Real Sh*t Learned in Los Angeles
Loneliness is Real
N**GA (my bad white readers), Moving away from most of my family and all of my best friends was HARD. At first it was fine, fun and adventurous, but that wore down. I had a few friends from college in town, but they were often busy and hard to catch up with. I had a longtime family friend who I was just getting to know who hung out with me as much as she could stand to. I had some acquaintances that I hung out with until we fell out of sync. One of which telling me that, “I’m too trusting” while simultaneously taking advantage of my kindness. I dated a couple folk, because oddly enough romantic partners are easier to find than regular ones. But when all of those relationships faltered, I was left alone and I had to learn how to be okay with that. I had to learn to like and utilize my (forced) free time for something other than crying. I emerged greater and empowered, truly understanding that some of those people were removed from my life to benefit my growth. I know now that the peace of my solitude is much more valuable than the company of any ole person. With so much to do, it’s almost pathetic that I really couldn’t figure out what to do with time alone.
Drugs are Real
We all know that marijuana is legal for medical use in California. We also know that other drugs like mushrooms, ecstasy, MDMA, and cocaine are not, but definitely exist. I’m not established enough in my career to disclose which of these I dabbled in, but I saw friends dive head first into consuming these different substances. As non-judgey as I try to be, I couldn’t ignore that they were basically flushing money down the toilet, swallowing it down their throats, snorting up their noses. Not to leave myself out, my favorite method of wasting time and money was smoking it. I say was because I learned that there is a time and place for recreational drug use, and anything outside of that might constitute a problem. I got to witness a bunch of talented people, including myself, roll up and smoke away what could’ve otherwise been productive nights and days. People everywhere take marijuana lightly, but California takes the cake. A lot of folks really don’t believe it can be addictive. One of the most talented comics I know joked that there should be a group to help people that don’t want to smoke weed anymore figure out what to do with their time. That shit exists and is probably called __something__ anonymous. To read more about how I feel about Mary, check out this article.
Hustling is Real
I learned so much about work ethic in LA. My first year as a college graduate, I didn’t have full time student status to fall back on. Little did I know, working too much would noooot be a problem Finding work was extremely difficult, so much so that I had to reach out to family friends. At one point I went to bartending school, hoping that I could pick up extra cash. AHAHAHAHA, little did I know that bartending in LA is a highly competitive field. Almost as competitive as acting or television production! Apparently, I like my jobs how I like my money, hard to get. I thank God for the black business owners who were able to employ me. Having such an unsteady cash flow, I had to learn a shit ton about priorities AND what the fuck a budget is. Have y’all heard of that shit?! Crazy right? And that was only half of the battle. Because of the career path I’ve chosen, I’m required to do a lot of unpaid hustling. They say it takes 10,000 hours of practice to master a skill. Through seeing the careers of some of my friends and the people I admire up close, I have a greater understanding of the hustle that’ll be necessary to achieve my goals, and how I should spend those hours.
Love is Real
I’ve mentioned the weird shit, struggles and loneliness I experienced in the city of angels, but I’ve yet to tell you about the crazy guiding force that kept me there. Love trumps pain and fear. It’s cliché as fuck, but love is the answer. My love for adventure, comedy and culture pulled me to Los Angeles. When that faltered, I was able to lean on my friends back home who know me best and telecounseled me through many a sad situation. The most beautiful thing moving to LA revealed to me was the love of family. So many people my age are extremely concerned with keeping up appearances. I’m more interested in getting shit done, and living with my sweet and psychotic Nana in her retirement community was the only way I would be able to move out west. In hindsight, I realize that was the best thing for me. She kept me grounded through what could’ve very well been a self-destructive year (I mean it is LA). Her concern for me reminded me not to get too wild in them streets. She motivated me, trusted me and took care of me during the toughest year I’ve faced thus far. Her confidence in me helped me believe that I can face the journey that lies ahead as I applied to grad school and prepared for it.