Los Angeles is 72 suburbs in search of a city. –Dorothy Parker
It was a regular Monday afternoon on March 2, 1992. You, a great massive city, was getting along with your normal Monday hustle and your stress inducing traffic. Nothing monumental happened this day, there was no breaking news to report except for, I imagine, your usual thefts, chases and comical news piece fluff. No, it was just regular, except it was the day you became my home.
As a newborn, I may not have been aware of my city, but nonetheless there I was. Of all the cities I could of ended up but didn’t. No, I was born an LA native. You were my city, and I was yours.
Like the entirety of humanity, I had no control over my origins, circumstances and childhood. I can’t lie and say I have been in love with you from the moment I breathed in your smoggy air of hope, fame and fortune. No, I grew up knowing the concept of home but not really knowing what that felt like. For most of my life I grew up homeless, fortunately not much like you’d imagine the unfortunate families and peoples of Skid Row, but never really having anywhere to land. We moved back and forth across the entirety of the San Fernando Valley, staying with family, friends or whomever would have us, till five little children and their parents became too taxing and we’d worn out our welcome. The cycle repeated.
Growing up, I believed this to be the worst thing. Life had looked unfavorably on my family, and LA wouldn’t have me. Growing up on couches or stuffed into one bedroom with five other bodies makes for a cynical adolescent.
By the time I hit 18 I admit I was unattached to you, Los Angeles. I plotted my escape from you, dreamed of different cities, desired somewhere to start anew, and even made it as far as the next county over for a little while.
Oh, I was a bitter youth, and I continued to be so up until only about two years ago when I decided to drop the past and move forward in the present. At least as best I can.
Since letting the baggage go, I’ve been free to really walk down every avenue you’ve had to offer me. Since this awakening of sorts, I’ve had the opportunity to explore you, make real connections and finally thrive in you.
Maybe I don’t have one physical building in what is the vastness of your cityness to call home, but it’s you as a city that is my home. It is you who made me. Maybe not in the way you make people in Hollywood. It’s not a romantic story, it’s not movie perfect, there’s no awesome fight scene at the end. There was a lot of bad, there was a lot of good, and there certainly a lot of beautiful sunsets in between.
It’s ironic however, that as soon as I find my identity and foundation in you, it all changes. You get through this huge battle of instability and get comfortable on the solid ground, but someone up there decides you’re ready to handle more.
LA, this isn’t an apology or even a love letter. I think you knew all along I’d come around and I don’t think there’s need for any of that. Nope, this is my farewell letter. I’m being called away because life is funny that way. I’m being called away, but I’m hoping it’s not for good.
I do plan that after these next two years I’ll find my way back to you. For now, I know that I’m really sorry to leave you and maybe feeling a little bit guilty for the excitement and thrill of adventure bubbling inside me.
Don’t forget me.
I don’t even know you, but you’re taking me away from home.
See you soon,