Dating without Nipples: Navigating Life’s Transitions and the Journey of Self Discovery

by | Dec 2, 2023 | On the Podcast...

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I think you’ll enjoy this one. I get pretty vulnerable about what’s going on in my life and ask for your feedback on how you’d like to see this podcast evolve and grow.

We talk about navigating life transitions, dealing with love addiction, and exploring self-image issues after breast cancer reconstruction – all while juggling a demanding job and trying to be an author/entrepreneur.

In the midst of my third divorce, a recent move, Medicare open enrollment and financial challenges, I’m learning to understand and embrace the hurdles that life throws.

I’d love your feedback about this episode and where you’d like this podcast and brand to go in the future…

Watch the Video here:


Speaker 1: 0:10
Welcome back to Piece of Work, the podcast. I'm Danielle Tantone and today I just wanted to chat about a bunch of things. It's just me, which is a little unusual. It's kind of hard to just talk to yourself, but I have a lot going on in my life and I wanted to share it with you. It's been a while since I've recorded. I have been a little busy, first of all, with my job as a labor and delivery nurse and second with my business as a Medicare agent. As some of you may know, it's a Medicare open enrollment annual enrollment period right now. So that's been busy just taking care of my existing clients. And I'm also going through a divorce and that's been interesting and interesting. We'll just leave it at that. So I moved into a new home and just kind of in a stage of transition right now and navigating a whole bunch of stuff, and so it's recently come to my attention that this is my third divorce, which is a strange thing that I'm not necessarily proud of. I mean, I'm not necessarily ashamed of it either, but I never saw myself as someone who would be married three times and I certainly never saw myself as being divorced three times. It's not excuse me, I might take a sip of water. It's not what we set out for when we decide to get married, whether it's once or even the third time. You know we have our highest hopes and dreams and you know we imagine what life will be like and we don't imagine that 10 years later we'll be getting into wars. But you know it is what it is and the reasons for that choice are complicated and not necessarily anything that I want to go into here. But I've been really doing a lot of contemplating and just kind of sitting with it and thinking about my life and where I'm at over these. You know, what I've realized is that it's actually been it's basically three decades of my life where I've been facing divorce. My first marriage was very short, but I got divorced right at the end of my 20s. And then my second marriage was longer, about nine years, but by the time it was done I was at the end of my 30s. And now again, you know, nine year marriage and now again I'm at the end of my 40s. And so facing this reality and just this life change at the end of each of those decades of my life is a very interesting thing. You know, I'm a different person and yet I'm the same person. So some things I'm way more mature about, way more grounded, more stable, smarter, and then at the same time it's like I'm still that same little girl, that same, the same struggles. You know I wrote a whole book about faith and overcoming love addiction and learning to just love myself. And you, just like any other addiction, like a substance addiction I've talked about this in other episodes. You know I've interviewed people that have had interviewed people that have had addiction to alcohol or other substances and you know, with those, typically if you do a 12 step program you're, for most people they never have a drop of alcohol again and that's just what they need to do to be healthy. Some people are able to overcome their addiction and still maybe drink socially or they think they are, but for the most part, in order to recover from an addiction you have to have complete abstinence from the substance. So when you're addicted to love or that's really not love, it's more like the attention and the attraction and the excitement of lust or whatever it is, but I call it love addiction, for lack of a better word. So when you have been addicted to that, that thrill and that non-substance substance. It's a little bit harder to truly ever be over it because you can go years and know, okay, I need to not let that happen, I need to put these boundaries up. And then you find yourself single and it's very easy to get pulled back into that because it does feel really good when someone tells you you're beautiful, when someone calls you gorgeous, when someone says you have a hot body and you're 49, and you don't even have nipples We'll get back to that in a second. But it is addicting and I've had some conversations with friends who are either going through a divorce or have gone through it, and guys and girls and actually a lot of guys who have felt that thrill of the chase. So I've had to really examine myself and go, hey, is this healthy? Are you, you know, be careful. And yet it's also really fun. So it's a very hard balance because you're there's no clear-cut boundaries. It's not like I can just avoid going to the bar and avoid ever taking a sip of alcohol, because I'm in relationship with people in all kinds of different settings and it's just a constant work in progress. So that's been interesting, just to kind of remark about that, and then also so I touched on the nipples piece. That's interesting too. I went through breast cancer about four years ago and I did reconstruction with implants and I've talked a lot about that on this podcast. I interviewed my breast surgeon, my plastic surgeon, who did the reconstruction a couple episodes ago and I'm very okay and comfortable talking about that. I did do a reconstruction but I never finished it. So I have implants but I chose to have my nipples removed as part of the mastectomy. So I like to joke that my boobs are like Barbie boobs. They're not quite as perfect as Barbie boobs because there's some scars and stuff, but they're basically just the shape of breasts, but they don't really look complete because they don't have nipples. It was something that I always thought I would do. Even my surgeon said that there's been studies done that have proved that women really should the nipples really complete the picture. It's an important part of feeling like you're complete as a woman. So I didn't really necessarily care about it. Part of it was the timing. I went through breast cancer right before COVID. I was in the middle of nursing school. I was married with three kids. Frankly, I just was happy that they look good in clothing. I considered even doing a floral, beautiful chest piece instead of nipples, because I was like, who needs fake nipples? They don't do anything, they can't breastfeed anybody, they can't even really feel anything, so what's the point of them? I've waited, un-purpose and just because I was busy and just didn't. Four years just flew by. Here I am now I'm like, okay, now I'm single. I don't know if these Barbie boobs are really okay. Then I'm like, okay, well, who am I doing this for? Ultimately, I did decide recently that I want to do it for me. I want to have that complete look. I've been working a lot on my body and just being in shape and working out a lot. Even if no one sees them, I see them. So, yes, there's a couple of different options you can do. You can do surgical, you can do just 3D tattoos. That's what I'm doing. I'm working with my insurance to get it covered because it is considered part of the reconstruction process. But anyway, all of that, I went off on that tangent. But the reality of like, oh my gosh, if I go on a date, when do I tell a guy that I don't have nipples? Is that something you mentioned on a first date, if anyone who knows me can guess what my answer was. You pretty much blab it out right away, get it all on the table right away. That has had interesting results but honestly, this is still very new. Our divorce is not even final. I've gone on a couple dates and I've pretty quickly realized that I'm not really ready to fully date. I was only active on one of the dating sites for about 24 hours. I've met a couple people, but it's really just been a funny and fun experience. So I'm thinking about different ways to rebrand or refocus this podcast and I'd love your feedback. If you're listening, I have a couple of different ideas and different directions I might go Right now. It's pretty broad. You know, piece of work. We're all a piece of work, a work in progress and a work of art, and I started this podcast last October, kind of to go hand in hand with my book. I figured it would cover many of the themes that I explore in my book, such as faith, love, divorce, breast cancer, addiction or really anything, because the book obviously was a memoir. It's a story from my life. I always like to clarify that a memoir is not an autobiography. It's different. An autobiography is a story of someone's life and usually it's someone famous who regular people would actually care about. When you write or read a memoir, it's a story from someone's life and that person doesn't necessarily have to be famous or doesn't necessarily have to even have done anything super special. What makes it interesting for other people to read is kind of the journey and the story and the universal, like the specific that is also universal. So that's why I love reading memoir and writing memoir. I think that we can learn a lot from each other's stories and lessons that we've learned in our lives and I definitely had some interesting stuff that I've gone through. So, yeah, I think that it can have a universal appeal, even though it's a very specific story about someone's life and a very personal story about someone's life. So, anyway, I've interviewed other authors, I've talked about real estate, I've talked about Medicare, all these different things on this podcast and I've always felt like it was probably a little bit too broad and it really didn't have. One of the reasons why I've been so inconsistent with even recording is because I'm like, what's the point? Who's even listening? Who am I speaking to? What is the purpose of this podcast? Am I educating? Am I informing? Am I entertaining? Where am I going with it, and it's been a little unclear as I've been a little unclear, so I'm working on finding more of a focus and I have a couple ideas. So, like I said, I'd love your feedback. One idea is to really hone in on breast cancer. So many women face breast cancer specifically, I mean all kinds of cancer, but specifically breast cancer, and there are so many different topics and ideas and things we could talk about around breast cancer. I've several of my episodes have been focused on breast cancer and those seem to be the episodes that resonate with people and provide the greatest impact to people and actually like connect. I mean I've had people connect to my surgeon because of my podcast. I've had people just reach out wanting to talk, wanting to resources, wanting advice. So there's so much I can do with that. At the same time, there's probably already a lot of stuff about that and I don't know if that's what I wanna focus on and to what end. What am I offering? So that's one idea breast cancer. Another idea is this it's love and marriage and divorce. Again, I'd want to be more specific. I was just chatting with a friend and he said what about? That's very interesting, that decades thing. Now you're approaching 50 and going through a divorce and facing being single in your 50s. It's very different than in your 40s or in your 30s or in your 20s. Maybe you could talk about that. Maybe you could talk about just this year I'm 49. So I have one more year in my 40s is like maybe you could talk about turning 50, about this approaching your fifth decade. So that's an idea. Then I threw out the title Dating Without Nipples and the two guys that were around just loved it. I'm like well, I don't know if that's exactly the effect or the audience that I want to attract, so I would love your feedback on what you'd like to see. I only have a handful of listeners at this point, but I'd love to know what you think would be interesting and where you would like to see this thing go. What else? Yeah, dating's crazy. So I had a job interview yesterday. Again, if you've been listening to this podcast for a while, you know that I'm always doing lots of things on the career front as well. I'm still working full-time as a labor and delivery nurse. I love that so much. There's things I hate about it. I'll be honest I do not like working night shift, even though it affords me more time during the day to be with my kids and accomplish other things. I'm really a morning person, no matter what I try to do, and I have a lot of trouble sleeping during the day when it's beautiful outside and I want to be out doing things. But I do love that job. I'm not quitting my job anytime soon. I'm also still taking classes through GCU because I'm finishing up the second part of my degree. The job interview was to be a part-time PRN hospice nurse. One of the interview questions was okay, so you're a labor and delivery nurse. Do you literally help people bring forth life? What experience do you have with death? Do you really feel comfortable with dying and that other end of the spectrum? I said yeah, I actually do. It's like a strange love of that. I think that would be really beautiful to be at the same time a labor and delivery nurse and a hospice nurse. I actually have had several experiences where I'm with someone at the end of their life and it's almost like just as beautiful as the birth. It's really a special thing. So to be able to be an important part of that, I think, would be pretty cool. So it's still in the works. We'll see if it happens, but I'm really excited about that in a strange way. Another thing I always like to point out is that, as much as everyone thinks of labor and delivery as the happy place in the hospital and for the most part it is when a death occurs in labor and delivery it is devastating. Here you are I'm speaking specifically about a baby who doesn't make it. This is supposed to be the happiest day of your life, and when you have a baby who dies in utero or shortly after birth, it's very, very sad. There is a surprising amount of that. I mean, it happens. It's a big part of our job. In fact, we have a perinatal bereavement team and I'm part of that team. So I actually again, I strangely love those days when I get called to do that, because, as much as I love being a happy cheerleader and seeing that baby born and take its first breath, I also really love being there to comfort people in their darkest moments. I love being able to just be there with them and help them through it. So, anyway, so we talked about that, so I don't I'm afraid, I guess, of making the podcast too niche, too specific about one thing, because there are so many different things that I love talking about and I love interviewing people about, and so I don't know. As I'm talking here, I'm convincing myself that maybe I don't want to change anything, maybe I want to keep being all of the things because that's who I am and how I am. But we'll see, because I don't want to just keep rambling along. I'd like to have a purpose with this. I'd like it to do some good, because it doesn't do that much good if I only have a handful of people listening, and in order to gain a greater audience, I think that I do have to hone in on something. So I'd be curious again, what resonates with you personally. You can reach me by email, danielle, at danielltantonecom. You can go to my website, danielltantonecom. I'm on all the social medias social medias as at Danielle Tantone, so on Instagram, on Facebook and even on TikTok, but haven't recorded a video in a long time. What else that is about it? I would love it if you would read my book. It's available on ebook, it's available in paperback, it's available in audiobook, on Audible even. You can even use your free credit, and it's read by yours truly. It's called Piece of Work, a Memoir. We are all a piece of work, a work in progress and a work of art, and I think people have been surprised by what's in the book. I think that's another thing that I probably need to do a better job of marketing and branding it. People don't know really what to expect when they see the cover. The cover has a picture of it. I don't have a picture of it today, I usually have it with me but the cover has a picture of me in this pink sports bra with black paint splattered against it. That represents the cancer against the pink. So it represents the breast cancer. So they think, ok, is it about breast cancer? Like what is this book about? And it is a little bit about all the things that I've just talked about. It's about breast cancer. It's about my life leading up to the breast cancer diagnosis and then facing it with hope and joy. But it has other themes that people have been really surprised by. A lot of people who are not necessarily religious have really enjoyed watching following me along on my religious journey from a very liberal thinking Jewish girl to a more conservative Christian woman and then back somewhere to something in between. They've enjoyed that part of it. A lot of people have enjoyed watching the relationship part and the addiction struggle and how I overcame that. And then, of course, people do see value in watching how I faced breast cancer, became a nurse during a pandemic and just kind of embraced all the changes that came in my life. So I think that it's a good story, if I may say so myself, and it can feel narcissistic to write a story about your life and even to sit here and talk to yourself on a podcast, but that's actually something I'd like to explore in the future too, because, yeah, it's very interesting. But so, anyway, my focus is not all about me. It's about just like, kind of the struggles and joys that make us human. And I love when someone else reads my story or listens to my podcast and finds value in it and finds healing in it and feels seen and feels understood. That's pretty awesome to me. So I'm working on writing a couple of other things in my spare time Working, probably, on a second memoir. I'm working on a novel my first novel and again working as kind of a loose term in this case, because my time is absolutely packed right now, but I would like to become more of a prolific author and have many books out there for you guys to read. I want to put that out in the world. It's important to me whether I have one reader or millions of readers. I do hope it would be the millions I mean. It'd be nice to actually make money from my books and podcasts someday, but in the meantime I think that's about all I have for you. It's nice to be here. I do enjoy this. I think I enjoyed a lot more when I'm bantering with someone else. It's harder to make it valuable to others. When it's just me talking, it's hard to think of what to say. So hopefully you've found value in what I've said today and I hope you have a wonderful day. However, we're all a piece of work, a work in progress and a work of art all at the same time. We're all pieces of the master.


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