I Love You
By Mayra, age 18, California
Sweet Designs Featured Writer
Hello Ladies <3
It seems as if it were only yesterday that I graduated out of high school and began a new chapter in my life. Over the course of these past 5 months I have been absent from the magazine due to hectic schedules and overloads of work, not to mention an important and inevitable transition as part of my college experience. Today I'd like to open my heart to share what I've been going through, and what I'm still facing, but overcoming. I'm growing and learning, burning pans and buying groceries, all on my own. Welcome to college life 101!
Shall we begin?!
The moment I walked out of my house, luggage and all in my possession, I felt incredibly miserable. It was a Monday morning, and I was getting ready to finally leave the nest and go to college. At first, I was really looking forward to this moment. I had spent my whole summer drooling over the fact that I was at last going to be able to live on my own and be the independent young woman that I wanted to be. My summer nights were depleted on college planning and college dreaming because college meant everything to me. This behavior didn't come as a surprise to my parents; they knew that this was a huge step for me, and that I would pursue it with every inch of my being.
When it was time to load my luggage into the car I couldn't help but feel like I was no longer going to set foot in this house. I almost felt as if I were no longer part of this family, the family I'd give anything for, including my own life. As I looked into my mother's eyes, I noticed the heavy feeling of distress that she held inside those eyes. At that moment I cried.
Here I was standing before the woman who sat in the hospital for hours trying to give labor, the woman who received the beatings from my father, the woman who worked for hours to make ends meet, the woman I call my best friend. Here I was, once again, standing before the most important person in my life, just to realize that I no longer would be able to be beside her as I did when I was younger.
My mind kept telling me over and over Be strong ... do not let her see you cry, because then she'll cry you a river. When I got into the car, I tried to keep myself busy by looking at the congested freeway, the apathetic billboards, and the piles of orange trash bags along the side of the road. While I looked outside the window, she was sharing our cultural remedies and delicious family recipes.
That's when it hit me. You don't know what you have until you lose it. It was only then that I appreciated everything in my life, including my mom's hard work and dedication, not only to this family, but to her job as well. I appreciated my brother's company, my stepfather's constant advice on managing my budget, and my dog's exuberant behavior.
I quickly turned towards her and smiled because that was the only thing I felt like I should do, the only thing that seemed right at that moment. She smiled back and questioned my mood, and I replied by changing the conversation. When we arrived to Cal State University Northridge my mind sank inside a pool of flashbacks. One minute I was there as a 17 year old college freshman and the next I was a 10 year old thinking to myself Will I go to college?
When I finally came back to my five senses, I opened my eyes to apprehend reality. I wasn't dreaming and I definitely wasn't 10. I was here as the first person in my family to attend college. I smiled again, but this time at the sweet taste of reality. Of the fact that I had proven to those who didn't believe in me that a young Latina woman from the rough streets of South Central Los Angeles could succeed and reach the unreachable, without any hesitation.
I could clearly see it in her. There inside those almond brown eyes dwelled a deep sense of pride. My mom hugged me and held me tight. She told me that I shouldn't feel discontent, but instead feel proud and happy for all that I have accomplished because I was leaving my legacy behind.
When it was time for us to part, we hugged and didn't say a word to each other. Our eyes met, and I knew that inside she was already talking to me, just as I was. I turned and headed down to my building; she went inside her car. But as I departed I knew that I should turn back and say 'I love you'. I finally turned, only to find my mother standing beside her car crying a river. I won't lie. I looked at her sweet face and ran down the parking lot to hug her again, this time saying the most important words in the English language: "I love you."
It's been exactly 2 months and 15 days since I moved into the dorms at Cal State Northridge. I have learned to be responsible, to manage my time, to set priorities, and most importantly to be strong no matter what the circumstances. I'm still trying to get accustomed to cooking, washing, and buying groceries for myself, but this has allowed me to not take things for granted. So far, I have gone a month without seeing my family, and I miss them to death. What keeps me together is knowing that I didn't leave my house as a failure or as a runaway pregnant teen with her boyfriend on the side. I walked out as a high school graduate with dreams of becoming a big time magazine editor, and that ... is priceless.
With Love, Mayra B.