Dionne-Sheree Smith: Using her 'Flower' to help others
Just shy of her 22nd birthday Dionne-Sheree Smith believed that she was making a lifelong commitment when she married who she thought was her soul mate. Fifteen years later, her marriage was going through a rough patch when she was blindsided by the ugly D-word: divorce. In the midst of her despair, she found a flower in her pain.
Smith recently launched her book Flower in Your Pain, which takes you through several years of her life which was one huge rough patch. While going through her divorce she lost her mother, and then her job. However, if you are expecting a book filled with scandalous secrets and hear her ranting about her ex-husband's shortcomings, you will be thoroughly disappointed.
"I wrote this book to help," she told Outlook in a recent interview. "I saw there was a need to express what I had been through. Many of us have gone through difficulties and it is to give insight - to let people know that there is still a flower there underneath the cracks in spite of our pain," she explains. The cover of her book actually depicts that as it shows a daisy growing through the cracks.
She admits that divorce was not something that she ever expected to go through. She never thought about it, and it was not something she spoke about - being a Christian made divorce taboo. Thus, when it came time to accept that she was going to get one, it was not easy. In the beginning, she felt a whirlwind of emotions which included anger and hurt.
Her normal reaction was to withdraw. Something she speaks about in the book. She felt incredibly self-conscious when taking her children to birthday parties, and being the only 'single' mother there. It was something that her friends told her was inside her head, but she could not shake the feeling of loneliness. So she went into a period of withdrawal.
Her withdrawal was not only because she wanted to fill the void, but because she wanted to move away from the negative thoughts. Though she knows that her friends meant well and cared for her, the tongue-lashing of her ex-husband was something that she did not want to entertain as she believed it was counterproductive to her healing process. She didn't want to hate him for the rest of her life.
"I know that they meant well, but I needed unbiased responses." She continued, "I had to make the decision whether or not I wanted to drag out the healing process; be completely lost in it, or pull myself together and get over it as soon as possible."
She chose the latter, and that was to be her turning point. But then, her mother took ill and passed away in the midst of her divorce. She was then hit by another blow when she lost her job. It was a series of unfortunate events and Smith had to deal with the pain of loss, but had no time to truly mourn - having two children who were still very young. While their father was still an active participant in their lives, she still had her responsibility as a mother and her love for them kept her going.
"I did not feel like I lost everything in spite of all that was going on because I had my children whom I love. My father was still supportive and my sister," she said. It was these relationships, along with a few close friends that kept her sane and these experiences, she said, are what made her the person she is today.
"I think that I matured a lot during this period," she tells Outlook. She explained that it was that maturity that propelled her to start her book. Though the book is about her loss, the primary focus is her relationship.
She admits that she is not a relationship guru, but thinks that it is her duty to share with individuals what she has learnt not only about herself but love.
She has long since moved on and is proud of her handy work. She has bought a new home and has shared custody of her children with her ex husband with whom she still maintains an amicable relationship with-something she is very proud of.
She believes that there are possibilities for other books. She has done research on relationships and is looking forward to what is next. Her life has completely been settled and she has a new job. Though she is currently not dating anyone, she is open to finding love again, but knows how important it is to be cautious. Now that she has a better handle on what she wants, it will equip her to be better the second time around.
She advises young men and women to ensure that they have a good sense of self before they get married. "I would never pinpoint an age because that is relative to every individual, but what I will say is to have a sense of self," she notes. She does not regret her decision of getting married young, noting that she had some very good years, but she believes that women should make a list of what they want.
She notes that everyone needs to find their purpose, and if heartbreak comes along the way, learn from it because your flower might be the thing that is needed to help someone else.
- Dionne-Sheree Smith's book Flower in Your Pain: Your purpose blooms from life's unexpected occurrences is available at Kingston Book Shop.