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Stephanie Penn Headshot

Life After Divorce: I Pledge the Following

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It's been approximately two years since I walked away from my marriage and the circumstances surrounding my separation and eventual divorce still bothers me. Can you imagine spending the last 10+ years with the same guy only for him to choose a life filled with uncompromising situations over you? Well that's my reality. I stayed with my husband for as long as I could. I endured sleepless nights, wet pillows soaked with my tears, days filled with worry, despair and pain. I sat on the sidelines and watched things take place that I felt were not in my character, all in the name of love.

I eventually got fed up and gave him an ultimatum. We all know ultimatum's don't work, but I did it anyway and while I didn't expect the answer that I received, secretly I believe that I wanted him to answer in the manner that he did.

You see, I started to lose a piece of myself. I turned into this passive aggressive wife who would speak softly and cook meals in his presence and plot my revenge behind his back. I'm not proud of some of the thoughts that I had but that was the way I dealt with my pain. And I grew tired.

So when he told me, "If you don't like it, then leave," I left and haven't looked back since. You may be wondering, "Dang Steph, what did he do?"

Men-bashing really isn't my style so I keep things in and only a select few know my true story. One thing I do know is that I was emotionally, physically and spiritually drained and no one has the right to make me feel the way I did, so I took matters into my own hands and left.

After 10 months of being separated, it occurred to me that I had turned into one bitter woman and I didn't like it.

I oozed sarcasm, but not the cute flirtatious kind -- the type of sarcasm that was my way of pushing people away. I walked around with a smile on my face but inside, I was angry. I talked about people in a negative way in an effort to make myself feel better. I eventually lost hope in all things good ... especially people.

After not liking the person I had become, I decided it was time for me to make a change. Although I revisit my angry thoughts regarding my ex-husband, I don't dwell on them too long and I've instituted a personal pledge allowing me to step out of my funk and rediscover the things that make me an amazing woman.

Personal Pledge For Self-Healing:

  • Give everyone a chance: There are good people out there and if I don't open my eyes and heart, they may pass me by.
  • Stop being so sensitive: Everyone is not out to hurt me. I need to stop clinging to every word, comment and gesture as if it was intended to affect me directly and in a negative way.
  • Exude positive vibes: Whether I'm talking to a stranger or a long-time friend, I should glow at all times.
  • Stop having personal pity parties: The only parties I will be having will be filled with friends, laughing and fun. If I feel the need to cry, I will cancel out that negative with two positives.
  • Expect the best: Waiting for bad things to happen is no fun. Who does that? If you expect negative outcomes, guess what? That's what you'll get. But if you expect nothing but the best, get ready to see an abundant amount of blessings flow.
  • Live in the moment: Stop calculating, analyzing and plotting your next move. Just live and have fun in the moment that you're in.
  • Stop dwelling in a dark past when you have a bright future.
  • Surround myself around positive people so their aura rubs off on me.

Last year I had the honor of attending the 5th Annual Appreciation Event for SAFE which stands for Sister's Acquiring Financial Empowerment. SAFE's community awareness initiatives increase the awareness of how domestic violence affects women on an economic level that is often overlooked. I've known Founder & Executive Director Kalyn Risker for a few years and although I have not participated in any of the valuable workshops offered through her organization, their mission and message is one of the many reasons I was able to get through my situation with my head held high.

Being in a relationship can cause you to lose sight of your likes and dislikes, and can cause you to put your family's wants and needs first. You often neglect what makes you smile, laugh and feel good. I'm happy to report that I've done a complete change. I'm no longer angry. I no longer walk around with a false sense of happiness. No more pity parties for this Diva. I decided to share this because I'm sure I'm not alone in the way that I was feeling. I wouldn't trade my life, experiences or our outcome for anything in the world. This situation helped make me a stronger person and it may be hard for you right now, but I can confidently say that it will get better.

SAFE's 6th Annual Appreciation Event will recognize their volunteers, community supporters and they will highlight the accomplishments of SAFE's participants. The exciting and much needed event will be held on Friday, May 18, 2012 from 5:30 to 9:00 p.m. at the Detroit Historical Museum.