Riding Bitch

The daily musings of a writer.

Going Back to Cali, Cali


The next time I post, I will be in Los Angeles again. I’m going for a 10-day visit, at the end of which I’m participating in a 3-day writer’s conference and speaking on a panel about Writing About Loss. Before I leave, I’m being interviewed on HuffingtonPost Live (tomorrow, Thursday, March 19 at 4:00pm ET). Needless to say, it’s a very busy time, and I’m more than a little stressed.

I’m excited to go back to Los Angeles, but also nervous. When I tell people this, they don’t understand why. I’m not sure I totally understand either. I did live there for 19 years. But there’s something about going back to a place you’ve left.

Part of me is nervous that once I’m there, I’ll regret having left, like I’ll be walking (driving) around feeling homesick the whole time.

Another part of me is anxious about being asked the same questions over and over again: “How’s it going in NY? How do you like it? Are you glad you left? Are you coming back?”

I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that just the thought of being in such a big city, dealing with that traffic, makes my stomach tighten a little. I’ve basically been living in the woods for the past eight months — in a quiet, zero traffic, distraction-free, practically people-free zone. I’ve been in “writing mode,” which is a lot different than “meet and greet and speak publicly mode.” Yes, I’ve been to NYC periodically, but I stay with family in Brooklyn and tend to keep my activities local.

Another source of nerves (and emotions) is that being in Los Angeles will remind me of Kaz in a way that I haven’t experienced in a while. Living in NY, where Kaz and I never visited together and therefore shared no memories of, has been a sort of respite from all the emotional triggers that come with familiar sites in a shared geographical location. I know I will be alright, but it’s the not knowing where and when I will encounter these triggers that makes my nervous.

Finally, my heart aches at leaving Ruby behind (it was too complicated and expensive to bring her). I’ve never been away from her for this long, and am already feeling the longing. She’ll be staying with family and going to doggie daycare during the day, so we’ll both be busy. But it will be strange to be apart. Our days upstate are, if nothing else, an exercise in routine. Everything happens around the same time every day. We’re nearly always together, and she is nearly always off leash, running free.

All that said, I am looking forward to the trip, to seeing all my friends, feeling heat, going to the beach, meeting many other talented writers, getting as much done as possible, visiting the mountain where I released Kaz’s ashes and more.

A lot has happened since I left Los Angeles. Maybe going back will remind me of how far I’ve come. Maybe it will remind me why I left.

Ironically, this will be my first time visiting Los Angeles. I will miss upstate NY, but I’ll be back soon.

Looking forward to sharing the journey with you, as always. xo

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Author: nivaladiva

Freelance writer and independent filmmaker.

9 thoughts on “Going Back to Cali, Cali

  1. Safe journey. I’m sure there will be bittersweet moments in LA, be gentle with yourself. And great luck with your Huff Post interview and the conference.

  2. Ruby is a beauty!

    Thank you for your transparency, Niva…so many things resonated. Going back to San Francisco when I lived in Chicago. Going back to Chicago when I lived in Seattle. And going back to San Francisco, again from Chicago — but this time as a single woman. (My ex and I divorced nearly three years ago.) The feeling of home intertwined with “you can never really go back.” It was only on this last visit to SF that I was asked (so many times) “When are you moving back?” Never before. My answer surprised me. “I don’t know.” As opposed to no.

    I’m moving to Madrid in July instead. My ex and I were there together for three or four days, nearly 16 years ago. In many ways I wish we had never been there together so that I might avoid any triggers and completely make it my own, as you have made upstate NY your own. But that is not reality. My work is to reclaim it for myself and establish new connections, memories and roots.

    Travel gently. You are an inspiration.

  3. I was born and raised in Hawaii and moved to Texas 10 years ago. I get to visit Hawaii for various projects, and though I miss some things, I have no doubt that where I live now is my home. I’ve been following your journey. You have an idyllic life now. You are of the land in which you are now rooted. I am impressed.

    • Thanks so much. Your move from Hawaii to Texas must have been a huge transition. Such different environments! Glad to hear TX feels like home now. It’s true, I do feel rooted in upstate NY, even though I’ve never lived there before. It’s weird (in a good way).

      Thanks for reading the blog!

  4. Safe travels and calm thoughts for you, Niva. Good luck!

  5. what part of l.a. are you going to? I

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