Why L.A. is over-rated (and why I love it anyway)

Last night I  listened to Dylan attempt to put together her “easy-to-assemble” shoe rack, hearing rounds of furious hammering followed by angry squeaks coming from the living room around the corner and I was happy.

Not over-the-top reach for the stars in my own elation happy, but the kind of happy when you realize  your life is eerily similar to an easy-to-assemble shoe rack in that the instructions suck, there’s a few pieces missing and if you had enough money, you’d probably buy one that’s already been put together for you.  And that’s ok. Because this isn’t the time in your life, where you buy shoe racks that are fancy and made of handcrafted wood –slaved over by keebler elves in a rack city, rack-rack city, far, far away from here. In Germany probably.

Or wherever.

Whatever.

We are slowly but surely furnishing our home. That means now a grand total of 4 pieces of furniture. Which is huge. I’m sick of lifting things. I think I have a permanent tweak in my left shoulder. Little things people. It’s the little things.

Having a nearly empty house entails the following:

1- Tons of room for activities. constant dance parties. And space to do the Worm without injuring yourself (which yes, I can do.)

2– Eating on the floor. Cross legged. Like savages. Like Indians. Like Pocahontas.

3. Attempting somersaults  And failing. Attempting hand stands. And failing. Attempting cartwheels. And bruises.

4. Concluding that despite the ample room for activities, you are still not (nor will you ever be) a gymnast.

Once again, it’s whatever. I know where my talents lie. I can sing a killer version of every Disney song in the shower. I’ve got a wicked jump volleyball serve. I’m more of a Cyber Monday than a Black Friday girl. I like cat jokes, pop culture references and making lists.

And speaking of lists.. I got something special for you all today. But first!!!

An awesome quote:

“There’s the risk of spending your life not doing what you want on a bet that you can buy yourself the freedom to do it later.”

Let’s discuss this. Or rather, let me talk about it and you read. Go get some coffee. I’m going to ramble.

Sometimes, I think about the polar-opposite Meg. The one who plays it safe. Waits for life stability to come before taking a chance. The one who majored in business. The one who works in e-commerce. The girl who wears a lot of pants suits. Shops at banana republic. Wears sensible flats. Saves her money. Saves her dreams. Someday, she’s going places. Someday, she’s just going to get into a car and drive somewhere. Someday.

Someday is now sensible Meg! Put on your Hilary Duff take a chance pants and get outside you twat!

Then there’s the other Meg. When I moved out to LA, I got the feeling that both my parents thought I was going to join a sex drug trafficking circle and lose all recognition of the person I was– to become the person that Los Angeles would make me. I had several friends implore me to not lose my “mid-western” charm living in California. It’s like my whole world thought that my move would change the very root of the person I am and make me into a callous, shallow, drugged-out, sex-crazed democratic hippie. The truth is, I was a little afraid of this too. And did it? Have I changed? Is the above true? I guess that’s up to you.

But despite this initial over-arching fear, I got to say… I like the way Los Angeles looks on me. I’ve never felt so fun in my entire life. I live on the west coast. That makes me naturally interesting right?

…And I continue to fight between these two people. The one who plays it safe and the one who jumps off a cliff. I’m a balancing act of finding the perfect equilibrium between them.

My life is exciting. But if you’re sitting in your office, thinking yours is not, know that I have those moments occasionally as well. Tis life kids.

Anyway. Back to my little point. Los Angeles. Smog nation. Traffic town. Ze Citay of Angels.

Much like my constant banter between the two people I am, I find myself finding Los Angeles exactly as you would imagine followed by being everything I want it to be and more.  It’s over-complicated, over-crowded, over-the-top, completely and absolutely over-rated. And here is why.

10 Reasons why L.A. is over-rated

(and why I love it anyway)

10. Celebrities are Over-rated

“So do you see like famous people, like all the time?”– first question out of everyone’s mouth when they ask me about living here.

The answer to this question is yes. and no. And I don’t care. And I’m really bad at it. And I don’t care.

And here is why:

Celebrity sighting (for me) is  extremely anticlimactic.

I mean they look tired. and make-up less. And bored. And they have thinning hair (at least the guys.. and you know how I feel about good hair). And they wear oversized sunglasses and trench coats and you kind of want to be like I don’t get it. It’s also totally possible this is all just me. But honestly, unless it’s Adam Levine or J.Timberlake standing in front of me in Whole Foods- as McKayla Maroney would say, I’m seriously not impressed.  Because, Oh wow, there’s the guy from Always Sunny buying a tomato! That’s exciting Batman, can’t wait until he gets over to the cheese aisle. Here’s all I’m saying: Adam Levine letting me burrow inside his sweater for 30 seconds? Awesome. Adam Sandler getting gas? .. Can he pay for mine? No? Well then, I don’t care.

Just sayin’.

9. The beach is over-rated.

It’s like a gym membership. Its existence nags at you all day long because you know you’re paying for it and it’s also right around the corner and everyone else is going without you. My brother always says (Hi Nick), “you never regret going to the gym.” (of course he does). The beach is the same story.  When I get there– I’m like: this was a good decision. Good work Meg. Because good god it’s beautiful! I love sunsets and sunrises and I just appreciate my life so much more when I’m on my bike and I’m riding beside it. But despite this, it’s existence nags at me. The time I don’t spend there I feel like I should be. And THAT feeling is over-rated.

8. Traffic is over-rated.

According to Time Magazine (Yeah, I freaking researched this bitch. Get at me, college kids), commuters in LA spend an average of 70 hours in traffic a year.

I thought about this some and have decided that doesn’t seem like a lot. That’s about 3 days just sitting in traffic. In the long term, that seems like barely anything. I’ve probably spent longer than that doing my nails. 

However, at the same time,  I am convinced that Time magazine is actually lying to me. Because sitting in traffic in my car is only one component of “traffic” that I regularly endure living in LA. I wait in line literally everywhere.

Let’s talk Costco. Costco used to be an enjoyable place for me. I used to be a huge fan of free sample Sundays and bulk food and obscenely large shopping carts. Since moving to LA, going to Costco is like going to an upper level of hell. I never get free samples. Why people STAND IN LINE for a measly morsel of a veggie burger is beyond me. Here’s a PSA. You can pick up a bulk package of 17 of those bad boys in less time it takes you to wait in line for one eighth of one. And people are mean! One time a lady hit my cart with her hand. Like seriously, how rude are you. I almost bounced a 24 pack of gala apples off her stupid mom hairdo. At least some string cheese (60 per pack!!.. bargain alert). But I restrained myself. Zen Meg. Everyone hates it here. Be the more mature Costco Member.

Traffic is over-rated in LA. In cars, On-foot, In Costco. That shit is Bananas.

7. Sunshine is over-rated.

Los Angeles is a city that averages 330 days of sunshine a year.  It’s insane. It’s beautiful. It’s overrated. Here’s why:

You know when it’s nice outside and you’re like aw shucks, I really shouldn’t be indoors, I should be outside enjoying this nice weather because sunshine is a commodity I can’t afford to not take advantage of? Yeah. Imagine that shit EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.

Like you’re laying in your bed, slowly dying from a hangover that is both criminally unfair and life-ruiningly painful and the sun is shining outside taunting you with it’s existence. Like Meg, screw you for drinking too much whiskey. You are a bad human being. You are hiding from the sun. You are a vampire.

Or those days where you aren’t even hung over. You just want to sit on your couch and watch 15 lifetime movies in a row (totally acceptable behavior) and you’re like it’s cool because it’s rainy outside and that means God wants me to do this. Well what if God makes it sunny and perfect and beautiful outside? Then what? I’ll tell you then what. Then you feel like an asshole for sitting on your couch all day.

6. Rent is over-rated.

I sold my first-born child and several organs to afford to live here.

Is it worth it?

To me?

Yes.

Is it actually worth it?

No.

California is a money raping monkey. My view is of my neighbors wall. I mean I go around the corner and up a block and the beach is there. So that part is sweet. But still man, come on! It’s a little rough. It’s manageable, it’s survivable. But it’s insane. Every month my checking account gets absolutely Hurricane Sandy’ed (I’m so not PC- Sorry.) So.. Pretty much entirely wiped out. So thanks for that California. You little over-rated rent monkey.

5. Men are over-rated. (women are too)

Oh stop, like I’m going to tell you my secrets.

Here’s all I’m going to say. Los Angeles is just like Kansas City is just like Denver. I’ve said it before I’ll say it again.  A valuable lesson for us all is that there is no magical land of Oz full of perfect guys. Los Angeles is full of jerks, idiots, ditzs, losers, and man children–  just like everywhere else. Yeah I said it. Los Angeles men— YOU are over-rated. You who roll up your pants and wear cotton cardigans. You hipster surfing business ninjas with an affinity for marijuana and whiskey cokes.

Sigh.

…I love every single one of you.

4. Parking is over-rated

There is something innately wrong with the civil engineers of Los Angeles. And it worries me. Specifically the ones who design grocery store parking lots. Even more specifically Trader Joes Parking lots. I’ve lost years of life in frustration. Watch this.

3. Trends are over-rated.

I work at a magazine company. We pretty much tell YOU what is popular. Some editor decides shes going to do a story on color-blocked nails and all of a sudden pinterest is straight BLOWING UP with tutorials and grams (#instaCUTE) in middle America. So by default, I know trendy.

– I know you don’t wear tennis shoes to brunch.

-I know what good ombre hair looks like.

-I know that Chocolate is the BEST coconut water.

-I know ox-blood is the color of the moment.

-That “pop-up shops” and “sample sales” is just every-day native shopping jargon.

– I know that when Topshop opens at the Grove, it will be crowded for over a month and I know I’d get laughed at if I tried to go to Gjelina without a reservation on a Friday night.

…So I get it ok?

And I also kind of like knowing this stuff.

BUT god, it’s over-rated sometimes. If I hear the phrase  “boozy brunch” one more time, I’ll vomit on my tennis shoes. (Which means I’m probably going to).

I wish I didn’t know dry bars existed.

Food trucks are ruining my life. And waist line. And don’t even get me started on Sprinkles Cupcakes.

I’m just saying.. My brain is full. I miss the days when the biggest news in my life was the H&M opening on the plaza. Those were simpler times.

2. Relationships are over-rated.

It is freaking difficult to make friends in a city full of so many people. Really. Even for me. I know that’s shocking and hard to imagine. But if you’ve ever moved somewhere new and didn’t know anyone. Or even if you do know people and you’re just trying to meet new people, you understand. And no kids, college absolutely does not count.

It’s hard to connect with people. And I mean really connect.

This does not include:

– your mutual love of drinking and/or drugs

– your mutual affection for stalking celebrities

– your mutual fear of homeless people

Connecting with people, as you might have guessed, is a little more. And it’s really hard in the bright lights, big city.

I’ve gone to many a party where pretty much the entire time, I was aware of the fact that I was easily  the least cool person here. Everyone had great hair and long legs and looks fantastic in a pair of cut-off denim shorts (I mean seriously) and really actually rocked a mustache in a completely un-ironic way and you’re kind of like WTF! I look like a ninja turtle. Wait, are bangs in again? God, I can’t keep up with you people. I’m going home and painting my nails black.

1. Los Angeles is Over-rated.

So here’s the truth. And it’s exactly what you want to hear. LA is full of surface level, fake, seedy, botoxed, plucked fame loving freaks. It’s materialistic and rude and fast and eats you up and spits you out and doesn’t care about your sob story or your dreams or your petty little ambitions. It doesn’t care that you want to be an actress, a writer, a professional trumpet player. If you can’t pay your rent, if you can’t afford your lifestyle, get the hell out-of-town. The city doesn’t want you. It’s full of attractive, brilliant, talented people and guess what? Here’s the biggest truth of all. All your mid-western parents who told you that you were special? Well, they lied. You aren’t special at all. You’re just another pretty wannabe in a city of pretty wannabes. And it comes down to who you know and who you’re willing to blow.

And that’s the most over-rated thing of all.

The traffic sucks. I get called an asshole by other drivers at least twice a week. The place is littered with tourists and tour buses and people who only want to be your friend because it benefits them. Taxi drivers are mean and don’t take cards (which is infuriating). Parking tickets are inevitable. You constantly feel the need to keep up with the Joneses but don’t have the funds to really do so. You get really good at giving yourself your own manicures. It’s lonely. It’s frustrating. People are flaky.

However, before you go and think that I’ve lost a little light inside of me and I’ve become just another hopeless jaded drone that LA destroyed — here’s another truth:

Los Angeles is a city of incredible opportunity. Of extreme gambles, of luck, of dreams, of fortune. It’s the kind of place you can wake up and truly anything can happen. Today could be your big break. Today could change everything. It’s a lottery ticket city, a day-in, day-out scratch card. Every day you could strike out, but every day you could make a home-run. It’s a place you can see snow and the beach on the same day. Where you can still see the stars.  Where you can be really whoever you want to be.  Where one day you’re an almost homeless nobody and the next everyone knows your name.

I live in Los Angeles.

It’s crazy.

It’s weird.

It’s sweet.

It’s kind.

It’s absolutely perfect.

Yup.

I live in Los Angeles.

It’s totally over-rated.

And I love every minute of it.

m

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Nobody likes you when you’re 23. (A Blink 182 reprise)

I hate the term 20-somethings. 

It’s almost as bad as “tweens” though I suppose not quite as bad as “over-the-hill”.

It’s a hallmark card reject.

Some double-speak from 1984.

Our entirety of existence summed up in a clichéd #hashtag.

Someday they’ll write a documentary about us, the age of the 20-somethings! The tweeting-stagraming-facebook-stalking demographic who lived at home and blacked out at the occasional happy hour (Sorry, we’re like not sorry teehee). Oh what a doomed group of individuals. All they want to do is go to brunch and online shop. Tragic.

…Ohemmgeee, I love that new Kesha song! 

We’re at that weird stage in our lives where we want desperately to be taken seriously and at the same time, desperately defiant about how immature we clearly still are. We’re all Peter Pans, crossing our arms and declaring we’re never going to grow up each and every weekend.

But Monday comes around and we don’t roll over and miss it. We don’t think.. I’ll go on Tuesday. We get up. We go to work. And we do it for five days in a row. And then we leave work and drive to the gym. Do our 25 minutes cardio, buy new lightbulbs for the living room lamp and go to bed mindlessly adding items to our online shopping cart from Crate and Barrel as the white noise of the tv plays in the background. And we turn off all the lights because electricity is expensive as shit. And we go to sleep. And it’s not even midnight. 

And, just like that….. we’re grown-ups!!!!!

Sort of. 

Growing up isn’t something you just buy a few responsible items (…WHY ARE MATTRESSES SO EXPENSIVE?!), develop a 9-5 routine, declare your own independence, maturity and intellect on the world and bam– instant adulthood.

Right. No. Sorry. Wrong.

I think one of the biggest things I’ve learned recently is that everyone has to grow old, but that doesn’t mean everyone grows up.

Because here’s something they don’t tell you as a kid. Our parents are supposed to be our role models for wrong and right.  Our bosses are supposed to be examples of outstanding upright business conduct. Our politicians are supposed to be representatives of clean moral execution. Models in magazines are supposed to be examples of positive body image. Sports players are supposed to demonstrate favorable sportsmanship.

They’re supposed to be.

And that’s about where that little youthful fairytale ends. 

I’m 23 years old.

Sometimes I think that’s old. For example, when I realize Justin Bieber was born in 1994. Other times, I feel desperately uninformed, naive, and stupid. Just put me in a car seat and strap a bonnet on my head, because Meg, you’re 5 and you know nothing. 

Since moving to LA, I’m usually told I’m the latter of the two. Which is fun sometimes. Because I’m 23 bitches! There’s lots of room for lots of mistakes between now and being a grown-up! I’m going to make sure every bad decision is actually bad so I’m going to screw up in the same way several times from different angles just to be absolutely sure that it is not the correct way of going about things. And then? When I mess up for the 700th time? No biggie! I’m 23! It’s chill. YOLO.

However, most of the time, it’s not in that way. It’s in the, “Meg, you don’t understand. You’re so young.” It’s like my youth is an insult. A conversation ender. The cut-off. My age thrown in my face to shut me up. Silly youthful girl with silly youthful dreams and ambitions.  The end of discussion. The royal flush. The check mate. Because I can’t argue that. I AM 23. I am young. I guess there’s nothing else to say. So, I just smile and nod. You’re right. I don’t understand. Strap me in. Where’s my pacifier?

…To me, learning has an endless curve, and I’m only as wise as I am today, but less-so than tomorrow. BUT. Because no one is here now to correct me, to remind me– I think I’ll casually step on a soap box and say a few words. To my fellow almost-adults. To my peer pledges, to my friends who still get stuck bound and gagged at the kids table, listen up. 

Age is but one factor in growing up. As I said before, we all grow old, but maturity, responsibility, logic and common sense– I believe there’s a little more to these than just simply growing old. I think we are all innately given a certain level of maturity. And from there it becomes a matter of how we learn from experiences and how we grow from situations that happen to us that ultimately mature us. Give us wisdom.  And age, in my opinion, has very little to do with that. 

Don’t believe me?

I’m looking up to the adults of the world now. Because here’s what I know. What I’ve learned. From you. It’s wrong to cheat. It’s wrong to steal. It’s wrong to lie. It’s wrong to murder. Yet, people twice my age, triple my age, people we elect as our leaders–people we have govern our country, our schools, our families! do it every single day, and they do it often without batting an eye. Make the same mistake over and over again. Gamble away their savings. Lie to the people they love. Break up homes. 

We grow up in the matrix. We grow up thinking in solid black and white. But eventually, you realize right and wrong is fluid. Our actions ripple several shades of grey around us. I think some people never learn this. I think some people read it like a book they never stomach. I think some people skim above it knowing it exists but prefer a world where that’s not the case, regardless if that world really exists or not. Ignorance is bliss, my fellow Peter Pans. 

I think we grow up in little pieces. Little puzzle pieces that make up our lives. In disappointments. In failures. In huge accomplishments. In feelings.  In great victory. In heartbreaking defeat. 

But it is not our age that helps us put it together. It is our ability to learn. To adapt. To change. 

Simply? You don’t wake up one day, buy a plunger, eat three balanced meals, learn how to drink responsibly and declare yourself a fully fledged son-of-a-gun grown up. Yet… that’s what they’d have you believe. 

But I think… maybe growing up isn’t that simple. Maybe being an adult isn’t as finite as society would have us believe. Maybe there’s more to it. Maybe.

Or maybe…

I’m just a naive, innocent, bright-eyed little girl from the midwest. 

Because I’m 23.

I’m only as smart as I am today, a little less-so than tomorrow. 

But I’m also the future.

So maybe you should let me finish. 

M

I tried to do handstands for you

I moved into my new place this week.

It’s a little surreal. I can’t remember the last time I moved somewhere with such an indefinance. Maybe never. Like I’m moving and I’m going to be there and that’s that.

It’s going to be HOME.

Home.

It’s different things to different people. I still call my house in Colorado “home”, but I haven’t lived there for years. And then of course, there’s KU, which will always be home on some level. And then there’s where I am in the present. And there’s the feeling I just get from being with certain people. Like you’re so comfortable it’s like the relationship version of grey sweatpants on your couch on Saturday. And then there’s memories. Memories can be home too. You can live in the past so long, that the present is a stranger and the future is like window shopping for something you can’t afford and you don’t really want anyway.

For me, home is mobile experience. i don’t really like the indefinance of the word. So I like to think of it as a moveable experience.

Sometimes, when I watch destination commercials, I get restless. Like what am I doing? I need to be living in Tahiti barefoot and brown as a surf instructing mermaid with just enough clothing on to be in public soaking up sun until I become just a beam of light and float into the atmosphere.

And I need to be in France, talking in a silky accent as I casually stroll through Jardin des Tuileries eating nutella in a subtle sophistication that you can’t really get from your tongue just sucking a spoon.

And I need to be New York! Where writers and artists flock like directionally challenged birds flying south for the winter.

Despite my gypsy attitude toward being home, I still occasionally feel like I play it safe. Like I’m wasting time. Like there’s all these things I need to be doing and here I am just weekend after weekend and day after day, not getting after it.

Because who needs home when I have all this shit to do in these destinations that I’ve never been to? Now’s not the time to settle! I can’t settle. I’m scared of settling.

I feel like I have this pressure on me. I need to hurry up and write scripts and books and gather a following and start chasing down some dream that I haven’t even nailed down the logistics of yet. And I get nervous when I see people my age who are doing amazing things with their lives, who are already going after all the things they want to do. Especially because for me, sometimes I find victory in a day that I successfully paint my nails and don’t spill down the front of my shirt and make it through a twenty-minute run without tripping.

I’m scared I sound like a broken record. Like look at me! Cute little naive midwestern girl who wants to write moves to California and eats oatmeal and makes it through each day with a cute little moral of story tied in a bow. I’m restless with my own image.

I sit down to write and I think, I’ve said this before. I’m saying the same thing I’ve always said. I’m becoming irrelevant. And then I let my head hit the key board and type gibberish. I think about posting it because wouldn’t that be funny? You all go to read my blog and its all just letters and numbers and symbols and nothing makes sense and you’re like Meg what’s going on over there? And I’m like Guys! It’s a metaphor for my life. And there’s this awkward internet pause and then I laugh and type a frog emoticon. Ribbit.

Because that’s what I feel like sometimes. Like I’m just going around in little caffeine induced circles, begging everyone to follow their dreams and get off their couches and move on from their exes and live on the edge and dammit, don’t you know you’re never fully dressed without a smile?

Do you get sick of hearing it? Have you stopped believing me? Do you ever actually listen?

I like telling people that my blog is like a mini-chick flick. A little chick-flick post. Where there’s a cute little lead-in narration and then conflict and then in the end I live happily ever after. I like my life to follow that formula. Don’t we all?

But people who believe in chick-flicks are petty and delusional right? Those girls who want Ryan Gosling from the Notebook, are a straight-up squirrel related version of nuts. You roll your eyes at them and think, good luck sweet heart. Hollywood makes a fortune off your silly little fantasies.

English: Ryan Gosling at the 2010 Toronto Inte...

English: Ryan Gosling at the 2010 Toronto International Film Festival. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So do I really want my writing to be something synonymous with the ridiculous antics twinkle town boxes up and sells for a few months at 20.99 before immediately becoming irrelevant because another one (following the same exact formula) surfaces?

I don’t know.

I really don’t.

I don’t want to be irrelevant. I don’t want people to read what I have to say and think it’s a load of superficial unrealistic crap and then immediately cast it aside and forget it. I don’t want to keep saying the same thing and never doing it. I want to resonate! I want you to think about me in the middle of the night. I want you to think about my words for the next several days. I want to strike some chord deep down inside of you that inspires you to act. That’s the kind of writing I aspire to create. I’m moved by other words. I want you to be moved by mine.

I don’t want you to settle down. I want you to have this same lightning bolt up your ass that makes you scared to get stuck. That makes you scared of rolling over 10 years from now in the same spot because you were too scared to move. I want you to stop watching reality tv and get involved in your own reality. I’m scared that you’re not. I’m scared that I’m not.

Sometimes, I go through an entire day and I do nothing that scares me! How can I possibly live life on the edge if I sit at a desk all day? One time, I came home from work and spent the entire night trying to figure out how to do a handstand. It was terrifying. And I injured myself several times. And I wasn’t successful. But I bet no one else did that! And so isn’t that enough? I’m living life on the edge.. right? I’m being different.

It’s like this: watch?v=MBopFmu3yAg

And that’s it.

On the nose.

I’m scared of being unoriginal and cliche and saying the same thing over and over again. And I feel super lame. And I need to be kind of weird for a few minutes so I can be original again.

Or do something really crazy to prove I still have it. Like moving to Tahiti or France or New York. I get restless with normalcy. I get restless with averageness. I need to pick up a weird hobby. Like harmonica playing. Or insisting on bringing back quilts. Or date a guy with a mustache.

You ever feel like that? Because I do. All the time. And I can’t make myself write when I feel like my words are some refabrication of something I’ve said before. Like I’m plagiarizing myself.

So like I said before.. I moved into my new place this week. And it’s different. I feel home. In a different way. I feel a little less restless. Because there’s lots of room to be weird in a place you’ve never lived before. There’s bare walls and no furniture and lots of space for handstands. There’s room for stories. There’s space for adventure. And so that pressure to do things before my internal ticking clock runs out subsides for now. Tahiti and France and New York and my book can momentarily wait.

And at least for a little bit,

I give us all permission to stop chasing down the need to be someone and do things and stand on mountain tops and scream.

and for once just enjoy that feeling of finally just being home,

..Whatever that means to you.

Ribbit.

M