Time spent

For someone that doesn’t wear a watch, I seem to spend a lot of time waiting.

Waiting for the intense emotion to pass, waiting for the weekend to come, waiting for my future to catch up with reality. Waiting for the moments that come too soon, or never come at all.

My parents married at age 20. Freshman year mom started asking, “Did you pick a major?” Along with, “Meet any nice guys?” Luckily those questions died off when the answer was always the same- “No.” Growing up learning from my parent’s relationship, it was a natural thought I would follow the same path. It hit me around age 21 that I was not, in fact, going to be married soon after graduation. Now, at 29, I still have that sense of- when is my life going to catch up?

Growing up female means growing up socialized  that I need to settle down, find a husband, have kids, live in a house. My parents taught the importance of education, opportunities, travel, independence. Where does that nagging voice come from that somehow, I did all of this wrong?

I’ve waited for long distance. Waited for betrayal. Waited to let the past go. Waited while I learned lessons, became a “stronger person.” I waited during other’s depression. Waited during my own depression. Waited for grief, for more learning, and waited while I gained acceptance. I’ve waited through higher education, waited by the phone. And I’m still waiting.

Cue the happy thought about not waiting and start living. Good thing I see therapist today.



Vulnerability wake up call

I’ve been inquisitive about my body language recently. I give off great vibes to male strangers when I’m out- vibes to stay away. As I’ve told a few, this doesn’t come off too well on the salsa dance floor. I think I have appropriate body language at work, although my typing- typing- typing mode has led me to requiring mental reminders to make proper eye contact.  I’m taking notice.

I know my humor and sarcasm is a tool. It’s great for changing the subject, creating relief in uncomfortable moments, and avoiding honesty when I don’t want to give the truth. I think that truth avoidance is probably better defined as anti-vulnerability.

Before my Brene Brown obsession became an obsession, it was a quest to become more confident and engaged in my own life.  I used to envy the openness I could see in other people, and didn’t understand why I couldn’t scrape the surface of myself.

With practice, and hours of therapy, I like to think I’ve become more engaged, authentic and vulnerable. Until earlier today, that is.  I was telling a coworker about a person in my life and the kindness they’ve showed me. The anxiety it gives me to not be my whole self with them, to feel the uncertainty of the unknown. And she told me to tell this person what I was telling her, that if I’m willing to be vulnerable it can create intimacy and openness. I stared at her like she was crazy.

The more I pondered her encouragement, the more it felt right. The more it literally felt like vulnerability. Feeling it in my throat and stomach.  It’s easy to be myself, to be “vulnerable” with my friends and coworkers. I trust I will be able to take care of myself with their support. Is that vulnerability, or just friendship? My coworker told me to be vulnerable with this person in a way I haven’t yet showed up with them. Honestly, in a way I haven’t been in awhile. It feels terrifying. But luckily, despite my sarcastic tendencies and humorous avoidance, I have time to prepare myself to prevent creeping doubts. Which means time to prepare myself for whatever sort of outcome I receive.

Body language includes vulnerability, does it not? This probably has something to do with why I can’t flirt….  Ha!


“Vulnerability sounds like truth and feels like courage.”


Let’s catastrophize that.

My favorite cognitive distortion is, you guessed it- catastrophizing! While at times it’s a fun way to create exciting and more less than likely stories among friends, it’s also a good way to make myself feel crazy. My favorite way to catastrophize is to take a seemingly normal, everyday life event, and make it explode with flavor and energy.  Usually ending in people playing along (the best), thinking I’m a liar, or just calling me dramatic.

Like that time when a coworker saved a life…and the yin and yang of the world means she had to take a life. Cueing us to imagine another coworker’s demise without a seatbelt, and the Intake team spending minimal time mourning and extra time stressing over lack of completed intakes.

Or that time when my writer friend quoted me in a 3 sentence paragraph in a wedding magazine. And I tooted my own horn, future movie roll played by Amanda Siegfried and signed autographs of Chicago Style Weddings for everyone.

Or that time I got my MSW, only to tell everyone my new life mission was to be on Dancing with the Stars via my salsa career. (Apparently when you make jokes like that, people assume you’re just a salsa dancing fool. “You’re actually not bad!” has been said to me).

Or, finally. That time I started dating again. And while a litany of SVU scenarios run through my mind, the most realistic is me jumping to the dramatic conclusions of meeting Mr. Right Now, moving in together, me selling my furniture. The inevitable break up, me crying, and now living without a plaid couch. I will miss that couch.

Therapist taught me to take the (wedding) photo off the shelf, take the picture out, and put the frame into a drawer. A far away drawer. A dusty drawer in someone else’s house. Maybe leave it on the store shelf.

That makes sense. And as a friend told me, put out a new frame. Fill my life with the pictures of what is happening now. Of the cool things, cool emotions, cool people that bring me joy. Catastrophizing makes problems larger than life. And while it’s usually a fun way to tell stories, I might need to practice reeling it in when it starts to keep me up at night. As a college roommate used to say, “Crazy in, normal out.”

But where’s the fun in that?!


I should rename this blog Becca’s Therapy Chronicles. This week therapist and I talked about finding my place. Not in that passive woman way, c’mon. I have more of a hallway than a kitchen.

After the weekend of 2 baby showers, I spent a weekend in DC with my dearest Valentine and visited with my long lost cousins. I’m not sure when this happened, but looking around me I’m surrounded by babies, couples, house purchases, people with baby fever. That’s awesome, that’s life moving and shaking. I make my life as passionately dramatic as possible, but the stories I tell are usually about the bad TV I watch or fun info learned from my podcasts.

I don’t want my podcasts to be my best friends, I want to keep my friends. I guess I worry that my married, coupled, parent friends are passing me by and I’ll get lost in the wind. Am I supposed to find new, single friends? Lame. I don’t feel lonely, or alone, or jealous. I just don’t want to feel left out. My cousin said I sound like a Sex & the City episode (aka, compliment taken. We muse like Carrie Bradshaw as we frantically type after intakes).

Therapist told me that good friends will stick by you, and all this change is relative. In a few years, who knows, maybe I’ll be the one forcing you to come to my celebration shower. Play silly games and pretend to surprise me with registry gifts. I need to put in the effort with my friends, and the friendships will sustain. Part of this is being vulnerable, bold with the people that have earned the right to hear my story and engage in my life wholeheartedly. (Guess the author)  I remind myself, I have to do the same- despite new additions, partners, and other forward movements.

Basically, I will invite myself over to other people’s house.



Our vastly changing government has lead to many actions, thoughts, emotions, and confusion. It’s been hard to understand and accept the supporters of our new politics. I’m trying. Therapist encouraged me to extend compassion to his supporters, compassion for their fear of change and fear of poverty and loss. I’ve tried that for a few weeks…giving compassion in place of understanding.

What’s gotten me stuck, though, are people openly expressing they don’t care about others. A friend of mine described neutrality with our president, as his  own daily life isn’t expected to change much (cough…white male). When asked, “what about everyone else?” he responded with a shrug. When I asked a red coworker that same question, he responded with, “who cares?” Last night I read the Facebook comments of a post by my Uncle, a well educated, kind, articulate man. My Uncle presents the facts of society, and in the midst of the comments, someone wrote (in all caps), “American lives are more important than everyone else. Period.” That is so hard for me to write and repeat. That’s not fear, that’s hate.

I meet strangers everyday. People I don’t know, most likely will never see again. Part of my work is to speak with empathy, without judgment, and to listen without distraction. I can’t imagine not caring about the lives of other people. Don’t get me wrong, there are people I dislike. I’m no saint, but I can’t imagine caring nothing about the people around me.

This world gives me a heavy heart. I try to read positive news, about the lawyers and politicians doing what they can to stand up for what’s right. It’s hard to make sense of this, to find direction. It’s easy to get overwhelmed, disheartened, angry. This isn’t the kind of world I want to live in. Another reminder of our American privilege; there are countless people living in countries that have no voice against their oppressive governments.


Last week Therapist challenged me to live a “Bolder 2017.” The word bold brings to mind thoughts of becoming more confident, more direct, braver. More sarcastic.

I had a dream recently; someone said to me something along the lines,                                   “If I knew you would be so —, I wouldn’t have…”     That was the jist. I’ve been filling in the blanks myself. Basically, that voice wasn’t someone in my inner circle. It was someone that couldn’t acknowledge that even when I’m down, overall personality still exists.

Man, I feel happier! I’m digging myself out and above the depression hole I fell into. I’m social, made new friends, created mini (albeit some silly) goals. I’m not perfect. Yet all in all, I feel optimistic, bright, cheerful, energetic. I’m moving forward.

Don’t get me wrong, my inner critic can beat me down and I tell myself I should be more friendly, more flirty, skinnier, exercise more, learn to cook…yadda yadda. I face those things with my Brene Brown thoughts, and I get by with a little help from my friends. Those people that supported me when I was grumpy, boring, crying, or resistant to change out of my pj’s. I’m a CBT success story!

Part of me believes that being “bolder” is really just becoming more of myself.

So, people- keep me encouraged to be bold!

My normal

I’ve been pondering the concept of my “normal” recently. As I’ve mentioned, the last thing Ron ever did for me was to be my friend. I wrote to his mother to tell her this, and in her response she asked me to reach out when I returned to DG. I was ready this past August, so I did. Talking to my mom about these plans, she made a comment about this not being expected or common. Then she said, “but you’re a social worker.” As if that made my seemingly un-normal plans with Ron’s mom, something natural for “somebody like me.”

Talking to his mom about the last time I saw him, the last night anyone saw him, I remembered Ron as calm, patient, present. I remembered myself as anxious, distracted, and unhappy.  I don’t want that to be my normal again.

The past few weeks I’ve had moments of sadness. It’s hard to know who to talk to sometimes. I don’t have Ron with me now, but I’m  lucky to have words he sent me in Oct. 2014.  I wrote them in my journal and have reread his thoughts often. His personality was often filled with humor. When he expressed compassion it was meaningful. Reading this today, what strikes me most is missing past emotions, of personal growth, and Ron’s mention of a future he was not able to live:

“I’m having a flashback to better times in my love life and thought of you. Eventually you stop missing the person and only miss the emotions that were felt. I don’t miss him, but I miss that feeling. I don’t know if I will ever have an experience (with Sinatra) to overshadow that, but I try to keep in mind that saying…’Smile, because it happened.’ I realized that I didn’t miss him, but the ghost of a relationship long dead, that helped me immensely. I mean, think of it… you both have grown and changed the past year. Would you take him back if it happened? It took forever to get there but it happened. And once it happens everything suddenly seems so silly.

That’s part of growth. You get smarter, wiser, not so foolish, a bit apprehensive, and a lot more cautious. When the time comes to let your walls down again you will be much more savvy about it. The person will have to prove even more worthy. You will take longer because you’ve been burned, and if he is worth anything, he will understand, and maybe he has been burned too.

I guess it’s my acceptance of being single. I also don’t view life as happening so swiftly. Everyone seems to be getting married and having kids…we are not even 30 years old! Maybe it will take me until I’m 40 to find a guy I consider to be the love of my life. That is a long time from now! I have time to work on me, and if I’m not good with me, things with a guy are not going to be as great as they can be. Every day, every week is a growth. I’m not the same person I was 4 months ago but I’m always better. Life is a lesson and I will learn no matter what card is dealt. Right here is where I would normally say, ‘and I’m trying to get back to my old self,’ except that I’m not. I have no interest in my old self. My old self was weak and suggestive and not at all who I am now or want to be. Instead of ‘getting back to my old self,’ I’m paving a new path.”