FROM THE INVISIBLE OBSTACLES SERIES

Lost In A New World

AMERICAN CRUCIBLE, Part 2

As told by Arpine Babloyan
Photography & Editing by Ashia Ray

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Divider line“They were slender, frail creatures with wondering eyes and soft fluttery voices. But they were made out of thin invisible steel.”

Betty Smith, ‘A Tree Grows In Brooklyn’

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Mother and daughter shopping at David

Image Description: Arpine & Bianca shop for tea leaves

UNKNOWN RULES

I moved here and I had a hard time finding my first job. Once I started working… the family started to fall apart.

I thought my house would be taken away, I didn’t know if they would make take Bianca away from me. I had no idea what the rules are because it’s a different country.

 

Mother and daughter in restaurant with shopping bags

Image Description: Arpine & Bianca thinking in an ice cream parlor.

NOWHERE TO TURN

I realized there is no one place that I could go and read ‘If You Are Getting Divorced Here’s All The Stuff You Need To Know.

It doesn’t exist – a resource with legal advice, from what you need from a financial perspective, to emotionally.

As difficult as it is when any relationship is ending, adding on a child makes it even more so. You’re trying to see if you can make it work with a child. There were two different emotional situations happening. One is thinking about myself and my relationship and my future – but also thinking of what it means for Bianca and how she will proceed to live in that life without her dad, or with her mom and dad separate, and how her world is falling apart.

 

Mother and daughter shopping

Image Description: Arpine & Bianca shopping in an upscale hand-crafted housewares store

 

HOW TO KEEP GOING

I have very little memories of that year, weirdly enough. I forgot how I felt because I was so busy making ends meet.
I was just dealing with it but I still wasn’t talking much about it. I was trying to suppress some of these feelings and emotions and not have to face them.
I felt like a loser, a failure – all of that. Having Bianca was what kept me going because I just wanted to protect her and I wanted to give her the life that she deserves no matter what’s going on around her – I think that was really what drove me.
Despite my fear and despite my embarrassment and disappointment in life – it was knowing that I have that little person who needs me to keep going for her.

Image Description: Arpine sits across from Bianca, listening intently

DECIDING TO MOVE FORWARD

That was the year Bianca had to go from kindergarten to elementary, so she was also starting a new school. It was stressful enough that she had her dad go away and now there’s all new people, all new fiends, all new teachers – she was only six. I thought she would be stressed – and her little world was also crushing.
On top of that came financial challenges that followed when I couldn’t afford anything.
I was trying to not to think of what life would be if I didn’t try, if I just gave up and let them take the house. I just didn’t want to see that. I wanted to get through it for her. I think I didn’t let myself feel too much because of that. I knew I could get lost in the feelings.
Work (and extra work) was a way to help me financially but it was also a way for me to not make me THINK about what was going on.
And then the last challenge – I found out that I had to have hip surgery that would put me out of commission for a month. I couldn’t work, and the was tough because work was our only way to live.

 

…Read more in Part 3: Running Up The Learning Curve

 

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This session is from the Invisible Obstacles Series. Families in the Invisible Obstacles series provide a glimpse into daily life while navigating adversity. Names and locations of minors may have been changed to protect privacy. Permission & quotes attributed to Arpine B. unless otherwise specified.

If you enjoyed the Invisible Obstacles Series, find out how to support Ashia’s do-goodery projects on Patreon.

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