I’ve Made A Mistake

Los Angeles I’ve made a mistake.

Los Angeles I left you and now I’m here, and the people tell me I’m better off but I’ve come to believe that they’re wrong. They tell me you’re bad, they tell me you’re dirty, they tell me you’re moody, and Los Angeles, all those things are true, but they don’t understand you.

Los Angeles the reason people think you’re pretentious is because we can be anybody with you. Every single day we can reinvent ourselves and never have to repeat a facade. The reason everyone in Los Angeles believes they’re someone is because everyone in Los Angeles can be someone. Anyone can make a living doing anything and Los Angeles, that’s what’s so magical about you. You wait for us to say ‘this is what I love more than anything’ and you show us a place in the sprawl where we belong.

Los Angeles you taught me more than any book ever has but Los Angeles, you made me want to learn more.

Los Angeles I don’t like being on the edge. I miss being in the middle; the choke of claustrophobia, the tension of crowds, and the sweat and tears of everything moving around you and Los Angeles, it’s too quiet here.

Los Angeles you never hid yourself from anyone. Everyone puts on a pretty face and acts ok while on the inside they’re screaming but Los Angeles, you sat exposed and vulnerable to everyone. You never tucked your insecurities away behind a smile and that’s why you scare people. Los Angeles, people want the illusion of safety and comfort but you never gave that to them, you displayed the high risk and you also displayed the high reward and not everyone is willing to traverse the middle ground and sometimes slip to reach the sweet reward at the top.

Los Angeles I don’t know if I drink more now than when I was with you but Los Angeles, I’ve never felt this damaged before.

Los Angeles you brought out the best in me and you brought out the worst in me but you made me realize that that’s how the world works. No one is just good and no one is just bad and every one is human no matter how small or how big they are.

Los Angeles you never asked me to impress you but I always wanted to.

Los Angeles you stripped me down to nothing and you made me realize what I was. You forced me to grow, and I became someone I didn’t recognize, but I knew I was me. Los Angeles the reason people fear you is because you expose them, and you expose the best and the worst of the people and the world and they’re not ready to face that.

Los Angeles I miss getting lost in your sprawl. I miss the neighborhoods and the barrios and the towns and the villages; I miss the diversity and the uncertainty. Any corner you turned could be your last, but any corner you turned could be the start of a great discovery, Los Angeles I miss the mystery and the surprise and the risk and the reward.

Los Angeles I’m always tired here. At the end of every day with you I was exhausted; I saw things I had never seen, I smelled things I had never smelled, and I felt things I had never felt, and it was good and it was bad but it was fulfilling. Here, I’m just tired.

Los Angeles you fed me in a way no one else ever has. Chance after chance after chance to do something, to become someone, to save myself, so many chances, and I took them or I left them, but I am a changed person because you offered them to me.

Los Angeles they say conflict is the root of all creativity and Los Angeles, I miss the conflict.

Los Angeles you never let me feel lonely. I never needed to call on anyone to feel comforted and I learned to seek solace in the simple presence of strangers. Los Angeles, you’re a city of millions of people who are together in their aloneness, and that means we can share every experience with everyone else, and we’re never really alone.

Los Angeles you always smelled like garbage and sometimes you scared me but that’s just a reminder that the world isn’t perfect and there are flaws and there are scars, but at the end of the day we’re all keeping something tucked away and that doesn’t mean we can’t become someone.

Los Angeles you trampled all over me but I wear your tire treads and your boot marks like a badge.

Los Angeles I never missed home when I was with you. My family likes me better here; here I long to go home, I long to get away, I call constantly, and it makes them feel like I remember who I used to be.

Los Angeles I felt things when I was with you. Los Angeles, I wanted to feel things when I was with you. I had my darkest moments with you and I had my brightest moments with you and I do not remember you as the mean of those moments, but rather as each peak and each valley, because it is not the sum of all those moments that define you, it was each individual moment that defined me.

Los Angeles I found myself with you. You took my hand and sometimes you guided and sometimes you yanked but Los Angeles, you formed me with your bare hands and I owe my everything to you.

Los Angeles you were born to be hated. You’re an acid wash to the soul, you seep through flesh relentlessly until we’re nothing but bones; you filter out everything that was never meant to be and you spit out people who understand what they’re made of. If they’re weak, Los Angeles, they leave you with a gut-wrenching hatred, a half-eaten soul, but if they stay, Los Angeles, they’re bound to you and they’ll never truly leave you because you made them who they are.

Los Angeles I miss you. I want to be with you, I will let you punish me for my absence, and I will become a better person because of it. Los Angeles this distance is causing me more anxiety than your gunshots and stab wounds and sirens ever did. I have become stagnant, like a moldy lake here, and I can feel my muscles going into atrophy.

Los Angeles, I need you.

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