LOVE: The Naked Truth

I’ve always been a romantic. I love the idea of being loved and being in love, although I’ve never experienced the truly, madly, deeply kind of love. The youngest of eleven children, the baby, born with cerebral palsy, you’d think I’ve experienced familial love of epic proportions. My family is so dysfunctional, we make the Kardashian’s look completely normal – and frankly, boring.

Actually, the naked truth is this: I’ve been love starved for most of my life, which led to my fantasizing and romanticizing about the different types of love that constantly eluded me. In my world, love truly does make the world go ‘round – if only I could find it! And, the irony is, people love me – in superficial kind of way. I’m accomplished, funny, interesting, smart, and a philanthropist at heart. I’m great, as long as I have something people need or want. I always felt that I wasn’t enough; I should have been, but I wasn’t…

I’ve always been a people magnet. People are just drawn to me. Maybe it’s because they sense my authenticity. I’m a real life cliche – what you see is what you get; I wear my heart on my sleeve. Connections have always been important to me. And, I’ve got the battle scars to prove it. I’ve let people take advantage of me, loved men who didn’t deserve me. I tried too hard, pushed too much because I didn’t understand what love was and wasn’t…yet.

In 1999, I joined a Toastmasters club. I met a man who would change the course of my life over the next ten years. I finally found a place that felt like home. I met people who accepted me, liked me, and became the family I’d always wanted. I had friends, a social life, volunteer work; I enjoyed writing poetry and working out. Life was good. And, then I became preoccupied with a very charming, manipulative man. I was always intrigued by a great personality! This man became everything to me. I didn’t mean anything to him. This tale of unrequited love went on for nearly eight years – before we dated for two months, seeing each other *twice* during that time – not what I call dating, but I digress. I mistakenly thought that if I was more, did more – he’d love me more. Sadly, love doesn’t work that way. I learned the hard way. I even wrote Naked Desires, a poetry book, about my unrequited love story.

I endured subpar treatment. I accepted everything until I couldn’t do it anymore. I’m sure he thought that day would never come, but in late 2008 it did, as untimely as it was for him; he had rectal cancer and was scheduled for surgery a few days after I told him he could no longer be in my life. I stopped going to Toastmaster meetings a year before saying my final good-bye. Instinctively, I knew I could never put an end to my dysfunctional relationship if I kept going to meetings which the object of my desire also attended. I had to stop the madness. I had to get off the roller coaster of love. I had to do what I didn’t want to do, make the hardest decision of my life, which was to leave…FOR GOOD. I’d left many times before, but this time was different, it had to be different.

It’s been nearly five years. I did it! I walked away and didn’t look back. I finally loved myself more than I loved a man. I took control of my life. And, that’s when everything fell apart. My real family is struggling to deal with Mom’s Alzheimer’s diagnosis. I am Mom’s main caregiver.

On any given day, I deal with mean siblings who think I am killing her; they also think I should take care of her since I don’t work. I volunteer in a first grade class; it’s where my heart is, but my family doesn’t think that counts. Apparently, they don’t think I have a life or the right to a life. My “family of friends” is no longer there; most of them treat me like a stranger. I don’t know what happened, but the common denominator is the manipulative man; my guess is he told the others things about me that aren’t true. The irony is, all these people know his true character, so it makes no sense why they’d want to see me continually hurt by him. If my so called (ex) friends don’t talk to me because I stop going to Toastmasters…well, that is just ridiculous and wrong.

I’ve always been optimistic. I’d like to believe that my life is going to get better. I created a vision board, but staying positive is getting hard. I’m basically alone all the time. I crave true connections; finding them has proven to be a real challenge. But, I have satisfaction in my heart because I learned the naked truth about love: it *never* hurts and you can’t force anyone to love you. In the words of Alfred, Lord Tennyson, this incurable romantic believes “it is better to have loved and lost than to not to have loved at all.”


87 thoughts on “LOVE: The Naked Truth

  1. I love the name of your blog and your heart wrenching story of love and hope. You write magically my dear sister. I love you.

  2. Nicole ~ you are a gifted writer ~ I enjoyed your story and the courage it took to pour out your heart! I pray that 2012 showers you with love, true love and gives your heart all of the happiness it can hold. I love you greatly.

  3. Liked your article; so glad to see that you learn you come first in love then everything else fells into place lol Elizabeth

  4. Nicki, congratulations on your new blog. I look forward to reading more about your search for love. I agree with Laurie-it takes a lot of courage to pour out your heart so honestly.

  5. Good for YOU Nicole!!! Congrats on your new blog!!! AND remember…YOU are never alone…YOU are always LoVed…Always!!!

  6. (((hug))) Nicole, I’m so proud of you! And I feel honored to love you like a sister. You already accomplished great things, and it’s clear you are heading in the right direction. Keep your head up. Often it seems hardest just before a major breakthrough. Love ya! p.s. I love the pic of you and your mom. I wish I had met her when I was still living in Florida.

    • Dear Renee,

      I love you like a sister, too. It’s because of your suggestion that I started this blog, so thank you for always encouraging me to try new things. I’ll keep my head up…promise. I wish you could have met my Mom when you lived here, too.

  7. Way to go, Nicki!
    Beautiful site/blog – but better yet, genuine and real. You have courage and talent and you use it well. Congratulations! Keep it up! 🙂

  8. I love your honesty and your willingness to bare your soul. You an awesome person and a talented communicator. And that man and your old “friends” suck and are lousy individuals. You are a tough cookie, girl!

  9. Nicole, you’re amazing! Thanks for sharing your story. A great book about what love really is and that I recommend is “The Art of Loving” by Erich Fromm. Give it a try.

  10. Simply beautiful. This transparent outpouring is inspirational, touching, and wow does it hit home!! This entry describes your character to any perfect stranger. It is so encouraging.

    -Thank you.

  11. Well said Nicole!!! very well said… I also think at times, why people tend to do so mcuh negative things to me & all I do is try to do the best I can with showing them love, respect, etc… Guess they’re just not ready to let me come in their lives..or maybe they aren’t ready…YET!

  12. Hey Nicole, thank you for sharing your life experences with us. Your story is inspiring. You are a wonderful writer. I am looking for speakings for WIWTG, so maybe we can chat about you coming and talking to the ladies and sharing your wonderful book.

    Make it a great day!


  13. I like your writing style. Sounds like you have overcome alot and still have a full plate. Sorry about your mom, alzheimers is a bitch! All the best to you and I look forward to reading more of your work.

  14. Nicole,

    That would take some dysfunction to make the Kardashian’s look normal. Besides, who cares about them anyway?

    You express yourself well. Loving yourself comes first and foremost. For many, it’s the most difficult kind of love. Can you look into the mirror and claim to love the one looking at you? You must for personal satisfaction and gratification.

    What are you passionate about, Nicole? What lights you and and you love to do. Look there to find the love to give away.

    Keep posting!

    Happy 2012!


  15. I enjoyed and can relate to your story. What you’ve gone through is more common place than you know. We have more in common than you can imagine.

  16. I love your writing nicole!!! We will always be friends & I will always be here for you even though I know its hard these days to stay in touch but I try. Life just gets so busy with my little ones but I still have not stopped thinking about my true friends. I hope we can get together soon one of these days lady. Don’t ever stop writing gal.

  17. Hi Nicole, Congratulations on your new blog! You are a beautiful person and I see that you have a lot of supporters. I too wish you the very best because you deserve it! Keep doing what you love. Your “sister” from WIW.

  18. Undeniably believe that which you said. Your favorite reason appeared to be on the web the simplest thing to be aware of. I say to you, I definitely get annoyed while people think about worries that they just do not know about. You managed to hit the nail upon the top and defined out the whole thing without having side effect , people could take a signal. Will probably be back to get more. Thanks

  19. Magnificent goods from you, man. I have understand your stuff previous to and you are just extremely fantastic. I really like what you’ve acquired here, certainly like what you are saying and the way in which you say it. You make it enjoyable and you still take care of to keep it sensible. I cant wait to read far more from you. This is really a great website.

  20. LOVE: The Naked Truth bareyournakedtruth I was recommended this blog by my cousin. I am not sure whether this post is written by him as nobody else know such detailed about my trouble. You are wonderful! Thanks! your article about LOVE: The Naked Truth bareyournakedtruth Best Regards Veronica Yoder

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  22. Hey There. I found your blog using msn. This is an extremely well written article. I will make sure to bookmark it and return to read more of LOVE: The Naked Truth bareyournakedtruth . Thanks for the post. I will certainly comeback.

  23. I am not sure where you are getting your information, but good topic. I needs to spend some time learning much more or understanding more. Thanks for fantastic information I was looking for this info for my mission.

  24. I really love that you’re not afraid to tell the entire truth. Sometimes I am…I am sorry that you haven’t found true love yet. It sounds like you really deserve it. And I’m sorry that your siblings don’t respect you for taking the time to be your mother’s caregiver. However, you have to remember that you have to think about yourself, too, if you want to be happy. I wish you the best, Nicole. You really deserve it! Thanks for sharing your story. 🙂

  25. Very heartfelt and honest. Glad you know to stay positive and hopeful but like you said it gets rough…keep staying strong look g at the positives even if they seem so small and almost irrelevant. Sending you love and hugs as I keep you in my thoughts and prayers. You are an amazing soul and fine writer. Glad to have found your blog and friendship.

    Love and hugs. God bless!!!

  26. I simply want to tell you that I am just new to blogging and truly loved this blog site. Most likely I’m planning to bookmark your website . You absolutely have great well written articles. Regards for sharing with us your blog.

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