(Originally published on madamenoire.com)

The day a judge made my divorce final, I showed up to the courthouse in a bright yellow dress, face full of Mented cosmetics, locs freshly twisted, smelling like grapefruit Jo Malone, because this was, next to the birth of my babies, supposed to be the happiest day of my life—a new beginning that I’d dreamed about for nearly a decade. I wanted to look and smell like I expected to feel: beautiful. Happy.  

Still, after the ink was on the divorce papers and my ex and I gave each other a final hug goodbye, I went back to my car and cried. I didn’t expect the reaction, but the pain of finality and the fear of the unknown were a gut-punch I hadn’t anticipated. Despite that I’d keyed up a “Liberation” playlist on Spotify to celebrate the occasion, it would take some time working through fear, stress, trauma and loneliness before I could dance to my own freedom song. 

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