How I Overcame The Stigma Of Moving Back Home As An Adult


My pride was shattered.

A year ago, I sucked up my ego and made the decision to move from my beautiful Pinterest board apartment to an upstairs room in my aunt and uncle's house.

This was the very first apartment I had owned outside of college and it was painful to let it all go.

But the truth is, I was barely making it.

With a job that paid me under $30k a year, it felt impossible to hold my own - let alone pay my debt back.

I wanted to be free from late payments and worried nights. I wanted to know how it felt to buy something without checking my card balance first. My apartment was everything to me but my family offered me a rent-free room and it was an offer I couldn't pass up.

However, the longer I stayed, the more I felt abashed about the fact that I was living at home. Although I kept reminding myself that living with family was the best financial move I could make, there was some sort of unwritten shame about it. And it was a feeling I couldn't shake.

It wasn't like I was an anomaly or anything. In fact, recent studies show that a record number of millennials are moving back in with their parents after college. In other words:

Sallie Mae had everybody broke around here.

But I still couldn't shake the nagging feeling of disappointment.

It just seemed as if everyone was making boss moves without me. With my internal list of expectations growing by the minute, I felt like a failure for not being able to afford the lifestyle I thought I should have after college.

You know - the cute brunches with your girls, those binge-watching Netflix sessions, and doing my best Queen Bey impressions in the mirror. It all felt like a dream then.

So I'll admit, moving in with family definitely created some rough moments.

But through the past year, I've learned to overcome the often nagging emotion of proving your worth to others. What started out as embarrassment transformed into an empowering way to knock out my goals, save some money and grow in ways I never would have if I had it my way.

I have so much peace with my choices and I know that my life is better because of it. If you are struggling with living at home, here are the stages you have to overcome to come out on top:

Shame Here, Shame Everywhere

This is the first real stage of moving back home and I remember being so secretive about it. I didn't want anyone to know that I didn't have my own place. I hated not being able to invite my girls over like I wanted or walk around in my underwear freely. And on top of it all, I had chores. It made me feel like a grown child and these feelings kept me very insecure.

These are obviously natural feelings to experience when we feel out of control over our situation. But don't let the opinions of people create shame for doing something that will benefit you in the long run. I had to constantly remind myself of my why for staying there, which was to dig myself out of a ridiculous hole of student loan debt.

Pull-Your-Hair-Out Frustration

I call this the "Who Am I" stage. After you come to terms with your living situation, you may begin to experience frustration and confusion like I did. I would get so irritated with my family and it wasn't their fault necessarily, I just wanted to be independent. The truth is that it was pride. I missed being able to come home without worrying about a respectable time or to just cook for myself.

What I learned was that inviting in frustration also opens the door to its homegirl - distraction. You become so busy trying to distract yourself from the feeling of failure that you don't take the time to work on your gifts and dreams. Be on guard for this emotion and take isolated self-care days when needed. When I really needed a break, I would plan a staycation with a nice hotel room.

Fake Happy Vibes

Okay so maybe this is just me, but I went through a serious period of faking my happiness. I lost sight of my goal to save money and began using it up to buy clothes, eat out, and everything in between. Every picture on Instagram required a "quality" amount of attention so that I could reassure myself that life was good.

I realized that this was my way of "making up" where I felt I lacked in having control over my own space. The things I ran to only brought me temporary joy but my past emotions always crept up again to put me in a state of sadness.

Hope For the Future

I had to finally have a come-to-Jesus moment with myself. I didn't move home to mooch off my family - I was there to save up, work hard, and put myself in a position to win indefinitely. Realize that your situation is only as powerful as the thoughts you feed it. While I was dipping and dodging questions about living with my folks, I could have used that mental space to draw out the battle plan for moving on up - and moving on out.

I began to grow my relationship with God and he showed me that he was stripping me of pride, shame, and even the need to prove myself to others. This wasn't about the move at all. It was about my constant need to validate myself through people. The 'A-Ha' moment was a true turning point for me and I started working harder than ever.

Free Like Cardi B

The truth to all these stages is that they are fueled by a deep need to impress others and achieve this imaginary bar of success. When you decided to move back home, it was the best decision for YOU and it's so powerful to own that. Your bills are low, so your focus should be high. I became so free in my decision to save money that my little room actually brought me joy.

Since overcoming the initial stages of moving back home, I've been able to pay off huge loans and credit cards, grow closer to my family, and pursue the things I love like freelance writing. I've learned to work with what I have until I am ready to be elevated for more. Your freedom doesn't come through an apartment, it comes through your inner ability to stay the course.

I know you are anxious to be out on your own. I also know it secretly bothers you to see everyone "making it" while you seem to barely get by.

But you are exactly where you need to be.

Grab some fresh flowers, turn on some of your favorite jams, and set the tone for all the greatness that you are about to receive.

Because it's coming.

xoNecole is always looking for new voices and empowering stories to add to our platform. If you have an interesting story or personal essay that you'd love to share, we'd love to hear from you. Contact us at submissons@xonecole.com

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ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Over the past four years, we grew accustomed to a regular barrage of blatant, segregationist-style racism from the White House. Donald Trump tweeted that “the Squad," four Democratic Congresswomen who are Black, Latinx, and South Asian, should “go back" to the “corrupt" countries they came from; that same year, he called Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas," mocking her belief that she might be descended from Native American ancestors.

But as outrageous as the racist comments Trump regularly spewed were, the racially unjust governmental actions his administration took and, in the case of COVID-19, didn't take, impacted millions more — especially Black and Brown people.

To begin to heal and move toward real racial justice, we must address not only the harms of the past four years, but also the harms tracing back to this country's origins. Racism has played an active role in the creation of our systems of education, health care, ownership, and employment, and virtually every other facet of life since this nation's founding.

Our history has shown us that it's not enough to take racist policies off the books if we are going to achieve true justice. Those past policies have structured our society and created deeply-rooted patterns and practices that can only be disrupted and reformed with new policies of similar strength and efficacy. In short, a systemic problem requires a systemic solution. To combat systemic racism, we must pursue systemic equality.

What is Systemic Racism?

A system is a collection of elements that are organized for a common purpose. Racism in America is a system that combines economic, political, and social components. That system specifically disempowers and disenfranchises Black people, while maintaining and expanding implicit and explicit advantages for white people, leading to better opportunities in jobs, education, and housing, and discrimination in the criminal legal system. For example, the country's voting systems empower white voters at the expense of voters of color, resulting in an unequal system of governance in which those communities have little voice and representation, even in policies that directly impact them.

Systemic Equality is a Systemic Solution

In the years ahead, the ACLU will pursue administrative and legislative campaigns targeting the Biden-Harris administration and Congress. We will leverage legal advocacy to dismantle systemic barriers, and will work with our affiliates to change policies nearer to the communities most harmed by these legacies. The goal is to build a nation where every person can achieve their highest potential, unhampered by structural and institutional racism.

To begin, in 2021, we believe the Biden administration and Congress should take the following crucial steps to advance systemic equality:

Voting Rights

The administration must issue an executive order creating a Justice Department lead staff position on voting rights violations in every U.S. Attorney office. We are seeing a flood of unlawful restrictions on voting across the country, and at every level of state and local government. This nationwide problem requires nationwide investigatory and enforcement resources. Even if it requires new training and approval protocols, a new voting rights enforcement program with the participation of all 93 U.S. Attorney offices is the best way to help ensure nationwide enforcement of voting rights laws.

These assistant U.S. attorneys should begin by ensuring that every American in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons who is eligible to vote can vote, and monitor the Census and redistricting process to fight the dilution of voting power in communities of color.

We are also calling on Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to finally create a fair and equal national voting system, the cause for which John Lewis devoted his life.

Student Debt

Black borrowers pay more than other students for the same degrees, and graduate with an average of $7,400 more in debt than their white peers. In the years following graduation, the debt gap more than triples. Nearly half of Black borrowers will default within 12 years. In other words, for Black Americans, the American dream costs more. Last week, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, along with House Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Maxine Waters, and others, called on President Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower.

We couldn't agree more. By forgiving $50,000 of student debt, President Biden can unleash pent up economic potential in Black communities, while relieving them of a burden that forestalls so many hopes and dreams. Black women in particular will benefit from this executive action, as they are proportionately the most indebted group of all Americans.

Postal Banking

In both low and high income majority-Black communities, traditional bank branches are 50 percent more likely to close than in white communities. The result is that nearly 50 percent of Black Americans are unbanked or underbanked, and many pay more than $2,000 in fees associated with subprime financial institutions. Over their lifetime, those fees can add up to as much as two years of annual income for the average Black family.

The U.S. Postal Service can and should meet this crisis by providing competitive, low-cost financial services to help advance economic equality. We call on President Biden to appoint new members to the Postal Board of Governors so that the Post Office can do the work of providing essential services to every American.

Fair Housing

Across the country, millions of people are living in communities of concentrated poverty, including 26 percent of all Black children. The Biden administration should again implement the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which required localities that receive federal funds for housing to investigate and address barriers to fair housing and patterns or practices that promote bias. In 1980, the average Black person lived in a neighborhood that was 62 percent Black and 31 percent white. By 2010, the average Black person's neighborhood was 48 percent Black and 34 percent white. Reinstating the Obama-era Fair Housing Rule will combat this ongoing segregation and set us on a path to true integration.

Congress should also pass the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, or a similar measure, to finally redress the legacy of redlining and break down the walls of segregation once and for all.

Broadband Access

To realize broadband's potential to benefit our democracy and connect us to one another, all people in the United States must have equal access and broadband must be made affordable for the most vulnerable. Yet today, 15 percent of American households with school-age children do not have subscriptions to any form of broadband, including one-quarter of Black households (an additional 23 percent of African Americans are “smartphone-only" internet users, meaning they lack traditional home broadband service but do own a smartphone, which is insufficient to attend class, do homework, or apply for a job). The Biden administration, Federal Communications Commission, and Congress must develop and implement plans to increase funding for broadband to expand universal access.

Enhanced, Refundable Child Tax Credits

The United States faces a crisis of child poverty. Seventeen percent of all American children are impoverished — a rate higher than not just peer nations like Canada and the U.K., but Mexico and Russia as well. Currently, more than 50 percent of Black and Latinx children in the U.S. do not qualify for the full benefit, compared to 23 percent of white children, and nearly one in five Black children do not receive any credit at all.

To combat this crisis, President Biden and Congress should enhance the child tax credit and make it fully refundable. If we enhance the child tax credit, we can cut child poverty by 40 percent and instantly lift over 50 percent of Black children out of poverty.


We cannot repair harms that we have not fully diagnosed. We must commit to a thorough examination of the impact of the legacy of chattel slavery on racial inequality today. In 2021, Congress must pass H.R. 40, which would establish a commission to study reparations and make recommendations for Black Americans.

The Long View

For the past century, the ACLU has fought for racial justice in legislatures and in courts, including through several landmark Supreme Court cases. While the court has not always ruled in favor of racial justice, incremental wins throughout history have helped to chip away at different forms of racism such as school segregation ( Brown v. Board), racial bias in the criminal legal system (Powell v. Alabama, i.e. the Scottsboro Boys), and marriage inequality (Loving v. Virginia). While these landmark victories initiated necessary reforms, they were only a starting point.

Systemic racism continues to pervade the lives of Black people through voter suppression, lack of financial services, housing discrimination, and other areas. More than anything, doing this work has taught the ACLU that we must fight on every front in order to overcome our country's legacies of racism. That is what our Systemic Equality agenda is all about.

In the weeks ahead, we will both expand on our views of why these campaigns are crucial to systemic equality and signal the path this country must take. We will also dive into our work to build organizing, advocacy, and legal power in the South — a region with a unique history of racial oppression and violence alongside a rich history of antiracist organizing and advocacy. We are committed to four principles throughout this campaign: reconciliation, access, prosperity, and empowerment. We hope that our actions can meet our ambition to, as Dr. King said, lead this nation to live out the true meaning of its creed.

What you can do:
Take the pledge: Systemic Equality Agenda
Sign up

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