Meet Dani

My Life in a Nutshell

If my life was a nut, it would definitely be a Brazil nut. The shells are dark, hard, rocky and weathered. They seem to be impossible to break open, but when you finally allow them to take a breath of the sweet daylight, you find a heart inside that is pure, earthy, and unique. I wish I could forget the first 18 years of my life; I endured years of physical, sexual and emotional abuse which has scarred my delicate flesh. I lived a nightmare most people don’t want to imagine or even hear about, something off of one of the crime-dramas I am so addicted to. I was bruised on the inside and outside. I didn’t fit in anywhere, even amongst my group of friends I always felt like an outsider. Just like that Brazil nut, I was the black sheep of my family and school, the odd man out, the last nut in the dish that no one wanted to touch because it looked different, a little funny, if you will. Luckily, though, with the help of a few family members, some friends, and late wife, I have been able to break off pieces of that rock-solid exterior, day-by day, year-by-year, and begin to let the sun in, the moon in, allow the winds to blow through my hair and allow the rains to wash away some of the tears; I have become stronger and wiser, more loving and accepting of myself, and best of all, I am happy to be that quirky nut that is left in the bottom of the dish. *Note: My wife committed suicide in August 2018. I miss her more than the sun and moon combined, and I would give anything to have her back. She is to be honored for making me the strong person I am today.

When my shell is off, I am a rockstar…or at least I act like one. I love to sing as loud as possible to the best music, dance around in my underwear and twirl around in the sunshine like a kid (though POTS tends to make that one a bit more difficult). I like adventure, and some might liken it to being bipolar, others might just say I am more colorful than most. Either way, I have had many crazy journeys that have led me all over the United States. I once drove a U-Haul to L.A. to be a songwriter, though I had never played a guitar and can’t hold a tune in a bucket. I flailed through a sea of jobs for a while. I grew up way too quickly and acted like I was 40 when I was 20, wearing a business suit to work and bossing people around (nicely, of course), flew here and there as a flight attendant for several years, then landed as a late twenty-something in a job that was awful but gave me a new outlook on life. I worked for the world’s largest non-profit animal right’s organization in a position that I hated with a boss that made me cry weekly; but, I lost the starched and ironed clothes, got the tattoo I always wanted, and finally knew where I belonged – helping all beings, large and small, to find a better place on this beautiful planet and find love in the face of adversity. I wanted to give hope to the hopeless. I also happened to meet a few amazing nuts along the way.


During all of this, I was diagnosed with multiple illnesses (Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome, Bipolar Disorder and PTSD) that keep me physically down a lot of the time, but I do my best to not let them keep my spirits down. Sometimes they win, and sometimes I do. It has been one long road, with so many curves I have lost count and so many tumbles and falls along the way, but I have been able to take a lot of good from it, too. To keep sane, I blog. To keep happy, I write. To keep connected, I type. To help others, I speak from my heart. I started this blog as a way to get things off of my chest. It has turned into an amazing website that has helped many people, and I am just thankful that I have gotten to be part of it. Every one of my readers helps me live, helps me breathe, helps me smile, even on the worst of days. The meds I take to keep me sane and well have wreaked havoc on my physical appearance, and I have gained a large child’s weight on my body, but I am learning to love myself no matter how much I weigh. Nuts come in all shapes and sizes.

When I am not blogging, I can be found laying on the couch moaning in pain on a bad day, hobbling around like a 90-year-old on a fair day, or painting a masterpiece on a good day. When my body is cooperating, I enjoy growing food like kale and carrots. I can make some mean vegan pesto with organic home-grown basil. I found my *home* in San Juan Island, Washington with my late-wife and a house full of animals, 3 cats, 5 dogs, and a fish pond. When things ended, I moved back home to Reno, Nevada. I now have 2 crazy dogs, a gentle service dog, two gerbils, and three fish.  Someday, I will make it back up to San Juan Island to live. For now, it is only to visit. I am just starting a relationship with a wonderful man, and I am a psuedo step-mommy to an awesome 6-year-old! I’m a colorful modern hippie, activist, nature-lover, DIY-er, prefer flip-flops (or even rain boots) to snow boots, and I like anything green. I am OBSESSED with orcas, whales, and the ocean. I am falling in love with a man that sees the world through artistic eyes like I do, and falling in love with having a child in my life (something I thought would never happen). While the woman who made everything feel like rainbows and moonbeams is gone, she lives on in my memories, her ashes in my tattoo I got in honor of her, and the tears I cry sometimes when I am alone and reflecting on my life. While I have come across more nuts in my more than 30 years, my late wife happens to be the only other Brazil nut I have ever met. And, two in the bowl is always better than one. Now, I am living with a cashew and an almond, and learning to live in a bag of mixed nuts is a process, but one that I am willing to be a part of, to learn and grow with, and to someday understand why people like to mix all of the nuts together. So, cheers to mixed nuts! And, love to my boyfriend and his son! And, forever love to my beloved late wife.

That’s it from me, for now. It’s so nice to meet you.

xo dani

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