I am a born and raised girl from Tampa, Fl. When I turned 13 I left everything behind to start life a new on the west coast. The first year was hell, that also being said, was also my first year in high school.
Everyone already had their situated “cliques” and “groups” and all I had was my sister. It was hard to just jump into new circles, especially when groups and bonds have been formed since middle school.
I remember I would have a sentence like this, “YO! That’s mad crazy, son!”, and I had a friend I met here in Las vegas tell me, “W-w-wait. HOOOLD UP! You’re in Vegas now, say it like this. ‘That’s hella legit, my dude.’” It took me a while to get used to the slang and I had the hardest time figuring out the difference between, “Dogging” and “Bagging”. I got embarrassed at times because I’d switch them up.
As time progressed, I hated the east coast. I started to forget who I was. When I was 17 I moved on my out on my own for the first time living in Philadelphia, and New Jersey, and New York, and when I did, the people I met would say, “Ohhh, so you’re a Cali girl, huh? I can tell.” I was proud to hear that. Even though at the time, I never actually lived there.
At 19, I did move to California. San Diego to be exact. I noticed everyone had hair extensions, fake eyelashes, boob jobs, and this fake way about them…. even the way they talked. I noticed it in Vegas, too. You don’t see that all the time back at home. Everyone rocked curly natural hair, barely anyone used make up or bronzer cause we were already tanned. We spoke our mind, because we weren’t afraid of an answer.
…is that why everyone here is afraid to be real?
Since the first day I moved here, anyone who has ever came across me, or met me has told me I’m probably the realest kid they know.
I guess it’s cause I come from a real place, and I’m tired of hiding it. I miss the slang, I miss the style, I miss the mentality. I miss the east coast.
I’m not trying to bash the west coast. I love this place. If I had to choose between FL or CA, I’d choose Cali for sure. But I’m ashamed that I’ve been too ashamed to admit where I’m really from.
It’s been over a year since I settled down in Las Vegas again. I want to leave.
It all started with a text. From there we spoke casually on the phone, learning about each other, then to those deep conversations we had at night. It started as a joke, but that joke lead you to drive nearly 380 miles to California’s neighboring state, Nevada; just to meet me. For the first time. Those few hours you originally planned to stay, lasted 3 unexpected days where you ended up spending your 22nd birthday with me, instead of your close friends you knew for years. Then I followed you back to California because I missed your touch, and that lead you to drop everything you had in Los Angeles, just to move here, with me, in Las Vegas; because little did we know it, but we fell in love the first day our eyes met.
I can’t believe how much we have went through. You are my rock, the one thing that has kept my life stable. We started scribbling out our names in notebooks, to that tattoo artist scribbling out our names with permanent ink. We started off saying how we never wanted this to end, to you placing that beautiful diamond ring on my finger, asking me to forever be yours. I may only be 20 years old, but I understand the meaning of that ring. It means consistency, everlasting, and infinite, and that is how I will live the rest of my life with you. I love you, Kenneth Loa Tan