Let’s Finish This Bitch

Well, this is it. 

I did NaBloPoMo. 

I wish I had had more time, because I actually still have some great ideas for posts, but not enough time in which to flesh them out. Plus, blogging from my phone sucks. 

On the other hand, I wrote some things I’m pretty proud of. I pushed myself in ways I wouldn’t have if I hadn’t committed to blogging every single day for a month. 

At the same time, I’m looking forward to returning to living my daily life for the sake of living it (or for the sake of keeping my kid alive)  instead of for the sake of blogging about it. 

Thank you to my new readers! Thank you to the Nano Poblano team who supported me. I’m so sorry that I wasn’t able to read and comment on more blogs this month.  There’s been a lot going on. 

And now it’s time for me to shave this mustache. That’s what we’ve been doing this whole month, right?


Throwing Out is Hard to Do

While I’ve been back in my childhood home, I’ve been going through boxes of my old stuff in an effort to reduce clutter in my life. 

One issue is that I am a sentimental person, and even as a kid, I kept everything. Ticket stubs, brochures, every paper I wrote, every exam I took…I saved it all. I wish I could go back and tell my younger self to let go of stuff, because it’s making it harder for me to get rid of it now. 

I go through an inner struggle with many items I come across. Do I need this?  Do I have space for this? Will I miss this? Oh, but it’s evidence of my hard work and/or good times!


Some things are easier to throw out than others. Math exams? Gone. Old birthday cards? Trashed. But some things are just too good to go. 


This freaking awesome life-sized cardboard cutout was given to me by my college boyfriend and I can’t let it go. It has nothing to do with who gave it to me, it’s just a really bitchin’ thing to have on hand. 

Legolas was there at my college graduation party, proudly displaying my cap and gown. He’s watched over me sleeping all those years. He valiantly posed for countless drunken selfies with my roommates and me before selfie was even a word. He’s been more loyal than most partners. And damnit, even though he has no real use, he’s not going anywhere. 


Mystery Guest Post

Today, we have a very important guest blogger here at Psychobabble who needs no introduction. 

Yes, it’s NaBloPoMo, but I’m on vacation and I’m tired.  Give me a break. (Who decided to make NBPM during the holiday season, anyway? Someone who hated quality family time, that’s who.)

Without further ado:

Kfsdjkkggxb3567789 bhfdhjjvn&);:?&@&&,..,,…,,??!’c

This post was brought to you by the cutest 15 month old I know. 

You’re welcome, blogosphere. 




I’m gonna be a braggy, gushy mama for a second. 

It’s so awe inspiring to watch my little man learn and grow. So quickly, too.  And to be able to share that with family in short bursts. 

For instance, on this trip so far, the kid has started enthusiastically signing ‘dog’ for the first time, and just tonight he said his third word in context for the very first time – kitty.  The cutest part– he whispers it, like it’s a smug little secret. 

We’ve counted, and he can produce 14 signs and can follow simple verbal commands!


my attempt at capturing his first haircut this week…

This is so fun, you guys. 

So proud of my little boy. 



Childhood Books Come Full Circle

One of the best things about being a parent is getting to relive the best parts of your own childhood.

A subset of this experience is getting to read beloved childhood books to my son with the same kind of enthusiasm and weird voices that my parents used to read to me.

Here are a few of my favorite books from childhood that I am now reading to my kid.  These were my favorites not because of the stories they told, but because of the way my parents told them.

The Cat in the Hat


I had this book memorized, and I can still recite the first several pages by heart.  Growing up, my Dad would quote this book, especially when my brother and I complained we were bored.  “It’s fun to have fun, but you have to know how!”

Millions of Cats


This books was hilarious to me.  Spoiler alert – a lot of the cats kill and eat each other.  Like, a lot.  Doing the voices of the Very Old Man and Very Old Woman is quite fun.

But No Elephants

But no Elephants

This is another quotable classic, made famous in my household because my parents would add “But nooooo elephants!” onto any request to which they acquiesced, as a way of expressing the whole everything in moderation philosophy.

The Monster at the End of This Book


This was my favorite by far, just because my Dad was soooo strong that he kept turning pages that Grover tied shut, or built brick walls over…all to save us from the monster that – spoiler alert – ends up being lovable, furry old him.  “Oh, I am soooo embarrassed…”

What childhood books were your favorites???




Three Kinds of People

We were driving in the car, listening to the radio.

I’m driving my Dad’s car while we’re home, and so I’m not familiar with it.  Plus, I’m a bad driver.  Let’s just say I was distracted at best.

The DJ was saying, “There are three kinds of people in this world-”

I listened in as I was waiting to turn left.

“- people who complete tasks–”

And then there was an opening and I started to turn.  The radio cut out as we moved.

“Oh!  I wanted to hear the rest of that!” I screamed.

Brian looked at me.  He kinda laughed.  “Haha, very funny.”

I looked at him.  “What?  The radio cut out and I wanted to hear it.”

He paused.  “…it was a joke.  He did finish it.”

“What?  But he said there were three kinds of people!”

“Yup.  He did.”

“…the radio didn’t cut out, did it?”

Now that I type this, I think this is one of those things where you just had to be there, because we laughed so hard that I was crying and nearly had to pull over.

Clearly I am the type of person who likes to have tasks finished.  And I guess I’ll never know who the other two types are.


Label Day

Today is Label Day!


Here are the labels I’ve chosen for myself: Feminist Mama.

I feel like these labels have chosen me, really.

Feminism has gotten a bad rap.  Although, now that I think about it, there has always been (and most likely will always be) backlash against feminism…because if not, then there was no need for the label in the first place.  The definition of feminism is simple: the doctrine advocating social, political, and all other rights of women equal to those of men.  That makes me a feminist.  In the words of Maya Angelou – “I’m a feminist. I’ve been a female for a long time now. It’d be stupid not to be on my own side.”  So there you have it.

Mama.  I’ve wanted to be one for as long as I can remember.  And then ovarian cancer made it so I might not be able to be (a biological) one.  I wish I could have known ahead of time that all that worrying about infertility was fruitless (excuse the pun), but such is life.  I am so, so grateful to be able to raise my sweet boy.  He brings the joy (and farts) into my world.

So those are my chosen labels.

Tell me, what are yours?


nanopoblano2015lightNaBloPoMo Day 21

Don’t Be So Scared

I wrote the following post as a guest post on another person’s blog a few years ago, and I liked it so much that I am reposting it here as a way of reclaiming it, and to see how far I’ve come.

That, and I am way too busy packing for our trip to California for Thanksgiving, so I am phoning it in today.

It’s weird reading it now, because I am not working at the moment, and now I’m a mom.  But one thing hasn’t changed – imposter syndrome still creeps up…just for different reasons.



It was the fall of 2007.  I lived in Boston, was halfway through my master’s degree and I had just started my internship seeing therapy clients for the first time.

I felt like the biggest fraud in the world.

You know when you’re about six years old and you put on mom’s heels and pearls and lipstick and then go prancing about the house, hoping you don’t trip and fall and give yourself away?  That’s about how I felt.

They all say you’ll never forget your first client, and while I can’t remember her name, I do remember what she told me when we sat down across from each other for the first time:  “Don’t be so scared, honey!”  But I was, and what terrified me the most was that my fear was apparently obvious.

I inherited the tendency to suffer from general and social anxiety, and over time I have learned that if I just push through my discomfort, I usually come out on the other side having learned something about myself, having grown as a person, and feeling proud of myself.  As I made my way through high school and college, I slowly realized that 1) I wanted to be a therapist, of all things, 2) I thought I’d be good at it, and 3) It scared the shit out of me.  That settled it – I sent out applications to counseling master’s programs.

It’s weird that I am a therapist.  No one in my family has been one; I didn’t go to therapy as a child.  Therapists (and people who have been through the process as a client) use this language, this psychobabble, as if it were normal, but when terms like unconditional positive regard and attachment figure slip out of my mouth in front of friends and family, the looks on their faces highlight a distance I sometimes feel from the general population.

What I do during the day is odd.  I get paid to listen to perfect strangers tell me their deepest, darkest secrets, and I am expected to say brilliant things to make those people feel better and think about their problems in different ways. An added layer for me is that I work at an agency where we serve survivors of domestic and sexual violence – talk about alienating people at cocktail parties.  While I feel comfortable talking about abuse (with both my clients and the general population), most people don’t, and I completely understand that, but it’s tough when some people ask what I do or where I work, and the conversation basically ends after I give my answer.

For the above reasons, being a therapist can be an ironically isolating career to have.  Yes, I get to listen and work with people in such an intimate way, but that intimacy has to stay private…confidential…sacred.

Another side effect of shrinkdom that I have to actively reframe is my distorted perception that the world is a very, very dangerous place.  Every single one of my clients comes to see me because they have been victimized in some way, often by more than one person.  If I’m having a bad day, I think about all those perpetrators running around and it makes me terrified at the thought of one day having children and sending them out into the world.  I’ve noticed that I do little things to make myself feel safer: I always lock the door when I am home.  I carry my bike up to my second story apartment because it’s just too easy to steal.  If I am in my car, it’s locked, no exceptions.  The trick is to not let these little things turn into big things that get in the way of me living my life, hence the reframing.  I’ll hang out with healthy friends and remind myself that not everyone abuses others.  That may sound ridiculous, but for me, it’s essential to my sanity.

Another thing that adds to my therapeutic performance anxiety is this notion that therapists are held to a higher standard as humans, as if our training gave us mystical powers to analyze others and cultivate perfectly healthy relationships with loved ones.  As an example, a former boss of mine, who didn’t have a clinical background, once commented to me when several therapists at our agency were having a dispute, “You’d think that with all your training, you guys would know better how to get along.”  Yeah, thanks for that added pressure to be perfect, but it doesn’t really work that way.  Sure, we have mad skillz, but we also have baggage just like anyone else.

One of the ways us therapists get a handle on our issues and biases is through getting our own therapy.  My first experience of being a therapy client didn’t happen until after I realized I wanted to be a therapist.  Some therapy degree programs actually require that the students get into counseling, and while mine didn’t require it, I still wanted the experience.  I wanted to see what being a client felt like because I knew that it would later help me connect with clients, but more importantly I needed to deal with my own junk and gain some personal insight.

Let me just say that therapists make the worst therapy clients.  We analyze, we second guess, and we try to usurp the process- Oh no! I know what you’re trying to do!  You’re trying to get me to FEEL THINGS!  Well it won’t work!  Nonetheless, my first therapist’s name was Rebecca, she was a godsend, and I miss her.  I was able to unload and process all the crap that was happening in my life: moving across the country away from my family, moving in with my partner for the first time, and starting this crazy master’s degree.  She laughed at my jokes, she was there when I cried, and she didn’t judge me.  It was life changing.

It was through my time with Rebecca that I began to integrate these seemingly polar opposite sides of myself- the competent therapist and the anxiety-ridden fraud.  At first, the competent therapist in me felt guilty for getting my own therapy, because I was functional, healthy, I was taking a time slot from someone who probably needed it more than I…and I should know how to get by on my own, right?  I was supposed to have all the answers.  On the other hand, the anxious pretender in me felt so relieved, because I didn’t have to pretend in therapy.  Oh, it felt so amazingly good to admit how fucking scared I was and how I had no idea what I was doing.

Rebecca thought this was bullshit.  She didn’t think I was supposed to have all the answers.  She didn’t think I had no idea what I was doing, either.  And she was right.  Looking back, I think I knew this about myself all along, but just needed someone to say it to me.  There is room for both parts of me, and they aren’t opposing forces.  They’re just me.

So where does this leave me?  I still worry.  I worry that my older clients won’t take me seriously as a young professional.  I worry that my non-white clients won’t take me seriously.  I worry that my low socioeconomic clients will see me as a spoiled brat.  I worry that clients who are parents will reject my feedback because I am childless.  I worry that I won’t be able to help people.

And then I remember what it was like to be a client myself.  I remember that I was terrified of crying in front of a stranger, terrified that I wouldn’t be taken seriously, terrified of being judged.  I remember that all I wanted as a client was to be heard and understood.

And I think to myself, I can do that.

nanopoblano2015lightNaBloPoMo Day 20