Tammy Rabideau’s story is as uplifting as it is moving; deeply personal, Tammy’s journey with her daughter beside her, will inspire you to keep moving through all life’s obstacles.
Tammy was homeless not too many New Year’s Eves ago, but she pulled herself back up and her young daughter was awarded a full scholarship to a top Ivy League college.
Tammy chronicles her story from falling to rising in a beautiful essay, As the Ball Dropped our Life Fell Apart, chosen by Dan Jones, editor for the NY Times Style section’s Modern Love column.
Tammy’s soft-spoken demeanor and calm exterior match a quiet strength and a woman of fierce determination and a refusal to give up. We all have struggles, disappointments, pain, listen to this episode as it will make us want to strive through life’s difficulties and come out shining on the other end.
[1:40] How Tammy’s Essay got published on New York Times
- Tammy started writing a number of essays as a memoir
- She realized that a memoir will take a very long time to write and thought of essays instead
- Tammy took a writing class at Gotham writer’s workshop in NY and it’s where she started writing the bits of her recently published essay
- She actually wants to keep writing the essay but it keeps haunting her
- Tammy rewrote the essay 25 times and eventually submitted to Modern Love Column
[07:45] What Tammy’s essay “As the Ball Dropped, Our Life Fell Apart” is about
- A story about New Year’s Eve 6 years ago being evicted from their apartment
- Her mother had been sick with cancer for 18 months and she passed
- “A perfect storm of unfortunate events that occurred”
- They became homeless, bouncing around from place to place while trying to get her daughter to college in an extremely difficult time
- In the midst of horrible things that happened, great things were happening to her daughter and eventually graduated from college
[13:30] The amazingly close relationship with her daughter
- Her struggle of taking care of her daughter while not having child support made them close. To save money, they spent endless hours on bookstores around the city that became a wonderful recreation for Tammy and her daughter
[16:32] How Tammy got out of being homeless
- So many things become much difficult once you become homeless
- There was also a time where she had to pull her daughter out of school in her senior year
- “There was nothing stable at that time”
[22:13] The moment when her daughter got full scholarship
[25:40] Tammy shares her future plans
- The response to the essay has been overwhelming
- Tammy tries to respond to every message she received from the essay
- She’s currently expanding her essay into a memoir
- Working on another essay but no idea what to do with it yet
[29:59] Quick updates about her daughter
- Crystal graduated at Columbia University
- She’s currently at a top university in Sweden getting her masters degree in English Literature