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Episode 83 – How To Move Forward In Midlife After Divorce – with Rev. Dr. Marisha Stewart

How To Move Forward In Midlife After Divorce - Alice Agnello

How do you move forward after a divorce in midlife?

Hey there Beautiful,

Today’s interview IS SO GOOD!!!

Whenever I’m curious about a subject, I try and find someone that can help me to understand and answer my questions.

This episode with Rev. Dr. Marisha Stewart is about how there is a life for you on the other side of divorce, you just have to get there.

It took me a while to edit this episode and while I listened to it, I was reminded of so many heartfelt pieces of advice that Marisha shared with me. She was so open and honest with her divorce story sharing details that I hadn’t even thought of.

I have friends who have gone through a divorce, I’m sure just like you have, and I know I won’t ever truly understand what they have endured.

But with this episode I hope it will help you to know that every divorce story is deeply personal and can bring unexpected feelings and reactions with those directly involved as well as from those who are not.

You will learn in this episode:

  • What does it mean to be single again in your 40’s
  • How do you figure out who you are now after divorce.
  • How do you water yourself in order to grow and blossom.
  • How the residue from a divorce can come back up when you least expect it.
  • How looking back is NOT going to help you move forward.

So who is Marisha Stewart?

Rev. Dr. Marisha Stewart is a 46 year old mother of one son who has been the light of her life since he was born.

She is a school counselor in a local high school, adjunct professor at a local community college, licensed minister, and spiritual coach.

She has a Christian Podcast, called Lioness Queen, about helping women move forward from the emotional trauma they experienced from divorce.

She was with her ex husband for almost a total of 24 years who then decided one day in 2014 to throw her marriage away like a piece of trash (her words.)

As a result, she definitely internalized the rejection and it took a toll on her spiritual, emotional, mental and psychological well-being. It even planted thoughts of suicide in her head. As a result of her experiences and her call to the ministry, she realized that God was calling her to help women like herself work through the emotional trauma of divorce. Sadly, so many women get stuck in the cycle of looking back instead of looking forward. She believes God has given her the gift, empathy and passion to help encourage other women that there is a life on the other side of divorce.

And if you want to know more about Marisha, all the ways you can contact her are below.

I’ll talk to you later, Beautiful!

Links mentioned in this episode and to contact Marisha:

Did you miss this fantastic episode about the 5 things we should know about men BUT we still don't? Click HERE to listen now!


Alice Agnello: Hey, Marisha, thanks so much for being a part of the podcast today. I really appreciate it.

Marisha Stewart: Thank you so much.

Alice Agnello: So today we're going to talk about tips in overcoming divorce. Marisha is going to help us with that. So Marisha, tell me a little bit more about you, and maybe your divorce story for my audience.

Marisha Stewart: So it's so interesting. I was married to my ex, a total 14 years, and we dated nine, actually. So I had been with him since I was 18 years old. And I just believed he was the one, like we do. And it just, we blended well together. We were really great friends. The friendship was really so... I can't even explain it. We had so many things in common. But we both went to school, it took us a while to graduate from college, because we worked as well. And so that was his big thing. His big thing is, "I want to finish school," and I'm like, "Okay." However, I'm just like, "Okay, time is ticking. It's ticking. It's ticking." And so eventually it happened. We got married in the Bahamas, we had 40 people that came, it was just something that it just felt like it was supposed to be.

Marisha Stewart: And it's just so interesting. Right after we got married, things started to evolve. I got pregnant right away, like three months after we got married. And something changed. And I can't necessarily say I know what. But something changed. And he wasn't sure, actually, if he made the right decision early on. That was something that we didn't discuss with other people. When you get married, it's like, "Hey, we'll try to work this thing out. Because if we move forward, other people won't hold grudges." And so that's what we did, and we worked it out. We moved and upgraded and moved into this house, it was almost 5000 square feet. It was like my dream home. And again, just going through the motions, we never really argued, like I said, we were the best of friends.

Marisha Stewart: And just all of a sudden, just one day he was like, "I am not happy in this marriage. And I want to separate. This is not what I thought it would be." And it was just so out of the blue. It was so out of the blue. I know I felt him distancing himself from me, but there was no argument, nothing I can say that happened to say, yeah, that's probably why.

Alice Agnello: Because people typically, when you hear someone's getting into divorce, people will then look for the signs or they'll look for the signs before that. Like. "Oh, they argued all the time. Or they never got along." They're trying to justify it, and for you, it was just completely out of the blue.

Marisha Stewart: It was out of the blue. I knew I felt the distance, but when I asked, there was nothing. He was like, "I'm okay, I'm okay." I could tell there was a difference in him. But there was no communication about it. He never verbalized really what was wrong. I mean, he just said, "I am unhappy." And then we had, it's so crazy because with the house we had it took us a year to sell it. And so I'm living in a home... And in the beginning, everybody didn't know because I'm trying to process it in my head before I tell people, and so I lived in a home with him for a year, actually of him not wanting to be with me, which was challenging in itself. Again, I was just so caught off guard. I just didn't know what had transpired. And then we separated.

Marisha Stewart: And that was the most, I will say really challenging place for me because I had been like a lot of women, you're with this one person, since you're 18, 17 even 16. And then when this happens, it's like, "Who am I?" Even before you were Mrs, you wrote his name down. It's like, "Hey, I'm Mrs," and use his last name. You do that even before you get. That's what we do as girls.

Alice Agnello: Yes, we do. Yes, we do.

Marisha Stewart: We do that. And so that was the biggest piece for me, who am I? How am I not Mrs anymore? And what does that mean? What does being single mean? In mid 40s, what does that? I'm almost 50. I don't know about the dating game, I don't know about it. I've never experienced it. And so at this point in my life, I don't do clubs, how am I going to meet somebody? All of these questions come up in your mid life, when you're at this intersection in your life, and you just don't know what to do. And it's a lonely place.

Alice Agnello: Because it's overwhelming. Your mind just goes to all the places that you really probably shouldn't be going. Because you've identified as part of a unit, you've been married, you're a wife. I mean, you're still a mother. But that changes because now there's this dynamic of, I have to work with this other person. And somehow identify who I am now, and what does that mean for me? And what was the first thing that you try to do? Or what's the first thing that you try to do to help your clients get to that place of trying to figure that out for them?

Marisha Stewart: So the biggest piece that I had to realize for myself is, who am I? I had to really figure that piece out. Because, like I said, we were always a unit. You know what I mean? And it's like, who is Marisha? And so, once you try to figure out who you are, then you can what I would say, compartmentalize all the different uniqueness about you. All of the things that make you beautiful, all the things that make you unique, all the things that make you special. And so it's appreciating who you are before, really you can allow somebody else in to come in to say, "Oh, you're beautiful." No, I need to know it for myself, I need to know certain things for myself. I need to learn how to water myself. Because if I don't learn how to water myself, if somebody else tries to water me, I really don't know what type of watering I need, that will help me blossom and grow into where I'm supposed to be.

Alice Agnello: Because I'm imagining your self-esteem takes a huge hit through the divorce process, because the questions of, I don't know who I am. And did he leave me because of my weight? Did he leave me because of I'm unattractive? And there might have been things said in the heat of discussion or arguments that then make you spiral in that different direction. So I love the way that you say that you need to figure out how to water yourself. Because as you said, how am I supposed to blossom and grow and find even love again with someone else, if I don't even know what it means to me to be me anymore?

Marisha Stewart: Yes. So the biggest piece for him was he said to me, "I never wanted to be married."

Alice Agnello: Wow.

Marisha Stewart: And so I had to process literally, "24 years of us being together, you're telling me you never wanted to be married?" And then he'll bring up, and this is... When you don't want someone you try to bring up everything that somebody has ever said to you. And so he's brought up pieces to me where, "Hey, I remember where you wanted to be married, and I didn't, I wasn't ready. And you had talked about suicide. And you had talked about things that you were going to do to yourself to hurt yourself. You were comparing yourself to your friends. And then everybody was saying, "Hey, when are you guys getting married?" So I felt the pressure." So he said he felt the pressure coming from everyone else.

Marisha Stewart: But look, I didn't put a gun to your head. And when I tell you, he was very thoughtful when it came to proposing to me, so at the time, I was learning sign language. And so he proposed it, literally we went out with another couple, he rented a limo. And he proposed to me in sign language. It was very thoughtful. You know what I mean? And so I'm bamboozled, after 24 years of us being together, and all of a sudden you never wanted to be married. And the biggest kicker now is actually now he's engaged to be married.

Alice Agnello: Wow.

Marisha Stewart: And so I had to deal with my self-esteem then. And I have to also block out, I would say looping negative thoughts of, well, if he didn't want to be married to you, why does he want to be married to her? You know what I mean? And so what I call residue because my goal is to be residue free. So for me, the residue would be taking me back to well, what was wrong with me? You see what I'm saying? And so that's the biggest piece I would say for women who've gone through divorce, is the residue and how residue can come back up when you have certain triggers and certain things that they do or certain things that I might see, that reminds me of certain things that we did together. You know what I mean? And so how to be residue free, but then also how to water yourself.

Alice Agnello: Because I imagine that because especially since you have a son together, you're going to be tied to that person for not just the moment that you're divorced, you're going to be tied to that person for a long time. And so identifying those things in yourself that you know as your triggers, and to slowly get rid of that residue just over time. Because it's not going to be this, get it done in a month process. And I think women, or just people in general want it done as fast as possible. So what are some of those residue or triggers that you see women have and what they can do about them?

Marisha Stewart: So I think one of the biggest triggers is looking back. That's the biggest trigger. The biggest trigger is looking back. The biggest trigger is regrets and thinking that there's more in our past than there is in our future.

Alice Agnello: Right, yes.

Marisha Stewart: And that is the biggest, I would say, stumbling block for us as women because it's really... I'm in these social media groups, divorce support groups. And it's so interesting how the residue is so thick, that we as women want somebody who abused us, somebody who neglected us, somebody who wasn't there for us, somebody who really didn't love us, and we still crave and desire the past when there's more in our future, but you can't see it because you keep looking back. And so I would say that is the biggest trigger for us moving forward and really healing from the process because you can't look in two places at the same time.

Alice Agnello: Do you think it's because women want to solve that problem? And what I mean by that is, is that they keep looking back, because they're afraid it's going to happen again. And so they want to eliminate that from happening again. So they keep analyzing and over analyzing all the things that happened to them in the past to ensure that it doesn't happen to them again. But by doing that they're actually encouraging it to happen more often because they keep looking backwards.

Marisha Stewart: Yeah. And so I think the biggest piece is we want an answer.

Alice Agnello: Yes.

Marisha Stewart: And we want an honest answer. And so the biggest piece for me is the answer that you're going to get might not be honest. It might not be the truth. And can you be okay with that? Because the biggest piece is separating the answer from it's really about them. It's really not about me. But we attach it to ourselves, and it's not about us. You know what I mean? And so we always want that answer, well, why? Well, why? Well, really why? Well, really, they're going to lie anyway. I mean, who really wants to be honest and say, "I really don't want you. I really don't love you anymore like I do Sue. I want to date other people."? People are not honest with their feelings and what's going on with them. And so it's easier to lie. And so as a result, you don't really want the answer.

Alice Agnello: No.

Marisha Stewart: We really don't want the answer.

Alice Agnello: Because whether or not they're truthful or not, we're going to somehow take it and try and make it all about us and then not like the answer. So even if they give us an honest answer, we're still not going to like the answer. And we're still going to try and figure out there's got to be a better answer out there.

Marisha Stewart: And so that's the piece. So I literally had to separate everything that he did, everything that he said to me. It's not about me. And so he said he was unhappy. Well, happiness comes from within. That doesn't come from us being married. You have to be happy in your own skin. I can't be happy for you, marriage doesn't make you happy. You know what I mean? And so, again, I had to detach everything that he was going through and then really, I also had to break it down to the point where even towards my son in this whole process. Because children are impacted, whether they verbalize it or they don't. And boys definitely don't verbalize it.

Alice Agnello: No. I will attest to that for two boys in my life, I will completely agree with that

Marisha Stewart: They don't. And so the one thing that I wanted to make sure that my son, I didn't want my son to internalize my hurt. I didn't want him to take in my pain, even though he's seen me cry, he's seen me... I mean, he's seen me in some dark moments in my life. And even there was a point where I had thoughts of suicide as well. But the piece that I wanted my son to know and understand is your father is doing what he knows.

Marisha Stewart: And so he was raised by his mom, his dad was physically there only. His dad wasn't there emotionally, mentally, psychologically. And so he didn't have or get to see what a father is supposed to be like, what a husband is supposed to be like. I mean, they literally lived in separate bedrooms. And so if you live in separate bedrooms, there's no intimacy, you don't see communication going forth unless it's about a bill, or something you didn't do. And so there was this dynamic that he grew up in, and I truly believe he doesn't realize he became his dad. And he wasn't as bad as his dad, because he was more involved in our son's life. But there was a lot of similarities into what he did, and unfortunately, what it did was it made his mother extremely upset. Because it just brought up so much. Where it's like, you are your father.

Marisha Stewart: So she was so upset with him. Because she's like, you are your father. And he's like, "No, I'm not." It's like, "You're doing the same thing your dad did to Marisha." But he doesn't see it in that way. And so that is a picture I try to portray to my son, "Look, your dad is doing what he knows to do." He doesn't know. We don't read books about how to be a better parent, how to be a better husband, how to be a better... We don't. And so we do what we know, either subconsciously or consciously, we automatically it's easy to fall into that trap of... And so I want my son to see the lens of dad is doing what his dad did to him. And so it's bigger than just us two. It's bigger than that. It is something that just was passed on.

Alice Agnello: And what is another tip to overcoming divorce? I know, we also talked about letting go of the past. But I think we've also talked about understanding the purpose and the pain that you've been through.

Marisha Stewart: Now that's huge. I have to say it's so interesting, because even over the course of my marriage, my lowest points pushed me. And sometimes you don't realize one you need a pushing two, you don't realize that you are being pushed towards something. The question is, sometimes we don't know what it is. But it's also because of that looking back, and so you can't see what is the possibility. What could happen, where you could be going. And so for me, it was all about, in my darkest moments. I mean, that is what pushed me. And so I literally, early on in our marriage is when he was unsure, he didn't really feel comfortable about being married, even though we stayed together. And it pushed me to go back to school. Even somebody was telling me to go back, I was like, "I have a baby. Who goes back to school with a baby?" And she was like, "I don't care. You just need to go back."

Marisha Stewart: And I didn't realize that that helped me. Because it took my focus off of what was going on at home. And so that also helps too, because it takes your focus off focusing on one, what's wrong. You know what I mean? And so, even when we were separated, me trying to deal with the pain, I started a paint party business. And I'm very creative, I love to paint. I had never done it before, you know what I mean? And I just started a paint party business and I really enjoyed it. I love doing it. But it also was helping me with my pain. And I didn't, you know what I mean? I didn't really realize that's really what it was doing. Because again, it was taking me off of the distraction of focusing on the pain.

Alice Agnello: Because a lot of women, I think they'll internalize that pain and they have a hard time trying to look at points in their life, especially if they're going through a divorce now in midlife, that they can learn from. That I did learn something from this experience that I had with my partner. And not all of it was fantastic or great, but it pushed me to do certain things in my life, and now I've got to push myself again to try. Because the scary part is that unknown. Is the unknown factor. I mean, like you guys had to live together for a while before you sold your house. And that is now, I feel like a more typical occurrence, when people are getting divorces, because they don't have that automatic safety net of being able to go and one person leaves and establishes another home.

Alice Agnello: So it brings on a whole other piece to the whole entire part of it. But going back and looking at it in a different way to notice how you're able to keep going in all those different situations, and then still become who you are now and move forward.

Marisha Stewart: Yeah. And I didn't realize, because I have to say for a lot of women, we may not be financially stable enough when it does occur. And so I have to say, when we first got married, we really depended on each other. And then we had our son, and my husband made more than me at the time and I was in a space of total dependence on him. And that is a place where a lot of women are, especially mid life. Because sometimes we decide I'm going to stay home, I'm going to raise the kids, this will be the best thing for our family. Best thing for the children. And it's like we put our lives on hold. And so when something occurs or happens, it's like, what do I do? Especially financially. So for me, it just happened for me early on, that I went back to school, not realizing 13 years later, that it would actually we would separate and then divorce. I didn't know. But it was just something in me, was like you need to go back. Yeah.

Alice Agnello: Do you find with women that they have a hard time asking for help in this situation? Because divorce is such a private occurrence that they don't ask for enough help from other people to help them through that process?

Marisha Stewart: I'm going to tell you what. It is embarrassing.

Alice Agnello: Right.

Marisha Stewart: And again, this is the thing, these are the thoughts that we're thinking. But I'm not the one that didn't want the marriage anymore. I'm not the one that wasn't wasn't happy. It had nothing to do with me. But in our heads, we are embarrassed. It's like even when I was separated, and it's like, I didn't want to say I was single. You know what I mean? It is just something that we just conjure up stuff in our head. And we don't really ask for help. However, I was saved from myself before I got remarried, I thought therapy was important for myself. I had my faith, but in the same regard I knew that I really needed to still talk to someone to help me work through whatever residue was still thick at the time.

Marisha Stewart: And so I truly believe that therapy is critical. Because again, it is all about, and unfortunately I think nowadays, it doesn't have the stigma like it used to have. But whenever I think about therapy, I think about Monk, I don't know if you saw a TV show, Monk-

Alice Agnello: Yes.

Marisha Stewart: ... which I absolutely love. Monk.

Alice Agnello: Yes.

Marisha Stewart: I absolutely love Monk. But it's really just you talking to somebody and just telling them what's going on with, you telling them all your different feelings and emotions. And it's just somebody having a listening ear. Because really truth be told the answer is already within you, they're just trying to help pull it out of you. You know what I mean? And so it is so critical when you're at this stage in your life, where you just don't know how to process all of those emotions, everything that's going on, and you need someone like a therapist or a counselor to help you just to work through everything that you're going through.

Alice Agnello: Because I'm imagining you're getting bombarded by a lot of advice that you may or may not want in that situation. And so you're trying to process that and try and figure out what is it that I really want? And talking to someone else as that neutral person who is in your corner, because they want to help you figure it out without all of the bias from family members and friends, and that type of thing to try and figure out what you want ultimately, throughout the whole divorce process.

Marisha Stewart: And really, I'm going to tell you what, it's so interesting. Because I won't ever forget it. When my husband said he was unhappy and he never wanted to be married. And I just had to say, "I've been unhappy for years too. But I made a vow to you, I made vows. For us to work. I was in this for the long haul." You know what I mean? But I mean, truth be told, if women are honest with themselves, and you look back, you can, I mean, have a laundry list of things that you're either unhappy about, it's not going well, that you feel trapped, that you feel you're not heard, you don't have a voice. You can give a laundry list.

Marisha Stewart: And so that's the other piece that we don't do. We want to say, "Oh, I love him," no. You had a laundry list of things where that person actually wasn't the best thing for you. And as we get older, we evolve, we grow, we change. And that's the other piece I had to come to grips with. You know what I mean? And as far as myself, I'm different. And so because I'm different, I'm not that 18 year old anymore. And I need more. And so if he can't give me more, then I need somebody else who can give me what I need to take me to that next level I'm going to. But that again, you got to process through that.

Alice Agnello: Because as a young person in my 20s, I am so different than I was back then now that I'm in my late 40s. And the knowledge, as you said, to know that it's okay to ask for more. To not settle, to know that this is not what I want, or where I want it to be is huge to finally figure that out for yourself and to accept that you want more and it's okay to ask for more. Because as women, I think we believe we to ask for more is somehow not the right thing to do. Like, "What does that mean if I ask for more? That I'm actually going to step out and do something different that's not expected of me as a woman."

Marisha Stewart: Yeah. And actually, my girlfriend says something to me very powerful and I was like, "I don't really know it like that." But she said to me, she said, "Everybody has an opportunity to change their mind." And I was like, "But, but," she was like, "Just like one day you like this, another day you don't like this." She said, "Everybody has an opportunity to change their mind." Whether we like it or not, I mean, that's the truth. But it's hard when it comes to relationships, it's hard when it comes to a marriage that, "Oh, we're changing our underwear today. Wait a minute. We've had on the same underwear for a long time. Now you want to change your underwear." Everybody has a choice.

Marisha Stewart: And I had to come to grips with that. That is his choice, so now he has a new pair of underwear. Now he is going to get married. And so my mantra is about being residue free. And so my thing is everything that I, that laundry list that I had, that I was praying for, I'm hoping that this new person will be able to experience my list and be able to maybe he's better, maybe he does better. I want him to be better than he was to me. I want him to be better to her kids better than he was to mine. That is being residue free. I should want good for him and not repay evil for evil.

Alice Agnello: No, because that's just going to make you in a bad headspace if you start thinking in that negative light, whereas you want crosstalk happiness.

Marisha Stewart: Even when you want to.

Alice Agnello: Yes. You still want to. And to go back to what you were saying about it's embarrassing. Divorce is embarrassing. The thought that came to my head is, especially when you've been married, let's say 15, 20 years, 25 years, and then all of a sudden now you're going to go through divorce, I imagine the word that came up to me is failure. So you were in something that was supposed to last forever. And this defines you as that other half, and now it's a big huge failure, because you're just looking at it as what was the whole point of the whole entire 20 years if this is now where we end up being?

Alice Agnello: And so I was thinking that for a woman that it's devastating. Because it's not like you can go get another job, it's just a little easier. If you are fired from your job, you can always go get another one. But with marriage and a divorce, it's just a different, what's the word I'm looking for? It's a different emotional journey that you're going to be on, than one from just something easy as losing your job. Does that make sense?

Marisha Stewart: It does. And I have to say... So that's another part of the process. There's so many different pieces in getting rid of this residue, but I had to look at what good came out of it?

Alice Agnello: Yeah.

Marisha Stewart: And so I had to because my first day was you wasted my time.

Alice Agnello: Yeah, yeah.

Marisha Stewart: You wasted my prime time. Because actually, I wanted more children. And it didn't happen. But that was for a reason. I wanted more children, it was so many things that... But I had some great time, but in the same regard, the times that it was the most stressful, were the times that it blessed me. And so I truly believe that the years that we were together, and the reason why we were together was only so my son could be born. And I will go through that pain, I will go to that headache, I will go through all of that again, just so that little spirit could be born.

Alice Agnello: I remember when we were talking in our pre interview, you said something very, I love the way you said it, is that you have to decide if you still want to stay in the fight, battle in your mind in order to move forward. And so is there a way to get out of that battle or to recognize that you're in that battle with your mind in order to try and move forward?

Marisha Stewart: So you have to recognize that's where the fight is. The fight is not the person. That's the biggest piece. And so I had to realize, he's not the battle. The battle is in my head. It is between my two ears. And it is what I am telling myself. And I have to really figure out what is the truth, and what's the false narrative that keeps looping in my head, that's really not the truth. You know what I mean? And so that just happens, really with anything, but when you get to a space where somebody rejects you, that emotional trauma, it hits you to your core, especially we as women, we love really hard. We love very hard, we put our all into it. And so as a result, it's like, then those thoughts are coming. Then you go down this rabbit hole. And so the question is it is battling and going and trying to figure out what is the truth, and what is the false narrative? And really, what do I want to believe? You know what I mean? And again, it can be harder. It was hard for me, but it can be harder. Especially if a woman has dealt with verbal abuse. Because again, unfortunately, the abuse of words that other individual said, has planted seeds in their head.

Marisha Stewart: And so as a result, they're trying to battle those seeds along with whatever they imposed in their head as well to try to figure out what is the truth, and what's the false narrative that I have to decipher, so that I can really even take that step into healing from the inside?

Alice Agnello: And I love what you said about we as women we do, we put 100%, 120% in. We're all in. If it's a marriage-

Marisha Stewart: 200%.

Alice Agnello: ... if it's kids. Exactly. If it's kids, if it's marriage, our house, our job, I mean, we are going to throw ourselves in there and do it the best way we can. And then when we're hit with something big like this through a divorce, all of a sudden, we're not all in anymore, to put all in for our own health and well being. It just is not important anymore. We're over givers. So I've talked about this before, is that we over give. We keep giving and keep giving and keep giving, because we think that that's what we need to do. But then when it comes to ourselves, nah, we'll get to that later.

Marisha Stewart: Yeah. We don't put ourselves first.

Alice Agnello: Mm-mm (negative).

Marisha Stewart: We don't put the oxygen mask on ourselves first, like they tell you on the plane. We'll put it on the children first, we'll put it on hubby first, and then we'll put on ourselves. We do not. And that is, again, as something that we as women do. And it's so natural for us to do. But then in the same regard, our health, our mental health, our physical health can all be impacted just because we don't do the self care that we needed. And that is one of the other pieces that I had to learn for myself, is self care. Because I didn't do it.

Marisha Stewart: And it's so interesting, even when I started dating my current husband, I still always thought about my son first. And he was like, "No." I'm going to take care of you. But we won't take care of you first. And I wasn't used to that. And so that's-

Alice Agnello: It's almost like you rebelled against it. You know what I mean? Like, no, this is not the right way. Because this is the way I've been taught. This is the way that society has said that I have to be. I have to put 100% into my son and then eventually, maybe, I will get to myself.

Marisha Stewart: No. No, we have to do self care. But it's really, it goes against the grain. I don't understand why that is for us as women. It really goes against. I don't know, the nurtures in us. It goes against that piece. But that is the only way that we can overcome anything, we have to take care of ourselves.

Alice Agnello: And on that wonderful note, is there anything else that you would like to share that I haven't touched on today at all?

Marisha Stewart: So I would say also, you have to be open to not think that it can happen again. And so the issue, again, is still connected to the past. And so when you still connect to the past, I think it's very easy for you to be attracted to people who are similar, versus totally letting go. Totally open your mind to someone new and something different. And being okay with trying something new. It's so interesting, because I always, I would say I liked... How you say you like a certain type of guy.

Alice Agnello: Yes, yes.

Marisha Stewart: You have this, you have this. And God had to deal with me on, well, what if I gave you someone else that's not this, would you be okay? Would you try? You know what I mean? And so I think for so many of us, we stay stuck on something. And we don't want to try something new. And so that's the piece, being open to something new and something different. Because you just never know. It could be the best thing for you.

Alice Agnello: And you're a different person. You know what I mean?

Marisha Stewart: Yeah.

Alice Agnello: You're a different person than what you were five, 10 years ago. So to think that the person that you're going to find is now exactly that same person that you should have found in your 20s, is just not the right mind space to be in.

Marisha Stewart: Yeah. And what space are you in? And what type of person do you need for who you are now? Not who you was when you were 20, when you're in your 30s. Who you are now and who you're growing to be, who do you need to help water you to make you even grow more in your 50s and in your 60s and in your 70s? You know what I mean? Who is going to be there for you in the thick of it? You know what I mean? And so that's the piece, and a lot of women unfortunately get stuck because they're scared that the cycle is going to repeat and they're going to have the same thing that they had before. But again, you got to let go of the past before you can embrace the new and be open to new. Because you got to be open to it. A lot of women aren't open because we're so stuck on looking back.

Alice Agnello: I've loved our discussion, Marisha. Thank you again so much. And of course, I have my three questions I ask at the end of all of my interviews. So tell me something that not a lot of people know about you.

Marisha Stewart: So it's so interesting during this pandemic, I started having a green thumb. I saw somebody on Facebook, she had created this beautiful office, and she had all these plants around her. And so I almost copied it, you might as well say, but the one thing that I'm in love with, I don't know when I did it. I one day I came home, I bought some lilies. And I put them in a kitchen, and they turned out to be so beautiful. And so I didn't realize I really love lilies. And actually, my husband loves lilies. And I have to have new lilies every week in my house.

Alice Agnello: I love that. I love that when you do something and then you are still surprised by your spouse. Meaning like, "Oh, I love them too." And you're like, "You do? When did this just happen?" And you still are able to find a new thing that you didn't realize about that other person.

Marisha Stewart: I didn't realize, but I love them. Like the store Lidl, Lidle, however you say it, they have them really inexpensive, and they last about a week, I change their water every day. And they last about a week and they're so gorgeous. And I say, I'm not Mariah Carey, because Mariah Carey... I said like roses, when she goes on shows, she has to have a lot of roses in her room. I'm not at that level yet. But I do-

Alice Agnello: You will get there. You will get to that level.

Marisha Stewart: inaudible that bad. I love lilies, I have to have a fresh set of lilies in my house every week.

Alice Agnello: I like it. So name three things that you can't live without other than your fans, friends and family.

Marisha Stewart: So first of all would be my day. Second would be my favorite food, which is pizza. I love pizza. And the third thing would be I love summer. I love the sun. And I don't know if you've ever seen the movie The Odd Life of Timothy Green.

Alice Agnello: No, I don't think I've seen that one.

Marisha Stewart: It's a kid's movie. It's just so great. He's this little boy who is born from the dirt. And he has this little leaf on him. So he's almost like a tree so to speak. And there's certain times where he just stands out in the summertime and just stands in the sun and just soaks it in and just loves it. And so yeah, I absolutely love summer. I love the heat, I love water, beach. I can't live without the season of summer.

Alice Agnello: And if you could choose one song to play every time you entered a room for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Marisha Stewart: Oh, that's interesting, because I love music. So I teach a class at a community college here. And I asked my students about what are three good songs that either inspire you, encourage you, make you laugh. I don't know. And so we go around talking. So then it's my turn, and I have to give a song. And so there's a song, I would say, it came to be a critical song for me during this process, in going back to identity and who I am. And so the song is called Masterpiece, by Jazmine Sullivan. And she actually talks about being a Mona Lisa and knowing her worth. And so that would be a song that I just would always want to hear, because it will always help me to remember who I am, how special I am, how valuable I am. And if I know that for me, then I will be able to display it so that other people will see, "Hey, I'm special."

Alice Agnello: I love that. Thank you so much Marisha for being a part of today's podcast. I so appreciate it.

Marisha Stewart: You're welcome. Thank you.

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Alice Agnello, Lifestyle and Success Coach

I'm Alice Agnello.

I’m a California raised, incurable romantic who was too snarky for the corporate world. I love show tunes, chai tea, and all things British. My mission? To help women rediscover who they are, after their kids have grown.

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→  Work on your mindset so you can recognize negative thoughts and work to quiet them.

→  Help figure out what’s bothering you and know it’s okay to go at your own pace.

→ Understand that taking care of yourself is the most important person in your life and to release the guilt.

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