The long tunnel to joy

In Colorado when you want to get from one side of a mountain to another, sometimes you have to drive through it. Not around it, not along the edge, but right through that giant rock holding all those trees and rivers and animals. The mountain stretches up, up, up to the sky and as you look back down to the road, you realize that they’ve carved out a relatively small crevice for your car to zip through to the other side. 

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What I'll tell my kids about dating

Leave it to me to jump 20 years into the future before I'm even married. It's the way old souls work, OK? I don't know how you get ideas down on paper, but for me, they echo in the chambers of my mind until they collect into a big pile and then fall onto the page like this ...

What am I going to tell my kids about dating, about their bodies, about finding a partner in life? The short answer is: a lot. But here are the main things.

1. Your body is sacred and it belongs to you.

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The greener pastures dilemma

Dating Lee stirred up a lot of inner demons. 

A main one was this: I had grown accustomed to severing myself from anything that brought me discomfort.

My background with generalized anxiety disorder and PTSD made this obvious--it was the only way I'd learned to protect myself or construct some semblance of safety. But something had to give. Something had to break through to help me decipher the difference between discomfort and a true threat. Most everything, up until meeting him, had processed at Mach Con Level 10 Red Alert threat. And that threat, however actually trivial, must be (and was!) eliminated.

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When pursuing happiness makes you miserable

A handful of friends coached me about how to dress on a first date; how to be sexy; how to be less like myself (intimidating, serious, businessy) and more like what the guy is looking for (not those things). I underwent several rounds of Cosmo and Sex in the City tutorials before I was pushed and stuffed full of so many contradicting ideas, I didn’t quite know who I was on these dates. But I did know one thing:

Dating was about making me happy.

By 2013 I was a land mine of anxiety and impossible standards. 

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Discovering true love in 2015

I began this year determined -- more so than usual. Instead of sheepishly hoping I'd meet a romantic partner, I began doing things to make this a reality. For starters, I bought a couch so we'd have a place to sit if he ever came over for dinner (affectionately named "the boyfriend couch").

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