My love life is awesome
True story: A butch lesbian just hit on me at the gas station after she asked me for a dollar and said I was really pretty and if I was looking for a boyfriend she was “right here”. My options.
I almost died last Sunday. The crowd swirled around me and I couldn’t see faces. They all looked like black shadows that were pushing me and shoving and trying to suffocate. I started to feel really small and cold. Subconsciously, I knew it was kicking in and I didn’t like the feeling of not being in control. My head hurt and I was hyperventilating. I wrapped my arms around my friend and held her tight, begging her not to leave or let go of me. I felt as if my body was floating away, I needed to be held tight so I wouldn’t pass on. I couldn’t stop clenching my jaw, or making weird noises with my mouth. But I knew what was happening, and that was the most frustrating part. I knew that I was acting like a weirdo, and I was trying to snap out of it so hard but I just couldn’t. I’d come to clarity for a few seconds and then I felt like a star would slam into my face and knock me into this other scary, dark world. I became this weirdo that caused my friends to miss Beck and Disclosure, and someone had to babysit me at all times. When your friends stick by your side and take turns hugging you so you feel safe, that is true love.
never let go jack, never let go
The next morning, I woke up sad and confused. Tears started pouring out of my eyes for no reason, and I felt a sense of loneliness and abandonment. My body felt tired and I was still grinding my teeth.
Overall, my first (and only) time trying MDMA was a disaster. It was a freaky ass trip. I later figured out the culprit. I had ate a small square of a brownie, that later turned out to be a ‘special’ brownie, an hour before I took the pill. So I had two drugs in my body, and this is me being a 125 pound girl who NEVER smokes weed let alone try any more serious drugs. I went from zero to 60 in the span of one hour and my body took it hard. Why did I do it? I guess I wanted to go down the rabbit hole and see what it was like on the other side.
Looking back, I remember the night before. I had been working all day and had just wrapped things up when Pharrell started coming on the main stage. My coworker and I had just scored some free coffee, and we drank it to stave off the cold. We sprinted towards Pharrell, (the bastard opened up with Get Lucky and we freaked out thinking Daft Punk had shown up) and just dove into a really fun dance party. I remember feeling extremely happy, bouncing on his shoulders in the wind and singing along to my favorite songs. And this was me, on caffeine. I know many would argue caffeine is basically a drug, but in that moment, I felt happy that I felt so happy without any stimulant or alcohol.
Right before the MDMA kicked in, I also started feeling really happy. I felt very conscious of where I was, and I started to think about my move to Paris, and then I caught myself and reminded myself that I needed to be present, in the moment, and enjoy what was happening right in front of me. I was listening to one of my favorite bands, Little Dragon. My friends were right beside me. I had just finished my last day of work at the fest. The sunset was beautiful and the breeze felt so good in the hot day, blowing my hair around and feeling like silk against my skin.
I at least have that memory. That one last careless dusk right before I thought things would only get better since MDMA is supposed to be a happy drug. I think it was a lesson in Karma. I was already happy that day- happy to be with my friends, happy to be in the sun, happy to be around the music I love. I don’t need anything else.
one last happy moment on the ferris wheel in the warm sunset
I miss the warm summer nights, and gazing up the winding curves of Sunset Blvd., with the tall billboards full of beautiful faces and places. I miss wearing 5 inch stilettos and walking into a place with 3 of my other jolly green giant friends and feeling like the most beautiful Giraffes in the world. I miss running down Abbot Kinney at 1am and taking ‘souvenirs’ from that one store next to intelligentsia that is jammed packed with stuff and they never lock their gate at night. I miss my morning coffees at the Larder at the Tavern in Brentwood, where the barista always put a happy face in my latte. I miss the concerts by the Santa Monica Pier and my favorite Malibu hike, Paseo Miramar. I miss the parties in the hills where you could be anyone, and everyone was intrigued by the mystery of your unknown pedigree. “I swear I’ve seen you before, perhaps in a TV commercial? You have a face that should be on film.” But in reality, where they had seen me was working at one of the most popular restaurants in LA, that was patronized by all the who’s who of LA and NYC and beyond. I ran into them at Voyeur, at the SoHo house NYC, at Drais in Vegas. The same little circle of who/what/where. I’m lucky to say that in the midst of these bourgeoisie circles, I found some amazing people.
Sugarfish, GTA, Abbot Kinney
That was a magical time, when I didn’t yet know what I wanted to be, and when youth was still so much on my side that mistakes and hangovers and dancing on sofas was ok. That being idealistic and reckless, working 14 hour days and staying out all night, didn’t’ seem like such a big deal. But now, I know better. Now, I feel a pressure. I am about 5 years older, but I can honestly say that I have never had more confidence in myself. I’m way more confident in my body, the way I look, carry myself, and speak to others. I know now that when I say I want something, there is no one there to stop me but myself. When I decided I wanted to move to Paris, I was a bit scared. I knew that once I spoke it into the universe, It would happen. Once I put it out there, there would be no going back. But even though the move is less than a month away, I find myself constantly thinking of LA.
Chateau Marmont, Hollywood Penthouse, Arclight Parking Lot
Of the morning bacon and Kale sandwich at GTA, the albacore sushi at Sugarfish, the lobster tacos from Ricky’s Fish Tacos. I even miss the pretentious long lines at intelligentsia, the big bouncer outside of Trousdale/Bootsy/whatever it is these days, and Jesus walking down Santa Monica in West Hollywood.
There are a lot of details, but more or less it comes down to a feeling of excitement. In LA, anyone can be anyone. The successful and rich dress like goodwill bums and walk around with non-descript bottles of $12 organic pressed juice. Yes, that hairy, messy dude you cautiously shuffle away from as you walk down the street is actually a multimillion-dollar music producer. For me, it didn’t matter what I was because at that moment, I was not anything yet. I was young and I was open to many things. I took acting classes at night, went on auditions, was involved in a startup, and waited tables, all to involve myself as much as possible in the culture. It was exciting, and I truly believed that I was going to do great things. And I have – just not the way I had envisioned. I didn’t end up on a movie screen, but found other passions (re: writing and my NGO). Which explains a lot about my time in LA, because as an introvert that prefers to listen (most times) I could never really be one of those constantly vying for the spotlight.
Malibu, Griffith Park, Venice Beach
I was never really the connector, the social butterfly; I didn’t actually know all the people that run this town. But, my good friends do, and I was always meeting so and so and him and her and riding in Rolls Royce’s and brunching at the Montage and yada yada. I don’t know what I heard more in spoken conversation, the word ‘like’ or the continuous name dropping. “I work at CAA/my roommate is that guy from Twilight/my dad owns the Roosavelt”/etc. My coworkers waited tables but that didn’t stop them from coming to work in their Louboutins and Louis Vuittons, with their hair in top buns and big glasses. “Dang, Movie Star over here or what!” the chefs would say.
See, that’s both the beauty and the beast of LA. You can be anyone, but you also have to sift through a massive amount of bullshit. Is that tall skinny girl a movie ingénue or waitress on her way to work? I’m lucky to say that in the midst of all the crap, I found some of the most amazing, magical, loyal friendships, the needles in the haystack. About only 10% of the people you meet will not be in the ‘industry’ at all, and will be genuine. They’ll mostly have just moved to the city, and probably spend a couple years trying to acclimate before they move on to the more intellectually stimulating San Franciscos, NYC, London, or even Paris (as am I).
But I was born and raised in SoCal, went to UCLA, lived in Silverlake, on Abbot Kinney and even ‘Beverly Hills Adjacent’. I love everything about that feeling LA gives you, of being whatever you like - like that guy who welcomes Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman - “welcome to Hollywood, what’s your dream?”. Songs like Half Mast by Empire of the Sun and Holding On by the Classixx always make me yearn for the city of Angels. I’ll be back at some point, but this time even more ready. The key is to stay open, don’t take yourself (or others) too seriously, and keep an eye out for those rare gems. Hopefully you’ll find your true self along the way.
"Why are you moving to Paris?" has been the most common reaction I’ve gotten, as if I’ve decided to move to a remote island in the middle of nowhere. My comeback has always been, why not? It usually leaves people stumped -and to be honest, I don’t even know the real reason why I am moving.
Sure, I can tell you the superficial reasons: having an inability to settle down, having big, gigantic dreams, having romantic delusions of a writing in a cafe, a big dash of wanderlust, plus two shakes of escapism, topped off with a yearn for adventure, excitement, the unknown, the old, and a general feeling that the world is my oyster. Those are all the components of me deciding that I am moving to Paris, for three months or however long my visa lasts, I get kicked out, get homesick, etc.
"you know, when your visa expires, all you have to do is tell the consulate you fell in love with a Parisian and you need more time to be with the love of your life." Said a good friend recently. Well, too bad Im not looking to fall in love in the slightest, and I’m too blunt to tell a good lie. But yes, Paris has an air of romance to it, a tint of Rose and sparkle and the feeling that anything is possible. (all this I know from books, movies, and having spent 4 days there in 2007, so take it with a grain of salt).
Back to the move: its coming up in less than two months, and I have days where I wake up and think, ‘what the hell am I doing? I could easily pay off all my student loans/debt with the money Im spending to go there. Im not getting any younger, and big grown up life is bound to catch up with me any day now.’ Then other days I wake up thinking - ‘ZOMG I’m moving to Paris - just because I feel like it! Because, what the hell, I’m not gettting any younger, and big grown up life is bound to catch up with me any day now.’
See, its all a matter of perspective. Yes, I could be running away from responsibilities (truth: they include a car payment, student loans). But, thankfully, the truth is I actually don’t have any serious responsibilities; no rent, no children, no boyfriend, no rock solid 9-5 job. I am taking my charity and writing work with me, and the ultimate goal while Im there is to write my first book.
Its not like one day I woke up and said, I’m moving to Paris. It was more like a gradual realization that for some reason, i needed to be there. That this was one last opportunity for me to do something bigger than myself. To push myself in my writing and not be afraid of change, to be confident in my future, and to be bold.
So for three months, I will become an American expat in Paris. Yes, I will try to emulate the oh so chic french girls in their stilletos and jeans, miraculously gliding over cobblestone streets. YEs, I will attempt to rent a scooter and I’ll wrap my head in a scarf and drive to versailles for lunch. I will sit in a cafe and attempt to read the newspaper for 2 hours while gossiping with old men about the country, the neighbors, the other cafe patrons. I will walk into the Chanel headquarters and pretend I am intersted in a $5,000 bag but MAYBE walk away with a keychain or some other dumb thing so I can say “oh this thing? just a little thing I bought for myself one afternoon on the Champs Elysee at the Chanel store”
Ahh, to be young and wild.