Let's talk about California. When I was a kid I wanted to move to California, specifically Southern California - hereby referenced to as SoCal or SC. I wanted to live amongst the palm trees and sunshine and hollywood.

In high school I wanted to go to UCLA, to this day I can't remember why, but it's where I thought I belonged. When my sister got pregnant I decided to stay in the midwest, for family. And well I fell in love with Chicago. Still I watched The O.C. every Wednesday and wondered what life on the left coast would be like.

Then my love was the East Coast (aside from Eastern North Carolina). And DC. That was my jam. Maybe still is. Then the Marine Corps sent me to the West Coast, against my best wishes. And I went.

I went broken. I went with, what felt like, all the bad decisions of my life hanging over me. I went, leaving my best friends, my people. The people that made me feel like "home" wasn't confined to a  geographical space. I went.

And I hated it. I hated California. I hated how people thought I should thank the airlines that brought me here. I hated the people that thought SD was the only city with food and beer. I hated the blondes and the sunshine and the surfer dudes without direction. But mostly I hated who I was here. I had become the most unproductive version of myself. I drank too much. And when I drank I became loud, obnoxious, self-centered, and childish. I was dramatic and insecure. I was fucking annoying. And I blamed SoCal. I blamed SoCal for the self-loathing, over-emotional, bad decision-making person I was.

But it wasn't SoCal. It was me. It was the culmination of poor choices and selfish behavior. It was me running away from my problems. It was be thinking I was better than everyone else, everyone here. It was also me thinking that if I loved the people here, it would mean loving the ones I left behind less - something I've struggled with since I was 18.

But I can't be miserable for the sake of being loyal. I can't think life is just about sacrifice. Or work. Or others. Sometimes life is about a moment of reflection, self-preservation, and absolute pure beauty.

But there's a starkness to this place, a wild untamable west feel to it all. 20 minutes east and I swear I'm running trails untouched by man since the gold rush. There are mountains, there are trails, brush, deserts.

But's it's the sunshine and the fresh air, the salt sea and the endless summer. It's the tanned skin and countless surfers, changing from their wetsuits to their every day clothes. It's something that can't be put into words, only explored, experienced and then solidified in the soul. It's the unromaticized version of glamour, peace, and love. It's SoCal. And it's been calling me home for years....At least until I run back east.

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