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My one boyfriend in college, a blue eyed, dark haired hunk, raised in Hawaii with the Aloha spirit, told me all women are beautiful no matter how they look. ) With him I learned that approaching sex was easier than I thought it would be. But some of his friends weren’t so enlightened, and asked him if my body was cold like a cadaver. In fact, it was and is as nice and warm as any other living, breathing body).Information emerged organically as we spent time together. ” As we reached different stages of intimacy, he asked more questions. I graduated from law school and got a good job (no small thing when the unemployment rate for people with disabilities is 65 percent). And people told me all the time what a saint he was for marrying me.We talked until two in the morning and he never asked me anything about my disability.He didn’t see it, and it felt as if I’d known him forever.In this social environment whole years of my life passed with unrequited longing on my part. People often asked if I was disabled before we got married.(Even able-bodied women my age will say this sounds familiar). They’re looking for trophies; women their male friends will envy. When I told them I was their response was: “Oh well, he knew what he was getting himself into then.” (Honestly, people have no idea what they are saying sometimes).And I’m still able in so very many ways: I’m a lawyer, conflict resolver, leadership development expert, writer, professional storyteller, improviser, world traveler and kick ass spades player.

Yet my passionate desire for life and love is fully operational.

No way was I going to allow myself to be shut away from life.

I wanted an education, a career, adventure, love, and sex.

Fortunately, there are some men, a few men, who don’t see the wheelchair at all. Back in the dating world at 43, during the 2000s, my insecurities—the beauty and body issues—returned in force.

*** Outside a jazz bar in Denver on Labor Day weekend, 1983, my friend and I met the man she would marry, who introduced me to the man I would subsequently marry. I had been loved for a long time and I want that again, so I tried everything; the Internet, singles events, singles bars, organized singles dance parties (that last one may not have been the best choice for me, all things considered! But my peer group hadn’t shed the negative messages about disabilities that we were all taught as children.

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