It’s surreal to me that tomorrow night I will be in LA. Am I excited? Am I anxious? Am I nervous? Will I probably throw up today? Will I laugh for no reason at inappropriate times? Yes to all the above.

I’ve run away from my hometown for so long. Whenever I talk about going to LA, people who moved there three years ago try to give me advice and it fills with rage…because almost always one of the first things they say is “Well no one is from LA.”

I am.

But what does it mean to be from a place that no longer exists? The Culver City I grew up in with random storefronts and artists and the most amazing street art is now just movie studios. The Venice Beach I went to almost every weekend where I split cigarettes with strangers while a sex worker told me about her clients is now filled with millionaires. All of my favorite restaurants are parking lots now. I don’t even know what my favorite bar is or where I’d want to hang out. Every single place I loved, every single part of my hometown is gone.

So can I be that mad when people who just moved there try to help me adjust? I guess not but it’s a mind f*ck.

When I left, I had absolutely no plans of ever returning. It’s way I avoided TV for so long. I didn’t know how to write for TV and not live in LA. I still don’t. What feels like this magical, amazing city to other people feels like a panic attack to me. There’s so much unresolved trauma, so many things I’ve been running away from for a decade. Is it too late to make things right? Will things ever be okay with my family? Will I ever make peace with who I was and who I want to be now?

I don’t know.

I’m so angry with myself for letting all of this trauma dictate what my life would look like but I also have grace for myself because I understand why I had to do it. I was arrogant as hell when I left LA and Arkansas humbled me in ways that honestly help set me up for the career I have now. I don’t think I’d like the person I would’ve become if I had stayed in LA.

Ultimately, I recognize I went after life on hard mode and it made me all the more stronger for it. But am I really ready look past me in the LA when I land? When I head back to the apartment where I grew up? To sleep in my childhood bedroom (well one of them anyway)?

It’s a funny thing when you try to use your career to protect you from your past and it makes you confront it instead. I thought playwriting would lead me to New York. And now, as accomplished as folks might think I am, I still don’t have a New York premiere. Playwriting, ironically enough, led me right to TV.

I can’t keep fighting the person I’m meant to be over trauma I’d rather run away from. I know that. But I thought I had more time. I love my job. It’s amazing I get to this and I’m learning so much…

But do I love it enough to face everything else?

*I want to bookend my LA trip so this is the night before and then I’ll post the night after when I get back.