a letter (confession) to my mama, on the road to san francisco


Querida Mama,

Within every teenager lies a hopeless romantic. I’m not talking about the hopeless romanticism we feel thinking about finding that special someone who makes Daniel Caesar song lyrics and melodies fill our hearts with warmth and our stomachs with butterflies. I’m talking about the hopeless romanticism we face as we approach adulthood. I’m talking about that nostalgic excitement, love, and fear you experience as you’re propelled forward in life, your curiosity of the world and your hunger for new experiences. I’m talking the midnight ice cream runs with friends, the precious moments captured through images, and all the other things we use and do to fill our lives with joy. Even though we grew up in very different environments, I am sure you understand what I am talking about. You were also young like me, once.

The road trip from Los Angeles to San Francisco that Lucy and I went on a couple weeks ago was an attempt to fill this hunger for new experiences. Despite my enthusiasm, I didn’t think the trip would have much significance. It’d be like any other short vacation. Not something monumental - just beautiful.


I’m sorry I left with such short notice. I know you weren’t surprised by my abrupt plans; you’re accustomed to my impulsivity. You probably think of that curandera (a healer who uses folk remedies) in Mexico that told you when I was a toddler that I didn't belong to you and that I only belonged to myself. I still remember every time you told this story as I grew up. It was a moment of surprise - she was never meant to tell you anything about my future. But I imagine you’ve understood since that moment that I would never see the limitations of the sky, but only view the world through its beauty and abundance of opportunity. Maybe that’s the reason why you never held me back and allowed me to explore so freely. Perhaps you knew then. Perhaps superstition is the only way I can answer the questions I have about life, and the questions I will always be too afraid to ask you.


Nevertheless, I understand that you’ll love me for who I am. But I must confess I’ve always struggled with guilt when I leave you behind to go somewhere new, and this road trip only made me realise how much I think of you when I’m away.

As I stood on the mountains wrapped around the deep, glistening blue oceans of Big Sur, I wished that you could see the beauty I was witnessing. I wished you could feel the ocean’s breeze wrapping your skin and giving you slight goosebumps. I wished that in person you could see the purple, pink, and golden rays of sun kissing the rooftops goodnight while standing at what seemed like the top of the world. I wished I could give you all of my naiveness so that you could allow yourself to fall in love with this world once again in these moments.


I understand now the reason I feel so guilty when I leave you. This trip made me realize that I was living in a world of privilege that I only wished to give to you. I think the reason that I never belonged to you was that I was meant to live for you. You’ve sacrificed so much to give me the gift of opportunity and you sacrificed your first child in order for me to discover who I was meant to be.

I know that you’re probably never going to read this, seeing as you don’t even speak English. But that’s okay. This letter was meant to be a confession anyway.

Con Amor,