Having the Courage to Be Myself
“My Gutsy Story®”-Lee Lomas
Playing it safe landed me a single woman and living alone for the first time at the boomer age of forty-nine. I lived with my family until I was sixteen. Pregnancy took me by surprise, and after knowing the guy for four months, we married. Four daughters and six abusive years later, I divorced, and had a roommate for one year.
I announced myself as a lesbian at the age of twenty-three. At twenty five, I fell in love with a woman. After our seven year relationship ended, we remained friends living one more winter together. I met my next partner by chance, and after seventeen years together, we were done.
As the leaves began to change and fall in 2009, I began to rise.
Living outside of Chicago may as well have had me living across the country, as I had only traveled there a few times. My coworkers said, “I was too cautious, too straight-laced”. They told me that, “I needed to get out more and do things”. So, I joined a lesbian group that met for dinner once a month at different ethnic restaurants. Expanding both my palate and my safety net was tantalizing. I met the real lesbians, those confident in who they were, could navigate the city and knew how to treat a woman right. They spoke the lingo and were acquainted with everything lesbian related. I had been a lesbian for 20+ years and was like a baby learning new things. Another group attended plays, explored the city, Navy Pier, went to concerts, and hiking. Then I joined a few dating sites.
Please refrain from spitting your coffee across the room. If you have been on these sites, you know there a bunch of freaks out there? The dating scene had always been unfamiliar to me, after marriage, I immediately went into two long term relationships one after the other. So at the ripe ole age of forty-nine, I had to get to know me, before I could answer questions posed with setting up my profile. A few times I stopped and thought, what the hell are you doing? It took me months and quite a bit of editing to push the submit button. It’s pretty easy to say on the computer screen, I like this, or I don’t like that in a person. It reminded me of what we think of when looking for a house. I won’t have a place without a fireplace. Then the most beautiful place is available without that much wanted fireplace. Do I move forward or stick to my likes and dislikes? My biggest dislike was trying to box myself into their format. If I indicated I didn’t want to date an alcoholic because my dad died of alcoholism, I was interrogated and told it wasn’t my place to judge. If I didn’t want to date a person who smoked, I had to explain that I was an ex-smoker who didn’t want to kiss anymore ashtrays.
Later that summer, plans fell through to vacation with a friend. I thought now what? I had never vacationed alone. The idea was enticing and scary. A few friends had been to Colorado over the summer and showed me photos. The beautiful mountain scenery yanked on my heart strings and I smiled and said why not. The internet had an overwhelming amount of information. As a member of Sierra Club, I contacted a few members who were hiking Mount Evans the weekend following my arrival.
As vacation time neared, I packed my hiking gear, gathered essential goodies for the drive, and secured my bicycle to the back of my new jeep. I left my contact info with family, and was ecstatic about leaving. An ex-coworker was told I was heading her way, she invited me to stay at her house in Colorado Springs. How apropos.
I drove two days, stopping along the way to ride my bicycle around small unknown towns. The second night as I checked into the hotel, I carried my bicycle up the stairs. I turned around and in the sky were several hot air balloons. I rode around until I found where they were landing and was mesmerized. The moment I crossed the state line, I was in love. The scenery captivated my heart. I knew I was home.
During those two weeks, I caught up with an old friend. I drove up to Boulder, had my palm read, the woman said, “You need a little color in your life”. I rode a bicycle 19 miles down Pikes Peak Mountain. We started in the snow, dressed like the Michelin Tire woman, down through pouring rain, ended at a winery, to recap and eat. I hiked my first 12,000+ summit; I couldn’t breathe and thought I would die on that mountain. My fellow hikers cheered me on, pointed out scenery, just so I could stop to catch my breath. Hiking and biking in Colorado had a whole different meaning than in Illinois. Garden of the Gods was a natural wonder of its own.
2009 was a year to remember! Two weeks of pushing the boundaries in life. Everyone should experience a vacation alone. It’s a time to come home to yourself. I moved to Colorado the following February and met a woman, an artist and very colorful soul. We have been together for almost five years and had our Civil Union at the Garden of the Gods and six months later we were married in Santa Fe, New Mexico. I dropped my first name, took my wife’s last name and Lee Lomas was born.
Lee Lomas, Published Author, Speaker and Heart Centered Coach
I educate, encourage and inspire women to discover and embrace their power within.
My pieces published under Wanda McCormick until 2013;
Pathway to Courage – A story that covers generational abuse and the heart breaking realization of the direction my life was headed, until I broke the repeating patterns.
You Have Much Stuff – A story about the stuff we carry, we keep physically, mentally and emotionally. Our relationship with not only our stuff but the makeup of relationships within the household. It’s a humorous story that everyone can connect with and ponder.
Fuego – A poem inspired by a painting created by my wife after our house fire.
Emotional Release – Two Fires in Two Years – Realizing my emotions were buried deep within me, when our house caught on fire, my emotions were then released when I saw the flames from Waldo Canyon Fire less than two years later. We were next to be evacuated. I was caught by surprise of how I felt.
Healing in the Midst of Uncertainty – An inspirational message delivered by me on the one year anniversary of the Waldo Canyon Fire, and while in the midst of writing it, another disastrous fire, the Black Forest Fire erupted in that both turned out to be the two worst fires in Colorado history.
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