Hurricane Harvey: The Hidden Healing of the Storm

I have fought with my own insecurities about writing this. Partially because it’s part of a past experience, and we are suppose to ‘let go’ of the past, but more out of fear of what OTHERS might say or conclude from my reveal. After a year of crying uncontrollably every time I put thought to MY PERSONAL experience, I decided what better time to feel, purge and heal!

Anyone who reads this who KNOWS me will fully appreciate the power writing holds for me. Anyone who has a negative comment or judgment of MY OWN EXPERIENCE (‘should have’, ‘I can’t believe she said that’, ‘why is she bringing up past’ etc….) can in NO UNCERTAIN TERMS ‘go fuck themselves’.

One year ago, I sat like a warrior in my boarded up home ready to ‘fight’ Harvey. I sat video taping the bold gusts of wind from our garage bunker; a couple of lawn chairs, a missing back door window and provisions for a few days. It wasn’t that bad, at first. A heavy wave of wind here and there but no rain or crazy winds.

Not like I had expected. Then again, what did I expect?

My husband and I sat in our garage with ringside seats, fully prepared to capture every fearless moment on video, prepared with four fully charged phones JUST IN CASE we lost power.

This experience highlighted the final days of my beloved’s toxic relationship with ‘The Drink’, so we had stocked our coolers with enough beer (a case and a half) and wine (ONE 4-pk) to ride out the storm. I LOVE wine and although I wasn’t a heavy drinker, to me there was nothing more relaxing than sipping a glass or two just sitting and watching the storms roll in.

As the hours ticked away, the ambiance of the streets was pure desertion. Apocalyptic. Maybe the sound of a car on the nearby roadway splashing or rushing, but no sounds, not even sirens. Nothing other than the roaring wind.

We sat in ‘our space’ for 5 hours, talking and watching. Him drinking. Me watching. Both of us seemingly content and fearless.

The trees were blowing around shadowed against the oddly coloured pink-gray night sky. As we approached 10 pm, the closer we were to Harvey’s landfall and assault. I remember thinking ‘This wasn’t so bad!’

After about two to three glasses of wine, I was cozy and asleep on the cot in the garage next to my hubby, feeling the wind and mist from the rain on my face as it squeezed through our open garage window. I felt oddly safe and confident.

At 2am, I was suddenly awakened! Not by a storm or the roaring wind ripping my roof off of its foundation, but by a highly intoxicated, crazed and very panicked man….my husband.

Nearly two to three hours had passed since I fell asleep in full safety. But now…..

He was screaming at me to get the ‘FUCK’ up and get inside the house, that we had to leave because the house was going to collapse soon! He was screaming at me for being too slow, for being so ‘stupid’ to sleep through a storm, even though he was right there beside me. He was now yelling about the neon green flashes of lightening radiating across the Victoria sky and how they were not natural; that this hurricane was man-made.

He was panicked, raging, erratic, shifting between confusing conclusions of the situation, absolute hate of the government, arrows of abuse towards me for not moving faster and moments of solitude staring out into the windy night sky!

Every time I attempted to speak to him, he would rage at me screaming that I ‘didn’t understand that we were going to die if we didn’t leave now!’ Then he would go into the garage and just watch the storm in isolation. On one of his episodes of sheer panic, he told me to awaken my sleeping son, get on our boots because we HAD TO LEAVE!

Volatile. Violent. Frightening. Horrible. Fear.

I woke my son up, which was a frightening experience for him, and together, we crawled into a corner of the laundry room and huddled with pillows, fully dressed to leave the house with the dogs at our side. Mind you, my hubby was currently in the garage having ‘one more‘ beer, sitting in his lawn chair watching the storm and seemingly unscathed by what, just moments earlier, was an imminent death for us all!

I frantically texted my mom asking her for updates of the storm as we had no internet and very limited text capabilities. She would send me ‘screen shots’ of current wind speeds and location of the storm. I explained to her that my hubby was literally ‘freaking out’ on us and although it was bad, he was terrifying us with his raging, calling us stupid and lazy for not understanding or moving fast enough and his panic over what he didn’t know. I’m sure she was panicked with me, and as I later discovered, she didn’t sleep at all that night either.

I absolutely refused to leave the safety of my home no matter how much he screamed at me. I was scared he would leave us alone, as he threatened to do. I was scared that he might do something to push us out of the house. It was all so terrifying and confusing.

The winds were violent, at a sustained 70-90 mph, but with gusts of up to 120 mph! The house was making intense knocking sounds. The pressure changes were so intense, you could feel the air pushing outward like a balloon ready to pop!

He would come inside intermittently, panicked saying we needed to leave NOW and then he would confusingly call me into the garage and begin ranting uncontrollably about how this is not a ‘natural storm’ and telling me how I don’t understand how bad it is.

Always with a beer in hand.

My mom continued to send me screen shots of the storm’s location and wind speed…my only outside connection to the world. I was able to somehow convince him that the worst of the storm was over even though it wasn’t, and that it was slowing in speed. He sat outside watching the storm a little more calmly, had a few more beers, walked inside, sat in his recliner and passed out!

Me and my son sat on opposite couches. Both in sheer disbelief. What just happened? He seemed a little calmer now that my husband was passed out, wanting to return to his room, but I needed him.

He stayed in the living room with me, his headphones in his ears. Me, I had just experienced a hurricane of epic proportions….an experienced that others never even knew or understood had occurred.

I was internally damaged.

As the wind raged on (it hadn’t let up, in reality), I sat all alone riding out a massive hurricane, with my snoring passed out husband to my left and my checked out son to my right. My mom was keeping in contact with me the best she could, with texting limited due to cell service being lost. Internet was lost. At least we still had power….I sat alone in complete horror.

At about 5 am, one of the dogs took a huge shit on our rugs. The winds were still howling violently and you could see bits of other people’s lives blowing down the roadway. I couldn’t let them outside. I started to clean up the horrible smelling mess littered down the hall on all of my rugs when the lights flickered. We lost power.

I was so angry!!!! How could this be happening and why was I forced to do it alone!

I cannot begin to describe the overwhelming fear associated with all facets of this experience thus far! The storm itself was the LEAST of my present or future worries. The lack of a safe space or a kind and consoling voice to get me through was devastating.

Sitting in complete silence, feeling your head fill with pressure and your ears feel like they want to explode! The bangs, crashes and rumblings outside of the boarded windows.

A feeling I cannot explain, but one I had never felt before. It was like being alone on a ship slowly sinking into the ocean, wondering if you will survive.

I honestly don’t know why, but I would run to the garage and video the experience periodically. I felt so scared every time I stepped into the garage, as if the hurricane was a monster and I was trying to avoid it seeing me!

As the morning light emerged, I felt a sense of safety return. Somehow, the light of day gave hope. I opened up the front door in order to remind myself that the world was still in existence. There were bits of homes, trees and belongings blowing around everywhere.

My husband woke up and walked outside. He was still intoxicated, combative and still angry at me and my son for not moving fast enough. Honestly, I don’t know what he was angry about. He was drunk. As he held the door open and the wind grabbed it, ripping it open and breaking its hinges. At this point, both dogs seized the opportunity, bolted out of the door and took off down the street!

He was hell bent on leaving them out in the storm and I couldn’t argue with him in his current state. He came back inside, sat in his chair and went back to sleep.

The dogs eventually returned, but were banished from the house and put in the garage.

As the winds subsided, he got up. He was still angry and made a few hateful comments towards me. I just sat alone and said nothing. I was tired, sad, afraid and had no will remaining. A warrior defeated. He put on his shoes, chugged another beer and announced he was leaving to go to the shop.

Terror consumed me! This wasn’t a work day. The winds were still blowing as we were in a hurricane. I begged him not to go….but he said some hurtful words and left.

I was devastated! I cried. I walked around the dark and silent house lost, alone and scared as hell! I was pacing, full of worry for the unknown.

About 10 min later, he returned home, stricken with panic. He said ‘you’ve got to come with me! It’s BAD’…so I did.

Yes he was driving. Yes he was still intoxicated. Yes the winds were still blowing. But somehow, this left me feeling safer than being alone in the house and him driving around alone.

The apocalyptic aftermath was devastating.

All I could say was ‘oh my god’! Huge old trees blocking roads, roofs literally ripped from homes, power lines everywhere, like spaghetti tossed in the roads. Fences laying down and blown across roadways. Entire structures fully collapsed. It was humbling at best!

Deathly silence consumed us as we drove, observing the warlike environment around us.

No power and an apocalyptic feel, we gathered us what we needed to ensure survival. We had prepared for the storm and had a plan of usage for refrigerated goods and other supplies. He kept drinking all day and passed out at night.

The Fear of theft, or worse, crept into my mind. I was truly dealing with this all by myself. He would shift between drunk, intense raging, deep affection and sleep. It was hot, muggy and was only bound to get worse. I busted myself sweeping the floor, reading, coloring, cleaning and baking to get rid of expendable supplies. A pioneer’s heart! I had already texted my mother and she was heading down on Tuesday to bring supplies.

On day 2, he drove around and saw activity at some of the stores. I knew his beer reserve was diminishing and he would either stop drinking or would do whatever he could to get more. Walgreens had limited credit card only usage (debit and chip cards didn’t work) and he wanted more beer, under the excuse of buying snacks for my son. A tactic he used often.

Unfortunately he was unable to complete the purchase and told me to give him all of my cash out of my wallet. We went back inside and bought the beer only. He then drove around and purchased an 18-pack of beer for $30 at a convenience store selling their items at inflated prices to one person at a time.

I was absolutely surprised that the few local businesses were encouraging, even enabling the drunks while taking advantage of them. I not only had a front row seat to what an ADDICT will do to get their fix or maintain their high, but I witnessed what the dealers and opportunists do to take advantage of the weak and vulnerable, especially in a volatile time!

I felt so defeated in every way. Safety. Security. My peace. My sanity.

For the next few days, he continued to shift between a drunken rage, snoring/apnea, driving around and being super affectionate. He would go outside, talking to the other neighborhood drunks, drink their beer and then come back home and pass out.

Nights alone with almost no sleep. Days with him foraging for beer and snack foods. Driving around looking at the devastation. Cold rainwater baths. Sticky humid nights.

When my mom arrived, I ran to her and hugged her so tightly. I cried so hard! She was the BEST thing I had seen in 3 days of horror.

She brought food, supplies and a generator. But mostly, she brought safety and companionship. He was upset and kept asking WHY I had brought her there, saying it made him look like he couldn’t provide. He was angry that she brought stuff, but more angry his drinking secrets were going to be exposed. I guess to make it right in his eyes, he wrote her a check for the cost.

While trying to put the generator together, he got so drunk, he passed out in the garage in front of everyone in his folding chair. He would argue, humiliate me with his behavior and say inappropriate things to us, about us about other people.

The next morning, he tried to sneak away for more booze, but lied about it. I went with him after he fought with me and my mom about me going. We both knew he was hiding his drinking even though he said he wasn’t and I wanted to be with him so he didn’t do something stupid.

He pulled into a gas station, looked at me and told me I didn’t understand and that he was going to get his beer no matter. I had no say. He bought another case of beer and we returned home.

He deceived me with his lies once again and left for his shop, only this time, never to return. He spent the next 2 days at his shop drinking a case a day, plus tall boys. He completely checked out, blaming ME for having my mother help me and us women being too powerful because we were doing the labor the ‘MAN’ should be doing. His current excuse.

My mother and I cleaned up the apocalypse mess, burned all the debris, cut up the trees that were downed in my yard, and returned my home to a state of normalcy ….all by ourselves… while he stayed drunk and checked out. She had to leave, partly because she couldn’t stand watching him treat me like this and partially because the hurricane had impacted other family members and she was close enough to help them.

I was deeply wounded, but had to do this.

He remained in a saturated drunken state for about two weeks, keeping the tv shop and gym closed and using the hurricane as an excuse. No income. No work.

Our lives eventually returned to normal in the days following. However, the deep wounds of my own soul remained septic. I was poisoned by the terror. I had no one to tell my story to and no one to listen to me fully, so I held it all inside.

Sure, there were the few who might say ‘anytime’ you need to talk, but honestly, when was anytime? How do you show a person all that you have been hiding and dealing with emotionally without creating an uprising or feelings of judgment?

His drinking escalated to an epic high that served as the impetus for a complete change in his lifestyle. The hurricane pulled this out of him like an infected tooth! His sneaking around to access the drink, disappearing to the shop for days, driving drunk, collecting change and walking the streets with the local dirty scum just to get beer worsened. He completely checked out from life, family and our work.

Today, one year later, he is still alcohol free. He has removed the ‘daily drinkers’ and partiers from his life. He says NO to weddings, dinner and gatherings where alcohol is even a remote possibility. He will not spend time with family if they are sitting around drinking. He has slowly eradicated the drunks and bros from his life that he use to hang out with, clearing a path for the possibility of new, fulfilling and healthy friendships.

The opportunities for healing since that night of absolute terror have been abundant. I have grown so much in the year in terms of expression and power.

I love my husband deeply and fully.

Where most wives, sons, daughters, family and friends would have left him to die in his own vomit and blood, I took up my sword for battle. The road to healing is still ongoing, as he learns to fight his own demons daily without numbing his own toxic and abused past.

Don’t get me wrong, I am no coward and will stand TALL for myself and will not ever let him or anyone put me in a situation like this again.

I, one year later, am grateful for the hurricane and all of the emotional terror I experienced in direct relation to it. It’s impact on my life was the necessary storm for change and healing.

“Life’s roughest storms prove the STRENGTH of our anchors”-unknown

Attachment: Is It Time To Wean?

Do you have anxiety about a specific situation in your life?

Are you fearful of losing something like your job, your spouse, your business, or your home?

Do you dread your children growing up and moving away?

Are you emotionally consumed with memories and tears over how something use to be or a home you grew up in?

Do you feel emotional because a certain person in your life is not doing what they are suppose to be doing?

You are attached!

When you are ‘attached’ to something, you experience deep suffering when it FAILS to go a certain way.

Attachment is the GREATEST source of disharmony in our lives. It destroys our peace, harmony and flow.

Desire towards certain people, expectations of how people ‘should’ behave, act, respond and how situations ‘should’ unfold are all examples of attachment.

The stronger the attachment, the greater the disappointment, frustration, anxiety, fear and suffering experienced.

How did you respond when your first born child moved away or went off to college? How devastated were you after your divorce? How angry did you get when your dad remarried or dated after your mom’s death?

Years ago, I had a dream of owning my own space to train women the way I believed they deserved to be trained. I was so attached to this dream that I suffered both emotionally and physically to try and achieve it, even when it didn’t manifest. I tried so hard to put in my ideas and opinions, but I’m eventually my dream was taken over by another and I was crushed!

Today, I am conscious of my training space and more understanding of ‘desire’ and ‘expectation’, allowing each day to unfold and flow as it is intended. I work daily to create the possibility of which is mine.

I have been known to attach to a notion of how I ‘should’ be treated by people, with nothing but love and kindness. An expectation! Unfortunately, this isn’t reality and somehow, I allow my heart to remain open and flow with abundance for those in my spiritual circle!

Expectations of other’s behaviors are a key sign that you hold an attachment to them or a belief system.

You ‘expect’ your wife to know what you need. You ‘expect’ your partner to value you and your opinions. You ‘expect’ your husband to cook dinner while you are at the gym. You ‘expect’ your son to call home on holidays and birthdays. You ‘expect’ your neighbor to cut their grass. You ‘expect’ others to be sensitive to homeless people. You ‘expect’ your boss to value you in your job and promote you. You ‘expect’ your niece to attend family functions. You ‘expect’ others to follow a certain line of behaviors, energies and outcomes!

YOU, my dear, are the one in need of healing!!!

You must learn the art of detachment. All of the energies you deposit into others, expected outcomes and disappointments is purely intended to put into yourself.

Things that define our self-worth, our youth, our relationships, our careers, our intelligence, pets, body, our external values based upon societal/parental agreements….these are all attachments.

As we discover more PEACE and STABILITY within our own selves, we will find that those attachments to others begin to fade away. We no longer get upset over what other people say and do/don’t do.

Even during times of change, and my loves, change WILL happen, you will find a sense of unconditional love and acceptance because you have learned to HONOR the light in all living things in all stages.

Today, set your intentions on detachment! Whatever brings your heart heaviness, disconnect from the expectation or desire of what you WANT and focus on what you HAVE within yourself!

If you desire companionship to listen to what you have to say, write it out! If you expect a card or cake on your birthday, buy yourself the one you LOVE! If you want someone to talk to you, create an abundance of friendships. You hold within yourself the full power to create what you desire but you do NOT hold the power to MAKE someone else

Align yourself with your heart and create the energies to provide for yourself.

Detachment from all others creates abundance and unconditional love.

Injury: Failure to Pay Attention

I cannot speak of the countless times out of shape individuals walk through my door looking for a quick fix of some caliber. They all have a certain ‘greasy’ sheen of light surrounding them similar to an alcoholic’s body odor.

‘I use to be a football player (lifter…enter high school sport here) and I use to be fit and exercise all the time’ seems to be the most COMMON statement, especially from males.

They are using the word ‘use to’ and are looking for some connection that will guarantee them the perfect reenactment of their PAST achievements or vanity-driven bodies.

In my head, the response is something like “WOW! That was 30 years ago and you have completely let yourself go in all areas! There is absolutely NO PROGRAM or tool that can undo THAT kind of neglect”….OUCH!

My words are truth and yet some people might view them as too harsh. So I adjust, hedging my actual response into something more digestible for the EGO.

It’s never too late.

We can certainly help you reach your goals.

C’mon and give us a try.

It takes small steps/baby steps.

Seriously, if we could simply look at the 40/50 something overweight, stressed out, beer drinking, over extended, tobacco using, trash eating individual currently on 2 or more prescriptive medications talking about how they want to LOSE this (grabs a part of their body and jiggles it)….the one whose EGO says they already know HOW because they did it 25 years ago…and speak the truth, where would we be as a fitness industry?

Legitimately we would be right here…

Ma’am, I am not concerned with what your stomach looked like at age 17. That moment is past. You are morbidly obese and this ‘masterpiece’ you are looking to achieve is going to take a lot of work and consistency to BEGIN to see changes.

Sir, nothing is going to OMIT your protruding belly and weak glutes just by way of a conversation. Your lifestyle is toxic. You drink entirely too much alcohol and your current daily lifestyle is a major factor in your current unhealthy body composition. Consistency, listening and patience are the keys.

Ma’am, I understand you have knee issues, however, your excess visceral body fat has nothing to do with your knees. Your food choices, excuses and lack of consistency over a period of time are the culprit.

Sir, your tendinitis, herniated disc, patellofemoral syndrome, high blood pressure, pre-diabetic medical results, shoulder pain are all directly relate to one thing….EGO! Stop overtraining. Stop refueling with chemicals. Stop spending nights out at the bar, calling it stress relief. LISTEN and STOP ignoring the truth.

In every case, the EGO takes ahold and prevents the individual from looking inward for the reasons they are in their present state, no matter if that state is emotional or physical!

Therefore, the EGO is the number one indicator relative to injury. So how do your navigate the ego and work towards injury prevention?

Let’s take a 48-year old man. He’s out of shape, works a stressful job, has a family; lots of bills and obligations! He wants to shed some belly fat and get strong like he was when he played ‘high school football’, but he has low back and knee issues.

You agree to work with him, but find that during each session, you are met with a huge EGO! He doesn’t listen to your recommendations. He continually grabs the weights the others use. He gives off the air of ‘arrogance’ or ‘know-it-all’ dom.

Over time, you find you stop helping him because you know he is an injury waiting to happen. You listen to his complaints of pain without empathy because you already KNOW the issue.


Injury comes in three phases: the preventative phase, the injury phase and the recovery phase.

In the preventative phase, the focus is on NOT getting injured. This is where the EGO often gets in the way, telling you that you can go harder, faster, stronger. This is when you may hear the erroneous statement ‘no pain, no gain’.

It is important to perform all movements in a manner congruent with your body’s CURRENT capability. Sure, you may WANT to do that crazy muscle up like your 20-year old granddaughter or perform a twice-your-body-weight deadlift like the guy next to you. But are you fully capable in the present to do so without injury?

Genetics, physical limitations, hormones, bone structure, past injuries, energy levels, appropriate nutrition, overuse and a host of other variables ALL contribute to our CURRENT capability.

To prevent injury, listening to your body is the number ONE step. If you feel pain, weirdness, stiffness, difficulty breathing, hit a wall of energy or have reservations in performing certain movements, you MUST listen to these signs. Some may simply require additional information, while others may be a VERY REAL billboard advertising your limits!

Prevention is the cure to all things. An ounce is worth a lot, I’ve heard. Don’t get injured and you won’t suffer injury!

Once you suffer injury, or you have the signs of impending injury, you have crossed over! Somewhere along the line, YOU did not listen to your body or your intuition telling you this movement MAY not be good for you or the number of reps may be too high or the depth isn’t for you.

You allowed your EGO to say ‘you can do it….just push through it! Grab that heavier weight and prove to them what a badass you really are! It’s on the board or in the program so it must mean you have to perform it exactly as written”.

Swelling, chronic pain, weakness, limited movements, bruising, lowered performance and of course, the obvious results of ankle rolls, pain from improper form and trauma are all INJURIES.

I sustained a knee injury just four days ago! Unknown to me, I pulled something in the front of my knee. The bursa sac in the back of the knee began holding fluid and by the next day, I felt an uncomfortable tightness in my gait. No real pain, but tightness.

My EGO stepped in and I performed a max effort row test the very next day. The knee became tighter, with greater movement restrictions. On day 3, I let both my EGO and my empathy take over, and I injured myself even further helping out a fellow client. Now, I couldn’t move!

What started as minor tightness ended up creating a greater issue, putting me out for a day and limiting my workouts in the present.

Those who know ME know that no broken bone or pain will STOP me! I find a way to navigate every scenario. But the fact that I allowed my own EGO to dominate without listening to my body’s cues is anything but NOBLE! In fact, it’s downright stupid!

The EGO is stupid.

If you do find yourself in pre-injury or an injured state, don’t quit or give up everything and allow yourself to go into a state of depression, focusing on what use to be!

No!!! Find suitable alternatives that allow you to work around the injury while maintaining an active lifestyle.

Once you finally recover and heal from your injury and you begin returning to a state of normalcy, low swelling or reduced pain, it is crucial to pay attention to what increases the risk of reinjury and educate yourself on how to strengthen the supporting muscles. Moreover, understand what you did wrong to cause the injury and making a commitment to yourself not to ignore prevention!

Today, I worked out with the class. We performed running, rows, jump ropes, battle ropes and flutter kicks. Instead of running, I walked 1/2 the distance. Instead of using my knee for rowing, I focused on my calories per pull without over flexing or locking out my knee. Instead of speed ropes, I performed a one-leg jump rope. Instead of walking lunges, I performed seated one arm presses. The rest of the workout was performed in the same manner as the class.

This is both an example of working around an injury and preventing further injury.

The main thing with preventing further injury while recovering from a current injury is setting the EGO on the back burner and listening to the voices of reason trying to help you slow down, recover and HEAL.

The EGO plays a major role in the lives of some people. While it holds value in certain circumstances, it is important to understand and embrace its very negative impact on the body when it comes to movement and exercise in terms of injury risk.

I hear people talk on the daily about how many injuries they have sustained, as if there is some PRIDE in this! Surgeries caused by a lifetime of EGO is nothing to be proud of! Knee and back injuries caused by overuse and poor form is not an achievement medal.

You have ONE capable body. Wouldn’t you like to enjoy it to it’s full potential for an entire lifetime?

Stop listening to your EGO!