33 Things You Don’t Know About Me (Or, How to Lower Your Anxiety Through Honesty and Coming Clean)

My adorable pre-teenIf “Who gives a shit about you?” was the first thing that popped into your head when reading this headline, I love you. Really. Because we’re like-minded.

I always resisted doing these kinds of posts because they seemed narcissistic.

But my intent is to help you find out if I’m someone you’d like to follow. I’m obviously not your only option when searching online for solutions to anxiety.

I hope we’re a good fit. If not, no problem. I wish you the best in your quest to get from anxiety to Zen.

Now before I launch into the 33, I want to add that I copied Corbett Barr on this one.

Last fall, I followed his formula for 22 Things You Can Do Today to Feel Less Anxious Forever.

Not to brag, but it’s received over 550 social media shares.

Ultimately, I hope this information helps expand my blog’s reach, and provides a virtual home for your anxiety needs.

Because if you can be honest, admit your flaws publicly, and accept those ugly parts of yourself, you’re one step closer to feeling less anxious. The truth will always guide you to improved mental health.

 

Here’s 33 Things About Me:

 

1. I once stole an emaciated black and white bunny from someone’s porch while on a home visit in East Los Angeles, CA. I take my job as a social worker very seriously. Four-legged kids make the caseload, too.

2. When I was nine, I learned there’s a limit on people’s generosity and sympathy when you’re ill. After I caught a nasty flu bug, my mom showered me with attention for the first couple days. On the third, she drove right past the grocery store even though she promised me cherry popsicles. I didn’t say anything.

3. I’m a divorced, single-parent. That’s my son pictured above. We were growing the ‘fro so he could donate it to Locks of Love. Not surprisingly, his dad cut it off with about 1.5 inches left. He’s a jerk like that. Many people notice how weird my ex is, so I’m more real with the life lessons, lately. I figure it’s best to be honest because kids have strong bullshit detectors.

4. My favorite foods are chocolate bars, blue cheese garlic bread, white truffle mac n’ cheese, and the chicken mole enchiladas from the Oaxacan restaurant, Guelaquetza.

5. I like to peer into my neighbors’ windows while walking our two Siberian Huskies. I’ve noted there’s less physical clutter in the nicer houses. Proves my point that healthy boundaries are the key to happiness. And higher incomes, apparently. Oh, and hoarders exist in every neighborhood.

6. I was fired from a cocktail waitressing job in grad school when I called a customer a “fat, fucking bitch” after she intentionally elbowed me. Twice.

7. I love black men. Always have. Always will.

8. My biggest pet peeve about attending conferences is when the presenter asks if anyone has questions, and people raise their hand and start with, “Oh, I…I was just gonna say…”

9. I married my dad. Well, the handsome African-American version. He’s not so handsome anymore, despite the genetic blessings. Just goes to show that stress sucks the life out of you. So does being an asshole, but I already covered that one here.

10. I started blogging because Naomi Dunford is an amazing writer (and an artful swearer). I wanted to touch people in the way she touched me. I really miss her. Thankfully, I’ve found Erika Napoletano.

11. When I have a headache, I wonder why I can’t transport that pain to someone doing time for torturing animals or abusing children.

12. I’m totally impulsive, and ADD around puppies. When I see a Labrador or a Pitbull pup especially, I say, “Oh, look at that sexy, little belly!” Even if there’s kids around.

13. When I was young I thought death wasn’t final because Frank Schuster’s dad killed a rattle snake by cutting off its head with a shovel. He then held up the snakes’ body, and it wriggled around for some time. Scared the shit out of me.

14. I am eternally grateful to two therapists who restored my sanity and helped me believe that the world is an inherently safe place, where most people possess good will. Nothing makes me happier than helping others find their truth and their light.

15. When I was 7 I started wearing beach towels on my head, fastened in place with barrettes. I’d knock on neighbors’ doors and ask them for sugar for my mom. Not that she needed any–I learned that trick from I Love Lucy. Growing up I really wanted long hair, but my parents kept it short, like a boy’s. I’ve had the same bowl-cut style for more years than not over the past four decades.

16. People who post endless cheerful and inspirational messages on social media make me want to jump into the computer screen, grab them by the neck and scream, “Where’s your fucking dark side?!”

17. ‘This is all going to make sense one day’ summarizes the sad truth that too many therapy clients realize long after the 50-minute hours have expired.

18. My favorite TV shows are Dexter and Breaking Bad. An occupational hazard of being trained by a psychoanalyst is that you search for the unconscious benefit of peoples’ negative behaviors–everywhere. And unresolved issues from childhood–always. I still watch Dexter, even though I figured out after the first episode that he only feels alive when he kills the bad guys. As for Walter White, I believe there’s a degenerate inside us all.

19. I occasionally swear in therapy sessions. I find it a reliable diagnostic tool for gaging someone’s anxiety levels and psychological insight. If they’re offended, I figure we need to work whimsical, flexible and spontaneous into the treatment plan. I mean, life’s a bitch, am I right?

20. My mantra is, “Stop complaining. Make a plan. Get shit done.”

21. I’ve worked two jobs for as long as I can remember. We weren’t poor growing up, but I was made to know how much I cost. I never want that for my son. I’m proud he hasn’t experienced this yet.

22. I believe shame is the most toxic emotion. Clients often come with a ton of it. I work really hard to highlight their strengths and potential. On those days I think some human beings should not be lawfully allowed to reproduce themselves.

23. One of the most magical moments of my childhood was also the most tragic. Me and my sisters got bunnies for Easter. When we returned home from school the day after spring break, our neighbor’s dog got into our garage and killed my youngest sister’s rabbit, Greg.

Then my middle sister’s bunny, Blackjack died of shock. We found him immobile, hiding in a corner, and staring ahead. Feint, wheezing rhythmic sounds came out of his mouth. I didn’t understand how he could die if he wasn’t attacked.

My rabbit, Bunna was gone. I cried myself to sleep that night. When I awoke the next morning I thought, ‘I’m going to open the garage door and Bunna’s going to be waiting for me.’ And he was :)

24. I don’t like cheap people. Probably because my dad was a tightwad. I think stingy translates to emotional withholding, buttoned up, and humorless.

25. I’m one of the most easily amused people you’ll ever meet. I can’t get enough of jackass humor. Like this video by B Scott: Scarlett takes a tumble. I also love those folks who add text to animal images. My favorite is a Golden Retriever with his head poking through a doggie door in someone’s kitchen. The caption reads “Excuse me sir? Do you have a moment to talk about Jesus Christ?” And don’t get me started on that couple who post pics of their Labrador puppy dressed in a onesie. OMG–I’m so happy right now!

26. I couldn’t afford a computer in grad school. I typed every paper, project, and even my thesis in the university’s computer lab. I was never late with a single assignment.

27. Back in the (damn) day I was a professional jazz dancer. I worked with Madonna, Ray Charles, Prince and Michael Jackson. It was an exciting time because I was young, and afforded a lot of once-in-a-lifetime experiences. Madonna was a total bitch.

28. “He’s Just Not That Into You” is a book I recommend to anyone stuck in a cycle of unsatisfying relationships. Though it’s tongue and cheek, the message is spot on.

29. I’m pathologically afraid to take Xanax because everyone says it’s so great. For now, I’ll stick to white wine, and vodka.

30. I once caught a child molester. As a rookie social worker in the inner city, I counseled a girl who alleged sexual misconduct by her mother’s boyfriend. When a relative called the police, he fled. The girl referred to him only by his gang moniker.

For six weeks, she talked about seeing him at this restaurant, or that gas station. Meanwhile, the mom was on the lam, with all her kids in tow. The police, Children’s Protective Services, and the Sheriff’s Department repeatedly dropped the ball, despite my numerous attempts for legal action.

The “break” came after I threatened to show up at the CPS office after one surly hotline worker refused to take my report because the perp’s alleged hideout was not a physical address. The girl recalled an apartment building near a well-known religious landmark. The threat worked. Two hours later, an emergency CPS worker arrived and the brave, but scared girl calmly repeated her story.

Three weeks later I was subpoenaed to testify in court, as the child and her siblings had been placed in protective custody. The day before the hearing, I got a call from a young, enthusiastic lawyer from the District Attorney’s office: “We got our man! We sent in S.W.A.T. after he barricaded himself. We got him on Three Strikes, so he’ll be locked up a long time.”

More than joy, I felt psychologically drained: “May I ask where he was found?”

“An apartment complex next to a Greek church. Thanks–our job is done and we won’t be needing your assistance!” It took all my strength not to whisper, “I got your man, baby. I. Got. Him.”

31. I fantasize about being a barista at Starbucks, even though I can’t stand their coffee.

32. I’ve treated a few people badly and I think about this, at times. I still haven’t made reparations and this bothers me.

33. I think it’s tragic that there’s over 46 million adults prescribed Xanax every year in the U.S., alone. I know there’s a way to help people feel less anxious and become better problem solvers, but I haven’t figured out the how just yet…

***

Thanks for reading all the way through. If this soul-baring resonated, please subscribe for blog updates. You can also hit me up on Facebook, and follow me on Twitter. If I offended you in any way, please know that was not my intent. I’m just being honest, and you have a choice about where to get your mental health information online.

I highly recommend this exercise. It’s surprisingly therapeutic, and it gets you in touch with your values.

Enough about me, I’d love to hear a thing or two about you in the comments box below.

Yours in honesty and mental health,
~Linda

About Linda Esposito

Hi there! I'm an Anxiety Saboteur and the creator of the soon-to-be retired TalkTherapyBiz.com. If you want to join me on Wired for Happy click this link to subscribe for details.

23 Responses to "33 Things You Don’t Know About Me (Or, How to Lower Your Anxiety Through Honesty and Coming Clean)"

  1. JENNIFERNo Gravatar says:

    Never knew you used to be a professional jazz dancer who caught child molesters – impressive!! It’s fun to get to know a bit more about you this way, thanks for sharing!

  2. BirthTouch.com (@KathyAMorelli)No Gravatar says:

    Hey Linda! Great post, nice to get to know you better! MICHAEL JACKSON! AHH! YOU MET HIM!! What was he like????? AAAHHH!

  3. JpalNo Gravatar says:

    Loved this article. I am glad you decided to write something like this.

  4. Linda Esposito (@TalkTherapyBiz)No Gravatar says:

    Thanks! It’s quite cleansing, if you will…

  5. Jo CaseyNo Gravatar says:

    Awesome article – I love that you’ve been so open about your beliefs and what’s shaped them.

  6. Dr. Jessica MichaelsonNo Gravatar says:

    Linda! Love love love this. Makes me think of the great quote, “We’re only as sick as our secrets.”

    And as a fellow shrink, I freely admit that I curse in my sessions more days than not.

    Awesome and inspiring stuff!

    • Linda EspositoNo Gravatar says:

      Aww–so happy to hear I’m not the only session-swearer. I actually learned that from Dr. Stan Tatkin–a well-known couples counselor in the Los Angeles area.

      Love the quote-guess I’m not so sick after all…

  7. Clare SlaneyNo Gravatar says:

    I like your social media pages a lot, Linda. Things are very different here in the UK – we’re not expected to be completely blank but ‘disclosure’ is frowned on and swearing . . . SWEARING?! Imagine if clients could see what we were really like rather than our bland, professional, beige profiles.

  8. Linda EspositoNo Gravatar says:

    Be the change that’s needed to help the psychotherapy profession along, I say.

    Of course, one must be respectful of cultural mores, but c’mon–swearing in moderation is nothing more than self-expression with an exclamation point.

    Thanks for stopping by, Clare–lovely to have you!

  9. BensonNo Gravatar says:

    Fessing up: Lights on until 14.

    Did I just write that?

    • Linda EspositoNo Gravatar says:

      Hah! My first response was “Loser!,” but b/c I’m classy and compassionate like that, I’ll just include, “Awww!”

  10. Jess @UsedYorkCityNo Gravatar says:

    I love, love, love this article, Linda! Thanks so much for sharing such personal pieces of your life! I love that you were able to type ALL your papers in the computer lab in college, that’s dedication! Also love your reaction to puppies, I’m the same way;-)

    So excited to connect more with you this fall via Facebook, Twitter, and your lovely blog!

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  12. Colleen ArnoldNo Gravatar says:

    Wow, blue-cheese garlic bread sounds amazing, and I, too, love “Breaking Bad.” Sometimes nothing gets the point across better then a swear word. Sorry your ex is a jerk, and if you ever come out to San Francisco, we should go have a drink.

  13. Linda EspositoNo Gravatar says:

    Colleen–as the Good Lord is my witness, I’ve been meaning to get over to your website and check it out. So glad you showed up!

    And yes–I’d love to have a drink in SF. Love that city! I don’t know how y’all afford the cost of living, but hey–if I could swing it, damn right we’d be vecinas :)

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  15. KrisNo Gravatar says:

    Ooooh… I could add at least 100 more things to this list, but I won’t…. lol.

    Just two:

    1. You adored Michael McDonald as a singer to the point of something akin to obsession and probably still do but to a much lesser degree :)
    2. You came to my wedding and brought me this awesome thing that you had written for me, which made me cry.

    You have always been, and alway will be, one of my most favorite people in the world.

    Kris

    • Linda EspositoNo Gravatar says:

      Kris!

      I was just thinking about you yesterday. Something along the lines of, “I wonder where she is? Is she still living in Europe? I bet it’s just a matter of time until she surfaces. I miss people like her on the blog…”

      And there you have it–wow. Haha! about the Michael McDonald reference. God love him, he’s all over Facebook and he regularly posts updates about his concerts, other musicians, and his family. Let’s just say the singing is his strong point…the grammar, spelling and sentence structure–not so much :P

      Hope you’re well. And your little man, too.

      Miss you!

      xoxo

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