Dear Diary

July 25, 2012

Daydreams versus real life.


Los Angeles and I are in a complicated relationship. As a person who has a really romantic sense of place, I get so emotionally attached to towns that it sometimes gets in the way. L.A. is where my dreaminess really ends up being counterproductive, and I know this from experience.

Four days after I turned 18, after months of California dreaming, my dad drove me away from my mom’s house and in the direction of L.A. It felt like I had just eloped with some thrilling almost-stranger and our honeymoon was 100 percent magical, filled with palm trees and ice cream. Los Angeles was totally foreign—I felt like someone took a hammer and cracked the eggshell I was living in, shattering the world open for me. Anything was possible and everything was happening.

There were a few factors that contributed to this sense of awe. First, I was experiencing all the freedom-feelings of leaving home, which was exciting enough on its own. Second, I was so sick of Seattle’s dreariness, socially and weather-wise, and L.A. remedied that. Third, moving there was an act of impulse over intuition. I chose a school that wasn’t a good fit for me, because I was allured by both the city and the college’s glamorous reputation and promise of opportunity.

That being said, I had built up L.A. in my mind. And it delivered, at least for the first few weeks. I had a lot of awesome experiences taking public transportation and wandering around, exploring neighborhoods with unfamiliar demographics, and tasting everything new I could find. Also, I realized I REALLY LOVE PALM TREES. It was the perfect place for me to be, in the sense that what I needed at age 18 was something completely NEW.

Still, there was a lot about the city’s unfamiliarity that was more challenging than inspiring for me: the car culture and the sprawl were huge shocks, and a lot of L.A. is just so ugly. Through my school, I encountered a lot of bad attitudes and competitive people that made me uncomfortable. Not all of the newness was pleasant. Despite that, when I decided to transfer schools, I felt like my attachment to the city had already formed, and I knew that someday I’d come back and try my hand at living there again.

I’ll never regret leaving L.A., because I love it here in Oakland. But I still feel like I am in denial about L.A.’s disappointments, as if they’re pesky practicalities that are in the way of my romantic vision of the place.

I’m heading there today on a bus, and it’s my first time going back. I feel just like I did two years ago as I prepared to move down there: full of vivid daydreams and uncontrollable excitement, even though this time I should know better. I want to live there again, maybe after graduation…but am I forgetting what it was really like? Is my romanticism leading me to ignore the things about it that disappointed me? I feel like this trip is a test: am I just making up unrealistic visions, or can my life really be filled with indefinite sunshine and tacos? Maybe by the end of my week there, I’ll be able to separate my dreams from reality…unless I’m lucky, and I can have both at the same time. ♦


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  • isobele July 25th, 2012 7:12 PM

    Katherine you just summed up how I feel most of the time. I always overthink everything, and worry what other people will think or say if I do something

  • Abby July 25th, 2012 7:12 PM

    Katherine, I’m pretty sure you and I are the same person. Just saying ha.

  • NotReallyChristian July 25th, 2012 7:16 PM

    Korbut Flip :) love it!

  • AlisonR July 25th, 2012 7:45 PM

    you are who you want to be, just gotta unwrap it

  • mohgan July 25th, 2012 7:55 PM

    Naomi, I’m like the same way I’m so free and carefree at home or with friends but throw me out with a lot of random people in a big crowd I feel so uneasy. Katherine my brother does the same thing annoying right, if it’s wrong to live your summer the way you like, I don’t want to be right lool.

    • ClaraMaurer September 9th, 2012 12:01 PM

      Naomi I´m totally with you , can you live under my bed with Tavi ?

  • lylsoy July 25th, 2012 10:18 PM

    I love palm trees, too!
    My week ;D

  • bookworm123 July 25th, 2012 10:26 PM

    Katherine, let me Internet hug you. *hugs* Now let me say that you must live under my bed along with Tavi, because was just saying the same thing to my mom! I could use a little more forced social-ness, and a little more drama, even if it’s other people’s. School is good for these things. And that’s why there are so many teenage dramas about high school–the social part is at least mildly interesting.

  • Emmie July 25th, 2012 11:22 PM

    Ruby- I’m from VT! it really is the best state ever. I hope you’re having a great summer here))

  • Elizabete July 26th, 2012 3:10 AM

    Naomi, i can totally relate to you!
    When i’m home with my mom i am really witty, sarcastic and we laugh all day long ( my mom is cool, okay? ), but when i’m with someone else i just can not say anything except for “hi, i have a pug dog. She’s cute”. When i leave that place suddenly i get ideas for thousands of hilarious things i could have said!

  • LeatherStuddedFae July 26th, 2012 8:18 AM

    Gah, Naomi, I feel you! ;’[

    Every time I’m with my close friends and family, I’m pretty confident, weird and funny then once I’m in a group of people I don’t know, everything I do is so awkward for all of a sudden. -.-” I think I’m a better person in my head.

    And Katherine, I just wish we could spend our summer together. :)) Why can’t my summer have a romantic plot to it just like the young adult novels I’ve read for the past few weeks.

    My mom thinks I’ve been doing nothing but hibernate in my cave(er, room). Actually I just craft, write and read books while she’s away. I think that’s pretty productive! -.-

  • wishfulwanderer July 26th, 2012 12:08 PM

    ahh Naomi, I feel you.. you pretty much explained EXACTLY how I feel. Sometimes I blame myself though, for feeling lost, because it makes me feel like I’m a poser or something. I’m not always 100% the same kind of jokingly cynical, relatively funny, sort of strange person I am around my closest friends when I’m with people I’m just meeting. I don’t know how to feel about feeling like I’m not myself when I’m with new people… it makes me dread being in situations with a lot of people I don’t know well. That’s why I’m not looking forward to going to a new school where I don’t know anyone. I feel like if I start out, and I lose the self that I know, there won’t be anyone around to help me find it again. Does anyone else know where I’m coming from?

  • Mayabett July 26th, 2012 1:07 PM

    The link to the SNL Throw it on the Ground short made me so happy.

  • girlswithsecrets July 26th, 2012 2:52 PM

    Naomi–your entry reminds me so much of myself a year or two ago! I went through a period when I was very uncomfortable in my own skin, always feeling like I had to try to be someone else, and it gave me such bad anxiety. I always felt like, if i wasn’t flanked by close friends, I was awkward and uncool and miserable–and I tried so hard to appear the opposite that I exhausted myself. Luckily I got through it, and now I can confidently say that I DO dance crazily and comfortably in person, and am able to be confident on my own–I even enjoy it more than going out with friends, sometimes :) I’d discovered that A) what strangers think doesnt end up mattering, really, ever, and that B) the kind of people who I want to be friends with have much more respect/admiration for those who are just themselves, and finally that C) there’s something very interesting about being on your own in public and getting to people watch better and making brief weird little connections with people :)

  • DE July 28th, 2012 8:53 PM

    In all of these articles I’ve read I get such a sense of relief that There are other people like me out there somewhere. Thank you rookie

  • GlitterKitty July 30th, 2012 12:17 PM

    I love the camp posts so much. Every camp really is the same. At home I don’t really listen to Justin Bieber and generally get kind of annoyed by people. But at camp it’s like I’m a different person! I rock out to Bieber all day and the massive amount of socialization doesn’t bother me in the slightest. It’s weird.

  • rhymeswithorange August 1st, 2012 8:57 PM

    Naomi I swear I wrote the EXACT SAME LINES of the beginning of your entry in my diary last year.
    “When I’m by myself, I can be myself, and my life is coming, but I don’t know when!” -Empty Room, Arcade Fire
    I feel pretty okay now though. Some people you hit if off with, and some you don’t. I genuinely love people, so I think taking that chance to be yourself is worth it.