Divorce parties taking off in Jamaica
The Eurythmics and Aretha Franklin's song titles, Sisters Are Doin' It for Themselves, is being sung by entrepreneur Caleen Diedrick, who is helping women in corporate circles to get over their heartaches and break-ups.
By assisting women to overcome divorce, Diedrick is empowering them to stop viewing the termination of their marriages as a cause for commiseration, but instead, see this closed chapter as a cause for celebration.
To erase the stigma surrounding the way people think about 'divorce', the transformational and sensuality coach and motivational speaker is organising themed parties for new divorcees and celebrating the mantra: "when one door closes, another opens".
She helps divorced women now back on the singles market to see the glasses half full, and being a divorced single mother, Diedrick told The Gleaner why divorce parties are fast competing with bridal parties.
"There is a stigma around divorce in our society and I felt that a party to celebrate the end of chapter would be in tandem with the celebration which marks the beginning of the relationship.
"Women are usually socialised to be good homemakers. We buy our daughters dolls with miniature houses; get them plates and stoves to pretend to cook and clean and, most importantly, make the home ready for their husbands. Many women see marriage as the icing on the cake. It validates them and is considered as a major achievement. So it can be extremely devastating when things don't work, leaving some women to believe they have failed.
"Divorce parties are great because they help women grieve the loss of a relationship to put things into a new, different perspective. They learn to appreciate the positive lessons from marriage and highlight how the relationship facilitated personal growth."
Diedrick adds, "A divorce party is a ritual which helps to close the marriage chapter, giving women a chance to celebrate a new beginning with joy and excitement.
"As with weddings, there is a cake ranging from regular plain cakes with messages such as 'Cheers To New Beginnings' or 'Starting All Over Again'. Some cakes have the miniature bride and groom walking away or with their backs turned, while other women want naughty cakes with phallic shapes.
The venue is usually somewhere stylish, and clients invite their guests. There is always positive music and sometimes there is an energy circle.
"This is where I place the divorcee in a middle of the room and ask her closest friends to say how they know her and highlight her positive qualities while sharing their good wishes."
Of her personal journey, Diedrick tells The Gleaner: "As a divorcee, I learnt how important it was to take the focus from the things my ex-husband did and focus on what I did to attract him in my life. It was important to take responsibility for being a co-creator of the situation I considered to be undesirable. Then I worked at repairing the scars I carried coming out of the marriage. I also spent quality time working on trust issues, learning to make myself more open to the love I knew was there for me to have."
The variety of party packages include: sobering talks about re-engaging the dating game, body image issues, and teaching women how to get in touch with their sensuality, Diedrick told The Gleaner.
There are parties for men too. Diedrick said, "People are usually shocked when they hear about divorce parties and want to know more. I have clients who are very intrigued about the idea and engage me to do a party for their friends."
Diedrick said, "The more workshops I organised, the more I became compelled to work with women. I realised many women lost their feminine power while striving to get ahead in the work world. They mastered their craft and were making their mark in the workplace, but had lost some of the sensuality, softness and playfulness men find appealing, in order to stake their claim in the corporate arena."
Life has also taken its toll on these women emotionally. Some were battered, while others were single moms making things happen for themselves and their children. They have lost their playfulness and "girly-girl" selves.
Diedrick maintains that balance is key because single corporate women tend to be a workaholics, throwing themselves into work to distract them from the absence of a partner, but learning to honour the needs of their partners and satisfying personal or work goals require commitment and practice. Scheduling personal time is paramount."
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