After Divorce, Craigslist Ad Becomes So Much More

Jessica Ciencin Henriquez found she couldn't simply describe the things she was selling
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted May 29, 2019 1:54 PM CDT
Updated Jun 1, 2019 4:00 PM CDT
After Divorce, Craigslist Ad Becomes So Much More
Actor Josh Lucas and ex-wife Jessica Ciencin Henriquez pose with their son Noah at the premiere of "The Boss Baby" at AMC Loews Lincoln Square on Monday, March 20, 2017, in New York.   (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

It started as just a Craigslist ad. But Jessica Ciencin Henriquez wasn't just selling stuff—she was selling stuff as she and her young son prepared to leave New York City following Henriquez's divorce from actor Josh Lucas. "Each of those items meant more to me than just a quick summary," the writer and editor explains to the New York Post. "They were significant markers of my growth and evolution, coming to New York City at 22 and leaving at 33." The ad turned into a moving essay on, as the Post puts it, "love, loss, and moving on"—and it went viral. More:

  • The ad itself: Cannot currently be seen on Craigslist, but it was originally posted here; the site says only that it has been "flagged for removal." The title of the post? "Moving On Is Hard To Do Sale." Quite a few screenshots are available here.
  • Some sample lines: Henriquez wrote, for example, of the queen-size mattress she was selling that it was purchased "at the beginning of my year of celibacy," and that it had "no stains, no damage, and the tears have dried." Of a rocking chair she really didn't want to sell, she wrote about how she and Lucas carefully selected it in happier days for the baby they were expecting. "But that baby grew up, and that marriage ended. I can no longer justify dragging this beast of a rocking chair from house to house."

  • Reaction: "Never thought a Craigslist Moving Sale ad could give me the feels. But man did this one do it," reads one sample Twitter reaction. Says another, "I kind of love this? It's corny, but cathartic? Like a more wordy version of Marie Kondo asking you to thank the things you're letting go." At Apartment Therapy, Elizabeth Entenman writes, "In a world where most moving sale listings scream at you in all caps and try to haggle prices, this one tugs at your heartstrings and appeals to your inner human." Of course, not all reaction was positive; one commenter simply tweeted a meme reading, "Guess what? Nobody cares."
  • Is anyone actually buying anything? Henriquez tells the BBC she received more than 900 messages after posting the ad, but it's not clear whether anyone has purchased anything. Apartment Therapy says a sale is supposed to take place in June. Henriquez is giving proceeds from the sale to a New York nonprofit that helps single moms in need.
  • What's next: Henriquez won't say exactly where she and her son are moving, only that it's across an ocean and near a beach. One of the things she posted for sale was a globe she and her son used to spin, placing their finger at random spots and wondering whether they could live there. "We spun enough times that we ended up somewhere where it was like, ‘Wait, we can go there,'" she says.
  • Past writing: Henriquez made headlines in March of last year when she published an essay about the challenges of co-parenting with Lucas. "There’s nothing natural about this," she wrote. "Successfully sharing the person who brings you the most joy with the person who brings you the most pain is nothing short of a miracle." She's written a lot about her family, which can be accessed here.
(This Craigslist ad also went viral.)

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