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Kimberly Seals Allers Speaks

Her Secret Life
a Painful Divorce and Facing Single Motherhood Mocha Manual Style


Two years ago her husband walked out the door and never returned. Faced with the unthinkable and struggling to accept failure, Kimberly lived a double life, posing as the model mom while her marriage fell apart. Now, she shares her life lessons on redefining failure, redefining family and coming out on top.    
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Her Secret Life…

a Painful Divorce and Facing Single Motherhood Mocha Manual Style

by Tamika Nunley



Seals Allers is looking quite serene as we sit on the deck of her Long
Island home. Finally free of the burden of her secret life, Kimberly is
at peace.

For years, as a senior editor at
Essence magazine and an accomplished author with a fast-growing
business, Kimberly had what seemed to be an enviable life. But her
marriage crumbled into a painful divorce, her finances hit rock bottom,
depression set in, and no great job, book deal or business success
could change the situation it or hide her shame.
Over two years ago, her husband and the father of her two children,
unexpectedly moved out of their family home, leaving her alone with her
then 6-year old daughter and two-year old son. It was a sudden and
painful blow. But one she kept very private.

"I think as black women we are conditioned to think or tell ourselves
that whatever happens in our life, we can just deal with it. Our
husbands leave. Our babies die. Our children’s lives are thrown in a
tailspin. Our vision for our families is destroyed and we’re just
expected to not skip a beat. Just, keep it movin’, as they say. I fell
into the same trap, acting big and bad when I was broken and scared,"
she says. 

As the face of The Mocha Manual Company, Kimberly felt pressure to be
the model happily married woman. "When your life is out there, you feel
more obligated to set a good example. I didn’t want to be another
broken Black family How could this happen to me? I desperately didn’t
want to be that. It felt like a tremendous personal and community

Her need to keep up a strong front was so severe that several months
passed before her own parents, who’ve been married for 50 years, knew
her husband had left. “I made excuses when my parents called and when
friends stopped by, I would say ‘oh you just missed him, he went blah
blah blah.I shut myself off from friends so they wouldn’t come over. It
was terrible. I was deeply ashamed and I didn’t know what to do," she

By day, she kept up the appearance of a successful author and business
owner and strong figure for her children. At nights she cried herself
to sleep, or didn’t sleep at all, and slipped into depression.

"I was living in a world I created in my head. Not in reality,” she says. 

think as black women we are conditioned to think or tell ourselves that
whatever happens in our life, we can just deal with it.

reality has a way of making sure you sit up and take notice eventually.
For Kimberly, her wake-up call came in the form of a serious health

The once amicable relationship with her
ex-husband disintegrated.  The divorce was long and painful. "The child
support disappeared, he started living with another woman and
everything changed,” she says.”Still, I tried very hard to keep the
children first and not do the angry black woman thing. I kept our
visitation arrangement whether he paid or not. I still notified him of
doctor appointments or school conferences," she says. “But I was mad as

Financially she was drowning under the burden of paying for properties
that were purchased during the marriage with her name and credit.”
After he left, he refused to help pay those bills. The mortgages were
in my name. But he smartly put his name on the deed which means I
couldn’t sell without his approval. The housing market was in the
toilet, tenants weren’t paying—it  was a terrible time. " Kimberly
says. "I felt like a complete idiot. How many times have I advised
women about their finances. And here I was suffering from letting a man
use my credit–husband or not, I was embarrassed."

Severe ulcers developed in her digestive tract–mostly caused by
stress, the doctors said. The pain was excrutiating and Kimberly was
hospitalized for a week. Her full recovery took much longer. “The
doctor said if I kept doing this sort of damage to my insides, I’d have
one of those bags in less than 10 years. At that instant, I was scared
straight.” The deeper lesson was also clear: the stress of her
masquerade was taking its toll. It was a wake-up call and transforming
moment for me. “What I was doing and why seemed so silly from the
vantage point of the hospital bed. Instead of isolating myself from
people because I was embarrassed, I actually needed my loved ones and
my Mocha Manual family to help me get through this ordeal. ” 

Now, Kimberly is feeling triumphant and ready to take on the world and
being a single mom. She has an exciting new attitude and renewed
conviction that life is what you make it. “It’s not the circumstances
in our life that define us, it’s how we deal with them.”

Kimberly also shares these hard-earned life lessons with you:

Give up keeping up appearances.
“I learned that sometimes, keepin’ it movin means we have to first,
stop and heal. I didn’t do that. I also accepted that I didn’t to have
to keep up this facade of the happy little family. I took the failure
of my marriage as a personal failure and me failing my children, but
that wasn’t the case.

Redefine what it means to be a strong Black woman.
“What makes us so phenomenal as black women is not that we are
heartless robots who don’t feel, fail or fall down. We feel pain, we
feel shame, we hurt for our children. We are whole humans with a full
range of emotions. And there’s no shame in experiencing those

Never take it out on the father.
“I continue to work on having a strong co-parenting relationship with
my “wasband” and redefine what family is, by creating that for myself
and my children. Regardless of how he treated me or my personal
feelings, he is still the father of my kids and they need him.”

Practice self care.
“As black women, we are notorious for taking care of everyone else
before taking care of ourselves. This is destructive. We have to look
after ourselves physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. My
family needs me and I can’t properly take care of them if I’m unhealthy
on any level.”

Do you. “Now, I embrace being
a single parent with style and grace, knowing that I am still creating
a powerful life for me and my children. This is who I am now. So I’m
ready to “do” the new me with as much passion and confidence as
before.  It may not be what I originally envisioned, but it is full of
endless possibilities.”



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