The Hole in Your Soul is The Hole in My Soul
This month marks my four year anniversary of living in Los Angeles. In many ways, LA is a beautiful place. The skies are sunny, the people are beautiful and we have beaches, parks and nature galore right in the middle of a huge urban metropolis. In other ways, LA can make you crazy. Like, literally possibly clinically insane. Mainly I think this is because most people move here with what I call “A Hole in Their Soul.” Many people who move to LA need some sort of validation. They need to fill whatever void they have in their life – not feeling like they are “enough” – by feeling attractive enough, important enough or cool enough to make it in Tinseltown. I’m not saying these are BAD people. I think more accurately, they might be SAD people.
I know this because when I arrived here I was one of them.
You don’t purposefully point to a map and think “LA will fill the void in my life.” It’s more of a subconscious thing. It’s the same delusion that makes people think winning the lottery and moving to a remote island will make them a happier more peaceful person. Sure – Power Ball and palm trees seem nice, but when you get to the island you still brought one common denominator. You brought yourself. And trust me – I don’t care what money, fame or success you have – there’s no escaping yourself.
If you move to Hollywood you must have some sort of desire to either be known, or to be surrounded by those who are known. If you don’t want to be famous, you certainly want to be fame adjacent. Why else would you move here? Biggie might have “come here strictly for the weather, women and the weed” (sticky green, in fact!), but in the end he returned to New York, satisfied with his trip to this weird bizarro land that celebrates looks over achievements, youth over wisdom and style waaaaaaaaaay over substance.
When you arrive in Los Angeles, something inside of you needs validation. You are probably passionate about several things, but in the end you are the most passionate about one thing: Yourself.
It’s been a weird road for me here. When I arrived I was certainly passionate about myself. I wanted to be SEEN – on TV, on red carpets, in magazines, whatever. Then something strange started to happen. I actually started to be on TV, on red carpets and work directly with all these celebrity oriented magazines. Everything was going according to plan. Sure I was told I was too fat, too ugly, too outspoken. I was told I need to dye my hair blonde. Be prettier. Be sexy. Be less sexy. Be (insert Network/Agent/Manager/Rando opinion of the day). I was told I need to smile more and think less. I was told to stop being so sassy and smart around rich or powerful guys because they would find it annoying. I’ve actually had dozens of women (Hmmm… somehow never men) tell me to downplay my education and intellect and play up my giggling, my boobs and my lightheartedness so guys we were hanging out with would feel superior. You’re in LA bitch! Act like it!
I’d go to parties and instead of looking you in the eye, people look around to see who else (ie: more important than you) is in the room. I booked my dream television hosting gig on the Style Network, only to loathe the job because my role was to tell young impressionable women that the clothes they are wearing aren’t cool or sexy enough. They must need a make over! Gross. I’m sorry, but nobody NEEDS a makeover. GROSS. GROSS. GROSS.
WE WILL MAKE YOU OVER B/C OBVS YOU ARE NOT ENOUGH… DUH
I’d be at dinner and people would only talk about 3 things: Celebrities, money and themselves. I started to loathe Los Angeles. Worse, I started to loathe myself for being the type of human who would want to come here. It all seemed so shallow. So meaningless. So desperate. Even worse, it was ENDLESSLY BORING.
Then something happened. Something changed. I did not want to be seen. The idea of going anywhere near a red carpet seemed embarrassing for all involved. Fame seemed creepy. Notoriety for doing something of value seems reasonable, but fame for the sake of random attention IS pretty creepy. So I stopped caring.
“But Jenn! You are going to leave the house looking like that?” YES I AM.
“But Jenn! You are going to say no to being on this reality tv show.” YUP
“But Jenn….” YES. And Fuck Off.
So I kind of just dropped out of “LA Society” - or pseudo society, as that more accurately describes it – and I decided to discover the “other LA.” The quieter LA. The Los Angeles with people, not characters.
I found that if you look a little harder, there are many terrific humans here in LA. There are interesting people, cool little sub-cultures and tons of people who filled the hole in their soul with love, hobbies and pursuit of a different path. They can still be actors, models, writers, entrepreneurs… whatever. It’s not about about the career you choose. It’s more about why you choose it. If you want to be an actor because you love acting, that’s one thing. If you want to be an actor because you love you some you, that’s another. But God bless you for it.
So four years in I’m still learning, still searching and still a bit lonely. I’d say the hole in my soul starts to disappear as I connect with more full, balanced and boisterousness souls. I still cry a lot. I still wonder why I’m here. And yes, even last weekend some sad, basic, wannabe Hollywood it-girl found it pertinent to announce to the crowd of people at a party that my shoes are no longer cool and the style is “from 2010.” (This actually happened).
The offending shoes
But the more time I spend finding other people who value things more important than the year my shoes were cobbled, the less I care about the people who do.
You breathe. You tune out the noise. You open your eyes. The lights of Hollywood start to fade away and finally you see Los Angeles.