Gaslighting Between the Lines

Image result for stock photosWhen people cross the line, we generally know what that means to us. Either you’re not very smart or I’m getting to know you in an entirely different light. So what happens when the person who is testing you knows how to draw within the lines. They use their knowledge of you to guide every conversation towards them being the authority on a subject. You are left in a defensive position and if you speak on it, you will be considered the person who is making it impossible for the two of you to move forward, beyond the same argument.

This reminds me of the film industry right now, vying for the dollars of its patrons but forever doubting their requests for representation and a sharing of power. So, the patron has decided to use their wallet wisely and support business and creative projects that clearly benefit them directly. This is the wake up call the complacent partner needs. If you don’t realize they are ready for change in a way that misses your definition of change then perhaps you are in need of an amicable separation.

It’s too difficult for one person in a relationship to carry he weight of the entire partnership. In fact, it might not even be a partnership, but a long term arrangement no one is defining but by the terms of a hetero-normative society.Image result for stock photos change direction

Labels or no labels, there are agreements people make to help them determine their compatibility and ongoing growth. Some open their boundaries and some define their boundaries. Some even break the contracts they set years ago and forgot about.

It is more important to listen to the difficult information your partner has to share than determine you can create a reality they never poke holes through.

You’re not strong enough, skilled enough to create and uphold a world that is selfish and unreal. One that is incompatible with the very person you are trying to keep, to impress upon them that you’ve changed or are worth the investment of intelligence and emotions. No one is guaranteed the privilege of keeping their best lover. Things happen and get in the way. The best we can do is learn from the small criticisms, whether true or not. The more gaslighting your partner participates in, the more you know they are afraid of being an authentic person, vulnerable to ideas that may call then to the table.



Relationship Primer: A setting for happiness

Primer has saved the face of many a cosmetic user. A couple of sprays in the morning and you have a full day of long wear makeup. Unfortunately, this is not true for relationships.

Primers help set things in place, but they can’t keep them their forever; looking fresh and new, feeling youthful. At the end of the day the makeup has to come off to allow your skin to breath, to remove the soot of the day, to let the perfection go. And it’s in this moment that a relationship is tested. Are you able to refresh your perspective on how to engage your partner and the goals you’ve set? Did you even set any goals? Are there goals? Do you share them? Do you still know your partner? Have they changed? Have you noticed?

Happiness is not something someone else gives or makes…it is. Your partner can’t make you happy. They can live in such a way that the environment is conducive to receiving and giving so that happiness is experienced. When a feeling like happiness is considered something someone else is responsible for then you are not in control of it and it remains an external force. You are left waiting for happiness to arrive instead of knowing that happiness is all around, it just may be blocked by the circumstances of your life.

Happy is an elusive state of being. If we are too attached to it and where we believe it has come from, then we become dependent on that false source. To recognize the multitude of expressions one must reveal in their own life, is to understand that one person is complicated in and of themselves. We are desperately complicated. Put one and one together and you get two humans with myriad of layers and details. The problem we create is trying to sort out all of these complications into compartments so they can be dealt with instead of simply understood. Many of us skip the understanding part of knowing our partner and rest in “all you need to do is”…love me?

Love and happiness are not inextricably linked in relationships. Love does not extrapolate the needs of your partner. Happiness does not sustain love. Sustenance comes from the work one does in being a friend, building a real partnership. Much of the work will come from communication and the method one uses to do so. Many of us are not taught how to communicate or actively listen, we simply have picked up cues throughout the years. Others seek a high level of communication and are rejected by the notion that this is even necessary. After all, a relationship is not a thesis, right? Why do we have to sort out all ideas and feelings and causes and effects? Probably because if you want to be in a conscious, present, nourishing relationship you have to challenge yourself to give and receive in the same way.

It’s sad how long some of us wait within the cells of a relationship before breaking out. I have heard too many stories of couples that have been together over 11 years and it’s been nothing but drama and trauma. Have we ignored the co-dependent nature of our society? And why are we replicating this unhappiness for ourselves and our children?

At the end of the day, we take off the primer (that set the makeup that made the day). We must remove what has soiled us, what will build up and clog the places from which we breath. From the song Love and Happiness, it is only too true:

I have to say
Love and happiness (love and happiness)
Love and happiness (love and happiness)
You be good to me
I’ll be good to you
We’ll be together, yeah
We’ll see each other
Walk away with victory, yeah oh baby

The People’s Celebrant

Economically challenged people have the right to participate in the institution of marriage. To celebrate the life of a loved one who’s passed.

I want people to know that if these things are a part of the scheme of their happiness, they can reach out to an officiant that is inclusive and attentive. I welcome all couples and all occasions.

This is a new prospect for me. As a couple embarking on the next step in their relationship, we have this in common. I take the responsibility seriously and believe it an honor to support others happiness.

This is a simple declaration that I’m here, a certified wedding officiant in New York, and if you are a couple outside the paradigm that needs help, it’s here.

Embracing the Darkness 🧟‍♀️

I have determined that the negativity I have expressed in my life has had a purpose. Most people have taken that purpose away and repositioned it as a darkness that must be purged, a choice that was made to not look at the good. But this isn’t true. It’s far from the truth because without good you cannot have evil, there is a balance in the universe, there are the Eight Winds and there is a reason we as humans experience joyful moments and those of suffering too.

I have learned a lot from the challenges that I faced, in those that I ran from and had to face anyway. It’s lead me to question important aspect of my identity as well as society. It’s made me a critical thinker. But it has not caused me to forget the notion of happiness and it’s expression in my life.

Happiness is not always the extension of your lips across your face or the showing of teeth. It is quiet, calm, prepared and content. It is joyful, expressive and loud. It’s many things, but the norm tends towards identifying happiness as an exuberant expression of fulfillment.

I recently watched Temple Grandin’s story with Claire Danes as the lead. So many individuals on the Autism/Aspergers spectrum do not show their emotions the way many of us expect. Instead of this 😂 you get 😐 and instead of ☹️ you get this 🤯. It’s fair to all of us if we begin to refuse old ideas of observing behavior and pick up new ways of understanding it and letting it go.

Happiness is one of the eight winds. It is not the only emotion you need to survive. It is what everyone needs to live their best life but it is not our only tool in the kit. We must forge swords and shields for those who take it upon themselves to infiltrate. They must not sway the causes you make with their own feelings.

2018: A New Day in a New Year

This new year has brought many resolutions and determinations to create positive changes within our individual lives. People are choosing to make clear statement about how they want to live and how they’re going to be treated and how they’re going to help others do the same. I hope these things could be true for me; It’s one day at a time, one determination each day.

Most of us are asking the universe for success, successes I’m sure people have earned and worked earnestly for, however it’s hard to compete with success. All of the extremely positive posts of social media users fixing their lives and re-positioning themselves in the world. It’s difficult to know what that will truly look like for those of us who feel bound to the past and procrastination. This procrastination isn’t the kind that you dealt with in high school, and you needed to turn in an assignment and couldn’t meet a deadline. This inertia is fueled by years of unrealistic expectations and beaten paths that were not mine and the true feeling of invisibility.

2018 is another year on the Gregorian calendar. I expect that I will have to wake up each day and consider what I should do. Should I go into work and bang my head against the wall. Should I tell people that I need a change of scenery and venue. Or can I hope against hope that this year will make me feel real again.

I never thought I would become an automaton. I was too decisive and independent. But the more I grew up and tackled the world around me the more I realized my shield and my sword we’re gonna take some time to forge. In the meantime I was borrowing from the proof of small things. Small treasures that hold value beyond their size and monetary worth. I hope for the simple things again; nothings simple anymore.

2017 The Year that Was

The children in this picture had no idea what 2017 would be like. It was an intangible future that could only be realized through movies and imagination. There are many professionals pictured here, a doctor, even, and the kid wearing the shirt that says Lee is named Lee. I have three cousins in this picture and I don’t talk to any of them for any particular reason.

It seems that with the year ending everyone is reflecting on the positives of what 2017 brought them. Perhaps it’s too clear and too much of a daily reminder to reflect on the negatives. There are too many and no therapist on site. This picture is a reminder that the past was and the future will forever be the thing we are walking towards.

If you could only be five again, but then again being five wasn’t perfect.

2017 put a fire under my ass to work hard and be recognized for that. I attempted to manage my life but the changes kept coming. I’ve always either been a student or teacher so I gauge my year by whether or not I’m in school. The beginning of the year is September the end of the year is June. However, if I’m looking at 2017 from January to December I have no idea what transpired. I’m sure I got myself in trouble at work. I built two new units for freshman. Still no work doesn’t validate itself. The emotional well-being of my students is of the upmost importance and it seems that they are all losing their shit at the same time. So I think we went from worse to worst. We are all a little broken right now which is completely fine, but it’s quite difficult to be broken and putting other people back together.

I look forward to the positive changes that will take place in my life. I’ve learned a lot about the threats that impact the lives of so many people who are ignored on a daily basis. Sneaking on the bus to beat the fare. Living check to check. Medical mysteries. Refusing to ride in an ambulance. Living in a food desert. Move to another food desert. Health care. Mental health. 2017 might have been the year to admit my job has developed some sort of PTSD I have to face.

I am determined to take care of the things I’ve been ignoring because my job took precedence over my life. Once you owe people money, for that degree you earned, you don’t feel free until you’ve paid it off.Student loan collectors are relentless–I took care of it. Now I need to continue working towards abundance and mindfulness and always appreciation.

I am also determined to be more patient with myself and free myself from anything that has bound me to rejection. I definitely have an unhealthy relationship with rejection. As much as I can explain that young men have to face rejection as they grow up and approach individuals as a part of life; I can’t seem to bring myself to let go of the validation of others. I believe once this is not a part of my job, where my work truly speaks for itself, i’ll be able to separate criticism from personal evaluation.

I wish everyone a happy and healthy and fabulous new year! If we don’t have our own fabulousness then what do we have? 2018 here we come.

Moving Forward 

I hate moving. The packing and lifting and headaches. I can’t even do it anymore. My stress injuries prevent me from contributing the way I’d like to because I wouldn’t be able to use my hands for the next several days. But moving is also an emotional process. Exchanging one Home for another. Last year I moved from a one bedroom to a studio. This year I am moving to a two bedroom. That’s a come up. But to go up I had to go through.

This is a twisted Trip through Oz. The Looking Glass has never been so hazy and yet it’s a clearer view than I’ve had in a while.

I am going to spend the rest of the year taking care of myself. I’m not exactly sure what that will look like in the New but it’s about me that’s for certain.

In gratitude I thank the Universal Law for making a way for someone who shouts their will into the void. And someone who shows them how and what the results will be.

The moral of my story isn’t reciprocity or simple gratitude it is a hard cut to a stoic face that is accepting that change doesn’t always come in a clear glass jar. That my own progress isn’t just my process but actual transformation. 


The cultural differences between people may be a lot to contend with once the relationship gets deeper. Initially, these differences are adorable or altogether ignored due to blindness. But, when we become mindful and self-aware, we have the capacity to actually deepen the friendship with our partner. Possibly. Or we could alienate them because they were not prepared to grow and transform with us.

Trying in a coupling could look like nothing to the untrained eye, when in fact, work is being done in the silent moments. You may not be sure what will happen or if your efforts matter at all. All efforts matter. They accumulate. Just because one relationship fails doesn’t mean the next one will. Just because you learned to open yourself up to someone because they made it safe enough doesn’t mean you get to keep them for life. Take the healing. Take the lesson. Move forward always.

Erase the face of the shame and the pain you carry like sun kissed skin. Womxn often teach mean what they are allowed to do. Be open, sensitive, emotionally intelligent. Or the opposite. And we can sit next to one another and the silence should tell us there is no more silence necessary. What can’t you see? What do you hide under the hood? Who said you were the Iron Fist? And where do I fit in? Do I fit because you carved an out an ill conceived notion of who I am and what we could be?

Culture encapsulates so much. Right now, we can use popular culture to dictate what we are wiling to support with our money. We can share our ideas through the discussion of bad big budget films or a politician being destroyed by the average Jo-Anne. But don’t get divorced over it. It would be a terrible revelation that late in the game that your partner doesn’t feel as you do? Know who you are with before you make a commitment you cannot rescind.

Reduce your suffering. Wake up.


Paradigm Shift, Mindfulness, and Authenticity

Tom & Tom : Black Like You

All things culture, with a splash of color