There’s a certain type of person out there who, upon immediate arrival, changes the energy in a room for the worse without even saying a word. It’s the way they walk, style their hair, take a seat, park their car. It all rubs you the wrong way, and for some strange and freakishly annoying reason, it’s hard to pinpoint exactly why and how you feel this aggravated way – as if your whole day just crashed and burned.
We’ve all had that brief – but unforgettable moment when a complete stranger walks through the door, and we instantaneously sense a negative vibe illuminating off their body that makes us want to punch them square in the face for simply existing. Moreover, we’ve all gone through that trying experience of explaining why we don’t like someone, and most of the time, the honest to god answer is, “I just don’t.”
Whether society is open-minded enough to believe it or not, everything on this Earth possesses an aura, commonly referred to as a “vibes”: dogs, coffee shops, dive bars, horses, exes, the bodega guy. Remember, it doesn’t need a heartbeat for you to hate it. How often do you walk into a new bar that just opened down the street from your apartment? You want nothing more in the world than to instantly fall in love with this new place, mostly because, how convenient for you.
But instead, to your dismay, you walk in, and right away, crave walking out. Was it the people? Were they not hip enough for you? Was it the color of the wallpaper? The tiles in the bathroom? The way the bartender did or did not greet you? Who cares, really. Bottom line is, you got a bad vibe, and chose to excuse yourself from its surroundings. No harm, no foul.
The same goes for people, except for the disappointing fact that removing yourself from someone’s bad vibe can be hard, if not impossible, because no matter how often you escape that draining wrath of a co-worker or fellow student, you always re-discover that same dickweed or bitch in a different time and space and think, “Not this shit again!”
Truth be told, something feels fundamentally wrong about describing people based on where they live. It’s like saying all New Yorkers love thick-crusted pizza and 24-hour delis, while all Los Angelinos love hole-in-the-wall taco joints and escaping to the beach. And dare I say it — all Czechs love their socks (paired with sandals) and scruffy canine companions more than life itself. But isn’t it kind of true?
Every city, no matter size or population, exudes a unique personality and aura, which eventually rubs off on its civilians if they live there long enough. I’d say it takes about three to five years for you to embody your zip code to a tee. So, I’ve lived in Los Angeles for a year and a half now, which marks the halfway point until this city swallows me whole and leaves a permanent branding burn mark on my ass. It hit me just a few days ago, when I had a nervous breakdown in the vacant bathroom stalls next to my work, that L.A’s long-term locals have a severely distinctive aura.
Obviously, since I had a fat cry over it, it’s an aura that doesn’t mesh well with mine whatsoever. Just a personal observation on the dark cloud energy that hovers above Los Angeles, but here goes: those who’ve been corrupted by the city’s cutthroat businesses are only your friend and/or treat you with respect, if you can better them, help them, or provide for them. In other words, they use you to better themselves until your blood runs dry.
When suddenly, you’re a walking skeleton who doesn’t realize what’s happened until it’s too late, and you’re left wondering why you haven’t heard from that person you thought was a genuine connection in weeks. Scratch my back; I’ll scratch yours? Not in this town, you naive chump. One mistake, and you’re done – permanently engraved on the shit list, like the supposed communists on HUAC’s Hollywood blacklist.
Forget everything we talked about on lunch break, erase my contact information from the call sheet; delete my name from next week’s scheduled time table. None of that matters anymore because I can no longer benefit you and your business.
Prior to moving, friends warned me to proceed cautiously around “those” L.A people who solely perceive you as a networking opportunity or a stepping stone to success rather than a human being with feelings, but as living species, we learn through experience and never truly believe until its already happened to us, and then we vow to never end up in that situation again. But sadly, instead of letting these downers harmlessly pass through without looking back, we let their energy impact ours, which helplessly ruins our class, shift, day, month, year, even lives.
No one wants to feel used or taken advantage of so we build up protective, selfish walls. We don’t do kind, selfless favors for each other anymore because we’re narrowly focused on what we gain, not what we give. I remember the days when letting someone crash on your couch for the weekend was no big deal. In fact, it was welcomed with excitement that a friend from out of town took the time to come visit you and “play tourist.”
Now, we consider letting anyone, even our own flesh and blood, into our homes a nuisance. Is it because we’re concerned that their presence will conflict with our aura and create stress? Are we too focused on maintaining the comfortable vibe we’ve spent years establishing for ourselves, that we’re far too hesitant to welcome new energies, which thus turns us into the downer?
Now would be the ideal time to devise a plan on how to avoid these negative, soul-sucking bottom feeders. Quit everything ever and hide under our duvet covers, I guess? Do we carry some sort of protective gear like those old-timers from past centuries who harnessed crosses to ward off vampires?
Life would be much easier and enjoyable if we could simply tell those negative auras, disguised as day-walkers in skinny jeans and flannels, to fuck off as no one’s pointing a gun at our head to deal with those types. The sooner we can admit out loud that certain energies will never harmoniously co-exist in the same room, the sooner we’ll find inner peace.
Certain frequencies were never meant to collaborate on that music sheet we refer to as our daily lives. There’s no need to force things – it only makes both parties uncomfortable. Just call out the elephant in the room.
It might sound lame or embarrassing, but there should be no shame in looking someone in the eyes and confessing that their energy is diminishing yours. You could be teaching them a valuable life lesson. On the other hand, to avoid sounding like a complete pessimist, some peoples’ energies are pretty great and hard to come by, so you better keep those peeps around.
Sophie is a recent graduate from Arizona State University with a BA in Film and Media Studies. Born in London, and raised in Prague, she is a natural born traveller, which led to exploring Southeast Asia and most recently, Alaska. Whilst traveling, she’s expanded her knowledge and passion for foreign film and music. Upon moving to Los Angeles, she’s worked on television sets, a 2014 Sundance short, and participated in a live taping of “America’s Got Talent.” Sophie’s attentiveness for music began at seventeen, when she first gained access to the senior lounge’s speaker system, and often got into trouble for blasting explicit lyrics through her high school’s hallways. In her free time, Sophie spends countless hours at the movies, tattoo parlors, and local dog parks.