even at the age of three, i was fascinated by california. from the hollywood sign to the spotlights that circled the city--so i was told--the idea of the west coast was something i simply couldn't get enough of. for as long as i can remember, i've wanted to be an actress. if your first assumption is that i'm some drama queen looking for the next ridiculous reality show, you've got me all wrong. i want to touch peoples lives. i want to make them laugh, or cry, or feel nostalgic, or be inspired. something has always been pulling me out to los angeles, but the truth is that north carolina is the only home i've ever known. after years of fantasizing about what life would be like in california. finally, after twenty one years of daydreaming, i ended up in california. on a whim. with nothing but my shoes, my purse, and the clothes on my back. i'll keep the details to a minimum because those of you who know me know that i have a tendency to stretch stories--and apparently sentences--out about six times longer than their original length, but let's take a look back at my brief excursion to the city of angels:
after a very stupid, very late-night fight with my then-boyfriend, i took off and headed straight for the hills. literally. i grabbed my purse, threw on my shoes, walked outside and called a cab to the airport. it was as if i was being pulled by a force much larger than me, and i willingly held out my hand and let it drag me along. i stumbled up to the counter to purchase my one-way ticket and after the woman behind the desk punched around on her keyboard for a few minutes, she calmly looked up at me and said "i can get you to california for $312." i slid my debit card across the counter and anxiously waited for her to hand me the ticket that would finally turn my dreams into a reality. once the boarding pass was in my hands, i stared at it--and flicked it a little--to make sure that it was real. as i started to walk away, i heard a voice over my shoulder, "miss! bring that back to me so i can write your gate number down for you." i hesitantly passed my ticket back across the counter and when she finished writing, she handed it back to me with a smile, as if there was a secret, or a joke i didn't understand. i walked for about a minute before finally looking down at what she had written. and there it was. there, on the very piece of paper that would bridge the gap between my dreams and real life, was the most powerful, most blatantly obvious sign that life had ever given me.
and i missed it entirely.
not just written in large black ink, but underlined, was the number 25. now hold on, i realize that all of you are wondering what the hell a two-digit number has to do with life or signs or some sort of greater power, but let me tell you this: that short-lived, one day trip to california where no, i didn't even leave the airport, was not the answer to making my dreams come true. it was spontaneous, exhausting, and pretty damn stupid--but it was not the moment i had been waiting for all my life. the number 25 has always been significant to me as my lucky number, so you can imagine that when i saw it there, underlined in thick blue ink, every organ in my body did a backwards somersault with glee as i thought to myself "it's a sign." i was right, it was a sign. but it wasn't a sign telling me "here's your lucky number, all systems go!" it was a sign telling me "here's your lucky number, dumbass, THIS is when you will be ready to step on this plane."
so here i am. ALMOST 25 years old. and i move to california this friday. i know you're thinking, wow, you came back from your mini-adventure in california and actually waited four more years to purse this dream? but the funny part of the story is that it wasn't until a few days ago that i went through my "california box" (of course i kept a box of souvenirs) and i was face-to-face with that boarding pass, that i realized what it all meant. i went back to college, graduated, worked a little, blah blah blah. i didn't wait four years to plan this move, it has just all fallen together over the past year and now here i am, two months away from turning 25, and finally making my dreams come true.
go ahead and ask.
do i have a place to live yet?
do i have any friends out there?
do i have a job yet?
but that doesn't mean i don't have a good head on my shoulders and a plan up my sleeve. my entire life has been leading up to this day, and nothing can stop me. up until today, i had at least one companion by my side--one who has a tail and is seventy four in human years--but today i was blindsided with the unfortunate news that my four legged best friend is physically unable to tag along for what i thought would be "our" adventure. but that's a blog for another time. as for now, i'd like to ask you, yes you, to join me. i want you to come along. from the east coast to the west coast, from bojangles to in-n-out burger, from the cheers to the tears, follow me along. and hold on, it's going to be one hell of a ride.