Are second dates always awkward?

I wouldn’t really know. Haven’t “dated” since I was 18, and even then, it was “love” at first sight (or close enough) with my hubby when we met at Sheplers. I worked in Women’s, he worked in Boots, and the intoxicating smell of leather and steamed felt hats created a ripe environment for two young Wrangler-wearing kids to fall for each other.

But here I am, sitting down on my second date with Blank Page. I was pleasantly surprised how I felt this morning after our tryst last night. I didn’t feel dirty, used, or taken advantage of. Turns out, we kind of like each other.

Nevertheless, it’s still intimidating and a little awkward. My husband hovers behind me, and I feel the need to minimize the screen. “Don’t watch me,” I chide him. He shrugs and walks off, not in Wranglers, but in camo pajama pants.

Why do I find it so hard to be authentic? Is it because my profession has smoothed my jagged edges in ineffective butter knives? Or because my agreeable nature silences my tongue “so as not to offend?” Or maybe, and this is what I’m afraid of, I don’t know who I am anymore.

I had the pleasure of experiencing a lesson in “ethical leadership” from Bill Grace today at a conference hosted by the Kansas Health Foundation. Even though our political ideologies aren’t closely aligned (I’m presuming), I walked away with a renewed sense of purpose and optimism. He walked us through an exercise in nailing down our three most important values. Mine were: Faith, Family and Truth.

For anyone who knows me and my family’s story very well, you’ll know that those three words are dead-on. We’ve all got a story to tell, and mine’s pretty heavy. It involves suicide, sex abuse, and the Catholic Church. But above all the story is also one of love, fierce loyalty and proof that there is life–wonderful, sweet, fulfilling life–after your whole world is ripped out from under you.

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