I Look Like Me: Paula Dieck
Stand in front of a mirror and look deep inside the glass. Staring back at you should be your own image. But, is that what you see or do you see a blank face with no discernable features? Look closer and imagine the people you love standing next to you as you once again look deep inside the mirror’s glass and the reflections staring back at you. Something catches your eyes and you realize that in the upper right hand corner is a silhouette and you cannot see or make out its features. Another silhouette is in the upper left hand corner of the mirror. Throughout your life you have wondered just whose faces should appear in those silhouettes and which one would match yours. Paula Dieck spent most of her life searching for answers that were right in front of her but she just didn’t know it. A child is born and a mother holds her in her loving arms except when she does not. A mother is supposed to bond with her newborn child except when her newborn is about to take a journey that will change her life forever. Some parents love and nurture their children, guide them, teach them values and virtues and others refuse to acknowledge them or put them up for adoption. Paula Dieck was adopted and her parents from an early age explained that to her and she understood. But, things change, attitudes and perceptions alter your view of life and sometimes yourself and after completing school, her college education and beginning a job as a speech therapist, Paula at the age of 22 decided to search for her birth mother taking her on a journey that would change everything. “Mirror Mirror on the Wall when you look inside my glass what is it that you see and will recall? Am I the one that I really see or is it someone else that is looking back at me? Paula realized that until she learned more about her birth mother and could ask the questions that have been lying dormant within her for so long, she could not forge ahead with her life. With the help of the adoptive parents and her friend Julie she found Pauline.
Moving around a lot from Wisconsin, to California, Washington and Arizona Paula found life in these different places challenging, rewarding and in some cases enlightening. Meeting her mother should have been an eye opening experience and listening to explain why she had to keep her parentage a secret from her friends, family and neighbors a red flag. Parents are the two people that care for you, nurture you, give you unconditional love and accept you as YOU! Sometimes it does not matter if those parents are your biological ones because they care for you consider you their own. Yet, Paula felt disjointed, at times disconnected and wanted to feel like she was good enough, worthy and hoped to understand why her mother gave her up. As you listen to her relate the story, Pauline’s words and her reasons you wonder why Paula decided to develop a stronger relationship with her mother and withstood more rejection in some respects and put herself through dealing with Pauline’s rules, restrictions, guidelines and her own guilt feelings. But, she went to a seminar when she started her own business and met a man named Robert who would not only change her perspective on life but would help her become Paula. As you read what she learned, understand the lessons that he imparted you can tell that this just might be the turning point that would strengthen her and allow her to move ahead. But, first Paula had to understand that part of her problem was not other people but herself: Commitment or committing to something or someone was a major roadblock and understanding that she needed to love herself first and realize that she is worthy of love is second which helped to explain why she had difficulty with relationships.
Paula continues with the many visits to her mother and her changes in careers as she still strove to decide where she belongs, who she could trust and where she wanted to be. A cruise with her mother and some of her family, dating a man named Tim would help her realize that not everyone is what they seem and she would now have to deal with more rejection.
Paula was determined to have some type of relationship with her mother and hopefully find her father. A man named Brad seemed to fill that spot but what happens in reality will bring tears to not only Paula’s eyes but the reader’s too. Dealing with yet another disappointment, a mother who could not handle the fact that she was in her life and imposed restrictions on who was allowed to know and who was not made Paula often question or second guess herself in many situations. But, with the help of her friends Kim and Julie plus the best adoptive or in my eyes real parents in the world she just might make it through.
Paula goes through many transitions, many careers and then something wonderful happens Paula realizes that she does not need affirmation or approval from others: Just herself. Wait until you meet Jim and find out what happens between them. Wait until you read the final chapter in her book but not the final chapter in her life.
Paula Dieck’s I Look Like Me: A Celebration of Self-Love is a heartfelt, honest and heartwarming story of one woman’s journey to find herself, her place in a world filled with lies, deceits, betrayals and loss. Paula tells it in a first person narrative with dialogue interspersed as we hear Pauline’s voice, her critiques, restrictions and her lack of approval for choices that Paula made. Will Paula realize where the true love and support in her life is coming from? Will she continue to seek out Pauline? Why? Being adopted means that a family wanted you in their lives and that is amazing and wonderful. Wanting to know your real parents not unusual but in some cases can prove detrimental. With the help of her life coach Phil, a special man in her life and her friends she just might find that safe haven and realize that the person staring at her in the mirror and the faces around her are of the people that love her the most. “Mirror mirror on the wall who loves you most of all: Paula! Look again and realize that the two silhouettes are no longer there and those facing you will provide the love and support you need once you realize that the person you have to love the most is YOU!. Told from the heart, honest and sincere I Look Like Me is a great resource for parents, guidance counselors, adoption agencies and life coaches to help others understand what might happen if you search for a truth that’s been hidden for so long, how to deal with rejection and to find true happiness.
Fran Lewis: Reviewer