There is no butter in my coffee, that’s just nasty

For those of you wondering if you should hop on the Ketogenic low carb, no sugar, high fat (*cough cough* no fun), “lifestyle” train…this post is for you. This post is not for the hard core Keto-ers. You’ll hate this. Look away. No really, stop reading. And please don’t send me hate mail, or thwack me upside the head with an avocado if you see me walking down the street.

 
In short, what I understand, is that the aim of a Ketogenic diet is to burn unwanted fat by forcing the body to rely on fat for energy, rather than on carbohydrates (the yummy stuff). I decided to give it a try this year because I recognized that I was eating way too much sugar (the ladle full of Nutella I ate at Christmas may have been rock bottom for me), and my ass jiggled when I brushed my teeth. I wanted to make healthier choices. My hope was mainly to have more energy instead of feeling the sugar highs and lows. Also, I’m forty five and I really like skinny jeans. My days of eating whatever I wanted and staying slim, are long over.
 
So, here are a few things I’ve learned in the 2+ months of eating (mostly) “Keto” that may help you decide if you’d like to get on this crazy ride with me, because even though I’m not digging it, I am sticking with it (for now), or if you’ll be more likely to high five me as you run on past to get a piece of pie.

 

Wait for meeeeeee…..!

 

Kidding. I don’t run. Please bring me back a piece of pie.

 

Here is the best thing that has happened to me so far while trying out this keto thing…my sugar cravings are gone. When you full on stop eating sugar, you really do stop craving it. WHAT!? This alone is a major miracle for the sugar addict in me. I can have all the chocolate in the house for the kids and I don’t eat any. Guys, I. Don’t. Eat. Any. Valentine’s Day came and went and I did not have a single chocolate. I don’t take whole pies or packages of cookies to bed with me anymore. A bonus perk of keto is a lot less crumbs in my bed and more room on my bedside table where my snackin’ stash used to be.

 

And you really can eat all the bacon.

 

And butter.

 

Hell, you can have bacon wrapped butter.

 

And you really can lose weight. Quite quickly. Almost immediately, I noticed a change in how my clothes fit as you initially lose all the water that the fat cells were hanging onto. Be prepared to spend a lot more time peeing. I’m actually writing this from the toilet. It’s just more convenient.

 

And you will lose inches. I don’t use a scale, because I don’t want to be fixated on a number, but I take measurements using string – again, no numbers – and the change is real. I may post before and after photos on here someday, but the ones I initially took are in my undies and no one needs to see that. You’ll go BLIND!

 

You will definitely get your daily recommended servings of vegetables. I absolutely eat a lot more veggies now. But, for the love of all things holy,  do not eat the delicious carb filled veggies, people. Yep, some vegetables are actually off limits. VEGETABLES! And do not even dare to eat fruit. There’s SUGAR!!! It’ll throw off the whole burning fat for fuel Ketosis thing, doncha know.

 

If you let a piece of pineapple cross your lips, I’m pretty sure Keto police show up at your door, bash you over the head with a sock full of butter, and drag you off to solitary confinement where you are forced to eat cauliflower in rice form for the rest of your days.

 

Which FYI, does NOT taste AT ALL LIKE RICE! I ain’t fooled by you being shredded into little rice shaped nuggets, cauliflower! Don’t even get me started on cauliflower smushed into mashed potato form. Cauliflower, I’m sorry to have to say this because you think you have it goin’ on, but, you will NEVER, EVER be delicious, feel good, comforting, mashed potatoes. Just stick to being a delightful raw vegetable for dipping and stop all this nonsense.

 

I loathe cauliflower now, in all of it’s stupid ass forms. Well, all except the cauliflower tot. Those things are my jam.

 

And I never want to see another piece of bacon as long as I live. Yes, Keto has ruined bacon for me. It is possible that my love for bacon may not have run as deeply as I thought it did. It was perhaps more lust than love. And as we all know, lust fades fast.

 

And I don’t like avocado. GASP! I said it. Locking my doors now just in case the butter sock is coming.

 

 

Will you find new things to eat that you enjoy? Possibly.
 
Will it be some fat laden but delightful keto version of chocolate cream pie? Nope.
 

Zucchini noodles? Meh. I’m not mad at them.

 

Or cabbage…sauteed, in a salad, keto’d into coleslaw, or shredded into the infamous “eggroll in a bowl” recipe that every Keto-er raves about and lovingly refers to as “crack slaw”. I rename that asshole in a bowl. I want my eggroll in a deep fried wrapper like a NORMAL HUMAN!!!! No. Just the smell of cabbage makes me gag now.

 
Crap. What I’ve realized is that this “lifestyle” may work because you simply lose all will TO LIVE when you can’t eat any of the things that you used to love!!!

 

Whoa. Is Keto rage a thing? I think I may have a minor case of that.
 
It would be major, if I wasn’t mostly dead inside. Instead of coated with caramel sweetness like I used to be when I had a cali-style Caramel Machiato on the regular.

 

Fancy coffees and sass aside, I haven’t had as challenging a time as I thought I would kicking sugar, which is beyond shocking for someone who could eat an entire family size bag of Maltesers in one sitting. And did so nightly. BUT, I have a very hard time eating as much fat as is required for ketosis to occur (and that is when the magic happens supposedly). I just can’t do 70-80% fat in my diet each day. So, I see less physical changes now, but, I am staying off the sugar and eating low carbohydrates – most of the time. Because it’s healthier than the sugar coma I was living in.

 

I understand that some people living this “lifestyle” – let’s face it, you can call it whatever you want, but it’s a diet – are doing so to lose large amounts of weight and they’ve made a very successful change in their health by sticking strictly to this diet, and they can’t or don’t “cheat”, ever. I send out a huge “you rock!” to all of them! Sincerely. It’s dedication and commitment that makes it work. But these last two months have made me realize that I am not a hard core keto-er. But it has changed me. Even in this short time, I’ve been reminded that what you put in your body has consequences, and you should choose wisely. I want to treat all 5’2″ of my own body much better than I have before.

 

Keto reminded me that real food is the best fuel for my body. And I was also reminded that it’s okay to eat purely for the sake of enjoyment sometimes. Food is delicious, and it should be enjoyed. And I will sometimes have dessert. Because it’s super duper delicious. And I won’t feel any guilt about it. None. I can eat dessert once in a while and not fall right off the keto train and binge eat a whole pie now.  That is some serious change. *Toot toot* Yeah, I just tooted my own horn.

 

So, do I recommend keto? Heck yeah, I do. If it helps you make the change you’ve been struggling to make, it’s worth a try. But don’t feel bad if you make adjustments. You do you. And stay away from cauliflower rice. That shit is what evil tastes like.

 

Ninja Pooping 101

I’m allergic to wheat and that basically rules out all things delicious (especially deep fried doughy donuts) but who can resist them? They’re warm. And mini. And rolled in icing sugar. So yeah, not me, man.

And then bad things happened people.

Bad.

Things.

If talk of poop makes you panic. Skip this post. And read this book: Everyone Poops.

So I was on the toilet at Starbucks. Yep. I said it. I had to stop in between visiting clients the other day…cause when ya gotta go, ya gotta go…and *ahem* I may have eaten several mini donuts at lunch.

I’m allergic to wheat and that basically rules out all things delicious (especially deep fried doughy donuts) but who can resist them? They’re warm. And mini. And rolled in icing sugar. So yeah, not me, man.

And then bad things happened people.

Bad.

Things.

So, you know when you have serious poop issues but you are attempting to do so in a ninja like fashion by not breathing or moving and doing the flush and poop at all the right times so no one knows you’re in there, near death? I have mastered the ninja poop. I would dare say, I’ve actually become TOO good at the ninja poop.

Because of my mad skills, things took a surprising turn.

You see where this is headed, right?

Without warning, the bathroom lights went out.

Pitch black in a public washroom stall. On the toilet.

I was totally freaked out. I may have screamed.

Began flailing arms to see if the lights were on a motion sensor.

Apparently motion is not detected inside the stall.

I curse myself for reading a good book while pooping.

Am trapped in dark stall.

Waiting for someone to walk in and magically make the lights come on. ‘Cause that won’t be weird AT ALL when I pop out of the darkness.

Can’t see my hand in front of my face.

Cell phone buried in giant bag.

Can’t find giant bag.

Have to *GASP* feel around the stall…the germs, my god, the germs. Finally I find my phone and use flashlight app.

Make mental note to Lysol phone.

Kiss phone.

Make mental note to Lysol lips.

I come bursting out of stall waving arms frantically and. the. lights. came. on.

YIPPEE!!!

Except they came on because someone walked in. To find me crazy arm dancing in the bathroom. We both stop and stare at each other. I wash hands like it’s perfectly normal to be dancing in the dark public washroom.

And because I’m a thoughtful gal, I say “Make sure you move around a lot in there.”

Awkward silence.

Exit Nicole.

 

Post originally written for the blog The Colie Chronicles © 2014

Random Facts About Me. Because I Just Don’t Share Enough with the Interweb.

I love talking animal videos. Have ya’ll watched Lucas the Spider? I can’t even deal with my love for Lucas.

Bloopers at the end of a movie make me ridiculously happy. I will be the last to leave the theater…just…in…case…

I lie down in the shower and I’m not talking my bathtub. The stand up shower. Torso across bottom of shower. Legs up the side. Head on pouf. Every single time.

I wanted to be a hairdresser.

I became a Social Worker. Still not sure if I made the right choice.

I have no tolerance for lactose.

I keep a gratitude journal. I try to write in it every day. There really is always something to be grateful for. Even when I’m pms-y and life seems overwhelming.

Pretty journals and fun pens make my heart happy.

I have seen You’ve Got Mail 7,346 times. That is barely an exaggeration.

Dumb & Dumber is one of my favorite movies and I can quote the entire film.

I worry all the time about whether I’m a good (enough) Mom.

Relationship status: mostly sleeping diagonally.

I never leave home without whatever book I’m reading. My books always look like they’ve been through a hurricane. Don’t loan me your books.

I freaking love T. Swift. Yeah, I said it.

I can get ready to go out in ten minutes. Or I can take an hour. There’s no in between.

I could overhear a complete stranger in a line up at the grocery store talking about getting food poisoning and I will ban whatever food they ate from my diet for all eternity.

I have never been in a fist fight. I do, however, have a growing number of people on my “people who need a punch in the mail” list.

I’m not tall. At all.

I drive a standard. Like a bad ass. I will judge you if you can’t.

I’m right handed. I can’t go left.

I have two children. One is a leftie. One is taller than me. Both are incredible and they are my favorite people in the whole world.

I have wake me up after I’m asleep rage. I’ve been known to throw things. Like a remote control at the ex-husband. If I fall asleep. Anywhere. Just leave me there. For your own protection.

I’m a morning person.

And a night owl.

I don’t think orange juice goes with any meal but breakfast.

I rarely eat breakfast.

Water is my favorite drink. Always with ice. Give me all the ice. Wine ranks a close second.

My favorite flower is a daisy.  I absolutely love fresh flowers in my bedroom.

I have kept an orchid alive for three years. This makes me a strange kind of proud.

My heart has been broken.

Music has the power to make me instantly joyful.

I sing loudly in the car. In the shower. At my desk. At Starbucks. In stores. My son hates this about me. My daughter happily sings with me and we think we are the bomb diggity.

I like my right eyebrow best.

My eyes used to be dark brown and they are now almost green.

It would be my dream come true to own a little cafe and bookstore.

I have a thing for beards. Not on me.

I do have one arsehole of a neck hair that I can’t get rid of, but I pluck that bad boy.

I get headaches from too tight pony tails, and from wearing sweaters with hoods, or necklaces. Yes, I’m a delicate flower.

I have been engaged three times. Four, if you count twice to the same person. Which I do not.

I wear my engagement ring from my ex-husband on occasion. I still adore it and it still sparkles like a mofo.

I wear a bracelet that I never take off, with charms for happiness, love, and loyalty. Tiny reminders of three things I value and want in my life.

I can never find my keys. Or my phone. Or my phone charger.

I’m a bit obsessed with slippers. The uglier, the better. I also steal slippers. Not from the store, of course. But, family. Friends. Your slippers are not safe with me.

I am a legit sugar addict – known to eat entire packages of cookies, tubs of ice cream, whole cakes, don’t even get me started on Cadbury Mini Eggs…basically, just pour sugar directly down my throat and I’m a happy girl. BUT – – I stopped eating sugar on January 8th of this year – today marks my one month sugar free anniversary! YAY ME! And the good news is, I’m still sweet as a freakin’ butter tart. I haven’t even knocked anyone down to steal their cookie. But I damn well think about it.

Loud chewing is top of my ‘things that annoy me and will make me contemplate punching you’ list.

My siblings are truly my best friends. I am the youngest in our family. I hated this when I was growing up; I love it now.

I buy most of my clothes from thrift shops. I so love a bargain. Also see *I became a social worker.

I have about 6 lip balms with me at all times. This is my latest favorite.

I starred in a commercial when I was five years old for the Halifax Shopping Centre.

I won first place in the 100 meter dash in grade three. That was the high point of my athletic career. I peaked in grade three.

Now I only run if someone is chasing me. And sometimes when I think someone is chasing me, but his hat just blew off. True story.

I never drank coffee until I was in my 40’s. I am making up for lost time now. I’m often grateful for yummy coffee.

I ugly cry at sappy movies.

I’m completely addicted to Hallmark movies. No, really. It’s a problem.

My first job was at K-Mart in the cafeteria. I was the youngest employee at 15 and I made a whopping $4.55 an hour. My uniform was brown and orange polyester and I rocked it.

My son painted the picture of Martin Luther King Jr. in the photo at the top of this post. He does not get his artistic abilities from me, but I sure wish I could say that he did.

I’m planning a new, very fun thing for my blog! Hint: my very talented son will be involved.

I have five tattoos. There’s only one I regret and I have dreams of more. Educational side note: do not get matching tattoos with anyone you date, ever.

Two of my tattoos are written in Italian because I find the language beautiful and romantic and so far, Italy has been my favorite place that I’ve visited.

I stole our pup, Dixie the Wonderdog. She came along with a previous partner and when that relationship ended, I kept the sweet fur face. She is pretty close to perfect, aside from her snoring and hogging the bed and occasional marble chewing.

I weirdly FEEL much taller than I am. I’m always genuinely surprised when I see how small I am in photos next to other people. In my head I’m a good six feet tall.

My nickname is Colie (pronounced coal-ie). None of my family members or close friends call me Nicole.

I can’t raise only one eyebrow. I’m jealous of those who can. Can you? Please teach me.

I never blog at home.

I only write at coffee shops. I’m at one now. Singing. A little too loudly.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5’2″ With Some Attitude

Over the holidays I had one of those A-Ha moments. I felt a little like Oprah, but without the ability to give everyone a new car and my favorite cozy robe.

It happened as I was giving some thought, as I often do, to the fact that my life hasn’t turned out as I intended, and at times it remains a struggle, but then, as I sat building my daughter’s Christmas gift in my sweet little home, with a turkey in the oven, and getting my John Cusack on with Serendipity on the television, my Christmas tree lights sparkling, and the sun still not up, I decided that I should spend more time focusing on all that I have accomplished on my own. I realized that it’s actually quite possible that my life, just as it is, is even better than what I had planned.

When I simply changed my perspective, I realized that it is in recognizing that there have been some very hard moments over the years since my married life ended, and in knowing that I got through them all, with humor, with grace, sometimes with wine and an attitude, that I finally found what I was looking for. And it wasn’t in the arms of another person. It wasn’t in anyone’s love, or in anyone else’s approval. It was in me. In my own strength. In approving of my self.

If I had not taken this road, would I be able to do all the things I can do now?

Install a dishwasher. Build the shit out of IKEA furniture. Cook a full Christmas turkey dinner all by myself LIKE A FREAKING BOSS. Shovel my driveway. Mow my Hell lawn. Turn our cozy house into a home, that my children love and feel safe in.

Would I be as bold?

Would I be as brave?
Possibly.

But possibly not.

I have come a long, long way since my marriage ended. And this Christmas, instead of feeling disappointed with where I am, or where I am not, I feel really proud of myself.

Every single day, I show my children that they can do ANYTHING. Even when they are scared. They can do it. Even when it’s hard. They can do it. They grow and learn the most from all the hard stuff and there is always something to be grateful for. I’ve shown my children, and myself, that there can be real happiness, and wheezy old man belly laughs, even in the most challenging moments. I know, more now in this moment than I ever have before, that I have made good choices. And not in spite of the decisions I’ve made, but rather, because of the decisions I’ve made, I have created a life for my children that I am truly proud of.

I hope as you head into this new year that you are able to reflect on where you’ve been, and where you’re going, and that you also have moments of being proud of exactly who you are. Whatever choices you’ve made, or twists in life’s path that you’ve followed, or fallen off of. Each decision has the power to make you stronger, braver, bolder…if you let it. I hope that you start this new year knowing that although life doesn’t always go as planned, it could be even better, and you will rock it!!

Happy holidays my bad asses. I heart you!

 

 

Things I’ll Never Say

My father died.

My biological father. Just like that. We had just spoken in the weeks before. By email of course. Because that was the relationship we had. A life in writing.

I don’t think I replied to his last message. We talked about lawn mowing. His fondness for it. Enjoying the mindlessness of it. My hatred for it. Given my Hell lawn. But I didn’t reply.

Because I thought I would have time.

Our messages sometimes started mid sentence and likely would make little sense to anyone but us. His shenanigans often made me laugh out loud. Our emails read much like the ramblings of a crazy person with a lot of “…” and never ending sentences. And they could not have been more similar. I could read an email he wrote and think it was my own writing.

But the last one, I didn’t reply.

And then he died.

Leaving me no more time to show him that I am good enough to be included among the daughters he left behind. Good enough to tell the whole town who loved him, that he had more than two daughters. He had more than two grandchildren.

By his choice, for his own reasons, he never met my children. My boy who has the same little cleft in his chin which my father kept covered by a beard, he never saw that he has his blue eyes with a puff of skin underneath like he’s tired no matter how rested, he never met my boy who is an amazing artist with the kind of humour that would have lit him up. And he never met my daughter; my dramatic, adorable, funny, compassionate little ray of sunshine. He never looked in her eyes that are the exact same greenish-brown as mine, or heard the way she loves telling stories, often exaggerated to make them a tad more interesting,  just the way I do. The way, I think, he did too.

He chose to have no funeral which is quite fitting for someone who hid in the attic when company came to his house. Not unlike my own personality. But in choosing no funeral, I was left floundering. Confused. Unsure.

Lost.

So I went to his town. I walked the streets he walked. I threw a stone in the ocean for him. Offering peace. Remembering the many stories he told me about his office, his work, all the people in his life. He had told me all about them over the many years we wrote. Twenty five years. And some years, we wrote every single day. Several times a day. I feel like I know his colleagues, his wife “the sensible one”, his in-laws, his daughters, his grandchildren. He told me about them often.

And he told them nothing about me.

And so I’m left alone in my sadness. The only one in my life who feels this loss.

Left wondering, as I have since I was eighteen years old and my whole identity changed in an instant. Left wondering why I wasn’t good enough for him to talk about? Left wondering why he would leave me out of his obituary that he wrote himself? Knowing, surely knowing, that it would cause another little piece of me to disappear. That it would cause my heart to break into a million tiny pieces. That I would never be the same.

I’ll never know. I can’t ask him. But I do know what he would tell me…at some point, everyone feels like they don’t belong. Because he felt it too. He knew.

I should have insisted that he meet my children. They are so worth knowing. I should have visited. I should have…

I know he would tell me to write more. And to publish my writing. Which is so much like his. In one of the last messages he said to me “you are hilarious you know……somewhere out there is a magazine that would publish your material…” Words he had said to me many times before. Publish. Write. Publish.

I wonder now if I had published my writing, would he have said my name in his final words?

I know now that someday I will hunt down that illusive magazine he swore was out there, just waiting for my writing.

Until then I’m left with these things I’ll never say…

That I was his daughter too.

That I loved him.

That every word he wrote to me was important and special and that I will miss him. My confidant. My friend. My father.

Every single day.

We saw a hummingbird on one of the few times we saw each other in person. Him in his ever present Tilley hat. Me nervous and rambling. Since then, we’ve sent each other gifts and little reminders with the tiny bird a symbol of that day in the park together. He sent me a hummingbird necklace and joked it was so ugly that I’d never wear it . But to me, then and  even more now, it is beautiful.

“Legends say that hummingbirds float free of time, carrying our hopes for love, joy and celebration. Hummingbirds open our eyes to the wonder of the world and inspire us to open our hearts to loved ones and friends. Like a hummingbird, we aspire to hover and to savor each moment as it passes, embrace all that life has to offer and to celebrate the joy of everyday. The hummingbird’s delicate grace reminds us that life is rich, beauty is everywhere, every personal connection has meaning and that laughter is life’s sweetest creation.” – Papyrus

Nipple Confidence

I had my first mammogram.
In case you haven’t had the pleasure yet, I will walk you through it now so you are prepared…

I finally did it. I got my boobs flattened. And yes I know they’re already flat, no need to be sassy. This time I got them completely squished. Professionally. Not like that time I got wedged between the wardrobe I was installing in my backroom and the door frame, but, on purpose.

I had my first mammogram.

In case you haven’t had the pleasure yet, I will walk you through it now so you are prepared:

Where I live, they do them at the local hospital in the x-ray department. In general, I am not a huge fan of hospitals where there could be unexpected barfing and there are way too many germs but I MUST GET MY BOOBIES SQUISHED!! I’m basically hiding in a corner near a trolley full of Johnny shirts when I get called in. Nurse wastes no time. She asks me a few questions and then says, “Now take all your clothes off, except your pants, and come into the next room”. And off she goes. Say what now? I am looking all around for a Johnny shirt to cover my girls up but there are none. Was I supposed to bring one in from my hiding spot? I peek into next room and ask…”So, I just come in here all guns blazing?” She is tippy tapping on her machine asking me to clarify my date of birth…she doesn’t even look up so I do a little boobie shake test. Nothing. Just a “yes”. Tough crowd. I say “You didn’t even have to buy me a drink first.” Still nothing. She’s super fun and friendly.

So there I am in my boots and black leggings (which, when you are *cough cough* fake 37, as I am, should never be worn without something long enough to cover your jelly but I clearly did not think my outfit through today). I attempt to walk in all la la la, check out these bad boys, nobigdeal. Exuding nipple confidence. But it was actually more like trip, tippy toe, tippy toe, check out my butt in leggings, gasp in horror, arms awkwardly placed across the boobs, eyes averted.

She tells me to wash my deodorant off. For future reference, don’t wear deodorant when you go get your boobs squished unless strutting about with your nips out in front of a stranger isn’t weird enough for you, and you wanna add some arms flailing, boob jiggling, armpit washing. Whatever floats your boobie boat.

One of my sisters told me it hurt so bad I better take drugs first, and try hard not to punch the person. The other one rated it only a 2 on the pain scale. With ten being an ‘I’m sorry but I am going to have to kill whoever is causing this pain right now’, and a one being ‘Did you just breathe on me?’ So, a two. Please. I’ve had two children. I got this.

Here’s the thing, when you have itty bitty boobs, there is a lot of grabbing, pulling, and yanking that needs to occur in order to get enough of your mini boob onto the little shelf of the machine. While keeping legs forward, head turned to side, chin up, chin UP (she was bossy!), cheek pressed hard against the cold machine. I keep moving my feet and putting my chin down to look at my boob. This is chalking up to be a lot like my attempt at salsa dancing. Sister # 1 not as tough as I thought. This is not too bad. Check me out. Then she pushes a button which lowers a top see through shelf ONTO the bottom shelf – you know the one where my boob is resting peacefully? She makes me take a deep breath in and then out, and then “NO MORE BREATHING!” – as she sandwiches my tiny boob into what could easily be mistaken for a little piece of ham! SONOFABITCH!! Sister # 1 was right! I fight off growing urge to throat punch nurse each time she maneuvers my boob into a new position and then pancakes it. I think about how this is a small thing in comparison to what some of my family and friends have had to go through because of cancer. And then I can’t help myself…

I punch her.

Kidding.

All done in mere minutes. Punches thrown only in my mind.

I’d give it about a 4 on the pain scale so you may think seriously about punching someone (particularly if you’re a tiny boobed woman like me) but the urge is brief and it can be resisted. And you’ll be A-OK afterwards. Miraculously, my ham boobs popped right back up.

Thank you boobs.

So what are you waiting for? Go get those boobs squished because the C word can SUCK IT!!

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