Arielle, Founder of Colibri Life
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.
Arielle, Founder of Colibri Life
How long were you married?
Honestly, I had to think about this…I could tell you exactly how long I have been divorced and the day I was divorced (in a positive way) but I have to think about how long I was married and my wedding date. I think it was 6 years. I’ve been divorced 7 years.
Do you have children?
Yes – I have an amazing daughter. She was 3 when I got divorced.
What was the hardest thing that you struggled with during your divorce?
I had some very dark days during the process. I vividly recall evenings when I would put my daughter to bed and just turn into a puddle of tears on the couch. But I always had myself pulled together to get through the next day. I was extremely lucky and was not dependent on my ex for money so the worst part of my divorce was custody of my daughter and making sure that she was okay. Although I have to say the custody battle we had 2 years after my divorce was much more challenging than the divorce itself.
What resources did you turn to to help you through your divorce?
I buried myself in my work and in raising my daughter which was probably not the healthiest (and would break down in the evenings). My parents were a huge support system for me although, looking back, in their love for my daughter and me, at times they would unintentionally throw fuel on the fire which made things more challenging. I also signed up for a triathlon and committed to training for it.
What was the first positive thing you did for yourself after your divorce?
I remember walking out of the courthouse and feeling like a weight had been lifted from my shoulders. I walked straight to one of my favorite restaurants downtown and ate a meal by myself and celebrated with my favorite beer and a great book. It was fantastic!
On the flip side, when I settled on the custody battle a few years later, I went to a park that my daughter and I would go play at after she had her sessions with her BIA, sat on the swings and cried (I had gone from having 11 nights out of 14 to 8 nights out of 14 and 50/50 custody over the summer). Then I made a promise to myself that I would make every minute I had with my daughter meaningful and full of life & laughter and every minute away, I would work so I could spend as many minutes with her as possible.
What has become the silver lining in your divorce? What have you gained?
Divorce is hard and being a single parent is hard but I have gained so much from being divorced. I rediscovered passions and an adventure gene that had long been hidden. I was forced to search deep and figure out who I really was for me and for my daughter. I stood on my own two feet, stumbled and fell sometimes and now know that I have the strength and tenacity to always get up. I have shown my daughter that she can stand on her own two feet if she decides that is the path she wants to take or if that is the path she winds up on. I created a new family made of some of the most amazing people I have ever met who are always there for my daughter and me. And, most importantly, I got myself back.
What advice would you give to any woman considering, going through, or just coming out of a divorce?
Find someone who is through the process that can help you see the light at the end of the tunnel. It is a long and arduous process and it’s helpful to have someone to help provide insight throughout. Also, make sure you take care of yourself during the down times so you have the energy and strength to get through the tough times. Finally, make sure you have great professionals to help you through – at a minimum, get an attorney that you respect and trust. It’s why I created Colibri Life – as a single spot for women to get the resources they need during and after divorce so they can go through the process from a place of strength.