It’s been a while since I’ve traveled to these fair parts and for that, I apologize. I’ve missed the warmth and kindness that the OMHG community overflows with and it’s nice to be back.

Like many of you, I was deeply moved by Jessika’s open and humble call for support. Both she and her mother have been nothing but gracious and hospitable to me, making me feel welcomed and necessary, whether in the forums or during the #omhg chats and beyond. With that said, how could I not want to contribute, in some way, toward Stephanie’s recovery efforts?

It goes without saying that many of us have suffered various forms of trauma in our lives. These challenging days we live in are full of moments that test the limits of human endurance. For me, the journey into adulthood has had the unfortunate shadow of past child abuse as an unwanted companion. I was fortunate that, at an early age, a trusted mentor assisted me with a lot of the interpersonal work that we intuitive feelers are willing and eager to do to try to ‘fix our brains’. What a fortuitous blessing that was for a much younger me, for which I am eternally grateful.

When you start the process of rebuilding your view of your self, one that had been systematically striped of value by a parental unit, it seems that one can never imagine how long the process can take. But I did the work and really believed that I had resurrected a huge part of my identity; that I had become more than an abused child whose body and soul was the punching bag of a man whose life centered on so much anger and pain. I could feel myself become ME.

However, there is another side to abuse that is often unexplored and discovering this unseen territory has been a great awakening for me as I settle into my fourth decade of life. While many of us focus on the mental and psychological effects of trauma, few of us examine and discuss the long-term physical effects. It wasn’t until, after years of doing volunteer work and helping so many others make dramatic changes in their lives, that I was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Simply put, my body decided to stop playing along with me. I used to be able to absorb and store my anxieties and those of others quite securely in the center of my body, my intestines. One day, my body clearly declared: “Enough already!” I lost a ton of weight and could barely eat a thing. Long story short: I had worked on my mind without remembering my body, and my body had finally had enough.

Thanks to a treasured friend, I was introduced to essential oil therapy and a book (Waking the Tiger by Peter A. Levine) that opened my eyes to the need for the body to release the pent up energy that comes from years of physical trauma. In the process, I’ve also discovered the power of positive affirmations. What a helpful tool these have been! My body is slowly releasing years of stored energy that occurs when our ‘fight or flight’ mechanism goes unfulfilled and I’m beginning to rewrite the messages that were reinforced in my brain. The inner voices manifest themselves as pain, sometimes so subtle that we ignore their presence until they the grow into larger chronic health issues. It’s a journey, but sometimes the journey is the destination. It needs to be savored and cherished so that each step forward is seen as a victory, each new morning is an opportunity for the glory of being alive to shine and radiate until you can stand still and say I AM WANTED, LOVABLE & WHOLE.

With that in mind, I’ve designed a line of posters, pillows and more and opened a little shop that I call I AM SAFE. To help with Stephanie’s recovery efforts, I am donating all profits from the I AM WANTED, LOVABLE & WHOLE print to Stephanie and her family. Pick up a copy for yourself or someone in your life who needs a reminder that our worth begins when we believe in it. Thanks for reading and for all you do to create beauty in your life.


  1. Stephanie Douglas says:

    Oh Brett! You are such a beautiful, beautiful man. Jessika told me to get out the tissues before I read your post. Good thing that I Do Listen to her once in a while.

    Thank you! for so much on so many levels – thank you for sharing your truths and a snapshot of your life. Thank you for “I Am Wanted, Lovable & Whole.”

    It took being mostly dead for 8 days for me to realize that I am wanted and lovable. I am currently working on being whole. People like you give me hope.

    We share far too many childhood commonalities although I was never lucky enough to have a mentor help and support me as a child. I was my own mentor and protector and… story for another day.

    Thank you for being the incredibly awesome man that you are – I wish I could wrap my arms around you and give you a true hug. Sending one out with my love virtually.

    • MAMA comments make me smile 🙂 You are wanted on the earth & have so much left to experience here, you are loveable to so many people who are cheering for you every day & you are already whole even with all the broken bits, it just might take a little time to truly know that in your heart. There are bright shiny lights in the world like Brett in the world showing the way & scores of people who want to see you thrive!

      Brett thank you for the visual reminder of this essential truth that even when we are unable to feel or realize it is still true-we are wanted, loveable & whole. Most of all thank you for your willingness to venture into the darker places of your story so honestly to share with us some of what helped shape the exceptional person you have become. Knowing we are not the only ones navigating our way to mental/emotional/physical wellness makes the long walk that much more joyful. I remember you sharing this quote with us at our #OMHG chat once:

      “Walking with a friend in the dark is better than walking alone in the light.” Helen Keller

      Thank you for walking in the dark with us <3

      • I AM THE LAB says:

        It’s my pleasure. It’s not when or how we speak of our struggles that matters, it’s with whom. I’m wishing you both a peaceful and long journey together.

        I recently sat down and wrote a list of all the sterling qualities that exist in the person of my closest friend. When I was done, I looked at the list for a while and then said to myself: Be this for others. If I get a 10th of it right, I’m golden.

        No matter how dark the past is, we can be more than all the darkness with simple and steady acts of light. Hugs to you both!

  2. This is so beautiful. All of you are just gorgeous souls, with so much purpose & love & brave beyond belief. Thank you for sharing your story Brett. We are so glad you are here…to bring more light to this amazing community. <3 <3 <3

  3. This is beautiful and so encouraging to read. Stories like yours and Stephanie’s are what helped me get through similar situations, because nothing is more powerful than knowing you aren’t alone. I’m currently “rebuilding my view of myself” and I am inspired by your stories. Thanks for sharing.

    The “I am Inspired” pillow in Brett’s shop is now on my wishlist. <3

    • Thank you for visiting to let us know that Brett’s beautiful post and my mama’s story connected with you. The power of sharing our true experiences and struggles is often underestimated-you are not alone & very much loved. We’re here if you ever need a reminder!

  4. Bee Eastman says:

    Your words Brett, “No matter how dark the past is, we can be more than all the darkness with simple and steady acts of light.” are ones I read and say to myself and hope someday I can feel something other than worthless. You inspire me to do better. xoBee

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