Carmindy Bowyer shares her divorce story, how she became a female leader in the beauty industry and re-invented herself 3 times!
- Women pay alimony too!
- “What I wish I knew” advice
- Keep your eye on the prize and it will come
OUR GUEST – CARMINDY BOWYER
Welcome to another episode of the DIVORCE etc… (formerly exEXPERTS Podcast) where we give you all kinds of information and tips on everything divorce. Why? We’ve lived it, so we get it! We’re Jessica and T.H.
TH: In today’s podcast, we are thrilled to have Carmindy Bowyer. She is the founder of Carmindy Beauty. I just met her two weeks ago, but oh my god, she just brings you in with her awesome energy. She’s a real life expert like Jessica and I are, as well as an amazingly constantly reinvented success story in terms of business and her own personal growth. We are thrilled to have you here today. Welcome.
Carmindy: Hi guys, I’m so excited to be here.
Jessica: We’re so grateful that you’re here. You have such an incredible story that we want to get into all of those details, but T.H. was referencing something that you had written before, I’m going to let TH start off and ask it.
WHAT I WISH I KNEW
TH: The way we usually end a podcast is ending with what you wish you knew, because hindsight is 20/20. We all have lots of advice to give to our soon-to-be, the new group of divorcees, unfortunately, 42% of them. You told me about a quote that you wrote for yourself.
Why don’t you share that quote with us and give us a little bit of color around it?
Carmindy: Yeah, I’ll give you a little bit of background. When I moved to New York City, I’m originally from Huntington Beach, California, and I lived in Miami, I lived in Europe. When I got to New York, it was 1996. I wasn’t married yet, and I was just starting my career. I wrote something to myself, which is to give yourself fearlessly to the unknown. Open yourself to the limitless possibilities of experience. Beautiful knowledge is gained regardless of the outcome. Now, for a 20 something year old to write that, it was like a mantra, because the big bad city was quite scary. I didn’t know what I was getting into. I put that on my refrigerator, and I reminded myself everyday by reading it to just go for it.
Jessica: I wish so many women out there, who are going through divorce and going through all of the emotions that come with it, knew that inside everyone has an element of that power to be able to get through it. It seems so dark and scary and lonely and overwhelming when you’re going through it, but then after the fact, we’re able to look back and say that it’s amazing that you were able to say that beforehand.
Carmindy: Yes, and I forgot it along the way. I would have to remind myself because we all fall back into bad patterns or bad thought process, especially when we hit obstacles in our life. When we go through tragedy, when things don’t work out the way we want them to, we have to remind ourselves to keep going, the knowledge is coming, and just open yourself up to the experience. I can’t tell you how many times that I had to reread this. Then I moved, and I lost that note, and I just found it a little while ago. It’s back up on the fridge.
Jessica: So poignant.
TH: You moved to the city, but still, that’s a really deep self-discovery type of note to self. What even made you do that?
Why did you feel you needed to put that to paper? Are you external and stuff like that normally?
Carmindy: I think for me, I’ve always been a little bit of a risk taker. I’ve always lived by the beat of my own drum. I knew that a lot of us have fears and anxieties, but it’s not about being fearless. It’s about looking the fear in the face and doing it anyway, because you will get to the next chapter, and the next chapter will be better than the last one. Having that insight, it was a scary moment moving here, and by writing that down, I was putting intention out there. That has helped me through all my ups and downs and all of the obstacles that came my way. You never stop learning the lesson and it does get better.
Jessica: I love that energy. I feel we have a little bit of a similar vibe. I’m a person who is like what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. You just got to keep getting through it every day. Everything happens for a reason. Even if you don’t understand what that reason is at the time, you’ll be able to look back and understand the lessons that you’ve learned. That’s just what life is all the time. I love that seems to be exactly what your mindset is. People would be amazed to hear the ins and outs of your story and particularly your divorce story, because there are a lot of aspects of that story that a lot of women may be used to hearing from the man’s side of things.
Carmindy: Yes, exactly.
Jessica: Give us the background of that.
Carmindy: Yes. I’m an open book when it comes to telling my story, because every one of us has a very, very unique story, but there are little nuggets with everybody’s experience that we can learn from. For me, I was at the top of my first round of my career. I was on ‘What Not to Wear’ and I was about ready to launch my very first makeup line. I was traveling nonstop and I was kind of lonely to be honest. I wasn’t really dating a lot. I couldn’t, and I didn’t have a lot of time. I was spending a lot of my free time, because we would have these hiatuses on ‘What Not to Wear’ that we’d get a month off, I was going to Cuba. I love the island of Cuba. I met some friends there, and I started going there. I met a man who I fell in love with. It was the romance, he was Cuban, and he was from there. Oh, it seemed like a dream. There was a box of red flags. Number one, he was not American, he was from the island of Cuba. It’s hard to get them into the country, as you know. I believed that he loved me more than anything, and it was true love. My friends kind of warned me. They said, ‘Hey, you don’t know. It’s a third world country. It’s a communist country. Maybe it’s true. Maybe he wants to get out.’ I just dove headfirst into it. I brought him to the States–
Jessica: There was an age discrepancy, no?
Carmindy: Yes, there was a seven years difference. I was seven years older. Of course, what I wish I would have known back then is there is no time limit. By the time we got married, I was 33 years old. All my friends were married. All of my friends were having kids. I was the one that was lonely and not really dating. Here I’m in this wild romance, and I’m like wow, this is so amazing. He came to the United States, and we decided to get married. I had the same fantasy that we all do, the big wedding on the beach, and it’s my turn. Oh, we’re so in love. I thought that he had the same drive that I did, but there was also a discrepancy in the amount of money we made.
Jessica: You were this powerhouse career woman on TV, and he enjoyed that.
Carmindy: And he enjoyed the perks of that. I of course being so giving, I came from a wonderful, wonderful family. My parents were happily married for 50 years. There was a little naivety in me, and I still have it, where I just believe the best in everyone. I see the potential in everyone.
Jessica: I get it.
TH: That’s why we’re real life experts.
Carmindy: Yes, exactly. I’m like, what do you want to do? Do you want to go to school? I put him through this school. I put him through that school. I introduced him to all the right people. He just wasn’t getting his stuff together. I was working so hard and traveling so hard. I had an apartment in New York, I had a home in Miami, and he felt more comfortable being in that home in Miami while I was traveling the country and parts of the world working all the time. Every time I would check in, he wasn’t really doing much with his life, but he was enjoying the life I was providing. Because I was on the road a lot, a very good friend of mine sat me down and said this man has been having multiple affairs with multiple women. At the time, I knew of six, and I was able to establish the proof around that. I sat him down and I addressed the issue, and of course deny, deny, deny, but I finally got out of him that yes this was going on. I realized this wasn’t working. We were married for four years and there were no children. I was doing all kinds of things to try to build his credit, so I put him on the mortgage of the house. I would buy things and give him a credit card in his name, but I’d pay the bills, trying to build his credit, help, help, help, help, help.
Jessica: It all hit you in the ass in the end.
Carmindy: Oh god, did I make mistakes.
When I realized this isn’t working, I’m not happy and he’s had four years to get his shit together, and he’s not. He’s sleeping around and I knew it wasn’t going to stop. I said, okay, here’s what’s going to happen, I was brokenhearted, but I said this is not going to be my life. Because there aren’t children and because it is four years, and he got an American citizenship out of the deal, we traveled the world together, and he had every opportunity. I knew that life was too short. I was going to make the move and say, ‘Listen, let’s do this. You’re not happy, I’m not happy, I’m going to give you money to move, money to buy a car, and money to get your life started. You have an American citizenship, you’re young, and you’re several years younger than me.’ We were only married for four years, so I was 37 at the time. He was 30, and he had his whole life ahead of him to get it together. I tried very hard to go to a mediator. The minute I got him into the mediator’s office, he went to use the restroom and disappeared. I sat there with the mediator, and we looked around and looked in the restroom, and he had taken off. He went and got a high powered attorney, and he sued me for half. Unfortunately, we got married in the state of New York, which is a no fault state. All the cheating, I couldn’t have proved. He didn’t go for what I had offered. I wasn’t going to just leave him hanging. I wanted to help. We thought it was fair, my attorneys thought it was fair, and my accountant thought it was fair, more than fair. I wound up having to pay alimony for four years. What happened was we were fighting in court and there came a time, and it was my accountant who was a dear friend of mine, he said to me,
‘What is it worth, the stress and the anxiety? Or is it worth just paying this guy off and living your life and being free?’ That’s what I did.
Jessica: There’s so much value–I think a lot of times when many women find themselves on the other side of where you were, as the underdog so to speak, the non-monied partner trying to sue the husband and fight for whatever they can get, I think sometimes people don’t understand the value of not having the negativity on your shoulders. They’d rather fight for the money not having the foresight of what this relationship was going to look like later on and how are you going to feel about everything later on.
Carmindy: That’s right. I do believe that when children are involved there needs to be more of a fight, because those children need to be taken care of. But because there weren’t any children, it got to the point where just for me to sleep at night, to live my life, to move on, write the check. Just let it happen. Money is just money. My sanity was worth so much more, and this was really killing me. Once I made that decision, it still took a while to let go of that kind of anger. [I bet] This is something that I built my whole career, and to have that taken away–
TH: Just this guy coming in and claiming–he didn’t even travel with you to support the career. He wasn’t even involved in your career.
Carmindy: Not at all.
TH: It amazes me but that really is the problem with getting to litigation. My story’s really only similar in the fact that I was also being dragged into litigation. It didn’t really matter if I wanted to mediate. It really didn’t matter if you wanted to mediate. It only takes one to take it to a level that you really have to be in agreement on how you’ll follow through with this. It’s really shitty.
Carmindy: It is and it takes a lot of internal work. I had to sit there and be like, you know what, if I just stared at–oh my god, this is my career that I built, blood, sweat and tears. I never went to college. Nobody helped me with this. This is just working from the time I was 15 years old till now.
I did something good for someone else, regardless of the fact that he’s taking more. At least I can sleep at night. I did all the right things. When he gets that last check, he’s going to have to go out in the world and fend for himself, and that’s when his lessons will kick in. But you have to let it go, and it took me a while. It wasn’t overnight. It was probably till I wrote that last check. That last check that I finally just released all of it and said okay, it’s a new beginning. It’s a new dawn. I am done. It is so. What can I do going forward? Number one, always protect myself from now on. That’s the huge lesson. And also, if somebody comes to me in my life, they have to come as an equal partner. They can no longer be somebody where I see the potential. No, no, you’ve got to come holding a lot of cards as well.
TH: Yeah. That was really a pivotal point in your life. Doesn’t it feel like you can take a deep breath? It’s such a freeing turn in your life. I totally hear you. Jessica and I talk so much about how every divorce is unique, every divorce is a snowflake, or fingerprint, or whatever you want to say, but the truth is there are nuggets of it that we all share. Even though it looked different on paper, for me, my relief was when I got the call validating what my gut has been screaming at me, but I wasn’t listening to it. Then she gave me two open doors that I ran as fast as I could out the door and be done with my marriage. It was the biggest day, but I didn’t realize how suffocating it was until that happened. I was like, holy shit I’ve been paralyzed for years.
Carmindy: Yes. You feel it. The intuition is there. If you choose not to look at it. It’s funny, because even after I found out about the infidelities, I still tried to go to a counselor with him. I was going to give it one last chance to go to a marriage counselor to see if we could work through this. We went to a man because I figured he wouldn’t go to a woman. The man actually looked at me, the counselor, and he said, ‘Carmindy, there’s something about you that’s wildly positive, but sometimes you can be too positive. And I think in this case, you’re too positive.’ He said that right in front of him.
Jessica: I mean, when your therapist is telling you that, you know that’s a sign. I also think part of what TH is saying, things that resonate across the board, regardless of whether or not people are in your situation is just also the idea when there are red flags in our faces, sometimes we’re just not paying attention to them. We’re either defending them or making excuses for them. We’re not sure that it’s red flags. We think we’re trying to work through it. We look back later and we see them. I don’t know why so many women have this reluctance to stop and be like is this a red flag? Am I paying attention to this? It’s such an interesting aspect of so many divorces, and people will say, ‘I knew. I knew it wasn’t going to last.’
Carmindy: But here’s the thing too, I think 99.9% of women can agree to this, that if they ever did bring it up, they were told, ‘What? Are you crazy? Are you paranoid?’ How many of us have heard that when we knew it, and we brought it up, and they’re like, ‘Well, you’re insane. You’re crazy. You’re jealous. You’re this.’ Then we start thinking maybe we’re crazy.
TH: I know. Well, that’s the whole mind game. I just feel for me, and it sounds like it’s similar for almost everybody, it’s self preservation. You have to wake up the next day, you have to go to sleep that night, and it’s like your body’s fighting off a disease. For me, my body, I just didn’t hear anything he said. I didn’t even hear it. I didn’t pay attention to it. I just went through my day, and that wasn’t any way I wanted to exist, now looking back. I have a hard time looking back at who I was for a few years because I was a shell of the person I’ve been all my whole life. Did you feel that too? Did you recognize yourself?
Carmindy: Yes, there were moments I didn’t recognize myself.
I had to get back to my core. Just like what I wrote to myself when I first moved to New York, I had to get back to that. I had to get back to release this, and learn the lesson. You took a chance. There’s nothing wrong with taking a chance on love, even if it’s crazy, even if he’s younger and from another country and all the red flags are there. It’s still okay to take a chance on love. I always believe that. But if things don’t work out, you have to be able to self-preserve, like you said, and rise like a phoenix. What you can’t do is hold on to that fear and negativity of the next person that comes into your life because that’s not fair to the next person. Now, if you find that you are making the same pattern choices, then you got to break your pattern. But sometimes you’ll meet somebody brand new and all that fear and anxiety you put on to that person, that’s not right. You really have to do the work. You really have to let that go, and you really have to start anew.
TH: And take responsibility.
Carmindy: Yes, totally.
TH: You were also serving it up to him on a silver platter. [I was] Any of us may have taken it like, ‘Oh my god, this is awesome. I can go do this, and do that.’ I only say that now because there are so many years out. I would love to say that he was just the worst, but the truth is I stayed. I enabled it to a certain extent also for multiple reasons, but those are my actions. As soon as you own those things, then you won’t do them again.
Jessica: Well, sometimes it takes a while to be able to own those things.
TH: Yes, like years. Every relationship I was in, I learned, and then I made the same goddamn mistake again. Then I learned I needed a few slaps on the wrist to realize this is a different face, but it’s the same shit.
Carmindy: Yeah, I had somebody telling me after the fact, and they were so true, because I was so caught up in the fantasy of it. He’s a good looking guy, salsa dancing, like wow I’ve got this hot man on my arm. Somebody told me after this all happened and they said, ‘Carmindy, you have to look at marriage almost like a business contract.’ Especially if you have children and you buy houses or you’re living a life together, you’re combining lives, both of you guys have to look at each other like business partners. I never did that. I was just all up in love and excitement and the passion and whatever happens will happen. Now I don’t do that.
Jessica: I have a question for you, because it’s not probably that common that women find themselves in a divorce situation where they’re the person making more money, and they’re the ones responsible for paying alimony.
I’m curious when you speak to men friends of yours who have been divorced, who are maybe bitching and moaning about having to give away half and having to pay the alimony and blah, blah, blah, do you feel like you empathize more with the men in divorce from being in that part?
Carmindy: That’s actually a very, very good question. Now, believe it or not, four of my best friends had the same situation as me where they made more money and they had to pay alimony to their spouses. Four of my friends, which is very weird, right?
Jessica: You’re just rolling with a high powered female crew.
Carmindy: I mean, my girls, we get things done. But you know what, yes, you’re right. My friends that are male that are going through this, it’s different if there are kids. I always say take care of those children. You have to take care of those children. Because I’ve seen some men that are bitching and complaining about the amount of money and I say, ‘You know what? No, you’ve got to think about what your kids need.’ That’s very important. Now, there are some women that are taking advantage and asking for ridiculous amounts of money that don’t make sense for what the kids need. There are a few men that I know that divorced women that didn’t have kids, and I do feel for them. But a lot of them, if the woman has a job and she’s making money, it’s a little bit different. But in my circumstance, I had everything and he had nothing. The more I tried to help, the more I tried to build, I find that–
Jessica: The more you established a lifestyle to which he became accustomed.
Carmindy: Somebody told him how it’s done in America.
Jessica: After that fiasco, you move on. I feel part of your story that’s so admirable is the fact that even after that, things didn’t pan out the way you thought with that business. You had to pull yourself up by your bootstraps again. It’s amazing that you just are that person who is just going to make it work no matter what’s going on.
Carmindy: Yeah, I feel like we are all warriors. As women, we don’t understand how much power we harness inside.
For me, it’s been every time I’m faced with another challenge, I surprise myself. Then I feel even more prideful when I get through it. Because about the time that I wrote that last alimony check, I felt like I was working for him. Things were going a little differently and I had some business problems. I’m like, oh my gosh, I’m really hustling to pay this guy instead of my own life. Then when that was done, I had spent four years being alone, and I really had a good time. I traveled the world, I built up my business again, and things were really rocking and rolling. Then I chose to be with somebody, a new guy, and decided not to marry him, but he was the polar opposite of this guy. This is the guy that had a big career and had a lot of money and I thought was an equal, but I got sucked into another bad thing again. The red flags were there but different red flags this time. That was a new set of lessons that I had to learn. I went through six and a half years of another rollercoaster. By the time I got out of that now, I just turned 50, and I love being alone. I enjoy being alone. I’m like, I’m good. I’ll date, I’ll have fun, but I like having my bank account and my goals. I will not ever blend those two things together, even if I fall in love and magically maybe get married again someday, who knows. I like the independence and I feel proud that I’ve gotten here.
Jessica: You’ve built up a whole other company?
Carmindy: Yes, and I have a whole new company.
TH: Before we get into that, I just want to also point out the fact that when you can recognize your personal growth and your personal success, not even monetary, monetary is awesome also, but when you can recognize your lessons learned, and holy shit, I did this, and this was all me, that’s what’s so priceless. That’s the impetus for you to continue to wake up and keep marching forward. I think that something Jessica and I have learned and supported one another in doing is validating each other and reminding each other of our personal successes. Who am I to pat myself on the back? You know, I’m going to pat myself on the back.
Carmindy: Who are you not to (pat yourself on the back)?
TH: Right. That’s a society pressure. The fact that you have been able to reinvent yourself and just stay focused on your personal growth from back when you moved to New York City, you have stayed true to yourself. We regret a lot of things, but I’ve got three beautiful children, and I wouldn’t be who I am today if I didn’t go through all of that blood, sweat and tears. I feel that way too. Do you think that those–?
Carmindy: Oh gosh, for me, it’s almost like I had to learn the hard way.
It is little things I probably wouldn’t have paid attention to because I’ve got a lot of energy, and I’m pretty positive as it is, but I needed to get hit over the head with an anvil quite a few times before I really got the lesson. The last relationship I was in, it was one of those situations where I had to escape in the night. I had nothing. I had no business at the time. ‘What Not to Wear’ was over, my second business had collapsed, and I didn’t have anywhere to go. I knew I needed to get out of this relationship, and I didn’t have anywhere to go. I gathered my girls, my friends, my team, my beauties, and I said, ‘I need help.’ I never ask for help. I was so independent. I said I really need some help. I happened to have a girlfriend that had an apartment that was empty, and she said you can stay there for as long as you need to get your feet back on the ground. It took seven months of me basically being homeless and just having stuff in storage and sleeping in this apartment that I couldn’t stay there forever, to build this company back up. Once I did that and then moved out and got my own apartment, it was even more exciting, because I was able to go from rock bottom where I lost everything. It was some dark times and there were times I didn’t know if I was going to make it. By having the girls surround me, and by having that sisterhood that reminded me that I had that power, that is when everything started clicking into place. The right business people came along, the right opportunities, the brand started growing, I started growing, and now I feel more empowered. I feel I have more self-respect and self-esteem. Looking back, I wouldn’t be here today if I didn’t go through all of those terrible situations that I didn’t think I was going to lift my head off the couch. Here I am, and it is all worth it.
Jessica: We love that message because we actually did a podcast specifically all about gathering your girl gang. It’s so common when you’re in a bad relationship that inevitably you actually end up pulling back from the people that you love the most. You pull away from your family, and you pull away from your friends. Then you find yourself in the end, ready to leave for whatever reason, but now you’re distanced from the people that were the closest to you. I think that it’s very normal for that to happen, and it’s hard to ask for help. All of this came about for TH and I because we had each other and we were able to get help from each other without even realizing what we were going through. I think that message you just said was so powerful and so important for people to hear. You need to tell people where you are with things and let people help you because that’s what’s going to carry you through to the other side for sure.
Carmindy: It’s so true. That’s why your platform of exEXPERTS is so incredibly important because we need to be vulnerable to be able to heal. You can’t be vulnerable when you’re hiding and you’re afraid to open up or tell your family. Maybe you can’t even afford to go to see a therapist, or maybe your friends won’t get it, or maybe they’re siding with the ex, but that’s why you guys creating this is so incredibly important. I wish I had it when I was going through it a couple of times and so people are very lucky to have you.
Goodbye: For everyone out there listening, if you know anyone at all who would benefit from what we talked about today please share this episode and everything exExperts. Be sure and click to subscribe to the Podcast on iTunes or wherever you listen to your podcasts and please follow us on social media @exEXPERTS, DIVORCE etc… on Instagram and Facebook and YouTube. Thanks for listening!