….on a recent visit to The Broad.
The phrase “alone in a crowd” has some pretty sad connotations. The idea that even in a room full of people, you can still feel isolated and lonely…it’s a tragic feeling. However, recently I feel like I’ve discovered that there’s something kind of beautiful about it. Recently I had a full day of just me. A day adventure by myself in a crowded city.
I went to a lookout point with a breakfast burrito and some iced coffee (from Cofax) and was met with a few tourists. I went to The Broad museum and stood in line for about an hour with another 50 people then walked around a crowded museum with endless chatter. Then went to grab some food and went to a nearby beach where there were groups of friends, couples, and a few too many models having their photograph taken against the scenic backdrop. I was surrounded by people all day but had no one next to me.
There’s something beautiful about having no one but yourself to please. Taking the wrong turn or being stuck in traffic don’t seem so bad when you have no one there to turn to and complain to or apologize to. Having nothing but your own thoughts as you walk through a crowd is sort of liberating. It’s the realization that happiness and feeling fulfilled and grateful and content is possible amidst a busy and crowded life. There’s always going to be noise, and crowds, and opinions, and work and stress. But as long as you can come back to that place, that quiet place in your head…then you’ll always feel grounded. Realizing that the most important person to make happy is yourself feels like an obvious sentiment but it’s so easily overlooked. We can’t be good partners, good friends or good employees if we’re constantly concerned with other people’s reactions and happiness.
That’s a tough one for me, I’m constantly worried about how other people are perceiving my actions. If people think I’m being nice enough, understanding enough, “good” enough. I know I shouldn’t but it’s my anxiety ridden default. These moments when I’m by myself with my thoughts in a busy room, remind me that there is no one else’s standards that I should be trying to meet. If I love hanging with myself all day then it doesn’t really matter what anyone else thinks because no one knows me as well as I know me. The people that do like me, love me or tolerate me…well that’s just icing on the cake.
That sense of independence of operating alone and being to make yourself happy in the midst of traffic, and smog and noise is unbelievably liberating. The next time I’m feeling insecure, or unheard, or overwhelmed I’ll have to remember that I am in charge of what makes me happy. I have a place in my mind that I can come back to, where it’s quiet and peaceful. And that place is accessible in a crowded room or by myself.
However, in the last (almost) three years I feel like I’m finally at a place where I can speak on the experience. When we first had moved it, I felt like I was entering a second adolescence. Suddenly I was talking back to my parents again, getting annoyed at what they said and being too involved in family drama. It took a job search and planning a wedding to finally feel like I’m coming out the other side and can see the situation a little bit more clearly.
Moving back home has given me a few things that I always be grateful for and I don’t want to take for granted. First of all, it’s getting to know my parents as an adult. Learning stories I never knew and seeing how they hustle every day to do what they need to do. Second of all is realizing they are still parents, they still exercise patience with me and let me (sometimes) be a brat. Seeing their patience and how they are still here loving me and helping Frank and I…it’s a sort of strength I want to pass on to my kids. The last thing is seeing my husband interact with them. Having the three people I care most about in the world interact and love each other is something I never want to forget. It’s something not everyone has a chance to live and I want to make sure I pause to feel grateful.
I hope I can look back at this posts when I come home to spread my negative vibes from work to my mom who doesn’t deserve it and remind myself how lucky I am to be living through this “second adolescence” with parents that are generous enough to share their house, love, stories and strength with Frank and I.
I grew up with L.A. as a constant, not something I repped or something I felt that needed defending. It was the backdrop for all my experiences and a supporting character in the grander story of how my parents entered this country as refugees to eventual American citizens. All of this was something I never thought about growing up. It was my home and nothing more. I took it for granted.
It wasn’t until I moved to San Francisco to go to college that I started developing a longing and love for my hometown. San Franciscans are zealous and boisterous about their love for their city. That love is palpable in the energy that keeps the city moving. San Francisco is easy to love though. It’s beautiful, filled with rolling hills and clean air and gorgeous bay views. Los Angeles is big and hard to locate, it’s dirty and often the true view is blocked by the facade of a lewd industry. There’s traffic, dirty air and lots of people who have no interest in really getting to know anyone.
San Francisco is full of people in love with San Francisco, albeit complaining about rent but that’s always followed by, “but it’s worth it to live here.” Los Angeles is full of people complaining first and then mentioning the weather second as a small silver lining. I constantly hear people that are not from the Greater L.A. area complaining and talking about my hometown like they have it figured out. I usually say nothing though, because I’ve come to realize that a love and appreciating for this town has to come from your own perspective. It’s something you have to come to on your own, and that a lot of people never do. I’ll let people have their own relationship and hope that they get to a place where they can find their love for it. I just know that my love has grown from something I took for granted to something I appreciate and am grateful for.
A city no worse than others, a city rich and vigorous and full of pride, a city lost and beaten and full of emptiness. It all depends on where you sit and what your own private score is. – Raymond Chandler
Los Angeles is the place where my parents became who they are. The time I feel most connected is when I’m driving around with them and they tell me all the important, happy and sad moments that happened on L.A. streets. They can point to the first restaurant in mid-City where they had their first American meal. They can point to our tiny Hollywood apartment near a freeway where I came home to after I was born. My dad can point to the street where he had to run home because he had gotten off late and downtown was still dangerous, not yet trendy. It’s a love that can be appreciated in L.A.’s constant companion – your car.
L.A. will never be this pristine thing, it’s big and it’s dirty and it’s tough to find your place in it but I’ll always be proud. There’s lots of great pictures of L.A., bright sunny and shiny…but this is how I want to always remember L.A., nondescript and a little hazy letting you make it what you want it to be.
There are moments when adult you needs to suck it up (stop being so lazy, in my case) and go do something for teenage you. This Saturday was one of those moments. Lately, I feel like I’ve been giving into the allure of quiet nights in way too often. So when I saw that there was going to be a live podcast show at the RIOT LA comedy festival featuring a cover band that included one of my favorites from high school, I knew I had to go.
Blink 182 was the band that got me into a lot of great music. I remember watching them on MTV, and trying to find out everything about them. That led me to find and fall in love with other bands that they would mention as influences. So when they chose “Silly Girl” by the Descendants as the first song to cover….I felt a (lame and cheesy) feeling like I was exactly where I was supposed to be. That’s one of my favorite songs, by a band I discovered through Blink. I felt like a teenager again, with no worries enjoying a show like that’s all in life that mattered.
I’m so glad I went, even if traffic was horrible, and even if parking was confusing. That hour and a half where I felt free of all the stresses that I carry with me all day….it was completely worth it.
Here’s hoping this year is filled with more adventures.
2015 was a big, big year for me all culminating in our wedding in October. It took about a year and a half of planning to put the whole thing together. It was to sum it up, stressful. I know people say wedding planning is hard, but I really had no idea what I was in for. And although the day was beautiful and amazing, the planning part was not fun. It took over my life. As a (sometimes) Type A, organized person, it was hard to think of anything else. On my way to work, while I worked, on the way home, and at home after work. All this time was spent thinking and stressing and making endless lists and Excel spreadsheets.
As fun as it was putting all the details together, it was draining. It’s a big mix of emotions, it’s stress over money and planning with wanting to look camera ready to the “oh shit! we’re getting married, I guess we’re adults now” moment. For an anxious person like myself who isn’t the biggest fan of the spotlight, it was a lot.
However – I don’t think I’ve ever felt more loved and supported. My (now) husband, my best friend, my parents, so many people were there to support me and give me hug after hug after each and every freak out. Then on that special day, looking out and seeing everyone I loved having fun and sacrificing their time and energy for us…it was beautiful. Knowing I had married the person who makes me smile and makes me happier and more secure than I ever thought possible combined with feeling the love and joy of my friends, it made it all worth it. It honestly left me speechless and further affirmed that I have the right people in my life.
So here’s to 2016! Filled with growth and more big changes and hopefully lots more posts.
The last 4 months have been a blur of wedding planning and work. In this time, we’ve gotten a lot closer to having things set for our October wedding. So many things still left on the list though. Having my parents and fiance there to calm me down after every breakdown has been a lifesaver. You know all those shows that depict crazy brides crying and hectic with their weddings? Well I get it now. Outside – I’m still trying to keep it cool (I think it’s working? Probably not). Inside – it’s constant stress. Once again – being an adult is the worst.
Here’s to more planning, more breakdowns, summer fun times and pretty skies.