From the category archives:

therapy in session

I miss my mom. I miss my dad too. Both of them gone in less than one year. I learned in this past year, and more acutely, in the past month, that to grieve is to isolate yourself. We are each alone in our grief.

It’s a cliche but I did not realize that your heart can actually hurt from missing someone so much. Wishing so much.

It’s the wishing that hurts. Wishing so hard that your entire being start to contract, to collapse upon itself. A hole forms. The wishing does not stop and you are turned inside out. 

You have no control over when the fact hits you: when you’re waiting for the red light to turn; when you are standing on the checkout line at the store; when you’re walking to the subway station. When the waves of profound sadness hits you, you need to pause to take a breath. It’s a different kind of sadness, different from the kind that makes you cry. It’s deep like the ocean.

No, let me try again.

It’s like when you get hit by a giant wave and you go under the water. For a split second, it feels like you’re enveloped in a vacuum. Your descent soundless. The absolute quietness around you almost calming. For that split second, your eyes are wide open and you can see clearly. And you think to yourself, “I’m ok.” Then, you gasp for air.

 

 

 

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One of my most popular posts was dated from 2012, “With all due respect, I am fucking scared of getting old“. It has struck a nerve and attracted comments from folks who feel helpless against the relentless forward march of time and, I suspect, the world’s time-honored obsession with and worship of youth.

Almost five years later, I can’t say the same any more since the time has arrived, I’d say by whatever objective, social standards, people of my age would be labeled as “old”. It’s more like “I am fucking scared of being found out how old I am” and all the judgements that I could expect. My long, purple hair for one.

A couple of years ago a small boy yelled out as he threw a ball to a smaller boy standing near me, “Hey, dummy, tell that old lady to watch out.”

What? What lady? Old? I’m not vain or unrealistic. For the last twenty years my mirror seems to have reflected — correctly — a woman getting older, not a woman old.  Grace Paley, Just As I Thought (1999)

Right on.

The other night though it dawned on me that when I am 80, or maybe even as early as 70, I will no longer have to worry about what others think of me. I can say whatever the heck I want. For starters, I will be able to tell people in real life about this blog and my Twitter account, if I feel like it. I can do whatever I want (to the extent that my joints will allow me). I can finally be free… to be me. 

This revelation is liberating. I am now looking forward to getting old. 

When I am 80, I will be “cute” and “adorable” instead of “trying too hard”. I can proclaim with confidence, like Betty White, “I am a teenager trapped in an old body.” I am giddy at the prospect of giving people a piece of my mind. Or two. I am giddy at the prospect of living for myself, for once for fuck’s sake. 

Of course my dastardly fast-working mind is already chastising me for having to wait until then. Why can’t you be you now? What’s wrong with you?

STFU mind. If it were that easy I would have done so a long time ago. This is called hope. HOPE.

Until then.

 

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Et tu, Brute?

September 1, 2013

in therapy in session

I am in mourning.

Yes, once again I am taking things that have absolutely nothing to do with me personally. Very personally.

I was being naive.

I just thought that geeks would be different.

Brains over beauty, right?

It is not even beauty per se. It’s youth that we are competing against.

In the end, you can’t fight youth.

Well, you can, literally, if you are Simon Pegg and his merry band of old school chums in the movie “The World’s End”.

As much as I laughed at the slapsticks in this movie starring my favorite duo Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, and my favorite reluctant detective/doctor, Martin Freeman, I now think of Pegg’s character as a Shakespearean fool. One of those tragi-comic figures who in his outrageous conduct and verbosity states the truth that nobody wants to admit.

To make it brief, Gary King (played by Pegg) peaked in high school, and he’s been behaving the same ever since, driving the same car, wearing the same long black trench coat, listening to the same mixtape, while his high school buddies moved on and over their high school glory days. It was hilarious and at moments, endearing, to watch Gary trying to hold on to the residual of their shared youth.But it also made me wince.

Gary was the King back then. A real badass. In high school. We all know how that turned out: you graduate, you get a real job, you move on. Life happens. Reality sets in. Welcome to the real, fucking, world. We all did it. We moved on.

Gary though is different. He is committed. He’s been forestalling the march of time in his own way – you know, the car, the clothing, the hair, the mixtape. He refuses to “move on”.

Is this pathetic or heroic?

I winced because I could relate to Gary and I probably should not have admitted to that. In life, it’s always the former. Only in movies and in literature would we have been convinced of the latter.

 

It is something to do with death and time and age. Simply: I am eighteen in my mind I am eighteen and if I do nothing if I stand still nothing will change I will be eighteen always. For always. Time will stop. I’ll never die.

Nadie Smith, NW: A Novel

 

 

CODA:

[SPOILER ALERT. PLEASE STOP READING IF YOU HAVE NOT SEEN THE MOVIE AND YOU PLAN TO.]

 

 

To be honest, now that I’ve been chewing on this movie over and over in my mind, the ending of the movie depresses the heck out of me. Not because it portrayed a post-apocalyptic world… No. In fact, during the last scene of the movie, I felt happy for Gary – here he is, leader of the five musketeers. King again finally. He looked so truly fulfilled in the final freeze frame, his eyes glistening with excitement and purpose.

I find it depressing exactly because of this: that the ONLY thing that enabled Gary to defy the rules of growing up/old was literally the end of the world, that it will require a deux ex machina (an alien invasion for example) to stop life from turning into a long, drawn-out requiem for youth.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Losing

April 21, 2013 therapy in session

I have lost 30 lbs. since last summer. There. I said it. I don’t know why I have been feeling too embarrassed to tell you this. I feel guilty. What’s with all the “you are beautiful the way you are” “girl power” blah blah rah rah Dove marketing speeches I tend to meander into. I […]

17 comments

Note to self: Always bring Kleenex

February 4, 2013 therapy in session

I don’t know what’s wrong with me lately. Maybe for once it’s really not me that’s at fault. Maybe it’s The 2012 Best American Short Stories collection that I have been reading. I have cried suddenly and uncontrollably over several passages. None of them were overtly sentimental. Certainly for a collection of this caliber you […]

10 comments

How to Rock [Fake] the 20s [Out]

December 11, 2012 therapy in session

Maybe it is because the release of the movie trailer for The Great Gatsby (2013) starring the Titanic “I am the king of the World” guy, the roaring twenties is certainly a popular theme for holiday parties this year. Based on the limited sample size of three, I confess: Two of the company parties (in different offices) […]

16 comments

How to Suck at Tipping

September 11, 2012 therapy in session

I know that I suffer from a severe case of liberal guilt and that’s why I don’t think I can truly relax in places where there is a clear demarcation, often times physically, between the privileged and the underprivileged. You can accuse me of being a hypocrite if you want. I would not know how to defend myself. […]

10 comments

All Charisma and No Confidence

August 30, 2012 therapy in session

I have signed up for some training courses offered at work, one of them is called “How to present with confidence”. Yes, at 40+, I still struggle with opening my mouth in front of a group larger than 5. It’s a miracle that I even survived this many years in corporate America. Someone overheard me […]

23 comments

Lucky

July 25, 2012 therapy in session

Before she started telling you the story, she would have said, before anything else, “This journal entry has a happy ending.” The red light on her phone was blinking. Somehow she’d missed a phone call when she knew that nobody would be calling her. Not on her cell anyway. Her husband was out of the […]

10 comments

Keep on Fighting

July 7, 2012 therapy in session

Motherhood in the beginning is sickeningly isolating, especially if La Leche League gets their hold on your conscience. Your partner may be super duper awesome and really do the concept of 50/50 co-parenting justice. BUT. When you are up at night alone (because someone has to get up to go to work so you can […]

23 comments