I live in Seattle, the land of cynical one uppers, who are full of good intentions and missed marks. I chose the city because the city chose me when I was nineteen and in desperate need of feeling like a functioning human. I have loved it, even when I have hated everyone and everything else, that city has been my constant.
This past weekend I visited Los Angeles, for what I would call “work related” adventures, but really just an excuse to be somewhere else for a few days, fueling my constant need to see and exist in every space but my own (I call it ‘universal migration’). I have never actually heard good things about Los Angeles, except from my friends who live there, and it’s always held some weird unattainable vibe I haven’t felt like grabbing onto. Until recently anyway.
To say that I didn’t have an expectation of the weekend would be a lie. I am someone who always has expectations, I am not easy going in that regard, and again I was shown that having expectations is mostly nonsense. Sometimes, throwing caution to the wind is the way to go, and upon arriving, I decided to unwind myself and just see where the time would take me. The city itself isn’t exceptionally beautiful, a real life concrete jungle that doesn’t end until you reach the ocean. But the energy, the energy of Los Angeles cannot be denied. I felt it running through me the entire visit, and it exhausted me, my body drinking up every single drop. Seattle isn’t like that at all, mostly choosing the low key and brooding attitude that only comes with the near constant drizzle. I have felt it circulate for 7 and a half years, choosing to look on the brighter side, because adopting that attitude myself would be a fatal decision.
I also half expected that everyone I met in LA would be an asshole, but it was exactly the opposite, and I was left with a feeling that maybe I’m the asshole. Not only was everyone extremely welcoming, but they took my sassy comments in stride, and didn’t raise too much of an eyebrow when the weird shit came flying out of my mouth. The people in Seattle are widely known for being “cold” to newcomers, and it’s completely true. Almost as a point of pride, the “Seattle Freeze” is a joke to them, a joke that I have never found very funny. I have always felt like I fit in here, as much as I could really fit in anyway, but in the past year it has started to wear on me. The overall vibe of this city is not a relaxed one, but a very wound up and anxious one; for someone like me, who is already naturally a bit of both, the toll this takes on the soul is fairly heavy over time.
The best part came when I was driving back to the airport. Digesting the trip, trying to make sense of the pit in my stomach, it finally registered: LA is for the dreamers. Maybe not in the ‘literal’ sense, but it’s certainly not a city where everyone fits in, and it’s also not a place where you need to fit in. You can just be, whether that means you’re weird, stupid or ambitious, you can just be whatever it is that you are and it doesn’t matter. One of my good friends in Seattle said to me “I just feel like everyone in LA is a liar”, and he’s probably right. Being a dreamer means that you’re giant liar, because you tell yourself things that probably aren’t true, hoping they might be one day, and not really caring what is real and what isn’t. It could finally be time to pack up these dreams of mine and find a new place to be for awhile, well, until the feeling strikes again.
Thank you Los Angeles, for reminding me what it feels like to be human again.