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If You Want To Fit Into Your Favorite Jeans Again, Move Back In With Your Parents
It’s been two and a half weeks since I made the hasty decision to leave the West Coast for the East Coast. After spending almost two years in Los Angeles that proved to be a shitload of time wasted on self-destruction — I figured the best course of action would be to return to my roots.
It was a life-saving measure to book that one-way ticket to Baltimore-Washington International Airport and as soon as I boarded the plane — there was a heavy sense of relief when the pilot warned us to prepare for takeoff.
Thankful that I didn’t have the window seat — I kept my eyes closed as we lifted off into the mid-afternoon skies and hoped with everything in me — that this wasn’t the extension of my mid-life crisis.
2017 started off on a sour note — as I juggled the harmful residue of the year before — that was spent trying to curtail the consequences of underestimating a hostile job market. When I made the move to L.A. back in 2004 — I was younger, more energetic with oodles of optimism. I wanted to work in television and after years of rejection and hardship in NYC — I was ready to redeem my worth.
But I bailed after a couple of years — and I still can’t validate my ill-conceived actions nor will I ever forgive myself for going back to the city that never wanted me in the first place, which is why the second time around proved to be a bitterly torturous experience.
It was just dead wrong to try again for success after the age of forty in a town that can’t recognize the value of anyone over the age of thirty. There was also the refurbished climate to contend with that bore no resemblance to the tolerable version a decade ago.
The opportunities were few and far between and after empty promises of permanent residency from notable organizations — it became clear that being really good at something wasn’t going to be enough to save from crippling debt and the fear of homelessness.
The lowest point happened in the summer of 2016 — after the gig at Disney ended and I was desperately trying to find a worthy replacement. After enduring a handful of fruitless interviews coupled with daily emails from bots advertising fake job postings — I found myself living in a roach-infested Airbnb — nestled in the Hollywood-Wilshire area of Koreatown.
The lowest of the low point came when I managed to move out of the condemned area and into a modest studio apartment in Inglewood that I ended up subletting from a friend of a friend that fall.
I began a tremendously demanding job at The Hollywood Reporter, which I accepted because I needed health insurance and the stability of a consistent paycheck. However, after a month I succumbed to the symptoms of a deadly schedule that saw me working Tuesday-Saturday from 3pm-11pm.
I abruptly quit my salaried job and my drinking habit escalated and so did my health issues.
I essentially became a functioning alcoholic who was able to rise and shine in the morning — hit the treadmill — and return home armed with the purpose to write — along with a bag carrying the antidote to boredom and loneliness.
I was able to churn out the hits without missing a beat and the rate of my productivity only encouraged my dependency as my start time was pushed earlier in the day without shame. Depression set in quickly and so did insecurities about my body — which was something I had never battled before.
I was not only gaining weight — but my skin and hair were incredibly dry — my complexion was dull as fuck and even my nails were changing color. I knew the drinking was taking its toll, but I was still not motivated enough to do the right thing.
I wasn’t of sound, mind and body — and there was something dangerously appealing about being that out of control with nothing and nobody to stop me. My diet went out the window and so did my desire to dress up nicely for a date or night out with friends.
I became a recluse and even when the new year arrived and 2017 tried to knock me back to life — I was far deep into my hormonal craze to answer the call. It wasn’t until Medium decided I was Noteworthy enough for a shoutout that I was able to comprehend the extent of the damage.
While I appreciated the honor and still can’t believe it happened — unfortunately the joy was eclipsed by the vision of me that was captured. For the first time — I could see how bad things had gotten because it was etched all over my face, arms, thighs and other body parts that I won’t mention.
My bruised pride overwhelmed me and I made the decision to do something about my predicament. It worked for awhile and I even wrote about the progress I was making — substituting alcohol for water. But old habits die hard — and before long I was back to the bottles of wine and permanently stained wine glasses.
Living alone had a lot to do with my nasty habit and the paralyzing evidence of aging that manifests in vengeful ways through sporadic periods, unrelenting insomnia, acne in weird places and the creeping onset of the dreaded “M” word, which didn’t help matters.
I was the pathetic cliche I swore I would never be. Single, alone, jobless and feeling sorry for myself in ways that were destructive.
I couldn’t fit any of my clothes and when my favorite jeans barely made it past my thighs — I almost knocked myself out trying to deny it. That’s when the advice from my parents who had no idea of my struggles — began to filter in with warranted urgency.
It was time to leave the cave of my discontent and make that drastic move towards an existence that could possibly give me a chance of surviving what had become an emergency.
Medical cannabis wasn’t doing much to stimulate my “happy place” and my mental breakdown was beginning to feel like a never-ending punishment for the crime of simply being alive.
So, when the plane landed in Baltimore at 12:49 am on a Friday morning — I was too exhausted to feel the whip of cold air that welcomed my arrival. The panic set in when the Uber approached my destination and I realized that I was about to walk into an arrangement that would force a level of compliance that I wasn’t sure I could handle indefinitely.
It barely took a month — and yet I’m able to report that not only am I thriving without the aid of mind-altering substances — but I’m healthier than I’ve ever been in years. My parents live a very disciplined lifestyle and being around them has not only rubbed off on me, but resurrected the regimen I adopted years ago — when the going was good.
My morning gym sessions are a lifesaver and I spend the rest of the day eating the stuff that makes you glow inside and out. But, even more remarkable is the moment I cautiously tried on my favorite jeans and effortlessly slid it up with no fuss.
The same pair that I almost died trying to fit into months earlier is now hugging my body like an old friend that never gave up on me even when things were shitty as fuck.
I’m feeling stronger and creatively mature in ways that are harvesting rewarding returns. Even though being around my parents is literally the best thing to ever happen to me since I don’t know when — it’s definitely not the perfect scenario.
The lack of privacy and the preferred programming that consists of Hallmark movies and religious offerings not to mention the cringe-worthy news hours filled with back to back accounts of the latest sex scandal — can be a major buzzkill.
But, it’s a small price to pay for the comfort and peace of mind that comes with living your best life with the people that bring out the best in you when you’ve been through the very worst. I’m connecting with my family in a whole new way and as much as they’ve helped me — I’m also sane enough to return the favor. It’s a win win situation all around.
Also, I needed to fit into those darn jeans again! And all it took was moving back in with my parents — and based on the results — I highly recommend it!