Hello and welcome to my magical little forest. I’m so glad to have you join me.
My name is Yael and in my forties, I’m finally trying to unearth the wild wolf that lives within me. Like a good little girl, I hid her away most of my life, trying so hard to follow conventional paths.
But those efforts got me nowhere. Just before I turned 40, the man that I thought was my life partner left me for a woman half my age. My entire world crumbled in just one moment.
“Well, we don’t have the greatest track record with romance, do we?”
In my 40s, this has come to be one of the great bonding statements my single or sort-of-single friends toss about with me. I know the intention is to cultivate a sense of camaraderie, to emphasize that we understand one another, to reassure that we are not alone in this.
Sometimes, it comes with even stronger descriptions: we failed at relationships, for instance, or thank god no one asks us for advice in love because we’re the last people who should be giving it.
As much as I…
The first time I visited a therapist, I was 16 years old. My parents had insisted on the session because I was having a very difficult time getting out of bed each day. I didn’t want to go to school. I didn’t want to do anything but stay home and write my novels.
“I think you might be depressed,” my mother said. “Or maybe you have anxiety disorder. I don’t know, but something is wrong.”
I didn’t know anything about therapy except what I saw on TV or in the movies — people on sofas talking in serious tones.
A couple weeks ago, a friend asked me what I would do if my ex from my most significant relationship asked me to meet him for a coffee so he could apologize for what he’d done.
It’s easy for me to answer that. I don’t need a second to think about it.
No, I would not.
That’s not because I’m still angry at him. It’s not because I want to hurt him. It’s not because I’m vindictive or unforgiving.
The reason is simply that what he’d done was so egregious, I don’t feel that it’s respectful to myself to give…
Not long ago, I was watching the end of Outlander’s Season 4, and was delightfully surprised when (spoiler alert!) the audience met up with Murtagh and Jocasta in her bedroom, clearly after they’d had a little fun together. I hadn’t read any of the books beyond the first one, so didn’t know this plot twist was coming.
The scene was beautifully filmed with soft light, and just the perfect touch of sexiness and romance. Jocasta is standing by the window, Murtagh in the bed, and they talk for a moment before he convinces her to go for another round. …
I don’t remember the first time I said “I love you” to a partner. I know it was my first boyfriend, but I have no memory of saying it to him. I also have no memory of him saying it to me, though I’m sure he did.
I’m not sure I actually loved him. He pursued me and I surrendered. No one had ever taught me that it was okay to say no to something I didn’t want — not to dating and not to sex. So we dated and somehow, over time, I came to… what? Did I love…
In my early adulthood, I struggled with my identity as a woman in a way I think many women do. I constantly found myself teetering back and forth between being all of myself (which included my feisty sexuality and open curiosity about sex) and being the good girl version of myself (which excluded my feisty sexuality and open curiosity about sex).
I can remember struggling with so much shame whenever my sexual curiosity was inspired (which was a lot). …
Have you ever thought about why so many men love porn — sometimes (seemingly) more than women do? Yes, you probably have and have probably come to the same conclusion as most people do, repeating what we’ve all heard a thousand times: Men are more visual creatures than women.
But are they?
When I hear these generalized descriptions about sexuality, I have noticed that they almost always position men as more inherently sexual than women, and women as “men’s sexuality lite” as author and sex educator Emily Nagoski, Ph.D. so eloquently puts it.
In other words: men are visual creatures…
Lately, I’ve been noticing how many times I write NRN (no response necessary), or “Sorry to bother you” in correspondence. I’m hovering at around 80%.
I asked myself to stop and reflect on that the other day. Why am I doing that? And does the person on the other end of the correspondence affect that at all?
The why is somewhat easy. Somewhere along the line, I got the idea that any participation I have in someone else’s life is an inconvenience to them. As with almost every issue I have, I trace this back to being a twelve year…