Writer Anna Kloots Opens Up About the One Word That Completely Changed Her Post-Divorce Life

Anna Kloots in Paris

Photos courtesy of Anna Kloots

An excerpt from My Own Magic.

There’s not much that Anna Kloots hasn’t done — she’s traveled to more than 80 countries across six continents, written candidly for a host of major publications, and cultivated a fabulous existance that led to her being called “the real-life Emily in Paris.” But when she was 30 years old, she faced a new experience, one that she never envisioned as part of her story: divorce.

Kloots is a writer and expert traveler (and the sister of The Talk co-host Amanda Kloots), and now she’s added a memoir to her resume with My Own Magic: A Reappearing Act. It’s a moving tale of how she moved forward after a split she didn’t expect, and we’ve got an exclusive excerpt.

At the heart of the story is Kloots’s breakup with her husband, a magician with whom she’d worked alongside as his on-stage assistant. They built a life together as a couple, but when the marriage was over, she was left with major decisions to make about what her next chapter should look like. Her writing about this transition in My Own Magic is vulnerable and revealing, but she wouldn’t have had it any other way.

“I never honestly made a decision about what shouldn’t be shared and held nothing back as I wrote,” Kloots says. “I knew from the day I decided I wanted to write this book that I wanted to write it all, because I believe there is power in sharing our stories, but only if we tell them fully. I think it’s the parts of all of our stories that we may want to hide that are actually the most important to share, because in doing so we help other people realize that they are not alone.”

Along with her confessional account of this period when her life turned upside down, Kloots has filled the book with helpful perspective about embracing change and living your best life despite the unforeseen bumps in the road. Through it all, she’s learned a lot — and she’s eager to share it.

“We underestimate ourselves until difficult situations force us to prove ourselves wrong, and there’s a beautiful transformation that occurs from the initial fear of not knowing what to do on your own to the freedom of realizing just how much you are capable of,” she tells us. “We tend to think of divorce as our greatest failure and the ‘end of our life,’ when often it can be the very thing that sparks the beginning of our greatest success, and a new, happier life.”

Below, she shares the major shift in her thinking that opened up her life in a whole new way as a single woman.

I understand why people fantasize about the moment they’re proposed to; about saying yes to someone down on one knee with a diamond ring. We’ve come to think that it’s the most important and anticipated yes of our lives, because you imagine you’re going to say it only once. Yes to a beautiful future; yes to the promise of a love that will last forever; yes to starting a life with someone.

“I said yes!” I messaged to everyone I knew that night, sending a picture of my left hand with my engagement ring sparkling on my ring finger. It was a much grander ring than I had ever imagined: a round diamond set in what looked like a tulip, with small diamonds all over the band. In photos it looked grand and perfect. But there was a flaw in my diamond — a big one. Diamonds are formed deep within the earth under extreme pressure, so all stones contain small imperfections known as flaws. Clarity refers to the degree to which these imperfections can be seen. In most diamonds, the flaws can only be seen under a microscope. You wouldn’t notice them unless you looked closely. But the inclusion in mine was visible to the naked eye, and I liked that. I knew that no relationship, no marriage, was flawless. To me, this visible flaw was a reminder that I was saying yes to something that would never be perfect but could still be extremely beautiful.

I loved my ring and wore it every day, no matter where I was or what I was doing, until the moment my husband said divorce. That day, as my world crumbled around me, I went into the bathroom, pressed my back to the wall, and sank to the floor. I slowly pulled the ring off while tears ran down my cheeks and put it back in its box in the medicine cabinet.

I never looked at it again.

I was resentful for a long time after my ex-husband left that I had given that one special yes to the wrong person. I was so sure about everything when I said yes to getting married. Then divorce left me so unsure, I struggled to say yes to anything for a while. I became afraid that I would never get to feel the wonder of that word again.

I looked back on the years I spent with Ace and realized how many things I had said no to: ideas, invitations, opportunities, dreams, passions. There were so many things I had turned down because they didn’t seem realistic, or I didn’t have time, or they didn’t work with my husband’s schedule, or I wasn’t in town, or it was too expensive. So I decided that in this next chapter of my life, I was going to say yes to every opportunity, every dream, every passion, every invitation. I was going to say yes to a new life and see what happened. My first yes after the divorce was to moving to Paris, and as I said it, I felt not just the wonder of the word again but the true power of it.

It is certainly special, and monumental, and magical to say yes to starting a life with someone. But it is just as special, and monumental, and magical to say yes to starting a life of your own.