real life

"I had a divorce party with my ex and it helped us both move on."

The words “divorce” and “breakup” have unnecessarily negative connotations in our society — too often, they conjure up images of failure and shame.

In reality, 85% of relationships end in breakup and 50% of marriages end in divorce, so they are very much universal life experiences.

Every year in America, 876,000 couples who’ve found themselves in the uncomfortable position of reevaluating their marriage ultimately decide to divorce.

Sometimes we grow apart — other times we come to the realisation that we just aren’t the best life partners for each other.

Whatever the reason, it is a narrative that plays out over and over again.

Maybe Don and Betty's divorce in Mad Men would have gone a little better if it was less shameful to separate? via AMC.

Although divorce has been rapidly increasing throughout the years, and certainly doesn’t carry the same ignominy as it once did, it’s (disappointingly) still not something that occurs entirely within the realm of social acceptability.

Natalie, better known by her performer name Mikka Minx, decided to challenge that perception when she and her partner of 10 years (and spouse of three years) decided to part ways last year.

As a performance artist, Natalie contemplated how to react artistically when there was no longer a romantic future in sight for her and her then-husband, Andre.

The result: They threw a “divorce party,” which proved to be incredibly cathartic for everyone involved.

I hope it may bring forward a new movement of acknowledging all phases of life and relationships for what they actually are.

Minx said her intention for the gathering was to try to “love all of the range of emotions that go with breakup”:

“The more you can experience the concepts of sadness, pain, and fear,” she told us, “the more capacity you have for joy and love and the other side of the spectrum... I wanted to appreciate the entire process, and that what makes us whole is appreciating the entire range of emotions.

“I’m a proponent of bringing light into the entire range because [sadness, pain, and fear] are just as impactful and important.”

Rocker Jack White and former model wife Karen Elson were ahead of the trend – announcing their divorce in 2011 with invitations to an extravagant divorce party.

Natalie effectively transformed the negative stigma attached to divorce and breakups by sharing her experience and inviting the public to view — and her loved ones to collaborate in — her and Andre’s final moments of vulnerability and separation. Hundreds of guests came to support them as they publicly parted ways.

A friend of mine noted that they must have been an incredibly stable couple to have been able to go through that together. But, talking to Minx about the experience, she relayed to me that there were plenty of tears and fights behind the scenes, just like any other couple facing separation.

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Their divorce party was equipped with a “maid of dishonor.” Life coach Steve Bearman also offered some deeply insightful and meaningful words. Then, Natalie and Andre walked down the aisle together to read their heartfelt divorce vows and publicly signed their divorce papers.

They balanced the laborious with humour and tears with laughter.

Natalie and Andre epitomised what it is to depart from one another consciously.

Watch The Motherish team confess when they knew it was time for a divorce. Post continues after video.

We fear change in this society. We fear death, we fear the unknown, and we fear endings, whether they be the end of relationships or the end of life cycles.

The only thing that can help ease fear is acknowledgment and acceptance.

Minx chose to enact that acknowledgment and acceptance in front of everyone, defying the aloneness by inviting her loved ones to experience and participate. Minx ultimately let us know, “You’re not alone. We can stand together and be strong through this ending.”

Love is fleeting, more often than not — just as life is just a series of moments. As Minx reflects, “We remember the moments that impact us the most.”

“Everyone goes through these moments,” she says, “and we always feel so alone, but we aren’t.”

Minx saw the impact her creation had had when she began receiving an overwhelmingly positive response. People have communicated their gratitude to her both privately and publicly for the wisdom and inspiration she spread.

She's helped people feel a sense of recognition rare in a society in which “divorce” is a word often consigned to hushed whispers in the alleyways of community gossip. Mikka Minx gracefully and openly confronted these misconceptions, and in doing so, is changing the way we view divorce and breakups.

It certainly had that effect on me. When Mikka’s one-year divorce anniversary came across my Facebook newsfeed recently, it seemed synchronistic. I was feeling the weight of a heartbreak of my own, drowning in sorrow and grief for love lost. I decided to watch the entire gorgeous Youtube video of their divorce party.

By the time it came to an end, I was surprised to find myself laughing, relating to the stories and thoughts they shared, and feeling much less alone.

How This 'Divorce Party' Could Change The Way We View Breakups

This story by Lily Fury originally appeared on Ravishly, a feminist news+culture website.

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