Welcome To The Brave, New, World

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Dear Leah,

In two months, everything will change. You will pack your bags, move across the country and into a small apartment to live with your partner (who you will then call husband) and his two cats.

You will look for a new job. You will hunt for a grocery store that you like, and frequent many coffee shops until you find the one. You will meet new neighbors. You will learn the names of your new elected officials. You will adapt to a new culture and a new way of living.

You’re an immigrant. You know the hustle of adaptation. It was a dance you learned 12 years ago when you moved to the United States. You were barely a teenager then. You changed your accent. You learned to look and dress the part. You entered a brave, new world armed with bright, curious eyes and a longing to survive at all costs.

It took you a few years to find a support system you trusted. Those friends helped transform the Pacific Northwest into home. They were kind and patient while you tried to figure out the ABCs of assimilation. Not to mention, they were on the frontlines with balloons and streamers for every threshold—birthdays, college acceptances, graduations, the first published article, first job, the wedding announcement. They celebrated YOU as you became more and fully YOU. It was a gift you never thought you would ever receive after moving to this country.

You couldn’t have done it without your parents either. Like most immigrant parents, they sacrificed their dreams at the altar to make room for yours. They worked overtime and on weekends to help you go to school and pursue your passion. They taught you to be proud of your brown skin and heritage. Every time you were overwhelmed with whiteness and colonization, they were a steady reminder that home was not at the other side of the world. Home is here. Home is lingering around the dinner table, hours after the plates of rice, yogurt and mango pickle were licked clean. Home is playing cards and watching movies and gossiping into the late hours of night. Home is sharing memories, asking questions and telling each other “I love you” through quick glances and back massages. They taught you that home is each other.

It took your parents a while to find their support system, too. You watched as they met other immigrant families and built a community of their own. You watched as they became each other’s families. In times of tragedy or celebration, families would show up at each other’s homes, with a curry and a sympathetic shoulder. You’ve been writing love letters to your immigrant community for years because they taught you that you can always re-grow your roots when you’re uprooted and replanted.

You might feel weary leaving everything behind. Go ahead, you know what to do.
Savor.
Linger.
Remember.

Stay those extra few minutes. Say “thank you” and “I love you” as often as you can. You know the importance of parting ways well. Honor instead of ignore, even if it is the more painful path.

You’re preparing to enter a brave new world yet again. You’re about to ask BIG questions that will have BIG consequences. For example, how do you love your white supremacist neighbor? How do you pave the way for the next generation?

What about marriage? How the heck do you do it?

Marriage is death, your wise friends tell you. It is a homecoming that requires you to die in order to find home and yourself.

How do you prepare yourself to die? How do you die?

Don’t be afraid of the questions. Ask. Be curious. Follow cautiously. Remain open.

Yes, you are familiar with the dance of adaptation. Your body will remember it well. And because it has done this two-step before, your body will be cautious and curious. It will remember the terror of meeting new people. It will feel disoriented and overwhelmed when learning new street names and landmarks. It will be suspicious of sleeping in a new bed, in a home that is yet to feel like “home.”

Listen to your body. Feed her. Give her rest and nourishment. Believe her when she’s speaking to you. Remember, your body is for you. She will hold you together when you are scared or confused or anxious. She will also lead you to wholeness. She is a part of you—a part of home.

You are nearing the edge of this season of life. What an honor it has been. What great delight and sadness lies at this edge. Home is here, in the space that holds both the past and the future. It is in the space where you are rooted and uprooted. It is in the space where you die to find new life, and where you live to find death.

Go ahead. Don’t be afraid.

Welcome to the brave, new, world.

__________________

SheLovelies, as I’m preparing for this new season, I’m hungry for your wisdom. Can you tell me about stories of your big thresholds? How did you learn to say goodbye well? How do you prepare for a season of death? And… dare I ask…. marriage advice?

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Leah Abraham

Leah Abraham

Leah is a storyteller + writer + journalist + creative + empathizing romantic + pessimistic realist + ISFP + Enneagram type 2 + much more. She lives in the Seattle area where she works as an education reporter and features writer. Bonus facts: She loves the great indoors, hates to floss, and is obsessed with Korean food and her dorky, immigrant family.
Leah Abraham
Leah Abraham

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