January 14, 2019
Hello debt fighters! Here’s a powerful dear debt letter from Lisa. Lisa is a 55-year-old mom and blogger who works in communications for a nonprofit in Washington, DC. Her goal is to be completely debt free by 2025.
I’m writing this with tears in my eyes, because suddenly I’m remembering the good times.
Remember how thrilled I was when I got my first credit card after college? And years later, when the card turned gold, and I had a credit limit of $20,000? What about my glorious wedding, or when my first husband and I qualified for a home loan?
We were able to afford all the things for the baby because of you. You were there for me, too, when it all went so wrong: months and months of credit statements showing flights and hotel costs for the cancer specialists in Houston, for the take-out meals all those months we were too exhausted to cook, the daycare and babysitting fees for our child and…the funeral expenses, the refreshments for the memorial, the clothes I charged for job interviews.
Getting loans to go to graduate school at age 39 didn’t seem like such a bad idea, either, for a single mother at the time, or refinancing the house a few times, especially after our child turned out to have inherited the illness his father had, so the hospital bills were coming in.
Nothing will ever change the fact that you were there for me during very hard times. That will always be true, and I will always be grateful.
But now here I am, with a student loan as I’m also trying to put my son through college; married again, to a man who has debts of his own; and with an embarrassing level of credit card debt on multiple cards. It has to stop.
Somewhere along in these twenty years, you started to be cruel: You undermined my confidence and convinced me that I’d be nothing without you, that I could never survive without you.
You made me feel worthless, and you cheapened what was once so meaningful about our relationship.
Please believe me when I say that I’m walking away from you now not because I hate or resent you, not because I have forgotten what you did for me, but because I remember.
I want this narrative to be different, to honor what can be good about debt: This needs to be a story about how I used debt to survive and to improve my life, and then when the time came, debt and I parted ways.
That time is now. Goodbye, Debt. Thanks for everything you did for me.
Melanie Lockert is the founder of the blog and author of the book, Dear Debt. Through her blog, she chronicled her journey out of $81,000 in student loan debt. She is also the co-founder of the Lola Retreat, which helps bold women face their fears, own their dreams and figure out a plan to be in control of their finances. She is passionate about empowering women, helping others get out of debt, and focuses on the intersection of debt and mental health. Every September she organizes a Suicide Prevention Awareness Blog Tour, to help share resources for those struggling with debt and suicide. In addition to her love of personal finance, art and music, she is also a karaoke master and a cat mom to Miles and Thelonious.