I Followed My Dream of Moving to California

**Don’t miss the video at the end of this post**

If I had a dime for every time someone has responded with “WOW, that must have been a HUGE cultural shock” or “OMG, that must have been SUCH a big change for you!” when I tell them that I moved from Indianapolis, Indiana to Los Angeles, California, I would be a …well not millionaire, but pretty damn close. Listen, Indianapolis has a current population of nearly 1 million people. I didn’t grow up shucking corn on a farm (although my Mom did)…I grew up in the suburbs of a metropolitan city.  Yes, Los Angeles is a much larger, more diverse, and more liberal city (which are exactly the reasons why I love it), but c’mon, I was not a country bumpkin that moved all wide eyed and “well, GOLL-Y” to the first big city that I ever visited.

Where everyone thinks I grew up when I say “Indiana:”

rural AF

Where I actually grew up:

I’m a city girl at heart. The sounds of sirens are like music to my ears.  OK, that might be a little aggressive, but I love everything about living in a big city.  Diversity, sightseeing, restaurants, lesbians, events, etc….just STUFF to do!  That being said, moving to LA was one of the most empowering and life changing events in my life.  This August will be my 5 year anniversary with the City of Angels and we are still going strong.

In 2012, after over a year of applying for countless jobs all over California, I finally landed an incredible medical sales job in LA. If you want to know more of the background about why and how I got a job in LA, check out my other post: Saying Yes; My Catalyst to Manifesting

But here’s the thing, I had never actually been to LA.  In fact, I had never been to Southern California at all.  I had always been in love with the San Francisco bay area and had visited there over a dozen times but had never ventured south.  This was mostly because I didn’t know anyone there!  So there I was, 27 years old, and about to move to a city that I had never visited and where I didn’t know anyone.  I had three weeks to find an apartment and move my entire life (including two exceptionally large cats) across the country.

Yep, exceptionally large:

During a quick weekend trip to LA and a whopping 2 days of apartment hunting, I found a super cute one bed/one bath in the gayborhood, West Hollywood. And, lucky for me, my younger brother’s common sense had not yet fully developed and he offered to drive my car with his girlfriend at the time (now wife) and my chunky fur babies on a 4 day cross country road trip. My bad ass sister in law, Katie, who is a much better writer that I, wrote this amazing PUBLISHED short story about her experience on this adventure: What Cheeseburgers Look Like in Kansas.  I don’t want to give too much away but as it turns out, cats do not make ideal road trip companions. I also now know how to purchase a new car in the state of Utah over the phone.  Fun times.  Read the story, thank me later.

Starting from scratch in a new city is both terrifying and exciting.  Have you ever dreamed about dropping everything, moving away and just starting over in a new city, state, or country? Samsies.  Well, I did it, and it was incredible.  I feel like everyone at some point in their life should CREATE the opportunity to reinvent themselves in a new environment.  Not become someone new, but be in a situation where you are vulnerable and introduce yourself to people intentionally as the most true version of you.  It is in those vulnerable situations where you learn so much about yourself.  There were definitely moments of loneliness and pang of homesickness. Many bottles of wine and pints of ice cream were consumed  while “netflixing and chilling” with my cats before I developed a support system in my new city.

Take a trip alone, do that one thing you have always been wanting to do.  Start working on that bucket list that you keep adding to but never cross anything off. Stop making excuses to yourself about why now isn’t a good time.  You just need to save up a little money.  Just stop.  If I had allowed myself to do this…I would still be sitting in a cubicle in Indiana, hating my life.  Not because my life would actually be terrible but because I would KNOW on the inside that I was destined for something different but that I was too scared to make the leap and go for it.  You Know what I mean.. That feeling on the inside that you would just MEANT to be.

Los Angeles is my home now.  I feel grateful every single day for the amazing people I have met and the incredible experiences this city has provided.  This Indiana girl won’t be moving home anytime soon.

XO Liz Baxter – Your Friendly Neighborhood Lesbian

Follow me on:
IG: @LizBinLA

Twitter: @LizBinLA 

YouTube: Liz Baxter

Saying Yes: My Catalyst to Manifesting

There has been a theme to my life recently.  Well I guess it’s been about a decade but I am just now putting it all together and giving myself credit. The theme: saying YES to as much as possible…including starting this blog.

I will try to not get too preachy here about how you all should live your lives and instead focus on my story and the amazing things that happened and doors that opened when I started saying YES to more things.

Mull this over for a hot sec…are you someone who says yes to most things or do you have an arsenal of excuses?  But really?  I was someone who had excuses.  Or as I saw them, very reasonable and grounded explanations for why I wasn’t doing certain things or why some things just weren’t possible.  “It’s actually better if I don’t because…”  Sound familiar??

I was raised to get a good job, work your way up, follow the rules, save for retirement, and don’t do anything too risky.  My parents wanted the best for me so they taught me to be smart but also to play it safe and stay on the beaten path.  I still have an inherent fear inside of me that flairs up whenever I stray off the path…at least initially.  But, that fear is more and more drowned out by the draw of opportunity and possibility.  The “What if?” version of glass half full.  Each time I take a chance and “say yes” to something that is both terrifying and exciting, the fear gets a little less and the excitement a little more when the next opportunity presents itself.

The universe is always providing opportunities, you just have to have the awareness to SEE them and then say YES!

Yes to Italy!

The first life changing “yes” that I can remember is my decision to study abroad in Italy and then go back again, alone, to work and complete my college required internship.  There is something magical about living in a foreign country alone, with some days where you don’t speak a word to anyone except strangers on the street or vendors at the farmers market.  That’s a lot of time alone…a lot of time to get to know yourself.  Will you be scared and lonely or will you embrace the vulnerable situation?  I didn’t realize it at the time but I fully embraced my vulnerability.

I realized that the world was SO much bigger than the tiny bubble that I lived in and frankly my mind was blown.  I went to a state university in a rural town in Indiana and lived in a sorority house for 3 years.  Previously, my time was spent doing the bare minimum to get decent grades in school so that I could have more time for beer pong and corn hole.  When I got back from Italy, things were different.  Beer pong was still fun but I started to think about what I really wanted to do with my life…so many exciting possibilities flooded my thoughts. It was like a part of my brain had been turned on that had never been used.  EXPOSURE…  The more you expose yourself to new experiences, the more “data” you collect to then choose from that helps you visualize and plan what you want to do with your life.  LIFE GOALS, dayum.

All of a sudden, a whole new realm of life possibilities were opened in my mind.  I didn’t have to just graduate college, get a good job, buy a house, have babies, whatever… I could travel the world, get a job where I would travel to other countries, LIVE in other countries, move out of Indiana…WHOA.

Yes to coming out!

Ok, y’all, I am not going to re-hash my whole coming out story because I already did that here: Turns Out…I’m Gay AF. Butttt, looking back, I realize that I accepted my gayness in my own head with much less of a fight than it could have been.  I mean, I could have tried to deny to myself or been too fearful to act on it or talk to anyone about it.  We live in a society of labels and sexual orientation is a large part of someone’s identity. I think sometimes coming out to yourself or the willingness to accept yourself as an LGBTQ individual is harder than coming out to others.  I am proud that I was able to say yes to being a lesbian without too much self-loathing or wasted time.

I actually think that being gay automatically put me into the “not normal” category which opened the door to me embracing being different, in general.  I realized that I wanted to live in a big city with more diversity and more a of gay community/presence.  And more hot lesbians, DUH!  Because of this desire, I set my goals on moving to California and not taking “no” for an answer. I spent a lot of time (YEARS) dreaming about living in California…the warm weather, amazing restaurants, the ocean, the hoards of beautiful gay people.  Which leads me to…

Yes to moving to CA and changing careers!

I had a Tourism Management major and had worked in a hotel for 4+ years after graduating.  I had been promoted from an assistant to a management position and for the entire 4+ years I worked in a cubicle in an internal office with no windows.  I worked nights and weekends usually totaling 50+ hours a week. Most days in the winter I would come in when it was dark and leave when it was dark, never seeing the light of day.  I was miserable.  I just knew this couldn’t be it for me.

I told myself that because ALL of my work experience was in hotels/hospitality (and my major was Tourism) that I couldn’t possibly be qualified to do a job doing something else, something different.  Something where I could work less and make more money.  It sounds too good to be true, right?  No, homegirl, no…I was a quick learner, a go getter, and successful at anything I really put my mind to…I just needed to believe in myself.  I always KNEW I would find a way.

It took me a long time to actually verbalize my goals for fear of ridicule or everyone harshing my mellow.  Which they did anyway.  California is too expensive, you hardly know anyone there, how will you get a job, how will you move your three cats (STOP JUDGING ME), etc. I would spend hours apartment hunting on craigslist in my free time just to envision myself living in California.  I pictured a life where I had a flexible schedule, made way more money, lived near so many cool things that a big city offers, near the ocean, plenty of time to enjoy life outside of my career.

I kid you not, I am currently living the life that I dreamed about (BOLD).  I manifested exactly what I wanted and I am living it.  I currently live in the heart of Los Angeles, 30 minutes from the beach, two hours to palm springs, 15 minutes to amazing hikes, and an hour or so from mountains and skiing.  The sun is literally shining every damn day…it’s a beautiful thing.  I have an incredible sales job that allows me to travel all over California and work out of my house.  I make at least 3X as much money than in my last job in Indiana, and I actually enjoy what I do!  Last year I won sales rep of the year and a free trip to Mexico. Seriously! There is not a day that goes by that I don’t think about how badly I wanted the life that I am currently living and feel immense gratitude.  SO many things have fallen into place.

Yes to getting fit/crossfit!

My first year in LA consisted of many nights out drinking, smoking cigarettes, and indulging in any and all food that I wanted at any time with no restriction.  Lezbehonest here, I’m talking frozen stuffed crust DiGiorno pizza dipped in ranch at least 3x a week.  I literally did NO form of exercise for the entire year other than an occasional hike at Runyon (the easy paved path of course). Let’s just say, I was living FAR from a healthy lifestyle.

Crossfit people always annoyed me with all of their talking about crossfit, so I had always taken part in a one person boycott.  Bitter Betty party of one!  Anyway, fast forward to finally saying YES, I need to get off my lazy ass and get into a gym.  I bought a groupon to an all girls gym in West Hollywood right near my house.  I showed up the first day and realized it was a crossfit gym, oops!  I had bought a 20 pack so I told myself to keep an open mind and finish all 20 classes.  The first day I could not complete the workout and I spent the second half of the 60 min class sitting outside on the steps for fear of losing my lunch onto the floor…and all of my dignity with it.  Yet I went back…and again, and again.  By the 4th class or so, I was hooked.  Almost 4 years later, the crossfit community has been such a huge part of my life.  Most of my closest friends I met at the gym.  People from all walks of life that I would never have met otherwise.  Also, now I give a shit about how I eat and how I treat my body.  I am more fit now than I have been in my entire life, I drink MUCH less, and I haven’t touched a cigarette in years.  I used to freaking HATE going to the gym and now I look forward to it.  I get to hang out with my friends while doing something miserable and then commiserate with those same friends.  Sounds amazing right?

Yes to the Love Connection with Andy Cohen!

Oh boy guys, this is a good one.  When this opportunity presented itself I initially said no.  Hell no.  I listened to some not so positive feedback from others (AHEM, my parents) and made up a story as to why it was better for me NOT to do the show.  But obviously I came to my senses and I will write about my full experience in a future post…stay tuned!

The bottom line is…I obviously said YES to Andy Cohen and the Love Connection!  Looking back, it was truly a FUN experience!  Being on the first lesbian episode of the Love Connection ever and having it air on FOX…pretty damn cool.  Plus, I met some super cool people and who knows what doors it will open or further opportunities it will provide.  Also, NO , I don’t know what date my episode will air yet but I will let you all know as soon as I do!

Yes to starting this blog!

Which brings me to this website/blog and why I said yes to this as well, despite the MILLIONS of people who have websites or blogs about their daily life, things they like or dislike, and basically everything under the sun.  Initially I had thoughts (fears) such as: What sets me apart? Why would people want to read what I have to say? There are far more talented people out there, will I be just another basic bitch, etc.  I allowed these thoughts to win for a while and then I thought.. why the fuck not?  What do I have to lose?  Maybe someone will read just one story of mine and it might make them change the way they think about something in their life.  Maybe it will raise their awareness for just one day.  Maybe they will say yes to something they wouldn’t have and it will change the trajectory of their journey.  Who knows.

Yes every…damn…day!

It’s not just the major life decisions that impact your life but its the little things everyday.

Things I say yes to every day:

Eating healthy, staying fit, talking regularly with my therapist/life coach, sleeping a lot, not giving a fuck what others think, meditating, reading, visualizing my future, being grateful, calling my Mom, journaling, ETC.

I am living proof that if you say yes to things that good things can happen.

Have you ever thought about how one tiny event or chance encounter lead to something which lead you to someone that told you about something that completely changed the direction of your life?  The universe presents these types of opportunities to us everyday but most of the time we don’t notice them.  Take a week or even a day to pay attention.  Stop making excuses and start saying YES to what the universe is presenting.  Who knows…you could even end up on a stage with Andy Cohen one day.

That’s some deep shit.

XO Liz Baxter

Follow me on:
IG: @LizBinLA

Twitter: @LizBinLA 

YouTube: Liz Baxter