Why I Grew Up Hating Los Angeles
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Why I Grew Up Hating Los Angeles

Here’s to throwing tantrums at parking meters and dealing with Hollywood glamour...

Why I Grew Up Hating Los Angeles
Melanie Romero

Yep, you read that absolutely right. Why I grew up hating Los Angeles. I mean, you're probably thinking: who in their right mind could ever bash the city of dreams? Well, I gotta tell you: it's more than detesting parking meters, fake hipsters, traffic jams, and flagrant pollution. It's the glitz and the glamour that comes with being raised in the heart of Los Angeles.

I was practically birthed into the entertainment industry. At just months of age, I graced the pages of glossy magazines, starred in fast food commercials, and bonded with up-and-coming celebrities, thanks to my parents' association within the Mexican and American film industries. Although I lived a fleeting life between Orange and Los Angeles, I never thought I'd ever leave the bubble-wrapped, picket-fenced community of Orange I had already found myself attached to. I was attending cotillion classes, maintaining my horse stables, rehearsing for ballet recitals, and going to private schools. What could I ever want to do with Los Angeles?

Fast forward to eleven years later - my parents divorced before my eyes. As my mother stayed behind, rooted in the chic life of Orange County, my father moved to Los Angeles, trying to nurture his love for filmmaking in the City of Angels. He decided to reside in Beverly Hills as a creative hermit, locking himself up in his office to focus on writing scripts, hiring actors, managing careers, and conversing with directors. And, that's when I come in. For a few years, I was sent home to my endlessly traveling, never-present, business-concentrated father per divorce court order. I spent some weekends and a couple of summers living with my father in Los Angeles. I hated every minute of it. I loathed the two-hour-long ride to the city. I detested the parking meter system. I abhorred the uptight neighborhood. I disliked being sent to my room when my dad had business deals to discuss in his office. (I don't really know if it was because of my bitter resentment towards him or my childhood love for the O.C.)I was always alone in exploring this foreign, dirty, eccentric city. Yes, I once dealt with acting classes, fashion shows, and modeling shoots in Los Angeles when I was young and working in the entertainment industry. But, I never thought I'd live there, and never did my dad ever attempt to welcome me into his city. I visited the usual spots - LACMA, the Hollywood Sign, Griffith Observatory, etc. I never once felt the magic of Los Angeles speaking to me with any of those visits. I took pictures, but never felt bothered to look back on those memories.

I was "far" from the comfort zone of my home, living in the city that pushed my boundaries, drove me to the edge, conflicted with my interests. So, I promised myself that I had seen everything in Los Angeles; I needed a change when college would come in the near horizon - I'd go to New York City to write books or I'd jet to Paris to perfect my French.

But, my, how did my hate for Los Angeles take a 360-degree turn. I applied to USC, one of my bottom choices (believe it or not), to appease my USC-decorated family even though I dreamed of going to NYU. And, destiny utlimately took its course. On the last day of college decisions, I picked Los Angeles over New York City - a choice that sent family members into unbelievable shock, and, to this day, I never knew why I decided to live there.

But, never once did I regret it.

As of now, I have now realized how much I love the City of Stars.

Los Angeles has gone from being a bitter memory to a massive crush to my all-consuming passion. I cruise to locations I've never been to and meet people I've never seen. I have Sunday brunch in downtown skyscrapers, drink caffe lattes in artsy shops, take class notes in Leavey Library, and attend fashion shows in West Hollywood. I spend family time with my amazing siblings and watch classic movies in cemeteries. I have one-time breakfast with Matthew McConaughey and see Guillermo del Toro struck deals with my dad. These are the things I never did in the O.C. that I carry out doing in Los Angeles.

Without a doubt, I am perfectly complete being a true, laidback L.A. girl for the time-being.

So, yes, I grew up hating Los Angeles (a little bit due to traffic and pollution). But, I think I've matured into knowing that Los Angeles will always be my home away from home - even if that's just 27 miles off.

Farewell, Orange County, Los Angeles has finally placed my heart on my sleeve. It's a love-hate relationship now - more love than hate, in all honesty.

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