I’ll give you a little backstory: I grew up an only child. Then I found out I have a ton of siblings. I’ve been meeting them little by little.
I'm my mother’s only child. My father is a recovering alcoholic and wasn't very present during my childhood.
I grew up wishing I had a brother or sister to play with and keep me company. So when I learned I had a half-brother, Mikey, I couldn’t wait to meet him and see what he was like. Would we look the same? Have the same mannerisms? Would we be able to just jump right into a brother-sister relationship?
At 16, Mikey and I connected. He was 23 at the time. I didn’t realize it until that moment, but I had lived with Mikey for the first few years of my life. When I saw him again, it all came back to me and I vividly remembered him being loving and protective of me...until I snuck into his toy box.
I thought that things would take off and our bond would begin to grow stronger than it once was. But he was very hesitant to begin a typical brother-sister relationship.
A few months later, I discovered I had a lot more siblings than that.
How many is a lot?
At last count, there were 7 of us. Same dad, different moms. I wanted to connect with all of them and learn everything about them.
My oldest sister, Michelle, who I had yet to meet, felt the same. She reached out to our father and got my information--and everyone else’s--from him. She then organized the sibling reunion that would finally bring all of us together.
Michelle sent me tons of photos of my family, including our siblings, with little descriptions on the back, explaining who each of them was to me. She also helped me reach out to some of them, including my youngest sister Kelsey.
Kelsey was about eight years old when we met. Her mom was not very happy that I had been speaking with her. She cut off all communications between Kelsey and me. I was heartbroken.
I became apprehensive about meeting any of my other siblings. The thought of becoming close with them after finally finding them and then losing contact again was scary.
But I decided to open up and try anyway.
This past year, I had the opportunity to meet my second youngest sister, Taylor.
Michelle was certain that I would love Taylor and that we would get along great. I wasn’t sure that would be the case.
One night, Michelle and I were video chatting when someone else suddenly joined the call. I knew it was Taylor.
Michelle had set me up, but I was quietly grateful for it. Taylor and I arranged to have dinner one night.
She and I hit it off immediately. Our connection was exactly the one I had imagined when picturing how it would be to have siblings growing up.
Out to dinner that night, I went into my bag to find my wallet to pay. I saw that the pocket where I keep all of my fortunes was opened and randomly announced, “I gotta zip up my fortunes!” My son must have been rummaging through my purse again.
My sister looked at me curiously. “You collect them, too?”
My sister shared that she had begun collecting fortunes after going through a bad breakup.
I’ve been collecting fortunes for about eight years and have a collection of 17. I carry around 14 of them with me in my purse day-to-day.
Fortunes have always spoken to me. The right cookie has always been able to find me and deliver the exact message I need to hear. Like Taylor, I began building my current collection during a breakup--or in my case, a divorce.
When my ex-husband and I decided to separate, it really took a toll on my mental health. To take a break from it all, I decided to go on a short weekend trip with a friend of mine. We were doing a bit of thrifting in a vintage shop in Jerome, CA. I came across an adorable wallet that I gravitated towards and felt oddly compelled to buy.
After purchasing it, I discovered a fortune in the pocket:
“Don’t be afraid to take that big step.”
I had been afraid. Even though I knew the divorce was necessary, it was still scary and it was a lot of change. But it was the big step I had to take anyway.
I knew the fortune was the universe’s way of confirming that I was making the right decision and telling me that everything would be okay.
The next night I went out to dinner and the waiter brought a fortune cookie with the bill. At this point, I wasn’t yet a fortune collector, so I didn’t think much of it. Plus, I had already got the message I needed to keep the faith. Everything would be alright.
I cracked open the cookie and read the new fortune anyway.
“Don’t waste time on what might have been.”
It didn’t feel like a coincidence. This became the second fortune I held onto.
Not every cookie I’ve opened has given me a message that resonates with me. I’ve received my fair share of flukes with phrases like “Brush your teeth” or “Smile today.” I don’t keep those.
But I did open--and keep--one fortune that was a bit ahead of its time.
“You’ll move to a wonderful new home within a year.”
When I got this, I had no intention of moving anywhere. In fact, I knew the message wasn’t meant for me.
Turns out it was.
My mom lived in National Harbor, Maryland at the time. I was in San Diego.
Following my separation and then divorce, I ended up moving in with her. This ‘new home’ would not necessarily be my home but it was the space I needed to heal.
Every day I went kayaking or running on the bridge, which had a view of the capitol. I reconnected with myself. I built up my strength and self confidence and even lost the weight I had gained due to my depression.
It’s where I grew into the woman I needed to become for myself; the woman I am today.
My relationship with each of my siblings has blossomed too. Even Mikey.
We continue to keep in touch and speak often. We developed the sibling relationship I had longed for years ago.
Over the years, I’ve found that most of the messages I get feel like they were written specifically for me about whatever is going on in my life at the moment. It’s like they’ve been put in my path to guide me through the toughest parts.
I also give them to other people. If I see someone struggling and I’m done with whatever phase in my life the fortune spoke to, I pass it on. This message might be what they need at the moment. Maybe that sounds silly, but I feel that if a fortune helped me it could help someone else too.
Whether I keep them or give them away, I realize that they’re all a part of my story. I can look at any of the fortunes I’ve held onto and tell you exactly which phase of my life I was in when I broke open the cookie and read its words. I can tell you exactly what headspace I was in and how it made me feel.
Because fortunes hold such a special place in my heart, I wanted to keep my most recent message close to me. I stumbled across Fortune & Frame while I was online looking for a fortune cookie necklace to hold my current fortune.
“You attract what you are ready for.”
In my life, I’ve had my struggles but I believe that I came out of my hardest times stronger. Collecting fortunes gave me a sense of reassurance that what was happening to me in that moment would lead to something much greater.
They have been the push I needed to move forward in so many cases.
I feel like the universe speaks to different people in different ways, and that it speaks to me through fortunes.