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Friday, March 25, 2011

Dear Parents

I am writing this letter to let you know that being a teenager is not a mental disorder. Neither is being a toddler. I am sorry your child is at a frustrating age, but that is what she is doing right now, and I cannot stop it.
Also, if your child is mentally retarded, certain behaviors are going to go along with that- it is the nature of their condition, and no amount of behavior specialists can "fix" who your child is and make him someone else. So stop trying to "fix" him and starting loving him instead. You will be surprised what he is capable of if you do.

your friendly neighborhood therapist

Fluffy Fridays- A Poem About The Dangers of Cake

Oh Cake,
with your ooey gooy molten center and your ranges of frilly frosting, you tempt me so...
But you have hurt me before, oh yes-
for though you taste so good, you do not go down easy,
and all the adrenaline I mistook for love melts away and leaves me empty after...

Yet, I return to you, time and time again, lulled by your sweet promises...when will I ever learn you are
no more than a sugar rush?

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Sweating the Small Stuff

Everyday, I have a finite amount of energy to give. Some days I have more than others, but it is definitely limited. So, I have to spend my energy the way I have to spend my money- use it on what's needed first, and even save a little in reserves in case something big comes up. My superviser has been talking to me about letting frustrations go so they don't use up my energy. I never used to be a frustrated person; I saw myself as laid back and rarely bothered by others unless they were personally attacking me. Now, however, there is a lot more stress in the background of my life, lurking and waiting to turn into frustration towards the people around me over trivial, paperwork things. I end up taxing myself emotionally in these battles against my own emotional attitude, using up the precious resources of my daily energy. So I am trying to learn to allow myself to experience irritation, and then let it go without letting it use up all I have to face the day. I am listening to my music, hearing my fountain trickle, and trying to breathe deep and take it easy as I do my work. So far, so good.

What about you? How do you keep from sweating "the small stuff" that threatens to steal your joy and endanger your working relationships?

Friday, March 18, 2011

The Joy of Watching Others Grow

I have a rare, supreme pleasure in my work, the joy of watching others grow. I like to think I till the soil, maybe water it a little, help bring a little sunlight in, but no matter what I do, it is still the miracle of inner healing that I cannot make happen, and which I love watching.

Me: What's better this week?

Client: Oh, a lot of things

Me: Really? What?

Client: Yeah, this and this, and I realized this, and did you know that and now I know what I want to do is this and did you know he....

and so on. These are the conversations I get to be a part of, and its awesome the way people GET BETTER!!!!

When I first became a therapist, I thought of myself as the agent of change, the one that would make the difference, but the more I do this work, the more I realize that people make their own change, and I get to be along for the ride. I get to be the supportive sister, the excited mother, the invested aunt, who holds a child's hand until he or she (through no invention of mine!!!) can walk on his or her own through natural processes. Can my skills help? Of course.  But I cannot make the soul grow anymore than I can make my garden grow. Still, I can sure enjoy its blooms.



"I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow." 1st Corinthians 3:6 (NIV)

Fluffy Fridays!

In which the author presents:
6 Things I Like Which I "Shouldn't" at my Age and 3 things I Don't Which I "Should"

For today's fluffy Friday, I have some divulgences for you. I have many secret, childlike,adolescent interests that I don't often share with folks outside my inner circle, because I am not always loving the looks of judgement of people who think they know what 27 year old professionals are supposed to be into. But today, I shall share some of my "secret" interests with you- things I expect I should be above, but am not. I also have a list of things adults are "supposed" to like which simply don't interest me. I hope you will share some of yours as well!!!!

Interests for which I should probably be too mature:

1. Cartoons. As a child, I loved sitting and eating cereal and watching Saturday Morning Cartoons. I never grew out of this. Some of the cartoons actually have excellent stories, like Avatar: The Last Airbender, which is way better than its movie and is one of the best original sagas I have seen in a long time. All the reincarnations of Ben Ten are also really good!

2. Webcomics. Yea, verily, I actually have an entire links pages I created so I can look through my favorites on the days they are updated. I have read the entirety of Sluggy Freelance ( daily since August of 1997), and a multitude of others I have followed from beginning to end.

3. The Royal Wedding. I am super excited about the royal wedding between William and Kate. I have only been able to admit this excitement recently, because I was surpressing it- this is only a step away from rubbish like "The Bachelor", which I avoid watching so I don't get addicted (it is very easy for me to be addicted to rubbish).

4. What the actresses wear to the Oscars. I love their pretty dresses! This year Natalie Portman, who somehow manages to look even better pregnant than normal, took the cake. I also like to follow the New York Fashion week to see the purty dresses. I feel like my little niece, dressing up her Barbie dolls.

5. Nerdy Things. Yes, I was raised with Star Trek, Star Wars, Quantum Leap, Earth 2, Marvel, DC, etc. If it has to do with science fiction or superheroes, I am all over it. I am about 2 steps away from dressing up for a Comic-Con at any given time (2 BIG steps).

6. Kitties and puppies dressed up in little outfits. I will never ever get over the cuteness of this.

Then there are things in the world which I will never get, even though I am now a "grown up":

1. Sports. Sorry, national pastime, you are not interesting to me. I know many people love you, but I just thank God I was not raised in the South, where not loving football is a stoneable offense. At least in California there is tolerance for people like me who don't tow the line.

2. Wine tastings. Nope. First of all, I'm not a drinker. I believe what the Bible says, which is (to summarize, as this is not a direct quote) that drinking is not wrong, but drunkeness is. I have never acquired any kind of taste for liquor, which, if you weren't raised with it or enamoured with it, you probably wouldn't have either, so going and tasting it and spitting it out and saying things about its personality just doesn't sound like fun. Now a homemade ice cream tasting? I would be ALL over that.

3. Most Current Adult fiction. I know this is broad, but for the most part, I've been horribly disappointed in what I am supposed to be reading (see number 5 of the previous list). Either they are trying to shock me with creepy violence or creepy sex, or trying to bore me with "meaningful" descriptions of countryside or some woman's spiritual/existential/physical awakening. If its on Oprah's list of favorites, it is probably not on mine. Same goes if it is basically CSI: SVU in written form (Sorry to all the potential authors who are reading this, I'm sure your book is wonderful!). Hence I am reading "Hound of the Baskervilles" right now and it is awesome. Maybe one day I will try to catch up with the current bestsellers, but in the meantime, I have lots of free, tried and tested books I can download on my IPAD.

What about you? Any guilty pleasures which you know your coworkers would probably laugh at, or anything about the adult world that just doesn't resonate with your child at heart?

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Insomniac Ramblings

The dogs woke me up at 1:45 last night (The clock said 2:45, but my body has not yet adjusted to the time change) and I found myself wide awake, listening to my husband’s exhausted breathing next to me, too tired to “get out bed and do something different for 15 minutes until you are ready to try to sleep again” which is one of the pieces of advice we give our clients who can’t sleep (reasoning that the more frustrated you get in your bed, the more you associate your bed with frustration and not with sleep.), but not tired enough to fall asleep. I felt the customary nausea I experience when I wake up late at night, and between that, my headache, and thoughts of exhaustion in the morning, I was feeling pretty miserable. So, finally I positioned my trashcan right next to the bed in case I threw up, and leaned back and took the time to pray for people in my life I care about. I prayed for my husband, for whom his 60-hour work week has been taking a toll, and for my friends at work who were hurting and in need of healing, and for my clients and my grandmother who recently had a stroke. I wondered if anyone who I prayed for was up right then, hurting and desperately in need of prayer and comfort, and I hoped that the reason I was up (I am not typically an insomniac, I usually sleep very well) was out of a greater purpose to help heal the people in my life whom I love. Eventually I drifted off to sleep and dreamt troubling dreams about tragedies and news people who wouldn’t leave me alone and claimed my house had to be bulldozed in order for the world to be saved.

After nights like this one, it is so nice to know that no matter how dark it gets, the morning always comes.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Fluffy Fridays!

For today's fluffy Friday, I'd like to introduce you to a favorite website of mine called This is Indexed, by Jessica Hagy. This witty visual artist uses graphs and diagrams to comment on social phenomena in a unique way. Sometimes funny, sometimes sad, always insightful,  I recommend you check out her site when you get a break today.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Butterflies, Part One

I love butterflies. It seems silly to say, because doesn't everyone? I feel like I should have picked something diverse as a favorite creature, like the kangaroo or the newt, not the obvious favorite of 8-year-old girls. But that doesn't change the fact that I love butterflies. I draw them almost constantly when I am in meetings. I have covered the walls of my office with pictures of them. I love their colors, their seeming weightlessness, and more than anything, the symbolism behind them. Something so ethereal, delicate, and graceful, used to be a fat, fuzzy worm! That worm then lay dormant, seemingly dead in a coffin which it designed for itself, and then, in an amazing show of natural magic, "Ta-da!" out crawls the majestic butterfly. They symbolize re-birth, freedom, and beauty. They are personally symbolic for me because right now, I feel an awful lot like a chrysalis- getting my hours, working too much, always away from home and feeling...constrained, tied down, restless...

The butterfly reminds me that life will not always be that way. To quote the well-known Randy Crawford song, covered by Nicole Kidman in Moulin Rouge- "One day I'll fly away, leave all this to yesterday..."

So today, in honor of my beloved butterflies, I will be posting a few pieces I have written, just scribbles, really, on their theme. I hope you enjoy them.

Some days my heart speaks in cliches,

as I dream of flying off, weightless,

like a butterfly,

free from the weight of everyday constructs,

the prison of my own design.

Let me fly into the great blue sky

and feel the wind on my face,

soaring and free,

putting the weight of the world behind me.

I am Chrysalis.
I wait out the weather, cocooned,
dreaming of the day my wings are unfurled and I can finally be free...
Until the Spring, I must remain in this prison of my own making,
Or else my wings will not fly and I will be destroyed.

Be patient, Chrysalis,
every butterfly must be enslaved in order to be set free.
Otherwise, you are simply a worm in a fancy coffin.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

You need to check out this blog!

If you have any interest in the autism spectrum, I implore you to check out Square8! This is a blog written by Bev, an adult autistic lady who has written some amazing insights from her perspective. She's an excellent writer; I got lost in her work this afternoon and I am still processing what she has said. Thank you, Bev, for your awesome blog!

Monday, March 7, 2011


Where I live in East Bakersfield, there is a lot of tagging. I consider it one of the most vile, degrading things people can do to their own community. As a therapist, I have studied and understood the motives of this behavior, and my clients have shared their own reasons for participating in this activity, but I find it hateful and shameful. So, I wrote a poem about what I would like to say to all the taggers out there that would listen. Unfortunately, if they do not already know how to feel shame, it is not in my power to teach it. So I will settle for posting this poem here.

That is not your tree,

your light pole, your sign,

your house-

That is not your garage,

your business, your car!

If you went to the other side of the tracks,

the "Have" side,

and destroyed their stuff,

I would understand your rage,

your jealousy,

your sense of injustice,

although repugnant.

But no,

you must destroy the home of your neighbor,

who has no more than you.

You must scrawl on the restaurant across the street,

destroying the hopes and dreams of small business owners eeking out a living.

How would you feel if I went into your room

and wrote on your XBOX, your Reebox, and your designer clothes your mother could not afford?

Friday, March 4, 2011

Introducing Fluffy Fridays!

Sometimes, I like to write poetry about silly things, like how awesome I am. Poetry which I feel epitomizes myself without necessarily being an icon of our generation or anything like that. So I have decided that on Fridays, I will post these fluffy poems, whether they are meaningful to posterity or not, until I forget to do so. I do hope you enjoy them, however!


Strong, sleek, and slinky,

Seeing you bounce majestically in the breeze,

Sun glinting, transforming chestnut into caramel-

Silky, cascading locks, I love seeing you in my reflection,

So proud to wear you, my glory and my vanity.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Tap, Tap, Tap, Tap- A Poem About My Grandfather's Last Days

Tap, tap, tap, tap,

Went your fragile, frantic feet-

Trying, trying, oh so hard to walk, despite their frailty.

In your last days, you could not stand

But you would not take NO for an answer-

I watched you using all your strength to stand again

on your own two feet.

Then, you stopped...

Your eyes did not open so much anymore,

And your words were lost in the wind...

And I wanted so much, so much, so much,

To see you stand again.