I grew up in the O.C. I was a beach girl–the daughter of a surfer. I was a baton twirler who spent her high school Memorial Day weekends in the Garden Grove Strawberry Festival Parades. I cruised Balboa with my friend Tracey listening to Color Me Bad and sneaked my way in to Knott’s Berry Farm more times than I can count. (I knew every trick in the book.) I was O.C. through and through. So when I got married back in 2000 and agreed to move to Studio City (L.A.) with my husband who is in the entertainment industry, I was truly a fish out of water.
Giving up my life in Orange County (and Long Beach) was not easy. I gave up my hair place, doctors, the florist (yes I had a florist!), malls and stores, restaurants, family, and friends. The big city feel of L.A. scared the crap out of me. I’m not going to lie, people drive CRAZY here! I felt like everyone looked different than me and I certainly didn’t feel cool enough to fit in with the people I did meet. I saw a celebrity almost every time I went to the grocery store…and I’m not talking about B listers either. It was tough to start a marriage in a land I didn’t know. I was starting over. No friends, family, or familiar haunts. We hadn’t lived together prior to being married. In fact, we had only ever spent time together on the weekends, so needless to say, it was not an easy adjustment all the way around.
When I lived in Orange County, I believe that the world revolved around those of us behind the Orange Curtain. Now that I’m here, I’ve gotten a much bigger picture and better appreciation for the fabric of California as a whole. This September, my husband and I will have been married 10 years and during that decade something pretty awesome has happened. I’ve started to become more adjusted to life in L.A. I used to drive with white knuckles through the streets of Hollywood during my occasional trips “over the hill” and now zip through Hollywood’s crowded streets without a second thought. I like that every house is old and they all have a story. I have grown to love that I live in an “industry town” in which the moms at the park understand what it’s like to have a husband who has to leave on a shoot for days, weeks, or even months at a time. I love that I live where I can walk to a bakery, restaurant, antique stores, the hardware store, and world famous studios all within minutes.
Now, almost ten years after living here, I am now at a crossroads in which I’ve discovered that I’m not an O.C. or L.A. gal. I read the L.A. blogs and most of the time I don’t feel like I connect with them. In fact, I still feel a bit like an outsider when I talk with a lot of other women here in La-La land. And while I try to keep up with what’s going on in Orange County, I know longer fit there. I’m used to driving like a maniac, trendy shops every few blocks, and the diversity I just don’t recall from my days in the north O.C. Not feeling like I truly fit in in my past or my present is a strange sensation. I carry a lot of what I grew up with in West Garden Grove but have grown to love and value where I am raising my children. I guess I’m a Californian stuck between my past and my present hoping to instill in my boys the best of both.