Dear Los Angeles,


Dear Los Angeles,

I should have written this months ago, but I think the fact that it took me this long says something about how strongly I felt about you and how compelled I was to reflect. As in, I feel strongly that you—sprawling, suffocating, and shallowly pleasing mostly because of Instagram-able gentrification—are not the right place for me. Though I have found a few gems scattered across the city?region?blob?, they are not nearly sufficient to counteract the whole unsavory experience of being in LA.

This past summer, I chose to live in Echo Park because I thought it would give me a more “LA” LA experience, at least more LA than staying in Westwood and being trapped in a college bubble. For two months, I lived in a house near Echo Park Lake owned by a retired professional skateboarder turned music video director, co-existing with a cannabis trimmer and an aspiring actress/writer/odd-job worker who was on an “extended vacation” from life in NYC. For two months, I was vegan because of the house rules, trying to be comfortable in a space that never felt like home, isolated from the people who I wanted to see. Every morning, I felt the eyes of row after row of car-bound commuters on me as I crossed the street to take the bus to work (because surprise surprise I don’t know how to drive). In asking myself what the fuck did I even do in my free time I’ve come to remember that much of it was spent trying to get somewhere, rationalizing my wasted time in-transit with a podcast or an e-book that would get me carsick. If this was indeed the LA experience for someone like me, I could not wait to get out of it.

I learned that summer about the things I don’t want. I don’t want to live in a city whose infrastructure does not support my lifestyle and well-being. I don’t want to work an inconsequential job that doesn’t align with my values. Is it too direct if I say I don’t want to live in LA? Disappointingly, that’s my reality for the next year and a half, but I’ll keep trying to find some joy around town even though it’s safe to say that, after two years of trying, Los Angeles will never grow on me.

Thanks though,

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