Tuesday, June 24, 2014

How I Survived My Divorce

There's always a light at the end of the tunnel, always
a silver lining.  All the cliches are TRUE.  

There’s no question about it.  DIVORCE SUCKS. 

I have a few friends going through this horrific ordeal at the moment, and they’ve asked me how I did it.  How I survived.  How I went from a fragile, broken, empty, lonely, lost, utterly destroyed mess to being stronger, wiser, thriving, even gosh darn hopeful.

Looking back, there are so many things I wish I knew- things that I’m more than happy to share in the hope that others can skip some of the truly stupid stuff I did.

If I’m being honest, I didn’t think I’d still be single by now.  I mean, I thank the good Lord I didn’t jump into some of the relationships I thought were a great idea at the time.

God seriously saves me from myself on a daily basis.

And only recently, 5 freaking years after my divorce (that would be 4 years more than I gave myself to “get over it”), I realize I’m finally, truly ready to be in a relationship. 

I hate to say it because this is the worst piece of advice ever and it makes me want to claw my eyes out when anyone tells me this: it took time.  Time to heal, time to make a crap load of mistakes, time to discover who I really was.

I’ve been thinking a lot about what I did, what I changed, how I moved on.  If I can humbly offer some advice:

1. God.  The day I left my husband was the worst day of my life.  I was a pathetic wreck, barely able to put one foot in front of the other. You may think I’m crazy, but on that day, I experienced several miracles.  

Here’s my story: I told my husband I was leaving him, and after some arguing, he ran out the front door, as I stood there in a fog, sobbing and shaking.  I slowly made my way to the master bedroom and was heading to the backyard, when all of a sudden I felt an overwhelming sense of peace wash over my entire body, and a giant weight lifted from my shoulders. And I heard this: It’s gonna be ok.  You’re gonna be ok.  

I’ve had several God moments in my life, but never have I felt the power of God as fiercely as I did that day.  

Look, am I saying that God approved of my decision?  I don’t know.  But I do know this: God revealed himself to me in a way I’ve never experienced before, and haven’t experienced since. 

2. Surround yourself with positive thoughts absolutely everywhere.
  I mean, everywhere- on Facebook, in your home, in your bathroom, on your phone, on your fridge…you get the idea.  Cleaning out things that weren’t serving me, and instead being surrounded by pictures of friends, family, my dog, inspirational quotes made a HUGE difference.  I learned that you're a product of your environment, and your thoughts become your life.  Choose wisely. 

3. …and most importantly, that includes positive people: I realized I needed to re-define what a good friend was.  Sure, it was fun having friends who’d want to bar hop on a Tuesday night.  But I also needed healthy, supportive people who would listen, offer advice, or sometimes, just sit with me. 

4. Please be very, very kind to yourself.  It’s hard, but try not to beat yourself up.  Check those negative thoughts at the door because they’re doing no one any good.  Figure out what you love to do, and do it- at least one thing every day.  A walk in the park, a massage, calling a good friend.  

5. Try to make healthy decisions.  I say “try” because no one’s perfect.  I tried to exercise every day and eat healthy foods for no other reason than it made me feel good. 

6. Indulge when necessary.  Sometimes I drank.  Too much.  And danced.  On tables.  And ate.  Bowls of cookie dough.  Sometimes that’s all I wanted to do, so I did.  Then I forgave myself and moved on.

7. Find something you’re passionate about.  Painting, horse racing, sky diving, writing.  For me, it was pursuing my MBA.  I took a GMAT class, studied intensely, applied to UCLA, got in, and then decided I didn’t want to go.  This might seem like a giant waste of time (and money- that GMAT ain’t no joke), but I learned a ton from the experience.  Most importantly, that I didn't want to spend 2 years of my life locked in a classroom.  I wanted to discover my new life.  And I’m so glad I did.

8. Listen your gut.  It’s there for a reason, and you’re wiser and more amazing than you can possibly imagine.   I realized I rarely stopped to listen.  And when I did, I found me.  Beautifully wonderful, imperfect me.   

9. Just keep going.  There were days I wanted to stay in bed, so I did.  But more often than not, I realized I needed to keep living.  So I put one foot in front of the other.  

And it got better.  Trust. 

Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you. Deuteronomy 31:6


  1. Going through divorce is a difficult experience for everyone involved. No one can even do or say anything to make things easier. So the success of one’s recovery all lie on oneself. And these advice are very helpful in figuring out where to begin their life post-divorce. Thanks for sharing!

    Joanne Krueger @ Kurtz & Blum

  2. It's good to reflect back on everything that has happened to your life, and how you got to where you are now. Divorce isn't something one would expect when they get married, but the future isn't ours to control nor predict. I'm sorry you had to go through something so difficult, but I am very proud of you for standing tall in the process of healing. Thanks for sharing that, Kalei. All the best to you! :)

    Timmy Larson

  3. Surrounding yourself with negative energy while going through a divorce will only worsen the experience. I'm glad you learned that lesson, Kalei! May it serve as your guide to walk through life in a positive way. All the best to you! :)

    Jerry Brady @ Lambert And Williams