Saturday, 8 July 2017

Moving to Los Angeles at 18

I never thought I could look back on my life and say that I moved out at 18. Freshly graduated and eager to pursue multiple passions, I packed up everything into one suitcase (kind of pulling an international Carrie Bradshaw) and moved to Los Angeles.  Fast forward five months, and here we are. I'm 19 in November, and in these five months, I've learnt more about myself than I ever thought I could.

This year has been interesting to say the least. From moving all the way across the world to an empty apartment, dealing with the death of someone I loved and learning how to be an adult, to Coachella, New York, and my secret projects; it has been a big year for me. I remember being at home and being this fumbling, expressing almost-woman who needed to let herself free.

The hardest part of moving to LA initially, was the crippling loneliness. I remember my first few months here and I didn't really know anyone. Aside from a few internet friends, a cousin or two and a photographer friend, I didn't have anyone. I used to sit on my balcony at night, and watch the blue hazy sky turn to black, and wished that people would care. For somebody to just reach out and ask to get lunch. To feel that sunshine of inclusion. When you're alone with your thoughts for weeks, you really start to learn about yourself. What you are really like when you are alone, the most scary thoughts you have, and most importantly who you are. Months on, meeting people became a natural thing. I met some of the best people in my life, with the exception of people I had collected back home.

I just remember my heart bleeding for New Zealand and the familiarity of it all. Something that stuck with me, was when my lovely friend said to immerse myself in the uncertainty of it all. In life, people carve out their own paths, and figure out a routine that works for them. After 13 years of schooling, and having to ask when to go to the bathroom, I was ready to figure out myself and my life.

There are certain things you don't even put into play when you move out. Coming home to an empty fridge was the weirdest thing for me. Learning how to separate colours when I was down to my last clean t-shirt. Realising that bills and rent don't pay themselves, and that you have to put down a deposit for EVERYTHING. Phone bills, the apartment, gas bills, blah blah blah. And that, if you're living in America - you NEED a social security number...

Los Angeles is a big place to be. I walk down Melrose on a Sunday morning to take a visit to the Trading Post and I see expression. In LA, people are not afraid. To say what they want, wear what they want, pursue what they want. People take things seriously that they don't seem to as much where I am from. This city is bustling with singers, actors, dancers, models and everything else in between. Letting my creative spirit have the chance to be here and pursue my dreams was the best thing that I could have done.

In high school, I thought that I had to have life figured out. That I needed to go to university straight away, get a good job and make a shit ton of money. But then I realised there is a fine line between what you want and what other people want. The long of the short, is that life is too short to do the shit that you don't want. Whether that be becoming a doctor because your parents want you to, or moving across the country for a boyfriend (please never do that when you are under 25) or never pursuing a dream because you are fucking scared. Luckily I had the support of my family who believe in me. And there is no bigger blessing. But, if you don't have that unconditional support, remember to ask yourself, is this what I want? Is this what I want to spend my life doing? Or am I doing something to make somebody else happy?

When I look back to the girl I was in December of last year, I don't even know if I could recognise myself. I was in a toxic relationship and I was constantly seeking the approval of everybody around me. I didn't love myself.

When I moved, I stopped half-arsing plans. If I didn't reaally want to hang with that annoying person I met at a house party, I didn't. I stopped settling for shit. I stopped making excuses for toxic people.
It is engrained in my brain that I only have this one life. It took me a long time to say NO. I still have that problem, because I am a natural people pleaser. That doesn't mean that I became selfish or unkind, but just learnt to better my surroundings.

I know, that there will be many more life lessons. I will fall down countless times, fail and repeat. But taking this step for myself really taught me to take my life by the shoulders and decide to live it. At 18, knowing that I pay my rent each month and all my own bills, is a good feeling in itself. And the most important lesson I learnt was to stop being so harsh on myself. That I am a human being with a good heart, an extremely messy room and a love of writing, singing and acting.

There is beauty in not knowing what is going to happen. That life happens anyway. Time doesn't stop if you are in pain. But you are always learning things about yourself. That you never know what is going to happen next. Isn't that phenominal?

Yours truly,
Young, Dumb & Broke

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