There’s nothing about my week in Los Angeles that could detract from its being the best vacation ever. I got to do all of the same silly things that I would’ve wanted to do when I was 14, but I had the freedom of an independent young adult to actually do them. I drank Moët Ice Champagne for brunch in West Hollywood and snuck into private hotel parties in my hotel robe and sunglasses after hours. I brought Rookies to a rock & roll show and ended the night with a cookie-filled, Biebed-out dance party. I ordered a gourmet cheese plate at a restaurant and painted my nails with discount polish at a ritzy bar. My friend and I sat on a stoop on Hollywood Boulevard and heckled passersby while drinking huge sodas as strangers drew us a caricature and one even gave us a dollar. These sorts-o-things are the greatest part about being in the middle-youth, so I plan on stalling in the post-teen, pre-adult zone for the rest of my life as everyone else keeps going. Have fun getting boring, everyone!! Smize. I’ll enjoy my crazy version of youth for a long, long time…and Los Angeles is the perfect place to do so.

While the week felt like a ton of miniature fantasies coming true, this vacay also had a secret mission: I wanted to see if my dreams about Los Angeles would prove valid, or seem hopelessly naïve. After a confusing experience living there two years ago, I wanted to clear it up, once and for all. Do I love Los Angeles, or just the idea of it?

This is a very rare moment here on my Teen Girl Diary, but I don’t really know what to say, or how to explain. Except, maybe, this: Los Angeles has a lot of opportunity for weird fun, and I can’t ignore that it has special magic for someone like me, who likes too many things, too intensely, past logic. I can’t unpack what I love about L.A.—my love is difficult to collect and organize, all over the place like glitter that’s hard to sweep up. I still want all of it, though—the strange and the normal, the comfort and the excitement, the warmth and the adventure. Let’s have everything—why not? Who carrrres? Enjoy it. All of it.

Do you ever have phrases in your head that come up…not necessarily mantras, but little catchphrases to describe your life as if it’s a new TV show premiering THIS FALL? Some of mine are: CHRONICALLY STOKED, I’M ACTUALLY FIVE, and EXPLOSIVELY HAPPY. EXPLOSIVELY HAPPY is the ideal descriptor of my teenage condition, and I think it speaks to why I feel magnetized by Los Angeles, California. And yet! There’s a part of me, a sentimental part, that wants the comfort and charm of sweet places like Walla Walla, Washington. Maybe I’ll end up somewhere like that someday. But for now, L.A. really knows what I mean. L.A. is a feeling—one that matches my inner rumblings more than any other place.

I think the self I want to be already lives there. I just gotta go there and hang out with her. ♦