Welcome to California Love – Reflections on Returning Home

As I reflect on the last five years of my life, I could probably write an entire book about it. Today marks five years since my return to Los Angeles from New York City. I can thank Facebook for that reminder. Amongst my memories was a picture of a lovely sign welcoming me to California precisely five years ago. So. Much. Has. Changed – And for the better, if I may add.

Welcome to California Love
February 9th, 2013

In a Nutshell

I like to put things into nutshells, so I’m going to start with the nutshell: In the last five years, I’ve lived in two different apartments, gotten a divorce, and held five different jobs, one of which I’m thankfully currently at and loving, which is a huge turning point in my career. I’ve been in one long-term relationship since my divorce, dated a few, and recently met someone who makes me feel ways I’ve never felt before. I’ve lost a few friends, reconnected with old ones, and gained a few my life wouldn’t be complete without.

I can boast four new nephews, one of who is turning five in a couple of weeks! I’ve said “see you later” to a couple dear friends whose journeys took them to other parts of the country, and sadly, I’ve said goodbye to my furbabies whom made that cross-country journey with me twice. And I kid you not; the song I wrote and performed live, “LA, I Love You,” weeks before I left Los Angeles for New York City just came on my shuffle.

California Love
My baby boys patiently chillin’ in the back seat of my rental car en route to the East Coast

I’ve traveled to South America, Asia, and various parts of California and the west coast, solo, and I’ve been the proud author of two different blogs, countless essays, and journal entries (Ha) – maybe one day they’ll be a book, too! Most importantly, I’ve experienced an immense amount of self-growth and gratitude. It’s pretty difficult to put into words, but I have no intention of ever stopping trying.

Bloom where You are Planted

I believe that “home” can be anywhere we wish, especially for an orphan like myself. No matter where I may make my home, El Pueblo Nuestra Señora la Reina de los Angeles de Porciuncula will always be home base. When I first moved here at eighteen, a couple of months after graduating high school, completely alone and experiencing the unfamiliarity of homesickness, I couldn’t wait to move back to familiarity.

Presently, I couldn’t be more grateful for finding my place in this beautiful city. A metropolis full of everything I’ve ever yearned for, everything I’ve ever admired since I can recall – diversity, activity, and opportunity! This city has embraced me as much as I embrace it. While I may have “grown up” in the Midwest, I sincerely feel like true growth didn’t begin until I accepted Los Angeles as home.

After my parents died was when I felt like Los Angeles truly became home – almost by default. Funny thing was that I was living in New York City at the time. Moving back to the west coast was the best thing I could have done for myself. Thankfully my ex husband saw that, too, as it was his idea to move. I needed the support of my closest friends. The familiarity of a city that once was not so familiar and friendly needed to be the setting.

California Love
The ‘rents

Welcome to California Self-Love <— (Before & After)

It took me thirty-three years to be able to say this, but I am so fucking proud of the woman I have become. I am so fucking proud of the work I do on a daily basis. I’m excited to see where I go from here knowing that my mother would be so proud of me, which only adds fuel to my above affirmations.

“I decide where my happiness lies and how broken I become as a result of any given hardship.”

With that being said, four years ago, on February 9, 2014, I wrote, “That sign is a welcomed reminder that my life is my own, to do with which I please, and no one – not David, not my Mother, not a single other soul – is “my everything.” I design the adventure, I choose to make a left turn, make a right turn or a U-turn – I decide where my happiness lies and how broken I become as a result of any given hardship.”

Today, I have no doubt in my strength or my continued growth. Even amidst my deepest anxieties, insecurities, and pit falls I am confident that I will always prevail in the face of adversity.

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