Leaving a place is a funny thing. There will also be that nagging self-doubt that forces you to question your motives for moving (usually somewhere in between when you’re packing the last of your earthly possessions and the time that the moving trucks get there), but ultimately, you make the decision knowing that it’s a gamble. There are no guarantees in life and when you’re leaving Los Angeles for New York City there are even fewer. What am I expecting when I get to Brooklyn? A lot of the same, to be honest. I know it will be hard to find a job. It is everywhere. I know I’ll hafta go about finding new friends, which is something that’s just as, perhaps even more, daunting than the search for gainful employment. But what else do I know I’ll have? I’ll have my dog to keep me company while I get adjusted. Hell, I’ll have seasons again. I can’t believe how so many people out here get excited by the mild fluctuations in weather that they call “seasons.”
But this isn’t about loving or leaving Los Angeles. Because, for all intents and purposes, I’m done, I’ve already left. Sure, the countdown on my phone says there are still 33 days before I actually leave, but I’ve prepared myself for this possibility a long time ago. Unfortunately, I can’t say the same about some of the folks I’ve met along the way.
The most common criticism I’ve gotten is that I “never gave LA a chance.” I gave this town a year of my life: a year in which I was mistaken for a prostitute on multiple occasions, hit by a car twice, and given approximately three job interviews. The prostitution thing? Let’s chalk that up to an honest mistake. The car accidents just proved most of the awful stereotypes about LA traffic and LA drivers. As for the job thing, I’ll accept culpability here. I was probably pretty picky, but only because I’m not suited for most of the jobs I was seeing ads for out here. I mean, “underwear model?” Sure, maybe as an aid to induce vomiting, but not likely… “Host/Hostess?” I’m pretty sure they want someone with experience. In the end, LA isn’t a bad town. It’s just not my kind of town.
Back when I first moved here, I had a talk with one of my friends who works as a PA in “the industry.” We talked about how both of us could succeed in the industry, but neither of us were sure if we were willing to do what it takes to succeed in show business. I’m not a name-dropper (hell, I didn’t even drop my own friend’s name) nor do I wish to be. I’m not going to apply to a job that <b.requires a headshot attached to your application. I’m too… something. I don’t wanna say proud because, well, I’m not. It’s not scrupulous either because that implies that the people who take these jobs aren’t. I have nothing but respect for the people who can make it work in Los Angeles, but I’m too afraid that I’ll lose my sense of self if I did.
But try to tell someone who has been here for several years that LA isn’t your kind of town. Go on, I dare you. It seems that there is no greater sin. The minute I say, “LA isn’t for me,” you’d think I’d just asked everyone in the room if they wanted to eat a baby. These are rational people too: people who I had discussed politics with, people who had pulled themselves up from obscurity to land successful jobs in Los Angeles, people who had found their way in this town and thrived. I’m just not one of those people. True, I could give it longer than a year, but I’ve looked at my issues with this town from a thousand different angles and no matter how you strike it, living in LA, I’d be compromising.
I’m not saying I’m better than LA or its residents. I do believe that it’s possible to live in Los Angeles without “selling out” or compromising your values, but I also believe that it’s harder to make it out here if you aren’t willing to. Plus, the things that people love so dearly out here, like no snow, are the things I miss most. The added benefits, such as the ocean, exist on the other side of the country too. But, truthfully, I need to do what is best for me. I think I read that in a Chicken Soup for the Soul book… but seriously, to the people who are angry or hurt or whatever by my choice to move, please understand that we each owe ourselves doing what we think is best for ourselves.
I’m simply choosing to do what’s right for me… by leaving Los Angeles.