Make Me Stay

October 28, 2011 § 6 Comments

This quarter I am enrolled in a course that leaves me incredibly stressed out. It leaves me up all night worrying, not just because of the workload, but because this course focuses on something I never like thinking too hard about, the future. Every session there has been talk about graduating, about the possibility of not graduating, about starting professional careers.

In some ways, I know I’m panicking more than I should. Throughout life, I have trusted that things will work themselves out for no reason other than they always do, and I know this to be true now. But I know this type of worry very well, it was with me about a year and a half ago.

Los Angeles wasn’t in my plans. Mostly because I hate planning long term & avoid it when possible. Also because Southern California never sounded very appealing. I believed every negative stereotype about this city. That it was a place where people went to pursue entertainment careers and often failed, it was much too big and much too traffic congested, it was a place where people don’t care about each other. But I moved. & I was wrong for the most part about the negative stereotypes, I have a much more positive view of Los Angeles (which I refuse to refer to as the city because everyone knows “The City” is San Francisco). Yes, I have had my heart broken, my wallet stolen, & have become closer to being roadkill than ever before. But I did find things that I love, I found places that felt like home in my heart and have become familiar, I’ve met some really amazing people that I care very much about.

What worried me most about moving here wasn’t confronting those stereotypes. It was the fact that I felt I could just leave. I put off the decision as long as possible because I was waiting for something to make me stay. It wasn’t even a particular something, it could have been anything. A job offer, a friend who really needed me to be there, a pickle in the shape of a saint (not really on that last one). Just some kind of sign that I wasn’t meant to leave. But it never happened so I signed a housing contract and on September 1, 2010, I suddenly found myself in a strange apartment with every familiar item I’d be seeing for a while in boxes around me.

Now as I do weekly perusing of job postings, it seems much easier to find things that happen to be “somewhere else”. & while I have filled out those forms, sent them off with cover letters, and copies of my resume, I have been secretly wishing (& not wanting to admit, of course) that I had a reason to fight to stay here, that there was something to make me stay. To be honest, I feel like Los Angeles takes an especially long time to appreciate & that it is much easier to love when you aren’t spending so many days indoors doing research so yes, spending a few more years here would be nice. I wish I felt more like I belonged. I wish that someone here knew me well enough to know I was spending entire nights worrying & wasn’t easily fooled by my secret weapon. Although the time I’ve spent here as made me grow as a person, I wonder if I affected anyone at all or if our crossing paths was just that, a brief interaction. I selfishly want to be missed if/when I leave. I think I will always be excited for a new adventure and content with moving around. But I will forever be wishing for a reason to stay in one place.

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§ 6 Responses to Make Me Stay

  • Meg says:

    I know this feeling so well … it sounds like you are still looking for your Home, capital H. The place where the people are kind, the food is good, the public transit is great, and everything seems to work out. It leads to a lot of skipping around and never being very permanent anywhere, and while that is a big strain at times, it’s also kind of fun, and gets you out into the world. I don’t know if it’s a great way to live, but I’m in the same boat, so at least you’re not alone on this one!

    • Denise says:

      I guess that is the issue. In some ways I feel lucky to be in a situation where the possibilities are so plentiful, but sometimes I get annoyed with myself for not really caring which of those possibilities comes to pass. I guess when I get to the place that feels like home, I’ll know.

  • Mayon says:

    I will miss you when we both leave! Moving from the suburbs to Chicago to Los Angeles has shown me that a few years isn’t really that much to get to know people, but you make connections, and those stick even when you’re not in the same place at all. I have friends all across the U.S. and even around the world right now, and I think that’s amazing.

    As for wishing for something to make you stay…I get what you mean; it’s nice to feel like you belong somewhere. But I think there will always be more reasons to leave than there will be to stay, at least for people like us who are excited about the adventure of wandering. I love Chicago and feel like I belong there, but I still left because I was ready for something different. I hope you find a place that feels like home too, but I don’t think that will keep you from leaving it someday. And that’s not a bad thing at all.

    • Denise says:

      I get really sad when I think about not being able to hang out with you guys anymore! It was such luck to meet you all. As I said earlier when I was lying on the floor in frustration, I’ve met so many people since coming down here & a large number of them I would like to never see again, but then there are people like you who I’ll miss a ton!

      I guess the nice thing about floating around for a few years is that when I do have some type of home base, I’ll hopefully have lots of people to visit when I get the urge to travel.

  • Stephanie says:

    The future is so scary sometimes. But whatever it brings, I’m sure you’ll do great and adjust to it nicely!
    XO

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