Sunday, July 10, 2016

The Chronicles of a Fashion Girl: Chapter 1

Getting on the Plane

They don't tell you how hard it's going to be.  Or, maybe they do.

No--scratch that. They definitely tell you.  In fact, all they do is tell you.  The problem is you don't listen.  You block it out like white noise because all you can focus on is the fact that you're going to be in New York, the place where all the movies, TV shows, books, well, everything take place.  The place with the great shopping and the cute boys and the 24 hour laundromats; the clubs, the coffee, the street style, the city that never sleeps.  You don't think about leaving home, because what are you really leaving behind?  A two-story in the suburbs?  A boring old job where everyone knows your name?  A neighborhood too small to be listed on a map?  Get me on the next plane, I thought.

In many senses, I didn't have to listen to these people.  Turns out the suburbs don't hold a candle to the liveliness of the city.  Sewer stink and sardine-cramming on the subway aside, it's a place of dreams.  It's a place where anything is possible for anyone willing; that's something you can feel in the air.  It's something I felt as soon as I got off the plane at JFK.  But in a small sense, a sense at the very core of my heart, those people were right.  Although I was racing to the rest of my life, you're never quite ready to leave everything behind.  But in order to tell that story, we have to go back to a week ago when I first boarded that plane.

It was a long car ride.  Practically silent.
"That's what you're wearing?" my father snaps, giving me a withering look.
I roll my eyes.  "What's wrong with this?"
"Nothing," he says, changing paces, turning around to face the windshield again.  "She'll learn the hard way," he says, addressing no one in particular (my mother was too tight-lipped to respond.  She's not a fan of tension).
"What?" I press, displaying the hothead, easy-to-rile attitude I inherited form him.  "Say it," I command.
He turns around.  "You shouldn't be wearing something that like when you're getting into a strange city at ten at night.  It's dangerous."
The feminist in me wants to scream, but I'm too anticipatory to get into a full-fledged Feminazi rant with dad right now.  I stare straight ahead stonily, hating everything and everyone internally and quite dramatically.  (Looking back, it was almost glamorous).
"Did you bring a sweater?" my mom offers, trying to make peace.  No such luck--my dad and I are the best of friends, but when we decide to argue, man do we both come out swinging.
I pretend I didn't hear her; I'm afraid if I respond, I'll burst into tears of frustration.
Why is this happening?  I think.  Right when I'm about to leave the state for seven weeks and my parents are giving me shit.  (Like I said, it was very dramatic).
"And I told you you packed too much," he continues, on a roll now, probably salivating at the chance to attack me again in the same minute.  "I told you don't overdo it but you didn't listen.  You'll know now," he condescends.
I take a deep yogic breath, attempting to calm myself, attempting to keep my cool, attempting not to leap out of the car into oncoming traffic.  "I'm packing for seven weeks," I say through my teeth.  "I had to pack that much."
"Why are you yelling at me?" he bellows, giving me a dangerous look.

The car ride didn't get much better from there.  I think it consisted of my parents doing small talk with one another as if I weren't there, my dad well aware of the little game he was playing and my mom desperate to get rid of the tension in the air.  I seethed silently all the way to the airport, almost ready to ask them to just drop me off and leave.

In retrospect, my horrible monster of a father probably picked that fight with me because he knew he was going to miss me--maybe it's easier to say goodbye to someone when you're mad at them, no matter how stupid the reason.  My anger quickly evaporated as I got ready to go through security alone.  That's when it really hit me--I'm alone.  For the next seven weeks, and for the first time in my entire life, I'm alone.

I'm almost ashamed to admit it, but for the sake of the reader considering a big move I will: I sobbed like a baby when I said goodbye to my parents.  I felt like a little chicken-shit bitch, but I didn't care.  It was incredibly embarrassing and I'm sure the TSA agents did great imitations of my dry-heaves on their lunch break, but I couldn't help myself.  Hugging those two humans I've lived with every day since birth was heartbreaking.

Perhaps that's the most difficult part about leaving--no matter how ready you think you are, you're really not.  But the point is, you can't let that stop you.  You can't let fear of the unknown or attachment to things in your life hold you back from a brighter future.  Yes, I still practically tear up every time one of my parents calls me on the phone, and my heart literally aches every evening when it's usually time to sit in front of the TV with them and make fun of news anchors (I'm sure my father can't live without my running commentary), but I'm also following my dreams.  I'm in a completely different atmosphere, surrounded by different people, doing something I've never done before, and I'm doing it 100% alone.  It's one of the hardest things I've ever done, but already one of the most rewarding.  I hope you will follow my posts over the next five weeks and take my experiences as a consideration for what you may what to do.

Sometimes, it's too hard to leave.  But most of the time, it's worth it.

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