2017 was a weird year for me.

I spent most of it thinking about getting away from the present, and when I finally did the only thing I could think of was going back. I took relationships for granted and drove full force down the road of selfishness. I acted like I had everything under control when deep down I was a broken mess. 2017 was a very weird year for me.

I started off the year getting high on my own supply. I wasn’t literally doing drugs, but I was doing lines of my own ideas. I had a sense that my consciousness was more important than those opposite of me, and I refused to see the flaws in that. I couldn’t let anything in but I was determined to have everything heard. I would love to blame this on the most recent presidential election, but this isn’t a political post (and unfortunately I can’t blame everything on President Trump). I soon figured out that I was running in place and not getting anywhere, so I desperately tried to take a breath.

Unfortunately it’s hard to breathe when you feel like you are suffocating. I found myself royally unhappy in the town that I was in, even though I was surrounded by some of the world’s most beautiful people. I blamed every bad thought, every mistake, and every fear  on them, and for those few short moments it made life easier. I used those excuses to formulate an escape, and I used that escape to run away from all of my problems. I ran across the country to the “City of Dreams” where I believed I would find a solution.

The months that followed were the hardest of my life. I battled more than loneliness and fear. I battled myself. I questioned every decision that I made and I hated every thought that I had. I longed for the friendships that I left behind and I was petrified at the idea of finding new ones. I questioned reality and lost myself in my own thoughts. I had built up this facade of self confidence and once I was alone it came crashing down. I was confident that I was going to burn out quicker than Aunt Janet’s cigarette.

When I thought all hope was lost, when the last few embers were trickling down, I found myself. I got a job that meant something to me. I wrote things that meant something to me. I made relationships and reached out to people that meant something to me. I realized that running away from your problems doesn’t mean that you actually escape them. I found humility and love and the true meaning of relationships. I found beauty in the nightmare that was 2017.

I am three thousand miles away from all of my family and friends. I am working constantly towards things that may never work out. Sometimes I am alone in a world of seven billion people and it is the scariest thing I have ever done, but it’s real.

2017 was a weird year for me. Thankfully.

Why do people do yoga in the park? The most likely answer to this is because it’s almost eighty degrees outside and the park is beautiful. My brain however refuses to believe this and insists that there is some ridiculous reason for this behavior.

While walking in the park today I observed a larger than normal yoga count. Yes I know that I live in Los Angeles, the literal capitol of yoga, but it still doesn’t explain the gaggle of professional stretchers strewn throughout the park.

These next few paragraphs are just thoughts that went through my head and are in no way proven facts. Although it’s possible that they are.

Why not just do yoga in your home? Again I understand that it is beautiful outside, but I feel like making the effort to walk to the park to do this activity has some other ulterior motive. My first thought was because people want to be noticed. I mean I wouldn’t do yoga in the park, but that’s mostly because it would be more of a comedy routine then an exercise. If I was a yoga expert however I could see how showing off my abilities would be attracting.

What if it is something spiritual? Is yoga a spiritual thing? I don’t know. I am going to look into this and I might come back to this at a later time.

What if you really have to go to the bathroom? I assume that some of these yoga stretches really shake up the insides. Those park bathrooms are horrendous and they might not make it all the way home.

Why not just go to a yoga studio? Obviously money is an issue here, but I’ve never met a poor person that does yoga. You would be in public so you can be seen by others, and you will get instruction on how to be better.

The park just seems really impractical. Let me know your thoughts.

TIP: If you are ever in a park and notice someone doing yoga. Do NOT get lost in your train of thought and forget to look away. It can cause some very awkward eye contact.

I don’t have any good excuses.

I haven’t posted a journal and over a month and I’m sorry for letting you all down (and by all of you I mean my mom, because she is the only one that reads these). This past month has been one of the busiest and most stressful months in recent memory. I spent a week in Colorado, which was followed directly by a friend visiting in LA, followed by Black Friday and what is largely considered the worst week for retail employees. All of those are just poor excuses of course, because I have had plenty of free time at home that I have wasted on something else (I’m talking about you Skyrim VR). In the past month I have opened my laptop maybe a total of ten times, and that was mostly just to pay bills. I usually open my laptop more times than that in one day, so you can see how this has been a weird month for me.

The truth is I have been exhausted. Not just physically exhausted, but mentally and emotionally exhausted as well. Living in Los Angeles has taken a lot out of me and has tried its best to tear me apart. The distance between family and friends has taken a toll on my heart. Due to the separation from my normal support I have been forced to output my emotions in different ways, which has led to me keeping a lot of things bottled up (unhealthy I know, that’s why I am addressing it). Due to the already present physical exhaustion and the new wave of emotional exhaustion, my mental health has not been where it should be. This has caused me to spend a lot less time on my work and a lot more time on escaping (With video games mom, not with drugs).

I am guilty of always over-thinking everything, because of this I am always looking way too deeply into every situation that I am in. This constantly causes me to question the choices that I make and if they are the right ones. Imagine going to an ice cream shop and ordering ice cream. As they are making the ice cream you are asking yourself if you made the right choice, maybe the chocolate chip was better, you have always been a fan of Oreo’s, your best friend said that Rocky Road was the best thing he ever had, what if I’m missing out on the flavor of a lifetime because I’m comfortable with Reese’s Pieces? That is how my mind works in almost every situation, so by the end of the day my brain is typically swarming with questions that I just want to drown out. In those moments sometimes the last thing that I want to do is write because the idea of embracing those thoughts terrifies me, so I turn to something else to escape it.

Although this past month has been draining and has caused me to question my entire existence it has also been one of the most eye-opening experiences. I don’t know if I will stay in Los Angeles, but it has taught me more about myself than I ever could have learned back home. I would go through this past month over and over again if it meant I would learn more about who I was, because finding yourself is what all of this is about isn’t it? Let’s not get too philosophical.

What a beautiful life.

 

I hate dating.

First dates in particular are more of a talent show than a date. Each party spends the entirety of the date trying to put on a show in order to impress the other. It’s typically an awkward mess that doesn’t make it past the first round of judging (like when that guy tried to sing “Swing Low Sweet Chariot” on American Idol). I’m not really a fan of talent shows.

Dating websites/apps were originally considered to be the last resort to the dating community. People often resorted to these as a “last ditch” effort to find the “love of their life.” They have now become one of the most popular ways to find a date (or more commonly a one night stand). Apps like Tinder and Bumble have made it possible to meet people without the stressful work of actually meeting them. I have both of these apps.

I sometimes like to swipe through the variety of different contestants that the apps have to offer. Usually this ends in boredom or disgust which results in a short hiatus from the dating app world. Occasionally I put the five perfectly lit photos and baiting bio aside and I actually go out with someone. This usually doesn’t end in anything more than a story, but they are always interesting stories nonetheless. Today was one of those stories.

I recently met a girl on Bumble and after a week of spread out messages we decided to hang out. I use the term hang out because what we did was the farthest thing from dating I have ever experienced. Since I told her to pick everything we were going to do that day I had no idea what was on the evenings itinerary.

The majority of the date was spent in Griffith Park. When I think of Griffith Park my mind usually wanders to the Observatory, or the millions of trails behind it. This is not where we ventured to on this Thursday evening. We instead spent a number of hours on a playground near the outskirts of the park, surrounded by about twenty small children. This would typically seem like a strange place for two twenty-somethings to hang out,  but being that I am a child in a mans body it worked for me. I will never be the person to complain about swinging on a swing-set.

The next part of our illustrious evening took place in the living room of her surprisingly large apartment. At this point most normal people would find this a prime opportunity to “make a move”. I however see this as a prime opportunity to play Nintendo 64, which is exactly what we did. Not much is better than two hours of intense Pokemon battles on Pokemon Stadium. I am a twelve year old.

We ended the night at the bar with a couple of her friends, and it was as awkward as expected. Typically the awkwardness would come from the fact that we are going out with her friends on the first date, but I am pretty good at faking being an extrovert. Instead the awkwardness came from the fact that she was on a customer service call for the entirety of the night. Not just any customer service call, but a customer service call for the Squat Magic she just ordered. Please go look up Squat Magic and you will understand my pain.

I left before the night could progress any farther because honestly once you play Pokemon Stadium it’s all down hill from there, and the Squat Magic was just the beginning. Although the majority of the evening was entertaining there will be no second date. I am rarely attracted to people and I’m almost never interested in pursuing anything more than a Pokemon opponent, but more on that later. I’ll spend the rest of my night with Netflix, my true love.

Side Note: She had heterochormia (two different colored eyes), and that deserves some form of acknowledgement.

Halloween is normally my favorite holiday. There isn’t anything better than horror movie marathons and buckets of cavity-inducing candy.

I woke up on Halloween excited for the day ahead of me. Even though I was scheduled to work the closing shift I was confident that nothing could ruin my favorite holiday. I was wrong.

Before going into work I had already assumed that it would be an easy going day. It’s Halloween and everyone is going to be out. Nobody is coming to Target right? When I walked into work at 3:55pm everything about the place said “Run as fast as you can and never come back.” I ignored my better judgement and clocked in for what was about to be my worst shift in retail ever.

For starters, the systems were down. All of them. Our cash registers were only taking cash and credit and all of our other “process-related” devices were down. How do you run a retail store with barely functioning registers and malfunctioning computers? The answer is not well. My early assumptions that the store would be a ghost town fell flat when a sea of last minute candy shoppers raided our aisles. Now we have cash registers that are moving at the slowest possible pace and they are only taking certain types of payments. Blumhouse couldn’t produce a better horror story than this one.

What happens when a community that relies on using EBT cash and stolen gift cards can’t use their questionable forms of payment? They yell. Who do they yell at? Me. For eight hours I had to listen to angry customers yell about how stupid I am for breaking Target’s computers. I wanted to break Target’s computers, I held back. One lady got upset over fifty cents. FIFTY CENTS. When I get to the point in life where I am yelling about fifty cents somebody please dig a plot and throw me in the ground.

After eight hours of frustration, yelling, theft, and the occasional suicide joke my night was finally over. Halloween had been a horrifying experience and I had escaped with only some mental health damage. As much as I want to go home and watch Michael Myers slaughter obnoxious teenagers I have to be at work at eight in the morning.

Hopefully after tomorrow I won’t need anger management courses.

I love Los Angeles.

Growing up I never went to any big cities. My parents are the farthest thing from city people so we rarely ventured out of our comfort zone. When I became old enough to travel on my own I became kind of obsessed with seeing different places. From Washington D.C. to New York City, I fell in love with each new city I stepped foot in. Soon began one of the biggest inner conflicts I would have to date, which city would I live in? I’ve always loved New York, but it is so cold. DC is beautiful, but have you seen our president? Which one would I choose?

Los Angeles has always been a distant dream of mine. I never thought that I would be brave enough to live three thousand miles away from everything that I know. I still don’t know if I’m brave enough. I fell in love with the “City of Angels” moments after leaving LAX. It’s amazing the feelings you can catch for a place after spending only forty minutes in the back of an Uber, but it was soon after that when I was convinced that this was the place for me. At first glance Los Angeles is the poster boy for beautiful weather, beautiful people, and beautiful opportunities. It is the literal center of the entertainment business and is home to most of America’s greatest stars (I’m talking about you Anna Kendrick). After spending one week in La La Land I was sold on the “dream chaser” theory and began planning my move.

Three months and a three-thousand mile drive across the country and I was here, Los Angeles’s newest undiscovered star. I arrived with a mind full of ideas and inspirations and a plan to be somebody. Being a writer has always been a dream of mine. Being a screenwriter has always been something I’ve pictured as unattainable. Very few people get to pursue that line of work, how could a small town guy from Virginia make it? I’ve always seen Los Angeles as somewhat of a dream, but I didn’t know how true that statement actually was until I lived here.

When people ask me how life in Los Angeles is I don’t know how to answer them. I want to describe how amazing it feels to be in the city of stars, but I don’t know if it is amazing or not. It’s a reality that often looks beautiful at first glance but is horrifying underneath the covers. Everyone here is so self obsessed and it’s beautiful but also terrifying. How do I know who is real and who is putting on a show? Everyone is always putting on a show. I constantly find myself questioning if moments are real. Every moment feels like some distorted version of reality.

I don’t know what LA is yet, but right now it’s my beautiful nightmare.