Being an Independent Mexican Daughter Isn’t Easy but It’s Worth It

It is common knowledge Latinx parents, conservative ones at least, do not let their children, especially women, move out until marriage

Latina independence

Photo courtesy of Elsa Cavazos

It is common knowledge Latinx parents, conservative ones at least, do not let their children, especially women, move out until marriage. I am the child of two Mexican parents who were not married for most of my life, however, having their only daughter become financially independent was a difficult moment to digest for them. I was raised in Tampico, Tamaulipas, Mexico and moved to McAllen, Texas when I was 12.
Before becoming a teenager, I had a good relationship with my dad. But because I got into trouble for underage drinking, our relationship became rocky over the years. We got into an argument one day and he asked me to not come back home.

I asked my mom if I could come back and she told me to apologize to him and remember to always follow his rules. This was in 2019 and I was 24 and I had just started a full time journalism job which could allow me to live on my own. I was scared and hurt but I also had so much pride and thought to myself, I am going to prove them wrong. When I moved out, my father told me I was making a huge mistake, he told me I was never going to make amends. I think he was scared for me because I had never paid rent in my life but he was only discouraging me to be independent.That one fight with my dad was my opportunity and I took it.

I am 27 now and continue to live on my own. They are still in Texas and I live in Northern California now. For me, the distance has made me appreciate them more and I think the same thing happened with them. My dad does ask me to move closer but I decided a long time ago, my decisions are based only on my wants and needs for now. It can be difficult for some people to let go. I am not someone who is very close to her parents;  I enjoy spending time with them, I have fun with them but I always craved my space.

In many ways, I think becoming independent gives you a kind of growth that is indescribable. I have had cousins who married young or friends tell me they wish they had done the same. It might not be for everyone but it has made me happier. I also believe it has made my parents feel proud of me. Because it is not easy to pay your own bills, especially if you come from a household where nothing was expected of you other than studying. I came from a privileged situation, I went to private school in Mexico and was never asked to help with bills while living at home. Moving out made me value my parents’ hard work so much more.

But, having my own space, knowing I do not depend on anyone and no one can dictate my decisions is extremely liberating. It is a kind of happiness that for me, can feel exhilarating. The opportunities, the experiences, are endless.

I have always been adventurous and I like to think most of the time, fearless. When I left my parent’s house, I packed all of my stuff and put it in storage while I looked for apartments. I slept on my best friend’s couch for more than a week. It was not pretty but big changes are almost never picture perfect. Life is about rough patches and rough moments but even though they can hurt, it is that pain that makes one stronger.

Jesús Acosta, 27, art director for an advertising agency, living in Los Angeles and originally from Reynosa, Mexico, grew up with a mom who wanted him close so when he moved out she would regularly ask him when he’d come back home. He said he felt he needed to get out to grow as a person and to be able to work in the field he was interested in. Since he moved out, he tells HipLatina he became more independent and developed life skills he had not had a chance to learn before. “I was also exposed to people with different beliefs and perspectives than mine and I believe it made me a more well-rounded educated person,” he says.
“Family is a big part of being Latinx and a lot of our parents grew up with large families that stayed together for most of their lives, so it is what they know.”

This is true. Sometimes, parents have a difficult time letting go because their own families are clinging to one another. Yet, It can also be toxic at times. Movies like Encanto remind us that challenging customs and traditions is not a bad thing. It is almost always a good thing, because it comes with the act of breaking cycles of generational trauma. My parents supported my idea of moving to California but I am one 100 percent sure that had I not moved out 40 minutes away from them in Texas, it might have been a different story. Moving out made me learn how to save money. Before, I spent my entire paychecks on clothes, makeup, and traveling. I did not know what having responsibilities was like or how to budget. It made me more responsible, it made me try to cook, attempt to clean my house and buy home essentials.

Had I not moved out, I might have never become the woman I am today who is no longer used to having her parents do everything for her. Now, I know that if one day they are not here to help me, I can make it on my own.

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