“Thank you so much for sharing this! I got divorced a year ago after being a homemaker/stay-at-home-mom for 16 years. I have no education beyond high school, and I never had a job in my life until I separated! So I am literally starting over from scratch, and I’m so scared that I will never be able to move up from where I am now. But maybe there’s hope for me!“
My Dearest Bad Biddie,
You didn’t really ask me for any advice when you sent me this DM, but since I’m in the business of giving unsolicited advice, here are my two cents anyways.
32 years ago, my parents got on a 20-hour flight from China to the US. They came here with $300, two suitcases, and spoke little to no English. They knew no one and couldn’t even apply for above-the-table jobs because my dad was on a student visa and they were not legally allowed to earn income in the US as such. It took them 12 years of saving and scraping together a living to buy their first home, a townhouse, and then another decade+ after that to buy their first single-family home.
I tell you this not because I hope it takes you two plus decades to buy your first single-family home on your own, but because I know, all too well, that feeling of starting from scratch. My earliest memories were of the tiny, one-room studio I shared with my parents in West Philadelphia where we weren’t allowed to go out past 6pm and the cockroach infestation was so bad that the microwave broke because so many of them had crawled into the inner workings of the damn machine. Even as a 4-year-old, I was acutely aware of the precariousness of life and how fragile it is when you have very little.
But we kept going, and that, in the end, is all that has mattered. These days, I don’t spend my time wondering if the microwave will turn on anymore, and my parents are living their version of the American Dream in a single-family home with a piece of land to call their own. Life has been undeniably cruel to us in so many ways, but it also has been undeniably beautiful, and I don’t know if it’s selective memory loss or what, but I spend more time thinking about how beautiful it has all been than I do on the ugly bits.
You took the first giant step in removing yourself from a marriage that no longer worked for your life, even though it was the only life you knew. You should be all at once proud and I’m sure, a little terrified. The old life you had is gone, demolished and bulldozed over like so many of the crumbling, decrepit houses in our little New England town that are past the point of repair. But the funny thing about what happens after you take away the ruin and rubble is that you’re left with an empty piece of land to build anew. It may take some time, but without fail, each piece of land that once held a tiny, crumbling house is replaced with a beautiful, new home with all the bells and whistles to accommodate today’s buyers. The new homes can’t be built without the old homes being demolished first. Your ruin is your beginning. You’ve demolished your old life, and I can’t wait to see what you build next.
Your internet hype woman