarah and Shelby visited in August. Sarah, your wife, is doing so well at her job at Cerner and has a new puppy, TED (who you are also the godmother of… I think). Shelby, your soul sis, just got engaged and is moving into a new home with her fiancé! It’s a chance for you to see Mackenzie too, who recently acquired her first CA job a couple months ago. With you four, it’s right back to blasting Ke$ha in the car, staying up too late, borrowing each others clothes and laughing uncontrollably. It’s a reunion, it’s best friendship, it’s forever 1233.
You don’t go out as much as you use to in Kansas City… but damn do you make the times you go out count.
You are so fortunate. Fortunate to have continued support from your family and friends who aren’t geographically near you. And fortunate to have found a good group of girlfriends, again. Gorgeous on the inside as they are outside, they support, believe and fight for you. You’ve been at your lowest here, but they’ve all helped get you to your highest, too. Kristin and Michael from far away in KC continually cheer you on and teach you about love. It looks like homemade pumpkin muffins, farmers markets and financial debt because you’re living. And laughter. 🙂
You were a girl who came here with a dream. The difference between living it and earning it are what you’re trying to bridge the gap between. Work hard, or this was all for nothing.
Q & A:
What I would have changed along the way: Hmmm… this is very circumstantial. But honestly, for me personally, I wouldn’t have changed anything. I gained a lot of experiences leaving Minnesota and living in Kansas City for two years, if anything I wish I would have moved a bit sooner and skipped out on the whole love fiasco in KC. But besides that, I think I did a lot of things right, visiting multiple times to make contacts and create a sort of artist-net so when I moved it wouldn’t be starting on square one!
Thoughts on moving there for a year to see if you can make it: What I’ve learned about LA since being here is 95% of the residents here are in the same boat as you. Everyone is trying to find love or make it big, so it’s inspiring but also has a competitive edge. That being said, I’ve been here for seven months and as a year approaches, I feel like I’ve JUST started to get traction. Everyone I know says it takes at least a year to love it. So I’d say, if you want to make it, make sure you’re ready to work for it more long term. Because it’ll probably take longer, but it’s so worth it!
What did I think it would be like in LA and how is it different?: I visited about three times before moving here, so I knew it wouldn’t be all glamor and beaches. But I guess I expected it to be a little more of that. Besides that, I think I mentally prepared well for the financial and social differences. I never expected to fit in so well, everyone here is interested in an art of some form. So everyone has side jobs and is in the progression to making their dreams come true, so it’s different than anywhere I lived in the Midwest.
How are things? Do I love it?: This is the most basic question, one I get asked when meeting up with friends from KC / MN. It’s hard to say exactly, I don’t think LA is like anywhere. It’s very discouraging and motivating at the same time. I wouldn’t say I LOVE it, per-say, but I would say I’m gaining experiences I would never get anywhere else.
What’s next? What do you want to accomplish in LA?: My ultimate goal is to feel accomplished, as an artist, as a person. I want to continue growing my photography business and ultimately be able to live solely off that. This summer was the first time I’ve been able to do that, however, the next few months are shaky, and I’ll be serving more than I did the last four months. Up next is New York, I think. Not for a couple years, but I need to experience THAT hustle at some point now that I know I can semi-handle this 😛 that being said, I’d LOVE to start traveling again. That bug will never go away, and I’d love to go back to Europe, Australia and somewhere like Bali or South America.