3 min readLifestyle 12 July 2020
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Help! I Want to Sue my Doctor!
Dear Armchair Psychologist,
I was recently prescribed the wrong medication from my doctor that is a very bad drug with serious side effects! Again this was the wrong medication. The office claimed that it was the pharmacy's mistake. Luckily nothing bad happened to me, and I caught it! Is there a lawsuit here? I'm not quick to try and sue somebody, but it could have cost me my life! What should I do?
Dear Vex,I am sorry you experienced this mishap. Luckily, you didn't ingest the medicine and stayed safe. Whether you should sue or not is entirely up to you, and you should probably consult an attorney about this. If you feel slighted or perturbed, I would recommend you meet with your doctor to understand what went wrong and why? My opinion is that medicine is a practice and sometimes errors occur. Because you weren't injured, and provided the doctor didn't intentionally try to cause harm with negligence, I think it would be wise to let it go. If you otherwise find yourself anxious, you might want to discuss these feelings with a qualified therapist.
- The Armchair Psychologist
Help! My Girlfriend is a Scaredy Cat!
Dear Armchair Psychologist,
My girlfriend gets scared at night when I'm not around. I know, I know, it sounds weird but she really gets terrified. There's a security system she can turn on, which will send out alerts and make a hellish noise if someone gets in but that's not enough. She claims a dog would make her feel better but dogs are a lot of work and all our plants died under her watch. I know I'll be the one who gets stuck being on dog duty quite a bit of the time. I plan on adding new doors and more security, but I think this is more psychological and probably requires therapy more than a double deadbolt. Any thoughts?
Dear NoBabysitter,I could have sworn my own boyfriend wrote this? We moved from the secure NYC lights to a shaded, forest area and I hear the animal kingdom in full effect at night. I don't find it one bit strange that your girlfriend should feel scared at night and, after all, she's all alone. I wish I had a dog as well, which would inevitably ease my fearsome, lonesome self, but I'm simply not home enough. Although you are right to believe that your girlfriend's fears aren't rational, you are wrong to dismiss them and your fatherly tone is a bit worrisome. She's expressed to you that no amount of security systems will make her feel safe and that a dog would do the trick. Adopt a more compassionate approach, sit down, and discuss the prospect of (and your concerns about) having a dog. Come to an agreement, like honorable adults, and explain that the dog is her responsibility alone and take it from there. If you find that she falters, it's time to revisit your arrangement. I also recommend that you don't buy more plants.
- The Armchair PsychologistNeed more armchair psychologist in your life? Check out the last installment or email@example.com to get some advice of your own!
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Except for 16, I have celebrated all of my milestone birthdays in New York City.
I turned 16 in Arnold, Missouri. Arnold is a small town (though not small anymore) 20 miles south of St. Louis. St. Louis is known for the Gateway Arch, a beautiful arch of shiny stainless steel, built by the National Parks Service in 1935 to commemorate Thomas Jefferson's vision of a transcontinental U.S. St. Louis is also known for its custard, a frozen dessert that is so thick, they hand it to you upside down with a spoon inside. Something else about St. Louis you should know is that there is a courthouse just steps from the base of the Gateway Arch where one of the most important cases in history was tried: Dred Scott v. Sanford.
I'm turning 50 during what I define as a miraculous time to be alive.
Mr. Scott was born into enslavement around 1799 and, in 1830, was sold to a military surgeon who traveled back and forth between his military posts in Illinois and Wisconsin, where slavery was prohibited under the Missouri Compromise of 1820. In 1842 the doctor and Mr. Scott both married, and they, all four, returned to St. Louis. Still enslaved, Dred Scott filed a lawsuit against the doctor's wife for his and his wife Harriet's freedom. We don't know exactly why he chose this moment in time to file a lawsuit, however, he did. At the time of filing his, now, famous lawsuit, he was 50 years old. Ultimately, The Scott family did not gain their freedom, but their profound courage in filling this case helped ignite the Civil War and what we would come to know (or think we know) as freedom from enslavement for all human beings. Powerful then and even more powerful now.
My next milestone was turning 21, and I did it in the Big Apple. Having only moved to "the city that never sleeps" a few months prior, I knew nobody except my new friends, the bus-boys from the restaurant I was working at, Patzo's on the Upper West Side. And, yes, pazzo is actually the correct spelling of the Italian word, which translates to "crazy." Trust me we all had several laughs about the misspelling and the definition going hand in hand. I worked a full shift, closing out at around 11 PM, when, my kitchen team came out from the line with a cake singing, "Cumpleaños Feliz." It was fantastic. And the kindness of these almost-strangers was a powerful reminder of connection then as it still is today almost 29 years later.
I design the life I desire and the Universe creates it for me every day. I show up, keep the story moving, and work hard because I am relentlessly devoted to making the world a better place and this is how I choose to leave my legacy.
When I turned 30, I had just finished a European tour with Lucinda Childs dance company. The company had been on tour for months together and were inseparable. We traveled through Paris, Vienna, Lisbon, and Rome. We ate together, we rode on a bus together, we had drinks after shows together, and we even took turns giving company class to get warmed up before a show. It was deeply meaningful and dreamy. We ended the tour back in New York City at BAM, The Brooklyn Academy of Music. It was an incredible way to end the tour, by being on our home court, not to mention I was having an important birthday at the culmination of this already incredible experience.
So, when I invited everyone to join me at Chelsea Pier's Sky Rink to ice skate in late August, I was schooled really quickly that "tour" does not mean you are friends in real life, it means you are tour friends. When the tour ends, so does the relationship. I skated a few laps and then went home. This was a beautiful lesson learned about who your real friends are; it was powerful then as it is today.
Turning 40 was a completely different experience. I was in a serious relationship with my now-husband, Joe. I had just come off of a successful one-woman dance show that I produced, choreographed, and danced in, I had just choreographed a feature film, John Turturro's Romance and Cigarettes, with A-list actors, including Kate Winslet and James Gandolfini, who became a dear friend and had even been on the red carpet with Susan Sarandon at the Venice Film Festival for the movie a year earlier.
And I encourage all women to identify their power and choose to be fully in your power at any age.
This was a very special birthday, and I had, in those 10 years between 30 and 40, come to cultivate very real friendships with some wonderful colleagues. We all celebrated at a local Italian restaurant, Etcetera Etcetera (who is delivering for those of you in NYC — we order weekly to support them during COVID), a staple in the theater district. Joe and I were (and are) regulars and, of course, wanted to celebrate my 40th with our restaurant family and friends. We were upstairs in the private room, and it was really lovely. Many of those in attendance are no longer with us, including Joe's Dad, Bob Ricci, and my dear friend Jim Gandolfini having transitioned to the other side. Currently, that restaurant is holding on by a thread of loving neighbors and regulars like us. Life is precious. Powerful then and today even more so.
I write this article because I'm turning 50, still in New York City. However, I'm turning 50 during what I define as a miraculous time to be alive. And I could not be more filled with hope, love, possibility, and power. This year has included an impeachment hearing, a global pandemic, and global protests that are finally giving a larger platform to the Black Lives Matter movement. Being able to fully embody who I am as a woman, a 50-year-old woman who is living fully in purpose, takes the cake, the rink, and the party.
I'm making movies about conversations around race. I've been happily married for 11 years to the love of my life, Joe Ricci. I'm amplifying and elevating the voices of those who have not previously had a platform for speaking out. I choose who to spend time with and how long! I design the life I desire and the Universe creates it for me every day. I show up, keep the story moving, and work hard because I am relentlessly devoted to making the world a better place and this is how I choose to leave my legacy. Being 50 is one of the most amazing things I ever thought I could experience. And I encourage all women to identify their power and choose to be fully in your power at any age. I'm 50 and powerful. Dred Scott was 50 and powerful. This powerful lesson is for today and tomorrow. We have the power. No matter what age you are, I invite you to use your powerful voice to join me in making the world a better place.