For a long time I've romanticized about the City of Angels. The lights. The sex. The drugs. The music. The mysterious lure of the immortal daze that was promised to me as a kid on the silver screen lived inside my mind like a siren calling to me.
I've had so many life experiences in my own world, growing up on the East Coast with heavy expectations and a misplaced sense of self. A kid's got to grow somehow. And I declined the straight and narrow path. Letting loose and making believe anything was possible. And on the other side of continent, the eternal party raged on without me.
But no matter how crazy my life got, it wasn't as good as the shiny and familiar lifestyles of the Hollywood icons I worshipped. It had all the elements, but no plot. My reasons for seeking the sultry and illicit were still my own and I found reasons to rationalize them. Shit. I've even been to Amsterdam. The Mecca of modern hedonism.
I never really reached out growing up and I spent most of my time during my teen years trapped inside my own mind, imagining what it would be like to snort the good coke at Studio 54 back in the 80's, or be at a swank party in The Hills. The tragic beauty of it all intrigued me. You only live once and for me--that's what the life I wanted was. I didn’t grow up in the bad part of town, and I had no bad influences lurking around a dirty street corner. I was just bored. Stressed out, and bored.
High school couldn't go by fast enough.
However, College was a blur of the profane and absurd. None of it prescribing to a logical progression of events or a reasonable course of personal development.
I did it all. I tried it all.
And like Anthony Bourdain, I was hungry for more. I can't say I regret a lot, but one thing that still always comes to the forefront of my brain is that no one will remember me.
I'll be in their old pictures, and I might come up in a story they tell. And every year some of them will scribble 'happy birthday' on my Facebook wall, but as time goes by, I will fade further out of frame. For a long time I didn't care and with my future so clear in my mind I thought I had all the time in the world that god had to offer. I could do whatever I wanted and the people I met would love me no matter what.
I was invincible. I was loved. I was wanted.
But I didn't matter. None of it seemed to make a difference. What we all did those golden years with our once perfect livers and kidneys was more than I could have dreamed possible. But like most good things it was fleeting. And it all went by way too fast for anyone of us to pay attention to each other. Life goes on and the dream dies. People get jobs, those people have kids and settle down; and forget about the lives they once lived. Most of the people I know and would consider 'friends' have done things that would cause their mothers' to cry and make Amy Winehouse look like Nancy Reagan. Yet through it all, I wished it could go on living my days in sin, and my nights in the frat bathroom with some pretty young co-ed.
Los Angles was my home when I was asleep. I could smell the cool ocean air and feel the scorching sand between my toes. The women were beautiful and the drugs plentiful. The parties never ended and no one got older. And for the longest time nothing seemed better. But my life was moving on. Pretty much without me. Graduation was approaching. My friends--already disappearing into the world—starting new adventures and laying down roots in places I’ve never been. Now anything seemed better than where I was.
The fact of the matter was I couldn’t feel anything anymore. I had lost touch with things that mattered and I had no direction. Life doesn't wait for you. Not even when you take a shit. Or a hit for that matter. Time keeps ticking, you keep getting older and things start to matter more. My dream of living on the beach in sunny California was no more closer to being realized than knowing where I was going to be live after I graduated--let alone what I was going to do. I thought if I could be a writer and live on the Pacific that I would be happy. Now the only task that remained was figuring out how.
I wasn't the daughter of a hotel mogul, and I didn't have a trust fund that kicked in when I hit eighteen. I wasn't the son of a famous actor and I didn’t know the 'guy who knows the guy.'
I was still young, still broke and had tens of thousands of dollars of loans to pay back. I knew I had a ways to go before I would see the West Coast.
To add gasoline to the flame, I lost my first book of exploits when the fine folks at Best Buy forgot to back up my hard drive. Something I thought I would never recover from.
Now I roll with a flash drive.
Soon I graduated.
No one was there.
Still without a real direction I headed south. After living in Florida with my parents for the better half of a year, I migrated back north, to New York City, where I currently reside. Life is far from glamorous and I don't see myself getting to LA any time soon. I still write and I still do what I need to in order to get by. Sometimes when you look in the mirror you don't see yourself. You see what you want to see. I couldn't see how much I had failed myself because I didn’t want to see it. But now, many hard lessons learned later, I see that like everybody else, I have to stop dreaming and start living.
No one said it would be this hard, but then again, no one said it would be easy. All I have now are my words and thoughts. Flowing out of me in bursts, like water from a backed-up faucet.
I hope that I end up somewhere warm and wonderful one day.
But I still have a lot of life to make up for.
Jesus H. fucking Christ.
Some real, fucking life.
Posted by G. Shaw at 9:35:00 PM