To the Man Who Broke Me

I saw you.

Leaving the football field after a Sunday afternoon game, you were leaning into the back of a Jeep,

you still drive a Jeep

putting something in the back. I didn’t see what it was. All I saw were your eyes under the ball cap. The eyes that met mine for only a few seconds when you did a double take. Did you recognize me? Or did you just think I was pretty?

you did twenty five years ago

I knew it was you. It is very hard to forget the eyes of the man I once thought was the love of my life

you broke me

and ended up being the person I feared most in this world.

I don’t remember when the switch flipped and you started saying the most vile things to me, or the first time you hit me. I hated lying to people about the bruises, especially my own parents,

did they believe I really hit myself in the eye with the car door

but I did. Every time.

We should never have started drinking again. Life was good when we were sober. But then we were never sober and life was bad.

so very bad

I don’t know why you didn’t trust me. I don’t understand why you acted as if you hated me.

I loved you

Do you remember slamming my head into the dashboard,

I do

driving down the highway like a mad man, threatening to beat the shit out of me when we got home because it was what I deserved?

Do you remember screaming at me, so close to my face the hate in your spit burning my skin?

I do

Do you remember the day I left you?

I do

And still we continued with the insanity of coming and going, drinking and drugging, loving and leaving, both of us inflicting pain on one another, vengeful and sick. Until the day came when the papers were signed

the damage was done

and I was broken. I stayed broken for five years.

that felt like eternity

Did you recognize me?

I hope so

Did you see that I survived?

I thrived

The man walking next to me across the lot? He is the love of my life. He found me

and I found him

and taught me that love doesn’t hurt. It doesn’t leave bruises and it doesn’t bring shame.

this is what I deserve

These children walking with us? Yes, they are ours and they bring light to my life every single day.

no more darkness

As I stood at the open car door I looked up one last time and know I was not the only one broken.

I forgive you.


photo credit: Broken Heart via photopin (license)

Compassion Is Not Only a Noun – #1000 Speak

The dictionary defines compassion as a noun, sympathetic pity and concern for the sufferings or misfortunes of others. While I agree that compassion is fellow feeling, concern, kindness, humanity, tenderness, mercy, and love, I don’t take to the word pity.

While the general emotions are, in fact, nouns I tend to believe that the word compassion is also a verb.

To pity is to feel sorry for.

Compassion is doing something about it.

Compassion is an act. It is going out of your way, or maybe not so far out at all, to help another human being who is suffering emotionally, spiritually, or physically.

Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. ~ Dalai Lama

Identifying with another person is an essential process for human beings.  If you translate compassion literally, it means “to suffer together.” It is a process. When you can feel empathy for a person in a difficult time are you not more motivated to do something in an effort to make things better? You feel this person’s pain. Perhaps the situation is different, but you know from experience the emotional turmoil and suffering beneath and you want to DO SOMETHING.

In this doing of something to right the wrong you not only make the much needed human connection but you enlighten and improve not only the life of someone else, but your own as well.

Acts of compassion do not need to move mountains. It can be as simple as a look to a mother with a difficult child that doesn’t show aggravation or pity. You offer her understanding and tell her it’s okay. In that moment you have offered her strength and motivation. You have offered yourself the opportunity to make the world a better place in that small time and space.

Our prime purpose in this life is to help others. And if you can’t help them, at least don’t hurt them. ~ Dalai Lama

Imagine if everyone committed to one small act of unsolicited and unconditional compassion:

  • running an errand for a sick friend
  • holding the hand of an elderly person who is ill
  • listening to a co-worker who recently lost a loved on
  • offering the use of your cell phone to a stranded stranger
  • helping the person in the grocery line without quite enough money

These are actions within the realm of possibility every single day for someone, somewhere. Add all of these together and these tiny moments become momentous. Huge. Life changing.

For all of us.

Do not turn away. Do not close your eyes to an opportunity to reach out and make the world a better place, in even the smallest way, for another person. In taking that measure, you not only improve the life of another, but your own as well.

Which brings me to what may be the hardest compassionate steps to take. Compassion toward our selves.

Have you spent your life being told you are not good enough? Not smart enough? Not thin enough? Not pretty enough?

I call bullshit.

We are all good enough.

We are all smart enough.

We are all beautiful.

Speak to yourself the way you would speak to someone else feeling the same hurt. This can break the pattern of pain and change everything.

I read a quote a while back that said “Without suffering there would be no compassion.”

In a perfect world.

But we need to be realistic. This is, and likely always will be, an imperfect world. There will be suffering.

So let there be compassion.

Listen with intention. Support and understand the best you can. In those moments, see a life change. Feel your heart change. This is compassion.
This is love.

~Sandy Ramsey

1000 speak

This post is just a small part of a movement to bring compassion to light. This is the way we prefer to break the internet. To read more beautiful, powerful words from some incredible writers please click the picture above, share some of these posts, and become part of #1000Speak.




photo credit: 365::47 – poetry in my life via photopin (license)

Give Me Wings


I wish that I could fly
Into the sky
So very high
Just like a dragonfly

I’d fly above the trees
Over the seas in all degrees
To anywhere I please

Oh I want to get away
I want to fly away   –   Lenny Kravitz

I started writing this in the air about about four and a half hours into a flight to Phoenix which was the first half of our trip to Hawaii. I pulled out paper and pen and wrote like a mad woman because that is exactly what I was. I think I made it clear that I don’t fly well and I was so screwed up in my head that the idea of pulling my laptop out of my bag felt like it would take Herculean effort…so I went old school.

I forgot how much I love to write by hand.

I had been up since 3:00 a.m. to get everyone ready to catch a 7:00 a.m. flight. Although exhausted and medicated sleep on a plane is next to impossible for me so this seemed like a good way to pass the time.

Preparing for this trip, seven days and five thousand miles away from home, had been a nightmare. More accurately, I had been a nightmare. The whole process seemed to be comedy of errors right down to the email opened at 11:00 p.m. to check in and get our boarding passes, five hours before we left for the airport, only to find the word in panic inducing bold…NOT BOOKED.

It was the wrong email.

Leaving our home, I inevitably believed I forgot to pack something vital or left another something plugged in or switched on that should most decidedly be unplugged or switched off. I made my husband stop at a shady convenience store at 4:45 a.m. so I could break every rule that I have about public restrooms and be sick.

Since the gods of travel apparently have me marked as public enemy number one, my twelve year old daughter set off  the alarm for an apparent random inspection which required the TSA agent to shout, “There! That’s her mother!” and pull me aside to search me and wipe down every single electronic device in my carry on. (I would have this happen twice more in two different airports on this trip but by the third time I was prepared to just strip down and fly home naked.)

For a bit my anxiety seemed to have fled. Until we sat down at the gate. I became aware of the cold drops of sweat forming on my upper lip and the steady increase of my heart rate. My stomach began to churn as the six of us took our place in line to walk what I had come to view as my own personal Green Mile.

I told my husband to board the plane with the kids and I turned and literally ran for the bathroom. I locked myself in a stall, my entire mind and body involved in the throes of intense and unrelenting panic. I knew without a shred of uncertainty that there was absolutely, positively no way I was getting on that airplane.

Rewind to a few days before when my husband and I were looking up the locations of the activities we wanted to plan. We pulled up Google Earth, the wondrous tool that shows where all the places are. Curious, I wanted to zoom out and see just how far Hawaii actually is from Florida. How, after years of schooling and a fair amount of intelligence, I didn’t realize the Hawaiian Islands are extraordinarily tiny spots of land in a very, very large expanse of the Pacific I will never know.

The thought of being on an airplane with nothing, nothing, nothing but water, water everywhere terrified me.

I had never been to Hawaii and it was on my bucket list. An opportunity arose and we decided to pull the kids out of school, even our college freshman, and make what is usually a getaway for Jeff and me a family vacation. It was a first for all of us and who knew if the chance would come around again? Our kids are still young enough to experience wonder that is simply magical…hell, so am I!

We planned free range horseback riding and a helicopter tour over an active volcano, waterfalls, and other botanical sites. Jeff was taking the older kids zip-lining over some of the waterfalls and a rainforest. We were really looking forward to snorkeling with spinner dolphins in their natural habitat, not a man made site with trained animals. (The unexpected bonus was that it was whale season and while we were underwater we could hear the whales singing and even caught sight of a few breaches from the boat. I’ve never seen anything so breathtaking.)

I told myself many things while locked in that bathroom stall, willing my heart to slow and my breathing to return to normal. I wiped my sweaty palms on my jeans, stood up and opened the stall door. I went to the sink and washed my hands. Not minding anyone else in the room I took a long, hard look at myself in the mirror and said out loud, “You have done brave and amazing things, some far more frightening than getting on an airplane and flying to paradise. Your family is waiting for you. Get your ass on that fucking plane.”

I went to the gate and walked the gangway, taking every step and every breath with intention. I was the last person to board and as I made my way down the aisle I caught sight of my family, watching for me, their relief evident. I swallowed my fear, got on that plane and the one after that…..

and I flew over the deep blue sea.



Photo credit: Ryan Jacques/