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  • Writer's pictureNicole Danielle

STORIES FROM THE ROAD | Life is never going to change until you change your life...

Nearly 2 years ago, our little family changed our life in a major way.  But just because we changed our life doesn’t mean life actually changed.  In fact, on the surface-level picture presented to the world, it may look like it has but the truth is, it hasn’t changed much at all.  Not in the way we made the promise it would. 

Through many experiences in life, I’ve come to learn valuable lessons—especially in this one—that just because you make some big change doesn’t mean the problems get fixed along with that.  If anything, all it does is begin to expose the underlying roots that had been covered for so long.  The root of the problems that you cannot just wave a wand and they will be fixed by popping pills, piling on emotional Band-Aids, turning a blind eye to the problems, blaming someone else for what you don’t want to admit and deal with or getting lost in some form of addiction or excuse to not have to face the reality of life… or feel the truth of what’s inside of you. 


So many people struggle in the area of sitting with “self”—yet it’s within us where we will find the answers that we’ve been secretly seeking all along.


At this exact moment in time right now as I post this, I once again find myself along my personal version of “Somewhere Road.”  Even though I have said this is a space we will constantly need to revisit time and time again throughout our own journey, I never thought I would be here again at this point in time.  And I only share this because in doing the work I’ve been doing—in writing such a vulnerable book series and sharing my life with the world so it can hopefully help others, in Meg & I launching the “Somewhere Road” podcast to talk about very real-life happenings so all of you who may find this know you’re not alone in life, in all of this… I made the promise if I was going to do this, I was going to show up REAL every time. 


And the real truth is, life has gotten me again to a point where I continually ask myself daily, “What do I do?”


I’m stuck.


There are 2 “rights” my heart knows to be true—but I don’t know which is the actual right one. 


I’m lost on the journey, travelling down this new road I’ve been paving for myself.  And therefore, for my kids.  Making hard decisions & doing immense work to heal so I can move back into the light.  But the darkness is still there—people & negative energies—challenging me and trying to hold me back on my becoming


It takes immense courage and bravery for a person to not only acknowledge their awakening but then make the choice to take the journey.  Most people will never do so.  Because it is really, really hard work.  And it forces you to, at times, to uncomfortably sit with your own self that you’d rather not have to face.  It makes you relive the stories you were convinced to believe as your truth and expose the demons hiding behind your eyes.  Those who never will take the journey for their own self are the “noise” that constantly challenges another's own healing, growth, forgiveness, peace and getting back to one's own true self. 

For me, it was the person I once was.  The girl so full of light until I allowed the world to dim my shine to a level of darkness I never knew was possible for someone like me.  Me—someone who always believed that we all have this bit of magic inside of us and are all capable of shining so bright that we naturally light the way for others.

But then the noiseDon't talk. Sit pretty. Smile. Please. And most certainly don't be you but who we want you to be.


Yet, no matter how much the noise challenges me, or the untruthful words said about me and spoken to me and the way others still try to claim a greater power over my own life, the universe has given me no choice but to keep moving forward on my healing journey.  Because for me, I have two beautiful reasons why I have to—as far as 50% of their existence goes, on my side of it all… the trauma and pain and narrative someone else wrote has to end with me.  Because my kids shouldn’t have to be the ones to carry it for everyone. 

They deserve a more beautiful life.


In choosing to take such a brave journey, to find the courage to reclaim my voice and, in doing so, my life… the road has become lonelier.  The challenges others meet me with, greater.  Most days I find myself exhausted in my own tears because while life will never be easy, it also shouldn’t be so hard. 


Meg and I talk a lot in these first podcast episodes on the topic of “change.”  It’s not easy, but it’s essential if you want to grow in life.  And thinking about the idea of change, what life has been the past years…the past decades and where I stand today, I’m reminded of a piece I originally wrote for my debut memoir, "Diamonds Beneath the Darkness,” that ended up getting cut from the final manuscript because the book was just too long.  And I wanted to share this piece with all of you now.  A few pieces of this were reworked into a different version of this story in the book, but The Minimalists piece is really what I’m reminded of at this moment I sit here and write this…


“Burn It All Down”


Three weeks prior to my newfound love of the battle snakes, I had an unexpected health scare that really shook me up.  My husband had recently lost his best friend, “Gary,” and as I laid on the cold operating table, the thought that came to my mind was—he can’t lose me too.  As I closed my eyes and whispered “please get me through this, my boys need me,” a single tear streamed down my left cheek.  The nurse grabbed hold of my hand and started rubbing it to comfort me, while placing the oxygen mask over my face.  As she kept holding my hand she said, “You’re gonna be ok, Momma.  You’re gonna be ok.”


I have to be ok.


When I opened my eyes, I was in a hospital room and Adam was by my side.  I hadn’t seen him this worried about me in a long time.  He grabbed my hand and said, “You scared me.”  With tears welling up in his eyes, he whispered “I can’t do this life without you.” 


I promised him, “I’m not going anywhere.”


Later that night, I was doing my fart laps after having emergency appendicitis surgery.  Yes, “fart laps” are a thing, and since I was on the gastro floor, it was just our mutual awareness that every person in their hospital gown, pulling their IV cart with one hand while holding their gown closed with the other, was doing circles because we had one mission… to fart, because farts meant things were beginning to properly work in there again after your insides got shifted around during surgery. 


I couldn’t sleep.  I was struggling with missing my boys.  It was Memorial Day weekend so I understood things could take longer but I was in there for a few days, my boys needed me and I needed to be home.  While I was in the hospital, I didn’t wanna talk to anyone and didn’t wanna text people so instead, I used my fart laps time to catch up on a few episodes of The Minimalists podcast I hadn’t heard yet.

It was early morning of Monday, May 31, 2021—I was deep into one of their podcast episodes about love, respect and understanding.  It was a really powerful podcast episode and one of those I found myself continually stopping my fart laps to text notes to myself so I didn’t forget their words.  They were in a deep discussion about their upcoming book Love People Use Things and began to talk about repairing and restructuring relationships.  They dove into the truth that trying to change someone is a toxic behavior:


“The world goes on with or without your reactive emotion to something.  Whoever told you that you’re supposed to be respected or loved? —those are ingredients for a meaningful relationship but those feelings also must be reciprocated.”


“To me, a toxic relationship is one that moves you further away from tranquility than it does bring you towards it.  Relationships are there to help you live a more meaningful life.  When you're around someone, do they take you further away from tranquility or closer to it?”


And ended it with the big mic drop moment:


“You can’t change the people around you but you can CHANGE the people around you.”


We can’t change people, but we can change the people we surround ourselves with and the people we let into our lives.  And it made me think beyond just that—we can declutter not only our inboxes and closets, but our real life relationships as well.  We can’t be responsible for the energy people bring into a room but we can choose who we let enter the room.  Thinking about these things, my mind went to the warning “don’t burn your bridges.”  I get it but ya know… sometimes we need to torch them. 


Our survival might just depend on doing so. 


In the Macmillan Dictionary, burn your bridges is defined as “to do something that makes it impossible for you to return to the situation you were in before.” 


Well, good—set those bridges on FIRE! 


If a situation you are in is not good for you, bye!  It’s time to shake things up and change life and burn those damn bridges to the ground.  If someone or something or some situation is negatively affecting your life, your physical health, your mental health, your true self—you shouldn’t want it to even be able to touch you.  If it’s no longer serving you in the way you need your life to be served, burn the damn bridge and continue forward in a positive state without ever looking back!   


If there are people, things and situations that are toxic to your life, get them so far from you that you can’t access them again and certainly far enough that the negativity can’t cross over to reach you.  Sometimes we have to make really hard choices, regardless of anyone else.  Sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do to keep the crazies out. 


Run—even if you trip and fall and face plant in the most humiliating way, there is one thing you know to be true… you’re strong enough to pick your own self back up and laugh at the scrapes on your face while you rebuild and finally heal.

Back to present time now, the topic of “change” can sometimes seem really easy.  Or really hard.  It all comes down to perspective.  And not one of our situations will ever be the same. 

While it takes a lot of courage and strength to say things like, “burn those bridges” because you KNOW what’s not serving you but harming you, the reality of life is that it’s not always so simple. 

On the journey to healing, we exist in this “grey” space.  It’s not black, it’s not white but a blend of both extremes.  And while you have two, three, four different versions of what “right” for YOU might look like, you still need to take the pause in life to sit and work through it… just as I’m doing right now. 

That’s why Somewhere Road exists and while this path or place will never exactly look the same for all of us because not one of our journeys will ever be the same, it’s a truly valuable space to sit and exist in away from all the noise so you can discover which version of “right” is truly the right one for you.


There’s only one you. 

And there’s only this one life to do what you’re here to do.

Please, don't ever forget that.


Deep breaths, friends.  May this be your reminder that while the journey may feel lonely at times, you most certainly are not alone. We are here for you.


Much love…


XO, Nicole

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