How Leaving My Hometown Was Key To Gaining Self-Awareness

As children, we grow up reading stories that help us feel safe during times of uncertainty and change.

"The Very Hungry Caterpillar,” for example, taught us change can be both beautiful and rewarding.

Much like growing up, change can be bittersweet.

Born and raised in Los Angeles, I had a great childhood. I was blessed with parents who continue to do everything in their power to help me have the best life possible.

I have the coolest brother on Earth, and to this day, I have great friends from high school who would take a bullet for me.

But no place is perfect, and LA was evidence of that.

LA is a large hub for people who think they’re going to “make it.”

The reality is, these people will, at one point or another, fall into one of four categories: wannabes, has-beens, those “making it” for the time being and those on a new career path.

As a second-generation "industry" child, I had a more pessimistic view of showbiz.

I have witnessed, time and time again, how this industry is not meritorious.

It doesn’t matter how much talent or charisma you have. If you’re not at the right place at the right time, with good connections, you will fail.

Hollywood is a very scary place to take risks.

Growing up, I pushed back.

Almost everything I was passionate about was best suited for this industry. Yet, I tried to find every reason to ostracize myself from it.

I needed something stable. I needed something safe.

I needed security, even if it wasn’t going to make me happy.

No matter what I did, I couldn’t seem to shake the passion I had for Hollywood.

It felt like I was on a treadmill. There was movement, but there was no progress.

Despite my resistance, I listened to my parents and began my undergraduate degree at a school that specializes in communications.

I thought college would resolve all my doubt and concern for the future, but it didn’t.

Much like the caterpillar from “The Very Hungry Caterpillar,” I was ready for a change.

I needed a fresh start where no one knew my name. I needed a new beginning and an opportunity to reinvent myself.

I thought about going to Chile (since I speak Spanish), but something told me to go to New York City.

I had never envisioned myself transitioning there beforehand.

What could be exciting about somewhere domestic, anyway?

For whatever reason (and unaware if I was making the right choice), I followed my gut. I found myself in this concrete jungle.

For the past semester, I’ve been a production intern for daytime television, and I have continued to take classes through my university.

Without realizing it, I had made the same decision so many others had made to come to Los Angeles.

I was exactly like the people I had looked down upon in years past.

Since moving here, I’ve found some clarity and relief.

I don’t know if I’ll end up in entertainment or not, but I have realized an area of my character that needs improvement.

I’ve since had the realization that my resistance to the entertainment industry was out of fear.

The best way I can explain it is through my favorite scene in “Breakfast at Tiffany’s.”

Audrey Hepburn’s die-hard, hunk of a romantic interest tells her he loves her. She tells him she doesn’t want anyone to “put [her] in a cage.”

She is fearful of what will happen if she lets herself love him the way she wants to.

They go back and forth a bit, before he tells her she’s already in a self-made “cage” that will follow her as long as she lets it.

Up until I got here, I had no self-awareness of the sort of “cage” I had put myself in.

This experience has showed me that before now, I had no guts.

I’d built myself up in my mind as this fearless person, when in reality, I’d based the vast majority of my life decisions on this fear of failure.

I’d passively let the universe determine the trajectory of my life without any sort of ownership of my future.

Nothing feels more empowering than the realization that you have both the resilience and capacity to “start over.”

Only this experience was able to show me what areas need improvement, and what aspects of my life were overdue for praise.

“Success” and “failure” are temporary and a matter of perspective. Your ability to choose happiness in spite of the adversity you may encounter is invaluable.

Moving here was by no means easy, but it was worth every second.

Never lose faith in your ability to recover. Relearn to trust yourself and the choices you make.

Nothing is worse than decisions made out of fear.

The lesson we learned as children is still applicable today: We are all caterpillars with the capacity to become butterflies.

But, we need to embrace change.