Moving to Los Angeles was never really my game plan until my freshman year of college when I found myself at a state school, yearning for a city where I could actually feel creatively inspired to do why I was there-- study fashion. It wasn't until one day when I was driving through Stillwater, Oklahoma and feeling unsettled (and crying hysterically, to be more accurate) when I thought the craziest and scariest thing I could do would be to leave. So unconventional. I had told my parents that I would stick out one full semester to just be sure that it was something that I wanted to do and if I still hated it, I could start entertaining the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising.
In high school, my merchandise marketing class was introduced to FIDM through a college recruiter and while I knew it was located in California, it never really struck me until my application was accepted and I was flying there with my family to see the school.
Los Angeles was slightly terrifying. During this time period, the first few episodes of The Hills had just aired on MTV and instead of that being a selling point, it actually had an opposite effect. I thought it was all just really daunting. Although equally reluctant, my parents were on board and my sister said if I was going to do fashion school, I should just go all in and do it in LA.
(I have to insert this fun "sign"....We decided to spend the last day of our trip in Newport. I had really just come to the conclusion that I would probably make the leap and move to LA and we decided to do a little shopping at South Coast Plaza (a massive shopping mall). We were talking about logistics and we ran into my enrollment counselor, who said she never goes to Newport! We had met with her in LA just a few days before, she knew my hesitation, and so we all got to sort of talk it through again and it was there where I was able to tell her in person that I was going to enroll!)
I had never spent much time California. When I was 3-years-old, I went to Disneyland and when I was sixteen, I had bought my car on eBay. Getting my car was a similar situation. I decided on the car, got my parents on board, and it didn't fully occur to me that I had to go to Los Angeles to get it! (Not until writing this am I actually seeing the funny similarity! Also amazing proof that I have extraordinary parents.) Fast-forward to my completion of school and it was probably the biggest gift that I could have given to myself. While it was really scary being alone, I was able to find some solid friends, good jobs, and great opportunities in the years that I lived there. I didn't stay because I felt led to be closer to family.
I now know I felt the nudge to leave so that I could be closer to home while my mom fought cancer...and won, I was able to be a part of the birth of my two beautiful nieces, and my dad decided to start a wellness center in conjunction with his existing practice and I was able to contribute to the process...I also got closure on quite a few relationships from my child/teenhood. If you read one of my posts below about how I found clean eating, I think that all plays a part as well. I got to a point where I didn't want to be defined by fashion and I needed to dig deeper. I think I got sick because I was feeling so out of sorts, which led me down a wonderful path, bringing me to receive my certification through the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. Tulsa and Dallas were sort of my detour training periods so that I could solidify my authentic-self, to learn what works for me and what doesn't work for me, and to get laser vision for the very purpose why I am on this planet.
NOW, almost 8 years later since leaving California, I am moving back. Each year that has gone by since, I would make regular "maintenance" visits that would go as follows: I would bottle up some creative energy, have a nice cry, and come home with a LA hangover, sort of yearning for that life, but knowing I wasn't supposed to be there. In the past 8 years, I've had people practically put down bets as to when and if I would move back. I would come home 90% of the time saying I wanted to move back, go through the motions of making a half decent attempt in doing so, but it was never that easy.
I see the pros and cons and always have. Not until I found out that I was a Highly Sensitive Person did I understand the underlying reasons for highs and lows. Too much stimulation, traffic, exertion, being too conscientious of stuff/status/silliness, an imbalanced diet, certain intense jobs, and surface relationships can make me feel depleted and anxious, lowering my energy and diluting my sense of self. But a trip to the museum, the ocean, window displays, exercise, street fashion, meditation, some Jesus, a deep conversation can pick me back up again. As elementary as this theory is, I feel so empowered to have this knowledge. Not to mention, studying similar principals that help achieve balance like Chinese Medicine and Ayurveda in school have been hugely instrumental in practicing self-care-- almost as if it is this no-fail formula to keep me planted and steady.
Will the transition be easy? No way. Is it a safe choice? Absolutely not. BUT that's pride, ego, and my head talking. I could seek them out and get one million and one reasons why it's too risky. But I am going to choose to consult my heart and my gut. My intuition has rarely led me astray and even when a decision didn't fit, I learned something extremely valuable and necessary in the process. Just like my move to Dallas and Tulsa. No matter what, I choose that each decision I make will have a positive outcome. A dear friend told me one time, "whatever you choose to do, do it wholeheartedly". Later, I found a similar scripture. I love this message. Even if you find yourself realizing that you need to make another change, maybe even in the opposite direction, if you choose to do it with your whole heart, you are accomplishing something, regardless. There is no loss, only an opportunity for growth...and THAT is what life is all about!