I have felt like I was afraid for most of my life. I even wrote a blog post about it. Growing up, I was reared to play it safe. Be cautious. Be mindful that THIS action can lead to THAT repercussion. I listened. Always watch your purse and your back. Study hard because you’ll get in trouble if you do poorly. Stay away from drugs, don’t have sex, be a good girl. I followed those rules and they served me well. My best friend’s older sister called me “Nikki the Nerd.” I didn’t love that moniker but I couldn’t dispute it. It was true.

Then I found myself in my senior year of high school. It was time to make some choices. I wanted to move away to pursue college and my grandmother did NOT want that. Things were increasingly tense at home while I made plans to move away and she tried to manage her emotions around that. I pushed through and at 17, she, along with my dad and step-mother, moved me into Tower A on Pitt’s Campus (across the state from my hometown). I had never felt so free, so alive, so ME. This was really the first real stand I took in my life and it was a big one. Since I carried her lessons with me, I studied hard, stayed un-pregnant 🙂 and graduated with pride.

Pittsburgh was now home and it was time to really put down roots. My next rebel act was to meet and marry a man after only 10 months of knowing him AND he was a member of a controversial religious sect. EVERYONE in my whole life was in an uproar. I mean, EVERYONE. I forged ahead, vowing to defy the odds, Married at 24, pregnant at 25, divorced at 26. Unlike college, this thing didn’t take any time to go down in flames. I licked my wounds and kept moving. I had a little girl to raise and my feelings of failure didn’t trump her needs. After this, I decided to go back to my cautious ways and lock down on a “good government job” and take care of my daughter.

A few years passed, I worked, dated, had great times with my girlfriends and then found myself gearing up to marry again. He and I were very, very different (which, I think made this feel quite risky) but we had some pretty strong commonalities as well and he had a great sense of humor so the laughs came easily, as did the fights, unfortunately. We forged ahead, preparing to defy these odds too and did, for awhile….

In 2009, I had an idea for a product. Something that I desperately needed that I was sure (and still am sure) EVERYONE needs in their lives. As I’ve mentioned many times, I had no intentions of being a biz owner but here I was, taking a chance. Pouring lots of time, money, sweat, anguish and joy into this endeavor. Vowing not to give up, not to quit, not to let rejection stop me in my tracks. THIS is now my definition of a bad ass. I have pushed EVERY CHIP to the center of the table. Even when I go inside of myself with worry that this endeavor will remain small potatoes, I never, ever consider stopping. Yes, I still have a 9 to 5 so I am playing it safe in that way but I promise you, in EVERY OTHER WAY where Nikki’s Magic Wand is involved, I’m ALL IN.

In reflecting on my life, I’ve realized that I made some uh, interesting choices personally and I spent YEARS kicking my own ass and crying over and over again. However, in my current state of mind, I have ZERO regrets. I mean NONE. If you’re going to believe that things happen for a reason, then you MUST apply it to everything. It’s not a pick and choose kinda belief.

I’m proud of me. The lessons I’ve learned. The life I’ve built. The example of success and failure my life represents to those around me and to my children.

I had no idea I was a bad ass but as it turns out, I’m the baddest. 🙂

As always, thanks for reading,