Life Is One Big Query Letter!

query-letter

Or at least it should be . . .  if we were always allowed to ask for what we needed and wanted. For instance I wrote a book, I yearned to get it published, so I sent out Query Letters to agents describing what it was about and why I thought it would be of interest to certain readers. I waited for a ‘Yes’ or a ‘No’ regarding whether or not I could go to the next step and submit the first twenty pages. Simple.

Now let’s do this with EVERYTHING! Shall we?

Dear Neighbor,

I just moved into the home that was for sale across the street from you and I have a couple of kids whose hobbies include football, shopping, and…and that’s it! I think they’d make the ideal new friends for your son and daughter that I see walking harmoniously together out your front door every morning to catch the school bus. I’d be more than happy to send my daughter’s diary as well as video clips of my son’s game when he was quarterback. Thank you for your consideration!

Little Miss Menopause

 

Dear Gynecologist,

Your receptionist told me you’re not accepting any new patients, however I am of the opinion that you’ve never palpated breasts like mine before and it’s a unique experience no medical doctor should miss. Additionally I’m more agile at slipping my feet into those stirrups than any female this side of the Mississippi — and nobody can undress and get into a paper gown faster than I do. Think you’ll knock three abrupt times, then swiftly open the door to surprise me standing naked? Think again! You ain’t never had a patient like me. In conclusion, may I have my previous OB/GYN forward my medical charts for your perusal? Thank you for your time.

Little Miss Menopause

 

Dear Daughter,

I certainly hope this query letter finds you doing well in college. I’ve been following you on social media recently and I have some thoughts on how you’re leading your life, which I’m certain you’ll find fascinating. Just to give you a little teaser: You’re not dressing appropriately for your internship, the guy you’re dating isn’t from a very good family, and the Bloomin’ Onion you ordered last night from Outback Steakhouse is a heart attack waiting to happen. Please be aware that my advice is destined to become a bestseller, but I wanted you to be the first child to have the opportunity to utilize it. May I send you the complete outline so you can browse through it at your leisure?

Your Mother

 

Dear Parker Brothers,

Through the years I’ve enjoyed your Scrabble, Boggle, Clue, and Risk boardgames. I recently invented a new game I like to call, “Natural Consequences” in which milk spoils when not put back in the refrigerator, husbands don’t get sex when they forget to pitch in around the house, and children’s grades suffer when they don’t study. With your permission, may I send over a few people willing to act out all the fun in a live format for you?

Little Miss Menopause

 

Dear Firstborn Son Who Moved Far Away,

It has come to my attention that we don’t communicate anymore. I cannot remember the last time I heard your deep voice explaining the difference between fission and fusion.  I know a brilliant nuclear engineer and a scatterbrained creative writer don’t have a lot of commonality, but I’ve made a list of stuff we’ve shared (which you may not now recall) during your formative years. Just to give you a sneak preview, one of the things was spontaneous Bear Hugs. May I submit the rest of the list in the hopes that we can find our way back to yesteryear? I miss you son, I really miss you.

Much love always,

Mom

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Readers: Who Would You Send a Query Letter To?

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Guess Who?

photo (15)Remember the game where you snuck up behind an unsuspecting individual, covered their eyes and shrieked, “Guess who?” If your tuna smelling fingers didn’t give you away, your friend could whip their face around, instantly revealing your identity.

But suppose you could touch someone while staying incognito indefinitely?

Anonymous has been a presence that’s figured prominently throughout my life. Here’s how:

  •  In 2nd grade, a pretty and popular girl in my class received cards throughout the school semester from “Your Secret Pal.” You know those cutesy, colorful ones with little kittens or teddy bears saying things like, “Although you may not know my name, I think you’re terrific just the same!” She barely stopped to read them before running off to play dodge-ball because she was team captain. “Your Secret Pal” was probably shy, couldn’t spell anonymous, and was always chosen last.

 

  •  In 5th grade drama class, an unsigned note was placed on the teacher’s desk nominating me for the part of Dorothy. The ruby shoes were too small, so alas that juicy role went to Becky with the petite feet.

 

  • In middle school, lengthy letters were turned into the principal’s office, citing full names of students who were smoking marijuana in the bushes after school. Anonymous obviously did not want to be known as a ratfink.

 

  • In a college suggestion box for the university’s literary magazine, two stories were submitted as “Author Unknown.” One was published without credit or a bio. Anonymous must’ve thought the writing was either too awful or too fantastic to attach a name.

 

  • In my early 20’s, various anonymous tips were given to the local police department. One led to an apprehension of the thief who abandoned stolen cars. Being a Good Samaritan was dangerous.

 

  • In my late 20’s, I volunteered on a suicide hotline. On my night off, my co-worker answered the phone to a depressed caller who described fantasizing various ways of dying. The call was lost before logging in a name.

 

  • In my early 30’s for three Valentine Days in a row, several of my divorced girlfriends received boxes of chocolate marshmallow hearts left on their doorstep minus a card. They were cheered.

 

  • In my mid 30’s, a bouquet of red roses was delivered to our home on my birthday. It was signed “From Your Secret Admirer.” After a jealous tirade, my husband took up the new hobby of finally sending me flowers. Daffodils were his thing. One year he forgot our anniversary, but when a heart traced into the dust on my car’s windshield suddenly appeared, he was jolted back into the routine.

 

  • In my late 30’s, Anonymous attended 12 step programs. There was one for Eating Disorders, Emotions, Love & Sex, Codependency, and Addictive Personalities. Anonymous sat in the back and rarely spoke.

 

  • In my early 40’s, a therapist friend of mine mentioned she got a frantic email from an account she didn’t recognize, confessing an inability to take care of young children properly. She considered calling her supervisor or a social service bureau but there was no contact information.

 

  • In my mid 40’s, before caller ID, a lot of my married friends received anonymous phone calls with eerie silence. Anonymous probably wanted to hear what went on in their household during the few seconds before they hung up. Or was curious if husband and wife would accuse one another of having an affair.

 

  • In my late forties, anonymous donations were made to various charities. Children’s organizations, animal rescues, breast cancer were a few. Or a local theatre because Anonymous seemed to support the arts. Perhaps Anonymous thought the amounts were embarrassingly small. Or was worried they were large enough that other people would ask to borrow money.

 

  • In my mid-forties, Anonymous left fliers under doormats on cul-de-sacs, suggesting someone start a Neighborhood Watch program. I guess Anonymous didn’t want to be that someone.

 

  • In my late-forties, our large city newspaper published some anonymous letters to the editor taking a strong stand on issues ranging from childhood vaccinations to guns. Anonymous hates confrontation.

 

  • In the last year, comments from “Nobody” have occasionally surfaced on my humor blog. They generally single out a line of dialogue that’s hilarious or refer to me as The Queen of Comedy. They are never EVER unfavorable.

 

  • Now that I’m 50, Anonymous feels the need to claim accountability for more things. A cleansing of the soul, you might call it. An owning up to the past. All things neutral, good, bad or just plain odd.

Anonymous is responsible for six children, an aging mother, a home, a dog named Lola, a car, and a writing career. It’s about time Anonymous took responsibility for herself, don’t you think?

 

A Little Support for Support Groups.

photo 2 (4)I decided to join a support group.  But even though I fit every description of every psychological disorder in every self-help book out there, I couldn’t find a group  that “got me.”  So I figured I would start my own. How hard could it be? Give the younger kids to my ex for the night, put some folding chairs in a circle in my living room, set out some grapes, and throw out a topic. Easy peasy lemon squeazy.  Oh and I might serve lemonade. That was always refreshing.

I put this announcement online:

Hi my name is Little Miss Menopause and I’m starting a support group. I worry a lot so I was thinking of calling it,  WWW– ‘Women Who Worry’  but we can tweak when you get here.

The first two calls were from women worried they didn’t know how to twerk, until I explained what I meant by tweak.

Since this was to be an anonymous support group, I will not use any names to convey the dialogue at our first meeting. It could be any woman saying these things.  And trust me, it was.

Is this for women who worry incessantly and want to stop?  Or for women who feel guilty they don’t worry as much as they should?

Well I worry that what I worry about will actually come true. Kind of like the opposite of “The Secret.”

Can this also be a support group for women who have never read “The Secret?”

How about women who really hate “The Secret?” Secretly, of course.

I recently read somewhere that the act of worrying itself is eventually what we’ll die from.

Ladies, can we get started?  We’ll call it “Women Who Worry Too Much Or Not Enough and Aren’t Sure How They Feel About “The Secret” but Don’t Want to Die.”

And The Men Who Love Them?

No men.  I would need to wear foundation. And my skin really needs to breathe.

How about we focus on Joy instead of worry?  We’ll be The Joy Luck Club.

Kill joy.

When and where will you provide childcare?

That’s just like you!  I knew you would assume that women our age would all be mothers.

Don’t say that.  My name is Anonymous. You don’t even know me.

Well I know you’re catty.

I wish I could be a mother.

I wish I had a mother.

I wish my landlord let me have a cat.

Well, if all 17 of us pitched in, I suppose my eldest daughter could babysit for an hour upstairs. Say $2.00?

If we pitched in $5.00, do you suppose you could hire a housecleaner?

Can you start a support group for women who cannot afford support groups?

Shouldn’t we have said the Serenity Prayer by now?

I think this group could use more tweaking twerking.

Or maybe we could all turn our chairs toward the wall and sit facing away from one another.photo 1-21

After they left, I was exhausted but stayed awake all night tossing and turning.  I toyed with starting another support group for women with insomnia. But when would we meet? We’d be too tired during the day from being up all night. We could meet evenings, but we’d want to turn in early to try and fall asleep. Finding a convenient time was definitely a worry.

To distract myself, I read slips of paper I had all the women leave in the Suggestion Box before they left. It was mainly filled with more names of support groups they were suggesting I start.

  • Women Who Are Mean To Other Women At Support Groups
  • Women With Teenage Daughters
  • Women Without Teenage Daughters
  • Women Wanting To Trade Teenage Daughters
  • Women Who Have Lost Their Mothers (we should open with saying, “I’m sorry for your loss”)
  • Women Who Have Lost Their Mothers to Mahjong, Rummy Cube, and Other Games Seniors Get Obsessed With Today That are Considered Hip.
  • Women Who Hate Their Hips.
  • Women Who Have Lost Their Keys, Cell Phones or Glasses (should probably still open with saying, “I’m sorry for your loss.”)
  • Women Who Are Authentic
  • Women Who Hate Women Who Always Say the word, “Authentic”
  • Women Who Start a Support Group Just so they Can Have Something New to Blog About (I knew I recognized one of my WordPress followers sitting away from the group on my purple couch!)
  • Husbands Who Have Wives Who Go to Support Groups To Talk About Them and Are Afraid to Go To Work the Next Day and the Secretaries Who Love Them
  • Children Whose Mothers Cannot Drive Them Anywhere Because They Are Constantly in Support Groups
  • Couples Who Can’t Talk To One Another (We could meditate)
  • Couples Who Can’t Stop Fighting and the Therapists Who Love them.

And there was one question:

Will you ever have anything to eat other than grapes and lemonade?  I have IBS.  It would be refreshing if you could serve other refreshments.

At the next meeting I decided to do more of the talking and be more bold.

Thank you all for coming back.  I wonder if some of you feel as exhausted as I do.  I was thinking of starting a group for insomnia but does anyone have a suggestion when a group like that could meet?

In your dreams.

Cute. So I’ve gone over all the suggestions and I’ve decided there’s one name that will encompass everything . . . Ready?  It’s quite brief.   “Dysfunctional Households”

Women Who Grew Up in a Dysfunctional Household or Women Who Create Their Own Dysfunctional Household??

But I live alone.

Uh, I’m a guy, so this might be a typical male question. But by Dysfunctional Households, do you mean when the dishwasher and the floor sweeper break down.

No, I don’t mean appliances. I mean people.

Well I AM the dish washer and the floor sweeper.

Welcome to our group.

Great.  Just great. Does anyone have foundation in a porcelain beige shade I can borrow?

After they all went home, I knew I would never mention it, but secretly I would change the name to “Women Who Start Support Groups To Feel Important But Instead Feel Put Out.”

And as far as worrying?  I was no longer concerned at all.  I now had plenty of new material for months of blogs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m Normally Not Such a Busybody!

photo 1-3Today I got bored  eavesdropping on other people and decided to tune into myself for a change.  My Body, to be exact.  It has a lot to say.  So, won’t you join me and we can listen in together?

Body Language

Left Breast: She hates us. Have you read this?  It’s her “Breast-O  Manifesto.” It’s only a matter of time before she tries to shrink us again with Reduction Surgery. I say we Kill her first. Wage a Preemptive Strike.

Right Breast: I’m cold and feeling a bit “nippy” right now.  I’ll read it later when my goosebumps are gone.

Left Breast: But we must stay abreast of this woman’s body hatred before it’s too late!  The Abdomen alleges that war was declared over bathing-suit season and the oblique muscles were nearly Crunched to death.  Doing 100 a day.   We can’t be stupid about it, either. If we strike aggressively with Breast Cancer, everyone will know it was us. Let’s think about using a couple of Hit Men. Literally – – A stealthy pair.  But not breasts. . . a pair of Hands.

Right Breast:  No, not the Hands, although God knows they have too much Time on them.  Let’s keep this a female thing.  I’ll speak with the Cervix and the Uterus to see what their entire region’s thoughts are about waging a “Woman problem” type of attack.  If it’s done discreetly, there won’t be any eyewitnesses who can finger the Vagina in a line-up.

Eyes:  Someone mention an EYEwitness?   Make no mistake, we see it all.  There’s no lashes aflutter here.  Our gaze is piercing.

Ears:  Piercing!  Seriously?   She shoulda listened to that mother of hers who said, “If God intended for you to wear earrings, you woulda been born with holes in your head.” Ouch!! But nobody hears anything anymore.  It’s all that rap music.  Hey Four Eyes, you got nothing to complain about.

Eyes:  Who you calling “Four Eyes?”  We look at the world thru a new lens now.  It’s a Contact sport these days, E.T.

Ears:  Oh yeah?  Well what’s with the “E.T?”  It’s Eustachian Tube to you.    Just don’t go around saying “Piercing” when you don’t know what it really means.  Stick to keeping your eyes peeled.

Eyes:  Well I never!  That’s some way to refer to the “Window of the Soul.”

Ears:  LOOK whose talking!  Some body organs can be so touchy.

Left Hand:  Did someone say “touchy?”  I didn’t want to let that one slip thru my fingers. My biggest complaint right now is that she keeps letting her 12 year old daughter do her manicures.  Do you have any idea how sick of blue sparkles I am?

Elbow:  Obviously the Left Hand doesn’t know what the Right Hand is doing.  Look!  It’s completely polish-free!

Right Hand: (sheepishly)  Peeled it off.  I go to a 12 step-program for that.  I’m a Peeler.   It’s a bad addiction.

Elbow:  Aw, don’t be so hard on yourself. You just need to apply a little elbow grease.  Besides, we all know who has the worst habits around here and makes your fingernails so raggedy and jaggedy.  Our Biggest Offender.  Just can’t stop biting and nibbling. No Siree.

Nose:  Please keep it down.  As you’re all aware, I have to reside just above our Biggest Offender and you took the words right outa my . . .  Well, let’s not even go there.  Saying her name will surely only make her ______ water even more.   And then there will be more food shoveled in.  And I’m not talking Food for Thought, either.  So don’t bother mentioning this to The Brain.   All the problems that chatty body part brings to the rest of us just sets my teeth on edge!  I’d really like to put a zipper on it when she shoots her ______ off like that.   And if another morsel goes in anytime soon, we’re all gonna pay through the nose.  It doesn’t make any scents, I tell you!  But I apologize for getting my nose outa joint over this whole issue.

Eyes:  That’s right, you don’t wanna cut yourself off just to spite your face!  And we shouldn’t be looking down our nose at anyone else either.  Just keep yourself to the grindstone, eh?

Abdomen: But it’s true – – The nose knows!  I’d rather have butterflies in me than some of the stuff that passes through those lips.  I simply cannot stomach it anymore.  I’m all tied up in knots.  And really, do you see our Biggest Offender ever paying the price for its own actions?  Doing any exercise at all?  It should put it’s money where it’s _____ is.  Because a moment on the lips is forever on the hips.  And I speak for the Hips because they’re exhausted from the Stair Climber she made them endure just this morning.

Thighs: Oh C’mon, Little Tummy.  You can’t speak for Hips.  You know Hips, Butt and us Thighs operate as a complete lower body team.  And quit standing up for the Nose.  You don’t have a leg to stand on where this issue is concerned.  Nobody pays thru the nose.  It’s the limbs who pay.  It costs us an arm and a leg when she goes on one of her fitness kicks. We thought we’d fully recovered once Suzanne Somers retired that crazy contraption from infomercials. But nooooo, then she had to go and take up jogging.  There’s no relaxing now.  Jeeze, we can’t even get our “foot in the door” at Massage Envy.

Nose:  Wow, you sure put your foot in your MOUTH with that little speech.  OMG.  I said it.  I just slipped.   I said that body part . . . I’m so sorry.

MOUTH:  That’s right, Nose.  Someone sure has a big MOUTH around here.  And I’ve heard everything now.

Elbows:  Well, shut my Mouth. As I live and breathe, you took a break from the chewing. And the spewing.

MOUTH:  What’d I ever do to you?  You’re perfectly slender.  There are no exercises for an elbow to do.   And it’s not like I’m spewing bad nicknames at you – – like Muffin Top or Thunder Thighs.   Why you’re practically her favorite body part.photo 2-9

Elbow:  Listen to this.  As if butter wouldn’t melt in your _____.  Quit foaming at the ______, Oh, forget this.  I’m gonna go rub Elbows with the Knees.

MOUTH: Alright, alright everyone.  Right now, it may look as though I’m the culprit.  But I’m no Motor Mouth.  I speak in turn. It’s true I might be a Smart Mouth, but at least I wasn’t born with a Silver Spoon.  I don’t talk out of both my sides.   But nothing leaves a bad taste in me more than being talked about behind my Back.

Back:  Don’t even start, you spineless wimp.  Just Back off.

MOUTH:  Alright, alright.  I know when my back is against the wall.  It’s true.  I DO wreak havoc on y’all.  Sometimes I say things I don’t mean.  I can’t take them back.  Then I eat to numb the pain.  But it’s not like when we were younger.  Nobody’s washing me out with soap anymore.  Nobody’s fixing my meals and monitoring my Sweets.  I’m on my own.  It’s a lot of Lip Service, I tell you.  Not to mention when tragedy befalls us all, I’m the one tries to keep a stiff upper lip. 

Feet:  That’s a whole lotta tongue-in-cheek.  You don’t have to just grin and bear it.   It’s not your fault, Mouth – –  so don’t get cold feet.

Back:  Think on your feet, Man.  We’re trying to get Mouth to wipe that smile off her face.  And own up to things.

Feet:  Look, Mouth is just a mouthpiece.  I don’t mean to be punny, but it’s our Sole Soul that’s got some issues that are more than just skin deep.  Yet for now, she manages to stand on her own two feet, keeps her feet planted firmly on the ground, and last I looked, she’s not six feet under and doesn’t have one foot in the grave either.  So just give her a break.   She’s just eating.  And speaking.   If the shoe were on the other foot, wouldn’t we all just want to put our best foot forward?   I’m just sayin’.

Brains:  Honestly I’ve racked myself for days now.  And I know Soul has done a lot of deep searching as well.  But until we join forces together for an entire Mind, Body, Soul connection, we’re never going to be anybody.

All Together:  We don’t want to be just Any Body.  We want to be Somebody.  Somebody special.

Neck: Then why don’t we stop focusing on ourselves and start Sticking our Neck out for others?

And that’s when I really began to listen more intently  – – because I knew that at last . . .  the right questions were finally getting asked.

Sorry, the rest of the conversation is kinda private – – After all, in the end – – we all must answer only to ourselves.

photo 3-4 But if you’re still only into “The Physical,” here you go – – have a listen below!

 

 

 

 

 

The Doctor Is In – – But I’m Out… (of my mind!)

formeAll my adult life I have dealt with a debilitating disorder – – it’s called, “Tell & Show Syndrome.”  Someone will TELL me about a new rare disease and WHAM! – – all the signs of it SHOW up throughout my body.

To say I am highly suggestible is an understatement.  I can read an article in a woman’s magazine entitled, “10 Symptoms You’re Too Shy Too Discuss With Your Male Doctor (But You Should Before It’s Too Late!)”  ~ Immediately I have all 10 plus 4 bonus ones the author wasn’t imaginative enough to think of.  Fear and panic overtakes all my shyness.  I’m gonna grab that Male Doctor right by his shirt color – – I might even consider going to Second base with him for a Second opinion.

I do have a regular physician I call several times a week, and I’m sure the nurses give him messages that go like this – –

“That hypochondriac lady (who resembles a very menopausal Amy Winehouse, minus the tattoos) is on the phone again.  Today she claims when she walks, it feels like thumbtacks/paperclips are poking her feet. Should we advise her to proceed directly to the local office supply store?”

Instead I go to my beloved online medical information mecca – – “The Web MD.”

First of all, it never occurs to me that the word “Web” in their name is a subtle symbolic tip-off that I should stay far, far away.  Let’s think about this, shall we?  Who has webbed feet?  Ducks!  And what do ducks say?  “QUACK!”  Hello??

But this does not deter me from typing, “thumbtacks sticking feet” into the symptom-checker box and obtaining The Diagnosis From Hell.  Four horrific diagnoses, actually.  One relates to my Brain, one relates to my Heart, another to my Lungs, and the final one to my Stomach.   Interestingly, none of the diseases have anything to do with Feet. And all are extremely fatal.

Having gotten C +’s in my Deductive Reasoning classes in high school, I know it isn’t possible that I am afflicted with ALL four of these maladies. That’s only logical, right?  So which one should I eliminate?

Next I do what I always do at 2:00 in the morning – – I log onto a hospital patient message board and post about my situation, asking if someone “out there” has ever experienced a symptom like this but everything turned out to be completely fine?   I stare for hours at my computer screen waiting for anyone to give a reassuring response.  And then it dawns on me . . .

The reason nobody can answer my question.  Everyone who had this same problem has already died.

Should I start writing my Obituary or my Will first?  And Guardians for my precious kids!  Why, oh why couldn’t my ex-husband and I ever agree who to name as caretakers in the event of our deaths??   His sister puts ketchup on eggs, doesn’t believe in orthodontia, plus Danielle Steele is her favorite author.  So what?  I shoulda let all that go.

“Please God,” I bargain, “I know last week I hated this world and said I’d rather be dead than go to the Department of Motor Vehicles to renew my expired driver’s license.  But I promise to find gratitude and renew my zest for life – – just please don’t let me expire!”photo 2-3

There’s nothing left to do.  Except find a brand new doctor who hasn’t heard about my “Boy Who Cried Wolf” past.  My previous doctors have issued, “WARNING: Circus Side Show Freak” bulletins about me to the medical community at large, so this will be no easy task.

Finally I show up on the doorstep of an office in a faraway town.  I watch as their “The Doctor is in” sign lights up.  I’ve always believed first impressions are important so here is how I fill out the paperwork on the clipboard.

 New Patient Form:

NAME:  (circle one)  Miss/Mrs./Ms    I’m divorced so technically it’s “Ms.”  But please call me “Miss” as in “Little Miss Menopause.” Although Mr. may be a distinct possibility these days – –  can you check my testosterone level?

AGE:   I just caught a glimpse of you at the reception desk….I could be your mother big sister.

REASON FOR TODAY’S VISIT?  Look at me!  Isn’t it obvious?  I just need the Dr. to confirm how much time I have.

WEIGHT:  Who cares at this point?   Just order me a size 8 burial gown.  And yes, I’m banking on the fact that loss of appetite will kick in soon with this particular disease.

PROFESSION:  Writer  (Pssssst!  Hot tip:  Publish this form.  Everyone knows a deceased author’s last work commands a high price.)

EVER SKIPPED A PERIOD?  Yes, but I’m working diligently on eliminating my run-on sentences.

WHOM CAN WE THANK FOR REFERRING YOU?  You mean blame?

PERSON TO CALL IN EMERGENCY:  Um…my two ex-husbands will deny knowing me.  Let’s see….My kids will just ask, “what’s for dinner?”  Oh, don’t call the neighbors, they’ll tell you I should have been deceased 8 times already!  Hmmm,  I think you might call Mabel, my hairdresser.  But when you say, “Died”  – –  you better spell it.  She’ll think you mean Clairol Nice n’ Easy Deep Burgundy Brown.

I’m interrupted by the Doctor, who calls me in.  He listens to my heart and pronounces it steady and strong.  I resist the urge to ask when he’s last had his stethoscope calibrated.  I describe how I feel  (this time likening it to feet stabbed with steak knives) but he cuts me off before I can get to the Web MD part.

DR:  Have you ever heard of Transient Paresthesia?

ME:  Oh no, Dr.  Not that!  I don’t even ride a train or bus!

DR:  Not “Transit.”   Transient, meaning Short-Lived.

ME:  Good Lord, you mean I’m gonna go even quicker than I thought?

DR:  Where ya headed to?

ME:  Aren’t I dying?

DR:  We all are.  But I think you’re gonna survive this one.  Transient Paresthesia = Limbs falling asleep.

As I depart, I glance over my shoulder to see him sketching a big-haired woman with the caption, “BEWARE OF CREATIVE BLOGGER WITH TOO MUCH TIME ON HER HANDS….She needs to be cut off ASAP!!”   He then posts it on the WEB MD  website!

photo-392

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In Synch with Your Shrink – – It’s Not What You Think. . . (Wink, Wink)

photo-292She was my 18th Therapist but I was her very First patient.  Here’s how it went down. . .

(Oh, it’s perfectly okay!  It doesn’t violate the Confidentiality Code when it’s the patient who does the blabbing.)

 

Me:  Um, I usually don’t sit in the leather chair behind the big, important looking desk?

Therapist:  Oh!  Sorry.  I’m a little new at this.  I thought if you had one of those Inferiority Complexes, that would cure you right away.  Plus I just ordered this new $1200 couch and I wanted to try it out myself to see if it was comfortable.

Me:  So how does it feel?

Therapist:  Well, lemme see.  I’m experiencing a little of what we call the Imposter Syndrome which means I’m afraid you might think I’m a fraud masquerading as a professional – – So my defense mechanisms have turned up a bit.  And I have some obsessive compulsive tendencies – – I want to reach behind your head and straighten that picture by a 1/4 of an inch.  Plus I’m feeling a little Borderline Personality-ish this morning with a dash of Seasonal Affective Disorder thrown in, which means I need more sun-exposure.  Would you mind opening those blinds a tad?

Me:  No, the couch.  How does the couch feel?

Therapist:  Oh!  Well the new factory smell is obnoxious and the fabric is kinda scratchy and there’s too much stuffing behind my lower back and I notice a slight tear in the…

Me:  (looking at watch) Well that’s all the time we have for today.  We’ll take up the topic of lumpy, bumpy, grumpy sofas at our next appointment.

Okay!  Keeping in mind that occasionally a therapist has more problems than the “patient,” here are “Ten Tips To Try” when beginning psychotherapy.

 

Miss Menopause’s Modern, Mature (slightly Morbid) Mindset Maxims

 

1.  You’re Not An Entertainer!   –  If you think your therapist looks bored, she probably is.  But resist the urge to liven up the session by ratcheting up your life a notch.  Don’t tell your therapist that you’re the reason Gwyneth Paltrow’s marriage Consciously Uncoupled.  Or that you like the name Gwyneth for that matter.  Save all creative embellishments for your humor blog.

2.  Be Faithful!  – –  See only one therapist at a time.  I once played the psychology field and saw three different therapists to decide which style I preferred.  Because I made the mistake you read in #1, I couldn’t keep my stories straight.  When the clinician on Tuesday asked how my Swinging was going?  – –  I began to embellish on nightly (spicy!) partner swapping and all the feelings of insecurity that brought up for me.  But it turns out that was the anecdote I had told my Thursday Therapist.  A week ago Tuesday, I had boasted that I was a Championship West Coast Swing dancer.   Needless to say (re: either story) I was diagnosed with “Delusions of Grandeur.”

3.   Don’t Do Dreams! – – Just don’t.  I recounted a dream I had that my ex-husband and I were arguing over where we should live.  During the nightmare (it just got upgraded to a nightmare when I recalled my ex wanted to live next to his mother)  I happened to be eating walnuts. (my dreams are weight watcher approved) Therefore I was eager to talk to her about the pros and cons of moving to another country, but instead I spent the next hour listening to what walnuts symbolize.  Thanks to that stupid dream, I now know that a)I care about people’s insides more than their exteriors (this is because I discarded the shells instead of saving them) b)  I’m always trying to get at the heart or core of the matter.  c) I’m searching for something that most people might think is a little nutty.  Oh!  And d) Instead of penis envy, I have testicle envy.  If only I had the foresight to dream about peanuts.  They are in the legume family.

Never admit you dreamed about these.  Instead crack one open behind your back and the therapist will think you injured yourself on her couch and might sue her.

Never admit you dreamed about these. Instead slowly crack one open behind your back and the therapist will think you injured yourself on that $1,200 couch and might sue her.

4.  Just Admit You Hate Yourself!– – You will save a ton of time and money if you just fess up to feeling insecure and nervous about your self-worth like the rest of us.  If you don’t, be prepared to discuss ad nauseam that the reason you lost your job, broke up with your boyfriend, didn’t win the lottery and always choose the slowest checkstand in the supermarket is because you Self-Sabotage.

5.  Do Not Flirt! – – Wear a Freudian slip underneath that short skirt!  No matter HOW attractive your shrink is, it’s crucial to act like you wouldn’t have the least bit of interest in kissing your therapist if you met them on Match-com instead of on a $1200 couch.  Bat even one eyelash and you’re in for a diagnoses of  “Transference” which means you’re redirecting feelings and desires (especially those unconsciously retained from childhood) toward a new object.”  That’s right.  I always undressed my Pet Rock with my eyes and fantasized that we’d run off to Stonehenge together.

6.  Never Utter the Twelve Letter Word!  – – It will send your therapist through the roof and bring out all his or her Anger Issues.  They trained for a long time to get their degree and they know what they are talking about when they say you are “In Denial, need some Self-Actualization and come from a Dysfunctional Family with zero Synergy.”  If you even so much as whisper the word “Psychobabble,” she will immediately regress you to a nose-picking, five-year-old with a bad haircut on the first day of kindergarten.

7.  Don’t Go on an Empty Stomach! – – I don’t care if you’re starving, never even so much as chew a stick of gum.  Therapists are well-schooled about the “Freud’s Oral Stage” and will watch every move your mouth makes.  Soon you will feel very deprived that your mother didn’t breastfeed you long enough.  Or worse, you were bottle-fed and that’s why drinking a 6 oz carton of chocolate milk brings out your passive/aggressive side.  But take heed, if you dare bring a sandwich into your appointment (squeezing in therapy on your lunch hour, right?) you’ll be analyzed for every Eating Disorder in the book.  Hold the mayo?  Anorexic.  Footlong Sub?  Bulimic.  Tuna salad wrapped in just a lettuce Leaf?  Carbaphobe.  Basil Chicken Salad with Arugula, dried cherries and apple butter paired with goat cheese?  Haute Gourmet Eater Syndrome.  Save the calories and aggravation.  Eat at home beforehand.

8.  No Cemetery Conversation! – – Unless you want to be labeled as “having a preoccupation with death,” or “suicide ideation” — never admit that you’ve written your own obituary and laid out the clothes you wish to be buried in.  Fashion tip:  Scarves can add a pop of color to a pale complexion.  Oh, and if you let slip that’s you’re dieting to fit into a size 2 graveyard gown, that Eating Disorder diagnosis will come up again.

Isn't it "normal" to wonder who will show up at your funeral?  Was Tom Sawyer in therapy??

Isn’t it “normal” to wonder who will show up at your funeral? Was Tom Sawyer ever in therapy??

9.  Don’t Use “I” Messages! – – The reason for this is because if you go in knowing too much, the therapist will have no life-coping skills left to teach you and before you know it, you’ll be saying that the squashed cockroach on the floor looks like an ink blot.  So give them an easy lesson that they’ll think they’ve helped you master and (they’ll have such a sense of job satisfaction!)  you’ll be discharged weeks ahead of schedule.  Plus they might even remove their snobby, framed graduate degree diploma from their wall.

It works like this:  Therapists want you to take responsibility for how you feel by using “I Sentences.”  i.e.  “I feel angry right now.”  Or even better:  I feel angry because I don’t know how I can pay your outrageous bill right now.”  Therefore do the opposite and start sentences with “You.”  i.e. – –  “You caused me some grief when you said my son has an oedipal complex.” Or, “You make me feel like I am just another number.”  Or, “You make me feel….like a natural woman.”  The latter is better off belted out like Carole King and yes, going to a Karaoke Bar with your therapist would still count as flirting.

10. Don’t Nail Yourself to a Cross! – – When you hear The Voice that proclaims you’re actually really Jesus, never refer to the incident as anything but Quirky.  Quirky can hide a multitude of crazy.  Best of all, no Self-Described Eccentric will ever find “Quirky” listed as a pre-existing condition on a health insurance exclusion form.  Oh yeah, and today’s your big day, Jesus – so Happy Easter!

That’s it!  If you ever find yourself on a therapist’s couch and there’s not a television and a remote control handy, the above list should keep you out of trouble and from having to talk about the time your mother flushed you down the toilet.  P.S.  That wasn’t you.  You only projected that was you.  It was really just your pet parakeet.