Live The Story You Want To Tell

This blog is my journey to owning my story, but to not living it any more. I am surrendering my story. I am unburdening myself of that story I’ve told myself over and over – – that I am unlovable.
I wonder how I will feel if I let go of it for good? I’m excited to find out…

I always felt different.

I would ask my mother if I was adopted and she’d deny it vehemently. In fact, she’d act completely offended and insulted.

I have three older siblings, each two years apart. All are tall, and striking, with thin lips, and thin noses, and they all look very much alike. The perfect family portrait. I always wanted to Sharpie myself into their childhood photos. I am ten years younger, Yes, ten. YEARS. I am too short to reach the top shelf at the grocery store without using the shelves below as a ladder, with big lips, a round nose, thick hair, and giant eyes. My siblings are all incredibly talented, both musically and artistically. I can’t whistle, or trace a stick man.

Growing up, I frequently heard “You look nothing like anyone in your family” which only reinforced the feeling that I just didn’t belong. I desperately wanted siblings closer to my age. I don’t recall living with my siblings as a child. I have snippets of memories, which are likely created by stories told and re-told over the years. I remember wanting my mother to adopt a child. Preferably Webster. You know the child actor? Emmanuel Lewis. Yes, him. I longed for a Webster. I cried and begged my mother to please, please adopt Webster for me. Although, in looking back, had she adopted the fictional non-Caucasian Webster, I still would not have looked like my sibling. I didn’t think that through. I wanted someone to fight with. Someone to laugh with. Someone to lessen that feeling of being alone.

Most of my life was spent with just my mother, an always struggling, always working single parent. We moved from the country to the city when I was eight years old, and my siblings stayed behind. Many a boyfriend came and went; none leaving a positive mark on my life. Some leaving negative marks. I adored my mother growing up, although she was not around often, and she made some pretty poor choices. She was all I had, and no matter what was happening in our lives, I always knew she loved me. She said it; she showed it with hugs and kisses; and with little gifts I’m sure she couldn’t afford. As an adult, she became my best friend, and my biggest fan. She was funny, brave, smart, and beautiful. If you wanted the entire family to know something, but you didn’t have the time or energy to tell them yourself, you just told Mom. And within minutes, they all knew. Strangers at the mall knew.

You see, normally, she could not keep a secret to save her life.

But she kept one secret. For eighteen long years.

I think she kept it so long that even she no longer knew what was true.

I went away to university, fresh out of high school. I desperately wanted to figure out who I was apart from my mother. When I was home visiting one weekend, I asked her one simple question. I have no idea what we were talking about at the time. I don’t recall why felt compelled to ask in that moment. I remember only my question, and her answer.

I asked my mother: “Dad isn’t my father, is he?”

“No”, was all she said.

And with that one word, my entire life was changed.

That lie became the foundation for “my story”.  At times, my story made me stronger. I made it through that, and all that followed. More often though, it made me doubt everyone. And I no longer belonged anywhere. Even with my family, I was, in fact, different. Now, I’m recognizing that piece of my story is just a part of who I am. Just a chapter of my book. I don’t have to allow what happened from that moment on to impact the rest of my life. I am so much more than that little girl who was betrayed, and then rejected by both of my “fathers”.

I realize now that I have viewed much of my life through that filter. Perhaps not intentionally, but every relationship, every person I met, I saw through that filter. Could they be trusted? Was I good enough for them to truly love me, just as I am? Was it even worth the risk?

This blog is my journey to owning my story, but to not living it any more. I am surrendering my story. I am unburdening myself of that story I’ve told myself over and over – – that I am unlovable.

I wonder how I will feel if I let go of it for good? I’m excited to find out…

“Do the best you can, until you know better. When you know better, do better”

– Maya Angelou

New phone. Who dis?

I have been thinking about relationships a lot lately; the lessons I’ve learned, the people I’ve been lucky enough to share some of my life with, and the ones I want to go back and punch myself right in the face for ever dating. And it came to me while talking with my kids about the few people they’ve met over the last six plus years, as we reminisced, and they ranked each person in order of favorite, and told me what kind of person I should look for going forward. I.E. Must be funny, play football and basketball, not be boring, and have kids of their own so they “get” it.

Simple things, right?

They’re very wise kids. I may start getting them to make my life decisions. Instead of my Magic 8 ball.

After our talk, I realized I should compile a list of reasons that I have broken up with someone in the past, so I don’t accidentally do any (more) repeatsies. I am actually quite good for the environment because I have recycled almost every relationship I’ve ever had, so clearly I need a quick reference sheet to help ensure I go forward instead of backward.

With my list, I’m thinking I will save a lot of time, emotional investment, and money spent on cute new underwear. If a prospective partner has qualities on this list, we can move immediately to the ‘sorry, that one’s on the list, peace out’ phase of dating.

So, here we go. Top twenty. In no particular order:

1. Not funny (no exceptions). Funny is mandatory;

1A. Doesn’t find me funny, or get my humor (I’m hilarious, just ask my kids);

2. Bad kisser (no exceptions). By now, you should have it mastered. 2.(a) Bad breath (no exceptions);

3. Texts and swipes on cell phone with middle finger and/or pinky finger. That’s just weird;

4. Says “I seen”;

5. Homeless (you can’t live with me). Please have your own home, car, job, bed on bed frame, and most of teeth;

6. Long fingernails. No, just no. I can’t even;

7. Hair too fancy;

7A. Refuses to do fun hat montages because of fancy hair. Loosen up. You are never too old, or too cool, to just have fun, and be silly;

8. Wears man jewelry and/or bad dad jeans (I snuck two in one here). I cannot get past the gold chain, and he’s got to have good jeans, that fit, and aren’t from 1987;

9. Hums when chewing. And doesn’t realize hums when chewing;

10. Psycho yogurt eater. No need to scrape the container like it’s the last bit of cocaine before you enter rehab;

11. Enters rehab. Feel free to be addicted to loving the Hell outta me, but that is all;

12. Tries to feed me mayonnaise from 2015. In 2017. Why don’t you just slip me some cyanide!?

13. Surprise d!ck pic. No. 13.a  D!ck pic with my name written on it. Creative, but still a hard core no;

14. Hates wind. Who doesn’t ride on the top of the ferry? See # 7.

15. Mr. Vomits A Lot (i.e. barfy when hungover, or if they cough too hard, or when they smell rotisserie chicken, or if they eat too many chips. You get the idea). Swipe LEFT. *If you have a good ten year streak of no barfing, and would rather rip off a limb than vomit, you could very well be my soul mate;

16. Judges me for eating pie* in bed (*substitute any delicious snack food);

17. Wants to build a house out of dirt, powered by potatoes. And draws sketch of said house on restaurant window; really taking away from my happy cashew chicken eatin’ vibe. When you end the date, they go play harmonica on the waterfront for some cash to get home. By bus.

Congratulations! You have just dated a mentally ill Busker. This should probably be moved to top of list.

18. Is mean. Gets angry at everything. Other drivers, slow cashiers, loud talkers, space hoggers, cute puppies. I pretty much always assume the bad drivers have to poop. Hell, I just assume everyone has to poop. Try it;

19. Won’t crack a window in the heat of summer in bed at night. Because theft. I don’t care if someone busts in and steals ME! I am sweating my fool ass off, crack a window! I dreamt of being abducted and taken to a house with air conditioning and a kidnapper who let me turn on the damn fan!

20. Liar, liar pants on fire. I can take a little fib here and there. Exaggerate a story, tell me you made a steak when you ate a chocolate bar for supper, tell me I look extra cute in my sweatpants…these little fibs make life more interesting…but no thank you liars.


I recommend you attempt to get through the list on the first date. No point wasting time. Just work each item into conversation:

“So, you say you’re an engineer…what are your thoughts on potato houses?”

“I see you have very nice hair – how do you feel about wind?”

“If you’re sweating, do you A. Turn on a fan, or B. Shut all windows and add flannel sheets to the bed?”

“Do you love yogurt, or do you loooooove love yogurt?”

It’s a super handy dandy time saving date screening tool.

Now, there are some exceptions; it may not always be one strike and they’re out. If they are funny, with good jeans, pro open window, upper level ferry riders, but they have an aversion to nail clippers, you may be able to overlook this. I likely will not. But you may.

And don’t misunderstand, I know I am not (quite) perfect…and I could (and likely will) write a much longer list of the things that will drive someone batshit crazy about me. First on the list may be that I have this list. But, for now, I prefer to let the brave ones figure those things out on their own.

I’m hopeful that while travelling this Finding Nicole trip, that I will also find the absolute right person for me, and I will no longer need a list at all. I will find each quirky thing about them endearing, and completely wonderful, and not at all annoying or weird. Oh, who am I kidding? Right person or not, relationships are complicated and people are weird. I’m hopeful. Not insane. I hope to someday find my weirdo.

I See Your PMS and Raise It Eleventy Thousand

I have PMS. Not right this minute. Don’t panic. But in my life. Hard core PMS.

I’m a crier by nature. And my kids are used to me crying over every single Meg Ryan movie that I’ve already watched 652 times. Don’t even get me started on “You’ve Got Mail” when she says at the end “I wanted it to be you”. Stop it. I’ll cry RIGHT.NOW. Or when no one turns their chair on The Voice. I can’t even. But my kids are used to me, and typically they just whisper to one another “Oh look, Mom is crying again” and move on. Nobigdeal. Please note that I am not usually a PMS crier. I’m more of an, everything is TOO LOUD, everyone is TOO ANNOYING, life is TOO HARD, groceries are TOO HEAVY, I am TOO TIRED FOR LIFE, people need to STOP CHEWING, kind of pms-er.

But this past weekend, I full on cried for a good two days. So much so that my daughter asked me: “Mom. Be honest. Did someone die?” Nope. I’m just a hormonal hot mess, sweet girl, not to worry.

I came up for air long enough to decorate the outside of house for Halloween, go drink Starbucks, and buy three more throw pillows.

My daughter sneaky stuck post it notes all over the house with little messages for me, in drawers, and on walls and doors, and I swear to all things holy (like Reese peanut butter cups, and gnocchi) that as I found each note, I squeezed her so tight that I worried her eyes would stay bugged out.

The notes said adorable things like “You shine bright like a diamond.” And on my sunglasses: “Your future is so bright, you gotta wear shades”. Yes, she plagiarized Rihanna and Timbuk3. But some were originals, like: “Thank you for feeding me” on the microwave. Shut up. I can so cook. She just loves microwave KD. And “Thank you for doing my hair even though I scream about it” was hidden in the hair brush drawer. What is up kids acting like their mom brushing their hair is a form of torture worse than hacking off seven of their toes and a butt cheek with a chainsaw? But if a someone else brushes it, nary a peep. The hairdresser can basically twist their head right off, and nothing. This is a mystery I may never solve.

Along with those little rays of sunshine were 32 other post it notes with different versions of I love you, and basically stating for the record, that I am the bestest, most fun, coolest mom in all the land. Sorry if you thought it was you.

One note said “You are the best mom. Even when you have PMS.” That was very strategically placed on my box of Midol. I squeezed her hardest for that one. And then took two Midol. Sometimes lies are okay.

When I tucked her into bed that night and thanked her again for being so incredibly kind, she looked up at me with her big brown eyes, and asked “Mom, be honest. Will that happen to me? Will I cry like a lunatic for two days, too?” And I said: “Yes, yes, my darling sweet girl. You will. Let’s just pray by then that I am menopausal so your brother doesn’t want to move out.”

Sidenote: Dear Bayer, I would be thrilled to sponsor Midol here on Finding Nicole. Please feel free send large quantities of Midol Menstrual, Extra Strength.

Take a Ride With Me

Join my gang of self-loving bad asses. There will be pastries!

Welcome to Finding Nicole.

My goal for this blog is to take you along with me on a journey of self discovery. At forty-five, I am still trying to figure out who I am; still learning to accept myself, just exactly as I am. I will write about my life, divorce, grief, parenting, the world of dating, and everything in between, and mostly – – I’ll be writing about love. The most important kind of love: self-love. Look out Oprah! I’m gonna fall in love with life, and madly in love with myself, with a little help from this blog.

Over the last few years, I have spent a lot of time feeling as if I’ve gotten off track in my life, but I’m realizing that Plan B is sometimes even better than Plan A. Okay, so, I’m actually on about Plan T, but there is beauty in getting there if you look hard enough. Squint. Put on your glasses. Get a new prescription if you have to. There is beauty there, in the struggles, and the pain, and the sadness. I haven’t gotten off track. I am exactly where I am supposed to be.

Those who know me, or who read my previous blog, know that I use humor to handle most of life’s challenges, and for a while I thought that may not be enough, so I stopped writing. I thought that I wasn’t enough. But I am starting to see that in just being who I really am, sometimes ridiculous, sensitive, and pretty freaking funny, there is tremendous strength. So, I’m just letting it happen. I may write about serious topics here, or I may not. What I know for certain, is that I hope to always make you laugh. Because it heals me. And I hope it heals you, too.

My wish for you in reading Finding Nicole is that my cup of self love gets so full that it spills right over onto you, as you come along with me on this bumpy road to self acceptance. We can all get matching bikes with streamers on the handle bars, and a basket for flowers, and we’ll stop at cute cafés to sip coffee and share buttery croissants. Hair blowing in the breeze. Feet off the pedals. We’ll be one big gang of self-loving bad asses. On cute bikes!

I may watch too many Meg Ryan movies. But stick with me, it’ll be worth the trip.