Ever since moving to LA, I’ve felt a little awkward whenever people ask me how I’m doing. Do I tell them the truth? Where do I start? Because the truth is, I was completely unprepared - emotionally, mentally - for my move to LA. I underestimated how comfortable I was in San Francisco, and I foolishly thought that closing the distance in my relationship would trigger an immediate and lasting happiness that would translate into all parts of my life.
Needless to say, I was wrong.
It’s no secret that the past year and a half have been difficult for me. Moving to LA had the unintended effect of plunging me into a deep and abiding depression that’s been difficult to crawl out of. At some point after moving, I lost the sense of autonomy and independence that I’d cultivated during my time in San Francisco, and I fell back into old, immature habits of attaching my happiness to Chris - whether he was spending enough time with me, lavishing me with attention, being available whenever I needed him. Even though I knew I was being unreasonable, I was insatiable - I demanded more from him, needed more from him, I soaked up his attention like a sponge and still found myself wanting. It took a long time for me to realize that what I should have been doing is demanding more from myself.
How cliché is it to admit that I had to relearn how to love myself before I could accept that Chris’ love was enough? I suppose it’s easy to forget when depression sits in your brain like a dense fog, clouding all rational judgement. I’ve had to teach myself how to start from scratch and cultivate a new identity, an improved LA iteration of myself that built upon who I was in San Francisco.
Recently I’ve felt like I’ve turned a corner and have discovered how to be happy in this new life, in this new city. I’ve taken more time to discover the nooks and crannies of LA, and have learned how to appreciate the ample space and sunshine that only LA affords. I’ve made strides in reconnecting with long lost friends and acquaintances, and I’ve made a concerted effort to incorporate outside social interaction into my life on a daily basis. I’ve started personal training to kickstart a gym habit in LA - something I’ve been sorely lacking since moving. Most importantly, I’ve learned how to find happiness from within, which is so much more satisfying than depending on others to hand happiness to you.
I’m optimistic about the next few months and what they have in store. And I look forward to the day, hopefully in the not-so-distant future, when someone asks me how I’m doing and I can say with complete confidence that I’m doing great. I’m doing just fine.