My alarm was set for a certain time - some super early hour of the morning before the sun was even thinking about coming out, but I was awaken about twenty minutes earlier than that by my phone ringing.
I missed the call but there was a text in its wake.
Nina: my flight’s been cancelled!!!!
For the past several months (and really, the past couple of years) Nina and I had been planning our big move across the country to Los Angeles to follow our hearts and dreams and that path we knew for certain deep down that we were supposed to take. There was one night on June where we sat in our respective homes - mine in North Carolina, hers in Pennsylvania - and excitedly bought our one way tickets at the exact same time. We coordinated our flights so we’d land in LAX at roughly the exact same time. We were truly embarking on this journey at the same time, just like we’d dreamed those last nights our sophomore year in the Upstein dining hall, talking ambitions over chicken sandwiches and waffle fries.
Except Nina’s flight was cancelled. And I was about to be launched into our dreams…alone.
As we soon found out, that was the very very least of the obstacles we’d face in regards to the beast of Los Angeles.
Miraculously, Nina’s flight ended up not being cancelled and we reunited as planned in a terminal in the city of dreams. what transpired next is a story better experienced as an impassioned retelling that borders on performance by Nina and I - if you’re ever fortunate enough to be in both of our presences at the same time, you ought to request it. I guarantee you’ll find yourself sufficiently entertained.
And wondering how the hell we managed to make it past a few months, no less three freakin’ years! You’ll also wonder if we just ripped off the whole story out of the plot of a melodramatic Lifetime Original Movie. We didn’t. Those absurd, chaotic, and absolutely challenging things did happen to us. Retrospectively, of course they’d happen to us. Of course.
Fact of the matter is, we’re here. We’ve been here. Maybe not quite thriving, but more than thriving, and we’ve certainly come along way from the time we used to gaze longingly at the Islands down the road from the place a sister of a co-worker’s of my dad’s graciously let us stay in for our first month, eyes sparkling as we hoped for the day where we could afford to eat at such a place.
Yes, there was a point in our time in Los Angeles where we aspired to Islands.
And we’ve come along way to jokingly referring to El Pollo Loco employees as our only friends because they were the only people who were genuinely nice to us and engaged us in conversation for awhile there. El Pollo Loco employees and the string of mechanics I had to take the car I bought off of craigslist to upon moving out here.
We won’t talk about that car.
I don’t want this to be long. I just want to acknowledge a couple of things about moving out to Los Angeles:
I teeter back and forth between “Party in the USA” by Miley Cyrus and “That’s Not Me” by The Beach Boys as the summation of my Los Angeles’ existence (listen to both if you’re not familiar) but regardless, I just know this is where I’m supposed to be. And I can’t help but smile as I think back to that bright-eyed 16 year old, lusting for a city beyond the dull suburbia she’d been sentenced to, or back to that idealistic 20 year old who yearned for Los Angeles like her life depended on, and I think of how happy those former versions of myself would be to know that we made it. We fuckin’ made it, man.
Here’s to many more years, I hope. I love this place. It drives me so crazy most of the time, but I love this place, because it’s my city. It’s where I’m meant to be, and where I’ll see. Three years later, I can’t see myself belonging anywhere else but here.
Lastly, y’all: follow your dreams. Take that risk - absolutely take it. Leap off that cliff with nothing but faith on your back if it’s something you know deep in your heart that you absolutely must do. Don’t let the odds or what other people have to say or the fear of failure or any uncertainties hold you back. Nina and I had barely any money, no jobs lined up, no stable guaranteed living situation, no car, no friends out here but we got on that plane anyway, and we didn’t look back.
And look where we are now. Don’t just talk about it. Don’t just wish for it. Don’t just relegate yourself to listlessly dreaming. Just do it, no matter what. It might just end up being the absolute best decision of your life.
I know it was for me.
This week on the summer finale of Chanelle’s Life, Season 25…
After nearly five months, Chanelle has reached her wit’s end. Unable to abide any longer by fate’s seemingly arbitrary influences, she’s decided to take matters into her own hands, once and for all.
It’s the confrontation you’ve all been waiting for. And when it’s over, nothing will be the same. It will all finally come crashing down into an unredeemable end…or it could be a new beginning of something that stretches beyond Chanelle’s very dreams.
Tune in this Friday to see what happens in this teeth-clenching season finale!
If Jesus can get upset at people for threatening to kill a woman actually caught in the act of adultery and breaking a law that called for killing and then showed grace to her… how much more should we be upset that cops kill unarmed black lives who didn’t even break laws that call for killing? How much more should we show grace to these people? Even if someone messes up a little bit… who among us is without sin?