Her surprising advice gave me license to be myself without apology.

Photo by Callie Gibson on Unsplash

First, it’s worth knowing that my therapist “Laura” is one of the gentlest, kindest people I’ve ever known. As in, she has a Zen master calm about her. Given the story that I’m about to tell, also know that she doesn’t normally swear as she did that day. She is a beautiful and elegant woman who wears exquisite, expensive shoes and great clothes, which shouldn’t matter in a therapist. But I find a well-dressed therapist to be reassuring and aspirational.

The fact that Laura’s such a composed and dignified person made what she said to me in therapy that much…


Woo-woo magic? Maybe. But this works for me all the time.

A woman holding a sparkler with a spray of lighted dots in front of her face.
A woman holding a sparkler with a spray of lighted dots in front of her face.
Photo by Ethan Hoover on Unsplash

When our cat Caledonia went missing years ago, we were bereft. My husband was especially so since Caledonia had chosen him as her person. We did all the things you are supposed to do when your cat disappears: Flyer the neighborhood. Contact Animal Care & Control. Walk around for hours calling her name. Cry. None of these brought our cat back.

I still held out hope for a few days. As with a stolen car, I figured, so with cats. If you are going to get the car or the cat back, you will within about three days. If it’s…


Just when I learned how to be alone — I need to figure out how to stop being awful around people.

serious monkey eating a banana.
serious monkey eating a banana.
Photo by Rifqi Ali Ridho on Unsplash

Even though I was beyond upset, I found what I did so funny that I laughed out loud. Not as in, “LOL.” I mean, laughed out loud. Plus, I laughed all alone. It’s nice to laugh alone because you realize, no matter what, at least someone thinks you’re funny. It’s also funny, I just found out, to slam a door when you’re alone.

When I’m very unhappy, I slam doors and cabinets. I do this when I don’t want to come out and say how I feel. Slamming is easier. …


The police officer had my number. His advice changed my life.

Night sky with time-lapse image of cars driving on highway.
Night sky with time-lapse image of cars driving on highway.
Photo by Christian on Unsplash

I was on my way to prison. And I was panicked that they wouldn’t let me in. How could I have let this happen?

I was late, as usual, and lost, as usual. For over an hour, I had been getting on one off-ramp and on another, driving more and more frantically, and more recklessly. This was in the ancient days before cell phones. No GPS. No ETA. Paper maps if you can imagine such a thing.

It was 9:40 in the morning. If I didn’t get to the Terminal Island Federal Correctional prison by 10:00, I wouldn’t be let…


Laughter is not as obvious as sex or money. But beware if it’s missing from your relationship.

Photo by Sasha Nadelyaeva on Unsplash

“Excuse me, this tastes like death.” I am holding up a bag of maca powder to show the very nice woman at Trader Joe’s customer service counter. I’d bought the maca powder a week before. It was an impulse buy, me hoping that this would be the thing that would turn everything around, just maybe. But when I got home and ate a spoonful, I gagged. It was one of the foulest things I’d ever tasted.

Trader Joe’s is just about the best place on Earth and among its infinite attributes, if you don’t like a purchase, they will take…


I told myself that what I was doing wasn’t wrong. Then it went from thrilling to terrifying to dangerous.

Looking out the car window at a beautiful and ominous sky filled with clouds.
Looking out the car window at a beautiful and ominous sky filled with clouds.
Margaret Barr

Years ago, I judged people who had affairs. Of course, I did. Adulterers are weak-willed, cruel, selfish, deserving of all the scorn and shame piled upon them. What sort of person betrays a spouse and risks tearing apart a family? I’m that sort of person.

From the outside, having an affair looks tawdry and scandalous. From the inside, you feel reborn. Life is suddenly sparkling with possibility. A superhuman energy courses through you. Thrilling, yes, but also as terrifying as any midnight walk in an alleyway or rollercoaster ride during which you are sure you’ll be flung to your death…


Photo by K8 on Unsplash

Tonight, I will put onion slices on my feet.

An herbal woman on Instagram recommends it. Go to sleep with onion slices inside your socks, she said. Cotton is best. You will wake up less toxic. You will have a spring in your step. She went so far as to suggest that if you do this on a regular basis, your life will be transformed. You will be healthier and happier.

“Guess what I’m doing tonight?” I ask my teenage daughter Cloe. “You’ll never guess. Not in a million years.”

“Yoga?”

“Nope.” It’s pointless making her guess. My daughter is…


Miron Cristina

Oh, I’ll tell you what’s worse. Having your friends seat you next to their cat at the dinner table.

I can’t do this. Stay sitting with all of these laughing couples. So I go to my room and lie in bed.

Don’t be sad. Don’t be sad. Don’t be sad.

Come up with a better mantra, Leslie, a positive one.

OK. How about, I like myself. I like myself. I like myself. I love myself is a stretch.

“I’m having a mid-life affair with myself,” I once told Lauren, my therapist, when I found myself single after more than two…


Don’t judge until you wind up single and alone.

Photo by Jonathan Cooper on Unsplash

At this moment, I have a chicken in my closet. It’s not like there’s a cow in the kitchen or a goat in the bathroom. Just saying, for context. Alice B. Toklas is perched on the ledge of an old chair.

Alice was for years our best chicken until we got three new chicks at the beginning of the pandemic. Then little Charlie Parker became our best chicken.

Alice’s best-chicken qualities: She is fearless and does whatever she wants. She’s also a loner and for most of her life found herself at the bottom of the pecking order. (How do…


Only a man could have named this cute bird the Bushtit. Heard me right. Bushtit.

Two years ago, I found what I thought was a wasp’s nest in the backyard. I asked my friend Solveig to come to look at it since Solveig is just the person to ask about a wasp nest or a plant or bug. This nest was a cone, not a basket, and woven with sprigs and lichen and spider webs. “That’s not a wasp nest,” Solveig said. “That’s a Bushtit nest! You’re so lucky to have a Bushtit nest!”

You heard that right. Bushtit. Get it over with and laugh your head off. Someone went and named a bird a…

Leslie Crawford

Top Medium Writer in Life Lessons & Relationships · Freelance Writer&Editor · Chicken Wrangler ·Disco Dancer· 85% Joy·15% Rage · 100% Curious · Killed No Cats

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