On Sobriety and How Less Is Often More

I started abusing alcohol on a steady basis late in life, a few months after turning fifty, to be precise. This coincided with finally “making it.” My husband and I had just bought our own condo. and I was a few years into having my own successful private psychotherapy practice. It all came together, including living near a vibrant town center with a lovely bar and restaurant where I’d hang out with some colleagues and even made a few new friends. For almost five years, I was riding this gravy train of “making it,” lubricated along with wine and mixed drinks, especially on weekends but on my one day off during the week too. In my own way, I was luxuriating after years of having less, believing, a lot of that time, that I didn’t deserve much. I’ve since learned, after letting go of drinking (now over a year ago), that, often in many instances, less is actually more. No alcohol has meant more health and well-being for me and my husband. And there are so many other ways to meet each day in celebration of having “made it.”

Here’s to everyone who’s alive and meeting each day. You’re here. You made it this far and, to those I actually know and like, I’m so glad we’re friends, family, and/or somehow associates in life. Merry Christmas! Happy Holidays!

“Healing Happens in Relationship.”

My undergrad. clinical and humanistic psychology professor at UC Santa Cruz, Ralph Quinn, said on more than one occasion, “Healing happens in relationship.” He included here a relationship with a higher power besides with another person or people. By extension, I think this certainly can and does apply to a connection one has with a pet, a wild animal, or with all or part of nature for that matter.

(Photo accompanying this post by Sebastian Arie Voortman.)

Pain Felt For the Dragon

The image is of the painting SAINT GEORGE AND THE DRAGON (c. 1470) by Paolo Uccello. Oil on canvas.

My parents had a print of this hanging in the dining room of the house we lived in for eighteen months when I was seven to eight years old. The image disturbed me deeply at the time (and still does) because I thought the dragon in the picture seemed innocent and passive, undeserving of having its eye and brain gored through by the knight. At that time, I shared how upset I felt for the dragon to my then step/foster mother, who my father never married but cohabitated with for fifteen years.

Movie Review (ESTEROS)

Like many people, I watch movies for various reasons in addition to being entertained. Over the past few years, since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, I have spent a lot of time in my home streaming movies, many of them indies, including ones about gay-oriented love relationships. Recently, it grew crystal clear to me that the adolescent and young man parts of me, these each being who I once was so many years ago, long to witness positive, loving relationships between boys and young men. The physicality of sex as an aspect of that expression of love has been important to see, though prolonged, anatomically graphic detail are not needed. It is more about viewing a balance of warm affection and passion that matter to these younger parts of myself.

I spent my youth longing for, yet fearing and generally avoiding, emotionally-laden physical intimacy with other male peers, a deep-rooted issue stemming from an unstable childhood that I’ve been actively healing for a good while. My husband’s presence in my life since my early forties has been deeply helpful. But, another part of that healing process has been to watch tender, affirming movies about love between adolescent and twenty-something males. Less often, I have also found it satisfying to watch love stories about men older than that age cohort.

A movie in this category of affirming emotional and physical love between young males I most recently viewed is ESTEROS (released in 2016), a warm and thoughtful Argentinian production, directed by Papu Curotto. The story is a simple and beautiful narrative, encapsulated in just eighty-seven minutes. Filmed back and forth in present day and flashback scenes, the movie stars Ignacio Rogers as the adult Matias, Esteban Masturini (adult Jeronimo or “Jero”), Joaquin Parada (pubescent Matias), and Blas Finardi Niz (pubescent Jero). The footage of the two sets of actors seems almost equal, with probably a little more of it featuring the two main characters in adulthood.

After about ten to twelve years of absence from each other’s lives, previously best childhood friends Matias and Jero unexpectedly meet up in a small city, the name of it eluding me. Matias, who lives with his girlfriend, has recently returned to Argentina after having resided in Brazil with his parents since about aged thirteen. The family had left for there due to Matias’ father pursuing a major employment opportunity. Soon, the two young men figure out who the other is and resume their friendship. Sexual and romantic tension between them immediately returns, with Jero taking the lead on expressing this chemistry, as he had originally done when he was twelve or thirteen.

The natural playfulness and comfort between the two boy actors, Parada and Finardi Niz, immediately sets for us viewers a tone of believable pubescent innocence, curiosity, and slowly building passion. Their on-screen chemistry matches that of the young adults, Rogers and Masturini, and steadily builds in intensity at a graceful, credible pace. Pure cinematic alchemy gets created by these four principal personae and their excellent direction. The writing, which is quite simple but succinct and good, adds to this alchemy. None of these males ever seem to waver in screen presence and ability. They are all well supported by a solidly competent rest of the cast, although I admittedly didn’t feel the need to notice and care that much, due to the compelling power of the main four.

I would add that the fifth principal player or presence in ESTEROS (ESTUARIES in English) is the Argentinian countryside, particularly an area of estuaries that abut a farm owned by Jero’s parents. This is the summer getaway the boys go to and begin to explore their romantic feelings for each other, which Jero initiates between them one evening in a bedroom they share. The estuary water, accompanying mud, and wildlife, including verbal references to alligators (or crocodiles? I believe alligators), which we viewers never actually see, underscores the sense of intriguing, somewhat unpredictable, even scary sensuality flowing between Matias and Jero. The former is fearful and uncertain while the latter of the two is clearly more of an early bloomer with his sexual interest and confidence. Such is often the case between and among peers.

The movie’s predictable but believable love triangle is an added layer of tension between Jero’s readiness and Matias’ hesitancy. The latter’s girlfriend, Rochi (Renata Calmon) plays, sadly, an all-too-common, thankless role of unknowingly aiding him in trying to be completely heterosexual, which Matias is not and never was. Thankfully, her character is respectfully, sensitively written as having an intuitive sense that something is very much not right. Matias is not fully present and interested in her as he should be. And so a classic dance of intimacy unfolds, quite beautifully, with all players stepping along through their parts in a mix of relatable struggle and grace.

Skinny Men Are Beautiful and So Is Any Body Type

The photo is of actor Timothee Chalamet in BRITISH VOGUE Magazine, 2022. Not only do I think he’s beautiful, I find it so affirming to see a naturally thin, dare I say skinny, young man playfully posing, show-cased as beautiful. I too was once young and very thin and would have loved back then to have seen this kind of male imagery being respectfully, joyfully highlighted everywhere.

Everyone needs to witness affirming imagery of their own unique body type, not just a very select few types (namely skinny women and buffed up men) being glorified everywhere over and over again.

A Training I Attended Where Time Management Was Neglected

I generally enjoyed the Phase 3 (i.e., advanced level) Brainspotting training with David Grand, PhD that finished just hours ago. Three days of intensive online learning have left me feeling pretty tired. However, I was displeased with the poor time management of the whole thing. Dr. Grand spent too much time answering participants’ questions, at the expense of shortening breaks, including our lunch time (on two out of three days), and having to trim back one, if not two, break-out practice sessions. I so value practicing treatment methods in order to truly learn and then apply them with clients. I felt a bit shorted by this missing out on some scheduled one-on-one practice time with other attendees.

I left the end of the training seventeen minutes past the time it was supposed to end, whilst Dr. Grand was beginning to answer “just” two more people’s questions. I privately informed the main training assistant that I needed to leave. I then logged off shortly afterwards, bothered at the lack of closure but tired and needing to get home.

At one point, on the third and final day, I had to ask Dr. Grand to show the steps of a certain technique after he had skipped doing so, opting instead to go right into a demonstration with a training participant. At least a few others besides myself were left confused with what the actual steps of the technique were. He’d had to skip showing us them because, again, Dr. Grand had taken too much time to answer questions. My and others’ particular query could have been naturally answered if he had stuck to the schedule.

Frankly, I think it’s a group/class facilitators’ and their assistants’ responsibility to set time limits and stick to them. Many people love to engage back and forth on and on, including asking questions and having them answered, and most certainly so with someone they highly admire. I think I take time management as a given in trainings because I guess I’ve been spoiled by instructors and their assistants almost always keeping to a set schedule, anticipating the difficulties of doing so, and effectively communicating with us course/training participants about time management challenges. Such effective communication includes actively involving participants in choosing how to proceed with a needed schedule change, and preferably not down to the very last minute when any choice/s then often end up feeling forced on participants. Time management is a crucial organizational component of a well-run class or training.

This training’s time management was sloppy and neglected, which, for me, was simply unprofessional and disrespectful to us participants. I will be commenting about this issue on the course evaluation form whenever I happen to receive one.

Mini Movie Review (Pasolini’s ARABIAN NIGHTS and THE DECAMERON) and Who I Personally Associate with Pasolini

I’ve been meaning for the longest time to watch some Pasolini movies, so I started with ARABIAN NIGHTS (1974) and THE DECAMERON (1971), which was by far the better of the two. I enjoyed the lush cinematography (especially in THE DECAMERON), costumes, and unvarnished sensuality the most about these two productions. THE DECAMERON contained more memorable humorous moments than ARABIAN NIGHTS did.

I intend to watch Pasolini’s productions of MEDEA (1969), starring Maria Callas, OEDIPUS REX (1967), and TEOREMA (1968) someday. I will probably eventually watch THE CANTERBURY TALES (1972) too. That will probably be enough for me with viewing Pasolini’s work. I think I’ll stay away from his sadistic final movie SALO (1975), which, some years ago, precipitated a mental breakdown of a young man I knew shortly after he’d watched it.

Pier Paolo Pasolini (1922-1975) was an old flame of mine’s favorite filmmaker. I think he especially liked SALO, which he voluntarily referred to in at least two conversations with me, many years ago. In other respects, along the lines of why he seemed to enjoy the darker elements of Pasolini films, he also had some disturbingly warped views and tastes, such as a shameless pedophilia, which contributed to why I ultimately left him.

It’s interesting how watching some old movies can bring one to a different and/or enhanced perspective over memories of people, places, and situations.

Brief Thoughts on Intelligence


I have a Masters degree while my husband has no college degree. But, his ability to figure out mechanical stuff like how to operate the DVD player with our three remotes or how to fix a household appliance never ceases to impress me. I have no patience or focus for such things, but, over and over again, he sure does. Also, his visual-spatial capacity/abilities surpass mine. He envisions how to set up and/or remodel a room with ease.

Intelligence reveals itself in so many ways. I honor and respect my husband’s expressions of brainpower which show up time and again. Any comparing between us of who’s “smarter” is pointless and ridiculous.


Running Away No Longer


It’s become so clear to me how I’ve spent much of my life running away– avoiding, escaping, surviving. Now, more and more, I’m committed to arriving and being present in the good life I’ve co-created with a wonderful husband in a safe, cozy home, and from within a relatively healthy body I continue to learn to better care for. Life is good. There’s no need to run anymore.