It was March of 2014. My alarm went off at 7:00 a.m. Usually I would hit the snooze button to get every second of sleep possible before rolling out of bed, putting on this dreaded shirt and tie, and driving 50 minutes up I-95 to sit at the car dealership for another 12 hour work day. But this was another one of those days where I had to get up at the time my alarm clock requested, due to the fact there was about 2 feet of white snowy shit covering my driveway and sidewalk. Let the fun begin.
I had lost about 15 pounds since I first started working at the dealership. I appreciated the new shape of my jawline when I looked into the mirror. Being skinny wasn’t all that bad. I could finally see my abs and I wasn’t even working out. Must have been the combination of adderal to wake up and pain killers to go to sleep. That can really curve ones appetite.
I was making more money at this point then I knew what to do with. I wasn’t rich by any means. I just had more money than I was used to. Combine that with the fact that I was still living at home with my mom. I always excelled quickly in the work place and the dealership was no different. Car sales was a new venture for me. I sold 20 cars a month my first month selling full time. 25 my second month. I could see where this was going. The great, successful, and enjoyable path of car sales. Yay.
Saturday’s were filled with texting my connect all day trying to set up a meeting for when I got off work. Afterwards, I would head into Philly and maybe hit a local strip club. Occasionally, I had a performance lined up with my music crew, where we’d get completely annihilated, go on stage, fuck shit up, and let our dicks hang the rest of the night. I would do drugs and drink until about 4 in the morning. As my body got used to pain killers, I’d wake up with less and less of a hangover every time. I wasn’t living for any kind of purpose. My days got repetitive. I was consistently uninterested in what was going on around me. The reality was that I was fucking numb. I had less time to pursue music. Music was the one thing that woke me up in the morning and made me excited to get my day started. It made me happy. It gave me purpose. And in the months prior to that specific situation, my music had gotten temporarily stripped away from me due to a horrible relationship with an ex girlfriend that I won’t get into at this time. I let my current situation affect my mental state so much that I just completely dropped everything I had worked for for 4 years. That’s another story that I will go through at another time.
One Sunday, after waking up around noon, I looked in the mirror and started wondering what had happened to me. It was July 2014. I had been working at the dealership for about 4 months. I was 25 years old, making around $7500 per month, working about 60 hours a week between drive time and work time. My GM gave me high praise on a regular basis and was excited about my potential. I “followed directions.” I “did what he asked.” I worked hard. Besides the “working hard” part, this was definitely not me. By nature, I was a defiant asshole who always questioned why I was asked to do certain things that people considered “normal.” If you couldn’t give me a logical reason or explanation as to why something should be done, you can bet your ass I’m not going to do it. I was forcing myself into a professional setting in order to align myself with social standards. When I was actively and ruthlessly pursuing my music career, this type of job was what my mom referred to as “having a plan B.” One day, I snapped out of it, and I said, “FUCK PLAN B.”
I had visited LA once in my life. I knew immediately that California was different. After experiencing it in 2012, I could not get my mind off going back and eventually living there. I had a friend who I had done music with tell me to come out to San Diego. I told him find a place. He notified me when he did, I sent him a security deposit, packed all my shit and bought a one way ticket. When I informed my boss of my decision, he told me I was on the verge of becoming the next finance manager. “That’s $150,000 a year”, he said. “That’s fine”, I said. “I don’t want to sell cars for the rest of my life.” I left September 4th, 2014.
Moving to California saved my life.
California is different for many reasons. But as I have gotten used to what life is like on the other side of the country, away family and friends, these are some of the things I have come to realize:
I have seasonal depression. My body shuts down in the winter. Needless to say, the east coast wasn’t for me. It’s 75 and sunny in San Diego almost every day. Crazy what a change of weather can do for your mind.
There seems to be more opportunity here. I don’t know if it’s due to the fact that I am taking more chances or if there are just tons of start up companies that have funding and pay well, or if there are people that are more open to helping you. I have worked my way into a great position with a great company. I have broken through my chains of limitations. I have learned that I am completely unafraid of failure now that I am out here alone.
My work/life balance is amazing. I’m not working 60 hours a week. I actually like my job and I also have time to pursue music. I dropped my first album in November 2014 and for the first time in 5 years I am actually making money off doing something I love. I have songs that are trending on digital platforms. I have my own Pandora station. I am selling records.
I’m not doing drugs anymore. I drink socially, and that’s about it. I have removed myself from a toxic situation, involving friends I grew up with and ex girlfriends that had done be wrong and vice versa. It is so hard to break free from your demons if you keep going back to the same ones. It is one of the main reasons I moved. Don’t let your friends and families expectations limit you.
I don’t have to conform to anybody’s expectations. I was able to create a new life for myself and leave a past of fuck ups and bad decisions behind me. I didn’t have to conform to what people knew me as growing up. California is also a lot more liberal in many ways. People out here are allowed to be who they are and who they want to be.
Everyone here is an artist, model, or has some kind of aspiration above and beyond what they are currently doing. The community is stronger for that reason, and the support from strangers is something you don’t get in the Jersey/Philly area. Too much hate.
I don’t have to answer to anybody. I have complete and utter freedom. I’ve surrounded myself with a few good people, and I’ve stayed away from toxic situations. No bad influences.
I have gained my confidence back. It was dwindling at home. I was ashamed of who I was becoming. I felt like I was taking the cowards way out. I have made better music then I was ever making back east. I am working out again. I am pushing myself to be better every day. I don’t feel like I am “settling” anymore. I have a purpose when I wake up in the morning. Every day is a positive one, and I am happy to be alive.
To anyone that is considering a move to another state, another country, another city, here is my advice. If you are in an unhappy place or situation, you are already living your worst case scenario. I knew that if I went to California and failed, I could move back home and go right back into car sales. I was living my worst nightmare.
Take a chance. Make your move. Put your fucking flag into the ground and claim your spot. Don’t take no. If you want to make it happen, you will.
Keep following my blog for updates on my music, my life, and other shenanigans.