Ansa, Brand Strategist & World Traveler
Our Women of Colibri Series tells the stories of women who have been impacted by divorce and highlights the different experiences and lessons they have learned during the process. While each divorce is different, we hope these stories help you throughout your journey and hope you will share your story with us.
How long were you married?
I was married for 5 years to someone that I had been with since I was 18. We were together for 10 years total.
Do you have children?
No children, just two dogs that stayed with me after the divorce.
What was the hardest thing that you struggled with during your divorce?
Honestly, it was the transition of it all. I had been with my ex-husband since I was a teenager and really knew no other way to live. I was so afraid of what was on the other side that I struggled with even committing to a divorce for so long before I finally made a decision. I felt so overwhelmed with answering the question “What now?” that I took a few days to do absolutely nothing before making concrete moves.
What resources did you turn to to help you through your divorce?
Because I had just left my job to follow my dream of starting a youth leadership organization, I didn’t have the financial backing to support myself immediately. I turned to family for emotional support and financial advice, and because my ex-husband was military, I utilized the resources available to me there as well. My friends were very supportive and everyone came together to help make my transition as simple as possible, from my mom and sister coming with me to look at apartments, to my friends taking me out for drinks or letting me vent. Eventually, I found a way to turn my passion and education in brand strategy into something that actually supports me. I joined networking groups and put myself out there to start by own business, Branded Marketing Strategies, and I could not have done it without the support of my family and friends.
What was the first positive thing you did for yourself after your divorce?
After dropping the paperwork at the courthouse, I left for a week-long solo trip to Europe. I had never traveled alone and had never really planned to, but as soon as I was single, I felt like the sky was the limit. I wanted to experience it all! I packed a single carry-on bag, a good book, and headed on the trip of a lifetime to Prague, Berlin, Amsterdam, and Dublin. I was so full of confidence that I contacted an old crush who had moved to Amsterdam and met up with him for coffee – something I never would have done before. I stayed at hostels and went out with new friends, I met people in airports and train stations after missing more than my fair share of flights and trains, and I came home so itchy to do it again that I started a vacation fund. That was less than a year ago and my new goal is to take a solo trip every single year.
What has become the silver lining in your divorce? What have you gained?
I have gained a confidence that I never thought I could before my divorce. I had never dated anyone before my ex-husband and had a slew of new experiences ahead of me. I can live anywhere, travel anywhere, get a third dog if I wanted to. While divorce can be a crushing transition for many, and it was at times for me, I’m very fortunate to not have much of a downside to my divorce. I’ve gained new friendships, experiences, confidence, and love for myself and there is only more of that in my future.
What advice would you give to any woman considering, going through, or just coming out of a divorce?
The best advice that I received was from my sister. She challenged me to decide who I wanted to be moving forward, so I threw myself into answering that question. Just trust that the only way out is through and that you have the tools at your disposal to get through this. You will soon realize that you are braver than you think.