Monday, March 2, 2015

Lettin' Shit Go

I have a tendency of taking things pretty personal.  I just have a hard time thinking rationally when I'm offended despite the fact that more often than not, it's not a personal jab.  Sometimes it is, but most times it's not.  And even when people do mean it personally… then who really cares, right?  

Whether it's hearing something shitty that someone said about me or seeing all my friends hanging out on Snapchat and I wasn't invited or seeing a vague status that someone puts up on Facebook that is kinda, maybe about me but probably is about someone else or people in general. 

It's all really stupid.  I'm almost at the ripe old age of 29 and I'm getting too old for this shit... is what I say! 

Last year was just a god damn challenge for me.   I was new to a city and my entire life was up in the air.  I was going through this phase where I didn't know who or what to trust.  I was confused about the last few years of my life and I didn't know what was ahead of me.  I felt a little bit lost and in situations like that, it's easy to become insecure. I had no control and I hate not having control. 


My way to combat that was by staying in my apartment and being as quiet as possible.  I withheld all honesty from mostly everyone.  Whenever asked, I'd say everything in California was great and I tried to keep everything surface level.  I was pretty insecure about people talking behind my back and I wanted to make sure that I controlled what was being put out there.  If I said everything was great in LA, then nobody could say that I wasn't doing well or that I made a mistake.  If I said I was super happy, then nobody could put me down. 


But, well, obviously that wasn't always the case.  I'm sure people had plenty of stuff to say, they always do, but then again - there were plenty of times where I had thoughts on other people's lives and careers, so if I was doing that about other people - then I had no right to get upset about it. 


After drunkenly putting a friend of mine down in front of a whole group of people (including him), I decided it was enough.  It was time to stop being bitter, stop talking shit, and stop making assumptions about other people's lives.  My two cents was unwarranted, nobody asked for it or needed it!  And spending time feeling bitter and resentful was a total waste.  Who am I to judge?  What if people are going through tough times and dealing with some shit?  What if people have legit reasons for the decisions they're making in life? 


I'm trying to just stop.  To take a breath.  To think before I speak (or judge).  We're all pretty insane in our own right, so we shouldn't be judging everyone else's insanity just because it's a little different than ours.  We shouldn't judge other people's paths because it's not the path we took.  We should just mind our own god damn business.  


That's not to say that I'm perfect all the time… I have my moments where I slip up and make assumptions and judgements before giving a second thought to the reasons behind people's decisions.  But I'm really trying to let things go.  I'm trying to just live in harmony with everyone in my life.  I'm just going with the flow, hanging out with everyone despite awkwardness or torrid pasts and not bringing negativity to the table and not letting their possible negativity affect me.  And so far, it's been great… and has reduced my anxiety ten fold.

This year in California is already a lot better.  Things are steady and much less scary and hectic, so hopefully that security will help me be more understanding and respectful of other people's lives and decisions.  At the end of the day, I love my friends (obviously) and I want to start doing my best and being a good friend to them and treating everyone with respect to their face, behind their backs and in vague Facebook statuses.

Monday, February 16, 2015

no. 5


So, I got a tattoo.  It's my fifth!  It was a Valentine's present to myself.  Beau also got one, so maybe we got them for each other… but really, we got them for ourselves.  Mine is a quote from The Muppets. 

"As long as there are singing frogs and joking bears, 
Swedish chefs and boomerang fish, 
the world can't be that bad of a place."  

I love the Muppets. I love this tattoo.  I loved this weekend. 


Thursday, February 12, 2015

5 Non-Traditional Romantic Movies for Valentine's Day


This weekend is the weekend we wait for all year.  Where we get all gussied up in our best, sexiest outfits and role play our favorite scenarios as our favorite presidents.  That's right, it's President's Day weekend! 

Also, it's Valentine's Day.  The day we all meet our cuties at the local drive-in and make out in cars while simultaneously drinking milkshakes.  Ugh, I wish that was true.

As someone who doesn't celebrate Valentine's Day with more than a basic nod of acknowledgement, I thought I was the perfect person to help you pick something to watch with your guy, girl, friends or pet animal.

Here are 5 Non-Traditional Romantic Movies To Watch This Valentine's Day: 

1. Sleepless in Seattle.  The best romantic comedy of all time or THE BEST romantic comedy of all time?  I don't know what it is about this movie… but I'll TRY to sum up all the things I love about it!  For one, it's Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks who are an undeniable duo with undeniable chemistry.  But the non-traditional part about this movie?  They only have ONE scene together!  Well, if you're not counting the two scenes they were in the same vicinity where he was checking her out and following her (at the airport) where she was literally on her way to stalk him.  And when he eventually saw her across the road while stalking him.  But they only need that one scene together, those few words exchanged, those stares of longing… because that is impressive chemistry.  The other great part about this movie is obviously Rita Wilson and Victor Garber who make a really great couple and it's pretty cute when Rita Wilson cries explaining An Affair to Remember.  

Oh, also, the movie is about a woman who is best friends with Rosie O'Donnell and is marrying Bill Pullman.  He has a bunch of weird allergies.  He's a straight up nerd.  The woman, Meg Ryan, listens to a radio show where a young kid calls in to talk to the host about his dad's depression… because his WIFE DIED.  They used to live in Chicago but then after the wife died, they moved to the most adorable waterfront home in Seattle.  Anyway, the host asks the kid to put the dad on the phone and Tom Hanks is pisssssed.  Meg Ryan obviously becomes deeply obsessed with this man and his story and LEGIT STALKS HIM.  She even looks up his personal information on her 1980's computer.  She finds his address and with the approval of Rosie O, she FLIES TO SEATTLE AND STALKS HIM.  Then there are letters exchanged with the son.  And they make a plan to meet at the top of the Empire State Building (just like An Affair to Remember!) and stuff happens and then they do meet there.  Poor Bill Pullman.  But he's better with Sandra Bullock anyway, right?!

Ugh, it takes EVERYTHING I HAVE not to include While You Were Sleeping on this list.  But I already added it to my non-Christmas Classics list.  But, just know… it's a quality option.

2. Silver Linings Playbook.  This one is a little less "fluffy" than Sleepless in Seattle.  It's a really, really great movie actually.  Possibly one of my favorites.  Bradley Cooper gets out of mental institution that he was in for beating the shit out of a man who was sleeping with his wife in their shower.  He was there because he was delusional and bi-polar.  He gets out and thinks he's going to get his wife back and fix everything.  That seems like a nice, simple statement… but he is a very complicated, delusional human being that you really can't help but love.  His mother is the sweetest and Poppa Robert Deniro is an intense, superstitious gambler/football fan with OCD.  Brad's best friends, Spanish Guy and Julia Stiles, invite him over for dinner even though Julia Stiles hates him.  Julia Stiles' sister is there and it's Jennifer Lawrence who is also a little bit crazy and was fired from work for sleeping with a BUNCH of people. Like, A BUNCH OF PEOPLE.  Her husband died in a car accident while driving home from Victoria's Secret with a box of something something for Jennifer to wear so they could spice up their sex life.  (Less douchey than it sounds.)  Intense, right? Anyway, that's why she became such a whore.  Her words, not mine.

The two strike up a really weird friendship.  Mostly in the sense that she follows him when he goes running and basically harasses him.  She offers to help him get his wife back if he helps her out by entering a dance competition with him.  She took up dance to deal with her issues.  He says hell to the no but eventually comes around because he wants his wife back.

There are so many layers to this movie, it's unreal.  The cast is SO great.  The characters are complex and real and totally fucked up, but the way they get together in the end (spoiler alert!)(that should come before the spoiler, huh?) is really wonderful.  It's also a fact that any movie that culminates in a dance number is A+.  So watch it.

3. The Graduate. This one makes the list for hitting all the right notes: classic, unconventional and featuring Dustin Hoffman.  In a May-December romance where he was the young one!  The year: 1967.  A young D.Hoff had just graduated college and didn't know what to do with his life, hence the soundtrack heavy on Simon & Garfunkle.  Hello Darkness, my old friend is right!  He strikes up a romance with friend of the family, Mrs. Robinson.  Koo-koo-ka-choo, Mrs. Robinson is right!  She is cool, calm, collected and decked out in leopard print and black lace and silk.  It's pretty hot.  But then, he falls in love with her daughter.  And Mrs. Robinson is not having it!  She gets very, very mad.  Her daughter is set to marry someone else and then Dustin Hoffman crashes the wedding.  They ride off in a bus together… laughing… smiling… and then DEADPAN faces while The Sound of Silence plays them out.  It's a strange and super interesting classic film.  The fashion and styling of the 1960's alone is good enough to get you through!

4. Mulan.  Is Mulan the best Disney movie?  No.  That would go to Emperor's New Groove or Aladdin, obviously.  But it does hold a special place in my heart.  Mulan is the daughter of a warrior.  She is supposed to be pretty and ladylike and bring honor to her family.  Instead, she is klutzy and tomboyish and hangs out with a dog named "Little Brother".  When the Huns invade China, warriors are called to action… but her father is disabled!  He tries to make it work but there's no way!  Then she becomes a man by taping her boobs down and cutting her hair and speaking in a fake deep voice.  Mushu (the talking dragon voiced by Eddie Murphy) is there.  And so is a cricket.  Donny Osmond sings "I'll Make A Man Out Of You" which is the best Disney song ever performed by an Osmond sibling.  They go to war, shit goes wrong and eventually Mulan gets figured out for being a woman.  But somehow, through all of that, the Head Warrior (I don't know what they're called) is OBVIOUSLY attracted to her.  Which means… he was originally attracted to a man and he's mad about that.  But he so loves Mulan.  She obviously saves the day and saves China from being taken over by the TERRIFYINGLY ANIMATED Huns.  Seriously, they are the scariest Disney villains ever drawn!  There's a party, 98 Degrees sings a song and then Head Warrior comes to Mulan's home to ask her out on a date and the funny grandmother says something funny.  It's cute, empowering and all around GREAT.

5. Good Will Hunting.  Do you like apples?  Then you're going to love Good Will Hunting!  Written and directed by two guys from Cambridge, Matt Damon and Ben Affleck.  I don't think they've done much since, but man - what a one hit wonder.  We start out at a shitty house in Southie (that's creative slang for South Boston.)  Ben is picking up his best friend, Matt.  The accents are thick, the conversation is gritty and the punches are Hawaiian!  Matt is a janitor with a bad attitude and Ben is the designated driver who is definitely always drunk.  It's obvious these guys are your your average Boston trash (and I mean that in the best way possible.)(I love Boston trash.)(I am Boston trash.)  They go to Kelly's Roast Beef, aka the jewel of Revere Beach and start shit at a park. But there's a twist…

"MY BOY'S WICKED SMAHT" - Casey Affleck (brother of Ben Affleck)

That's right, Matt Damon is smart. A janitor? SMART? I know, that's what I thought! But yes. He's a janitor at MIT and solves a really difficult formula that was written on a blackboard by a really pretentious  professor.  The professor sees him fucking around with the blackboard and assumes he's being a jerk.  But he solved the riddle… eh, problem.  He chases him!  Matt throws him some serious shade and eventually hires him to work with him as long as he gets psychiatric help from a bunch of psychiatrists who can't deal with him until Robin Williams comes along.  Robin Williams works at Bunker Hill Community College, or as I like to lovingly refer to it: Bunks.

He gets Matt Damon.  And Matt has a hard time opening up to him and keeps fooling around and being weird and Robin Williams is like "DON'T FUCK WITH ME, DUDE."

Matt meets Minnie Driver in a bar while she's getting hit on by some Harvard douche.  He wins because he's the smartest and can recite an academic book BY HEART.  He ruins everything with Minnie Driver, fights with Robin Williams and cries when Robin tells him it's not his fault… it's not his fault… it's not his fault… and then he goes to see about a girl.

But really, this quote is why the movie makes it on my list of non-traditional romance movies:

Robin Williams: I’d ask you about love, you’d probably quote me a sonnet. But you’ve never looked at a woman and been totally vulnerable. Known someone that could level you with her eyes, feeling like God put an angel on earth just for you. Who could rescue you from the depths of hell. And you wouldn’t know what it’s like to be her angel, to have that love for her, be there forever, through anything, through cancer. And you wouldn’t know about sleeping sitting up in the hospital room for two months, holding her hand, because the doctors could see in your eyes, that the terms “visiting hours” don’t apply to you. You don’t know about real loss, ’cause it only occurs when you’ve loved something more than you love yourself. 

It's a pretty sad movie.  But there is love… and a somewhat happy ending.

Until, of course, Robin Williams dies in the end… 17 years later.

Happy Valentine's Day! 

Monday, February 9, 2015

On Career Goals and Making It


When you spend a huge chunk of your adult life performing comedy and then you move to Los Angeles, it makes sense that the two would go hand in hand.  So, it makes sense that people are always asking me "Are you doing any shows?" or "Where are you performing these days?" or "Where are your taking classes?"  But despite it making sense, I'm still getting more and more bothered by it.

My time performing did inspire my move to Los Angeles, but it's not the only reason.  And whenever my answers are: "Not really" or "Once at iO and this other show in a strip mall next to a Von's" or "I'm not taking classes" - I get looks of disappointment, or advice on what I should be doing or the dreaded "It'll get better once you start performing more!"

My love of performing and writing pushed me to move to Los Angeles.  I thought about moving a lot, but I wasn't really sure where I wanted to move.  There was Chicago to study improv at Second City, or New York for UCB and there was Los Angeles for Groundlings or UCB.  In the end, I decided on Los Angeles because I could train at whatever improv school I wanted to and I felt that there would be more writing opportunities in television which was the end goal I saw for myself.

In my mind, there was no other option.  It was comedy or bust!  When you spend so much of your life focusing on comedy and performing, there is nothing else.  There is really only one path to take and there are only a handful of jobs to go after.  It just so happens that basically everyone in the comedy world - thousands of people - are literally going for those same jobs.

Needless to say, this past year has been slightly overwhelming and eye-opening.

The first road block I hit was money. I don't have the funds to take improv classes.  They range from $400-600 for one course.  It seemed outrageous to me - and it still does.  I have so much to pay for and paying that much for a skill that I already had just seemed crazy.  It's not that I think I can't grow or get any better, I know that I can, but I can't justify spending the money on something I have already spent so much time and money on.

The next road block for me was the overwhelming scene.  I love improv and I think I'm pretty good at it.  It's something that I get and feel comfortable doing.  But there are hardly any jobs in improv.  Well, you can teach it.  And you can be on Whose Line Is It Anyway? but it's hard to make a career out of unless you're Colin Mochrie and Ryan Stiles.  There are ways to find a job, but they're rare and either don't pay that well or they're used as stepping stones to a bigger thing.  Like SNL for example, or acting or television writing or basically ANYTHING ELSE in the entertainment industry.  You make those connections and you break into that scene by taking classes and performing at well-known theaters.  And that's awesome.  The improv community is huge and it's great.  But it's the first part that I can't get past… it's HUGE.  Overwhelmingly huge.  A part of me wishes I moved out here when I was younger and had less improv experience because moving out here with a resume full of improv credits is equal parts awesome and completely worthless.  I just don't have the ambition or want to break into the scene again.  I think it's great and valuable for people who want to do it… but that's just it.

I don't feel like doing it anymore.  I don't feel like doing shows at 11:30pm on a Saturday night for an audience of ten random people.  I don't feel like that's making me a better performer and I don't think it's the most productive use of my time.  I don't feel like going to an improv class right now.  I have taken and taught so many classes and performed in and watched so many shows that I am NUMB.  Every cheap joke, dropped piece of object work, scene where two people are standing on stage just talking at each other, missed ending… ugh, I just can't get past them.   I don't feel like watching people improvise anymore.  I have fun performing, and I love getting me some laughs, but I'm just at a point in my career where I'm happy with the amount of performing I did and I'm ready to take a hiatus from doing it professionally.  I'm happy with random shows every now and then, but I don't pine for it so much that I'm going to spend money to pursue it as a career goal.

Once I decided that, I felt GREAT.  I don't need to do improv anymore!  But if I don't do improv, then who am I?  For ten years, improv comedy has been my livelihood.  It's been part of my identity.  Without it, what am I?  How do I define my career?  What do I say that I do?  Am I just a funny Talent Coordinator at an advertising agency now?

And without improv, how will I get where I want to be in life?  How will I become successful?

I don't know that answer, but I do know this: there is more than one path.  

There is more than one job.  

There is more than one way to define your career. 

A lot of Groundlings and Second City performers have been hired at SNL… but some people were cast in other ways.  Some television writers have improv backgrounds, some don't.  Some people take the highway and get there quicker, but MOST people have to take the back roads and make some wrong turns and make pit stops along the way.

I don't feel that my decision to not take classes (right now) means that I'm not doing anything worthwhile in Los Angeles, or that I'm not doing anything for my career.  Some people have literally said that to me and I just want to punch them in their face/balls.  I'm living my god damn life, that's what I'm doing!  Get off my D!  I don't feel that I'm not successful and I don't feel that I'm giving up on my career.  I have a thousand career goals and they don't all have to do with improv!  There are other ways for me to do comedy.

You can do whatever you want to do and there are a lot of paths you can take to achieve your goals. And one person's vision of success isn't the same / doesn't have to be the same as yours.  If someone views constant performing, writing movies or acting in commercials and TV shows "making it" - then that doesn't have to be what "making it" means for you.

Make it however you want to make it.  Be it microwave… or oven… or fast food window.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

A Tale of Two Coasts


I was born and raised in Everett, Massachusetts.  A rough and tumble city that borders Boston to the north.  It's cold in the winter, warm in the spring, hot in the summer and chilly in the fall.  From there, I can drive to the beach, the mountains, the whateverIwant within an hour or two and Boston is literally a ten minute drive away.  I can also get any drug I want at any hour!  It's the little things.

I didn't realize how different the rest of the country could be.  I had zero perspective when I lived on the east coast.  But now that I'm over here in the OLD WEST, I realize that things are incredibly different and weird.

I'm a fast-paced broad living in a casual town.  (I'll never say that again.)

Here's an East Coast Perspective On California: 


Sunshine.  The east coast is going nuts right now and Boston is covered in snow, so I'm going to get some shit for saying this.  But, sometimes, I hate the sun with a passion.  When I wake up hungover… or sick... or just in the mood to be lazy all day, there's the sun constantly shining its bright rays on my lazy face.  I swear to God if I looked out the window, I'd see a cartoon sun wearing sunglasses calling everyone who chooses to stay inside that day a FAT ASSHOLE.

Commuting.  Bostonians are bad, aggressive drivers.  Whatever, I get it.  What else do you expect from us when our streets are the way that they are?  California driving is incredibly streamlined and regulated due to the amount of cars on the road.  Rush "hour" is four hours long and during those hours, you are unable to turn left on some streets so you won't hold up traffic.  Driving on the freeways is basically impossible and surface roads are your (traffic light and stop sign ridden) friend.  I commute six to eight miles to and from work… and it takes just under an hour.  People honk their horns and are quick to scream at you for things that would be considered "good driving" in Boston.  It's a god damn nightmare.

There's also very little public transportation and the bus system is pretty insane.  My boyfriend lives 3 miles from his work.  It takes 8 minutes to drive there, 20 minutes to bike there, 45 minutes to walk there and about two hours to get there by bus.

Local Pride. Doesn't exist.  Everyone is from everywhere.  When the Patriots were in the Superbowl, the whole city was quiet and normal and you could barely tell there was a big game on.  You walk through Boston during a sports game (I love sports) and everyone is tense.  Everyone is decked out in their team's colors.  Everyone is excited and happy and they if they win, the city has the energy of Disney World the next day even when you don't care about sports.  If they lose, the city is somber and sad and nobody speaks.  Los Angeles is laid back, low key and California pride is shown very differently.  It's shown less through sports and more through graphic muscle tees and floppy sun hats.

Work.  I worked at a marketing agency in Boston that was pretty casual.  We considered the dress code "creative casual."  You certainly didn't need to wear suits or blazers, but it was a little controlled.  I thought I had hit the jackpot of casual work environments.  I got an hour lunch break!  I got to drink a beer in the afternoon sometimes when we had parties!  When we wanted to build our teams, there was usually a bar and some french fries involved.

My new agency in California has no dress code (I have seen girls in crop tops and loose tanks that show their bras… their BRAS!)  There are beer taps, wine taps and if we drink too much at work, the company will pay for us to Uber home.  People choose sitting on couches - or the hammocks outside - over working inside at their desks.  And just this morning, one team went to a SoulCycle class together for a bonding experience.  In the morning.  And strolled into the office at 10:30am.

Happy Hours.  They're the best thing about L.A.  Cheap drinks and cheap food everywhere!  Happy hours are against the law in Boston, so it's nice to be able to still be able to go out and drink for cheap.  Also BYOB is great and bottomless mimosas are too.  Los Angeles is full of amazing restaurants and fun bars.

Just don't be surprised when they're located in a random strip mall.

And there's only valet parking available (where the guy will take your car just to park it in the space directly in front of you.)  

And it takes 45 minutes to get there because even at 9pm, the 101 and the 10 and the 405 are packed.

L.A. is the city that I love to hate.  So basically, it's the healthiest relationship I've ever been in.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Ten Years!


For whatever reason, as I was poorly drifting off to sleep last night, I thought about perspective.  I thought about how hard life can seem in a moment but how easy it is to look back and feel stronger or at least have the ability to laugh it off or shake your head at the struggles of your past self.

I graduated high school ten years ago and so much has changed in those ten years.  It would probably be pretty weird if they didn't change, right?  I was pretty nerdy back in 2004.  And, well, not much has changed there.  But it's funny to think of who I was back then… and how little life experience I had.  The version of myself in 2004 seems so simple and innocent compared to who I am now… but I still feel like same person at my core.  Know what I'm saying?

I thought it'd be fun to look back at the different areas of my life that evolved over the last decade.

Relationships.  By the time I graduated high school, I had never been in a relationship.  I had a boyfriend when I was fifteen, and he was the first person I ever kissed, but I was fifteen!  Our break up was so subtle that I didn't even know it happened, so I had never had my heart broken.  In the next ten years, I hung out with a guy who refused to date me and repeatedly broke my heart. (We're still friends.) I dated a guy who I was really excited about at first and then I realized he was the worst person in the world.  (We are not friends.) There's been ups and downs in my relationship journey, but I've obviously learned from every situation and matured a lot, so it's no surprise that the last two relationships of the last ten years were, and are, pretty damn wonderful.

Ten years ago, I envisioned what living with a guy would be like - and what it would be like to be in love.  And now that I've felt it, I know that living with someone is hard (and awesome, but also hard)  and that all those times I thought I was in love, I was an absolute idiot.  And all the dumb things I did while I was drunk were fine.  You live, you learn, you love, you lose.  No big deal.

Work. My first job was ten years ago… at Build-a-Bear Workshop.  I got fired.  So, needless to say, my job life has been nothing but UP ever since.  I've worked at the Museum of Fine Arts which was really boring but also really cool, I've worked in theater, I worked in advertising (and still do) and obviously, I was a full-time improv and sketch comedian for two years.  I had no idea where I'd end up ten years ago.  But I had dreams of performing and I thought marketing wold be a good fit for me.  Looking back, my trajectory is kind of all over the place, but it was all beneficial work and a really fun ten years of my career.

Right now, it's still all up in the air and I have no idea what I'm going to do for the next ten years… or the rest of my life.  But it helps to look back at the different paths that I took and think, "Not too bad, I hope my next ten years go as well as the last ten!"

Friendships.  I'm very happy to say that I'm still very close friends with the people I was close friends with ten years ago.  I graduated with a core group of best friends and while there have been ups and downs in all of our lives - and our relationships with each other - they have remained pretty damn consistent.  In addition to them, I've met a whole slew of amazing, wonderful people that I'm happy to call my friends.

The last few years especially have been really eye-opening for me when it comes to friends.  I used to put so much weight into my friends and expected way too much from them.  I also took everything so personally and got so offended all the time.  But now, I'm a little bit more relaxed (at least I hope so.)  Friendships evolved and even if you don't see someone every second of every day, or even just as much as you used to, it doesn't mean you're not friends anymore or that someone doesn't like you.

Life.  If I could attach a word to the past ten years of my life, it would be "learn."  It was a decade full of learning lessons.  I grew up and matured so much, but I couldn't have done that without all the mistakes I made and all the trials and tribulations that I had to go through to get to a somewhat comfortable place in my life.  If I could attach a word to the next ten years of my life, it would be "grow."  I want to take all these lessons I've learned and apply them to the next ten years.  I want to make less impulse decisions, less mistakes (if possible) and really try to figure some shit out.  I realize that I'm only 28 years old, so I have a lot of time and most likely a lot more mistakes on the horizon, but if perspective has taught me anything… I'll live through it all and be able to laugh about it later.

And every little thing is going to be all right!

Here's to another ten years.  And dear God, I hope I'm able to fall asleep tonight.  This was A LOT of thought before bed.  Yikes.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Therapy Thoughts

When I was in high school, I had a therapist named Dominic.  I would go visit him at his office and when the school year started, he would come visit me at school.  We'd hang out in the empty auditorium and sometimes, he'd even endorse ditching the school building and having our meeting at the Dunkin Donuts next door.  He was awesome, supportive and even felt like a friend at times.  He made me feel less like a crazy person and more like an emotional teenager with depression issues.

I stopped seeing him because I was starting to feel more "normal" and was going off to college.  I didn't think I needed weekly therapy anymore and he agreed.  As the years went on, I had ups and downs with depression but for the most part - everything was still in working order.

Until this year.  After moving across the country, I started dealing with intense anxiety issues.  I'm not sure if it was the huge change, the total discomfort in an unknown area, the lack of knowing anybody or the increased amount of driving I was doing… but anxiety and depression started overwhelming me. There were panic attacks, nights where I'd go to bed just to be asleep and not dealing with life and all that fun stuff that goes along with anxiety and depression!

I thought it was about time I did something about it and started seeing a doctor who put me on anxiety medication that did nothing for me.  She sent me to a psychiatrist to get to the root of the problem and find the right solution for me… or prescribe the right solution for me.  California doctors love medication in my experience.

I showed up to the psychiatrist's office on one very inconvenient night.  I was going to a Bruin's game that night and when I tried to re-schedule, the woman told me that it'd cost $50.  So, I squeezed in the appointment in West Hollywood and quickly drove Downtown in ridiculous traffic which is GREAT for anxiety.

Oddly enough, the doctor kind of reminded me of Dominic… mainly because he had glasses and a gentle speaking voice.  I have only known two psychiatrists in my life, but I'm going to go ahead and assume that glasses are a requirement.  I assume they're there for doctors to take off and hold against their lips while they're in deep thought.  That's the only reason I wear glasses!  That and horrifying blindness that is getting worse with age.

The doctor asked me what was going on in my life, so I told him everything… because that's what you do in therapy.  As I spoke, and heard my problems out loud, I felt silly.  They just seemed stupid and inconsequential and #firstworldproblems.  "Oh, you're stressed about money?  Big deal!  At least you have a job!" said the mean bitch in my head.

Finally, when I had finished speaking, I felt a little more calm.  I realized that it doesn't matter what kind of problems I have, they're problems regardless.  They are things that keep me up at night and overwhelm me with stress during the day and that I don't have to keep letting them control me and that's why I was there.  I was finally doing the right thing for myself and was seeking out help and someone to talk to.

And that's when the doctor told me that he wasn't going to be my therapist.

"SEE!  Your problems are DUMB."  - Mean Bitch Patty Voice

It turns out that his only purpose is basically to prescribe me medication as he doesn't currently have any therapy appointments available.  I sat in his office for twenty minutes while he listened to me unload all of my problems and then he flat out rejected me!

Well, not totally.  He told me that what I was feeling was worthy of treatment and that it would get better.  So he prescribed me a new medication and sent me on my way and told me to check back in another month.  Which I did the other day… and was in his office for MAYBE ten minutes and all he did was up my medication dose and tell me that it "sounds like I'm doing okay."

I'm not opposed to medication, I'll give anything (except most things) a try once.  But the whole ordeal is funny to me.  I'm not sure if it's a California thing, or a U.S. thing or what - but the fact that the doctor didn't even try to offer me another available therapist and just gave me prescriptions seems backwards to me.  I'll give it a try and see how it goes but sometimes, I just want to talk to someone who is PAID TO LISTEN.

I miss the days of talking to Dominic over a horrible coffee from Dunkin Donuts.  Actually, I also wouldn't mind trading today's problems for some of these much easier to handle (at this stage of my life) teenage problems either.  I'd take being sad due to a fallout with a friend over general anxiety and fear of everything ANY day.

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