Back in 2000, The Real Carrie stayed at The Standard, Hollywood for the iconic season three episodes “Escape from New York” and "Sex and Another City." In 2017, The Standard called Carrie Dragshaw to recreate the magic. All shots on location :)
Meanwhile, I was going loca in La La Land trying to stand out at the Standard. As I stepped back into L.A. in the same asymmetrical dress from 2000, I started thinking about change. You can change your clothes, you can change your hair, with the right doctor you can even change your face—but can you ever really change your self? And even if you can, do you then just discover something new that needs changing? Was my soul like a pair of mismatched Louboutins: colorful but confused, dazzling but always divided—one side where I am, one side where I want to be, a walking contradiction?
Selfies are like cigarettes: Painful if they don't have a filter. In 2017 L.A., we take Ubers, take SoulCycle, and have entire walls for taking selfies. Even if I couldn’t change, L.A. certainly could. Since 2000, the trees got tall, downtown got cool, juice got expensive, gluten got evil, and reality got a lot of TV shows. Nowadays, we text instead of talk and swipe instead of flirt. Was digital dating some new drug? Fun for a quick high, but can distort reality, impair decision-making and may damage the heart. Were screens the new nicotine? Expensive, addictive, and dangerous in excess? And even with all this technology, were we really just iLone? Maybe we needed an SOS over SMS to disconnect from our phones and reconnect to our selves. Or maybe I was just bitter. As I looked around at all the new devices, I thought, in 17 years full of change, was my operating system the only one that hadn’t gotten an upgrade?
There’s an old saying: “Time waits for no man.” So why did I wait for so many? As I took another puff of my contraband cigarette, I started thinking about 17 years of wading in the shallow end of love, waiting for a man to notice me, flatter me, to love me deeper, to hold me tighter, or to at least pull me into the deep end. When you're young, you dream of romantic strolls on the beach. But real life seems more like swimming laps in the dating pool. Was I the Michael Phelps of failed relationships, getting in shape just for a breast stroke and a little mouth to mouth? Falling in love with the wrong man is like jumping from the high dive into a kiddie pool. So why did so many of us climb back up the ladder to dive again? Was I just another Captain Gayhab on the hunt for Moby Dick? In life, the past can be an anchor holding us back. But maybe, if we pay attention to its lessons, the past is more like the wind—slowing us down if we fight against it, but pushing us forward if we put it behind us. Sometimes us single girls just need to change direction to get the wind in our sails.
As I gazed out over the balcony of the same room 322 I visited in 2000, I couldn’t help but wonder: In life, do we just keep taking the same trips over and over again? Making a wrong turn onto memory lane instead of merging onto the open road of the life we want? If life is a highway, was I stuck in L.A. traffic? Shakespeare sent Juliet out to the balcony to find love. But that didn’t end very well. Were we forgetting the real lesson of Romeo & Juliet: Sometimes it’s better to be single. Looking out at the L.A. skyline, I started thinking about light. Some lights we see with our eyes, but the most important ones switch on in our heads. Isn’t it funny that sometimes the biggest change in your life is simply an insight, an awareness, a new way of looking at things—the moment when you see the light. And you see life differently as a result, and you wonder if everything you’ve been wondering about isn’t really that important, if everything you've been worried about isn't really that scary, and maybe, just maybe, you already have what it takes to be happy. Even flashy cities can get pretty dark sometimes, but the thing about darkness is: it can't survive in the light. So maybe it was time to let it shine.
As I basked in the rays of the City of Angels, I had a thought. Life isn't Los Angeles: it won't be sunny every day. And love is as fickle as the weather in New York. But maybe happiness is less about changing your life and more about changing how you look at it. It's less about changing your city, your weight, your boyfriend, or even your self—and more about changing your perspective. To see the pool float as half full. To stop comparing yourself to where you should be and start celebrating yourself for where you are. After all, the air in L.A. has smog and the air in N.Y. smells like pee, but you can still stop and smell the roses. Maybe life is like a Brazilian Wax: You're in for a lot of pain if you expect everything to be smooth. But if you can greet life's imperfections & hairy challenges with a smile, the forecast looks bright. The storms won't hurt you if there's sunshine in your soul. The nightmares won't scare you if there are dreams in your heart. And you'll never be alone if you become the love you’re looking for.
When a New Yorker visits L.A., some see only the differences: they’re Porsche and we’re Prada, they’re Hollywood and we’re Broadway, Lunch at the Ivy vs. Breakfast at Tiffany’s. We validate friends, they validate parking. They’re chill all year and we’re freezing for half of it. Our trends are on the runway and theirs come with a locker room. They hike up Runyon to get fresh air and we hike up our skirts to get into 1 Oak. But some look around and see the similarities: fabulous places full of fabulous strivers who expect a lot from their cities and even more from themselves. In life, whether you're looking for similarities or differences—you'll find what you're looking for. Maybe we're only as different as we think we are. And if you look right, you'll see the New York in L.A., and the L.A. in New York. You'll see the you in me, and the me in you. And you'll see that the world is overrun with "Us" versus "Them," but at the center of "We," there lies love.
Life isn't all just palm trees and porn stars, but it turns out you can feel Califortunate no matter what state you’re in. So maybe life’s greatest voyage isn’t about going somewhere new, but seeing the same place--or person--with new eyes. As I left Los Angeles, I realized: Whether it’s distance or time, no matter how far you travel, you end up running into yourself. In a way, you’re always living in your own head. And if you can make it there, you’ll make it anywhere. #CarrieDragshaw #TheEnd