coming from where i’m from

I’m feeling very #LA right now.

As I sit sipping a mocha in one of the kitschiest coffee shops on the Westside (shout out to the lovely people at the UnUrban Café) alternately working on a script and a blog, I cannot help but think how far I have traveled in so few miles.  I imagine me as a boy imagining myself as a man.

Truthfully, as a boy I imagined that I would be a bus driver by now.  I knew every route, including the Big Blue Bus #7 that runs right by the UnUrban.  I used to think about Santa Monica as a distant land, that place that took at least 45 minutes to get to on the bus.  The houses didn’t look like the ones on my block.  The street signs were different, too.  And there were these things called white people that seemed allergic to my neighborhood.

The UnUrban Café, where you can follow the yellow brick road (to the bathroom).
The UnUrban Café, where you can follow the yellow brick road (to the bathroom).

As a man it seems that it is me who has the allergy to that neighborhood.  Driving back through it hearkens ghosts of Julians past, semblances of me that I’ve left behind.  I try to tap into them now.  Maybe I should take an eastward ride on the #7.

Writing in the coffee shop makes me feel more like the thousands of transplants who migrate here than the boy who grew up here riding the bus.  In many ways, that is my Angelino story too.  I reentered the city as a man, very different from the kid I was when I left.  After swearing a solemn vow to never return, life humbled me enough to need to move back.  And so I join the masses that dream that dream that they pump in the Southern California air.

I have two LA stories.  I feel both native and foreign to this city at the same time.  The more I write, the more I introduce both sides of myself to each other.  I’m more equipped to tap into those places I came from at the end of the bus line and use them as material for my writing and my growth.  It took leaving the city to get me to understand who essential it is to my life.

There is no right way to be #LA.  We’re a city of weirdos all united by our intolerance of shitty weather.  We’re a city of sensitive souls scratching and clawing beneath a façade.  We’re a city of people not listening, demanding that you do your own thing — so you might as well.

I sit with my mocha trying to be the best LA that I can.  As I look out on the other freaks from all over the world, this hometown boy is glad to know he’s found his spot.

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