I Moved Across the Country
A Reflection on Leaving Everything I’d Come to Know, Acting on Inner-Knowing, and Crushing Limiting Beliefs
Do you think losing yourself is a choice?
I think it depends. We always know who we are deep down. It’s just the recognizing part that’s off in the distance. We can spend a long time on autopilot; hiding behind different personalities, withdrawing into ourselves, being silent, or not speaking the truth. All of these things contribute and build up a version of ourselves that doesn’t entirely align with who we are. You could call them, “steps to becoming.” These parts of ourselves, hollow or not, lead us to the present. And these pieces are anything but purposeless. They hold the space for us while we’re figuring it out. There then comes a moment- maybe not a grand realization, but a pivot in the direction of change. From there, we take baby steps. These steps come as situations where we make the choice; to recede or to embody. Once we realize we have the ability to make this choice, well then I think it’s safe to say you can choose to lose yourself.
In this story, I chose to embody myself. I’d say find myself, but I think the word find is unfitting. No finding is necessary for this type of journey. With all I’ve been through and accumulated thus far, I know me. Most of my actions don’t come as a surprise to me. It isn’t finding. It’s more so choosing not to buy into something else or to try to be anyone else. I don’t need to lie or alter my beliefs, morals, or thoughts in order to make someone else comfortable. That’s exhausting. Instead of hiding behind being small, I want to take up so much space that people can really see me. And hear my ideas too.
Change and movement are what keep me alive. At a fundamental level, they are what make me happiest. I know where I grew up like the back of my hand. In fact, in the months before my big move, I spent most of my time just driving up and down the northeast; sleeping at friends’ houses and exploring. I have a great love for the places that raised me. At times, my heart has a deep longing for them. But on the road, I discovered a happiness I’d never felt before- an excitement to be breathing. Instead of dissociating, I found myself fully present and that allowed me to feel comfortable in this human body. Being on the road taught me to have gratitude for the most basic parts of life- all the parts that get lost in the repetitive nature of everyday life.
I think the simplicity is actually what I most adore- the slow movements of early morning, first sips of coffee, the comfort of linen bedsheets. But my room can feel like a jail cell, no matter where I am. I’m most at home away from what a lot of people consider to be home: familiar faces and places.
I don’t care if I know anyone well or not. The unknown is exciting. And being alone has allowed me to get out of my comfort zone. I end up learning more about myself. Sometimes you just need a bigger pot to grow in.
I moved to California without any real warning. I had a general idea, but no real plan. No job. No specific agenda. I was on a road trip with some of my friends and got a feeling- an inner knowing. I began creating something in my head that I could really live in. I imagined myself thriving in this new life. Instead of this being just another one of my ideas, I realized that I could actually do it.
For months, it felt like I was being dragged around in a tidal wave. I was hit with many life situations that required a lot of processing. While my time on the road gave me peace, I knew I couldn’t do it forever, especially not with school starting and no remote income. I craved rest, stability, and space. This was perfect timing. So I acted on my daydream and made a very big, important decision that would completely shift my world. And it was one of the easiest, breeziest decisions I’ve ever made. Sure, there were seeds of doubt and stressful moments. That’s a given. But I was ready. Everything seemed to flow with me. Things began to open up for me and work out in a way that made it feel like I was on the right path.
With that, I prepared for the road again, to get up and leave everything I knew; friends, family, and land I love, for the possibility of creation. Let’s be clear- no opportunity was promised for me. I left home for an alien land, almost literally. Southern California kind of looks like Mars sometimes (respectfully). But I had settled it in my mind that these were the kind of people I wanted to be around. I quite enjoy the friendliness of West Coasters. I’m delighted by conversations with strangers in coffee shops- their open minds and adventurous hearts. I love running into chatty people who have cool interests, and that outdoor enthusiasm seems to be everywhere I go. Maybe it’s just the California dream, but I like the idea that here, anything is possible.
Uttering the words, “I’m thinking of moving to California”, to the people I love brought fear that I’d disappoint them. I thought moving across the country would put a strain on my relationships. I feared they’d wish ill on my desire. And I honestly didn’t really tell anyone that I was moving until it was almost time to go. I didn’t want mushy goodbyes or the, “oh why are you leaving”s. It wasn’t because I was trying to be inconsiderate. I wasn’t ready to explain verbally why I made this choice, although I knew the way I felt. I was afraid of not being accepted for my wishes when being honest brought the opposite into my life. I realized that when people love you, they support you. What most people want out of you is simply transparency.
There are spells of homesickness for sure. And when I get caught up in my feelings, I’ll stop going out, close myself off, and sulk in my bedroom. I’ll question if I made the right choice at all. I miss my trees. I miss my mountains. I miss my people. But then there are moments where I’ll meet someone, or see the sunset, or walk amongst the cacti, and I’ll feel like I’m right where I belong. I feel that spark again and the willingness to be vulnerable in order to put myself out there. I find myself finally asking for what I want and putting in action towards my dreams, instead of, well, just dreaming about them. I feel this pull towards the future but am deeply grounded in the present. And I think had I not left home, I wouldn’t be as driven. This decision allowed me to deeply honor my entire being, instead of compromising my personal truths.
Some people might say I’m crazy, or irresponsible, or impulsive. Maybe those words are true, but I don’t think it’s wrong to act based on the fact that it’s what you want or what feels right in your heart. Sometimes you have to trust even if you don’t know the next step. Especially when you’re moving to a place like LA, people kind of look at you like you have two heads if you don’t have some creative agenda. But perhaps moving to a place like LA inspires a creative agenda. Why wait to do what you want, especially if it’s something that will allow you to fully embody and explore yourself or, at the very least, give you the environment/space to do so? We come to this world and are led through it based on other people’s ideas of what’s true and what they’ve created for themselves.
There’s a delicate balance between being anchored to reality and still allowing yourself to have your head in the clouds- to dream. Sometimes we forget that it’s possible to birth something entirely new. I think California culture challenges that exact notion. I think that’s what lures people here (aside from gorgeous weather).
Moving was my way of dreaming up something entirely new. It was a challenge to see if I could do it. Thinking past limiting beliefs requires questioning what you know to be true. Getting out of your comfort zone and doing something scary requires you to be positive even when you don’t feel like it. It means acting beyond fear. It gives brave and courageous a definition. It’s not only learning not to care what others think and moving forward with your life, but also learning to give yourself the permission to do so. It’s learning to be what you need. It’s not easy and I don’t mean to make it seem like it is. I get sad and homesick, but I chose this path. I chose to break my walls in this way. I was taught that being uncomfortable builds character.
Life is too short to not do what your heart calls you to do. And holding on too tight causes much more pain than being malleable, gliding with life’s twists and turns. We must learn to love unconditionally because distance is just distance, just as time is this thing we created to tie ourselves down. Speaking my truth into existence has brought more love and support into my life than I ever thought. I’m sure my decision caught many by surprise, but I feel like it’s just like me to do something like this.