Until a few years ago, Liesl Testwuide felt she was the only middle-aged woman in America living a double life. Nope, not the cool secret-agent-Burberry-trench-coat-shaken-not-stirred double life, but a far lonelier predicament.
From the outside, Liesl appeared the perfect wife, mother and community volunteer. Despite the carefully manufactured veneer, on the inside, she was a self-esteem zero. In a loveless, financially and emotionally abusive marriage, Liesl felt stuck as she was not strong enough to leave her marriage and make decisions about her own future. At the same time, she could not continue to wear the suffocating mask required to maintain a double life.
Liesl communicates from her heart about humility, acceptance and resilience as she shares her struggles after having her white-picket-fence-dream blow up in her face. Using her signature self-deprecating humor to describe her warmly amusing and often intimate life experiences, Liesl discusses painful issues in a way that allows people who are also suffering to know they are not alone.
Liesl has an extraordinary ability to connect with people because she expresses herself with unabashed honesty, humor and directness. She gets people to laugh along with her and helps them see some humor in their own lives. Liesl speaks from first-hand experience, using edgy wit on topics such as alcoholism, betrayal, spousal pornography addiction, divorce, single parenting, loneliness, dating after 40, financial insecurity and fear of an unknown future. In other words, if you’re looking for fluff, she’s not your gal.
Liesl has no secret formula. She doesn’t know seven steps to a steamier marriage or eight quick tips to feel sexier at 45, nor does she purport to have her own life in perfect order. If you are looking for someone who offers quick fixes, you might want to look elsewhere or pick up the latest issue of Cosmopolitan.
Poignant and funny, Liesl believes the unexpected changes life puts in our paths are the inevitable hairpin turns we must learn to accept and navigate. Life can sometimes be a wild ride, but if we choose to put both hands on the steering wheel, we can sit with dignity in the driver’s seat. Liesl shares her journey out of a suffocating double life with grace, humility and humor.
Liesl Testwuide writes a twice-weekly column, Hairpin Turns Ahead about navigating life’s twists, turns and inevitable changes found at www.HairpinTurnsAhead.com. Liesl earned her B.A. in English from the University of Wisconsin- Madison and pursued her M.A. in English Literature at Marquette University. She formerly taught high school English. She served as the Board Chair for the Girl Scouts of Manitou Council for over 10 years and continues to be a serial volunteer as the word “no” often eludes her. She lives in Wisconsin and is the Big Cheese to three sons, Augie, Hugo, and Eli, and her St. Bernard, Big Ben. It’s a glamorous life: the toilet seats are up, dog drool is often on her back and she carries Legos and shin guards in her handbag at all times.