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So one of the first things I want to discuss is my move to California. I know you’re all wondering what caused me to just pick up and leave, and even though I did a video on my move and all my expectations, I left out the why. So why? Bear with me as I go over the details coming up to the big move, as they are important, and necessary to tell the story.
The end of 2018 just wasn’t great. As much as I tried to make it work, I always felt something was missing. The highlights of my year were when I traveled to Las Vegas and Puerto Rico. I needed to be experiencing something new in order to feel alive. I worked as an assistant buyer at Hirshleifers for some time. It was a really cool job, and I loved being the first to see next season's drops. That excitement faded when I realized that none of that shit really matters. Having been in the fashion industry for years, and seeing the facade for what it is, I was over it. The fleeting moment of a new purse design just wasn’t enough to keep me interested. I also just didn’t have the means, and honestly, it’s so dumb trying to keep up.
Sometimes I worry that this is what our world has come to, and I’m not excluding myself from this. I have the credit card debt to prove it. I had become comfortable, and became the kind of person that accumulated things. Bright and shiny things, clothes, and shoes, and makeup, mostly shit I didn’t even use. I would do laundry, and wear the same outfits, and wash them and wear them, and the cycle rarely included new items from my overflowing closet. I know my closet was a dream, but I was ready to wake up.
The reality was, I worked in a basement, fulfilling orders on a computer that I sat at from 9-5. None of those things would belong to me, and the only way I identified with them was that I was the person who entered the code into the system. I would literally stare at a computer all day, and I got through my work so fast, I think my co-workers began to hate me for ruining their slow workflow. I never understood that, but this wasn’t the first job where my fast work was frowned upon. My back would hurt, and I would worry about the long term effects, but this was a good job, so I shouldn’t complain, right? After work, I would spend hours in front of my iMac editing my videos from my trip, but that never felt like a job, or a burden. I didn’t even mind the back pain now, but I was also high, so I’m sure that helped. The end product of my fulfilled orders was still an unfulfilled woman, whereas my videos are a depiction of my talent and true happiness.
Then I got fired from Hirshleifers. I was always late. And that's just really so me. I’m always late to shit, but I’ve never missed a flight! I wasn’t even upset. I’ve worked since I was 16, so in 15 years, I’ve had over 20 jobs, and have quit, been fired, or let go from most of them. I’m so used to being let go, but I still cry sometimes, because a part of me always feels like a failure, something I can’t stand admitting. Even if I hated the job, I still wonder what it was about me that they hated. Then I beat myself up, and go into a depression, questioning how I’ll ever make it ahead.
I just can’t do “jobs,” as in a regular 9 to 5. I’m really good at getting them, because my personality is bright, and I’m a fast learner. People like to believe I’d be good for their team, and I’d like to believe this lie as well. Until I don’t, and this usually happens a few weeks in when my soul begins to die little by little, and I’m left with an overwhelming feeling that “this can’t be life.” Yes, I can put on this show for you, and make my hourly wage, but deep down, in the depths of my soul, there is a sad little girl wanting to board the next flight the fuck out of here. But how will I ever be me, and make money? It’s just not that easy.
Then my friend got me a job at a salon. It didn’t pay much, but I needed it. Of course, at this point, my self-esteem is shot. I know I’m capable of much more, and yet, here I was. I think back to my job as a legal assistant, where I had convinced myself that I could do this for the rest of my life, I guess. That’s literally what I thought. That’s kind of what you sign up for when you get a career like that. Fine. I’ll show up here for 40 hours a week for the rest of my miserable existence. My mom was proud to say I was working for one of the biggest immigration lawyers in New York. It was really interesting, and I learned a lot, but I got fired from that too. Gasp! I cried a lot when that happened. So, now here I was, as a cashier in a salon, listening to old ladies gossip, and complain about the stupidest shit. That’s all they do. They had lived their lives being housewives, and they just withered away into miserable old ladies that make weekly appointments to do their hair and nails. A bunch of bad tippers that stole from our retail section. Shit, that sounds judgey, right? Listen, I was only observing, and realizing that if I didn’t do anything about my life, I would end up just like them.
Ok, so you want to know about my relationship. I am in a relationship. We have been together for over six years, and we’ve supported each other through a lot. Before I met him, and anyone who knew me during that time knows, all I wanted was to settle down, be a wife, cook, do lovey-dovey stuff with someone to call my own. Ahh, dreams. We worked together, and our meeting was a chance encounter, because I was covering for someone, and he wasn’t working, just picking up his check. We became friends, and he says he knew I liked him because I laughed at his jokes, but that’s not true, I’m just a visual person, so I laugh at everything if I can envision it. I’m not discrediting his jokes! He still makes me laugh today, but during that time, I wasn’t looking, just dreaming. I was working 60 hours a week, working out, and really just doing my own thing, but he was so sweet.
I was living with my sister, and she and I had been fighting a lot, so I needed to get out of the house, and that was when we had our first date. I have to tell this part, because it’s just so funny. He told me later on that when he came to pick me up, he couldn’t remember if I had a nice ass, and he said that if I didn’t, he would’ve driven away. Skrrrrtttt—Ifuckingmagine?! So sweet, right? One of the first things we talked about was religion. I don’t remember how it came up, but I was intrigued. I had been going through my own things, always trying to find myself, and figuring out what any of it means. He invited me to church with him and his family. His father is the pastor, and his mom, a high official of the church. I didn’t say no. We also talked about what we wanted in a relationship, and he wanted what I wanted. We spent the next week together. Eventually, I moved into his building.
He was still in college in Pennsylvania when we began dating, and a part of me always felt bad. I just really believe those years to fuck shit up are essential. Seriously! I even broke up with him once, but it was like we broke up, kept texting, and yeah, we never really broke up. I would always ask him too, “Like are you sure? But you’re in college, all free to be, and stuff.” He didn’t want that, he wanted me. I also wanted him. I wanted this. His friends would help me surprise him at school, and one time, we all swear he almost cried. He’s a sweetheart. I would cook and clean for him and his friends, and for the Super Bowl, everyone gave me money to make my famous guacamole. Girls would put dibs on our future kids to marry theirs, and everyone thought we were such a cute couple. It was very satisfying. That’s what you want, right?
While he was away at school, I worked, and on Wednesdays and Sundays, I would go to church with his family. It was good for me, until it wasn’t. I had learned everything I needed from their doctrine, but when things didn’t sit right with me, I began to question it. My doubts were never answered, just dwindled with more bible stories, and in turn, my faith and loyalty were questioned. I was even accused of using the church to get closer to him, not to God. I was under a microscope, and everything I did was subject to scrutiny. Also, when he began doing bad in school, everything was my fault. I remember begging him not to drink, and to go to class, and giving him self discipline tips, but they never saw that. When he would come home during breaks, and didn’t go to church, that was also my fault.
His family always put so much pressure on me. The pressure to be the kind of woman his mother was to his father, and pressure to be part of their church. Over the years, the pressure got worse, and as much as I would do, they made sure I knew it wasn’t enough. I would cook for the family, but one day his father said: “you can cook all the meals, but if you really want to get on our good graces, you need to go to church.” One of the things that hurt me the most was their disbelief in me. I did everything I could to be a good woman to him, but because I didn’t go to their church, they always pitied me. I always thought to myself, “How could I ever prosper when the closest people to me literally put all their energy into believing I’m lost?” I only felt lost when I was around them, or people from the church. I have so many more stories, and I’m willing to share my experience, but I really want to move on for now. Also, as far as my family, my father always said: “It could be worse, they could be drug addicts, at least their obsession isn’t the worst thing.” My mom always thought very highly of him, and made me feel as if I’d never find someone as good as him. She would stress how lucky I was to have him.
Still, our relationship flourished against their wishes, and we were always really good friends. We would make each other laugh, and enjoy beautiful moments together. We rarely fought, but when we did, it was bad. It never showed and family and friends would ask us if we ever did. I would reply “Yes, but it’s a respect thing, I wouldn’t call him out in front of anyone. That’s embarrassing to both of us.” When we did fight, we always tried to come out above it, learn the lesson, and move on. There was a time when we almost broke up, and it was because he stopped trying, and I started to feel like maybe I’d be better off alone. We got through it, and things got better. We moved into our own place, and I finally felt like I could breathe. He always supported my dreams, and I supported his.
When things began to take off for him, I was there to make sure he had a happy place to come home to. As always, I maintained a job, but if I got fired, I played the role of house-girlfriend exceptionally well. Friends would even agree they liked it when I didn’t work, because I was so good at being a house-girlfriend, and I would always learn a little more about myself. I wasn’t around his family as much anymore, and I had even told his mom off. I can’t wait to tell you that story. I was a good woman, and I had my own faith, and I didn’t care if she didn’t agree with me. She finally laid off. Still, I would write her letters expressing my gratitude for her. I would cry when I wrote them, and she would cry when she read them.
So here I was, six years later, living in our happy home, playing the role of a house-girlfriend. Oh, if you’re wondering why we never got married, it was because of me. I would scoff at the idea, and not because I didn’t love him, but because I’d rather travel than have a party to prove our love to anyone. So, that’s what we did. The truth is, I felt married. I didn’t need a piece of paper or a party. This was enough. I’ll get more into that one day, too. Geez, I really want to get to the California part!
When things weren’t working out for me in my “career,” or lack thereof, I really felt like shit. I started to analyze my existence and wonder where I went wrong. I had gone to college, and even though it was never for me, I tried, and I could get good jobs, but I couldn’t keep them. So what’s my problem? Why am I such a failure? He was always there to support me, and whenever I had a bright idea of starting a blog or making videos, he was there, rooting me on. I just didn’t feel like anyone cared about what I had to say, and as much as I enjoyed being a house-girlfriend to him, I hated that that was my reality. I didn’t want to talk about religion, his family, or my relationship. I wasn’t in a good place. I wanted to talk about the profound ideas I had about the world, but they involved those topics, and I hadn’t even come to my own conclusions on them. I was conflicted. I had spent so much time trying to live up to everyone else’s expectations, I ended up lost. What a coincidence.
I would dream of California, because I felt a calling, but I didn’t really understand it either. I just knew I had to go. Sometimes, we would fight, and I would imagine just driving off and never turning back. I told my dad I wanted to do this, and he said: “Yeah, but you’re stable.” Stable? Stable sounds fucking boring. I wanted to shake things up, and make everyone fucking wonder. It’s like we all live in this world we know, and we say we’ll do things, but do we? As cliche as it is, when I scrolled through Facebook or Instagram, I would find myself looking at the same people, doing the same things, some never even leaving their hometowns. To each their own, I know. But realizing this made me want to leap. Before I got into this relationship with him, I was my own person. I remember I went out to eat by myself when we started dating, and he'd call me and ask me where I was. I'd tell him, but he'd get upset because he wanted to be there with me. It’s like I knew I wouldn’t be alone for a long time. I missed living and doing for me.
I started becoming resentful, and as much as I would nag and he would fix, it still wasn’t enough. On New Year's Eve, I was triggered by someone's engagement photos. I was drunk and started crying. I realized I wanted that. He said, “but you said you didn’t want to get married.” He was right. I did say that. I said that to protect myself from what would be a total takeover on his family’s part. We had talked about kids throughout our relationship, too, and the idea of his parents brainwashing them terrified me. I couldn’t bear to become one of them, and I needed to protect my kids. I don’t care if they meant well. I was so different, and I needed to save some part of myself. I told him “I don’t know, I guess I don’t know what I want.” It was true. I had become this person, because I allowed it for so long.
Then I went into a deep depression. I had quit the salon, too. No details necessary, really. Just another dead end job. There I was, laying in my bed, with no job, no prospects, and nothing to look forward to. I didn’t want to cook or clean, or even be alive. I cried and cried, and when I got tired of crying, I would take a sleeping aid to just go away. I really just wanted to go away. As I type this, I’m sad for that girl. This is the main reason I even decided to write this. I don’t want another girl to fall into the same trap. Listen, we have had our great moments, and we still love each other, but our relationship had become co-dependent. That’s never healthy. It’s as if he was living for me to keep me, which isn’t fair, and I was living for him, because I didn’t know anything else, which left me lost. The worst part was feeling guilty when deep down I felt “I need more.” I didn’t mean, more, as in, more things, or more comfort, I wanted more “Me.” I wanted me, at my best.
Finally, I decided to have the talk with him. I had spoken to family in California, and I was ready to take a chance on myself and my dreams. We sat down, and I told him “I want to go to California, and I want you to help me.” He had always been supportive of my dreams, but this would be the biggest one yet, also, the most expensive. Obviously, the purpose was to find myself, establish myself, and build a life that I was happy with. “Listen, I have been a good woman to you for six years, but it’s just not enough. I need to do this for me.” He knew everything I felt, and he understood why I felt the way I did. He would also agree that I have been a good woman to him. He was really happy with me, in fact. But I wasn’t, and he hated knowing that. We both agreed that this is what I would do. A month later, he dropped me off at JFK on a one-way flight to LAX, and he was really sad letting me go, but that’s what you do when you love someone unconditionally. I will always be thankful for the opportunity he gave me.
Next time, I will talk about my time in Los Angeles. All the shit that took me out of my comfort zone, tested my faith, and helped me find myself. I will talk about everyone’s reactions to my move and the most annoying question. I will talk about when I had to live in my car, and all the pretty stuff you see on Instagram. You would never know how much I cried, but I’m opening up about it all. I hope you enjoyed this, and I look forward to talking about it all with you.