Sunday, June 14, 2015

California is a State of (my) Mind

The past is less real in California that anywhere else in the world.  Apologies to the indigenous people's, but there weren't that many of them originally.  California needed man's industrial hand to develop.
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California is where you go when you're tired of the past.  Tired of societal demands, tired of the dust bowl, tired of wearing dresses or ties, tired of being told what you can or cannot grow up to be.  Tired of being the you that family, friends and strangers from up the block tell you to become.
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I was lucky.  I was born there, as was my mother (my father was 2 years old when he was brought to LA).
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My grandparents came to California to be different people than they were in Kentucky, Illinois, Utah and Holland.  I have visited most of where they came from, and I can say with absolute certainty that they would not have fit it back home.
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Zela didn't bloom until she was out of a mid-west mindset that labeled her as the fat, plain looking care-taker daughter.  HAM didn't shine until he bought a motorcycle and left working the Mississippi barges to those people who's limits were defined by riverbanks.  Donna is a loud, headstrong woman who never would have made it as a docile Mormon wife.  And Quinn was a personality so large I don't think Holland could have supported two of him.
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Some people travel to California and never leave.  They call it weather, or beauty, or the ocean. but it is really the ability to destroy your boundaries and find new ones - or none at all.  My relatives, misfits at home, flourished in the sun and surf and distance from disdainful families.
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Some of us do leave.  Natives and spiritual natives of the Golden State.  But when spiritual natives leave, they no longer respect the boundaries that were suppose to set their limits.  And us natives?  We constantly ignore the lines that society sets.  And when those limits are pointed out, usually in a breach of some decorum we were unaware of, we ask why?
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Why is that 'not done'?  Did we hurt someone's feelings?  Did we cause some harm?  Because if the answer comes back "it just isn't done", we laugh and smile and think, "By you! It just isn't done, by you.  You should see what you're missing."
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I don't know if I will ever move home again.  But I know that I'll always be that guy who doesn't respect the stupid rules.
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The Sun you can feel and the air you can taste.  Palm trees and stucco.  Home.

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