Ode to Los Angeles

El Mercadito

I woke up today with a craving for the city. In its name the Spaniards once called the small pueblo something related to the angels. As divine intervention would have it, the pueblo grew into a city of mestizos and Americans and its origins boomed into one of the greatest places for cultural diversity. Then when the second World War hit, a young Mexican man served his duty defending civil rights and left to a world unknown. He came back to the United States with his indigenous wife and the two planted the Salas family tree in Los Angeles.

I developed my relationship with this city in the womb. I was born in Garfield Medical Center but was stripped from the urban jungle and taken to the suburbs in the nineties. My father, a baby boomer spawn of the fifties, always took my siblings and I back to where he came from, showing us every different house he lived in and every different memory that came with it. I remember never understanding how large the city was because my father always knew every street corner, every exit and every short cut of the municipality. Los Angeles was etched into the map of his internal system, like every boulevard and avenue were the routes directing his veins throughout his body and every landmark was a functioning organ. I am convinced he can navigate Los Angeles better than he can navigate his iPhone.

Somewhere in between East L.A. and El Monte I first heard the word Chicano. Then I heard it again when I saw Selena for the first time. I was confused, unaware of the differences what it means to be Mexican and what it means to be Chicano. Before I knew what an identity crisis was, I was already in it. But the city had so much to tell about both ways of living. Through Los Angeles I discovered cultural roots in Olvera Street and was struck by the burst of colors of ornaments and crafts that brought back faint memories of a trip to Guadalajara in my youth. I learned empathy for immigrants who refresh our definition of diversity and enjoy the fruits of their street vending, literally. Just like my father, I became a sports fanatic of the purple and gold and the boys in blue and just like him I verbally abuse my tv when they play. We became accustomed to carne asada on Saturdays and menudo on Sundays, también always finding time for a chelada on the weekends. I found a happy medium being Chicana-Latina-Hispanic-Mexican-American and an Angeleno in the mix.

Something about Los Angeles’s mysticism calls me; never knowing what it feels to be a true inhabitant of its county lines but always wondering what it has to offer. Once I started working near the city I reached half a goal I set for myself- to work and live in L.A. The commute is just as bad as you imagine but at least my heart has found where ‘X’ marks the spot. When I leave the city parameters and see downtown disappear from a magnificent set of skyscrapers to a object of nothingness in my rearview mirror, I feel dejected and again, I’m sitting alone in traffic.

I’ll admit it, it even upsets me when I meet out of staters that live in the city that I should be living in. Maybe now is not my time, but one day I’ll be there.

Los Angeles, I love you.

Hill St & Broadway

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After spending the holidays with my lover, I decided to spend some time with my lover of 12 years. So, my best friend Stephanie and I left the suburbs and trekked to the city where my heart longs to be, Los Angeles.

I spent the day daydreaming about a fabulous life in downtown, walking in my 6 inch Timberland Glancy boots, repping my giant gold hoop earrings, eating at the Grand Central Market during the lunch rush hour.

While enjoying my seafood paella I realized that three weeks into 2018 my personal goals have never been more adamant. Stephanie and I made a list of resolutions for us to have and to meet for the new year: to loyal friendships and relationships, to career growth, to new travels, and to a bigger wallet.

Already, I feel something inside me changing. I feel celestial but also earthly, like the moon guiding the current of the ocean and the waves creeping back and forth onto the shore. Like I’m finding the happy medium with the person I’m becoming.

I found solace in Amy Winehouse’s lyrics and admiration in Frida Kahlo’s photography. I also have a regeneration in self help using cooking and exercise as my therapy sessions. 

I worry less about what my significant other does on social media and have little to no worry at all about his past relationships. I’ve advanced in not jumping the gun when it comes to dating. Taking things slow and at my own pace. In return, I’ve found my heart growing in all different directions.

If 2016 was the “Year of Yes” and 2017 was the “Year of Uncertainty,” then 2018 is the “Year of Self.”

Making lists and writing things down help organize my thoughts so here are just some things I’ve jotted down for 2018.

-Plan a trip to NYC (Xmas time or earlier, watch a game at MSG or Yankee Stadium, drink a Manhattan in Manhattan)

-Buy a Nikon camera for blog

-Plan a trip to Vegas for Cinco de Mayo or go to Miami for my birthday

-Write about makeup and politics and how they’re intertwined; write a piece for Los Angeles Affairs

-Learn how to make paella and attempt to make it once

-Stop saying “lol” in texts

Fin!