*Trigger Warning for survivors of domestic violence.*
When I first saw the preview for the movie Alice, Darling, I knew I had to watch it. The pull was not in a “can’t wait to see it” kind of way (Top Gun 3, anyone?), but rather a “tiptoe down a hallway to a scary dark closet” kind of way.
Most of the skeletons from my three-year relationship from hell were cleaned out years ago, but I knew this film would uncover the last skeleton hidden deep in the back corner.
The one I really didn’t want to talk about.
On the flight back from Ohio, I knew it was the right time to immerse myself in Alice’s world. The film powerfully depicts the realities of living in an emotionally abusive, controlling relationship.
Until I fell into my ex’s trap, I didn’t understood how and why victims didn’t just leave. And I certainly didn’t understand how soul sucking psychological abuse is—both physically and emotionally.
Now, back to the closet. Remember that skeleton I mentioned earlier?
Like the main character Alice, not only was my hair falling out during the darkness that was my world from 2014-2017, but I, too, started pulling my hair out. I’d always twisted my hair like many bite their fingernails, but this was different. Dealing with the daily rollercoaster of abuse increased my anxiety to record levels.
I’ve never really talked about that openly before. To be honest, I didn’t even know that hair pulling was a thing. I thought I was just mindlessly twisting my hair. Until I wasn’t twisting it…I was unconsciously pulling it out in times of stress.
If you’ve been in an abusive relationship, you know that “times of stress” pretty much means 100 percent of the time. When you’re together, you wonder if he’ll be Jekyll or Hyde, and best guess is never correct.
“You’re a thick fucking brick,” he’d say, when I’d done something to tick him off, like dressing up for a work outing only to be told that I never dressed up for him. Read: you’re dressing up for others, so you must be wanting their attention.
Even when you’re apart, you’re hyper aware about responding to texts and calls right away, because if you don’t, all hell will break loose. You worry that the random guy connected to you on Facebook will publicly comment on a post making your abusive partner question if you know him. If you like him. If he’s ever flirted with you. If he’s written to you privately. If you’ve ever talked with him. If you’re hiding something. And on, and on, and on.
You can’t go on trips to see friends without your phone blowing up a million times a day. Don’t even get me started on birthdays, holidays, and important days.
I did my best to stay three steps ahead. I had a checklist of sorts for when we were together.
I spent many a night trying to catch my breath, not understanding why my body was restricting my lung capacity. Alice experienced panic attacks, too. It wasn’t until I finally left that I realized the air was slowly being sucked out of my life. There was no freedom or ease. I was suffocating in ways I never thought possible.
At the end of the movie, I watched Alice grapple with the shame of it all. The shame that comes with going down the rabbit hole of an abusive relationship and not being able to leave.
“Where do I put the shame?” Alice asks. Her friends suggest she give it to them. (That line really choked me up.)
Shame destroys us from the inside out, keeping us trapped in things that aren’t good for us.
Shame keeps us from talking about what we did while we were coping with unimaginable pain.
Like unconsciously pulling your hair out.
If you’ve survived (or are surviving) a controlling, abusive relationship, forgive yourself for whatever you did during the surviving. You were simply surviving day by day. That alone is worth celebrating.
Then give the shame to me. <3
Alice, Darling is available for streaming. Click here for the movie trailer.
“Don’t read the reviews,” they said.
Well, don’t read the negative ones, that is.
Every author I know has had the same advice for me: don’t read the reviews.
And they’re right. Especially if you’re a memoirist.
As my friend Amy B Scher says, “A memoir isn’t a dialogue.” It’s my messy, wonderful, embarrassing-at-times, joyous, hard AF-at-times life splayed out for all to read. Don’t get me wrong, I chose this. I knew what I was getting into when I signed the publishing deal. I'm no stranger to criticism and I welcome it when it's constructive. During the airing of my Shark Tank pitch, people came out in droves to pick apart my company, my appearance, and my family, so I had first-hand experience with what it’s like to contend with the public. A few naysayers even said that they didn’t believe I was the one building the furniture. And that was back in 2011 when social media was still fairly new and trolls wore training wheels. Today, hating and trolling from behind a keyboard is so widespread it could be an Olympic sport.
Some say that it’s not my business what readers think of Little Voices, and I get that. As Don Miguel Ruiz writes in The Four Agreements, “Even when a situation seems so personal, even if others insult you directly, it has nothing to do with you. What they say, what they do, and the opinions they give are according to the agreements they have in their own minds.”
Perception is reality, right? I constantly remind myself that every person reads Little Voices through their own filter or lens—a lens made from their experiences, heartaches, and unconscious biases.
Still, I must confess, not reading the reviews has been harder than I thought. I had this epiphany today. Mediumship relies on validation and proof, so it’s ingrained in me to look to feedback for validation that what I’m channeling is helpful and correct. It's all about reviews in the mediumship world.
It’s hard not to look at negative reviews.
When I do slip up, I regret it. Some start with, “because it’s a memoir, I don’t want to pick it apart, BUT….” The “buts” are doozies, as you can imagine. One even stated that she thought I was making it all up. I scratched my head on that one, especially because a decorated NYPD detective wrote the foreword for my book. Don’t get me wrong, some points are completely valid. Despite everyone’s best efforts (editing team, copy editor, agent, and me), a few typos still went to press.
A few reviewers have been angry at me for not sharing more about the Carrie case. I do want to address this one because it's important. I think we’re all so used to seeing horrendous cases detailed and solved on TV’s SVU and CSI that we expect more detail about real life stuff. We want to know every detail forgetting that sharing details might hinder cases or bring harm to others. In the case of Carrie and many others I have not detailed nor will ever talk about publicly, there are dangerous networks of people who wouldn’t think twice about targeting me and my family. It’s why I changed names, locations, etc. I’ve been warned about this by numerous law enforcement officers, some who’ve seen their own families and partners targeted and killed. That’s how serious this is. I’ve even had to tell numerous tv producers and agents the same thing, and I’m more than okay with that. Nothing—not a bad review or a pass from a producer—is worth the risk. Most of what I work on you will never hear about.
Back to my point about reading reviews…
After I stupidly scanned the latest negative review, I swore I’d never look at another one again. And I won’t. Then I went to my bedside table, and I pulled out a card that I cherish. It’s from Nate’s parents, Denise and John. (If you’ve read Little Voices, you’ll know Nate, John, and Denise.) It reads:
We are so very proud of you & all you have accomplished. You have given Nate a voice & we love you for it. Always remember to ignore the voices that say “you can’t” and listen to the little voices telling you “you can”!
John and Denise, Nate’s mom and dad forever
There is wisdom and comfort in their note. Ignore the voices that say you can’t…or negative reviews that say you suck…and keep on keeping on.
P.S. Seriously, don’t look at the f’ing negative reviews. (This is a reminder for me, too.)
When someone takes their own life, society asks questions.
Many folks even declare that to end a life is selfish.
As an intuitive medium who communicates with souls who have passed on — including souls who’ve committed suicide — I want to share what I’ve come to learn about suicide from a spiritual perspective.
My hope is that by sharing what I’ve experienced and learned over the years, you’ll find a bit of comfort in knowing your loved ones and friends who took their own lives are still loving you from the other side.
THERE IS NO HELL
I’ve learned that taking your own life isn’t a sin and there is no “hell” in a fire and brimstone way. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. When you pass on, you are greeted by loved ones and guides who help you adjust to being in spirit/soul form sans a human body. From what I’ve experienced, this is true for all of us, no matter how we pass.
Sometimes confusion and fear set in (on a soul level) after one takes their own life. Like in the case of Matt, a teen who committed suicide and came to me in spirit for help, he just needed to be reassured that he wasn’t going to hell if he crossed into the light. His religion told him he’d burn in hell. I told him what I knew about the light: that once he entered it, he could come back and forth on a spirit level. That he was not crossing over into a fiery eternity. Thank goodness he believed me and moved easily into the arms of his loved ones on the other side. (NOTE: I share more about my time with Matt, and how he found me, in my memoir, LITTLE VOICES (Post Hill Press/Simon and Schuster).
From what I’ve learned as a medium, Earth is quite literally “earth school” — a place we come to learn and grow, and most importantly, love. We’re here as souls in human form to learn to love ourselves and others. It sounds simple, right?! But look at the way we judge and treat others. We’re masters at raising people up and tearing them down. And then dictating how everyone should live. The business of being human is messy, wonderful, heartbreaking, complicated, and believe it or not, purposeful. We even sign up for more of it lifetime after lifetime. It’s hard to comprehend with our rational human minds, but on a soul level, it makes perfect sense. After all, we’re souls having a human experience, not the other way around.
LIFE EXIT POINTS
From my experience talking with loved ones on the other side, we pre-plan possible life exits before our births in something called a soul contract. The exit points coincide with what we’re here to learn and do (earth school). From what I’ve learned, I don’t believe suicide is written into our soul contract; however, those who come into life to carry the weight of very heavy things have a much higher probability of committing suicide. I personally know multiple people who’ve attempted suicide but didn’t permanently exit their bodies because what they came to learn and do wasn’t finished. You hear this quite a bit in near-death experience stories, too. In short, if someone isn’t meant to exit at a specific point or via a suicide attempt, they won’t. The attempt will not result in loss of life.
If you know someone who deals with depression and anxiety, you know that it can become so incredibly overwhelming and dark that you’re unable to feel love for yourself, family or for life itself. And you’re overwhelmed with pain so deep that you just want to escape it any way you can. You’ve tried everything on the planet — therapy, pills, putting on a good face, hiding the pain — but nothing works. Many times, you think those you love will be better off without you.
WHAT A SOUL FEELS
A suicidal soul in a human body is in a state of unbearable despair. Pain, numbness, and sorrow make it impossible to feel love for self…for life.
A soul who committed suicide, and is now on the other side (heaven), CAN feel love again. They can look at their life, heal emotional wounds, and continue to love, protect, and guide those they left behind. There is no shaming, damnation, or hellfire. There’s only love and compassion on the other side.
Shouldn’t it be that way on this side, too?
As a woman who has lost friends to suicide and a mom whose daughter battled suicidal ideation after multiple concussions, I know first-hand that losing those you love (and/or the fear of potential loss) sends us into a tailspin of despair and grief. But shaming and blaming those who end their lives does not lessen the pain we feel. Having compassion and empathy for their journey—and their exit—does.
Little Voices is the true story of an ordinary woman’s unexpected psychic mediumship journey that uncovered buried secrets of sexual abuse in her own life and the lives of children who died long ago—and helped her escape the grasp of a seductive predator who nearly destroyed her. (Post Hill Press/Simon & Schuster/Blackstone Publishing (Audiobook)
Former Oprah producer Sally Lou Loveman thinks Reese Witherspoon should play me in the LITTLE VOICES movie!
Check out what Sally Lou has to say about the movie version of Little Voices!
#reesewitherspoon #oprah #sallylouloveman #booktoscreen #adaptation
November 3rd marks 24 years since Jason Godfrey transitioned to the other side. I never knew him before he crossed into the light, but he saved my life.
He and his beautiful mom, Yvette, came into my world before everything turned upside down in 2014. Jason (in spirit) first gave me a heads up about Tony (an abusive predator disguised as good human), saying "this isn't what it seems, Kiers." Near the end of three years of abuse I endured—that I never thought I'd be able to climb out of,—he helped me understand that I was addicted to the ups and downs of the cycle of abuse I was locked in. Once, Jay even told me that Tony had unknowingly become my drug.
And he was right. He's always right.
You see, in his human life, Jason was an abuse survivor, too. He knew the road I was on better than anyone.
Jason and Yvette helped save me in every way a person can be saved. To say I'm grateful doesn't seem like enough. How do you even begin to thank someone for saving your life?!?
I love you both more than you'll ever know. xx
Jason and Yvette are both featured in my memoir LITTLE VOICES. Below is one excerpt from the book....