Romanticizing Los Angeles is my toxic trait

My friend asked me what my most toxic trait was the other day. Without any hesitation, I told her that it was romanticizing Los Angeles.

Haley Alvarez-Lauto | Senior Graphic Artist

To preface, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with the idea of romanticizing. I romanticize so many things — my life in Boston or my near future where I (hopefully) get a full-time job and live in a big city. It brings me excitement and makes me appreciate the little things a bit more.

But the way I romanticize LA can only be described as an unhealthy obsession. You could give me a mile-long list of all the cons, and I guarantee I would ignore them all. I know I need to experience all four seasons to thrive, and I’m aware that LA can’t offer that to me. I know there are sketchy neighborhoods all over the city that make it less enjoyable. I know all these things, yet I can’t seem to find it in myself to care. 

Why? I couldn’t tell you that, either.

I blame it on the influencers. So many of them move to LA and post vlogs of their daily lives, and it all seems peaceful and freeing. Things like driving to the Santa Monica Pier to watch the sunset one night or experiencing the vibrant nightlife are all just within your reach. Seeing house tours of these beautiful suburban neighborhoods that look like a utopia does not help.

Of course, this is social media, and I know they’re only showing the good parts of their life. But once again, I don’t care. I can’t stop romanticizing it, and it’s coming to the point where I’m considering living there. Maybe I’ll hate it. If I do, I can say I tried it out. But maybe I’ll love it, and I don’t want to give that opportunity up.

I’m also hoping to go into a creative field that involves writing, whether that be for scripts or novels. And other than New York, LA is also a very feasible place to do those things. It’s the city where film thrives, where Hollywood was born. Even if I don’t necessarily get to work my dream job — I hope to God I do — being in the middle of all of that is something I at least want to say I’ve been a part of.

As of now, my number one plan is to move to New York. It’s the best place for writing, and if I decide that I want to take the next step and put that creativity into a film, then I’ll consider LA. Or maybe I’ll wake the hell up by then and realize that there are so many negatives I have to take account of. 

I realize LA is also a huge city full of creative people, and it’s easy to feel overwhelmed or lose a part of your identity in a place like that. But I’ve found that instead of letting that overpower me, I can let the creativity of others fuel me. 

Feeding off of one another’s ideas and energies can be contagious in a good way, and even when I feel burnt out, writing has always been the thing that’s kept me grounded and focused. I owe it everything, and I’m hoping that never changes. That’s why I believe cities like New York or LA could be good for me. 

But who knows? I guess I’ll just follow my gut. If anything, I trust in myself, so if I’m meant to be in LA, I’ll end up there. 

In the meantime, you know what I’ll be doing. Romanticizing LA — in class, in my room, at a party. You name it. The possibilities are endless. 

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