We really do love The Big Apple. The hustle, the volume of sheer awesomeness per square capita, and the interconnectivity of it all, thanks to smooth-functioning public transportation — it's pretty freakin' amazing. But that never-ending buzz can be sort of overwhelming at times, if for no other reason than wanting to do it all and not miss a thing.
That was Cord Jefferson's experience, at least. In a most-compelling piece for Gawker titled "I Used to Love Her, But I Had to Flee Her: On Leaving New York," the L.A.-based writer explores the idea of abandoning the metropolis he so adored, the hesitation and confusion, the relief and the aftermath, and what it feels like to choose Lala over Gotham at the end of the day. He analyzes the magnetism of N.Y.C. as both a place and a state of mind. How, in a way, putting up with all the hardship, and sometimes, the literal shit, actually solidifies your bond with the place. Rather than simply neighbors, you're teammates with your fellow New Yorker just trying to survive. Complaining about tough realities is "like a secret handshake…thrown out quickly to differentiate between those in the know from everyone else." You muscle through it, those tough realities, and by god that can feel pretty good at the end of a sweaty summer day. Making it work in the the big city imparts power to its inhabitants, and a feeling of, well, "if you can make it here, you can make it anywhere" (thanks, Frank!). We don't disagree.
Jefferson goes on to discuss his eventual move to the City of Angels and how divulging the relocation still triggered a "twinge of shame" even a year after the move. He probes the strange stigma that exists — the Hollywood stereotypes (mostly absent in day-to-day life), the "rampant" plastic surgery (which is actually less prevalent than in cities such as Nashville, Louisville, and Salt Lake City), and the "vapid bleach-blonde bimbos." But we learn that our town was actually home to Joan Didion, Christopher Isherwood, Charles Bukowski, and so many more. So, why is L.A. rarely considered a particularly intellectual city?
It's all very interesting food for thought. From relishing in the underdog status of L.A. to just plain enjoying the ability to get a little more bang for your buck, Jefferson shares a life lesson he's been reminded of throughout the course of his journey: "Ignore the world if you're happy with where you are and what you're doing." Amen!
Whether you've made the move or not, and no matter which side of the story you're on, it's a worthy read. And please, share with us your thoughts and inter-coastal experiences below! (Gawker)