the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

Tag: therapy (Page 2 of 5)

Monday Night Therapy

(actual magazines from therapist’s waiting room!)

Last night, I went with Sophia to her therapist. It was the first time EVER that we sat in the same room with one therapist.

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After the session, I thought I had “won.” Sophia laughed, saying it was a clear victory for her team.

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Later, we realized that the big winner was the therapist. $$$$$$

Notes on My Last Post

According to my last post, my view of myself is slightly different than your view of Neilochka.   I would probably pick these three as my main “characteristics” —

1) Imaginative, head-in-the-clouds guy who can never find his own keys or his own underwear.

2) Bullshitting male who enjoys nothing better than chatting with “the guys” in a coffee shop.

3) Nervous, overly apologetic person, needing affirmation from others.

But am I right?  Or am I deluding myself?  I had trouble sleeping last night, tossing and turning, wondering if I truly knew myself. Your comments didn’t bother me at all, but my own opinion of the real Neilochka was torturing me!  Eventually, at around 3AM, I calmed myself down.

“Does anyone really “know” himself?” I asked myself.

Probably not.  This was quite a relief.

There was something else that was bugging me ALL day —

Did you know that when you write 8 ) in WordPress, it automatically turns into a smilie face with sunglasses. It drove me crazy, especially since 8 ) on my list was “Flirt who dreams of f**king most of the women he has met on their kitchen tables.”  It was like WordPress was making a meta-comment, winking at me, the application insisting that it knew me better than I know myself.   Blogger or Typepad would never do that, or be so arrogant.

Eventually, I had to use 8 ) with a space after the number just to avoid 8)    Annoying.

Are you surprised that number 8 is NOT one of my three top characteristics?   This means that female bloggers can feel safe chatting with me again on IM, even if you are sitting in your kitchen, wearing your apron, typing on your laptop on the kitchen table while you are preparing dinner.


Your Perception of Me

This post is more for me than you. I’m still playing around with that idea of my “brand.”   Here is a list of seventeen descriptions of Neilochka, this blog’s writer.  Could you do me a favor and pick the three that best describes this person?   I am curious if your perception matches my own sense of reality.   Don’t be shy about saying that I seem like a neurotic mess, if I come across that way.  You can always email me rather than commenting if that makes you more comfortable.

1)    Super-confident storyteller who knows exactly how to manipulate you with words.

2)     Anti-social grouch who finds most of you hypocritical and annoying.

3)     Idealistic sentimentalist who cries at blog posts and loves to unite others in “holiday concerts.”

4)     Gay friendly dude who likes old musicals and talking to platonic girlfriends about their shoes.

5)     Bullshitting male who enjoys nothing better than chatting with “the guys” in a coffee shop.

6)     Polite momma’s boy who is “respectful” of women.

7)     Flirt who dreams of f**king most of the women he has met on their kitchen tables.

8 )    Artsy bohemian who walks around wearing a fedora.

9)     Bookish, pretentious twit.

10)    Imaginative, head-in-the-clouds guy who can never find his own keys or his own underwear.

11)    Screwed-up neurotic, afraid of his own shadow.

12)    Star Trek-loving dork

13)    Ambitious take-no-prisoners go-getter.

14)    Social-climber, constantly on the look-out for the “cooler” people.

15)    Class clown.

16)    Confused and aimless.

17)    Loving ever minute of life!

Buy My Peanut Brittle!

My problem started when I was eleven years old.  Our Hebrew school had a decent basketball team and we made it to the New York State Hebrew School championship in Albany.  As a fundraising stunt, we were supposed to sell boxes of Peanut Brittle to our neighbors in order to pay for transportation.   I hated selling things to other people.  I felt like I was imposing on them.  Chances are, most of neighbors would have bought a box from me, just because they know my parents, and my mother usually bought Girl Scout cookies from their kids.  I just felt guilty asking people to buy things they really didn’t need or want. 

Even then, I was a realist.

“Who in the world REALLY wants a box of peanut brittle?!” I asked myself. “That stuff is nasty and can crack your tooth!”

I sold two boxes.  One to my mother and one to my grandmother.

Fast forward to today.  I’m pretty much the same.  There is no way you could get me to walk around my apartment building and ask neighbors to shell over their hard-earned money for some peanut brittle. 

Rule #1 in therapy.  A person will never overcome his fear until he fights it.

This is where YOU come in.

I would like you to buy some boxes of peanut brittle. 

There is no cost per box because you will never actually get any of this peanut brittle.  It is all theoretical, the aim being that I overcome my fear by asking you to buy it from me. 

Please buy as many boxes as you want.  Buy some for yourself.  Buy for you co-workers.   They also make excellent birthday and wedding gifts for family members.

I am pretty confident that most of you will buy a few boxes of peanut brittle from me.  You seem to be a caring bunch and you realize that this will be a tremendous boost to my self-esteem.  After all, I am in this limbo-land with Sophia and living here with my mother.  I’m not feeling very manly and I really need a BIG BOOST!

Recently, Firefox promoted it’s new Firefox 3 browser by announcing a “Download Day.”  They attempted to create a Guinness Book of World Record for the “most downloaded software” in one day.  I’m not sure they achieved their ultimate goal, but they had 8 million downloads in 24 hours.

Imagine how cool it would be to brag to the women at BlogHer that I am a Guinness Book of World Record Holder!  Talk about a line that will definitely get me laid!

So here’s the deal.  I’m going to show you how much my cojones have grown since I have come to New York.  I don’t want you to simply buy a few imaginary boxes of peanut brittle from me.  I want you to buy SO MANY BOXES OF IMAGINARY PEANUT BRITTLE that I will become the undeniable GUINNESS BOOK OF WORLD RECORD HOLDER of selling imaginary peanut brittle in a single 24-hour day!

How many boxes of peanut brittle would you like?

No credit cards accepted for purchases under ten boxes.

Childhood Clues to My Adult Personality

I was dependent on women from an early age.

This print has been hanging over our TV for decades.  I used to stare at this women for hours.  Since it was painted by Marc Chagall, I assume that this woman is supposed to be a Russian Jewish woman with dark hair and big, round breasts, probably very similar to that of… holy s**t!

WTF am I doing in this photo?

When Sophia first saw me trying to use a coupon at Olive Garden, she asked me, “Is your whole family so frugal?”  I told her that our couch was wrapped in plastic for decades (see the couch in the first photo), so today it is still in perfect condition.  The lamp is the original, too.   Does Architectural Digest ever make it to Queens?


I apologize about the last two self-indulgent posts.  But I like them.  You have to remember, before I met Sophia, I was just some dorky guy who collected international postage stamps.  Sophia taught me not to wear white socks with shoes.  I taught her important TV trivia, such as how Vivian Vance and William Frawley didn’t get along very well during the taping of “I Love Lucy.”  

Most importantly, women were demystified.  I saw one buying a bra, having a period, kvetching over the wrong brand of Rocky Road ice cream.  “Dreyers, not Breyers!”  And I finally learned where my hands were supposed to go. 

Then I started blogging and interacting with hot women from around the world.  Is it really a surprise that every other post is about sex?   I’m sorry.  What can I do?   If I just write stories, my blog is well-written, but superficial.  But if I really dig down deep and write about what is weighing on my mind — oral sex — then, where is this post going…?

I think I’m ready to be re-introduced to the world.

Remember, this blog is about my mind.  It is akin to therapy.  I like Neilochka.   I want to integrate this more interesting version of myself into reality.   This Neilochka takes off his shirt on blog posts and makes women scream with pleasure.   This is NOT the Neil who is afraid of putting advertising on his blog because then “people won’t like him.” 

This Neilochka has confidence.  He says what he thinks.   So, if I haven’t been commenting on your blog lately, I’m not going to lie anymore and say I’ve been busy… boo hoo.  It’s because your blog is BORING AS HELL and I get more bang for my buck by commenting on some big-name blogger or some chick who might give me some! 

(You know that I’m only joking, right?  I love you.  Especially my male readers.  You know where I’m coming from, right?  I’m going to comment right now.  Twice.   Don’t hate me.  Ever.  I was just trying to be funny) 

Damn.  I’m never going to change.  Luckily, my therapist, Brenda, gave me her phone number so I can call her from New York.

We Built This City, Part 3

And the winner for the best description of the meaning behind Starship’s “We Built This City” is — the beautiful Memarie Lane — with this gem:

I think I’ve got it. They’re alluding to the founding of our country, the philosophies of which (freedom of religion and speech and all that)were considered very radical (i.e. rock and roll) at the time. But since then we keep rolling farther and farther back,through soft rock and disco and Motown and so on until “we just lost the beat.”  So basically they’re saying we need to vote for Ron Paul.

As I mentioned two posts ago, she wins nothing.  No Wii Fit.  Nothing other than my gratitude and me wondering what she looks like naked.

As you have probably guessed by now, this post is really about nothing.  I’m writing it very quickly, in between my morning shower and breakfast.  Since it is a toss-off post, it gives me a chance to show you the “real” Neilochka, who can be a bit of an asshole.  Most of the time, I try to be “literary” in my posts, making sure there is a intellectual point.  I usually write my posts out in longhand first in a notebook.  Today, I am just spitting out crap right onto WordPress.  And it feels pretty good.  Perhaps it was my therapy session yesterday that helped open me up to new possibilites.  Why do I need to worry about you — the reader — so much?  I’m not “dependent” on you.   What is the worst thing that can happen if you think my blog sucks?  You’ll stop reading it.  Will I die?  I doubt it.  There are plenty of you who once read this blog and have moved elsewhere.  Maybe you’re trying to move into the elite mommyblogger’s circle and have no time for the men.  Perhaps you were insulted by my post where I portrayed Archie and Jughead into violent superheroes.  You might be a new reader who wrote a comment, and then I never responded to you… and was disgusted at me.  I apologize.  I feel the same way as you when I comment and the person doesn’t respond.

“What’s wrong with her?” I wonder.  “Am I not good enough?  What a snob she is!  Blogging is so elitist!”

Well, we do things differently here.  If I don’t respond to you right away, don’t take it personally.  I love you.  It’s not YOU.  I’m the one who’s f**ked up!  That’s right.  That’s exactly what I was thinking while sitting in therapy with Brenda yesterday.  I’m f**ked up!  How long have I been writing about MOVING — yet I never move?  Why do I have such a weird on-again/off-again relationship with this “separated” wife?  The only honest answer is that I’m… f**ked-up.  Ta-dah.  There I said it.  Now I can work on the solution.

Let me make the announcement here.  If Sophia and I split up “officially,” I don’t want any of you sleeping with me for at least six months.  No matter how hard I try to get into your pants at BlogHer, just say NO.  I am NOT ready for it.  Don’t get suckered into it when I say that your eyes are like God’s soul, and shit like that.

Besides, I’ve been with one woman for eleven years.  The first time with someone else WILL be bad.  And over very fast.   And I will be crying.

Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

OK, back to blog comments —

So, if you write a witty comment on the blog, and it looks like I’m blowing you off, now you know the reason.  I’m f**ked up.   Just keep commenting, because it makes me feel good — and that is a public health service.  Besides, a lot of cool people who come here.   You should read their blogs.

Granted, there are funnier and more popular blogs where you will make more connections — such as Bossy — but I compensate by being advertising free.   And I don’t make you put those dumb badges on your blogs.

Also, since I am a bit emotional unstable, you never know what I’m going to do next.  So, I’m not boring.

For example — only a real nutcase would write three posts in a row about Starship’s “We Built This City.”  Most bloggers would be all worried about losing their readers and people hating him.

But  — I DON’T CARE.  I’m crazy like that!  I’ve been laughing for the last ten minutes because I’m now going to put up ANOTHER version of the song — the third in a row!  Ha ha ha ha.  You see, I’m not THAT nice!  I have a bit of a mean streak!  But I find it soooo funny, like the inner child I am.

And that’s what blogging is really about, isn’t it?!

What I Learned in Therapy Today

I’m emotionally dependent on my mother.

I’m emotionally dependent on Sophia.

I’m emotionally dependent on my friends.

I’m emotionally dependent on women.

I’m emotionally dependent on my therapist.

I’m emotionally dependent on sex.

I’m emotionally dependent on writing.

I’m emotionally dependent on readers of my blog.

On the positive side, I don’t have a drinking or drug problem.

Therapy is Making Me into a Humorless Twit

I have to keep the eye on the prize, which is to express myself honestly and openly on my blog, have fun, and not take it too seriously.   I need to be grateful for all the cool people who stop by this blog, and treat everyone as worthy individuals with an innate need to express their ideas and personality.   I need to not take people for granted.   I need to comment and read your blogs as consistently as you do mine.   I need to accept the fact that I have lost touch with some bloggers, and it is OK to feel a little sad about it.  I need to be open about all blogging opportunities that I hear about, so they can be available to as many as possible.  I shouldn’t be afraid of thinking of this blog as the best blog in the world simply because I write it, just as your blog should be YOUR best blog in the world, and I should acknowledge that when I come to visit.   I need to respect other writers for the quality of their work and the openness of their spirit, whether they are writing exquisite poetry or stupid gags, both which have an important role to play in society.   I need to remember that a good blog doesn’t necessarily make them a caring person, and that an amazing individual might not be able to put down in words everything that is in his or her heart.  I need to acknowledge that the blogosphere can be as cliquish as high school, and that I should accept it, ignore it, and mock it for comic effect.   I hope that I will be made fun of by others when I am hypocritical.  I need to be wary of marketers or all types, those trying to sell me products and ideas that are more for their benefit than my own, even if there is a short-lived profit for me or my blog.   I should always weigh the benefits to myself with the effects on others.  I need to remember that modern man has ADD, and will constantly be talking about “what’s new” and “what’s hot,” forgetting that telling stories and chatting about nothing has been going on since we lived in caves, way  before the arrival of Twitter and Facebook.   I need to dig deeper than the surface and understand that despite all the talk about “branding” and “linking” and “A-listers,” the blogosphere is mostly about imperfect humans looking for affection, love, and connection in a somewhat lonely and isolating world.

I Missed My Therapy Session


Last Tuesday, my writing partner, Ron, and I were working effectively on our film story — and I was staying at his place — so I cancelled my therapy appointment for that day.  It was the first time I had ever cancelled.  I called Brenda on the phone and left a message on her machine, apologizing.

After I hung up the phone, I remembered a discussion that I had with Brenda a few months ago.  She was explaining that sometimes, a client loses interest in therapy.  The client starts cancelling.  This happens just as the client is learning important information about himself, and his defense mechanisms want to block his growth.  I called Brenda again to assure her that I was just busy, and that there weren’t any “hidden meanings” to my cancelling therapy.

A few moments later, I remembered my first “informational” session with Brenda.  She told me that unless I canceled 24 hours before the session, I still had to pay.    I immediately sent her an email, acknowledging that I understood that I was still paying for the session, even though I wasn’t showing up.  I suggested that since I am paying for the session anyway, she could use “my time” to browse through my blog, picking up some insights on my personality.

I tried to go back to work with Ron, but I was distracted.  While I talked about my blog with Brenda during previous sessions, I’m not sure Brenda actually read the posts I wrote about HER.  I wrote these posts before I began to take therapy seriously, so the writing is jokey and silly, including the one where I fantasize about making love to my therapist in her comfortable leather “therapy” chair.

I sent another email to Brenda, reminding her that many of the posts mix fantasy and reality, and that she shouldn’t psychoanalyze every single post as “meaning” anything.   I was tempted to ask if she was wearing one those colorful sleeveless knit jersey wrap dresses that she looks so nice in while she sits on her chair with her legs crossed, but then I decided not to, worrying that she would just “analyze” that as well.

All this back and forth with Brenda ended up taking more time and energy than if I had just driven to her office for a therapy session.  And all that angst set me back weeks in my growth as a self-actualized man.

From now on — no more missed therapy sessions.  It is way too traumatic.

A Year Ago on Citizen of the Month:  Nominee of 2007 Nobel Peace Prize

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