Divorce Made Me Stronger

  There are few things more disappointing then going through a divorce. It’s almost like a death.  It is a death; of a relationship, a partnership, a bond. When children are involved it’s that much harder. Where will I live? Who will move out? Who will have custody of the children.  Who gets the sleeper sofa?

I was married young; at 21. As my mom drove me to the church my stomach was in knots and I asked her if she would just take me to Cincinnati. Not sure if I wanted to go to Kings Island instead of the $10,000 wedding ceremony that my whole family helped pay for. Yeah…bad sign I know. That day in June I was to marry my high school sweetheart. The man I had three children with and who had my heart for six years.

The marriage started out wrong. On our wedding night we rushed through sex and if it was a chore and fell asleep soon after. Wait let me back up. The ring I got for him was too small and during the cake ceremony his finger swelled. The fire department had to come and cut the ring off of his finger and he sat there sweating bullets. Lots of early drama. 

We had the best intentions for our life.  We bought a house, sent our babies to school, went to church every Wednesday night and Sunday, worked, and went on date nights on Fridays. My Dad would keep the kids on weekends and my Mom watched them often. But soon loud voices in my head were telling me how doomed we were. The truth is we NEVER should have been married.

Our divorce was a culmination of my past issues, his frustration, our age and the pressure we put on ourselves to stay in a bad marriage. I was devastated and went through a 6 month depression. I was embarrassed, ashamed, and lonely. This man had been my buddy for so long. Everything I did involved him. But soon I would pick up the pieces and realize just how strong I was. Here are some tips for getting through and over a divorce and moving on in a healthy way.

1. Don’t beat yourself up. You have the right to feel however you feel, no matter what that is.

2. Practice self- care by seeking counseling, journaling and talking to a spiritual advisor.

3. Don’t jump into another relationship. Have a relationship with yourself. Take yourself to dinner, on dates, and pamper you.

4. Seek help for your children if needed. Seek counseling, a spiritual advisor, and allow them to get their feelings out with no judgment.

5. Spend time with those you love. Friends, family and pets are the best to be around.

6. Stay busy. Find a cool hobby, attend festivals, take a class, work out.

7. Gain clarity about what you did right and wrong in the marriage so it won’t happen again. This will help in future relationships when you are ready.

8. LOVE YOURSELF. Take long baths, give yourself actual hugs, and treat yourself with patience and kindness. Watch the things you tell yourself. Lowered feelings and thought can lead to depression.

For me divorce started as a negative and hurtful situation but ended in me learning so much about myself. I learned what I did and didn’t want in future relationships. Five years later I married the man of my dreams. He became a father to my children and a true testament that there is truly someone out there for me who will love me for the crazy, quirky woman that I am.

When I think about divorce the song Stronger by Tank stands out in my head. The song is about the ending of a relationship. The hook or chorus is “Now, look at me  I’m stronger than I’ve ever been. Where I am is no longer where I’ve been. I’m stronger and it’s all because of you.” The bridge begins, ” I’m still missing pieces after everything. But I’m stronger! Can’t believe it’s cause she said she’d never leave. But I’m stronger! But if she never left, I would have never seen that I’m stronger.” 

What divorce taught me was, I can stand on my own. I can be a great mother. My children went to therapy  and so did I. I also learned that what you want at 21 is not what you want at 30, or even 40.  Divorce helped me find my identity. I use my voice to encourage other women;  on my blog, on radio I even used it at the Texas legislature this year. I went back to school after my divorce, I reconnected with caring friends. And of course I found love after divorce. 

What could have completely broken me made me stronger.  

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OPEN LETTER TO KEKE WYATT

keke

Since we were teens I have always admired you. We grew up in the same hometown, Indianapolis. We were around each other in different girl groups in the city. We have lots of mutual friends and you even tried out for a group I was in called Baby Girl. You may not remember this but I remember the biracial girl with high cheek bones and a wide smile wearing 90’s overall swag and a voice I had never heard before and haven’t heard since. She walked into a dance studio in the Glendale area and sang Amazing Grace and His Eye is on the Sparrow.  We did some basic dance moves and the next time I saw you were on my TV screen singing with Avant.

First let me say this; Your voice is one of the best period. In a world where qualities like looks and sex appeal are more important than talent you stand above with raw talent and skill. And yes you are a beautiful woman. Don’t ever let anyone tell you any different. As your life progressed I always followed what you were doing. I always told people, “That’s Keke Wyatt. She’s from Nap. Her whole family can sing. I even know her momma from Allison Transmission. Her name is Miss Lorna.”

I watched you get married and have children and I saw you struggle. As you were struggling I was too. I felt connected. From being abused by the father of my children, to fighting back and looking like the bad guy. I vibed to your first album Soul Sista . My favorite song was always your version of If Only You Knew & Don’t Take Your Love Away.

In 2001 my daughter was diagnosed with Wilms Tumor kidney cancer and went through a year of chemo and radiation. During that time my husband completely pulled away from me. I was in fear of losing my daughter and my marriage. In the end she pulled through and is now a healthy 24-year-old 4th grade teacher. My marriage ended and I went into a dark depression which almost took my life. My ex then took my children away from me for 6 months and ignored my calls. I didn’t even get to celebrate my daughters Make A Wish trip to Disney. Another person stood in as me.

I still paid attention to your moves in Kentucky and sent you messages of encouragement on Myspace. I would come to your intimate shows where you would start singing R&B, go into Gospel and even throw some opera in there. People have always said things about your quirky ways. From one misfit to another  I would say, girl they don’t know your life! They have no clue what you have been through. One thing they can’t deny is you put your heart and soul into your music.

In my opinion no one bares their soul no one has your range and you rival some of the best voices of our time.  I made sure I even bought a physical copy or had a fresh download of every album from Who Knew, to Unbelievable, Rated Love, and Keke. Your hits have gotten me through some of my darkest days and made me smile and laugh while slowing dancing in front of my couch with my current husband.

I don’t know a lot about your childhood upbringing other than the church but I do know what happens when you are in a hostile relationship that includes cheating and abuse. It leaves remnants of PTSD that can stay with you for years to come.  I lived that life. Before I could heal properly I was swept off my feet by my own Prince Charming. Much like Michael Jamar he is a great father who not only cares greatly for his children but has taken good care of mine and loves all children.

My husband saw me as a wounded and hurt woman who didn’t trust anyone. Instead of telling him what I had been through earlier in life, I tried to hide the pain that haunted me daily. Eventually it showed itself and he saw all of my wounds. He tried his best to heal them while working and being a father.

You were away from the spotlight for a while but I was happy to see you on R&B Divas along with several of my favorites. I was excited to see the babies and the beautiful family you had created. But there was a sadness in your eyes…so I prayed.

It was great to see you building friendships with women knowing how hard it is for you to trust. Folks would come after you and call you crazy. I always responded on social media, “She isn’t crazy she’s Keke and what she has been through is crazy.”

Watching the interaction with you and your  hubby was very familiar. Your Michael reminded me so much of my Mikel. Strong, problem solver, father, patient and kind. Due to his support I began to get my life together. I started intensive therapy and mental health classes. Becoming closer to Christ and making sure to rid myself of toxic thoughts was another milestone in my progress.

I began to take steps to heal my hurt and be the whole healed woman my husband needed. I am still in therapy and I still go to classes from time to time. Volunteering and daily prayer are also a part of my regimen. All of these things are helpful in healing from past struggles.

The next time I saw you was on the Marriage Boot camp show. The struggles between you and Michael were magnified for the world. It was hard to watch. The show ended and things were quiet for a while.  Now you’re back in the media; not for the perfect voice, not for the amazing range of that voice, but for a possible divorce.

Keke I pray that God’s will be done. I pray that if God wants your marriage to work that it will work. One day you will be healed and whole and have true peace. You will one day know and see the beautiful woman who is behind that big ole smile. Even if you don’t see it, there are many  think about you and want the best for you.

I want to share with you lyrics from your song. I know this was written as a love song but I like think of it with God as the focus.  He will give you his love, peace, time, joy, and everything else you need.

I’ll give you my love. I’ll give you my peace . I’ll give you my time. I’ll give you everything you need.  I’ll give you my love.  I’ll give you my joy. I’ll give you my life. 

You will always be that pretty girl I saw belt out His Eye is on the Sparrow as if the song was written only for you. If God looks out for the little bitty sparrow you know he is watching you. I hope this helps you in some way and I hope that all women can one day heal from abuse and that the men who love us can also get the support that they need.

Rhasha Hoosier

Till Divorce do you Part

image                                                                                        If you pay attention to anything in Hollywood you know that marriages and divorces occur as often as the sun rises. One moment these celebrities are in love; having a baby, and the next minute they are splitting up homes and child support is being enforced.

Some of the names that are synonymous with divorce are Zsa Zsa,Elizabeth Taylor, Halle, and J. Lo. Recently Halle ‘s ex husband David Justice said she was the problem in the marriage and that he never abused her. He said she falls in love with the men and then when she is done they are seen as horrible people. Halle’s ex husband Eric Benet agreed with Justice’s statement.

I use to think maybe Halle was crazy. She is beautiful on the outside but maybe evil on the inside. Why can’t one of the most desired women in the world stay married.

Then there is J.Lo or Jennifer Lopez. She has admitted to being in love with love and a relationship addict. Why is a woman who has so many accolades for acting and singing always married and divorced?  Why can’t this woman keep a man? Well I use to be one of the people on my soapbox as I sit with two marriages and one divorce under my belt.

How is Zsa Zsa or Elizabeth Taylor any different from me? The only difference is money. How are these ladies any different from Danielle who has had three different relationships and children from all three of them.

Is Juanita any better because she didn’t get married?  She had four relationships and four children from all of the relationships. She wanted the same things Halle wanted. She had issues within herself and there were problems with the men. At the end of the day who am I to pass judgement on any woman? Don’t we all just want to be happy? Don’t we want to raise children and if we make the wrong choice don’t we have a chance to give up and start over again?

Instead of being glued to what is happening in the world of Ms. Berry, or Ms. Lopez, how about we all strive to be better people, better mothers, and show our daughters what strength and power looks like.