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2015: bi-costal lovers (ny v. california)

 Palmtree Jumpsuit: MANGO, Sandals: Steve Madden; Necklace: Madewell  Location: The New School, New York City, Photos by: Leslie K. Lim

Palmtree Jumpsuit: MANGO, Sandals: Steve Madden; Necklace: Madewell

Location: The New School, New York City, Photos by: Leslie K. Lim

2015 has been nothing short of beautiful/ painful/extraordinary/challenging/exciting/emotional/empowering year for me. Most of all it was the year where I decided to be myself. Which meant more than I originally thought. In a society that shackles you to the notion and ideas of everyone else - doing what you want and being who you are could not be any more difficult. In my 25 years of life 2015 has by far been the most self-actualizing. The past two years I spent working for technology companies because it was accepted by my parents and sounded cool to other people, "Yeah I work for LinkedIn." And traveled all around the country partying, drinking, getting paid and always in the back of my mind thinking, "There has got to be more to life." I did not feel like I was making a difference in this world that is begging for change. I wasn't, I was simply living out the role I was assigned. Doing what was expected. It wasn't enough for me, it never was. I started going to therapy and became strong in ways I never thought possible. I walked away from things I never thought I could. Most of all, I learned who I was and what I want. I have a long way to go but this year has been the astonishingly tumultuous step that I needed. The amount of personal growth I have experienced and noticed within myself over the last 12 months deserves recognition in a meaningful way. 

I moved to New York after living in California for 25 years. At the time, the reason seemed simple. California was stale. I was bored to tears of it. I couldn't think of one reason to stay. The state reminded me of the worst years of my life and bittersweet things here and there. Most of all, despite knowing what feels like the entire Bay Area, it was incredibly lonely. A feeling that was often masked due to a constant busy schedule I kept. I  wanted to get away and start my life somewhere else, somewhere like New York. Somewhere I belonged. I slowly abandoned the notion of a life without storms, or world without seasons. One of the many reasons I moved from a state where seasons never change; but feelings always do. Life is too complicated, too constantly changing to be anything but what it is. And I'll be living with it until, as Lowell put it, the watch is taken from the wrist. It's how I chose to live this life of mine that changed. I am now happy and proud of this life I now live. Something I've never been able to feel, or say before with any amount of conviction. 

I have been living in New York for 4.5 months and it's only now that I'm able to realize just how much California is a part of me. I see it everywhere. I find myself actively scanning for Bay Area jerseys or hats. Even a shirt that says California. A song. I never noticed how many damn songs there are about California. I was fortunate enough to have been invited to spend the holidays in Mexico with my good friend from California. Upon arriving in Puerto Vallarta, I go to a restaurant downtown, sit, and I look to my left. Outside there is Chevy Cruise with California sun protectors on the dash. Tears begin to fill my eyes. California is such a large part of who I am. A part of myself I have endlessly tried to escape because it felt confining, boring and meaningless. Holding me back from being who I really was. Now I realize California wasn't holding me back. I was holding me back. And in spending time away from California I realize how much of my identity she accounts for. Literally everything I do, creatively and otherwise. I shunned her and I left her. And even still she pops up everywhere reminding me that's she's always been there and she always will be.

Since moving to New York my creativity has come to a screeching halt. My writing is nowhere near what it was when I lived on the west coast. I'm not sure if this is because the day job I had motivated me to go home and be more creative, or if NY is just too much. If attending the best design school in the country and actually doing my creative thing for real is too much. If the pressure no longer makes it something to strive for. I think what I'm realizing is I'm this person that can't just do one thing, or have one career. I'm too much. I have too much I want to do. I was doing tech and I wanted fashion. I start doing fashion and now I want to change the world and champion other women that haven't been as fortunate as myself. This scares me because it reminds me something of my mom always told me,

I know I named you Kelly but it wasn't after the color Kelly green. The grass isn't always greener on the other side. You are never satisfied with anything. This will be a big problem in your life.

She never understood me, and for the first time ever I don't care. People can't give you what they don't have. Yes I keep striving for more, isn't that the point of life? Maybe my priorities and what I'm interested keep changing because I keep changing. And isn't that what it's all about? To keep growing? To be continually developing? And why can't I want more than just one thing or one career? I'm not static. As I've been learning in school I'm "unfixed," and probably a really inconvenient woman. But seriously it takes me being in Mexico to realize how much New York makes me miss California? Maybe it's all the tequila in this margarita or the bartender Arturo that keeps telling me everything is on the house. Shhwooowww. But people aren't this nice in New York. Which is why I wrote this rap for California:

Either way. Cali, baby, I miss you.

I miss those 2-8-0 curves, damn I like the view from there. Easily going 100 and like I just don't care.

Like that one time I took the C-Train to watch Freddy S... but ended up getting an M-I-P instead.

Clean ass record tho. Go ahead.. ask me how.

Or how about strawberry fields.. Are you sure it's me that crazy? I I I I I I thought that was you. SBP still knows me still.

San Mateo Park is full of sharks. The borough? Lmfao. Some people so poor all they have is blow. And B-Game.. Always makes my thoughts low. B, you may be gone but you still know.

What can I say that I haven't already said? Cali, baby, you're all up in the craziest of places, my head.

 Sketch: Karl Lagerfeld for Chanel (August 2015)

Sketch: Karl Lagerfeld for Chanel (August 2015)

New York was the tempting mistress in this scenario. She lured me away with her cosmopolitan global vibe and a beauty that I just couldn't resist. But New York is nothing like Cali. She makes me work for it. All. Of. The. Time. Like a friend that calls you out everytime you make a grammatical error or a really comfortable chair with no head rest. It's like I'm chasing a ghost. I see her. Right in front of me. Beauty, sass, intellect all the makings of my dream. But she is completely a construct of my mind. That's why I am constantly grinding. She drains me. She takes everything from me, I give her everything and she tells me I'm cheating on her. She loves me in a different way. One that challenges me. One that makes me a better person. One that is constantly pushing me to re-think my perspectives and is constantly humbling. New York is what I need. New York allowed me to have a perspective on Cali I never would have had if I didn't put some distance between us. Sometimes it's like that you know. Love. You don't really know.