They also say to always go with you gut. We’re young. We should go out and see the world. “Discover” ourselves in a foreign land. Have lovers in Paris, be an artist’s muse in Milan, and other things that only take place in a film made in 1964 with pretty color schemes and apathetic looking men with nice bone structures. We should wanderlust as much as we can because then we’ll grow up wondering “what if.” But all these encouraging words you’ve probably read on Tumblr have probably been written by a rich white person with understanding parents. Their parents probably funded said wanderlust trip and told them to send as many photos as they could. This is not how my trip to New York City went.
By Paola Martell
My love for New York was established at a young teenage age with the help of movies such as Manhattan (1979) and Permanent Vacation (1980). I began telling my mom my dream of living there since the age of 13. So when I told her this year that I was going to visit, I didn’t understand why her reaction was so against the idea. I was 19 and had been saving money for a while. It was my chance to go to another state besides Texas for the first time, but I guess going to a music festival in the biggest city on Earth with people you’ve met on the internet doesn’t sink in so easily.
So I went without my parents permission. Secretive and full throttle. New York City treated me very well, and I’m fortunate I had amazing people around me the entire time. It was a dream. My entire time there was cloudy because it always seemed to good to be true. I was there, I was finally there. Surrounded by grimy dirty sidewalks and rats and taxi cabs. It was one cloudy dreamy reality that smelled like a food cart in the best way possible.
I thought it was better to ask for forgiveness than permission, but of course, life is not a Wes Anderson movie, the color schemes and cinematography of my life could never be that refreshing and pretty. Being from a tight, mostly conservative Mexican family, I came back to my mother’s broken heart. I lied to her and betrayed her trust. Being the youngest and quietest child in the family, I sort of felt like I had to, though. I wanted to prove that they can let me go and I’d be fine, which I was perfectly fine in New York, but the hurt I caused my mother was not worth the disposable camera photos or nice skyscrapers or crowded subway rides. My days in New York were probably the best 5 days of my life, but I can’t help but feel endless regret for the pain I caused her. I hope she understands that I had to do it, though. New York was both overwhelming and underwhelming at the same time. I felt a kind of silent content in a city so fast-paced. Did I belong there? Absolutely. Just like how my love and trust should belong in my mother’s heart. And I hope it still does.