I’m in L.A. and I don’t know what to do.
I just returned from the east coast, visiting family. The trip made me re-evaluate what I want. I'm also in limbo, here in L.A., living with my brother and nine other professional skateboarders in one giant and messy house. I don’t know if I should stay or go. People are having their input on this decision and it's starting to drive me mad. There seems to be so many external forces, pulling me in so many directions. I didn’t realize I had that many arms.
I’m constantly juggling my future, mentally. Constantly, I think, "What am I going to do for money? Am I happy? Is this what I want my life to look like?" I can’t stop challenging myself. Like a ball, that has been abruptly thrown into a dead end corner, flailing around, trying to find an exit and thrashing into the walls around me.
I can’t just STOP.
And yes, I practice yoga.
I have this mental momentum that won’t ease, though. I am aimed towards something I cannot see.
In life, I hope to accomplish a state of deep relaxation and exhaustion. I want to fill up my body with everything and sit with it’s weight inside of me. I want to be heavy with strange noises and sick with visual delight. Jedidiah Jenkins, a current author, says that he hates the phrase older people use, "It all went by in the blink of an eye." He says he desires to stretch out his life into something gigantic and heavy, so that when he sits down at 90, he says, "Wow, I'm tired." That's what I want, too.
My main fear about leaving here: I'm scared to lose out on a good thing and good connections. Los Angeles has been a compassionate, bountiful provider. Things have been relatively easy, except for the traffic and parking tickets. It lulls me into a sleep. I am beginning to feel comfortable. I have friends. I have a roof over my head. I have family. I have a semi-regular routine. And now I have a flexible job, that will provide me with the time and elasticity to enjoy PoembyBecca. But if I could just Carrie Bradshaw this for a moment, I can’t help but wonder, Why am I so antsy?
I feel like wet plaster that has not yet hardened. I still want so much more. The question is, where do I go from here? And how? I was counting on the trimming job to provide me with the money to stay on the move. Without that, I am uncomfortably poor. $800 in the bank account. PoembyBecca has the potential to provide me with money for basics, I just have to put in the time and hard work.
But I do know I can’t let fear guide me. That’s not what this journey is about. I read something recently, that said, when we are faced with two roads, always pick the harder one. I think part of me thought that by staying in Los Angeles was the harder decision for me, because I am always moving, But, I’m starting to think I might have picked the easy way out and tricked myself. Staying here would mean my “journey” is over. That's a terrible thought! I don't want to stop! Here, I have a job, foreseeable future, friends, chores, groceries, commuting, movie on Tuesday…Did I really give up so fast?! (no offense to people who have and love this.)
I am still determined. I am still unsure, as usual. I am still passionate about PoembyBecca, but I can’t hold on because I’m too scared to let go. I wish I was better at planning my life. I should be listening to myself more, writing more. I hardly write! I’m too busy surfing the web and commuting 30 minutes to Venice every day, on a good day. Not that I don’t absolutely love being on Venice...and the people and the salt air and CD sellers and lovely homeless youth that talk to me openly and passionately about writing. I just can’t fight this feeling of standing in a doorway, shifting my weight back and forth. I want someone to tell me what to do!
Here I am, struggling to be in charge of my life and I can’t even decide what I want.
Here’s an idea: Keep going. Don’t stop. Don’t look back. Get your feet dirty. empty out your wallet, scrub a floor with your pride. Find the bottom and find yourself. That probably doesn't sound so inviting to most people, but it does to me.
Is that self-destructive? I don’t know. Maybe I feel like I’m not worth building myself up in life, and I only want to tear myself down. That’s exactly what my mom would say.
But fuck that.
Let’s be honest. Our family doesn’t always know what’s best for us. Especially when your not of the same religion. Said mother wants me to “REPENT!!!!" (direct text quote) for dating women and go see a christian counselor ASAP. She can’t be trusted.
She had no idea what I even did on some basic levels, until my grandma asked about it in front of her! I think she might have genuinely thought I was one of the adorable homeless youth talking to strangers passionately about writing.
...Wait a second.
I don’t mean to sound harsh. I’ve just been meditating on family lately, and coming to terms with the reality of mine.I know everyone's family is complicated and love can be forged over anything. But, there has to be more than one willing party for that Disney movie.
They still think I am a “backslidden Christian,” and anytime I open up or allow them to enter into the advice room, I’m left feeling alone, nodding my head and pretending that my dad’s aggressive instruction to say “Dear God, I’m sorry” is cute and funny.
They think they are doing me some real good. But I can’t get over the pure blindness! Their house is like a nocturnal exhibit at the zoo! They think who I am right now is an act of rebellion. I’m just out here, trying desperately to do right for myself and to go confidentially in the direction of my dreams, in Thoreau’s words.
In order to take shape as myself, I've had to not only reject my parents advice for me, but invert it into one of those creepy color flipped, webcam photos. That’s a difficult thing for someone to do. It takes rock hard emotional abs to carry your own weight in the universe and that’s where a lot of my issues with loneliness stem from.
A lot of people have no idea what it feels like to truly be on their own - to be fully responsible for themselves and not have the rope, dangling down from above, just in case. I have severed ties with their unhealthy relationship with me, for my own sanity and am learning how to tie my own rope.
So, what do I do from here? Can I figure my way out of this? Am I smart enough? frugal enough? (that’s the hard one) and suicidal enough to once again, push my little boat off the dock and drift out into the American wild?
Today, I am asking a lot of questions.
How have I changed since I left Fairbanks? Am I accomplishing what I set out to? Or falling into the same habits that led me to take this journey in the first place.
It’s hard to admit that we aren’t on the right path. Especially, when our social media shows everyone else that we are.
One of the people I met here in L.A. had a really interesting thing to say about how we heal. He said that it’s like getting a physical injury. When it first happens, it doesn’t really hurt that bad. You can touch it and not be in pain. But, when wounds begin to heal, they become sensitive. Touching them, or hitting them on something is excruciating. He said that the healing process is where we find ourselves hurting the most, but it isn’t a sign that something is wrong, it is a sign that we things are changing.
Family is such a delicate, beautiful thing. It brings out the worst and best in people. I don’t know if I’ll ever figure it out. While visiting, things hit harder. Over and over, I felt wounded by things said or not said. There was a genuine and innocent misunderstanding shown towards me by my parents. The worst part is this made me angry, and I wasn’t able to hide it.
I realized, when I am doing something that reflects well on them and within their values, I am worth supporting and loving. When I am no longer fulfilling this obligation, I should be chastised and put back "on track”,
I regret not speaking out about who I am and what I value, sooner. I regret having to figure this out at 25.
I do not regret, however, making them uncomfortable and making them question when and why they support their daughter, and why they deem her unworthy of their approval.
I used to see a counselor at the university. It was free and I’ll try anything that’s free. I ended up becoming captivated by the process and visiting this therapist for a long time. One of our most difficult sessions was when we discussed my family and he made things painfully clear.. “You need to accept that you have a hole in your heart from your parent’s lack of love. and it will always be there.”
"Can you accept that?” He asked me. I couldn’t answer. It was too painful. We ended the session and I sat in my car and cried, overwhelmed by the clarity.
I am aware, now, that I cannot continue to roam around, trying to shove unhealthy things into my injury.
The roaming around part I'm fine with.
I have to become comfortable with the structure of my heart, much like women and their vagina's in the 1950's. I have to break the mirror out.
Even though it does not look perfect (the heart), I can live perfectly, with it. I will never win their love. I can not love myself enough to make up for them. It just needs to “exist” and I need to believe that that’s okay.
I will be okay.
My friend Eran talked to me about how he was strong enough to stand up to his family when he told them he was gay. He said, “I didn’t really need their love, so I was fine with whatever happened.”
This is a crazy thought! But I understand, exactly. The season is changing in my life. I'm rotating into a different light and the heat of an unknown sun burns, but illuminates the cracks and crevasses, the beautiful terrain of my inner self.
There is so much love in my family. I hope one day, it finds a bridge and my world and my parent’s worlds can meet, sniff bums and learn to get along. But that’s a risk I’m finally willing to take.
Today, I am thinking. I revisit some old questions and re-evaluate my priorities. I prepare to decide what my next step is.
I want to thank everyone who is a part of my journey. When I receive messages from people, I am so full. This is such a personal, painful journey I find myself on. Knowing there are people out there that believe in going out alone and eating life like a peach, and this personal undertaking...and me, propels me forward. Thank you for all the kind words over the last few months.