I had big dreams outside of my small town.
Laziness and school spirit kept me from applying to any other college besides my state university, so by the time I was twenty I was itching for any experience outside of the plains of Oklahoma.
The summer before my senior year of college, I studied abroad in England and fell in love with London. More than anywhere in my life, I felt I belonged there in the rain, among dusty books and thick history.
I returned from that summer in Europe determined to broaden my worldview. After very little research led to the conclusion that I couldn’t swing the cost of an American living abroad, I began to look for opportunities domestically. The sparkle of New York and Los Angeles were the only options I considered.
I had never been to either city, and a pre-move visit seemed like a costly waste of time. I’m glad I didn’t test the waters, I feel sure that I would have chickened out from moving at all. New York intimidated me – still intimidates me – so by process of elimination I started telling everyone within earshot that I would be heading west after spring graduation.
I doubt anyone believed me. Until the day I pulled out of Oklahoma, I’m not even sure I believed me. But, in what has become my pattern, if I say it out loud enough then I will it to be true. I have gone to great lengths to follow through on my proclamations, even – or especially – when foolish.
And foolish it was. I had no plans upon my arrival except a vague idea that I wanted to “write,” even though I wasn’t sure what that meant. I had read that Starbucks offered health insurance, so for a time I believed that I was making a monumental move to work part-time in a corporate coffee chain.
But really, it wasn’t about how I would pay my rent. It was about the adventure, about shedding my skin, about pursuing a life worth writing about.
*Title from the lyrics of Everclear's Santa Monica, a song I would sing at the top of my lungs in the car by myself.
This week I'm toasting to my decision to move to Los Angeles - where I ended up a Hollywood Housewife - nine years ago this week. Check back later today for the next installment, Beauty Mark.