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…


None of my relationships had worked out. So she said it was time to be with someone I didn’t even like.

Two women holding hands: This is what happened when my therapist told me to have an affair.
Two women holding hands: This is what happened when my therapist told me to have an affair.
Photo by PHUOC LE on Unsplash

Six years ago, when my life was falling apart, I never would have imagined this is how it would turn out. But my therapist Laura did. “People who have affairs often wind up without their spouse or the person they had the affair with,” she said. Who needs a psychic when you have a therapist who can see your future, however disastrous?

She told me that after people have blown up their lives like I blew up mine — when the affair ends and the marriage falls apart — they look around at what remains of their upended lives and…


And if he’s the passenger, I don’t want to admit what I’m thinking.

Man behind the steering wheel with woman in passenger’s seat.
Man behind the steering wheel with woman in passenger’s seat.
Photo by DANNY G on Unsplash

“Why does the man always drive when a woman and a man are in the car together?”

My teenage daughter and I are walking down the street and I say out loud what I’m thinking, which I’ve been thinking about more lately. Maybe because I’m separated now, and I seem to notice such things. When for most of my life I barely gave it a thought. For so long, if I was with a man I’d step into the passenger’s seat. Without thinking.

I talk about these things more openly with my daughter now. She’s 15 and why pretend that…


6 unusual beauty secrets that have helped me look younger.

Pufferfish with enormous lips.
Pufferfish with enormous lips.
Photo @Richard Austin

The exquisite women who work at my fancy San Francisco skin clinic look like fish. Very beautiful pufferfish. Their puffed-up lips are frozen into supermodel pouts. They have identical puffed-out cheekbones and the same smooth brows.

I look at them longingly from my side of the counter. I wish I could be a pufferfish like them. I would if I could. But it’s too expensive to be a pufferfish. That would require I get sandblasted (Fraxel™) for $3,000, or a facelift for $10,000.

But within my budget, even beyond it, I will try almost anything to look younger. In most…


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…

Leslie Crawford

Top 1,000 Medium Writer | Top Medium Writer in Life Lessons & Relationships | Freelance Writer & Editor | Chicken Wrangler | 85% Joy |15% Rage | 100% Curious

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