Forcing Puzzle Pieces and Why I Love California

“Why California?”
“Well, why not?”

If I had a dime for every time I have been asked that question, I would have been able to buy Coronado Island by now. I am a firm believer in the Puzzle Piece theory: meaning I believe everyone has a place in this world in which they fit. I was born and raised in Virginia, but I knew at an early age that I did not “fit” there. It became even more evident as I got older. My thoughts and opinions on life did not match up with those around me. I even tried to conform to my surroundings. At one point, I talked myself into thinking that buying a single-wide trailer and raising three kids while my husband worked in a factory was what I truly wanted in life. I made myself believe this lie for a few years. (Let’s stop for a second - there is absolutely NOTHING wrong with this lifestyle if that is what you want. I am simply explaining how I tried to make myself fit into a place I was not meant to be.)

Just like a child who doesn’t know any better tries to force a puzzle piece in the wrong spot of the puzzle, I tried to force my way into this lifestyle: however, I realized I was breaking myself in the process. Through a series of events, I ended up in sunny California. I have been here for six years total (I don’t really count the first two though, because they were spent in an area that was IN California but wasn’t really California. Think of it as an above ground bunker, Kimmy Schmidt style #unbreakable). I absolutely LOVE California. It is a place that celebrates diversity, embraces new ideas, and encourages people to be who they want to be. 

I guess I felt super inspired to write this post because I am currently listening to the new Lana Del Rey album and it is just giving me all those California feels. So if you are from somewhere else and are wondering why I’m still here, or you are a California native and are wondering the same - keep reading. 

Reasons I Love Cali 

  1. The dress code.  I have never once heard anyone in California tell me I was “overdressed” or I was “wearing too much makeup” or I was “looking ratchet”. Why? Because you can just do you, girl! I have walked into a Starbucks with no makeup, unwashed hair and braless on a Saturday morning and I am greeted with the same smiles and conversations as I am when I come in with high heels, curled hair and wing tips on fleek. 
  2. The nights out. Not only are there tons of amazing restaurants, but the vibes are so chill. There are a lot of places that have live music, anywhere from a mariachi band to a guy playing reggae in a corner of a restaurant. And if your group is getting a little noisy, it’s fine. Onlookers will just join in with you! It is very rare to receive those judgmental glares when you’re out having a good time here. Even the wait staff will join in on your conversations and crack a few jokes. 
  3. All the cultures. One thing I absolutely LOVE about California is the many different groups of people who live here. I have been exposed to everything from Filipino lumpia and pancit to Japanese ramen houses to Little Italy meatballs to homemade Mexican posole (of course I’m going to use food for my references). The whole United States is a melting pot of different peoples and cultures and I feel like California does a great job of embracing that fact. 
  4. The music. You can hear it alllll. Just walk around and you will hear anything from Kendrick Lamar to Chris Stapleton to Taylor Swift to Hozier to Red Hot Chili Peppers to Francesca Battistelli to Calvin Harris to Lin-Manuel Miranda….. I could go on and on. It’s simply amazing the musical flavors that just flow throughout this place with such a natural feeling. 
  5. The scenery. Can we just stop and take a minute to appreciate the scenery that is the state of California? The entire song “America the Beautiful” could be used to describe just California. There are snow-topped mountains, massive deserts, blue oceans, deep forests, large cities, small towns..again, I could go on and on. You could go on a road trip and experience so many different terrains, all without even leaving the state! And, bonus points for tons of sunlight. Yay, vitamin D!
  6. The healthy stuff.  Here in this lovely state, there are a TON of diet fads and exercise regimens. People do paleo, vegan or vegetarian diets. Some do pilates classes, cross fit, or, like myself, have a personal trainer. The point is: they are doing something that they believe is good for their body and, frankly, I think that’s all that matters. If someone feels better after ditching meat from their diet, more power to them. It may not be for all of us, but we totally support them in their endeavors, and that is how it should be. 
  7. The vision. I want to leave this world in a better way than it was when I entered it. I want to leave a legacy behind me. I want to inspire and help others. I want to take care of our planet and share God’s love with all mankind. It is very inspirational to surround yourself with others who have a vision and who are not content to just be a bystander in life. I love having conversations with people concerning what we can do to change the world. We may not always have the same ideas or same goals, but we envision a better future for our children and our children’s children and that is what links us together. 

 

I could list more reasons, but these are the most important ones to me and mainly why I have stayed here for so long. I realize that these things may not appeal to some of you and that is ok. There is a huge world out there and not everyone fits in the same spot. If that were the case, God would have made the whole world to be exactly the same, and that would be quite boring.