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Month: January 2018

When You Lose A Friend – It’s Okay to Grieve

Losing a loved one when they die is a traumatic experience. Death leaves us missing people, longing to hug them, hear their voice, or just be in the same room with them. I remember when my friend Chris overdosed, it was sudden. I used to work with him at the veterinary clinic. He was so good at making everyone laugh with his ridiculous sense of humor. Chris was in his mid-20s, and he wanted to be a professional actor. He was lively and fun and everybody loved him. He could make even the grumpiest person laugh. He was a fixture in my daily life and then one day he was suddenly gone. I couldn’t see him anymore. It seems like it was yesterday that I was drunk on mojitos and almost ready to pass out on his couch. He made me a peanut butter and jelly sandwich so I could stay awake and not vomit.

A couple of days later he was found dead in his apartment in New York. For weeks I called his phone just to hear his voicemail outgoing message on the other end. Even though he was dead, I needed to feel connected to him and it was the only way I knew how. I looked at his Facebook page and it was weird that it still existed after he was dead.

My friend literally died and I grieved for him in various stages. Death is what we associate with the word “grieve,” however, there are other instances where people don’t actually die but they are gone from your life and you grieve that loss. I once had a friend who was in my life for years. That person and I were close. I supported them through many mental health issues and a suicide attempt. They were sometimes warm, thoughtful and kind to me. They gave me thoughtful birthday presents and they held me while I cried. There were also times when they told me I would be “so pretty if I just wore makeup” and “dressed better.” One time I told them I had hair on my nipples and asked if it was normal. They laughed at me and said it was gross. They told me that I was negative and draining to be around. They said that I dragged people down with my negativity and I wasn’t fun. They told me my boyfriend didn’t love me and he just tolerated me. There were other things, hurtful things, they said that I couldn’t let go of. They wanted to criticize me and I didn’t know why. Years later I realized that this was verbal abuse. But this was my friend, how could they love me if they treated me like garbage? I didn’t have an answer to this question. I tolerated the abuse for years until I couldn’t take it anymore. Then I finally had had enough. I decided to cut them off. It was enough; no matter how much I loved them I knew that they were going to continue to abuse me, and I deserved more. I was worth more as a person, so I let them go.

I grieved the loss of that friendship. I didn’t want to let it go because there were some wonderful memories. I also didn’t want to be abused anymore. It was strange not to talk to them anymore. They still enter my dreams frequently, and I know that is because it will never be resolved. Some things in life don’t have resolutions and that’s just the way it is. There’s no closure and we don’t get the answers that we’d like to have.

Grief can take a long time to process, but it takes what it takes. Each person feels grief differently, and we can be patient with ourselves during the grieving process whether it’s a death or the loss of a friend.

Being Smart And Analytical Hasn’t Helped Me, But This Has

I always knew that I was a smart person. I am good at analyzing situations and figuring out what people’s potential motivations are. It’s a talent that I have, reading people. understanding them and then telling that what I think they are feeling. Sometimes I’m on point and other times I get it wrong, but I know that I am relatively intuitive. Analyzing situations and people’s behaviors have helped me in my relationships and in my career. Okay, this blog post is so fucking boring already.

That’s the point actually. That is the fucking point.

Analysis, intelligence, and thinking are overrated. I no longer need to sit here thinking about the same interaction I’ve had with someone for hours and hours. That is not productive and it actually hurts my brain. What helps instead? Learning how to react to things when they happen.

You can’t predict, or rather I can’t predict, what people are going to do. People do some weird shit. Their behavior is unpredictable. Even if you think you know how a person is going to act, you can’t know what they’re going to do. No matter how intuitive you are, there’s no way to predict someone’s reactions. So instead, what I’ve started doing is doing what makes sense to me. And when people respond, I try to take a moment before I react/respond and decide what I want to do.

Let’s say I have an emotional conversation with someone. That person tells me how he feels, I tell him how I feel. We are in a heated exchange. Byt the end of the conversation, we’ve come to some agreement or impasse, whatever the case may be. I go on with my life and start doing other things. The heated emotional dialogue pops into my head and I want to ruminate or obsess about it. Instead, I intentionally distract myself and do something else.

That moment is gone.

I won’t get it back and I can’t resolve it better. It’s already been discussed, hashed out (now I want hashbrowns) and I can go on.

I’m tired of writing this now because it’s getting overly analytical and I’m going to the international cat show.

This is proof that not every blog post has to be a work of art or perfect. I’m going to post this anyway. There’s no ending. This is the ending.

Try These Great Self-Care Techniques

We’ve all been burnt out at one time or another. It’s so important to take care of yourself when you’re feeling depressed. Depression can make us feel lethargic, down and even hopeless. It’s one of the most debilitating mental illnesses out there. You don’t want it to get to the point where you’re suffering so much that you can’t function. Before you get to this point, remember how crucial it is to take care of yourself. Here are some simple things that you can do to make sure you get some “you” time.

Play catch with a banana










Sure, you’ve probably played catch with a ball of some kind, but I bet you’ve never gone out to the park with your friends or even your kid and thrown a banana around, have you? When you’re feeling depressed, having a banana around is extremely important. It’s an unusual shape and it’s the color of sunshine, which symbolizes happiness. Looking at bananas is extremely healthy for you. You don’t even have to eat them, just look at them. After you and the banana have a staring contest, it’s time to play a game with it. Before you start throwing the banana around, make sure the banana has consented to this activity. Remember that bananas don’t have hands so they can’t sign any contracts. However, you’ll know when a banana isn’t okay with something you’re doing. It will let you know, trust me. Once you’ve realized that the banana is ready to play, throw it up in the air and see how happy it makes you and it!

Have dinner with an owl










You might not realize it, but owls are amazing chefs. It might surprise you, but it’s true! They don’t want you to know about their secret skill? Can you imagine what would happen if everyone knew how good owls were at cooking? They would have people knocking on their trees all day and then they’d have no time to sit there silently blinking at people and inexplicably looking wise. They look so smart because they’ve memorized many recipes. They’re particularly good at making Greek and Israeli food, but they’re proficient in most cuisines. After you sit down with an owl, you’re going to feel way less sad than you were before. This is because you’re taking care of yourself. The owl is happy to make you a home cooked meal too!







Find a pineapple on the beach

In life, we’re all searching for something, whether that’s a life partner, a house, a new job or a pineapple on the beach at an unknown location. You may have looked other places for this pineapple, including the grocery store, and maybe it was sold out. What did you do then? Go home and cry? After your nervous breakdown, you may have been at a loss as to what to do next. Little did you know, there was a pineapple waiting for you on the beach. I’m not telling you which beach it’s on, that is part of your emotional journey in taking care of yourself.

In conclusion, we can all use more self-care in our lives. Feel free to share these tips with any other people who are feeling down and looking for a banana to play catch with.

There is No Pizza Here

I’ve been despondent since September because there is no pizza in Portland. Yes, there are places that say that they serve something called “pizza” but they’re lying. Pizza doesn’t look like that. Pizza doesn’t taste like that either. Making pizza is an art form and if you don’t do it right, people from New York will look at you angrily and be hungry because now they have nothing to eat. Sure, these angry people could appear cold and emotionless, as if they don’t care about your feelings, but they’re not sociopaths, they are upset about the travesty that’s being presented in front of them. Let me show you what pizza actually looks like:







This is what New York pizza looks like and even a bad version of this is better than what exists in this town. I was absolutely horrified the first time I ordered pizza. The place that I called insisted that it was similar to New York pizza and it looked like this:

That is not pizza and please do not pretend that it is. Do not attach the word “pizza” to that horrible piece of garbage. You should be ashamed of yourself if you even remotely consider that thing to be in the same category of what is produced at Ray’s Pizza, Famous Famiglia, John’s Pizza, and other traditional pizza joints including of course Big Nick’s that exist in New York and serve pizza. I’m offended every time I see a “pizza place” here. I want to punch through the glass windows and demand that they close their restaurant immediately. I want to have my friends in New York send me real pizza in the mail so I can through slices of awesomeness at the employee’s faces. They deserve to be confronted with an authentic piece of pizza rather than a sham.

These people are liars and they are insulting us by trying to pretend that what they have produced is in the same category of greatness and the triangular wonder I grew up eating on paper plates or no plates at all. Plates were optional actually, and I

refused a paper bag when I was offered it because that was a sure fire way to compromise the integrity of the pizza. Don’t mess with perfection and real pizza has the ability to eradicate genocide and cure diseases. We want to acknowledge something beautiful rather than soiling its name with a product that is an imposter and not even a convincing one. It’s like a person wearing a white sheet and insisting that they are actually a ghost. That’s not convincing at all; you’re obviously a human in a sheet being ridiculous, and you should go sit down and eat some fake pizza while you’re at it.

I would like to start pizza education classes for those human beings who are unaware of what they are missing. You might not be upset if you don’t know what to look out for. That’s why I’m here to educate you. The first sign of a good slice of pizza is that the crust is thin but not too think. It should have a crispy feel to it as well. There is also a matter of the sauce, it should be seasoned properly. It doesn’t need to be too sweet because that will throw off the flavor of the entire pie. There should be a hint of garlic-y flavor in the sauce that makes the pizza irresistible. The last thing to be aware of is the cheese to sauce ratio. There shouldn’t be more cheese than sauce and vice versa. I have had both experiences and they are unpleasant.

I’m happy to guide you in the direction of a good pizza place. I’ve only found one here in downtown Portland called Escape From New York, and it served what I could comfortably refer to as “pizza.” However, the owner was from the Lower East Side of Manhattan. There you go!

How to Survive in The Pacific NorthWest If You’re From New York

I’ve been living in Portland, Oregon since September and it was quite the culture shock. I’ve lived in New York City for entire life, 37 years. I was excited about a change but also scared. I was under the assumption that people were generally super nice here, which I perceived as a welcome change from New York where people were so abrupt and mean. I was in for a surprise when I actually arrived in Portland. My utopian fantasy was shattered when I started to see how people actually were. Listen, it’s enough to move to a city when I have multiple mental illnesses. But then, I had to spend the majority of the days alone (when the kids were in school) and while there are some people who actually love to be alone by nature, I am not one of those people.

After my excessive alone time, I decided it was time to make some actual friends as opposed to sitting in my house crying on the phone to all my New York friends but here is what I learned: people in the Pacific Northwest pretend to want to be your friend but they actually don’t. I’m getting ahead of myself. Here are some survival tips from a native New Yorker about how to survive in the PNW when you’re kind of an asshole, I mean from New York. I’m not sorry.

Nobody wants to be your friend even if they say they do

Okay, not “nobody,” but I can tell you as a weird, loud, blunt New Yorker I have had so many “first dates” with people. These encounters involved hanging out with our kids together too, which makes for an entirely additional factor. Our dates would be going to the playground, the zoo, hanging out at someone’s home while I awkwardly drank coffee that I didn’t like but was too polite to say anything about. So many wonderful first encounters. I was polite, said thank you, the mom had my phone number, but she never called me. Because she didn’t want to be my friend. I know I’m not a loser, as evidenced by the fact that I have several friends back in New York. But these people pretended like we were having an awesome time and then ghosted me. I’ve been crying in the fetal position ever since. I learned that most people here don’t actually want to be your friend. BUT the good news is, I found a couple people who like me! WOW.

Don’t say “fuck.”

People do not curse here. It’s weird because in my hometown “fuck” was a verb, adjective, noun, adverb and also something that we do to make babies or have fun. I think that’s a verb actually. Anyway, I made the mistake of saying fuck one too many times and I happened to be in a school setting and someone told someone and then I was asked to sign a contract saying that I wouldn’t use profanity on school grounds. I was tempted to sign the contract “Sarah Fucking Fader,” but I didn’t. I have some decorum within me. I refused to sign this ludicrous piece of garbage that wasn’t legally binding. But I learned that I could only say “fuck” around other people who also say “fuck,” and it’s hard to find those people around here because most people are smiling and saying “you’re fine.”

Passive Aggressiveness Sucks

The majority of people here are passive aggressive, especially if they were born here. It’s extremely hard to deal with because you don’t actually know if they are telling you the truth or just being nice. Some of them are actually nice, which makes things even more confusing. It’s not fair. I hate everything. If you’re a blunt person like me, this sort of communication or lack of actual genuine communication will drive you insane. Don’t try to change these people, they won’t adapt for you. My best advice is to pick and choose who can handle your honesty by using your intuitive powers. There are also times when you have to be blunt and even though they won’t understand, it doesn’t actually matter. Just be yourself or don’t be depending on who you are talking to.

Honesty = Aggression

Because the default communication style is passive aggressive, when you are honest with people in the PNW they are terrified of you. The exception to this rule is if they aren’t natives. If someone is from L.A. they will be unphased by any of the things on this list. But people who were indoctrinated into the PNW culture and brainwashed are going to see you as a scary monster who wants them to die if you tell them the truth. You have to find some shiny object people who value honesty. They’re out there and I have found them, but they aren’t actually from here. You see my point?

Go See Trees When You’re Sad

The great thing about the PNW is that there are trees everywhere and they smell good, unlike the hippies who don’t wear deodorant. When you feel horrible because someone said something to you that you didn’t like or understand go outside and smell the trees. They will not judge you and when they don’t talk to you, you don’t have to take it personally. They can’t talk and it’s not their fault. Don’t blame them, please don’t, they are trying to be the best trees that they can.

There is hope for you! You can survive in this strange land of dishonesty and false niceness. There are actual kind people here. But it’s hard to tell who they are. So just remember to get to know someone first before you call them a friend. Chances are they will only hang out with you once before you scare them anyway.


I Didn’t Want to Be a Woman

Becoming a woman was never easy for me. I was always a tomboy growing up and I never wanted to be a “girl.” 

I played with all the boys and I wore boy clothes. I remember running around the beach without a shirt on and wearing boys swimming trunks; I was a rebel even at the age of three. I wanted to be like my older brother and show off my chest and that was fine because I was a young child. But when I would grow breasts that would all change. I never wanted to be a woman. Like I said at the beginning of this blog post I just wanted to be a person, not a gender, and I still feel like that. There are times when I feel sexy and there are times when I feel beautiful. There are moments when I don’t feel so beautiful, I feel ugly or tired or scared or weird looking.
I think it’s very common for women to have body image issues. Look at the society we live in! I definitely had some growing up. When I started to develop breasts they got big very fast. And I had friends that were jealous of the fact that I had boobs. I did have some friends in high school that were very cautious about what they ate. Some of them were dance majors because I went to a performing arts high school. I remember one friend sitting at the lunch table looking at the back of food containers and counting calories. I didn’t understand what she was doing but later I figured out that she had an eating disorder. Another friend heard her puking in the bathroom after consuming massive quantities of some other junk food.
It made me sad to think about. I didn’t want her to suffer. But I didn’t know what to do. Seeing her read the back of a grandma’s cookie package and obsess about the fact that it was over 300 cal or I don’t even know because I don’t count calories, it made me feel sad for her. Like she couldn’t enjoy her life.
 Sometimes being a woman sucks because society wants us to look a certain way. It wants us to have boobs or be curvy or be too skinny or we’re not skinny enough. The rules change on a daily basis and it’s not fair. Being a woman in our society today is inherently not fair. That’s the summary of it and people develop eating disorders in order to maintain this surreal image of what a woman actually looks like. But there’s no actual manifestation of a woman. Because women look different from one another. There is no ideal woman.
If I were to stand in front of a group of teenage girls, I would tell them to love themselves. I would tell them that whoever they are is a beautiful person and just because they don’t have the same body type as their friend doesn’t mean that they aren’t a wonderfully beautiful soul.Forget what society says a woman is. You decide who you are and what you would like to do with your life. Your body image should not impact how you succeed in the world.Womanhood is up to you. Your identity is up to you. And don’t let anybody tell you differently.

Oy Gavolt I Miss New York

In the summer of 2017, I couldn’t wait to leave New York. I’d lived there for 37 years and it weighed on me. I was a stunted teenager who was enabled emotionally by my parents and our co-dependent enmeshed dynamic. It was my “fault” for not growing up, but I didn’t know how to, even though I am/was the mother of two kids. I have some mental health “issues” (I hate that word) otherwise known as OCD, anxiety, and ADHD, but the most problematic was OCD because I didn’t know I actually had it at the time. I still cannot believe that I saw my New York psychiatrist for 13 years and he didn’t diagnose me with the most obvious thing that I actually had. I know why though; I didn’t have compulsions, or my compulsions were so subtle that he didn’t notice them. I was checking to see that my wallet and keys were there a lot of the time, but they were always there. And I could justify it because it’s something people do, right? They make sure they didn’t lose their shit in a restaurant or on the street or whatever. But OCD is brutal, man, and it is primarily treated with positive rewards for not being afraid of your brain.

So I finally found out I had OCD but not until I actually moved from Brooklyn to Portland (west coast PDX) and saw a psychiatric RN who formally diagnosed me with it. It makes sense because I am genetically predisposed to OCD, but now I know and the more you know, the better you can handle life. And I’m handling life now in the Pacific Northwest, except that I totally not. I miss New York, I miss blunt people. I miss the mysterious liquid that drips on you in the train when you’re walking down the platform. I miss thinking that you’re getting a seat on the 6 train in the summertime, but the car is actually just not airconditioned. I miss that stuff so much. And I’m not going to get it back in the same way.

I made a friend the other day, over the phone. It’s a complicated story and I’ll try to make this brief, but he tried to help me and my family. And then he got in trouble for it. So now we’re not friends anymore and there’s nothing I can do about it. You know the reason this happened? Because – 1. I am an inappropriate person and 2. I am a New Yorker living in the PNW. People do not know what to do with me. They think I’m aggressive when I’m being assertive, they think I am rude when I’m being myself and I’m tired of it. You might think I’m being a whiny entitled person, but I am so sick of being misunderstood. That’s been my raison d’etre for my entire life. I don’t need an external societal force to tell me that I’m too much to handle. In New York, I am nothing, I’m like a kitten who has rolled over and exposed its belly. These people have not seen what aggressive is. And their sensitive virgin evergreen tree ears cannot handle the word “fuck.” I was told that I had to sign a contract indicating that I couldn’t use profanity on school grounds of my children’s school. It was as if I was starting fights with people, but I wasn’t doing that. You know what I was doing? Being my fucking self, being from Brooklyn, being a person, being someone who uses the occasional f-bomb to enhance a sentence that needs some colorful language. I curse with other adults occasionally, although now I’m starting to stay away from that mode of communication.

What is wrong with me? I’m turning into someone I don’t recognize. Get me out of this land of passive aggressive people who say one thing and do something else behind your back. Not cool at all. I’m not saying this whole place is terrible. I love nature, hiking, friendly people who are actually friendly, dogs, animal shelters, coffee, trains that don’t smell like urine, and trees. But I miss people telling me the truth without being terrified. I miss that, and that’s okay. I miss real pizza and sidewalks that have mysterious black tar stains that probably used to be gum but no one knows what they are. I miss that you mostly don’t know when the train is coming except for when you see the light on the tracks and then you have to quickly step back so that you don’t die from falling onto the third rail.

I’ll come visit and it won’t be as awesome as I’m envisioning it to be; nostalgia is a powerful drug. I don’t miss anxiety-ridden walks down 4th Avenue in Brooklyn where nobody has an understanding of personal space. I’m not excited about people who yell at you when you’re a pedestrian crossing the street and they’re in a car. Anyway, I miss you, New York. You gave birth to me and I’ll always love you, okay? never forget that.



Poetry Releases My Feelings

I write poems that don’t rhyme.

Like this one for example.

This is not a poem. But I am anxious and completely out of my mind right now because I have too many things to do.

So many things that I don’t even know that they are.

I know who I am though.

Poetry doesn’t have to rhyme.

It doesn’t even have to make sense even.

The most important thing is to express what I am feeling and…

what I am feeling is…

tightness in my chest

and racing thoughts or…

wanting something I can’t have, but…

knowing that maybe one day I…

might actually get it if…

I let go of the idea that…

nothing has to be a certain way because…

when poems don’t rhyme they are still emotional.

I’m full of intensity and emotions and the willingness to share all of those things with people who…

want to hear them but…

there aren’t many of those people in the world.

There are people who try to get it…

sit there and believe that…

they can be a part of my inner world but…

there’s only so much that…

we actually share with others.

Most of what we say is on the surface; even if we don’t believe that it is, it is.

So…I try to be more real and…

get to the deeper part of the ocean rather than skimming the waves.


I didn’t want to believe that I was depressed

When I came to Oregon, I was in denial about my depression, well somewhat. I had just moved to the Portland area and I was nervous. It was the first time that I’d been on my own. It was the first time that I was able to actually express my independence in a real way. In some ways, this was empowering and I was thrilled. I wanted to show my family that I could do it, I could get a job, pay my rent and do this on my own. I crowdfunded $5000, I got a large writing job that paid $6000 and I was able to finance our journey. My kids’ dad was able to help us with the move and fly us out to Portland. We did it! As a family we made it happen! But once I settled into my new apartment the excitement and the newness waned and I was absolutely terrified. What was I going to do when I ran out of my savings? I was going to have to find work and be an adult. I am 38 years old and I have never actually lived “on my own.” I’ve always had my parents nearby and literally upstairs from me for a long time. They finally moved out of our old house and I was able to make the hard decision to move across the country. I knew that I love Portland and I would be happy here. But when I got here I was extremely depressed. I was scared, I cried every day, I thought “what have I done?” I wondered “Was this a mistake?” It was awful, my feelings were painful and I worried a lot. Would this depression lift? I had given up hope because the idea from my old doctor was that I was bipolar. Getting here was a blessing because later on, I would get a proper diagnosis, but I didn’t know that and I had no way of knowing that. I am intuitive but I am not able to tell the future, although I do read tarot cards. I am able to read people’s energy because I have so much Scorpio in my chart.

Depression kicked my ass for a while and it sucked big time. I went into my psychiatric nurse’s office and I said: “I have lost hope.” It was terrible. I was ready to give up on life and myself. Despite the fact that I had been through excruciatingly painful times and that I had lived through them, I couldn’t forsee getting through this episode. I didn’t see it as an episode, I saw it as “my new life,” and I was prepared to be miserable indefinitely. It was all I’d know for the past four months. I was devastated, but I wanted hope. I wanted to feel better and I fought so hard to get to a place where I was well. There were so many moments where I wanted to give up. I didn’t even know what “giving up” meant. But I knew that I was exhausted from fighting.

Listen up: if you don’t understand how awful depression feels, please educate yourself. If you’re not sure if depression is real, it is. If you are scared because your friend is depressed, you should be. Depression kills people. Get educated, learn more and be aware of when someone is suffering. 

If you are interested, I wrote a 10-step Depression Work Book with Dr. Simon Rego. Get it here!

Just Say Thank You; When People Don’t Appreciate Me It Pisses Me Off

When people don’t appreciate me it pisses me off. I know this is a natural human reaction, but I probably feel it more intensely because I am an extremely giving person. When I develop friendships I commit myself 100 percent to helping the people I love. It comes second nature to me to appreciate others because that’s how I wanted to be treated too. I recognize that not everyone operates this way, and that’s because all people are unique and different. However, when I go out of my way to do something kind for someone I would like that person to simply say “thank you.” Dude, “thank you,” is two words that we learned when we were toddlers if our parents taught us manners. And if we grew up in dysfunctional households, we still have heard those words other places, like at a restaurant when your food comes, for example, you say thank you to the watron (that is the gender non-specific word for the server). I learned it at sleepaway camp because we had jobs in the dining hall, which included serving food to our tent-mates.

“Thank you,” is an important phrase that we all need to learn as people. If someone does something kind for you, just say fucking thank you. It’s not that difficult and the other person will feel so appreciated. It could be that I’m hyper-sensitive and maybe other people don’t care so much about the words “thank you.” However, we could all benefit from some gratitude. It doesn’t cost any money to say “thank you,” when another person does something kind for you like hold the door for example. So try being more aware when other people are doing nice things for you and say “thank you.” Yeah, I am telling you what to do, because I am a neurotic Jewish mother who has been mistakenly labeled as “pushy,” when the correct word for me is actually “tenacious.” I am an amazing woman who tries to change the world. So when you say “thank you,” to me for helping you open a bottle of spaghetti sauce, I will be so happy. You’ve actually made my day in fact. It’s not that I want a big display of gratitude or anything particular back in return when I do something kind, I just want to be acknowledged and I know that that is completely reasonable. When someone takes my kindness for granted it makes me angry and resentful and not want to do nice things for them because there is no acknowledgment of what I’ve done. I would feel validated and recognized with those two small words: “thank you.”

So thank you. Thank you for reading this blog post and for understanding the fact that words and self-expression are important to me. I hope that you feel similarly about gratitude, but if you don’t I accept that too! Maybe you don’t need someone to say “thank you.” Maybe you just need someone to return the favor. What about you? Do you like being appreciated?