There is an inherent loneliness to growing up. It’s individual. The experiences that lead you to where you go cannot be mirrored by anyone else, even your pals, your best friends, your significants—your people. We’re all on different trajectories, sometimes wonderfully so, but in that difference we create spaces that float between us, that separate us, that create distance. I think a lot of getting older, of growing up, is recognizing these distances, reconciling them, finding ways that help you fill that space. And I’m trying to fill that space. But it’s hard.
Los Angeles is a wasteland. A place riddled in drought and filled with people searching out limited oasis. These people are emigrants, displaced from their homes by ambition, ego, fame, money, and other things meant to fill the holes, the voids created by a need for recognition, a scream of “I’m here,” a please, please, please see me. I’m no different. I want to be seen. I want to know that my existence matters to someone other than me. I mean, I have a blog.
But in forging ways to be seen, you can put up walls that keep others from seeing you. In wanting to create your best life, you can become crowded in yourself. You can be trapped by that traffic and unwilling to look up from the wheel. You can become fixed, eyes on the odometer, ignoring the road and the others there. That is, until you crash.
And I don’t want to crash. And I don’t want to be alone in my car. I like the idea of carpooling. It’s good for nature and those bears on coke cans. But I’m also prone to locking my doors and hoping beyond reason that no eye contact is made at a red light. And I don’t know what makes me like that, because as stated in the manifesto taped to my fridge, I also want universal acclaim, a knighthood, one million twitter followers, and a burger named after me. I guess you can be more than one thing.
But I’m worried that living here makes me lock the doors more than I would otherwise. That it’s easier, more convenient, because most people here lock the doors too. This is a city where you can go months without seeing a friend if you don’t actively pursue the matching of your schedules. They could live a mile from you, they could be your neighbor, but if you go to work at nine and they go to yoga at eight, then you have a client thing on Thursday, and just forget about Saturday because of this party, but maybe Sunday sounds good, scratch that you’ll be—and soon it’s 2083 and you’re working around your nursing home’s quiet hours, which shouldn’t matter because everyone’s deaf.
I’m saying that being an adult here, and anywhere, is a dumb mess that isn’t easy to clean up. And I don’t always feel up to the task. Every day is different. There are mornings I wake up, custard cannons at attention, ready to fill the empty spaces in my life-doughnuts. But there are also mornings that I want to remain paralyzed beneath my solitude, covers pulled to my nose, eyes fixed on that oblong ceiling stain that so quickly becomes a metaphor for my life. Melodrama is my neutral.
Sometimes it’s as simple as standing in the same room as someone else, lost in the river of your thoughts, unwilling to breech the divide, to cross, to speak, to make, but you can’t speak and you can’t make because there’s a tremor, a tremor in your throat and it’s born of the selfishness, the cowardice, the sadness in keeping your mouth shut. Why keep your mouth shut?
Sometimes it’s physical. It’s tangible. Huge. Space like wind, like a tornado, swirling, unsurpassable in feeling, insurmountable in thought, vast and terrifying, meant to be left big and bad—maybe.
Or it’s so small it’s quiet. Inches apart. Veering on magnetic, begging to be resolved, wanting, waiting. It might whisper, “This one’s easy.” But you know “easy” is often difficult, but difficult things matter, you’ve heard. So you act on that space, you say “I’m here” and inches become centimeters, centimeters become something smaller, whatever unit is next (math is unimportant unless you’re making change), and then the space is so small, all that’s left is to reach out, move like vibrations, and there you are—there you are.
So I’m trying to act more. To take the reigns on my own happiness and create within those spaces between us. Because distance hurts. Feeling separate sucks. White noise is overrated. Growing up is hard. And if I can’t share what I am, spread out and lay all over you, while you lay all over me, then I don’t know why I’m here at all. Anything else seems like a waste. So take up space. Fill the world with us. Because that’s what’s good. And I want to be good. Let’s be good, please.