Wherever You Go, You Go Too

I had a lot of direct and indirect commentary surrounding the ‘Starting Over’ blog. It’s still amazing to me how many people are waiting for an environment change for their lives to change. I giggled a lot only because that is totally what I was doing.

My biggest transition was five years ago coming from Ontario, Canada to Los Angeles. The biggest change I noticed was sun every single day with the exception of a few weeks in the year where it would rain. The landscape felt very different due to the surrounding hills. I grew up with flat country cornfields all around me.

It’s one thing to come from a small town to a big town. I noticed a big change driving from my small town to Toronto years ago. Toronto seemed a bit intimidating. I didn’t have my driver’s license very long and the 401 and Gardiner Distressway (I like to call it) scared me a lot! It was too fast, too many cars and too confusing. By the time I would get to my auditions, I was completely frazzled.

Then I did some music tour-y stuff in NY and I gotta tell ya, Toronto looked more like my small town. New Yorkers are upfront and loud, but super crazy in a good way too. I love NY so much. I like how dark people dress and I like how fast you can get around.

Los Angeles is way too spread out. You can spend most of your time driving somewhere or sitting in traffic. I find people here very tolerant of our differences and very open to creativity. There is a joke with Canadian artists that you only get recognized in Canada if Los Angeles recognizes you. I’m not sure where the saying comes from, but I suspect people can feel very free to be themselves here without judgment and I really like that.

The thing is this; I spent way too much time in all my transitions looking for the external changes. A fresh coat of paint in our living room can certainly make us feel better when we are in the room. I believe color has its place and I do understand the affects of sunshine and how great it can be.

Sometimes we need an environmental change just to give us some breathing room to figure it all out. My issue before moving here was that I lived in a very angry infected environment so I was always too mad or too sad or too constantly bombarded to just breathe. I go to the point where I couldn’t even catch my breath. I’ve always said I wasn’t running from a problem but running to a solution.

In looking back though, it wasn’t a solution I was looking for out in the world, I was looking for some stillness so I could just figure it out. You know, ‘Just let me think for second, wouldja?’ –That mentality.

The best part of my growth definitely came while living in the storm. I just didn’t know it then. I started off by being silent, withdrawing…then I would break out in anger and then retreat in sadness and silence. It was a horrible ritual of attack, retreat, attack, retreat. It was truly my fox hole.

That is massively tough on your emotions after a while. I started to look for solutions outside of that. I would try to say things differently and I would try every new angle possible. Once I felt like I had exhausted those angles in 20 different languages or dialects, I decided it was over. When I wanted to take my own life, I knew I had to get out.

I would hate to think people couldn’t get out of their unhealthy situations unless they reached that edge on the cliff. What I was able to do though was something from the Funeral Mute song, ‘bite my tongue & bide my time’. It’s part of having a game plan.

So I did everything I was supposed to do to change everything and it took a long time. My situation was clearly a case where MASSIVE change had to happen or I was simply going to die. The one thing I hated that I had to put on hold was working on my character. It wasn’t until I was surrounded by some very cool people who inspired me to want to improve myself did I attempt it. I realized that parts I didn’t like came along on the move. I wished I could have left those back there too!

As it turns out, there is no one dumping ground for the bad traits. They don’t stay at the last house or apartment you lived in. The newness of environment gave me a chance to breathe, but I still had to face the demons eventually.

The groovy part is I could breathe and think long and hard because I had nobody around me to clutter me up. That was a good thing. But over the years, the parts of my character that have been shaped the coolest in my mind (maybe others would disagree) happened during volatile conflict. If I could take a deep breath and listen to a hot-headed client instead of yelling back, I would mark a point in my mind. I would sometimes take a bathroom break and go look in the mirror and crack a smile and think, ‘You just pulled a Frank…nice one Karen.’ (I’ve told you guys before, Frank stays on point and never angry which I admire) I am most proud of myself for remaining calm, cool and collected when everyone is on fire around me. For anyone who is in the audio field, you will know that if you push up all the faders on a console, you won’t hear things better. Some faders have to come down. I find the same thing in heated discussions.

I know there are so many people facing big changes, but there is beauty in learning the calmer skills in the crazier storm. It’s a skill that truly will follow you wherever you go…and storms will come and go too.

Very proud to say I managed to NOT flip the bird in NYC, (That is a BIG point for anyone…lol)

Karen :)

The life of inner peace, being harmonious and without stress, is the easiest type of existence.” ~Norman Vincent Peale

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