Moving across the country was such a uniquely strange experience. Before I left sunny South Florida, I remember sitting in conversations with friends, reminiscing about the past few years and communicating my expectations for the future. “The only thing I’m worried about is finding friends like the one I have here,” I confessed. I knew from experience, it’s so hard to make friends outside of school life. “But I guess, like every other time I’ve moved, it will come with time,” I said, trying to calm the effervescent apprehension bubbling in my heart. I left Florida hopeful and expectant. Life in California would just fit.
Needless to say, things did not map out how I had pictured in my head. (I mean why else would I be writing a blog about it?) moving to a city, far away from the familiar in 2019 then steamrolling into 2020 was not the dream I had imagined in my head. It wasn’t bad, it was just unexpected, and 2020 came with it’s own burdens and sorrows that I couldn’t have imagined. So eventually, when I came back to FL to visit family and friends for the holidays, I stopped by to see some of the same friends that I had held so dear the day I left and still hold dear to this day. I walked through household thresholds and immediately sensed the anticipation, the encouraging eagerness radiating from my people, waiting for me to dish about my fabulous life in the city. They wanted, wished, and hoped for good things for me as I left, it was only natural for them to expect a return on all their spoken prayers. I love that about them.
But all I could say was, “It’s good.” (Of course, I elaborated at the time.) I remember sitting in the kitchen of my good friend Janelle’s trying to sum my feelings. There were no crazy stories about nights with friends or exciting moments of divine serendipity with a soulmate. I couldn’t answer their questions with crazy God stories. I hadn’t found my soul sisters, my 3LW, my cheetah sister friends. When I took account of the time spent away from my last home, I came pretty close to net zero; not overwhelmingly positive and not negative. It was just good. Kind of like trying cookie butter ice cream for the first time; it’s good, but at first it doesn’t seem like anything special.
Internally, a part of me mourned the fact that my 2020 dreams, my 30th year, didn’t turn out how I had hoped. From the panoramic (yes, that was on purpose) to the injustice driven emotional exhaustion to the days I spent at home wondering if my job would “let me go” because of the forced shut down and strained budget. But it wasn’t all terrible. I connected with my co-workers and created strong friendships. I spent a lot of time outdoors hiking. I got healthier. I joined all the online “tings” at my local church and even met a few new “outside of work” friends. And I think this is what is not communicated as often as our stories of glory. Sometime our “becoming” is more like an unfolding than a blossoming. I remember feeling the same way my first semester in college. It seemed like everyone around me found their people, their place, and I was still trying to figure out where to fit in. Moving to LA I fully expected to bloom, very obviously, in full view. Because that’s what social media tells you to expect. It bids you to accept perfection as normal in every avenue of life. But I didn’t bloom really. Instead my life here has been a steady unfolding, not bright or flashy, but more of an enduring, gradual reveal.
It’s been about a year and nine months since my sister and I moved to LA. And to be honest, I still haven’t found my group, my girls. As a girl’s girl, that’s where I know I thrive. More than that, I have let go of my expectations for this place. Not because I don’t desire those same things, but because I want to be able to see them coming, even if they come from a direction I would have never expected.
So that’s the truth of where I’m at. I’m in love with LA’s charm and life but I also see her scars. I can only pray that in the same steady manner, I would come to find my place in this city of angels.
I am sure the pandemic has not helped with meeting your tribe, but you will know them when you see them. Stay strong.