By Kit-Bacon Gressitt
Divorce is increasingly common in the United States and the indicators are plentiful. Each year, the number of divorces is about half the number of marriages.
San Diego’s Family Law Bar Association lists more than 575 members. Even Amazon has ample evidence of the incidence of divorce: The site lists in excess of 7,500 English-language books on the subject.
That’s a lot of divorce, but what the numbers do not reflect is the individual heartache inherent in marriage dissolution or the challenge of recovering from it.
Hence a new book by Robin Sassi, a Downtown resident, and Leah Scott, of Carlsbad, called, “Charmed Divorce: A Positive Twist on the D-Word.”
Those who’ve been through the legal process might find the thought of its being “charmed” a bit preposterous. Not so, Sassi and Scott say.
Sassi, an attorney and music shop owner, was divorced in 2012 and became a confidant and sounding board for Scott, whose divorce is still in process.
Despite differing experiences with their former spouses and the courts, they are adamant that there’s an upside to divorce, and friends often make the difference.
Picture girlfriends meeting regularly for coffee — or an occasional adult beverage — sharing their marital woes, being supportive when one or another’s marriage struggles and fails, offering suggestions and comfort, and finding the humor in it all, whenever possible.
This is how “Charmed Divorce” reads, and a similar scenario actually provided the genesis of the book.
“At one of our bi-weekly coffee dates, we were talking about all the crazy stuff we were encountering with our divorces,” the authors wrote. “We shared stories of court dates, child custody issues and all the insanity that surrounds a divorce. … We discovered that keeping our minds, bodies and spirits aligned played a crucial role in maintaining our sanity through the difficulties of divorce and recovery. … We felt it was important to share this information for those who may be contemplating divorce.”
And that’s what “Charmed Divorce” sets out to do.
The book provides a reality check — a sort of road map for what to expect. Yes, divorce is excruciatingly difficult, full of “trials and tribulations.”
Yet the book is also a chatty and chipper self-help guide, with “101 Things to Do When Getting Divorced,” from “Get laid” to “Throw out something old” to “Dance!” Yes, divorce happens, but it is survivable.
“You will get through this process and even find some things to laugh about,” the authors say. “You will become a stronger, more confident person in the end.”
“The book is not promoting divorce,” Sassi said in a recent interview with San Diego Downtown News. “It’s promoting turning a terrible thing into a positive one.”
Sassi and Scott have managed to find numerous positive twists — the silver linings among the gray clouds of divorce.
Can’t afford a vacation, but desperately need one? “Sleep on a friend’s couch,” Scott suggested.
Feeling crushed by your ex’s hostility? “Appreciate the small things,” the authors wrote, “the sunrise or sunset … the joy a child has when playing in the park.”
They also enthusiastically encourage rolls in the hay and even include body hair landscaping guidance for women and men.
“It’s always nice to be in fashion — even down there!”
The self-published book has plenty of humor and lots of references to self-care, some more touchy-feely than others.
There is no legal advice, no sage counsel about becoming best buddies with your ex, no sterling prose.
What Sassi and Scott set out to do was gather their personal experiences and lessons learned, and share them with people who don’t have an experienced sounding board. And this they’ve achieved — almost to their surprise.
“We wrote the book really quickly,” Scott explained. “Our editor reviewed it for us. Then we almost had to start from scratch. It was fun at first and then it felt like a second job, but we powered through it — because the whole intent was to help women out. There are a lot of women who don’t have a friend to go through the divorce with. Sometimes you’re the first person in your group of friends to be divorced.”
The authors plan to extend that help outline in the book via a series of conversational podcasts, due to launch in early July at CharmedDivorce.com.
The podcasts and the book share an underlying theme: “Learn to love yourself again,” Scott said, “because a lot of times when you’re in a marriage for a long time, you forget who you are as an individual. We’re trying to get people to remember who they are and to love themselves.”
—Kit-Bacon Gressitt writes narrative nonfiction and commentary on her blog ExcuseMeImWriting.com and is a founding editor of WritersResist.com. She formerly wrote for the North County Times. She also hosts Fallbrook monthly Writers Read authors series and open mic for poetry and prose, and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.