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 most recently my lovely partner in life, 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.

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 rights 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.

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 currently reside in San Juan Island, Washington with my wife and a house full of animals, 3 cats, 3 dogs, and a fish pond. I'm a modern hippie, activist, nature-lover, DIY-er, prefer flip-flops (or even rain boots: welcome to the Pacific Northwest!) to snow boots, and I like anything green. I am in love with a woman who makes everything feel like rainbows and moonbeams; and while I have come across more nuts in my more than 30 years, she happens to be the only other Brazil nut I have ever met. And, two in the bowl is always better than one.

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

xo dani

Special thanks to Daniel Jackson Photography for the banner photo. © 2013