The tale of the teenage runaway is a familiar one– unhappy boy or girl flees an abusive family and heads for the big city only to find predatory strangers waiting to exploit him or her.
As a well-educated, thirtysomething professional, I couldn’t have been farther from a teenage runaway when I moved to L.A. And yet. My family of origin was an unhappy one, and I’ve had dreams since my early twenties of finding a substitute family that would provide the love, support, and companionship we all crave. Instead, like many others, what I found in the “big city” leg of this journey was abusive bosses, fickle friends, noncommittal partners, and plenty of craziness.
Being back at home with my mother (leaving soon!) has made me feel as if there’s little solace anywhere except for that I create myself. Kudos to all us long-term singles! If not broken, we certainly are strong.
This visit home would have been much easier if I’d had a partner by my side and we had breezed in and out together. Along those lines I was looking at old photo albums and cringing at my awkward youth– braces, bad hairstyles, the usual. The Hollywood ideal is that we grow up, blossom, fall in love, create our own families, and then look back and laugh at our awkward youth.
If that doesn’t happen, inside do we remain the girl with the hideous headgear? It can take an incredible amount of self-development not to.