I'm figuring out what Los Angeles feels like.
The feeling will change eventually. Not likely by tomorrow, and certainly in one year's time.
For starters, it feels like drowning. The whole it.
At first, the water appears deep and black -- a cosmic-like abyss. Cold, or nothing at all, if you go too far in.
But Los Angeles is not as deep as the Pacific that runs to and from the tourist-plagued shores of Malibu to Manhattan.
It isn't cold, either, even if so many of its inhabitants prove otherwise.
This is not a glorified abyss to throw oneself into lightly. To tread lightly is to underestimate.
Los Angeles is like drowning in a shallow end -- ironic, unexpected, and so near to the shore --
finally slamming one's feel upon a solid floor and pulling up a ledge, wondering how a right could feel so wrong while gasping for unclean air.
Recently, a boy told me that my words have depth. At first, the compliment felt like a sigh of relief -- half the feeling of being heard, and the other half the feeling of being seen if even for a moment's glance.
But the word--depth--stuck within the top drawer of my mind. And, throughout the week I'd open the drawer and hold the word in my hand thinking about what it might mean in a place that feels nearly two feet deep.
Los Angeles feels like a massive contradiction --
the second act when the antagonist nearly wins out;
the bench ten feet away from the cool table in grade school;
2:30 am on an empty stomach;
a broken heel in a crowded elevator;
the click of a doorknob as it closes;
a loose end;
for some, a newness likened to jumping out of a plane;
a white blank page;
four million self portraits;
the 101 in knots, and the 405 in paralyzed rush hour;
narcissism on a bender;
falling in and out of love with the same body, the cruelty taking its toll solely on the ignorant and true;
the step before the brink;
and, an eternal faith in what is not known, in what might never be.
But you and I, and all the rest, would be damned for never trying.
Here I hold the whole world in my hands, while standing alone, and oftentimes sinking alone.
I tread for fear of what they say, of what may never come, and yet what could come.
Los Angeles is whiplash at its most severe -- attention torn between the need to watch one's back, and the desperate perseverance toward a future filled with lights.
Never have I grown in such a painful, needed way.
Never have my emotions been so pivotal and raw.
I told a man just this week that I feel like I'm the only one who feels this way.
And he had the simplest, most comforting, most right response in my world.
He said that everyone feels as I do, at some place and time if not now...the exception?
"You're just the only one saying it."
I'd argue that there might be someone else.
He said it's in the honesty.
The honesty that gets me in trouble and sets me free.
Los Angeles is me freaking out,
but it is also me becoming whole.
More of the woman I yearn to be,
more of an artist,
hopefully a better, kinder, human being,
even if my edges never soften and my nerve never ceases.
Los Angeles--at the height of its contradiction--is magic.
The make believe of it all is what I am addicted to.
The constant noise which exhausts my mind more than my ears.
And the water which I seem to drown within? --
Is so much a source of life for all the things I cannot see.
So I tread when I need time, and I swim when I am most scared,
because this place is impossible to survive if fear is not the fuel from which one
thrives off of.
All who live by fear have one of two options:
The first is to sit within it, to grow so familiar with it that it becomes a source of comfort.
The second is to let it be the driving force, the whole damn point.
Every great decision and move I've ever made has been rooted in fear,
in fear of the what might pass,
rather than in the what might be.
Los Angeles is one of two choices, when the fork curves the road against itself.
And the what might be is what makes the city and these dreams feel like life.
(I cross my fingers for a life lived well).