The first year in LA taught me things about myself that I hadn’t anticipated I still had yet to learn. My move to Beverly Hills was the third big move since high school. It was the third time I had relocated to a new city away from where I grew up. I wouldn’t exactly call that home.
Everything here worked out well. I found a great apartment and a good job close-by. I never really experienced much of the LA traffic that people complain about. During the first few months that I lived here, I met interesting people and went on lots of first dates to very nice restaurants. I was amazed at how many attractive, eligible, professional men I met. I quickly learned why other people loved it here but no matter how many men I met, I couldn’t stop thinking about one.
During my final semester at law school, I met someone truly amazing whose mere presence changed me for the better. Meeting him was an exciting but overwhelming experience because for the first time, I felt like I was with an equal. There are no words to describe how it feels to meet a unicorn when you’re used to race horses.
For the first time in my life, I was shy on a date: utterly unable to speak properly. Being near him was like having the wind knocked out of me. I had never experienced being around someone so thoughtful, accomplished, smart and so attractive all at the same time.
When he didn’t ask me out for a second date, I assumed he wasn’t interested in me and despite having been crushed, I took it as a wake up call. For me, that wake up call was the realization that in all of my past relationships, I had never felt butterflies or excitement like I had with him. I had never felt respected like I had with him and I had never felt like I was with an equal. I had always accepted second best. The way I felt with him was so special that I knew I couldn’t go back to my old ways.
Every time we talked, I felt electricity between us so as the months passed I found the prospect of dating other men harder and harder. Time seemed to fly by and although we were still facebook friends and I had heard from him from time to time I still had no real answers so I tried to convince myself to move on.
By the end of the first year in LA, I got a promotion and a large pay increase and I started to feel more relaxed about my footing in this big city. I started losing weight more rapidly without any effort, all of which I attributed to the joy diet (read about that here).
When I wasn’t thinking about work, I couldn’t help myself from daydreaming about him. As hard as I had tried to forget him, I just couldn’t…. but I wondered, was he thinking about me?
When I first arrived, people asked me why I had chosen Beverly Hills. Why now, at 33 had I decided to uproot myself and move to a new city and each time they asked I honestly tried to answer the question as if I was considering the answer for the first time. Each time I answered, I felt like I needed to deepen the inquiry into a part of my mind that I hadn’t traveled to before. So I would thoroughly examine my words before uttering them. But each time the answer sounded similar to the time before it. “I felt like it would be a fun change” or “I had just graduated law school and I was single, so I thought – why not?!” There really wasn’t an answer that I thought sounded right enough.
The truth is – none of those answers were really the truth! But at the time all I was thinking about was how it sounded. I used to do that a lot. One of the unfortunate results of being a victim of abuse is that it can sometimes be difficult to separate yourself from the judgement of others. It can be hard to stop thinking about how others see you. But I’ve learned that if you can manage to do just that, you can focus on what you want for yourself and effectuate the necessary change toward the outcomes that will bring you the most joy. When you set the judgment of others aside, you can find what makes you happy and what doesn’t.
Fear doesn’t rule me and it never has. I’ve always had an inner strength that propelled me toward my purpose no matter how scary the path might have been. But that doesn’t mean I haven’t hit a few boundaries and roadblocks along the way.
For many years, the idea of living in LA felt like the table I’d find like minded people at. So it seemed if I could just get here, I’d find a seat. The truth is that the table has felt a bit more akin to Mad Hatter’s Tea Party than a dinner table. All of which is fun when you’re ready to do anything but eat!
You see, there’s having a seat at the table, seeing that there’s a table and just knowing that there might be a table out there. For a long time, LA was the lattermost. But it wasn’t until I was ready to be happy that I could have a seat.
There were just two things left to decide: Did I still want a seat at this table? Did I have the courage to find out if he felt the same way about me?