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  • Donna

“I Couldn’t See How Every Sign Pointed Straight to You”

Updated: Nov 26, 2020

I’ve had radio silence for the past few weeks while immersed in unexpected life events–the kind that validate doing what feels right despite an inability to determine exactly where I’m going. (The Taoist A-to-B rather than A-to-Z idea–which is great in theory but can be intimidating in practice.) Though I’ve seen it work in my life, it can be hard to happily wade in a blurry vision, uncertain how or when clarity will come.

It’s worth it though. I believe that doing what feels right, step by step, without trying to force the pieces together into a predetermined vision, allows things to naturally fall into place in a complex pattern that’s better than anything I would’ve conceived.

It happened with my professional life. At 17 I began pursuing a biology degree to solve the mystery of why I got a rare spinal tumor. No one knew why people get osteoclastomas, and I, having watched several Lifetime movies, figured I could figure it out if I put my mind to it. Many classes and boring labs (which I wasn’t good at) later, I realized that wasn’t the best course for me. I wanted to change my major to something more artsy but my parents said they wouldn’t pay for it. I caved and finished my bio degree. I realize they were just trying to ensure I could get a good job with good insurance, and I don’t fault them for it. Deciding to choose money over what felt right is a decision I had to make so I could be upset with myself for it and resolve never to do it again. Plus, it resulted in a bio degree, which, as my parents anticipated, has been really damn useful.

I wasn’t interested in biology-related things, but was able to garner gainful employment. This allowed me to pay for my own master’s degree in something I did enjoy–writing. I left my job and moved to Costa Rica when my first serious girlfriend had to leave the country because her visa expired. I didn’t know what was going to happen, but did what felt right. While abroad, I began writing for–a job I was able to get because I had a bio degree and was pursuing a master’s in writing.

My relationship didn’t work out, but I was able to get my current job with the federal government due to my bio degree in combination with my master’s and web-based communications experience. It all came together. I really like what I do now and never would’ve planned it that way.

And now the same has happened with my personal life. I’ve written previously about my life reflecting country songs, and the current contender is Bless the Broken Road by Rascal Flats. I’ve only had two real relationships. Both lasted about five years and my only regret was that I didn’t realize faster that it wasn’t going to work. There was nothing wrong with the people I dated; we just weren’t right for each other. I knew I had learned good lessons about what I need in a partner, and what I had to offer, but why did it have to take me so long?

I believe it’s because it allowed me to meet the right person at the right time. About a year ago, I began trying to have a child. This decision led to my girlfriend and I breaking up. It was hard, but I never questioned whether it was right. I’ve been pursuing fertility treatments and haven’t had success yet, but regardless of whether I ever get pregnant, I’m certain choosing to try to have a child was the right decision.

I had become somewhat isolated in my relationship and  made a conscious effort to engage with the world and create a social network. I created this blog. I went to yoga classes. I started volunteering with Forte Animal Rescue. I joined an anniversary party planning committee for the rescue group and began fostering a dog. I didn’t know where these activities may lead but pursuing them felt like the right thing to do.

I was comfortable with the Forte group right away. They hold pet adoptions every Saturday for a few hours, and attending those events allowed me to feel good about helping while also enjoying genuinely entertaining interaction with potential friends.

A few months in, I had my first real conversation with Wendy and we hit it off. We began texting regularly in streams that literally made me LOL, and she invited me on a “pack walk” with one of her friends: Five dogs and three women traipsing along the streets of Venice, down to the pier, followed by chill time on a rooftop deck by the beach. Wendy also invited me to a picnic with her friends to watch a polo match at Will Rogers State Park, and I had her over for a BBQ where we talked all day and she didn’t leave until midnight.

I told my mom in a convo shortly after that I had met someone with “Michelle and Wendi” potential. They’re my two closest friends, who I met almost 20 years ago when playing rugby. I don’t see them very often and was really happy with the possibility of having such a close friend here in LA, who I could do things with regularly.

Then came my birthday. When my ex and I broke up, I wondered if I would celebrate it alone when the time came. I didn’t tell anyone as the day approached and had decided to just do things that make me happy. So I knew I was going to paddleboard in the morning.

Earlier in the week, a friend had offered to let my ducks swim in her pool, so I asked what would be a good day for her; she picked my birthday, not knowing it was my birthday. So I now had paddleboarding in the morning and a ducks-in-the-pool date around 5pm.

Then, I received a text from Wendy asking if Facebook was telling the truth about it being my birthday tomorrow. I told her yes and she said “I still don’t know you well enough to select a fabulously unique gift that you didn’t even know you wanted–can I treat you to dinner instead?” And suddenly I had a great birthday planned.

Paddleboarding was peaceful and a great kickoff to 39.


Letting the ducks loose in the swimming pool of an apartment complex was so much fun, and will probably never happen again, as they shat all over the place.


Wendy took me to my favorite Mexican restaurant, then came over afterward, and we literally sat on the couch and talked until the sun came up. In the weeks since, a previously-pixelated future has come into focus, and I like what I’m seeing.

I wasn’t looking for a relationship. I assumed I’d have a kid and focus my attention on parenting and then, maybe one day, I’d fall in love with someone. But instead, I’ve unwittingly happened upon a woman who inherently possesses the qualities I now know I need, and who needs what I naturally have to offer. Had we met earlier, I would’ve been in a relationship; had my fertility treatments been successful, I may not have joined Forte or may have attended so infrequently that we wouldn’t have connected. 

I have truly traversed a broken road, literally and figuratively, and feel so fortunate to have arrived at my current destination.

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