Why I stayed…


The first three months were like a dream… we saw each other almost every day…. he called me every night to wish me sweet dreams…. he brought me flowers… took me on wonderful and exciting adventures… he was perfect…

Then one day in 1991 it all came crashing down… Garth Brooks released Ropin’ the Wind and I had to work late to put the display together for sale in the morning…. I called him, my angel on earth, he didn’t answer so I left him a message telling him I wouldn’t be home until late… I told him I loved him…. I told him I’d call him as soon as I got home….

11pm I pulled into my driveway and stood in front of a very angry man… fuming… He took my keys, opened the door to the house and pulled me inside with so much fury I almost fell to my knees… The next hour was a blur as this 6’6” stranger stood over me, yelling in a whisper, a very loud and terrifying whisper… Telling me he owned me, that I wasn’t allowed to stray from the order of things without his ok… when I finally was allowed to speak, through my sobbing tears, I explained I had called him, he wasn’t home and I left a message… Apparently, him not being home, not getting my message, well…. it was my fault…. And yet I stayed…

The next day flowers arrived at my work, with a note… “I still love you”… I interpreted it as “I am sorry for last night, I love you” and things went back to normal… So I stayed…

As the weeks went on my mistakes seemed to increase… As did his temper… the whispers turned to yelling… the yelling turned to humiliation…. and then came the first slap… it came out of nowhere… and it concluded with… “Next time, you will think twice”… and I did, I thought twice, three times… a hundred times… I thought, “What am I doing to anger him so much?” I paid such close attention to each situation… I stopped talking unless he asked questions… I stopped going out… I stopped my life and only focused on what would please him… and yet the slapping turned to hitting… the hitting turned to punching… the punching…. it turned to burning…. And yet I stayed…

When I left him, it wasn’t my choice… he had beaten me so badly I couldn’t stop throwing up, my eye was swollen shut and my nose was broken… my friends made me leave… They took away my right to choose because… I wanted to stay…

I write this, not for sympathy, but for those who keep asking women, like Janay Palmer, Ray Rice’s wife, why the hell would you stay with someone like that? While I can’t speak for anyone but me… I’m guessing it’s a similar story… A friend of mine stated he thought she was staying because of his money…. I know his intention wasn’t to hit me where it hurts, but that’s exactly what his comment did…

Perhaps for some, it’s what they get out of it… But for most, it’s what we put into it… I stayed because of a number of reasons:

1. Because I thought he loved me…
2. Because I thought I loved him…
3. Because that’s what I thought love was…
4. Because I never once, not even for a fraction of a second, thought he was in the wrong…
5. Because I was convinced, I deserved it…
6. Because I was convinced I kept making mistakes and he was teaching how not to…
7. Because I believed, if I can change, if I can finally get it right, he’ll stop…
8. Because I believed his apologies…
9. Because I didn’t think I could do any better… or didn’t know there was better out there…
10. Because I hated myself…
11. Because I hated myself…
12. Because I hated myself…
13. Because I hated myself…
14. Because I hated myself…
15. Because I hated myself…
16. Because I hated myself…
17. Because I hated myself…
18. Because I hated myself…
19. Because I didn’t know how to love myself…
20. So…. I stayed….

There are a myriad of reasons why we stay… a million reasons why we don’t leave… and sadly while we are in the thick of it we can’t see clearly, we can’t see we deserve better, we keep on hating ourselves, allowing the torture, the torment, the violence, the humiliation… we allow it to continue…

I’m left with scars on my thighs from cigar burns, scars on my vagina from cigarette burns, a scar on my chin from a punch with his ring on and because he broke my nose I snore so loudly I wake myself up every night… for close to 20 years I didn’t take my clothes off in front of a man with the lights on, I never left the house without covering the scar on my chin with makeup (honestly, I still don’t), I couldn’t look at myself without feeling the shame…

It wasn’t until I turned 40 did I make the conscious decision to right all the wrongs I’ve gone through…. to speak up and speak loud, to fight for my sisters who are staying… whatever their reasons are… to heal myself, to love myself, to forgive myself… an unending process, but one I won’t give up on…. It took me 20 years to get to this point and I plan on growing, evolving, changing every day, I’m not staying anymore….


What is love?

I wrote this a few years back…

A friend and I had a discussion about love, and I was asked what it meant to me, I couldn’t quite sum it up at that point. I asked the people in my life, both close and acquaintances what it meant to them… apart from one person saying “@#*$ like a wild animal!!” (which was one of my favourite responses), their answers were short, but some really hit home, I took them into my heart, and below is what love, in some small measure, means to me… 

Love is kindness, gentility, thoughtfulness, an ear and a shoulder, it’s in a child’s smile, it’s a mother’s touch, it’s a friend’s hug, and a lover’s embrace. It is opening your heart to someone, allowing them in, no matter how many times you have been hurt, love is trust.

When I say I love you, I don’t say it lightly, it comes from the very depth of my core, it is who I am, it fills me with such passion and desire that it sometimes moves me to tears, and God willing, it is in every action I take…

Love is humour, laughter, faith, friendship, communication, honesty.

When I say I love a “thing” I really do… I love cheesecake, I love the ocean, I love a multicoloured sunrise…

Love is sitting in silence and still so much being said, love is looking across the room, seeing a smile and being filled with joy, it’s the purr and meow from the light of my life.

Love is in the simplest things, like smiling at someone on the street, or holding a door open, and not expecting a “thank you”.

The power of the word love is a wonderful thing, but the power of the action of love can change the world. Mother Teresa once said, “I have found the paradox, that if you love until it hurts, there can be no more hurt, only more love.” The first time I read this quote it left a profound impact on me, and I feel it changed me… I read it and re-read it, and try to remember it, especially in the most stressful or anger-filled times of my life and somehow it reminds me the real reason for us to exist on this planet is to love, to love with everything we are, stand in the face of fear, anger, negativity and just love. To make the choice, in each and every moment, to love, to be kind, to do whatever it takes to take the right path.

What is love to me? Love is everything…

love 2

A Big Girl’s Fairytale…

Once upon a time there was a girl who, after the most difficult and tragic year of her life, gathered up as much courage as she could and went on vacation alone…

While sitting on the beach and speaking in Spanish to one of her dear friends who lived in the Dominican and worked on the beach, she overheard two girls sitting behind her, two absolutely beautiful, skinny, model-esque girls, talking about her… They were saying things like, “I wouldn’t even leave the house if I had a body like hers let alone go out in a bathing suit in public” and “how on earth someone could let themselves go like that is beyond me.” Some more comments, more harsh and thoughtless comments, followed…

The only thing this girl could hope for is that these two models thought the girl didn’t speak English and that’s why they were being so loud, and heartless with their words… This girls friend saw the change of expression on her face and he asked what was wrong, as strong as she tried to be, a tear rolled down her cheek and she looked at him and in Spanish, said “nothing my friend, I just missed you so much and am glad to see your sweet face” He then hugged her, told her to stop crying and enjoy her vacation…

As her friend walked away, she stared at the ocean, quietly sobbed for a few minutes, and begged God to release the anger and sadness in her heart… By some miracle, God did just that… right in front of her beach chair she saw a teeny tiny crab doing a little crab dance, side to side, as if he was performing just for her… She wiped her tears, and smiled, and the smile grew to a laugh and the laughter grew to release… She no longer felt sad and angry, AND she felt forgiveness, she forgave the models for their hateful words and she forgave herself, for allowing their words to hurt her so deeply…she felt connected to the universe and all of its wondrous, mystical and magical, beauty… When the crab finally disappeared under the sand she lay back on her beach chair and began to enjoy the feeling of the warmth from the sun on her BEAUTIFUL body, she put on her iPod and she found peace…

An hour later this girl was hungry so she got up to go to the beach front restaurant for her daily hotdog and as she passed by the two models, she looked at them right in the eyes and with a big genuine smile she said “I hope you beautiful girls enjoy your vacation!!” The shock on their faces proved her earlier suspicions that they didn’t think she spoke English… and then there was a look of fear… to which she replied “The Dominican is a magical place girls, I hope you discover it and appreciate it!”

The girl went to the restaurant and enjoyed her hotdog, and the rest of her vacation… And that night, at the buffet, they were serving crab legs; in honour of her earlier gift from God, she chose not to eat them! And she, so far, is living happily ever after…

You’re Going to Make it… Cornilius “SEE” Flowers

Sometimes life just bestows you with gifts you never thought possible! Somehow, Cornilius “SEE” Flowers stumbled upon my blog and he sent me the link for his poem below… Please watch it, it breathes life into his words, and it will breathe life into your soul…




Several years ago there was this show on TLC entitled “The Messengers”, it was a spoken word/inspirational speakers competition… There was this one contestant named ‘Cornelius “See” Flowers’, and week after week he would bring me to tears… Even if you offered me a million bucks cash I couldn’t name one other contestant on that show… but I never forgot him… There was one week in particular that stood out, his speech was called “You’re going to make it”… It touched me so deeply I typed out the words and when I feel the need for inspiration I read and re-read it… I can hear his voice in my head… I wish I could find the video of him, his poise, his compassion, his strength and his faith ooooooooooooze out of him and it’s so uplifting… for now, his words will have to do…

Struggle means: to progress with difficulty.
You know what that means? It means that you’re going to make it.

And I don’t even know what you’re going through.
And I’m not even going to tell you that I understand.

But if you’ll accept this suggestion as it be. From experience, take it from me.
Your struggle – it’s all part of his plan.

And you are going to make it.

Setbacks are just set forth to strengthen your spirit and character.
If you ever obtain the wisdom that you have already been blessed with…
You’ll see. You had to be messed with.

In order to be able to look someone else in the face, eye to eye, and say:
You are going to make it.

He who has begun a great work in you, shall complete it; until the day of Christ.
What that means: God is in you. Every day of your life.

Just making sure that you’re going to make it.

And in the pit of your stomach, you know it. So put that mask away and show it.
And let the world see it. Because if you want it, you can be it.

You just have to take it.
Tell God that you want it, and tell yourself that you can make it.

And don’t rely on your family and friends for foundation.

More than likely they’re just waiting to see if you’re serious or not.
Or if what you say is really what you’ve got.

And don’t get mad at them for not believing in your dreams.
And then not spend time convincing them with your pleads.
You just pray to God that they have the courage to follow your lead.

And if they still reject you, dust off your feet and your shoulders, and he’ll eject you.
Because sometimes you have to remove yourself; and then they’ll respect you.

But you are going to make it. Regardless.

As long as you start each job at the end.
What I mean: see it done, before you begin.

Money? It’s already there.
Health? Baby, you are already healed.
Faith? You have not, because you ask not.
Family? He who has created you, is more than you’ve got. And all that you need.

You just have to believe… that you’ll struggle, but…
You are going to make it!

Cornelius “SEE” Flowers

ॐ Peace ॐ

A Mothers Love

The moment she realizes I am, her love begins.
From the way she gently cradles her belly, and speaks to me of the wonders this world holds.
She gives to me a refuge, where our bond becomes unbreakable, solidifies and grows eternal.
The moment she sees me, her love intensifies.
She holds me, with tears flowing and smiles abundant.
She knows that I am hers to love, to care for, and yet I am a child of the Almighty.
She promises me a life filled with bliss, adventure and love.
The moments of my first steps, my first words, my first smile, her love grows.
She awakens in the middle of the night,
with sustenance for my body, and nourishment for my heart.
A Mothers Love is the purest love, given by the Divine.
She lays her hand upon my head and heals whatever ails me.
She celebrates with me, my successes, she holds me in silence while I weep tears of pain.
She encourages me on my journey; she guides me on my path.
When I stumble or stray, she is there, not to judge, nor to criticize,
but to lovingly welcome me back.
She reminds me, with every word and every action, that our love is a gift from the heavens.
She inspires me, through her determination, to ensure her children know they are a force to be reckoned with!
She bestows upon me the foundation with which I can go and conquer the world.
She gives to me the knowledge that I am beautiful, and am meant to love and be loved.
A Mothers Love is God’s hand touching our hearts and enriching our souls.
I am the child of the Almighty and the daughter of Shivani.
I love you.
Peace & Love

Some of my Best Friends are Gay!

Subtitled “I’m on the Pro-Gay Bandwagon… are you?”

I’m going to begin this with a bit of poignant humour, this is a clip of Nathan Lane on the Ellen show, it’s his response to a group of closed minded homophobes who tried to have Ellen DeGeneres removed as the spokesperson for JCPenny, and how JCPenny not only stood by their choice, and didn’t give in to petty threats, but Ellen’s response of humour, grace, class and confidence, as she says “My haters are my motivators”


I work in an industry that has such a diverse group of people, all races, ages, religions, sexual orientations, etc. and we all just… get along! It’s like in the park, when you see someone feeding the birds, pigeons, chickadees, crows… they all hang out together and eat in peace… sure every once in awhile a big bully of a seagull swoops down trying with all his might to take all the food, but the tightly knit group bands together, defends themselves, and actually invites the seagull to join them, sharing their feast… sometimes the seagull does in fact settle down and joins in, and sometimes he flies off to find another weaker group to take over… In one shift, during the course of an 8 hour event, I have witnessed this… the group, defending their territory, with love, compassion, humour and kindness, have won over the bully, and by the end of those 8 hours, we were all nibbling on stale rolls together… It warmed my heart to be a part of that progress, I felt proud to be in the company of such fine birds!

So, like the title says, “Some of my best friends are Gay”, and they are! And so what? Why does it matter? How does the fact my saying they are gay change the fact that they are some of my closet friends. Being gay doesn’t take away from the person they are, it doesn’t make them less of a person, it doesn’t make them non-human… Every time I sign a petition, read an article, or hear a story about a gay couple not being allowed to marry, or offered basic human rights such as being allowed to roam the streets freely are stripped from the gay community, or people being imprisoned or beaten and even put to death for being gay, a little piece of me dies inside.

“An individual who breaks a law that conscience tells him is unjust, and who willingly accepts the penalty of imprisonment in order to arouse the conscience of the community over its injustice, is in reality expressing the highest respect for the law.”

Martin Luther King, Jr.

If I were, at random, to choose 5 straight friends and 5 gay friends and simply wrote one page each about them, about their life, about their choices, about their dreams, about their values and handed you those 10 sheets of paper you wouldn’t be able to tell me that these 5 are the gay 5 and these 5 are the straight 5. They are just 10 stellar human beings, doing good things in this world, seeking the same things we all seek, love, friendship, acceptance, joy, beauty, etc.

How can a nation, as ‘forward thinking’ as the United States of America think their government has the right to deny their own citizens the right to marry one another? Their own Pledge of Allegiance states: “I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

“Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. This is the interrelated structure of reality.”

Martin Luther King, Jr.

How can we sit by while innocent people are being imprisoned for simply uttering the word “Gay”? While our brothers and sisters are being sent to re-education sessions to ‘fix’ them? While they are being put to death for the simple act of being true to who they are? Silence and inaction isn’t the answer…

“In the End, we will remember not the words of our enemies,

but the silence of our friends.”

Martin Luther King, Jr.

I know this post is long, it’s all over the place, has no real form to it, and probably not my most eloquent piece and for this I sincerely apologise… However, I believe that is because I am at a loss for what is happening in this world. I’ve tried numerous times to write this, put my inner most feelings out there for the world to read… I’ve rewritten it dozens of times and finally decided to just vent, and pray my message is heard.

I tried to write this post from a place of compassion, a desire for change, and I pray my rage doesn’t come through. To, one last time, quote the great Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (snippets from his brilliant and beautiful speech ‘I have a dream’ while based on the equality of the race all mankind, I truly believe his intention was for worldwide equality of all mankind in its entirety, race, religion, sexual orientation, body type, etc) :

“I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed:

‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.’”

“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

And when this happens, when we allow freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual:

Free at last! Free at last!

Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!”

Peace & Love

Princess Larissa, on her birthday…

Once upon a time the most beautiful princess was born to an equally as beautiful mother. This princess was very blessed to be loved beyond words by her mother and her grandmother. Her mother chose the most perfect name for this princess, she named her Larissa… The meaning, Cheerful and Lighthearted, no name could be more fitting as where ever this princess went, the people she met were happier, and better inside for having the chance to meet her.

As the years went on, Larissa grew into a stunning princess with the shiniest, silken hair; almond shaped eyes that sparkled with the light & mercy of God; and a smile so bright and welcoming and everlasting. But what was even more beautiful than her physical self, (and let me tell you, that’s no easy feat, Princess Larissa was ‘slammin’) was her inner beauty. Princess Larissa’s heart was filled with so much kindness, laughter, joy and love, that when people came into contact with her, even for a moment, she enriched their lives for the rest of their days.

Princess Larissa forever carries the memories of her mother and grandmother in her heart, she misses them both in every moment of her life. But she never lets one of those moments go by without thanking the Lord for blessing her with two such loving beings, for giving her the opportunity to recognise their beauty, feel their love, and love them right back. Her gratitude and compassion just reaffirms her timeless beauty.

Princess Larissa had two beautiful daughters, both of whom inherited her spirit, her heart and her beauty. These girls are already carrying on their mothers living legacy of kindness, generosity, cheerfulness and lightheartedness! They are her pride and joy, she is the embodiment of the perfect mother, and her love for them grows each and every day.  

I have been blessed with the honour and privilege of watching Princess Larissa grow and blossom into a fierce and powerful woman. And today, while the world wishes Princess Larissa a happy birthday, I silently thank God who, many years ago, brought me to this magical child and allowed me to witness her life. In my heart, she is my daughter and my little sister wrapped up in one beautiful package. I am proud and humbled of the person she has become. I am in awe of her capacity to love in the face of tragedy, of her SHEroic warrior spirit, and of her infinite inner and outer beauty.

Today, on this, the day of your birth, I wish for you eternal bliss, abundance in all you seek, wild and amazing adventures, laughter and joy in every moment, friends and family filling your heart with light and love.

Lastly, I thank you Princess, for allowing me to be a part of your life, for being ever so lucky to witness your beauty, for it changes me, every single day, it changes me and makes me a better person in this world. I love you, more than mere words could ever express.


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