I am Darwin’s white moth against a forest of soot-covered trees, and I am evolving. Individualism is a strangely defined term, and as I learn three new languages, more and more definitions become difficult to understand.

Los Angeles has a tendency to idealize individualism, with an extreme focus on breeding the independent self. To that I owe much of my strength, but at times it felt that the pressure inhibited my perspective. It was drilled into me by college applications, teachers, and peers that I needed to stand out, to be my own. And here I am where every single thing about me is different, and I am trying to be the same.

Today I walked to work a little late, and everyone had already stuck their pose for the day. As I pass, eyes follow me, like the portraits at the Getty. Faces I see every day and never remember, and they all know my name. I thought about what it would mean in LA to have everyone notice you – the greatest achievement.

Each hour I am away from home brings an inch of perspective. Why do I do the things I do? My questions are everywhere and yet I am focused on the acceleration of my education here, how quickly I pick up on the routine, the flow. The flow, which in class, I would only memorize and forget.

This is the evolution- the ability to track the differences in my character and the reasons for doing so.

After work, I stepped outside my room to look up at the stars and I was confused, as a child would be at how distant they seemed, and yet I still felt how similar we were, floating alone in the blanket of the night sky.