I woke up in my L.A. hotel room dazed and confused. I looked around and honestly had no idea where I was. Since my last post, I’ve been in three different time zones in as many weeks. I’d gone back to Paris (yes, back; details maybe later, but it was amazing), been to see my family in St. Louis last weekend, and now I was in L.A. What was I doing here? Oh right, I was here for a board meeting for Break the Cycle, a national advocacy organization dedicated to ending teen dating violence. Immediately, I reminded myself that I was changing the story I was telling myself about my feelings for Los Angeles. Lately I was wondering if I’d become one of those jaded New Yorkers who had this internal turf war with Los Angeles. The week leading up to my trip, I kept saying that I did not want to go to L.A., but why? After all, Los Angeles had been good to me in some respects, but not so much in others. I thought that it was the “not so much” part that was causing this unnecessary angst, but whatever it was, I needed to get to the bottom of this. I remembered, no matter how trite it sounds, one thing rings true: life is a journey. You meet many people on your trek, but you establish those lasting friendships only with certain people, and many of those people were in Los Angeles. So I moved to enjoy my time in L.A., and recognize it for what it is: time spent with good friends, at some of my longtime favorite places. You create the tapestry of your life by connecting the old with the new. After all, I was going to see some of my favorite people and do some of my things, and what’s not to love about an agenda like that? Once I pulled my rental car out of the lot, I smiled because I was on my way to see my favorite, longtime hair stylist Jazz at Eclectic Salon. I plan all my hair wants and needs around my trips to Los Angeles so Jazz can do my hair. A few weeks ago, however, I decided that I’d officially grown tired of my hair and I told my New York stylist keep cutting until about 5 inches my hair lay on the floor. GOOD! A new me, I loved my new short hair, but wanted to get to L.A. so Jazz could do her thing with my new cut. I walked out of there with a twist on my new cut, and all the styling products and suggestions I only get from my time with Jazz. Immediately, a huge grin was on my face, because as we all know, once all is right with your hair, all is well in your life. Next up, the Break the Cycle Board dinner at Lou, a cute wine bar in Hollywood. I’d been recruited to become a board member in 2008 by a former law colleague, and I immediately expressed interest when Sam asked me if I were interested in serving. I hadn’t mentioned to anyone professionally, or perhaps in years, that I had once been a victim of dating violence immediately following college when a longtime boyfriend turned abusive. I’d gotten out of that abusive relationship easier than most because I had the support of friends and family, but the effects are long-lasting. The abuse does a job on the woman’s psyche and often sets the pattern for the relationships that follow, so I’d found Break the Cycle’s mission important and necessary. Of course, dinner was phenomenal and I left, exhausted from the flight and the three-hour time difference, and vowed to see the Board members tomorrow for our full-day retreat. Saturday’s Board retreat was great, but after an eight-hour day of agendas, fundraising efforts and visioning, I was definitely spent. I was looking forward to catching up with Nikkole and Anjie, two of my L.A. girls, travel partners, keeper of secrets, you name it, they were “those” girls. We’d chosen Katana, and quickly ordered all of our favorite food and drinks. Nikkole caught me up on her newlywed bliss in one moment, and caught me up on the details about her grandmother’s death in the next. I found myself getting misty-eyed because I loved me some Nanny, she was all style and sass; she will be missed by us all. After Katana, we headed to Soho House to meet my friend Jackie, who was also in from New York. As we walked into the restaurant, no sooner than Jackie said hello did a lady sitting next to her turn to size up the three of us. She gave Nikkole, Anjie and me the once over, and the girl, who was white, stared point blank and said, “Watch out! Three black girls, there’s going to be a fight!” We all stood speechless as she continued to try to bond with us. We couldn’t decide if she was trying to be funny or she was just plain stupid, but after, I learned she asked Jackie, “Who does your blonde?” I realized that this chick was lacking all-around in social graces. As a bottle blond herself, surely she had to realize that she’d committed the ultimate white girl diss when she implied, however correctly, that Jackie was not a natural blonde! This is another one of those “oh no she didn’t” moments that will go down in the annals of friendship history. As the night concluded, my friends exchanged information, and I reminded myself that my tapestry includes friends old and new, in cities old and new. No matter how much I love New York, it is important to remind myself that a large part of my adult years were spent in Los Angeles, which shaped and molded me and allowed me to get to the place personally and professionally where I could move on. My vow had become focusing on the good things about my time in L.A., and to forget the “not so much-es,” because from where I stand now, those times don’t matter at all.
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