What a year, right?
As we rang in 2021, we were all so hopeful about how it would go and what it would bring, and in the end it was another shit show for many of us. But even with the pandemic going on, and all the challenges and struggles it brought, it’s still important – and time! – to applaud ourselves for everything that we’ve been through. Plus, it’s also okay to still be learning in the process.
For exEXPERTS, the last year, and in particular the last 6 months, brought inevitable chaos in the launch, with glitches in the website and having to hire a whole new development team before finally being able to go live with the podcast, Divorce etc… and the website, www.exexperts.com.
But you already know, hard things don’t stop Jess and T.H. Their idea to pay it forward to anyone out there going touched by divorce, including kids, has finally turned into a reality. And despite all the things that could have stood in the way, they pushed through – and they have a message for you. Take a moment to look back at the last year in a positive light and acknowledge your own achievements, both big and small. Because each step you take is a measure of success.
Shooting for the stars is what Jess and T.H. went for with exEXPERTS, with practically no safety net.
It’s entirely self-funded and began as a dream and a goal to help others through what is one of the most difficult experiences anyone can face in their lives. But what is life without some risks? And a little bit of fun? Of course, it was not an easy start, but with every step forward, they are gaining more validation about the company that they put their everything into.
For anyone, recognizing accomplishments is key, especially when you have outside opinions trying to tear you down. And who hasn’t felt that?
One of the things Jessica says is, “It is really hard for a lot of different reasons for any of us to kind of be able to take a step back and look at what we’ve accomplished, what we have done, what’s worked well, what we should be proud of, without feeling like we’re bragging or being arrogant.”
Although their Divorce etc… podcast is no competition for Joe Rogan with his million downloads per episode, Jess and T.H proudly give each other a pat on the back for the amazing track they’ve been on.
The start begins with just one listener and exEXPERTS has had thousands! So rather than focus on the fact that maybe those numbers are small right now, they’re focused on the fact that they started at zero and have come so far.
So what about you? Where are you right now? How has this past year been? Even if you’ve been trudging through the muddy waters of divorce and everything that comes along with that, have you been able to recognize the moments of light? The progress you’ve made?
The little things you’ve been able to do on your own that have made you stop for a second to say wow, I totally did that!
Because life doesn’t stop coming at full force. For almost everyone who gets divorced, moving homes is inevitable. It can be scary and expensive. The transition is difficult, and if you have kids maybe it’s even more difficult. When Jessica left her second marriage, she expected to be in a new apartment within 6 months. To date, she’s moved three times and her fourth move is coming soon.
She’s still not in her permanent home, she’s had most of her stuff and all of her furniture in storage for 18 months, and her current temporary rental apartment is littered with boxes. It hasn’t been an easy road, but one of the messages Jessica likes to remind herself – and everyone out there – is that there are still always positives on your life. We just have to be able to turn inward and see them through the cloudiness.
After three moves and living out of boxes for the past year and a half, there are times where Jessica feels extremely discouraged, “it’s been really a lot. Like a lot. Working two full time jobs and draining my life savings.
I don’t know…but despite it all, I really do try to keep things in perspective and not let myself too often go down the vortex of disappointment and depression of where I am.” She opens up and sheds some tears in the Just Us episode talking about this past year, and shows a vulnerable side that doesn’t often appear. It goes to show that deep down, we’re all the same in many ways.
So if you’ve been feeling like things haven’t been exactly going your way this last year, give yourself some credit, because you’re certainly not alone.
Sometimes you just need a friend to remind you of how great you are actually doing. T.H. solidifies this by reminding Jess, “And your life is great. I mean, you have worked hard and are paying for a home by yourself, for you and your children. That is really hard to do. That’s only you. You’re going to make another beautiful home. By the way, for anyone listening, this is the second time she has done this on her own, not the first.”
Being alone in this mess can feel like everything is falling apart, but you just need that one person to pick you back up on your feet. T.H is like your everyday alarm clock going off, she’s here to remind you to get up, sister, and work hard!
And Jessica knows that she has to work on keeping things in perspective, even though sometimes she can feel like she’s complaining for the wrong reasons, “thank god, that my problems are not that I don’t have a place to live, or that I can’t feed my kids…I know that does keep me from complaining probably more than I do. Because I feel like who am I and how do I have the right to even complain, given my circumstances?”
But just look around, everyone is going through something. Whether it’s that they don’t have food on the table or their family pet just passed away or maybe they even quit their job and don’t know where to start; any feelings you have are valid.
T.H. seconds this by stating, “ I know now I give myself permission to feel like shit sometimes and cry sometimes and to be annoyed and frustrated and pissed off. I give myself that permission because if I don’t get it off my chest, it’s going to eat me up. If you give yourself permission to just feel, then you’ll see that those feelings will soon go away.”
Within the last two years, T.H. has had five surgeries and moved her children out of the home where she raised them. In addition to this, her last surgery had required plenty of bed rest, which meant she was not able to take time to exercise, which is almost like therapy for her, not to mention she couldn’t always be present the way she likes, which allows her to stop smell the roses.
Although to some, this may be a setback, T.H. considered this a time to reset, “For me, the outcome has been positive. But me self inflicting the inability to walk for a period of time, it’s like there’s nothing I could do that’s worse than that! I didn’t have to ask anybody what they thought. I didn’t have to share opinions. I just marched to T.H.’s rules, and that’s how it was.”
The lesson that T.H.’s experience dealing with health challenges taught Jessica is that your personal perspective is much more powerful than you think.
It reinforced the message that you can frame any situation you’re going through in any way you want. It’s important to not always get stuck in the downsides and negativity that come at you in life. We know, that may be easier said than done, but if you are able to make a conscious decision to find something positive that you’re grateful for each day, that can really help you brave through the toughest times.
It’s also so important to be able to sit back and recognize the things you’re doing well. You’re allowed to feel proud of where you are and how far you’ve come. Don’t hold back!
It’s also ok to be vulnerable and many people forget the impact that it can have on you and those around you. Sure, you want to seem like the toughest in the room. But if you start invalidating how you feel, you are only judging yourself. These emotions will eat you alive if you don’t let it. Allow yourself to feel entitled for once and cry it out…or scream, whatever you need.
What makes T.H. and Jess a source of inspiration, strength and community for others going through divorce, is the fact that they are people, too.
They don’t have fake personas to get views or likes just because they want to look good on social media. Jessica explains, “we have real life issues and real life problems that you’re also navigating, with a tight community of support and with the experts that we’re working with. We really know what we’re talking about when we are saying to you, you will get through it.”
Just like their motto, “We’ve lived it, so we get it,” they want people to know their authenticity and compassion towards the process of divorce. No gimmicks, no lies, Jess and T.H. are a resource to help you get back on your feet.
Although there are different circumstances in every situation, the feelings are mutual, T.H explains, “Just because the facts are different, doesn’t mean that the feelings are – the loneliness, the fear, the questioning yourself. This is not an overnight thing.”
Take a second to breathe and look at the world around you when it feels like everything is crashing down. The minute T.H. found out she was getting divorced, she finally understood how she imprisoned herself within her marriage. She never stopped to smell the flowers or take in the fresh air. Now she reminds herself that everything around you is a gift, even the negatives.
Baby steps are still steps forward, for example, like finally not answering an ex’s text, when you’ve always felt like you have to respond instantaneously even if you weren’t ready to do so. “It’s a very little action that has a tremendous reward for you, for your self-preservation, in a positive way. It’s not imprisonment. That’s freedom. That’s setting boundaries that are good for you.”