what do you see in this video? what do you think I see?



this is a contest / writing assignment.

  1. watch the short video above from the Humans of New York facebook page.
  2. check out a few of the comments posted in response to this video on Facebook (you don’t have to sign up for FB to read the comments. don’t read too many, just a half dozen or so)
  3. then i want you to imagine what MY reply might be. you can pretend to be me.

your assignment is to write out a 4-5 sentence reply for this video, from my point of view, what might i write as a reply to this.

post your comments below (or send to me in an email)

i have already written my reply. i think this is a cool experiment to not just look at this how YOU might reply, but to imagine how someone else (me) would, too.

even if you’re new to me, and you don’t know what i might do, try it anyway.

and the winner will get an audio bundle worth $150. 

deadline: tomorrow, Wednesday, around noon eastern.

isn’t this fun? i can’t wait 😉



I want to put this online, to hold myself accountable. I want to document the noise in my head. I'm tired of thinking about drinking. date of last drink: june 30, 2012

  • What Belle would say:

    Oh Sweetie Pea, that sounds rough 🙂 It stinks to be in an unbalanced relationship. I think, though, in these situations our best strategy is to worry about the part we control, which is what we bring to the relationship (rather than the other person in the relationship). There is never a black and white answer to relationship problems. Focus on the part of the problem to which you contributed, and fix that. It sounds like you made a great start, by ending things with dignity, so maybe the last bit for you to do is release the rest 🙂 Le hugs.

  • She walked away from something that was not working for her. She left behind all the negative with pride. She knows she can live a better life without him and is willing to try and move forward. Her life will become better even if it is hard at first.

  • What I see in this video is a very co dependent woman. None of her loving gestures were actually loving because they were done with expectations of what she could or would or should get in return. This woman is mixing up graciousness with co-dependency. It is easy to be co dependent and many people are some of the time and some most of the time. But the worst kind of co-dependent is the one that can’t see it and squarely places their own self into the role of victim, over and over and over again. Instead of sending off her now ex with everything ‘beautiful’ she could have taken care of herself and given herself the beauty she needed to start making healthy closure. Instead, she gave that away too and then was angry and victimized when the ex did what the ex always had done–take without giving in return.
    maybe I’m a hard ass Belle … I also think its a little ludicrous to set up the all or nothing formula of either ‘bleaching/ destroying clothes’ or packing everything of value and beauty into a bag for the other. There is a whole host of other healthier options!

  • Dear lovely lady,

    I think what you did for him was both generous and wise.Without scorning him you sent him off with beautiful things. Obviously the one most beautiful thing is his life was you and he has been blind to that for a long time. Kudos to you for your strength and sense of dignity (for him as well). But a new suitcase and fill it with some treats and special things for yourself!!

  • Wow. I wish I could write like I think you would but every single time you respond to someone, my mouth hangs open a little bit more. You cut to the chase like a pro. Like you’ve been doing this exact job for 50 years & your message is clear & concise. I have no idea what you’d say.

    I would say:
    That’s very kind of you. However it feels to me like you’re giving away another piece of yourself in your kind & generous “booting out” of a man who’s deeply hurt you & let you down.

    If it were me I’d probably go on a bit more to soften my words. But I think you’d stop there. You leave the recipient w/ meat to chew on & digest. Much more effective.

  • Hello Belle, here is what I think might be your reply:

    Life is like a roadtrip, you were having to much lugage on that trunk and it was feeling heavy, you coudn’t see the road because you were taking care of those bags, so you decided to stop, take the extra weight out of your car and keep on moving, now just be sure not to look back, not even check on that mirror lady as your road is ahead, not behind!
    Good luck!

  • Hugs to you! You choose dignity for yourself and gave a gift of dignity to a total shit. Now you worry about you and let him worry about him. You do your thing, he does his. You didn’t pour bleach on his clothes but, you poured bleach on the relationship because it was over. Now you can move on to beautiful things for you.

  • “You are generous and lovely with a big heart. But my suggestion is to keep the beautiful things for you. He sounded selfish and undeserving of a suitcase packed with good things. Hang on to what is precious to you, let it make your life richer.”

    If this were a person looking for help with sobriety, the answer could be “Hang on to what is important to you, don’t give away what is precious to you to the undeserving – your sobriety and your time.” : )

  • In the video I think you would say it’s like being tired of thinking about drinking. You know you’re not happy with what you’re doing. So make the decision to free yourself of the problem. You might be sad to say goodbye, but you know you made the right decision.

  • This is what I would say directly if I were you. There are statements here that seem to say other things. You thought of him before yourself and bought him beautiful things, maybe there’s self esteem issues here and you are seeking approval, sometimes people do things to be nice and because they love someone and sometimes it’s more. You say you made it beautiful for him and gave him his self respect but the reality is that you choose your behaviour but you don’t get to choose his response. You can’t make it beautiful for him or give him self respect as it’s out of your control. And finally my heart goes out to you when you said his response was thankyou, was that it? I think you are hurting a lot and you need to look after you and believe you deserve better. Big hugs

  • I see a brave woman who knew her relationship wasn’t working and ended it in a way that she felt was the kindest, most humane way she knew how. I think you might see this video as a woman being way too kind to a Wolfie type when he just needs to get the fuck out. And she should hang on to her beautiful things and her suitcase cuz that motherfucker will take and take and never give her anything in return. He doesn’t care about her and never has. He’s selfish. But the important thing is he’s gone. She did it her way…and she took charge of her life. She needs better Wolfie radar.

  • I see a person who is clear, focused and sober. I see a person who has thoughtfully ended her relationship in a dignified way. I see no regrets. I guess a part of me wonders if they tried everything first. Like, did they go to counselling. Did they read books about working out differences and in relationships?

    Belle, you are very wise and insightful, so I am not sure what you would see/say here. Maybe something like, let yourself get to know your sober self well before making big decisions. Rest in your recovery… celebrate it!! You don’t have to make any big life decisions for the first 12 months of your sobriety. Then, when you are ready, you can rest in the knowledge that you are making decisions that are clear and focused on what is best for you. Then you would say hugs!!

  • Your response?
    ‘ I take your good intentions with this suitcase gift. Perhaps it’s also that you want to make sure he has the sheets and towels to stay away!
    But I am seeing a you who is trying to bribe wolfie when you NEED to be attending to your own comforts and putting yourself number one now first. I see a you who has been taught to look after others first and needs a new approach to yourself.
    Your identity will be nourished by self comfort and to say instead frankly ‘ fuck off wolfie!’

  • Honey – face forwards. You’ve successfully broken away from a circumstances that was no longer serving you! Now, what do you want to do? Sit on a step waiting for an old suitcase to be returned? Really? That’s it? Get up, get some exercise- clear your head. Then go buy yourself the beautiful things only you know you want. I call bull on this sitting around waiting for someone else to figure out what’s best for you. Buy a dozen suitcases if that’s what donnez vous la flame.

    Alright – your French ending would be better…

  • Possibly my weird mood today but here goes…

    To the woman in the video – on the surface what you did may seem sweet but I think you had a motive. Maybe packing the suitcase with relationship memories might make the guy come to his senses and realize what a wonderful person he was going to lose? And if that didn’t work he would surely have to return the suitcase giving him another chance to see what he was losing? The whole thing struck me as odd. You need to move forward and take time to assess what kind of life you want now that you are free of this 180 +/- lb ugly weight!

  • Belle,

    This is a double edged sword. There are two ways to look at this scene and it can depend on one’s values and one’s commitment to marriage. Some will champion her for leaving and “taking a stand”, but what was she standing for? She wanted to stand up for herself but now she is left alone and her need still aren’t being met. This is just plain sad. I believe this woman wanted to see changes but did nothing to advance her cause. The loss of a marriage is unfortunate and it’s something worthwhile that should be protected, but I’m old fashioned in this day of built-in obsolescence. If he was unfaithful or violent or mean or if she had asked him to work on their marriage and he failed to try? Well, that is a different story. But she didn’t say that. She was more concerned with the beauty of the linen (?) and that seemed superficial to me. She packaged up her marriage with a big red bow and sent him on his way. It makes me question her real motivations. And that he just left like that without protest? Maybe their marriage WAS doomed. Perhaps they speak different love languages and he never knew what language she spoke.

    Based on the premise that this marriage may have been worth saving and the fact that she never revealed her needs, this is what I think you would say:

    “I call bullshit. You stood in a dark room with your foot nailed to the floor. You were hoping that someone would turn on the light or help you pull out the nail but you never actually opened your mouth and asked for help. You were silently hoping that your husband was a mind reader while you projected what you wanted, but you never made a peep. Did you yell, scream, wave your arms, write a note, or catch your husband’s attention by saying anything at all? This marriage may well have been over but you never even spoke with your husband about your relationship. How did you hope for change when you never even suggested that you weren’t happy and that it wasn’t working for you? You need to take care of you and sometimes that involves using your voice to let your needs be known. What could you do different?”

  • The laughter at the end, had an echo of a heartbreaking empty lost sound. Yes, the almost new suitcase was not returned. The love and beautiful things were not returned. A raw chasm, a ragged hole, he left you. Linen cannot fill it. Please darling poppet, do not pour bleach on your wound in the days and months and years ahead. Do not ” go ghetto” on yourself. The need to heal herself, the anger and resentment is bubbling on that stoop in that hollow laugh. Look my love, up on the sky, that’s your esteem being blown about like leaves, no hand made quilt will bring you peace. You will bring yourself back to an authentic laugh by loving yourself. Wrap yourself in linen and say “dick wad, fuck you! I’m keeping the Tiffany lampshade and Limoges teapot”
    Keep that key ring close. Passion is good. Integrity and self worth better.

  • Nobody was happy, and she couldn’t take it anymore. It was time to stop trying to make him (Wolfie) do the things for her that she could do for herself. You can do the same thing, but no need for a lovely send off. Just end it. Wolfie isn’t working for you anymore. Wolfie didn’t treat you right. Start filling your life with the lovely treats that Wolfie never gave you. Wolfie’s an ass. Fuck Wolfie:-)

  • This is a perfect example of self-care. The relationship was good until it wasn’t (like drinking, it was fun until it wasn’t). Continuing to attempt to make the relationship work using the same method is sort of like repeating the same thing but expecting different results, it’s insanity. See the correlation here? She needed to feel better by doing her breakup HER way, with dignity and respect before things got out of hand and they hated each other. Maybe by trying different, she will feel successful….BE successful.

  • My lovely, we can’t make people be who we want them to be; however, we can clearly communicate to them what our needs are. You mention modeling the behavior you wanted in return, but did you discuss your needs? If not, that is an important lesson to learn for future relationships. I commend you for not ending the relationship with bitter, childish behavior, but rather with dignity and respect. Take care of you. Hugs, Belle.

  • Honey, you sound 100% sincere, I know your action came from the heart but if I may, and please feel free to ignore what I’m about to say ’cause who am I to give advice to people, right? I have my own shit to deal with! Your husband/boyfriend/sex friend, whoever he is, whatever he is, he’s not gonna get it. He’s not gonna understand the beautiful meaning of this gift. Your action is directed at him, at him only, and so are your thoughts. You did not take care of you in the process, you didn’t think of yourself one bit! And that’s what you should do. Right now. You don’t have to tear his clothes apart, but you don’t have to make him a cake as well! You can let it go, let HIM go. My tip for you today : have a bath, a hot bath, with candles EVERYWHERE. Even on the bathroom floor. Even special candles that will float on the water and won’t burn if they drown in the bathtub. You didn’t do anything wrong, so don’t give yourself a hard time. Just enjoy the bath! Love.

  • You might say, The person who should be taking care of yourself is you. Anything telling you not to or your not worth it is wrong and needs to be eliminated from your life.

  • My dear, first, I see you. And I see your still in pain. And I personally know what it’s like to give myself to something or someone that doesn’t give back. Over and over. It feels shitty. And while you kicked him out, he wasn’t the problem. The problem, and your not going to like hearing it, is in you. I know because you still sent him off with things you would have loved for yourself. Your still listening to the voice in your head that says, if you just do this right, he will love you. And it’s a lie. You can choose to stop listening to that voice. And you can prove to yourself that the voice is wrong. Show yourself that you are worth loving just because you are you. What if every day for the next month you committed to treating yourself to something beautiful. Everyday. For 30 days. And make it a number one priority. It’s something I did for myself, and it changed my life. You will say that it won’t work but, what if you tried. And what it it did.

  • Sweet pea, I know your hurting right now, nobody likes break ups. You can’t change other people, but you can change your perspective on this situation. Reframe it so that instead of feeling loss and heartache you look at this as a learning experience. What can you learn about yourself from this, don’t worry about him or what you did wrong. You need to focus on you and your needs, that is not selfish, it’s called self care. -Hugs, me.

    Ok that’s my idea of your response. My first reaction was “hey, she kicked him out, she got the apartment right!?” She sent him off with their wedding stuff, I wouldn’t want that shit around anyways, just wish she would have handed it to him in a garbage bag.

  • Get out your beautiful stuff and use it for you. Invite your friends to dinner and serve it on the best china. Wear the lingerie you’re keeping for best. Open the gift soap you have tucked away in a drawer. Write in the brand new journal you were saving for when you had something to say. Buy yourself fresh flowers. Waiting for someone else to notice you, to treat you or care for you is crazy making. Waiting to do those things for yourself is self destruction.

  • Oh, Sweet Pea, I think you were right when you said you were trying to show him how to treat you, but the time has come to treat yourself the way you want to be treated and not wait for someone else to do that for you. How about going out and buying yourself some nice things right now- a new suitcase to start with. hugs, Belle

  • Hi Belle. How fun, I love your ideas! I’m not sure how many years you were in this relationship but it sounds like you were unhappy way too long. Good for you to be strong enough to make this decision. It’s time for YOU to be happy! As far as the beautiful linens you gave to him………go buy yourself a gift, as in new beautiful linens that will create happy, new memories! You deserve it!

  • So the only kind of crappy person that could treat you as bad as he has is someone who has some serious personal issues. Well, if you’re telling me you’re perfectly fine with the way this went down, I call bull-shit. You’re not fine with it, you don’t care about the suitcase or the beautiful things. My suggestion is to find some support to help you through this break-up or you’re just going to fall into the same situation again and that’s not who you want to be.

  • There’s nothing like slamming your hand in a car door to make you sit up and realise the kind of shitty situation you’ve pulled yourself out of. It doesn’t matter why you stayed, or what made you think things would change, or even what made you think he would return the suitcase – what matters is that you’re here. And you know what? I’m glad you’re laughing, because let me tell you something- there is nothing better than waking up from some crummy life thing with your head thrown back, laughing. And let me tell you something else – you deserve nothing less. Now, I want you to get up, get your ass to the store and buy the most beautiful fucking suitcase you’ve ever laid your eyes on. Fuck him – he sounds like an anus.

    Bye bye! 😉

    (Read in your voice, of course!)

  • Nice! I think you got to the point where you knew this was absolutely not working… you kept giving your time, money, quality of life and this “relationship” was just taking. What a blessing it was to get to the point of “enough”! You got rid of the extra baggage and are moving on, even though it was difficult. Now you need to pack a bag for yourself that includes all the tools you need to move forward… and damn it, start buying yourself some beautiful gifts, every single day, to reward yourself for being strong and starting a new life! It won’t always be easy, there will be hard days… don’t take him back! Do know that a few hard days without him is better than having a a single unhappy day with him. You go girl!!!

  • There is a harder way to do this and a better way. You chose the better way. Of course he didn’t return the suitcase. He’s a taker, not a giver. The further he gets from your doorstep the better off you are. Now, go treat yourself to something beautiful and enjoy the peace that comes with your new lifestyle.

  • You are a kind person. a caring person. You sent him packing with beautiful things; things that probably meant more to you than him. Your last gesture was to still hope he would appreciate you. The person that deserves all that care and attention is YOU. You taking care of you is how you move forward from destructive life patterns. Le hugs, me:)

  • from Lotus Lady: Hi Belle, I don’t have an official response … but my reaction was that something is not quite right here. Something about it reminds me of my three meatball mother … perhaps making herself a bit of a victim and a martyr in the situation, rather than acting from a place where she is still trying to control her ex-husband’s reaction and thus, his perception or opinion of her. Thanks for sharing this!”

  • What a beautiful way to say good-bye to a relationship – with honesty, empathy, compassion, and kindness. This is how i would like you to treat yourself, as you too are ending a relationship that no longer works for you. that is harmful and preventing you from being the real you. While you cant send alcohol off with a suitcase full of memories, because honestly when push comes to shove there arent any truly good memories, you can let go of those false memories and misconceptions you have about your relationship, with an open and gentle heart. you deserve it!

  • from Girl Named Sam: You’re a putz. You can ‘model’ all the behavior you want, but he will never hear/see/understand generous impulses or be emphathetic. That is who he is and who he will always be…and now he has your quilt and your suitcase and other beautiful things, and you don’t. You get a personal satisfaction by keeping your self-identity as super generous and giving….to your own detriment. Your dating history headline reads: “Super sensitive over-giver wants self-centered narcissist. What could go wrong? I give, you take. Nobody has to take care of me.” Until maybe hopefully one day, you wake up and realize that YOU have to take care of YOU. There’s a reason the ‘ghetto break-up’ works: it’s irrevocable, parties move on. You on the stairs, my friend, look unhappy and misunderstood. So get up and take care of YOU. No more giving away stuff you love. Take care of yourself as well as you take care of others.”