It’s Almost Been a Year

Sometimes life destroys you.
Sometimes it burns you to the ground.

In March 2021 that’s what happened to me.

In just 4 weeks I went from happily-ever-after to widowed-mother-of-five after making a dark and twisted discovery about my husband.

Rather than be consumed by the fire, I choose to be transformed.

This is my story.
Watch me rise.


It’s almost been a year.

Around this time last year I sent my kids to my mom’s because I needed help and I knew I wasn’t going to get it at home.

That choice literally changed my life.

I knew things weren’t right, but I didn’t realize how wrong they were…

It’s almost been a year since life as I’d known it stopped. A year since my insides were twisted and ripped out through my heart.

I’ve been having a lot of flashbacks lately. With the year-mark approaching, I suppose that makes sense.

I flash back to that last month:
… to that moment when the discovery of the truth sucker-punched me in the gut;
… to the second that I knew what I was going to do to protect my children;
… to the instant I locked eyes with him before I sped away and he realized that I knew.

I flash back to the hours that followed.

Police stations. Detectives. Interviews. Restraining orders. Lawyers.

More discoveries… More wind knocked out of me.

Phone call after phone call…

Emotions! So many, many emotions.

Driving to safety.


More phone calls.
More discoveries.
More drinking.

Melting against the wall into a pool of misery on the floor.

Realizing I was living a nightmare I couldn’t wake up from, no matter how hard I tried.


This past year has been intense, to say the least.

We celebrated the baby’s 1st birthday the same week we held her father’s funeral.

We moved out of the home where I had given birth to my fourth child; the home where we were supposed to be building our dreams as a family.

The kids and I faced our first of what will be countless holidays and milestones without him.

We’ve struggled as a family and as individuals.

In fact, I struggled so bad that I began to scare myself.

I stopped eating.
I stopped sleeping.
I stopped doing all the things I needed to do to take care of me.

I started drinking more than I ever had before.
I started to get mean and resentful toward my kids.
I started not to care about them or about myself or about anything at all…

I knew my babies deserved better. I knew they needed me to be better. But I didn’t think that I was capable of better.

That’s when I asked for help.


It’s almost been a year since I taught my last class at the studio. Of course, at the time I didn’t realize that it would be my last… and it’s taken me quite a while to accept that it was.

It’s taken me a while to accept a lot of things.

I guess I thought that eventually things would get back to normal … that somehow all of this would be over and we’d go back to doing the things we always did.

I’ve since learned that feeling is actually part of the grieving process.

At first I was operating in survival mode, fueled by anger and denial. As the shock wore off and we settled into a new routine, I sank into a depression I couldn’t escape on my own. With the help of my team of professionals and the support of my family and friends, I’ve begun to accept my current reality and even feel hopeful for the future.

Yes, this past year has been the hardest year of my entire life.

Yes, it’s been ugly, painful, overwhelming and downright cruel.

Yes, it’s been filled with betrayal, heartache, and loss.

But despite the darkness, there have been flickers of light:

🔥 the baby taking her first steps
🔥 playing and laughing with the kids
🔥 road trips and adventures as a family
🔥 making new connections and strengthening old ones
🔥 the unexpected flood of support from my community

I may not yet be blinded by the light at the end of the tunnel, but it’s only been a year. I’m grateful for the spark; that’s all I need to build a fire. 🔥

Abuse isn’t always black and blue. If you or someone you know needs help, please reach out to Flight of the Phoenix Collective. We’ve got your back.

Not All Who Wander Are Lost… But Some Are

Sometimes life destroys you. Sometimes it burns you to the ground. In March 2021 that’s what happened to me. In just 4 weeks I went from happily-ever-after to widowed-mother-of-five after making a dark and twisted discovery about my husband. Rather than be consumed by the fire, I choose to be transformed. This is my story. Watch me rise.

Sunset Cliffs Natural Park | Ocean Beach

I have a wandering soul.

My heart is happiest when it is free, roaming new places, exploring new sights and taking on new adventures.

After all, life is short and it’s meant to be lived. You only live once, right? 

Actually, that’s not quite accurate.

I once read somewhere, you don’t live once — you die once; you get to live every single day.

Wow, talk about a shift in perspective!

Think about that…

We get to live every – single – day.

But often we don’t live our days; we lose them. 

I’ve lost many days lately.

In fact, I’ve experienced quite a few incredible losses in my life recently.

I’ve lost relationships, dreams and confidence.

I’ve lost my husband: the father of my children, my partner, my teammate, my best friend.

I’ve lost my business: a dream I had conceived, labored and birthed into existence over the past 5 years; a source of energy for my heart and soul.

I’ve lost a sense of trust, self assurance, and security.

I’ve lost the life and the future that we were building for our family.

I’ve lost years of my life.

And lately I’ve just been feeling pretty lost as a person.

So I decided to carpe diem, feed my vagabond soul, and take some much-needed mommy time: to wander. 

Naturally, my Cancer soul is drawn to the water, so I chose to spend my little hiatus in Southern California.

I soaked up the sunshine, the salty sea air and the endless blue skies. I took in the sights, ate good food and allowed myself to rest.

And I spent time reconnecting mind and body with my personal Yoga practice.

One of things that I love about San Diego is that Yoga studios are EVERYWHERE. This includes aerial yoga studios, too! On this trip I was able to catch a class at one of them, a unique wellness center located in La Jolla called Trilogy Sanctuary

Trilogy Sanctuary | La Jolla

Trilogy Sanctuary is a trifecta of holistic services: a vegan cafe, a Yoga studio and training center, and a totem boutique. It’s definitely a place you’ll want to check out if you’re in the area!

You can take in a variety of classes, workshops and special events, sample the all-natural menu, or shop the boutique for plant-based cosmetics, essential oils, sustainable clothing and other cool must-haves.

One of the coolest features is definitely the Yoga Healing Dome, but my personal favorite was the outdoor set-up for aerial yoga. 

I booked the class on the app, which was quick and easy, and received an email detailing where to go and what to bring. When I arrived, the studio was clearly marked and I made my way upstairs to where aerial  was going to be held – on the rooftop! I stepped off of the elevator and was met with a view that took my breath away. 

View from the rooftop at Trilogy Sanctuary

After snapping a couple of quick pics, I stepped up to the silks and unrolled my mat. The instructor, Olivia, greeted me warmly and asked about my aerial experience, welcoming me into the group of students who were clearly at home at Trilogy.

As we began our practice, Olivia explained that we were focusing on the water element and encouraged us to flow through our postures. She reminded us that like water, life is fluid, unpredictable, a little choppy at times… but if we keep treading, keep swimming, we can also experience its beauty, wonder and life-giving energy.

Sea lions at La Jolla Cove

We progressed through warm-ups to upper body and core work, swimming through poses as we worked with the water element. We flowed through basic inversions and into lower body stretches that had us floating over the ground. Finally, we nestled into our cocoons for a few moments of savasana before closing out our practice and heading into the day.

My instructor was wonderful; she was patient, kind and helpful. There wasn’t nearly enough time to enjoy all that Trilogy has to offer, but I hope to get back and try soon!

The only thing I didn’t care for was the distraction of the cafe during class.

The cafe tables are set up along the rooftop, right next to the aerial rig. It was a little uncomfortable to look up and find i was being stared at during class while someone ate their breakfast.

And while the aromas coming from the kitchen were delectable, the noise from the tables was a distraction during savasana – a point in class where I usually enjoy the quiet for meditation. It was a mild inconvenience, but certainly not enough to keep me from coming back!

After class, I took my mat and headed down to the beach at La Jolla Cove. I walked along the coast, checking out the shops, sights and sea lions. Eventually I found a little nook that was slightly hidden from the crowds of beach-goers. I spread out my mat, lifted my face toward the sun and let my body naturally flow as it needed. 

I’m not sure what I’m looking for…

It was here that I felt the sun begin to shine through the parts of me that are broken, the parts that are lost. I felt warmth; I felt beauty; I felt a tiny part of me healing. Then I meditated as the sun danced on the glistening water and Mother Nature did her thing in my soul. 

…but I think I found it.

My time on the mat didn’t give me all the answers; I still feel lost. And tired. And sad.

But do you know what it did give me?




And a reminder of how important it is to stop and find myself every once in a while.  

Even if I’m lost, I’m glad I took the time to wander. 

Where’s your favorite place to wander for Aerial Yoga? Drop their website or social media links in the comments. I’d love to check them out!

Letting Go

Sometimes life destroys you. Sometimes it burns you to the ground. In March 2021 that’s what happened to me. In just 4 weeks I went from happily-ever-after to widowed-mother-of-five after making a dark and twisted discovery about my husband. Rather than be consumed by the fire, I choose to be transformed. This is my story. Watch me rise.

Heavy memories

Broken dreams

Not sure if anything is what it seems.

Dark energy, makes me sick

I don’t want to do this

But I won’t quit.

Why me? Why us?

It’s not f×cking fair.

Sick secrets revealed, more each day

Ugly demons unleashed, foul and cruel

Facts twisted and gnarled to hide the truth.

My burden is heavy

I feel the weight

It’s so hard to carry but I won’t break.

We must burn down before we can rise

The fire’s been lit

Flames dance toward the sky

Raging on until all is consumed.

Smoldering cinders, red hot embers

Soon the smoke will subside

Sift through the ashes

They no longer serve you

It’s time to

Start letting go.

Abuse isn’t always black and blue. If you or someone you know needs help, please reach out to Flight of the Phoenix Collective. We’ve got your back.

Ask Me Anything: Round One

Sometimes life destroys you. Sometimes it burns you to the ground. In March 2021 that’s what happened to me. In just 4 weeks I went from happily-ever-after to widowed-mother-of-five after making a dark and twisted discovery about my husband. Rather than be consumed by the fire, I choose to be transformed. This is my story. Watch me rise.

I can’t sleep tonight. Just a minute ago I heard a truck roaring up the street and for a fleeting second I thought he was coming home. Then I remembered …

Grief is hard. It’s messy. It’s painful. It’s weird. 

I’m trying to untangle a web of emotions and it’s easy to get stuck or lost in memories and unanswered questions and I-wish-I-would-haves. I’m hurting; I’m angry; I’m sad; and I’ve been pretty open about that.  

I’ve also continued to care for my children. We’ve been getting counseling and everyone has recently visited the doctor. I’ve been managing our home, working on my business, handling phone calls, appointments and other personal affairs, and trying to take time to just be still and enjoy life with my family – all while processing the abuse, the loss and my new role in life. 

I’ve decided as part of this journey to document my healing through this blog. The negativity started almost immediately after I published the first post. Typically, I would let these comments and thoughts hold me back or stop me altogether. 

But now? 

Now, I’m walking through fire and I’m determined to be stronger than the flames. Since this is my story, I’m going to address a few of the questions/statements I have encountered so far that have me a little heated. 

Why are you being so public about this?

Because silence perpetuates abuse. I’m speaking up because right now there is a woman somewhere who is ashamed to admit how awful she feels in her own home. There is a little girl out there who doesn’t realize she’s being hurt because her abuser has convinced her that they are playing a special game. There is a young lady somewhere who questions her very existence because she’s holding on to shame that a grown man burdened her with when he should have been protecting her.

I’m raising my voice for the countless women who can’t – or won’t – find their way out of the darkness on their own. I’m sharing my story to help shine the light.

He was a good person. 

No. He wasn’t. He may have been charming, friendly, helpful, outgoing, and charismatic, but he was also selfish, controlling, manipulative, spiteful and perpetually dishonest. He willfully harmed others in the pursuit of his own self-interest and refused to take responsibility. He broke both moral and civil laws along with countless personal vows. That is the literal definition of a “bad person.” Highlighting his achievements or basking in nostalgia does not change this fact. Not to mention how disrespectful that statement is to his victims.    

If he was so bad, why did you stay?

Quite frankly, I stayed because I was manipulated into staying. Yes, I loved him with all my heart, but the truth is I tried to leave many times. I could feel that things were not right and I knew I was unhappy – especially when I started noticing some negative traits reflected in my kids. But whenever I got serious about cutting ties something would happen. 

It looked a little like this: 

We would be madly in love, ready to take on the world and anyone who tried to come between us. He would tell everyone I was his moon and stars; he could make me melt with just a hug. I would easily overlook things and was plentiful with second chances. 

But after a while I would acknowledge that I felt unheard, unappreciated, taken for granted and lonely. This would often be spun into me being poor at communicating, insecure, moody, and mean. 

We would fight so intensely and though it killed me, I would know in my gut it was over. I would make the decision to leave and suddenly he would start saying and doing all of the right things. 

Then I would start the mental cycle of: is it really that bad? …at least he doesn’t do X, Y and Z… where would I go if I left anyway? … what would it do to the kids? … it could be a lot worse…

Then I would start remembering our history, all of the memories we made, the family we created, the fun that we had, the love that we shared… I would doubt myself, my decision to leave, my reasoning and even my sanity at times. 

So I would stay, praying that sticking it out would eventually get us to happily-ever-after. 

Spoiler alert. 

It didn’t.

But he had an addiction

I have 2 thoughts on this:

My first thought is that this feels like justification for criminal behavior. There is no excuse for what he did. Period. End of story.

Not only that, but clinging to this narrative completely dismisses the harm that he caused to his victims. He was not always intoxicated when he made the choice to violate children. He wasn’t under the influence while he orchestrated the nonstop deceit that it took to commit his crimes. And there are hundreds of other ways to seek gratification rather than molesting kids. 

While I was unaware of the true depth of his addiction, I was fully aware that he had one – and so was he. We repeatedly fought over his excessive use of alcohol and the problems that it brought to our family. Though it was a daily battle, it was one I was willing to fight right alongside him. However, his addiction was not something he ever had the courage to truly face. Instead of seeking or accepting the help he had access to, he chose to live in denial and continue to cause harm to himself and his family. If he had been open to receiving the healing available to him, our whole world might be different today. 

My second thought is that this was more than an addiction; he had another disorder. I don’t know when or where he developed pedophilia, but I understand that part of his behavior stems from biology and early childhood experiences. This doesn’t ease the pain much for me, as the realization just makes me hurt in different ways. But I do think it’s important to address, consider and discuss. 

How did you not know? 

I ask myself this on a regular basis. I don’t know. 

He was very good at living a double life.

I was lost in my own depression and PTSD.

We had marital issues and he drank a lot, so I attributed odd behavior to that.

I misinterpreted red flags and ignored my intuition on too many occasions. 

I never thought this could happen to us. 

Of all the problems we could have had, I didn’t think THIS was something I had to worry about.

There are 2 sides to every story

Yes, I can be short-tempered, loud and more reactive than I’d like to admit. I have incredibly high standards and I expect a lot from myself, my partner and my kids. I know that I can be difficult to love sometimes and I struggle to communicate effectively. At times, I am downright rude. 

Yes. And while I may not have always handled every situation the best that I could, I was the best woman I could be and I never stopped trying to be a better one.

Have you talked to your doctor about medication? 

This question really gets under my skin. It’s not that I’m against using medication as a treatment. But I am against medication being overused.

It feels like everyone wants to put me on medication because I’m sad. Of course I’m sad, my husband and love of my life just died. Wouldn’t it be weird if I wasn’t? But why do I need to be medicated because I’m sad? Why can’t I just process all of the emotions and thoughts and let myself feel the pain? I’m still waking up every day, taking care of the kids, taking care of me, handling life’s responsibilities. I think I’m allowed to be sad and feel the heaviness. I think I need to if I’m going to get through it and not just carry it with me for the rest of my life.

Verywell / Alison Czinkota

My issue lies not in being asked about seeking pharmaceutical treatment, but in not being given the chance to naturally grieve without the assumption that I’ll need it. 

This isn’t anyone else’s experience – it’s mine. You may not agree with me or like what I have to say and I’m okay with that. But as I continue this healing process, I’m going to keep sharing my story, keep lifting my voice, and keep rising from the ashes. I hope you do, too. #keepgoing 🔥 

Do you have a burning question you’d like me to answer in the next Ask Me Anything? You can drop it in the comments or send us an email.

Abuse isn’t always black and blue. If you or someone you know needs help, please reach out to Flight of the Phoenix Collective. We’ve got your back.

But He Didn’t Hit Me

Sometimes life destroys you. Sometimes it burns you to the ground. In March 2021 that’s what happened to me. In just 4 weeks I went from happily-ever-after to widowed-mother-of-five after making a dark and twisted discovery about my husband. Rather than be consumed by the fire, I choose to be transformed. This is my story. Watch me rise.

For years I lived in an abusive relationship and didn’t realize I was being abused.

In fact, I thought I was the abuser.

This is what narcissistic gaslighting does; it makes you question everything you know, including your own behavior and sanity.

Now, I knew we had problems. We weren’t happy. We weren’t very kind to each other. And we fought just about every day.

But he didn’t hit me.

The first time I saw him put hands on someone was before we were even married. We were staying with his dad while we searched for a home after he was discharged from the military. I don’t recall what started it, but when I saw the two of them fighting, I knew he was in the wrong.

But I was pregnant, estranged from most of my family, and let’s face it, in love. So, I left with him anyway.

Of course, once we were alone I brought it up to him. How can you put hands on your dad like that?? I don’t know what exactly he said, but I know he had the words to smooth me over.

After all, he didn’t hit ME.

The first time he put his hands on me was after the baby was born. Our marriage was off to a rocky start and a newborn wasn’t helping it. I don’t remember what the argument was about, but I remember being backed into the bathroom and crashing into the tub behind me while trying to pull his hands from around my throat.

He was mortified after that. I told him and he knew – never again would he put hands on me or I would leave. No second thoughts.

But for now, I would stay. It wasn’t like he hit me.

Then there was that time when the baby was almost 2 years old… I was angry about loud music, a drunk and absent husband, and a toddler who was still awake despite it being after midnight. I stormed down the stairs, baby on my hip, to where the noise was coming from and was greeted by my intoxicated husband pointing a pistol at us, a sinister smile on his face.

I bolted up the stairs and out the door, running barefoot with the baby until I felt safe and that he wasn’t coming after us. It wasn’t long before I realized that I had nowhere to go, no one to call, not even shoes on my feet or a diaper for the baby.

I made my way back home where his mother and her friend were just returning from the bar. I frantically told her what had just happened and she shooed me away once he justified himself by claiming there were no bullets in the gun.

They told me to just go to sleep. I was overreacting. Everything was fine and would be better in the morning.

So I went to bed. It’s not like he hit me.

Over the years he threatened me, insulted me, belittled me, ignored me and constantly reminded me that without him I had nothing. I was nothing.

He threw intimate moments of my past pain and trauma in my face during arguments. He slashed and/or flattened my tires to keep me from leaving. He barricaded himself in the house and threatened to kill any law enforcement that came on to the property if I took the kids and went to stay with family for a while.

He set me up for failure time and time again. He made me and everyone around us feel that I was the root of our unhappiness. He had us all convinced that I was completely mentally unstable and that was the cause of our stress.

He cheated. He lied. He broke his promises, to me, to the kids, to others… over and over again he would let me down. He would intimidate all of us and somehow always talk his way out of it.

But he didn’t hit me.

Abuse isn’t always black and blue. If you or someone you know needs help, please reach out to Flight of the Phoenix Collective. We’ve got your back.

%d bloggers like this: