Leading Up to My Move to Los Angeles
I lived in this apartment for a year and a half. It was perfect (other than that one time I shared it with a mouse). I was walking distance from Fourth Avenue (where all the local shops and boutiques are) and downtown. I could walk to my favorite coffee shops, to meetings, to most events. It was great. But come Summer 2018, a few months after quitting my desk job and right after finally cutting all ties with my ex, I knew I had to get out if I really wanted to go after the life I wanted to create for myself. My dreams and my growth were not within reach of my 1920’s duplex apartment. I felt stagnant and restrained. This was a season of letting go.
Quitting, breaking up (actually more like cutting off), and breaking my lease all in a span of a few months felt so sudden, so emotional, yet a purge that felt so necessary. These three things were all too comfortable, and therefore uncomfortable. My logic was that I (a driven, single, determined Latina in her early twenties) did not need such a cozy, convenient apartment. I should be out in the world taking risks and making sacrifices! If there was a time for all that, it would be now! I had to move on from what was familiar and push my boundaries of comfort.
I am so grateful for this apartment because when I first moved in it was a time when I needed a safe space, a comfortable space and it was the first time I lived alone. But now I felt emotionally and mentally prepared to leap into the unknown even more and move onto the next thing. This time around it was by choice (times before it had been what felt down on my luck).
I could have either signed a lease at another cheaper apartment and have gotten roommates or move in with my mom. I haven’t lived with my family since I was seventeen. I moved and was on my own right after high school graduation in 2011, so I knew it’d be an adjustment I had to be ready for if I moved in with my mom and brothers. Moving out of my apartment as a single freelancer felt like an opportunity to really go all in in trying to make certain goals happen: travel more, visit LA more often, focus on landing clients (rather than bills) and be ready and able to move to a new city as soon as the opportunity arises. So, instead of signing a lease somewhere, I decided to move in with my mom in July 2018.
A friend of mine who had helped convince me to just move in with my mom (I needed some convincing because there’s a societal sense of shame surrounding living with your family as an adult) came over to the house and as I showed him around he realized I did not have my own room. “So you sleep on the couch?”, he asked in surprise. “Yeah, you actually thought I’d have my own room?”, I answered.
I gave up so much of what made me feel independent. I didn’t have my own bed. I didn’t have much (really any) privacy. It was, like I mentioned, an adjustment. Reminding myself that this was my choice helped. It wasn’t necessarily out of necessity but out of convenience. It was an intentional decision.
I initially thought of it as an opportunity to really spend time with my family before the opportunity came for me to move to another city where I wouldn’t see them as much. And it was. There were times where my grandma would visit and stay a couple weeks at a time, so (although I never got really any work done) I got to spend quality time with her as well.
And, looking back now, I really did everything I wanted to do. Things I would not have been able to do or align with had I still been living at my apartment. Knowing it was a goal to live in Los Angeles I knew it be smart if I started to reintroduce myself into the creative scene, so I started a monthly event at Delicious Pizza (shout out Rick and Darion). I’d take a nine hour bus ride every month and sleep on my homie’s couch (shout out Juan and Jose) to make it happen. Every time I was in LA, I made sure to make the most out of it and squeeze in a meeting or two while I was there, too.
I, also, accomplished other goals! Including: traveling to Atlanta for A3C (shout out Marcus), travel to New York City (and as a invitee for the Girlboss Rally), hosted an influencer dinner, went to ComplexCon again (shout out Michael), land big name clients like Rolling Loud, began writing for a publication again, and attracted likeminded, high frequency relationships.
But it wasn’t easy, even if I was living “at home.” Actually, part of the reason why it became mentally challenging was because I was living at home. To be transparent, my mom and I have never really had the best relationship. We love each other but there’s always been some kind of deep rooted tension I’ve never really understood. And I was/am well aware we are better off living apart from each other than under the same roof. I think some of my fellow Latinx folx in my generation would understand when I say that I’ve worked hard for my mental health evolution and with certain family members, the mental health gets challenged. Not to get too deep into it, this is me with my mom. It actually got so “bad” that I honestly had to move out and be a nomad come the new year, 2019 - something that was not “in the plan.”
I read the affirmations below that I wrote on a whiteboard and read everyday to keep strong and stay focused.
This was difficult. I’ve kept quiet and private much of the past year mostly because I was focused on self-growth but partly because I was kind of struggling and pretty much homeless. In fact, nobody (other than my brothers) really knew that I was just hopping around from place to place, couch to couch just trying to get by until things fell into place for me. I could’ve just signed a lease at an apartment in Tucson and called it a day but this wasn’t a part of the plan. I was determined to move to LA.
It was an interesting time because although I found myself in this situation, my business matters were going pretty great. I still ran my festival. I still was landing big name clients and opportunities. I was traveling often. It was actually during this time where I’ve hired the most contractors for help and created opportunities to pay others for awesome projects. I always wondered how my life came off on social media and what others perceived of me because I was only sharing successful moments that included much traveling, so I am sure most people thought I was in riches and living my best life.
There were times where I didn’t know where I was going to go. I had a suitcase with all my essentials in the trunk of my car and if you ever saw me out in public you’d never think that I was going through what I was going through. Ironically, this part of my life was more expensive than I thought because I kept having to go to coffee shops for WiFi access (and I am not someone to go to a coffee shop to use their WiFi and not buy something). I grew more and more impatient (and excited) to have my own space again where I could just work from home and not worry about this, not spend so much money of coffee’s.
Then came Summer 2019 and it finally felt like it was time to make the move.
So much just started falling into place and everything started to feel right. I made my sacrifices, I took my risks and now the Universe was rewarding me left and right. One of the biggest alignments being meeting my roommate, whom also felt it was time for her move to LA at the same time as myself. Her name is DyAnna. We had been following each other on Instagram for a while and finally met irl when I hired her for a project I had in Miami. When we met in person, we just clicked. It felt like we had known each other forever. When I mentioned to her that I was moving to LA, she proposed to join me.
We had been scouting potential apartments for weeks but every landlord wanted someone to sign the lease asap and we were looking for an August first move-in date. I was ready to go but DyAnna was still in New York City with a lease ending at the end of July (por algo pasan las cosas). Luckily, my cousin Carlos let me stay at his apartment with him pretty much all Summer. It was only the last two weeks of July where I had to figure out where to stay in the meantime. I also decided to bus to LA one weekend to scout apartments in person and I am grateful I was able to to this because sure enough I found our new home in West Hollywood.
Now I am here, writing this blog post at my own apartment with my own WiFi and my creative roommate right next to me who is working on her own freelance work. Our apartment doesn’t have much yet but both of our hearts are full.
The Universe prepped me for this manifestation in ways that were challenging, ways that were uncertain, ways that I did not understand how I’d get by but I did. And now I can’t help but be overflowing with gratitude. I know the challenges won’t stop and I still have uncertainties but I feel aligned and angel numbers always go out of their way to meet me. So I’m ready for it all because I allowed myself to be much, much, much before this moment.
I tried my best to keep this short and sweet and this post is still a little lengthy, yet I didn’t even share all the details. If you have any specific questions about my journey or want to share bits of yours, please feel free to reach out. I wanted to write this post because I know I am not alone in figuring this whole life thing out. We all have our seasons and we should never feel embarrassed or ashamed when we aren’t in glitz and glam, especially when we’re just trying to design our dream life. I could not have gotten by this past year alone, there are so many people who gave me hope, opportunity and a lending hand when I needed it (even if it was just one conversation). So I want to shout them out in no particular order (hopefully I don’t miss anyone):
Isaac Kirkman, Ruby Padilla, Carlos Valencia, Carlo Valencia, Marco Valencia, Jeanette Velasquez (mom), Victoria Valenzuela, Josh Gonzales, Michael Howard, DyAnna Moreno, Cassandra Jolie, Lisa Marie Posso, Edward Romero, Amir Abassy, Rick Ross, Michael Allegretto, Juan Fleischer, Justin Hunte, Yusuf Yuie, Doug Stevenson, Gabe Grateron, Jose Martinez, Doris Muñoz, Janice Llamoca, Kathy Iandoli, Andres Tardio, Andres Parga, Francisco Reyes Jr., Tariq Cherif, Ben Hagarty, Z, Nick Jarjour, Dossé-Via Trenou, Marc Gianni, Evelynn Escobar-Thomas, Ashley Ballard, and Rachel Gomez.