• Karis Rogerson

Finding Joy in California

I had never before stepped foot on the West Coast of the US. To be honest, I can't even remember what the most westward state I've ever been to is — but I'm pretty sure it's not that far.


But last Saturday, I hopped a plane, pushing down my eternal terror of flying, and soared through the air from Newark to San Francisco.

I had the delightful experience of reconnecting with a family I've long loved but haven't kept in touch with well, and then of watching my college roommate (and one of my best friends) get married, and also of exploring a super bright, hilly, and lovely city.


I had so many grand plans for the first half of the visit, but I mostly spent those few days in the Bay holed up in my Airbnb, stressing about work.


I mean, I also wrote a poem about Twin Peaks, which was a lovely, if foggy, experience.


The next portion of my trip, the one I'm still on, was a jaunt down to Los Angeles to visit my OG writer friend Auriane. So far we've been to the beach, we've met up with a mutual friend (hi Sai!), we've made many U-turns (intended and not), and we've just generally laughed our heads off and —


I've experienced so much joy here on this trip.


I didn't think it was possible. I adore New York with every fiber of my being, and I love living there, and I never thought I would experience such vivid, unfettered joy, such refreshment, somewhere else. But that's exactly how I've felt.


Seeing one of my oldest friends, Rebeca, whom I've known and loved since 2005, and seeing one of my best friends, Auriane, whom I've known and loved since 2017, both humans who breathe light and life into every interaction, has just lightened so much of my spirit.

I've been carrying around a lot of weight in my heart lately. After the hospital, and to be honest way before it, I've just struggled so much with feeling like an imposter, like I'm not good at anything, like I'll never have the experience of seeing my dreams come true because I think I don't deserve to experience that.


And being here? It's not even like I've been terribly productive; I haven't gotten a single positive response on a query (in fact I've gotten a few rejections over the past six days), and I haven't woken up and known the solution to my depression, but I have felt better.


I have felt joy.


I didn't realize I could feel this way on this coast. But the truth is, I'm loving it out here. I love my friends, I love this weather, I just feel light and happy.


It is a good time.

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