Some Notes On L.A.
I never realized before that freeways come to an end; they just flow back into real streets like nothing ever happened, like you were never going 80 at 4 AM next to a 16-wheeler, thinking about your ex. The glow of movies on big screens? This entire city is basking in that glow. That glow can carry you home over and under passes and through seemingly endless ritzy and rickety neighborhoods. The hills — Silver Lake, Hollywood, whatever all those other ones are — they wink at you. They glitter and glint and make you feel like you’re in on the joke; that you’re living in a feature film.
The cafes are always full of people, any time of day. Many of them are working on things: screenplays, events, stories. That, or they are actors doing a very good job pretending to work on things, when really they are just studying you, waiting to see what they can borrow from your character and use. It is okay to spend 5 dollars on tea or coffee, even 10: it is the price you pay for not having an office and wearing sandals to work in February. It is also the price of being the source of audition material.
Everyone here is playing some kind of character; if anything, the city requires that you reinvent yourself upon entry. You may have been a straight-A straight-edge goody-two-shoes in your hometown, but here, history doesn’t hold as much weight. You can be a flaky floozy with blond highlights dressed in filmy white dresses and turquoise stones, looking out at the world hazily from beneath a floppy brimmed hat. You can be a total sh-t-kicker who wears leather jackets with scraped up elbows from motorcycle accidents and runs her mouth at inopportune moments. You can be a screenwriter-photographer-director-writer’s girlfriend, a jaded intellectual who sneaks peeks at Entertainment magazine when no one is looking, a muse. Not only can you; you should.
There are usually lemons or limes or avocados growing somewhere close to your house; you can pick them when you’re leaving parties drunk and let them roll around in your purse, and make lemonade or Key Lime pie or guacamole with them the next day, leaving the bottom of your bag smelling like citrusy leather. You can also tell by squeezing an avocado in between your fingers when it is ripe and when it is rotten. You can taste it if you want to, if you really need proof that even such a perfect fruit can go bad, but you know the second you touch it if it is still edible. The same tends to go for your interactions with people.
You can be all different kinds of beautiful here; beautiful because you stick out, because your skin is light instead of dark, your hair is dark instead of light; or beautiful because you blend in, all sand and sun and sea-colored. You can dip the tips of your hair in sunshine, tattoo your skin, pierce your ears, put your name on lists for exclusive parties and teeter through the doors in heels and sequins and silk. You can give in to the vanity of the place and no one will scoff at you; they’re being their own hot selves. You will never have seen so many beautiful people in a Target before.
Someone once told me that your ability to survive in Los Angeles is based on a very simple formula. You need to get into bed at night and be able to hold what you’ve done that day up against your dreams and feel like they match up, and you need to be getting laid. If you lack one, or worse, both of those things, you have every right to get back on the freeway and leave.
You should follow Thought Catalog on Twitter here.
A | A | A
Even as I write this now I am debating whether or not to erase it all together.
When I say I’m in love with you, I mean I love the story I can tell to my next lover, about my ex-lover, about how beautiful things were, how intense, how storybook, what a couple we were, and how you gradually, inexplicably, painfully, bit by bit, disappeared.
“I used to be afraid of failing at something that really mattered to me, but now I’m more afraid of succeeding at things that don’t matter.”
I was 24 and, while not gay, ever since college I had been getting more attention from gay men than from heterosexual women.