Homeless or Happy?

So I had a meeting at the Los Angeles Department of Mental Health in downtown Los Angeles the other day. They are causing major mental breakdowns with the way they handle parking. There must be 100 frustrated people waiting to get into the parking structure. The mental meltdown down continued when I got inside. I now have a picture in their system where I look pretty thick and like I have no chin.

A chunky beaker from the muppet’s? Or Patrick, the star fish with a little bit hair.


To be fair to LADMH, I’ve seen some great miracles happen on a pretty tight budget.  I just recently ran into someone I worked with 15 years ago, diagnosed with schizophrenia.  He now has a JD and is a mental health advocate.  I guess it’s good they don’t spend tax payer money on unneeded necessities like good camera equipment, or helpful parking attendants.  There are lots of other worthy causes that need attention.

After my meeting I took a short walk to grab some lunch and water. While I was walking back to my car a homeless person stopped me on the street, and questioned me about my leftovers. “Will you be eating that any time soon?” He inquired. “No. Would you like some lunch?” I asked. “I would be most grateful, he responded.” “Come, come, come and sit down so we can talk for a minute. “ He persuaded me, and so I did. The home he had built outside the Department of Mental Health was quite beautiful and I commented on it. “Oh, will you take a picture of it? Then email it to me? I would love to have a picture of my home. “ I thought, “Why not?” And proceeded to take one.  I asked him what was hanging from the trees. He explained they were tea bags he threw up there for decoration.  He also had some plants and was growing his own food.


He asked me for a favor.  He was trying to get help through the courts for his disability.  He had worked as a fisherman in Alaska when he came to this country, but had sustained an injury along the way and could no longer walk.  You can see his wheelchair if you look closely.  It no longer works, but it’s leaning up against the tree with what looks like a picture of woman taped to the wheel.

He was in need of an address to have court papers sent to.  We talked for a while about the particulars.  He showed me his paperwork that had been stamped by the court.  I was bound to have another LADMH meeting and thought I could definitely bring his mail by in the near future and drop it off for him.

In my job here in LA I work with many homeless youth.  I run a program for 15-26 year olds who are showing signs of psychotic disorders.  Homelessness is a big problem among this age group.  In 2011 it was estimated that roughly 4,000 youth were homeless in LA. With 80% of them being individuals and 20% being homeless youth with children. That’s a lot of kids sleeping on the streets. Many of them grew up abused or neglected and are products of the foster care system.

I work with many collaborative groups throughout South LA to address this problem. And one of the biggest problems they have is not having an address.  No address to use on applications for jobs or housing, or to use for mailing or identification cards. Not having an address hinders you in every way and the homeless in Los Angeles have not found a way around this glitch in the system. Anyway, I told Izaz I would let him use my private practice address for his court paperwork. He was very grateful and bowed to me what seemed like a hundred times.

I then told him I had a website and asked if I could put his picture and email address up on it. He said many people had asked him that “but I don’t understand why?” “Maybe someone else will help you too”, I explained. He said “Ok. Yes. You can put it on your website.”

So here is Izaz Khan.20150304_124818

His home is located at 523 Shatto Place in Los Angeles, 90020. Behind the Department of Mental health building. He is a beautiful and grateful man, who honestly…didn’t ask for much. My leftovers…my mailbox.

He then asked me to get him some cigarettes. I almost immediately said no. Cigarettes are a hard limit for me. But he handed me a box full of the money to cover the cost. “Please. I cannot walk to the store. It is right over there. I would be most grateful.”  And to my surprise I found myself walking over to the Walgreens to buy the cigarettes. I had never bought cigarettes in my life, and was 100% sure there would never be such an occasion. But life continues to teach me that when I think I know something 100%, the universe finds a way to turn it upside down and inside out. There are layers of reasons for the things people do. And at that moment I couldn’t find it in me to judge him for smoking. Or it in me to judge me for not being able to hold my hard limit. His gracious, glowing spirit made me happy. And I wanted to make him happy in return.

Feel free to email Izaz at khanizazaero@gmail.com.  Or bring him a cup of tea. He will bow and thank you and make you feel a little less unstable than you may have felt when you started your day.


Lady in Waiting

Serving all the Royalty around me.



Black, White or Pray

So I get a little jealous of people who see the world in a black and white kind of way. I view things through a million different lenses. It’s what makes me good as a therapist. In the psychic world there’s clairvoyance, the ability to “perceive” things…and there’s clairsentience, the ability to feel the emotional states of others. And…I’m like the psychic therapist. I feel what other people feel when they see what they see.

Have you seen this article about high IQ.


All I’ve got going for me is that I don’t smoke. In school I was never known as the braniac. I was usually pretty happy to just keep up with the average folks. But I do as well as I do in life because of my high emotional quotient. My EQ is off the charts. I’ve never actually had it tested…but, I’m the physic therapist. I just know these things.

Anyway…a friend recently emailed me this cartoon.


[ comic by Tatsuya Ishida ]

And I laughed.  And then I laughed again because I saw it another way.  I read some of the trilogy of 50 Shades of Grey…but my brain works so poorly in some areas, I couldn’t remember much of it.  I remember finding the story interesting, but the writing tedious, and the sex scenes  boring.  But I couldn’t remember more details than that.  (That’s more than I usually remember.  I was watching TV last year and a commercial came on for Saving Mr. Banks.  I told my husband, “We need to go see that.”  He replied, “We already did.”)  I immediately wanted to remember more about the story (because I felt a 50 Shades of Grey post coming on.)  But I knew I didn’t have time to go back and read the books.  So that left me with the option of going to see the movie…which hadn’t really crossed my mind up to that point. (It’s hard to justify spending money on things you know you won’t remember.)

Now if I was a black and white kind of person, the decision to see that movie or not would have been easy.  But no.  I’m a rainbow of colors, as my husband can attest.  (Because he’s the one that has to listen to me talk about every shade of every color.)  Many people see this film as pornography, and I can feel and understand the multitude of feelings surrounding that.  I’ve also had many clients that read the book, and I could feel what it would be like for them to run in to their therapist at the showing.

To top it all off, on Oscar night, I saw Melanie Griffith and Dakota Johnson on the pre-Oscars show, and I could feel Melanie’s deep desire to support her daughter, as well as her need to say no to seeing this movie.  Cause you know…It’s racy.  And as a mom of teenage daughters, I really felt her no pretty good.  But ultimately what I finally felt the strongest was my need to remember what I had forgotten about it…because something was nagging at me.  So I called up my bestie and we went and saw it last Sunday morning.

And I remembered what I (and everyone else) seemed to have forgotten about the story.  Christian Grey was raised by a prostitute who died when he was 4.  He was then adopted by a wealthy family and his wealthy new mom’s friend sexually abused him (making him her submissive sexual partner when he was still a child.)  Although I have to say…I’m not sure how they got an R rating on this one, I’m not sure this counts as pornography, which is defined as “material intended to stimulate erotic rather than emotional feelings.”  Well…ok.  Maybe it’s part porn.  But there’s also an emotionally rich story here.

Christian Grey himself says he’s 50 shades of effed up.  Not only is he willing to take Anastasia’s no for an answer…but he wants all of her limits in writing so he doesn’t cross the line.  I remembered that that’s why I was interested in the story…because it’s one I deal with when I work with couples (as well as one I deal with in my personal life.) all the time.  Negotiating a sexual relationship is often not easy.  We’re all a little effed up in our own unique way.  But when you’re 50 shades of effed up, it’s even harder.

In response to the movie I said a little prayer…for all the abused children out there who, when they grow up, deserve to have love in their lives.  For all the people brave enough to enter into relationships with those who’ve been abused or have any other kind of effed-upness.  For all the people who want to keep other’s safe from addictions that can cause harm.  For all the parents who support their children, even when it is sometimes kind of weird and hard.  For all the funny writers and cartoonists who make me laugh a million different ways.  And for my bestie, who I can call up last minute and go see a movie like 50 Shades of Grey with.  I love you all.


This pic is a little harder to explain.  For the full story you’ll have to read the book.

Here’s an attempt at a quick definition.

Knights(Dames) go on quests for the Holy Grail

In Arthurian Legend the Holy Grail = Christ’s Cup

Christ’s cup = Love

So basically this picture represents a big ol’ cup of love.

The love in me toasts to the love in everyone.


Beginners Guide: The Art of Seduction

Facing a Flaw

f9141c2797e17a83f64dba10356d65c0-1So I wasn’t sure the message from the psychic about my husband being one in a billion was because he was so great, or because only one in a billion men would put up with me. I settled on the fact that’s it’s a little of both. In reality, we both are pretty awesome, and we’re both pretty flawed. As is the case with most of the people that I’ve met throughout my life.

But it was time to face a flaw, and that is never easy. For the sake of my marriage, and for the sake of my sanity as a feminine being, it was time to attempt playing seductress. And for those of you don’t know me well, you have no idea just how awkward that attempt would be. (As a total aside, my husband and I have always been satisfied with the frequency and outcome of our sexual encounters. But they had a habit of starting by simply brushing up next to each other in bed at the end of long days of work, children, chores, pets…etc. Flirting and seduction was just never a part of it.)

Covering Up Body Consciousness

Anyway, let me put my awkwardness in context. I grew up a female in America. That should be enough to explain my skewed body consciousness. But I also grew up with a very self-conscious mother. I don’t think I ever saw her in a bathing suit or shorts (let alone in her underwear or naked) throughout my entire childhood. On top of all that I grew up Mormon and remained active in the Mormon church until my early thirties. Active, meaning I wore those weird garment things as underwear. (If you don’t know what I’m talking about check this link with article about it put out by the Mormons themselves.) http://www.mormonnewsroom.org/article/temple-garments

Many active Mormons don’t like wearing garments, but I actually loved it. It gave me something to hide behind in the bedroom. Although I haven’t worn them in over ten years, I never really became a sexy lingerie kind of girl. It’s always been more practical than pretty. More comfort than kinky.

I had also never had sex with anyone before marrying my husband. (And he, having not grown up Mormon, had had sex with lots of people…which didn’t add to my self confidence.)

Schooling in Seduction

Well…one day the kids were going to be gone for the evening. I was on my way home from work and thought, this is as good a time as any. Time to go seduce this man. We were supposed to go get dinner, but I thought, if we go get dinner I’ll be full, then I’ll get tired, then it will get late, then this will never happen. But I was also really hungry and knew I couldn’t sex it up on an empty stomach. So I drove through the McDonald’s drive through on the way home and got a 20 piece McNugget meal. I ate a couple nuggets and fries and saved the rest for him.

When I got home, in the silliest sexy voice you ever heard, I said, “Here’s some nuggets for you. You can eat them now, or you can eat them after we have sex here on this couch.”

And as a response, my husband literally pouted and said, “I was looking forward to going out to dinner.” I could feel tears welling up in my eyes. I took a big 5 second breath in and blew the air out slowly through my mouth. Then said, “I’m going to pretend that didn’t hurt and I’m going to go change into something sexy.” And I turned and walked into the bedroom.

It turned out to be a really great evening. One in a billion! (Wearing sexy underwear really amps up the power of the magic.)

IMG_0376Grand Dame Dominatrix.

So I saw my psychic.

So I saw my psychic, cause that’s what we therapists do. Kidding.   But seriously…I did go see a psychic during my year of searching for wigs and apartments.

It was a total impulse buy (one of the flaws my husband has to put up with). I was in a book store that has rooms in the back with psychics in it (it is Los Angeles, after all), and I just couldn’t resist. I didn’t tell her much, cause you can’t trust those wackos. But I really didn’t need to. Cause that woman was totally psychic.

She started pulling shit out of the air.  Well, at least that’s what it looked like.  She was talking to what looked like air, but she told me she was talking to my spirit guides and guardian angels.

She said…or actually one of the angels said…you and your guy (didn’t tell her I was married) are “perfectly imperfect. He’s good for you. He’s stable, and loyal…” She turned her head, to another guide. “This one says he’s one in a million.   One in a billion.”

“You’re messy,” she continued. I thought, “Are you fucking kidding me? Can you really see everything?”  “I don’t mean messy, with, like things…” she continued. I let out a huge sigh of relief. “I mean messy, like…complicated. Like sensual, and deep…and confusing to this man.” You can get what you want from him…but it’s your responsibility to get it.   You have to own your desires. Ask for what you want. Not take no for an answer.

If I was better at those things, I probably wouldn’t suffer from the bouts of depression that I do. Depression and unassertive behavior often go hand in hand.   Time to work more on the art of seduction. Why does this lesson on seduction have to come at a time in my life when I feel the least sexy, the least confident, the least turned on by my husband. Cause that’s the only way to really get good at it. That’s why.

My advise as a therapist, is stick with your therapist. You can much more easily dodge deep shit with defense mechanisms and denial than you can with a psychic. A good psychic will kick you in the ass. And I got kicked right out of my apartment hunt and back home.

IMG_0536  Time to work a little Merlin Magic.

More than just a bad hair day.

I’d always had pretty good hair. It wasn’t great hair. I was never a Jennifer Anniston or a Connie Britton. But it might have been slightly better than average. It was one of the things my husband enjoyed about me when we met. I had long, thick hair that hung down my back.

20150226_222236-1-1Early on in our relationship days.  We both had a lot of hair back then.


 Six years later, with one tiny baby and one on the way.  And still tons of hair…for both of us.

 It’s funny getting older as a female. Mother nature isn’t super kind, especially to us women. It’s as if once we pro-create she finds us rather useless and we start to shrivel up and die. At least that’s the way I had begun to feel. Stretch marks, crows feet, early onset menopause, and hair falling out in handfuls. This aging thing wasn’t going well for me. How do you keep it kind of sexy and fun when it seems you are falling apart much more rapidly then your handsome spouse?

My husband’s never been a flirtatious kind of guy. He’s funny and sweet…but flirtation’s never really been our thing. He comes from a conservative, stoic, military family (and I’m sometimes convinced he’s a little asbergers). And I’ve never been good at the art of seduction either. Having grown up in a fundamentalist religion and a home where affection and playfulness was pretty much nill and void, flirting was just not in either of our skill sets.

But one day, out of total desperation, I decided to try to flirt him into going to the wig store with me. I knew it was a long shot, but I went for it anyway. He barely looked at me when I asked, and curtly replied no. I took a chance and said, “Come on…I could try a few different looks, you could see what they look like. It could be fun!.” (Wink, wink…nudge nudge.) The more I tried to persuade him, the more adamant his no became. I was really seeking some support through this whole hair loss process…and just wasn’t finding a way to get it. At that moment, I needed a hug. I needed a compliment. I needed some reassurance. But all I was getting was a “No.”

I don’t mean to make him sound like a bad, guy. My friends and family think he’s a saint. But his no seemed to kick me in my soul. I really needed to know he was there with me in this process, and he just…wasn’t. There had been many times I had felt hurt in our marriage by his non-complimentary, un-flirtatious ways. But I’d always tried to refocus on his positives, because there were many.

But at that point in my life, I just really needed to be held and told I was beautiful, no matter what.  I needed a partner to help me laugh my way through the wig store…and I wanted it to be him. I wanted confirmation he was on board with me, no matter what happened with my hair.   But it just wasn’t going to happen. His no brought up overwhelming feelings of loneliness, and an intense craving for a kind of connection we just didn’t have.

So while I spent the year looking at wigs, I also started looking at apartments.

Marriage is fucking hard. I’ve never come across anyone who’s been married as long as I have (and who’s genuine and honest) who hasn’t run into at least a few boulders in the road. My husband’s not a “get out of your comfort zone” kind of guy…and a wig store was waaaaay out of his comfort zone. He also had to go through his own mourning process over the loss of my hair (as well as deal with other health issues I’ve struggled with.) But I just didn’t know how much leeway you give to your spouse when you’re in crisis and really need something from them and they don’t/won’t/can’t give it to you. It’s always a difficult question to answer. And my ship had just sailed too far leeward.

Long story short…we’re still married. Over the last year and a half a lot of shit went down. And we spent a lot of time sitting in the shit…which is never an enjoyable process. But if you can sit in the shit long enough, and self-sooth through the shittiness of it…eventually the grass begins to grow. And we got our little marital garden going again.

When I get my head shaved Jason Statham style, my husband’s going to be the one to do it. And I’m simply not taking no for an answer.


 It’ll be a queen kind of moment where he just does what he’s told, no questions asked.

Couples massage for one, please.

Wig, Wrap or Razor?

Those of you who don’t know me very well, or haven’t read my book won’t know about the health problems I’ve struggled with over the years. Nothing too severe or life threatening. Just problems bad enough to make me feel like a total crazy hypochondriac…or bad enough to help me learn that I am not my body. It all depends on which self I decide to be when I look at it.

One of my issues is hair loss. I have been diagnosed with the autoimmune disease alopecia.

Here’s a picture of my hair today.


(Here it’s parted further to the side than where I actually part it to give you a good idea of the thinness of it.   It’s a tad bit thicker on top…so it actually doesn’t look quite this thin on a regular day.)

I started noticing some of my hair was missing about 8 or 9 years ago. And about 4 years ago it starting being hard to miss the handfuls of hair I ended up holding after rinsing the conditioner out of my hair. About two years ago it seemed I was going to have to make a decision about how I was going to handle this. Was I going to wrap my head in a scarf…or shave my scalp bald? Maybe I could be like Diane Keaton and start a great hat collection. Beyonce wears a wig really well. Maybe I could check out the wig scene.

I asked my closest friend about my hair. Is it as bad as I think it is? She replied that yes, it was time to make a hair move. So I got some scarves, bought some hats and decided to head to some wig stores to try out my options. (Wasn’t quite yet bold enough to take a razor to my scalp.)

 Here’s the first wig I ever tried on.


The sales lady at this high end wig store said it was real red hair cut from the head of a woman living in rural Ireland. I don’t know if that was true, but it was selling for $5000. Although I loved it, it seemed that real hair wigs were far outside my price range. On to the next store. The next few wigs I tried on made me laugh so hard I cried, or ugly cry so hard I laughed…I’m not sure which.

I was starting to give up on the wig idea when I ordered a couple of them on line for $100 a piece…and ended up with one that looked like it might work.


I started watching hours of you tube videos on how to make the synthetic hair more realistic looking and blend in better with your own hairline, and I eventually started venturing out with my new do. Not all the time…I never wore it to work….just when I was going out on the town and wanted to feel a little more sassy.


 Not bad, right?

 Maybe I would become a wig person. But after a few months, summer hit in Los Angeles . And when it gets above 85 degrees, it gets mighty hard to keep a wig on your head. (And we don’t have air conditioning in our tiny LA home, where it often rises above 100 degress in August and Septmember.)

On a total whim one hot day…I just went into the bathroom and cut off my own hair to the style you see on the about me page. And for the last year and half, have settled on the short hair look. Cutting it short actually did make it look fuller since my hair barely grows anymore and the last five inches had become super thin and straggly looking. I’ve got enough poof and wave in my hair that I can hide the thinness of it pretty well.

My hair is still falling out, although the rate has slowed somewhat with the help of diet changes and vitamins.   And I’ll most likely have to make another hair move one day. But it won’t be as traumatic as the last hair move. (I didn’t get into how a trip to the wig store caused a huge rift in my 18 year marriage. Maybe in the next post.) It’s been a huge growing process, but I have learned…I am not my hair. Hair is an accessory we have (or don’t have) in this earthly life. If we have it, (or not)…it shouldn’t change how we feel about ourselves at our core. Losing my locks has caused me to learn to love myself deeper. More unconditionally. More wholeheartedly.

After hours of crying and desperate damsel moments, I’m really becoming a

damn it all to hell Dame

when it comes to the hair issue.


 (I get super jealous of Sean Connery, LL Cool Jay, and Jason Statham’s full on sexy, cool baldness. It’s my new goal to be that gorgeously smooth and self assured when I get that bald.)

Beyonce Fail


Beyonce Impersonator?


So…I never do New Year’s resolutions…but I’ve recently picked up running (jogging?  Schlepping? Shuffling?)…and felt inspired on January 1st to sign up for my first 5k run.  I wanted to do one close to home and I wanted to do it sooner than later in case I ran out of chutzpah…so I started looking on line for local races.  As I looked, I crossed each of them out in my head,  “too far, too far…not soon enough.”  But then the perfect race popped up on my screen.  The “Bey Impersonators” run in Hollywood, just two weeks away. 

 The Beyonce Pandora channel is my morning wake up music.  After losing lots of hair and going through a wig faze, Beyonce became my idol…my wild mane muse.  She inspired me to get over my fear of wigs and just own it.  So, of course, I had to sign up.  After returning to work from the holiday break, the employees were sitting around sharing what we had spent our time off doing and how the days off went.  Although I was slightly hesitant, I finally shared about signing up for my Beyonce race.  Everyone laughed and clapped and wanted to know what I was going to wear.  At that point someone from another team walked in and said, “Oh…you totally can’t pull that off.”  I was a little taken aback, but chose not to respond.  I mean, who says that…especially to someone they don’t know very well. 

 I think every woman has an inner Sasha Fierce, whether they know that or not.  And as I get older my Sasha Fierce gets fiercer.   I thought, “I can totally pull that off…I mean. I’m running a 5k, not charging money in Vegas as a female impersonator.”  I texted my husband, who’s always been supportive of my crazy whims.  “One of the staff from upstairs said I can’t pull it off.  How mean is that?”  He texted back, “The Beyonce part or the 5k part?”  “She must have meant the 5k part. ;)”  I responded.  

Of course she meant the 5k part!  Beyonce doesn’t run 5ks.  She couldn’t, shouldn’t, and wouldn’t even bother.  Sasha Fierce just would never be that redundant, simply putting one foot in front of another over and over again…in a crowd of people, on a boring slab of pavement.  Sasha Fierce could never pull off doing something that tedious, something that monotonous, something so plain ol’, plain ol’.  

Unless…she really wanted to.  And I really want to. So, of course…I’m going to totally pull it off.


It’s always a bit of Merlin magic when you get to explore different aspects of who you are.