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Contentment in a Place Where Animals are Seen as Fashion Accessories

February 18, 2009

I struggle with contentment as a person. I’m inclined to random vacations-sometimes by myself, compulsive shopping, and most prominently, always wanting to be somewhere other than here. Anyone involved with Proxart, any of the people who are close to me, and most of my co-workers will attest to this prominent attribute of my personality.

Over the course of the last few years, I’ve found myself wrestling to be satisfied living where I do, here in Santa Clarita. I know a lot of people my age experience that, but the sting seems particularly bitter for me as I’ve made multiple attempts to leave and have, on every occasion so far, found myself trying to walk through a closed (and locked) door. Most recently, I oriented my life around the desire to move to Portland, Oregon. I am, in a lot of ways, not a fan of the suburbs (but who is?) and of the LA area as a whole. I could live without the sterile buildings of Valencia, and the often endless sunshine of Southern California. I could spend hours in the infinite amount of interesting coffee shops and amazing book stores Portland has to offer. I would opt to use public transportation (which is nearly non-exsistent here) rather than driving a fancy car on roads that are often all too swamped with rude luxury SUV drivers. My life would feel no lack if I never saw another raised truck with some obscure brand plastered via white decal on the back window. I would survive in a city where dogs (even small ones) were viewed as pets, not fashion accessories, and where people wanted to actually live-not just raise a family.

Since I graduated high school, it has always felt like a small failure to still be here. At least, up until recently.

I’ve said in previous newsletters, that I’ve given severe thought to the things I’ve written to you guys, and this is no exception. I’ve talked a lot about the importance of community, the severe value of loving other people, and my thoughts on how these things fit into real life in a city, a country, and a world where they are all too often overlooked. All the while, however, I’ve missed that I need to savor the areas in my life where I have people and moments and community. I’ve been realizing lately how quickly the people we love, and the circumstances we are in, tend to slip away from us. I’ve neglected to acknowledge the subtle beauty of sharing bruschetta and good beer with close friends at BJ’s, or the necessity of vulnerable conversation over good coffee at the Starbucks on Valencia and McBean.

I’m not even just talking about living life to the fullest, or about making good memories-pop in an S Club 7 CD if you want to hear that message.

I’m talking about experiences we as people need-experiences I need.

I need good conversation over good coffee.

I need to cry in honesty on occasion.

I need the support of the people around me to make it through, because, frankly, life can be really rough sometimes, and I have a habit of persuading myself that I can make it alone-when that has, again and again, proven itself to be a lie.

The problem with always wanting to be somewhere else is that it convinces you that there is no redemptive value in any part of your current circumstance. I don’t want to live my life with an inability to acknowledge what I have until it’s gone. It is inevitable that most of the people I love will, at some point or another, leave near proximity to myself and go on to pursue the things they feel important in the places they consider valuable. I acknowledge that I will, following a similar line of logic, do the same to other people, but I don’t want to hold any bit of myself back from them while we are still here. I don’t want to let a faint dislike for the city I live in choke out the truth that there are still people here who are worth trying to do life with.

In spite of my life experiences, my age, the things I’ve previously written, and the words I’ve said before, I am still trying to learn to love people truly and vulnerably-no matter how great my fear of being known for what I am.

I am thoroughly persuaded that we weren’t meant to do this alone.

Catlin

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This piece was written, and included in our February Newsletter.
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One Comment leave one →
  1. February 21, 2009 8:02 pm

    As a designer in Santa Clarita, I can relate to some of your frustrations about the culture that has infused in this city. Though, I’m more of a city guy and would rather live deep in the heart of say… San Francisco. But, sometimes we just have to put in our dues for now and make the most of it where ever we live. And who knows, maybe we can improve at least a fraction of the culture of the city with our own passions.

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