We Aren't In Arkansas Anymore Toto…

WHAT A WHIRLWIND-

The past two weeks of my life have been!

For any of you reading this who don’t already know-

I recently moved from my small, safe, lovely little hometown in Arkansas to one of the biggest and most difficult to live in cities in the country….

LOS ANGELES.

Me getting ready to leave Arkansas and head to the airport!

Me getting ready to leave Arkansas and get to the airport!

“Be careful, or you will be swallowed up in that city.”

“Are you sure this is what you really want?”

“Why don’t you try somewhere smaller first and slowly transition to L.A.?”

“Go for it!”

“Pursue your dreams with head held high!”

“Be careful and stay true to yourself.”

“First follow God, and all other things will be added.”

“Never forget where you come from!”

-Before Moving, I heard it all.-

I think that somewhere mixed in the extremes of all of the feedback, support, thoughts, negativity, and encouragement that I have received are two underlying truths-

Picking up and moving your life to a place where you know no one, have no family, no friends, and are not guaranteed any “success” is probably one of the most risky, unclear, and illogical moves that a person could make.

Picking up and moving your life to a place where you know no one, have no family, no friends, and are not guaranteed any “success” is probably one of the most exhilarating, life altering, leaps of faith that a person could make.

That said,

LIFE IN L.A. IS NOT ALL A GLAMOROUS RED CARPET AFFAIR CAKE WALK-

(Although there is quite amazing choices of cuisine here.)

What happened was:

My mom flew with me here for the first week.

She spent her week of “vacation” driving around L.A. with me getting lost and loading cars with heavy suitcases in the heat.

One day in particular, we spent an entire afternoon in IKEA trying to find things for my new apartment. It was our first time to ever go to one, and we were both overwhelmed.

There was floor after floor of desks, lamps, kitchen ware, bedding, and after three hours and no map, we had apparently barely scratched the service.

We had gone there to find me a small, plain, black desk for my room.

To say the least, we left desk-less, slightly exasperated, and starving.

THEN:

In the distance, across the street, we could make out the red and yellow letters.

It felt like a sign from the good Lord himself.

Then as we looked closer, it was true.

It was an IN-N-OUT Burger.

A major plus of moving here...

A major plus of moving here…

My mom and I sat there in that packed-out place like we had arrived at the gates of heaven with with our greasy and delicious in-n-out burgers and animal fries. (LOOK THEM UP IF YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT I’M TALKING ABOUT AND YOUR LIFE MAY JUST HAVE CHANGED.)

And as we sat there we watched the people around us, some dressed in tough-guy jean jackets, some girls in high stilettos, realizing how far from Arkansas we really were.

And then, it seemed in the same instant, it hit us.

As we sat there with  messy fingers and ketchup stained napkins, we dabbed mascara from our cheeks and tried to contain our crocodile like tears.

In just a few short days, this place, as exotic as a jungle compared to my hometown would soon become my home.

I would be staying here.

Alone.

And things got real the night before she left.

She stayed with me at my new place that night so that she could make it to the airport in the morning.

We had to wake up at 3:30 a.m. to make sure she got to LAX in time for her early flight.

I stood there with my mom on the curb that morning, cars already zipping past. Her with her suitcases and me in my pajamas with a scared heart.

She got into the car and i stood there until I could barely make out the outline of the car in the distance through the traffic.

I took a deep breath and there in my p.j.s with ruffled bed hair and groggy eyes, I realized that for the first time in my twenty-four years of life, I was truly on my own.

sunset

It’s been a little over a week since that day and I have:

GONE-

Out to dinner alone

To the beach

To a bible study

To watch a photo shoot

GOTTEN-

Lost

Honked at

Confused

MISSED MY-

Sister’s birthday

Grandmother’s birthday

Rice cooker

Spices

Best friends

Big fluffy bed

FELT-

Overwhelmed

Frustrated

Lonely

Enamored

Underdressed

Blessed

Thankful

Sunshine on my back

The sand beneath my feet

TASTED-

California wine

fresh, fresh, fish

local produce

dry air

salt of tears

IN-N-OUT

EXPLORED-

my neighborhood

local cafes

MADE A FEW:

Mistakes

Amazing, authentic, Christian friends (YES, EVEN IN THE ENTERTAINMENT INDUSTRY.)

BEEN INSPIRED BY-

God’s presence in a time of worship

A random act of kindness

Beautiful sunsets

The sound of my mom’s voice on the phone

God’s love that follows wherever you go.

AND THE LIST GOES ON..

The past two weeks here have exposed places of my soul that I had never explored.

I’ve felt afraid.

I’ve felt restored.

I still can’t see a defined horizon line of the future.

I have never felt this alone,

and this afraid-

but I DO know this:

God was with me back in Arkansas.

AND GOD IS WITH ME HERE IN L.A.

LA PIC

I am excited to find out what adventure is in store for me here in this city,

with my head held high and never forgetting where I came from.

SO IF YOU are sitting here thinking about your own personal dream or personal journey, something or some place you have felt a tug on your heart about for the past few weeks, months, or years..

I AM HERE TO TELL YOU:

It IS worth it.

You WILL feel crazy.

You WILL doubt your decision a hundred times.

People WILL try to talk you out of it.

There will NEVER be the perfect time.

You SHOULD pray about it with patience and an open heart.

hollywood

Whatever It Is:

TAKE THE JUMP OFF

THE DIVING BOARD.

JUMP BLINDLY.

FOLLOW YOUR HEART

IN THE DIRECTION THAT IT PULLS YOU

AND YOUR COURAGE WILL BE WAITING

IN THE DEEP.

<3 Christiana

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