FREE Hypnotic Audio and My Interview with (Em)Power U


I was recently interviewed by one-half of the (Em) Power U team, Daniel Greene, for an (Em) Power U Energy Healing and Manifesting Interview Series!

Follow the link below to hear my interview, where I discuss my journey from being shy to social and share some tips to shift out of negative emotional states, like anxiety.

Best of all, I provide you with a FREE HYPNOTIC AUDIO that you can download and listen to at any time! What’s great about the audio is it addresses any issue. That’s right, ANY issue.

Listen to the interview HERE:

Get your FREE Hypnotic Audio HERE:

I would love to get your feedback on the audio. Enjoy! Often.

Why I Rarely Ask Why

As many of you may already know, recently I had major surgery on the tail-end of nearly a year’s worth of painful symptoms no one could adequately diagnose. It all culminated in an emergency room visit after an excruciating rupture of a uterine cyst and the removal of that cyst, an ovary and a Fallopian tube. Not the outcome one expects or wants!

When things aren’t going our way it’s common to question why.

Why did this happen to me?

Depending on your situation, perhaps you’ve asked yourself:

Why did I say, or not say, that?
Why did he/she behave that way?
Why didn’t I get that job or promotion?
And on, and on, and on.

The potential pitfall of asking ‘why’ inquiries is getting, and staying, stuck in a problematic state. ‘Why’ doesn’t always allow you a way out, or a means to search for a solution. Even worse, often times, ‘whys’ trap you in a depressive or self-deprecating internal funk.

So how do you get unstuck, or escape, the insidious slump?

Exactly, ‘how!’

Start asking ‘how’ or ‘what’ questions. For instance, when I got sick I didn’t ask “why did this happen to me?” Instead I asked, “OK, so what’s the next step to take now knowing this?”

Piggybacking on the aforementioned ‘why’ questions, you can consider reframing these questions accordingly:

How can I prevent this from happening again?
What can I say differently next time?
What could be the possible reasons for her/him to react that way?
How can I communicate my skill set more effectively to potential employers?

Notice how reformulating these questions creates a rapid mindset shift and positive internal state. This isn’t to say you can’t, or shouldn’t, feel upset or frustrated. This is simply a means to feel what you feel while also allowing a greater perspective.

The second set of questions has the capability of removing personal or interpersonal judgements and starting the decision-making process. These questions allow a quicker release of emotional charges or triggers. They cause you to take action–not fruitlessly fester.

And, of course, not all ‘why’ questions are ill-advised or disempowering, but they do have a greater possibility of creating a slippery slope. To ensure you steer clear of unhelpful thought, you might consider implementing ‘how’ or ‘what.’ I’m curious to know how much better you’ll feel when you do.


How to Process Your Emotions in 4 Simple Steps

Do your emotions explode like a shaken carbonated soda with a loose bottle cap, leaving behind a mess of hurt feelings and words you can’t take back? 

Or do you repress your feelings so far deep that you are numb to any experience of them?

The fact is we weren’t taught how to properly process our emotions by our parents, or our teachers. It’s no fault of their own, however. No one was taught! By not processing our emotions we can carry with us long-standing internal wounds. When those wounds aren’t healed, and emotions aren’t expressed in a healthy manner, physical ailments and illnesses can often ensue.  

To thwart the dangers of unhealthy emotional expression, I’ve created a simple 4-step process to follow in this QUICK 5-MINUTE VIDEO. 

Please SUBSCRIBE and SHARE if you find this video useful!

I’d love to hear your thoughts, learn how well these techniques are working for you, and find out what topics you’d like me to cover in upcoming videos.
After all, I’m here to serve you.
So I intend to make the topics suit your needs.

5 Shockingly Simple Ways to Reduce Anxiety in Seconds!

It’s HERE!

Learn 5 Shockingly Simple Ways to Lessen Anxiety in Seconds – by viewing my first coaching video.

Please SUBSCRIBE and SHARE if you find this video useful!

I’d love to hear your thoughts, learn how well these techniques are working for you, and find out what topics you’d like me to cover in upcoming videos. After all, I’m here to serve you. So I intend to make the topics suit your needs.

Feel free to email me at:

Reset Upset: 7 Refreshingly Easy Ways to a Better Day

pexels-photo-89643Sometimes life can just get you down. You turn on the news and get an earful of the racial unrest in today’s society. You scroll through your social media feeds and face a barrage of nasty political debates. Or perhaps, it’s something that hits closer to home: a recent breakup, a demanding boss, or a layoff. It could even be as fleeting as a car cutting you off or an unfortunate misunderstanding. It doesn’t take much for us to go from zen to unzipped.

Here are ways to wade through any storm in mere minutes.

1. Replace your “Why Me’s?” It’s common to play the blame game when upset. But instead of pointing fingers at the perpetrator of your discontent, you can choose to empower yourself by switching to “how” or “what” internal dialogue. That overly critical “Why did this happen to me?” quickly becomes a problem-solving mission when reframed as, “How can I learn from this situation?” or “What are the options now before me?” “How” or “what” open-ended questions allow your mind to remain curious, seek solutions and silver linings.

2. Flip the Form. When we’re crushed, we’re consumed by the content, or the story we tell ourselves about the incident. But this will lead us on a downward spiral of distressing emotions. Rather, explore how you experience the world. Do you recreate the worrisome scenario with a mental image in vivid color? Change the picture to black and white. Are you immersed in the scene? Turn it into a still photograph that you simply look at. Plagued by an abusive inner voice? Listen to the absurdity in the tone of Mickey Mouse. Have a tight ball of tension in your stomach? Visualize untangling the knots. By altering how you form your upset through sensory perception, you transform how you react.

3. Anchor a Better Mood. Recall an experience where you were more resourceful, like a time you were calm or confident. Fully associate into that experience by remembering what you saw, how you felt and what you heard—as if it’s happening to you right now. For instance, imagine a cool, inviting breeze on your face as you bury your feet in the warm sand, while lying on a beach blanket and gazing at the ebbs and flows of the ocean tide before you. How much better do you feel? Once you embody a pleasant past experience, you create a better mood in your current state.

4. Opt for a Varying Viewpoint. Consider the advice you would give to a friend if this were happening to them. The moment you can dissociate from the experience and act as an objective observer, you’re no longer emotionally invested. From this space, you can explore opportunities and alternatives with a clearer head.

5. Assess Eye Movement. According to Neuro-Linguistic Programming, or NLP (which is a study of human behavior and experience), a person’s eye movements are a window into their thinking processes. So watch where you’re looking. If you tend to look down when in a disturbed state, there’s a good chance you’re engaging in some self-deprecating internal talk or submerging yourself in unwanted feelings. If you look laterally, you’re replaying or constructing unpleasant dialogue of the incident. And if you look up, you’re recalling or forming the scene in anxiety-inducing visual imagery. If you tend to have a habitual eye pattern, change it up. Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, or EMDR, relies on rotating eye cues as a psychotherapy treatment. Research studies have shown EMDR to be quite effective in patients with post-traumatic stress disorder, particularly.

6. Interrupt Your Pattern. When you notice your mental state tanking—crack a joke, bust out a smile, immediately change your posture, take a brief walk, or observe your bystanders, instead. Pattern interruptions force you out of a funk.

7. Breathe. Become aware of your breath, by noticing how your chest and stomach rise and fall with each inhalation and exhalation. By focusing on how you breathe, you give your conscious mind a job to do, which takes attention away from the present predicament. Diaphragmatic breathing, or deep belly breathing, has also been proven to curb stress and increase relaxation. And if all else fails, take a nap or head to bed. You’ll be refreshed and ready to take on the world upon waking.

Metaphor of the Mind

Every morning the child would wake with excitement and rush out the door. Running past the white calla lilies of the wetlands and along the lush green hills that ebbed and flowed amid the mountainous range—like the rushing or recession of the seas—the child could hear the harmonies from Town Hall drape the clouds then land at the ears with a loving cool whisper. When having reached Town Hall, the child would peak through a rear window to get a good glimpse inside. A choir of 12 was seen from behind, with its leader in clear view, feverishly making sweeping hand gestures to keep the choir in time. The soaring sounds struck the child’s soul with the intense sensations of joy and wonder. The child was often moved to tears, tears that purged restlessness. It was the best part of the day. Every day. Like clockwork the child maintained the routine for months on end: running past the wetlands and along the hills, all the while maintaining the visage of Town Hall in sight.

But the child would never go inside, even knowing the musical ensemble was made up of all ages. The child maintained a distance, though desperately yearned to be a part of the experience.

There were rumblings in the air among the townsfolk that a storm was coming. The child paid no mind.

At first the storm only began as a sprinkle, as if the skies parted with the sole intention of providing hydration to the picturesque lands of the child’s hometown. As time went on, however, the days turned more brisk and bleak. The drizzle became a torrential downpour that created pools of water along the low lying areas of the hills. The flooding waters made travel impossible. Property owners attempted to salvage their homes, as the floods washed over their floorboards. The winds gushed with such exceeding force, knocking down everything that crossed its path. The child’s parents forbade the child to leave home in midst of the danger. The dark days turned into even murkier months.

The child’s depression grew. Like a caged animal, the child circled the bedroom with nothing to do, since everything was read, played with or already pieced together. The child would look out of the window, at the gloomy skies, praying for them to pass. The child could take no more. Hell bent on making a break for it, the child disobeyed parental orders and snuck outside after bedtime.

The moonlight provided enough insight into the new world the storm left behind.

It was a nightmare. Trees were uprooted, the calla lilies drowned, and now rivers existed where roads once were. Homes were devastated, cars lay to waste, and no sounds were heard but the thrashing of the winds. The child’s heart plummeted. A harsh realization hit, and the child let out a startling scream. The previous 15-minute walk now took two hours to reach Town Hall, as the child was driven off course numerous times by nearly impassible roadblocks. The smile upon the child’s face having finally arrived vanished in an instant. Town Hall was no longer Town Hall at all. It was a mere shell of its former existence. A tree had fallen upon its roof, exposing the interior to the harsh elements. Seeped in water, the wood structure began to soften and corrode, causing it to fold in on itself. But somehow that rear window remained intact. The child, though hesitant to look inside the window, did so and quickly turned away in sobs. The interior was a wreck. No longer fearful of going inside, the child stood among the tangled seats and the soft floorboards. In tears, the child let out a low hum and then sang a sweet soft melody to its dying friend. Upon hearing the tune, two little sparrows flew inside Town Hall and perched themselves on a ceiling beam. Having noticed the guests, the child sang a tad louder for them to hear. Shortly thereafter, a trio of squirrels made their way into Town Hall and nestled in a corner feeding on the acorns from the fallen tree. Encouraged by the added audience, the child sang as loud as possible with closed eyes, as if the gesture helped boost inner confidence. When the song came to an end, and the child’s eyes were once again open, the child immediately became crippled with intense fear and stumbled on some rubbish. Before the child stood all the inhabitants of the hilly wetlands, from herds of deers to chipmunks, frogs, gophers, and beavers. Various species of birds and butterflies flocked at the ceilings creating a moving canopy of color. One eagle flew alone, as if the surveyor of them all. Even the creatures of the sea found homes in the pockets of water throughout Town Hall.

Surprisingly, the animals didn’t turn on one another. They didn’t make a rush for the child. They simply stood in wait.

The child, regaining composure, quickly let out another song to the amusement of the crowd. The birds fluttered their wings, the alligator thumped its tail and the rabbits hopped in place. Soon the skies joined in, making noises that seemed to perfectly harmonize with the bellows of the small child. The synchronous sounds jarred the dark clouds, causing them to slowly disband from its brethren. The deep purples and grays of the sky began to turn blue in hue. Sunshine began to cut through every fissure of the facade and dropped down from the broken ceiling top, cascading upon all those who stood inside.

The storm had finally come to an end.

In the dawn of a new day, the animals began to disperse. But the child remained inside, basking in the light.

 In what ways can you relate to this story? Please let me know by commenting below.

Let Your Imagination Run Free

As adults we typically consider imagination child’s play. We shoot a placating smile to a child when they speak about growing up to be president, an astronaut, a doctor or a lawyer. Nothing is far fetched. We listen attentively when they talk about the horrors of the monster under their bed and console them to sleep when we tell them of our plan to defeat it. We supply them with crayons and paper to give life to a wonderous world of their own creation. We foster that creative side and proudly promote that vivid imagination on the face of the fridge.

Unfortunately, like a withering flower, we often fail to water that creative spirit as we grow into adults. Instead of whimsy we ask what’s realistic. Lofty goals are often hidden from others to avoid eye rolls of skepticism or disapproval. If you dare to dream big you often come off as delusional. Yet, we imagine all the time. We wonder what our next vacation will be and envision various settings. We fantasize about our perfect soul mate without ever meeting. Or we simply contemplate our upcoming meal.

Why is it then that only certain subjects are acceptable to envision with wonder?

Why do we allow ourselves to be so limited?

As we curtail our sense of visualization or imagination we increasingly do ourselves a disservice. Vivid images that we could hold at length in our minds as children often become too difficult a task as adults. Attempted visualizations become fleeting. Or, like The Temptations song, Just My Imagination, we dismiss imagining “as nothing more,” and senseless. Imagination holds no weight or importance. But as Steven Leeds, LMHC and NLP instructor at The NLP Center of NY, said recently in my class:

“Imagination is powerful. It plants a seed for the future.”

What one imagines can often come to pass.

Active imaginations have created bestselling novels, groundbreaking technology and cured terminal illnesses. (Check out these amazing stories of the power of the mind if you need some evidence.)

It was once believed that our brain’s structure was developed in early adulthood. Now modern science has shown that new neural pathways can be created in our brains to adapt to new experiences, memories or thought patterns. Our brains possess a plasticity. They can be manipulated, grow and change over a lifetime. With this knowledge, what we think about becomes paramount. “Positive thinkers” and those who engage in “creative visualization” may not be full of BS, after all, like some believe. They may just have a knack at making their fanciful daydreams and desires a conscious reality.

Can’t hurt to give it a try.

Just be careful what you wish for. It may just come true.

The Scientific Power of Thought

Relapse without Regret

There are moments in each of our lives when we mess up after we promised ourselves, or others, we wouldn’t ever do so again. We lapse in judgment. We feed a frightful behavior, or break a promise we once thought so easy to keep.

As a result, we kick ourselves. We get disappointed or ashamed. We lose a bit of respect. We put ourselves through the ringer.

It’s here that we could easily deem ourselves a failure. We downed that drink. Lit that cigarette or stuffed that donut in our face. Whatever our vice or demon, we succumbed to it’s temptation or slid back into it’s old destructive habit.

But beating yourself up, or nursing your fuck up, facilitates doubt. It makes you question your sincerity or integrity. It makes you feel ill-equipped or powerless to forces seemingly beyond your control.  However, lapse, or relapse, is just that: a “temporary” failure. Instead concentrate on how far you have come. Focus on the journey you have made. Our setbacks are only indicators of the work that still needs to be done. It’s not a time to throw in the towel or admit defeat. It’s a time to accept your current limitations and to push past them. To expect greater of yourself tomorrow than you do today. It’s simply a new goal to attain.

A therapist once told me that a good technique is to retrace your steps. Go back to that moment, relive it, see in what part of your physical being feels distressed and find out what “need” wasn’t met that caused the relapse. Actually talk to that part of your being, find out what it has to tell you, listen to it, feel/hear what it’s trying to tell you, and console it. It sounds out there, but it’s actually a legit technique of Parts Therapy. What you’ll learn is a compassionate and loving way to heal yourself while discovering what you innately need as a person.

“It is here … that love is to be found – not hidden away in corners but in the midst of occasions of sin. And believe me, although we may more often fail and commit small lapses, our gain will be incomparably the greater.” – Saint Teresa of Avila

So when you want to shame yourself for your faults, stop. Step back, and first discover why they exist in the first place. Acknowledge them, learn from them, and give yourself a bit of love.

Trouble on the Tracks: Selflessness in a Time of Turmoil

Photo by Lani Buess

Photo by Lani Buess

I could see the murky mass from afar. It didn’t initially make much sense to me. It was so dimly lit that I could only see a black shape ahead blocked by heavy shadows. As I made my way closer in distance, the figure took form. It was a man, a heavy set, middle-aged man. And he was plainly seated on the #train tracks, as if he had just pushed his chair under a kitchen table to begin a meal.

Unresponsive, the man sat with his back against the filthy stained tile wall. One knee was curled up to his chest, which was dressed in a now-sullied burgundy button-down, while his other leg extended flat out in black slacks. Like a chimney sweep, heavy soot covered his entire face, wisps of his fine brown hair and his swollen eyes ajar. He was turned towards us, the small crowd of drunken or exhausted bystanders standing on the platform waiting for the #PATH train home at 2:30 a.m. He sat there rather serene, but in a seemingly #drunken state. Either he was too inebriated to understand the weight of the situation or his indifference masked sheer shock. He sat dangerously close to the third rail.

When you are tired and tipsy after a long night of #partying with friends this is the last thing you expect to see. A man had fallen on the train tracks.

“Have the #cops been called? Oh god, I hope the train isn’t coming!” Thoughts and questions swirled chaotically in my hazy mind. And yet, no one looked especially affected.

“Richard? Look at me, Richard. Come over here, let’s get you off those tracks,” a rather collected woman, who looked to be in her early 30’s, said. In dressy white shorts, a black satin blouse, and tall black high heels, I’m sure she wasn’t expecting this on her #Friday night, either.

From what I gathered, police were on their way, which could explain why Richard and those waiting for the train had no sense of urgency. He must have fallen off the tracks some time ago, but this was all new to me, as was the feeling of #terror at this potentially looming #tragedy. The woman helped coax Richard to the platform where we all stood, while the two #officers who arrived shortly lifted him up clumsily. Richard supported himself on a PATH column. He murmured something about his glasses. A #conductor from a passing train jumped onto the rails, retrieved his glasses, and handed them over. Richard, eyes still half shut, sat there clutching his left arm, while the officers stood overhead, barely saying anything.

“He has a fractured arm,” the woman told the officers. She also pointed out Richard’s bleeding temple. One of the officers pulled out a large rectangular bandage from a bag, pressed it against Richard’s temple and told him to hold it firmly in place. The woman crouched down to Richard’s eye level a few feet away trying to make contact. Most of the crowd stood a good distance from Richard. They didn’t want to get in the way or were simply too scared at the unexpected sight. They say in the face of #fear you either #flee or #fight. This woman stood in the trenches, like a #medical officer in #battle, constantly talking to him, calling him by name, and making sure he stayed awake. She stood strong.

When the #EMT’s arrived some half hour later it was confirmed that Richard had a broken wrist and would need some stitches.

“Are you in the medical field?” I asked the woman.

“No, but my mom is. I’ve seen a lot,” she replied.

“Well, I just wanted to thank you,” I said.

“Oh, I wasn’t the one who called the cops, or anything,” She answered.

“You are the one still here, and actually talking to him. Yes, you deserve a ‘Thanks,’” I said.

As if not expecting or knowing how to receive a compliment the woman averted her eyes from me and humbly said, “Oh, it was nothing, but thank you.”

Too often we hear of failed #action in #emergency situations that it’s been dubbed #TheBystanderEffect, the #psychological phenomenon where people neglect to help a distressed person, especially when there are hordes around. We tend to shirk #responsibility to act because we feel the responsibility is spread among the entire group of onlookers, and if no one addresses the issue we assume that’s the socially acceptable response.

I was reminded of this behavior when my roommate frantically called me one day after witnessing an elderly man getting dragged by a bus on the Upper East Side. She saw a woman running past her screaming, after witnessing the #accident. The woman called for an #ambulance. And when the bus finally stopped, dislodging the man from the bottom of the bus, my roommate got into the street to stop and redirect traffic.

“No one else stopped to even help,” my roommate explained, frustrated and angered. “People were actually driving around the body or taking photos on their #cell phones!”

Our aloofness often looks like apathy. We don’t want disruptions to our day. We can’t be late; we have a busy schedule to keep. As a result, all too often we maintain a safe distance. We make social connections via #technology and do less of “helping thy neighbor.” We disconnect, we disengage. In fact, psychologists Jean Twenge and W. Keith Campbell surmise in their book The Narcissism Epidemic: Living in the Age of Entitlement, published in 2009, that egotistical self-adoration associated with excessive selfishness is an increasing troubling trend. We’re in an era where #selfie is named the Word of the Year in 2013, according to #OxfordDictionary. 

And yet we get those #silverlinings, in the woman who helped Richard that fateful night, which show us all isn’t lost. She stepped up when it could have been as easily for her to bow out. While it’s “nothing” to her to offer a helping hand, I’m sure Richard thinks differently.

Opening a door to someone struggling with a stroller, giving up your seat on the subway to a pregnant woman, helping an elderly couple with their groceries, any small gesture of acknowledgement and assistance may end up having a big impact on one’s day.

“Even the smallest act of caring for another person is like a drop of water-it will make ripples throughout the entire pond …” –Jessy and Bryan Matteo

So “Thank You” to those who think unlike the flock. In Richard’s case, you saved a life.


Photo by Lani Buess

Photo by Lani Buess


My Abusive Relationship: My Metamorphosis



Photo By Michael Karas

Photo By Michael Karas

I don’t recall the conversation, just the swift sock to my stomach. It didn’t really hurt, but a guttural gasp escaped my breath. I was startled, stunned, taken aback. It was the feeling you get when careening down a steep roller coaster ride. Your insides suspend in time and space, until they come crashing down with unexpected force. I got the wind knocked out of me. I stood on the unforgiving concrete streets of #NewYorkCity spitting out air. I also spit out any respect I had for that relationship. I just didn’t know it then.

I chalked it up to #drinking. She just had too much. I probably squeezed her wrist too tight during the argument and she let out a natural reaction. As we lay in bed that next morning, I asked if she remembered what happened. She didn’t. There were profuse apologies. It wouldn’t happen again.

So you think.

Arguments always started innocent enough. Then a voice would raise. Then there would be name calling and intense declarations of disgust.

“You loser.”

“You waste of human flesh.”

“I hope you kill yourself.”

“Please! That’s mean! Don’t say that!” I would weakly reply.

Drinking wasn’t always involved. There wasn’t always an excuse to blame.

Rationale and #respect don’t come into play in arguments, not in unhealthy and dysfunctional #relationships anyway. Pleas for mercy, to talk better to one another during difficult times, aren’t taken seriously.  It all seems fruitless. It falls on deaf ears. I questioned why I continued to stay. Was it habit? Was it some sadistic sense of comfort? Did I think we’d change back into the people we once were when we met? I’m not a weak person. I grew up in such a loving home. My parents have a beautiful #marriage. What’s wrong with me?

When people would ask how she was, or how we were doing, I’d get a tense tightening in my chest. An overwhelming feeling of #anxiety blanketed me as I contemplated what to say, or what information to leave out. I believe most of us want to take pride in our relationships. I wanted to boastfully and proudly proclaim with a glint and fire in my eyes, “This is my #girlfriend!” Not in a possessive way, mind you, but in a manner that exclaimed to the world that this relationship made me ridiculously #happy and a better person because she stood by me. Instead, I was just ashamed. I’d quickly change the subject. I wouldn’t tell people the whole story of my relationship. I didn’t want prying eyes, the looks of sheer #fear, the concerned interrogations, or the scolding tones of how I had to end the madness. I knew it would come from a place of #compassion and #love, but I didn’t want the #judgment. Hell, I was my own worst critic, anyway. Nothing anyone could say would surpass what I told myself on a regular basis. I knew I shouldn’t stay. Yet, I remained.

I used to just take the emotional #manipulations, and verbal and physical swipes, though those never amounted to more than a handful, like a #boxer in the ring. But rather than dropping to the floor from that right hook, I’d just curl up inside myself and shrink from sight. I’d make myself really small. I’d deflate out of #defeat. My tears would eventually drain the free-flowing, fun-loving reservoir of my body, my #soul. I was left dry. Numb.

So I thought.

There’s a place where apathy and repression meet. It’s like a spontaneous blind date, or a surprise visit. You think they exist on opposite sides of the world, but somehow they end up standing next to one another. Then coexist together. Their clandestine #affair leaves a rage behind. All that pent up energy needs expression, eventually. The bubbling up of repressed #emotions typically bursts forth in some messy explosion that’s nearly impossible to clean. There’s always some muck stuck to the surface somewhere, secretly hiding in some hard to reach crevice. I remember turning down #sex often, once my #rejection caused her to kick me so hard from bed that I struck the wall. My sex drive plummeted out of #stress from the relationship. I encouraged her to find that elsewhere. Who says that to their girlfriend? I should have left a thousand times. Instead of my usual passivity, I started to hit her three times to every blow she gave me. I knew I was stronger. I figured that would stop her. It never did.

On one occasion we were about to leave the apartment to attend a comedy club with my friends. We got into a fight some fifteen minutes beforehand. She didn’t want to go and didn’t want me to go, either. She hid my license, stashed my car keys some place and slowly and quietly began cleaning. She didn’t say a word. She remained eerily serene. I pleaded with her, suggested we talk later, asked to go even if she didn’t want to and encouraged her to come with me. She continued to calmly clean and remained tight-lipped. I snapped. I lunged at her throat and squeezed—tight. To my surprise she didn’t resist, or respond. She did nothing. I pulled myself off her, shaking uncontrollably and locked myself in the bathroom. I sobbed like a newborn right out of its mother’s womb. The line between victim and perpetrator instantaneously blurred. No one could claim innocence, now. I fed into the wrong behavior. While facing down at that bathroom floor, my back against the door, I sat cupping my tears. I eventually walked over to the sink to splash some water on my face and got a glimpse of myself in the mirror. I had never been more disgusted with myself.

What’s hidden behind closed doors inevitably seeps through the cracks. That vile odor of desperation and destruction wafts through the air and corrodes the foundation. The scent stings #family and #friends as your private life occasionally plays out in very embarrassing public displays, much to your upset. After one sloppy drunken night at a dance club, we had gotten into an altercation over a #miscommunication. She was drunk and getting a little in my face. Strangers tried to intervene sensing the trouble. The bouncer turned to me and told me she had to leave. At coat check, while passing over our ticket stubs, I felt a swipe at the side of my face. I turned to see the bouncer grab her and remove her from the premises. Friends, understandably freaked out, drove us home, and unfortunately witnessed the entire rage-fueled fight where we spewed vitriol at one another that would make any sane person blush. Only later that night did I notice the dried blood at random spots throughout my face. #Dysfunction can’t be deterred, no matter how hard you attempt to retain a semblance of privacy. Your once seemingly quaint and quiet life becomes inflated, mangled and a morbid caricature of itself. Those closest to you are either repulsed and turn their backs on you or passionately attempt to pry you from the abyss.

Attempts to mend the shards of our shattered relationship in couple’s #therapy were futile. She put all her energy into altering her behavior and practicing mindful speech, while I mentally checked out. I fixated on the various forms of abuse we engaged in and seethed inside. I had become the angry one, with one foot out the door. For me, the damage had been done.

I lost myself. My sanity turned #insane. This wasn’t me. Who was this person? The shame became overwhelming. The lengths one may take when found in a #toxic relationship is shocking. Instead of turning away from the darkness, I raced towards it full-throttle. I failed at stifling those insidious and primal tendencies that we all potentially possess. I opened Pandora’s box. And so, it became regularly hard to face myself in the mirror. I feared for my future. I feared who I was becoming.

Until, I finally got the courage to leave.

My bitterness, sadness and disappointment over that time has since passed. While I look back with regret that time changed me for the better. If I stood before you as an individual that continued to perpetuate those #abusive behaviors or picked partners that recycled and encouraged those inclinations then I may not be able to say that. But that time became a defining moment for me. From those incidents I was determined to forge the being I wished to become. While it left a dark blemish on my soul and psyche forever, that sullied stain serves as a reminder of a former shadow of myself. It led me to understand that while moments, actions and experiences may change us irrevocably that doesn’t mean they have to determine who we are as people. We have a conscious, we have a soul, we have a morality that can serve as our compass during the darkest of times. We just have to choose wisely.

I’ve come to nurture #respect like a baby bird, who has to be shielded from inclement weather, kept safe in its nest from predators and fed by mouth by its loving mom. Respect is dainty. It’s delicate. It has to be held with caring and compassionate arms. It can be bruised and battered so easily. It can be taken advantage of. It can be abused by a careless word spoken, a #selfish act, or an abrupt punch to the stomach. The loss of respect is the death toll of a relationship. It’s our job to never cross a certain line. Once you do it’s nearly impossible to return.

Photo by Michael Karas

Photo by Michael Karas