Find Your Inner Bumblebee!

Nicole’s Inner Bumblebee

Like most of you, I read a lot of food blogs. It’s getting to the point now where you can find out just about anything you need to know about any kind of food just by searching food blogs alone.

But I’ve also come to realize that there are a lot of great blogs out there that have nothing to do with food. In fact, I am sometimes overwhelmed by the sheer amount of good, entertaining writing floating around, free for the taking, on the web (I will get to the bumble bee part soon!).

So how do I figure out what to read? It’s simple. I tend to return to blogs where I have developed some kind of relationship with the writer. It’s when I start to feel that I know someone on a personal level that I become interested in what they have to say, day to day, week to week. So whether the dialogue starts through blog comments, e-mail, IM, telephone, or even in person (as has been the case lately), it’s the dialogue that keeps me coming back.

So, as I was saying, I am a loyal reader of a few non-food blogs (yes, I divide the millions of blogs out into only two categories: food blogs and the others) and the other day I read something on a friend’s blog that stopped me in my tracks.

The post, from Emon at Emonome is called “Finding Other Bumblebees” and it broaches the well-traveled subject of learning to be yourself. It’s been said a million times in a million different ways. Learn to be yourself. Don’t worry about what the others think. Do your own thing. You have to learn to love yourself before you can find true love. But Emon’s post hit me like a ton of bricks.

You see, his post was inspired by Blind Melon’s “No Rain” video. You remember that video, right? The one with the awkward little girl in the bumble bee costume. If, at this point, you have no idea what I’m talking about, go to Emon’s post and watch the video before reading any further.

Back now? Good. Now that we’re all on the same page, I’ll tell you why that post and that video have been running through my head for the past three days. Everyone loved that video when it came out all those years ago. But one person in particular really loved that video. And that person was my mom.

My mom loved that video. My mom was that video. My mom was the only person I know who could wear that bumble bee costume when everyone else in the world was wearing something different.

This was her costume: 501 jeans and Birkenstocks (before they were cool); long straight hair and no make-up; neon-colored sunglasses (free from Carl’s Jr.) and Fresno Grizzlies t-shirts; a purse large enough to smuggle super big gulps into movie theaters; clog-dancing in the supermarket; Pearl Jam concerts; howling at the full moon; baseball games and sign language classes; blues festivals and art films.

That was my mom. That was K. She did what she wanted, she wore what she wanted, and people loved her. My mom was killed by a drunk driver almost 10 years ago. My sister and I were both in college, searching for own inner bumble bees. And I never had a chance to ask her how she found the courage to be herself.

It does take courage to be yourself, more courage than any self-help book will ever tell you. I’ve struggled my whole life trying to figure out who I am and what I want to be. And right in the middle of figuring it all out, my world came crashing down around me. I survived, as we all do after the death of a loved one. But when I re-emerged , I was missing some parts. We all were.

I had to start my search over, from scratch. Except this time around, without my mom as a role model, I was asking the wrong questions: Who should I be? What do others want me to be? I didn’t realize that this change had taken place. It no longer even occurred to me that I already was the person I wanted to be or that I was already doing the things I should have be doing. But that’s changing now.

Those of you have visited Pinch My Salt in the last couple of weeks know that I am now in central California visiting my family.

Coming home to California is always difficult. My mom’s house was my home. Every night I have stayed at my dad’s house, my grandmother’s house, my aunt’s house, my cousin’s house, or my friend’s house has just been a reminder that I can no longer go home. As much as I love my family, as much as they try to make my sister and I feel at home, it will never be the same.

I have been searching for a home for the past 9 years. Searching for that place where I can feel completely comfortable, where I can be myself, where I don’t have to worry about anyone or anything. Where I can just be. What I didn’t realize is that I need to find that place within myself.

It isn’t my mom’s house that I’ve been missing. It’s the feeling I had when I was around her. The feeling that I can do whatever I want and be whoever I want and who cares what the rest of the world thinks. I was taught to believe these things by both of my parents. But I lost sight of it.

Emon’s bumble bee post happened to come at the right time. If I had been in Sicily when I read it, the impact wouldn’t have been the same. I am in the right place to find my inner bumble bee. I am home.

Now, about that photo! I wasn’t the only one who was affected by the bumble bee post. JD over at FourBux was inspired not only to find his inner bumble bee but to draw it. And this in turn encouraged others to follow suit. So we now have a little community of bumble bees that seems to be growing bigger.

My bumble bee photo was something silly I did to contribute to this growing bumble bee community, but the photo was also inspired in part by Genie from The Inadvertent Gardener, whose Taking a Dare post helped me get over the fear of putting a huge photo of my face on the front page of my blog!

But most importantly, this silly bumble bee photo is a symbol of me coming to terms with some pretty important things. I am the person I want to be. I am doing the things I want to do and therefore these are the things I should be doing. And as scary as it is, I am going to accept myself for who I am and just go for it!

Nicole’s Inner Bumblebee

Thanks for listening and remember, It’s OK to Bee yourself! (sorry, couldn’t resist)

Update: I just happened to run across some other bee photos at one of my favorite food blogs, La Tartine Gourmande. I must admit, they are much more beautiful than mine 🙂

  1. Genie

    Nicole, I am so proud of you (even if I mostly only know you from your blog) — you’re beautiful and talented and absolutely courageous. It’s never too late to embrace that self-acceptance and spit in the eye of fear. Rock on, chica. I applaud you from flyover country.

    8:40 pm  Aug 17th, 2007
  2. erik

    wonderful post, and even though i just “met” you i think this is great and i av=m very glad for you…

    i rarely go back to where i grew up, some 3,000 miles away, because this is my home… i live in california now, grew up in a small coal town south of pittsburgh, pa., and my children are here my new family is here, and this is my home.

    let me be the first to welcome you home again… 😉

    …and yes, i teared up a little.

    8:50 pm  Aug 17th, 2007
  3. dani

    Oh Nicole…I love you’re post! I don’t think there is a person out there that can not relate to this in one way or another. At the end of the day it’s what it all comes down to!! You’re very courageous for sharing with all of us…And I LOVE the picture:)!!

    9:40 pm  Aug 17th, 2007
  4. Corinne

    I don’t even know what to say. I love you. You made me cry! I am proud of you and I can’t wait to see what you do in the future!

    10:26 pm  Aug 17th, 2007
  5. JoeDrinker

    Excellent observation.

    It’s amazing to know what others in our lives have been through, and even though we only know them as an icon or a screen name, it just helps us connect a little more to those buzzing around us.

    Your mom sounds like a cool chick. Or “bee”, as it were.



    12:07 am  Aug 18th, 2007
  6. Cara

    Hey thanks for the post! Your the first person outside family and friends to look at it! I love your blog I think its great!

    12:18 am  Aug 18th, 2007
  7. Nicole

    Genie: Thanks, and the same goes to you!

    Erik: Thanks for the welcome home 🙂

    Dani: Thank you. It was difficult to write this but sometimes it’s even harder to keep things inside 🙂

    Corinne: Sorry, I knew that would happen! But I did give a warning 🙂

    JoeDrinker: Thanks. You’re right, it’s nice to connect to people regardless whether they live next door or across an ocean.

    Cara: Thanks for stopping by!

    12:43 am  Aug 18th, 2007
  8. Kalyn

    I loved reading this, and yes, it did make me cry. Maybe I cried partly because my own mom died nine years ago and I can certainly relate to missing “the feeling I had when I was around her.” I’m not sure I’ll ever stop missing that.

    But I also cried because there were so many things here that made me nod my head and say “yes.” Figuring out who you are and then just being that person, no matter what, can be pretty darn hard sometimes. And then other times it’s easy. I’m a *lot* older than you are, and the only thing I know is that it’s a journey, not a destination. Thanks for letting us share this part of your journey.

    I’m so glad we got to meet. Big hug.

    2:03 am  Aug 18th, 2007
  9. Emon


    I sat in front of the computer not knowing how to respond…for a long time. Reading this post made me realize that my own little post was only supposed to open doors to yours. Thank you for giving my post such respect and adulation.

    It makes me proud to be a part of this post. You perhaps are unaware how many people you inspire to be themselves and trust themselves. Be it with your writing, be it with your photography, be it the way you make others feel comfortable when they seek your help. You’ve helped me a lot with your suggestions, recommendations, and your support. I am grateful for that and will remain so.

    And most of all, I’m proud to have you as a friend.

    5:25 am  Aug 18th, 2007
  10. OmegaMom

    Lovely post. Your mom sounds like she was a great person. It takes people a long time to bee themselves, y’know; a lot of people in their 20s are, just like you were, trying to be what others want them to be, rather than themselves. Good on ya for discovering that you’re who you want to be now, rather than waiting for your 30s or 40s (or even later) to realize that what others think of you shouldn’t rule your life–it’s what you think of yourself.

    6:40 am  Aug 18th, 2007
  11. Coleen

    Bravo per il suo coraggio!

    11:29 am  Aug 18th, 2007
  12. Melanie

    Hi–You are a sweet person–I was touched by the blog–as you get older things fall more into place and you have an added vision which comes with experiences..have a lovely weekend exploring–I’m still a hippie at heart

    11:35 am  Aug 18th, 2007
  13. Bob

    I’ve been reading your blog for a while now & you never cease to amaze me with your writing & photography.

    My beautiful mother passed away seven years ago & I still miss her terribly. She was definetly a bumble bee in her own right.

    I’m glad to see that you’ve found your inner bee.

    3:07 pm  Aug 18th, 2007
  14. Meagan

    You have a gift for inspiring those around you… your work(s) never cease to amaze me!!

    Bravo for finding the courage to be yourself in this crazy world of ours!!

    See ya around lil’bumblebee!!

    4:08 pm  Aug 18th, 2007
  15. Steph

    Wow..what a blog. And I know it took some major courage to go there. Made me cry and still cry while writing. Can see the changes in you and cant wait to see more.
    And my new co-worker plays that Blind melon song alot–guess where it takes me back to? Times at your mom’s house on days after junior college.
    Nicole you are one of the most strongest and independent women I know–which is also a descriptoin of your mom and why she left such an impression on all of us–your surrounding girlfriends as well.
    And I also have to say–that was a very therapeutic blog:) Very proud of you and see your future getting brighter.

    5:41 pm  Aug 18th, 2007
  16. fanny

    this is one beautiful of a post. I almost cried reading it (well, ok i did).
    And you just look too cute as a bumblebee!

    Love xxx
    – fanny

    6:45 pm  Aug 18th, 2007
  17. Ruby Berry

    This made me cry, you were right.


    8:33 pm  Aug 18th, 2007
  18. Cynthia

    This was moving indeed Nicole and I am sincerely happy for you that you have found your home and that you’re happy and at peace with yourself. You don’t know how wealthy you are just by having that.


    12:42 am  Aug 19th, 2007
  19. Katiez

    I think I have a way to go to find my inner bumblebee… but you’ve made me think I should look a little harder. Lovely post.

    7:31 pm  Aug 19th, 2007
  20. Sol

    you are beautiful

    9:16 pm  Aug 19th, 2007
  21. Steven Vollmer

    Some of the best cookbooks I’ve read have stories that go with the recipes. Maya Angelou, for example. Wow that is some great food, and some great stories.

    My passion is public education, but I can’t help but let some of my other life issues cross over into my blog.

    1:43 am  Aug 20th, 2007
  22. Nic

    A beautiful lesson, beautifully told.

    Thank you for sharing and congratulations on your new-found you-ness.

    Now I have to buzz off and find a recipe for dinner.

    4:19 am  Aug 21st, 2007
  23. Anali

    Hi Nicole! This is a beautiful post. I wasn’t familiar with the song or video before, but it was really touching. Thank you for sharing you and your family with us. I’m still trying to bee the most me I can bee! By the way it was great meeting you at Blogher. ; )

    5:31 am  Aug 21st, 2007
  24. ilva

    I do recognize that feeling of homelessness that happens when parents pass away. I’m learning to find that inside myself and within my love for mine but it’s not easy, vero? Your mother sounds like a great role model but I’m sure she thought/thinks you are a great person in your own right!

    2:52 pm  Aug 21st, 2007
  25. Suldog

    Wonderful post! Anali directed me to your site and I’m glad she did.

    I had a very moving experience the other day, somewhat in a similar fashion. I saw Peter Yarrow (of Peter, Paul & Mary fame) in concert and he sang a song called “Don’t Laugh At Me”. The lyrics may be found here:

    In any case, I had never cried at a concert before, but I did this time. I guess the song brought back some repressed sadness about being teased as a kid. There’s a line in there that goes, “Someday we’ll all have perfect wings”, which refers to going to Heaven, but I suppose they could be bumblebee wings, if you want 🙂

    3:49 pm  Aug 21st, 2007
  26. Helene

    Thanks a lot for sharing your story. And yes, like Kalyn it reminded me of my mother´s death, and the emptiness surrounding it.
    I agree, it´s a journey full of false endings, but sometimes you have to go into a dead end street to realize you´re wrong. Just now, doing a local campaign, many people ask me, “Why are you doing it?” I usually tell them, that I am an engaged person and want to go into local politics, and this is the way to make my name and goal known. Usually they shudder…
    They don´t see the humble bee! 🙂

    10:47 am  Aug 22nd, 2007
  27. Shivapriya

    I’m really sorry about ur mom. I’m really gald I met you, you are a wonderful person to know. Nice picture of ur’s .Hope to meet you soon.

    7:52 pm  Aug 22nd, 2007
  28. Mrs. L

    Wow. I don’t think I’ll look at a bumblebee for a while without thinking of your post. Thank you for putting yourself out there.

    5:09 am  Aug 23rd, 2007
  29. Dutchnic

    Wow, that is awesome, Nicolea! You are brave!

    5:44 pm  Aug 23rd, 2007
  30. Keri

    Hi there-
    I cried. I only know you through your blog (which I adore) but your words came to me at just the right time as well….sometimes we need a little reminder that we are: we are good, we are enough, we are smart, we are pretty, we are here. Thanks for offering such a beautiful reminder.

    7:08 pm  Aug 24th, 2007
  31. renee

    thank you for the really important reminder. there are so many bees around town right now. they will help me remember that it’s okay to be me and to just keep listening to my heart. your mom would be really proud of you.

    12:11 am  Aug 27th, 2007
  32. Syrie

    Hi Nicole,
    Thanks for this inpirational post. It made my heart swell and brought tears to my eyes. Thank you

    10:32 pm  Aug 28th, 2007
  33. Courtney


    I loved your post – it was one of those to-the-point pieces of writing that’s overwhelmingly powerful because it’s just so honest. There’s a poem it made me think of, as well, that I expect you’ll enjoy (and not just because of the feast/food metaphor – but how appropriate!):

    Love After Love, by Derek Walcott

    The time will come
    when, with elation,
    you will greet yourself arriving
    at your own door, in your own mirror,
    and each will smile at the other’s welcome,

    and say, sit here. Eat.
    You will love again the stranger who was your self.
    Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart
    to itself, to the stranger who has loved you

    all your life, whom you ignored
    for another, who knows you by heart.
    Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,

    the photographs, the desperate notes,
    peel your own image from the mirror.
    Sit. Feast on your life.

    ** Cheers – Courtney, Visalia, CA native

    10:52 pm  Aug 28th, 2007
  34. Genie

    I want to second Courtney’s poetry contribution — my aunt sent me that poem at a time when I most needed it, and I have returned to it again and again. I also recommend Wild Geese by Mary Oliver. It’s in the same vein. 🙂

    12:26 am  Aug 29th, 2007
  35. wifemothermaniac

    Outing myself as a reader, this is my first post. This was beautiful to read, thank you for sharing it. Your mother sounds like she was an incredible woman, and my guess is that you’re something like her more than you know 🙂 bzzzzzzzz ~ Rachel

    7:33 am  Sep 6th, 2007
  36. A Hearty Potato Leek Soup Recipe for the Last Days of Winter — Pinch My Salt

    […] it’s just hard to write about a recipe that is so intertwined with memories of the person who meant the most to me and who isn’t here to make it anymore. I can make the soup, eat the soup, share the soup, but […]

    12:01 pm  Mar 19th, 2008
  37. emonome | Honeyy, I’m Buzz Buzz Bu-uzz!

    […] Well, this is more of a honey-bee thing but let’s not focus on the type here; make your own and send it to someone. Thank you Nicole for forwarding this site. By the way, I still have a lot of people following the link and coming to my post because of the beautiful piece you wrote. […]

    9:07 pm  Apr 26th, 2008
  38. drini

    i couldn’t resist clicking on your link there after finding your potatoe and leek recipe.. i knew there was something that clicked when i was reading it. i love that bumble bee thing, and it’s so interesting how people who live completely different lives can be on the same paths. very interesting indeed. i lost my brother 9 years ago this month, so maybe it’s why i’m tuned in to someone losing a special person. it sent me on a journey as you were describing and i came across this book ‘a new earth’ by eckhart tolle… that book and others was like crutches under my arm, so i wanted to share them with you. they can only take you so far, so like you said, it’s up to us to find that place within ourselves. Again, thanks & best wishes 🙂

    5:43 am  Oct 8th, 2008
  39. Mary

    This blog brought tears to my eyes. I think that is so beautiful and your mom must be very proud of you. Thanks for adding a little joy to my heart today. Bee Blessed!

    10:33 am  Sep 30th, 2009
  40. Dorothy

    My Mom died in August of 1979. I was 23. It really kicked me hard. On the surface I was fully functioning but inside I was a wreck and it took me quite a while to get my feet under me.
    Your Mom sounds wonderful and so do you. Thank you for sharing you!
    I came looking for Leek Soup (it will be cold and rainy tonight in California); I’ve never made it but yours looks like a great recipe.
    Thank you for the video. I had never seen it and I can’t wait to share it with my college-aged sons.
    Again, thank you Nicole for you!

    3:11 pm  Feb 5th, 2010
  41. dianne terrio

    Your mom sounds so much like how i would love to bee.(sorry,hehe). I always have had great admiration for people like your mom. I don’t know how old you are but i am 44 years old and still am looking for the same thing you are. Being free of what other people think, want, and expect of me. I hope you find your bee hive someday that will make you feel free and happy and comfortable…….Dianne.

    p.s i am going to make this soup today and i will be thinking of your mom and how cool she is.

    10:34 am  Mar 6th, 2011
  42. Bee'n Myself

    I found this via your potato leek soup recipe, and I loved it so much. I love your openness, your honesty. You have inspired me, a 23 year old woman searching for the integrity to be who I am. Thank you!

    5:44 pm  Oct 3rd, 2011
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