Everyone Has Closets

I just finished watching Ash Beckham’s talk at TEDx and had to share it. I thought this was a wonderful, impassioned plea to treat both ourselves and others with compassion and empathy. I really appreciated how open and honest she was about all of her feelings and thoughts, and in a very self-deprecating manner. Even if you think this isn’t your cup of tea, please trust me and take a sip. You will not regret the time you spend.

A 4-Year-Old Girl Asked A Lesbian If She’s A Boy. She Responded The Awesomest Way Possible.

  1. NextInLine
    December 11, 2013 at 3:02 am

    Thank you for sharing that talk, it was certainly worth the time. She was amazing. Just wanted to again thank you for all your insights and time and heart. I value your words and honesty more than I can say.


    • December 12, 2013 at 12:44 pm

      Next in line,
      I’m really glad you enjoyed the talk. I agree she really was amazing. And thank you for your kind words, I also value yours. 🙂 ~ AG


  2. Mrs. Sharkey
    December 11, 2013 at 11:20 am

    Hi AG! So glad to see you posting again, even if it’s just briefly. I love this talk from Ash Beckham, and I especially love her reminder that “hard is hard” and that we need to stop rating our hard against everyone else’s. That was very timely for me because I come up against that a lot in therapy.


    • December 12, 2013 at 12:50 pm

      Mrs. Sharkey!! Really good to hear from you, I have been wondering how you been. I also thought it was valuable that we get a reminder that we not compare our pain to other people’s. It’s not like you want to be the winner! 🙂 Glad you found it helpful. Very much looking forward to being around more. xx AG


  3. Still Waters Run Deep
    December 11, 2013 at 2:48 pm

    Wow!, Loved that video!!. Thank you for posting the link. Yes, hard is hard. Pain is pain. None of it is quantitative. It just is. Im going to watch this a few more times to internalize more of the message. I strive to put my armor down, I strive to be authentic, I strive for compassion to be my rule of life.


    • December 12, 2013 at 12:55 pm

      SWR D,
      Good to hear from you! Glad it resonated with you. I agree about wanting to internalize the message. Dropping our armor, being authentic, and showing compassion are all very worthy goals. That’s really why I posted the video, I thought all of those things are very well modeled by ash. ~ AG


  4. Little Blond Girl
    December 11, 2013 at 2:55 pm

    Thanks for posting. Very timely and good message. A bit of a reminder that all that stuff I don’t tell my T, maybe I should…perhaps he’s been right all along and keeping it bottled up just isn’t working for me 🙂


    • December 12, 2013 at 1:00 pm

      it is a good reminder isn’t it? We all have things that we need to say that are hard to say. This was a good reminder that living in the dark is not a good thing to do. But I know realizing it’s not working and changing what you’re doing is no easy thing. So it’s good that this is an encouragement for you to speak. 🙂 Let me know how that goes! XX AG


  5. Ann
    December 11, 2013 at 6:43 pm

    AG, What an amazing speaker. Thank you for posting it! “Victim status” is so popular now,so it is refreshing to hear someone embrace their authentic self without shame and show empathy for others. I am sure it was liberating for her. Something we can all learn from. Xoxo Ann


    • December 12, 2013 at 1:04 pm

      I also found that very refreshing, her ability to step back from her own pain to understand where other people were coming from was really an inspiration. And I agreed something we can all learn from. So glad you liked it! xx AG


  6. Marijke
    December 12, 2013 at 6:29 am

    Hi AG,

    This was great. And powerful in its simplicity… and recognizable. I’m gay and although I’m not the physical type 4-year olds ask that question to, I’ve had kids asking me if it was really true my daughters had two mothers, in the presence of one of them usually. And in my experience and Ash kind of response is just what works best: straight and plain and honest.
    And yeah, hard is hard and cannot be compared. I once read something along these lines in a wonderful Buddhist book, saying the only comparison that made sense in life was not the one you make between you and some one else but the one between who you were before (a week, month, decade ago…) and who you are today. I’ve held that wisdom very close to my heart.
    Thank you for posting this lovely video. And the strong stuff in the previous post too. I’m still getting over that.

    Hope you are well.

    Big hug.



    • December 12, 2013 at 1:08 pm

      I am so glad it resonated with you, I have a close friend who is a lot like Ash and she often feels torn between being comfortable with who she is but then enduring other people’s reactions. Or fitting in, but feeling uncomfortable in your own skin. I think that Ash showed a third way, to be comfortable with who you are, but strive to extend grace and understanding to other people’s reaction. The world would be a better place if everyone strove to live that way. And yeah, the previous videos were very powerful. Especially the one about the man in the bus, shook me to my core and keeps coming back to me, it was very powerful. \

      And I am doing much better thanks! There’s the occasional tough day, but who doesn’t have them? 🙂 I hope you’re doing ok also! xx AG


      • Marijke
        December 15, 2013 at 3:16 am

        I’m rather well actually, with an ever deepening therapeutical relationship allowing healing in small bits that seem like huge mountains to climb when it comes to the effort and pain involved… to be met at the other side with compassion, understanding and genuine love. I don’t know where we’re going but am slowly getting to a point where I might let go and trust her to take me along for some of the journey.
        something really funny happened yesterday morning. I was showing my wife the Ash Beckham video when our six year old daughter walks in, glances at the computer screen and says: “Is that a boy or a girl?” We both just cracked up. The are priceless, these children and we should honour them at all times. Love & hugs


  7. Ann
    December 16, 2013 at 5:26 pm

    AG, I wrote to you earlier, on another post about feeling hurt by my T. I had gotten up the nerve a while back to tell him I had missed him over a break and he gave no response as if he hadn’t heard me. I finally asked him about it two weeks ago and he said he had heard me, but,”sometimes you have to let your patients stew in their own juices”. That really hurt, so last week I told him how it made me feel (I felt he had depersonalized my feeling and it felt cruel). He told me I was wrong! We got into an argument about it, I pulled way back emotional and we changed the subject. Even if I was totally off base, he never encouraged any processing of my experience. So I emailed him and apologized about the argument. He wrote back that it was part of the process. Needless to say, it ripped a huge hole and I felt so wounded and unsafe. I am having a hard time keeping myself together emotionally after feeling such rejection. Do I sound too needy? I have another session in two days and don’t what to be hurt again. I have seen him for two years and this has never happened. I am confused and scared. I don’t call between sessions and have only emailed twice in two years. ( once with good news and the other to apologize.) I am so afraid of being rewounded. Sorry to rant here but I need perspective and wondered if you had any? If you are too swamped to respond, I totally understand. It just feels good to write it down. Thanks for all you do. Xoxo Ann.


    • December 16, 2013 at 6:41 pm

      Ann, I’ll be responding but probably in the morning. I don’t think you’re being too needy and I do think it’s important to address this. Would it be ok with you if I emailed you at the address you use for commenting? There are a few things I wish to include that I don’t want to put on the web. Thanks and hang in there, it will be ok. I know it doesn’t feel that way! Much love, AG

      Sent from my iPhone



  8. Ann
    December 16, 2013 at 10:00 pm

    Absolutely! Thank you! Please don’t feel rushed to answer, but I would respect your imput! Xo Ann


    • XXX
      December 18, 2013 at 12:55 pm

      Hi Ann, I just wanted to say that I understand how crazy you feel. I can relate so much that it hurts. I wish we could have a bitch session over the boundries. I am having and have been having some serious problems with my T and her boundries that SUCK and how she was wanting to be close to me when we started. ie “Your a very special person, I’m sorry you have had so much pain in your life.” to the “I can give you a hug every week, you missed a few, and I really do like you.” At the time it felt like the sky was parting and Jesus Christ himself was gonna come down here and tell her to just love me up and everything would be ok. Well it’s not ok cause all I want is for her to hold me, and she said she won’t do it, but when we hug she lets me lay my head on her chest. It feels like heaven and hell at the same time, but if I tell her I bet I’ll never get another hug!! And I don’t want to freak out on her. Then there is the therapy crap to deal with. She does hypnosis and every time I go down, I come back up knowing or feeling some new shitty information about how I really feel about myself and she sends me out the door dont text or call me see ya next week. She used to text me then something happened not even related to texting her and the next week she said, “We have got to have better boundries the texting has got to stop”, if I had a gun I would have shot myself right then and there. One of the reasons I love you and everyone here is because you all understand, it hurts when they don’t and then their almost calivier about it like its only your problem, no I pay you to help me with this problem so its your problem too. OK rant over just frustrated for you and me!!!!! I’m sorry and I’m here.


      • December 20, 2013 at 3:52 pm

        I can totally understand your frustration. The boundaries are deeply painful even when a therapist holds still the way they should. To have someone move them, especially by taking away something they previously provided, evokes so many old messages about our needs and our worth, that are reinforcing the pattern and harming you, instead of leading to healing. My guess is that she cares so deeply for you, that she made the mistake of believing she could give you enough to make all your losses go away (see How do I fill the Void? if you haven’t already read it) and then realized that she overextended and pulled back in. Or went to supervision and had it pointed out to her. The good news is that it’s better she pull in her boundaries, then burn out and abandon you. But it’s deeply confusing and can make therapy feel unsafe. I would urge you to talk to her about what this feels like. Not in order to get her to restore the texting, etc, but because you deserve to have your feelings heard about this. You probably know that BN does not hug, He has never wavered on that boundary, but I do not exaggerate that we have spent sessions discussing how I felt about it. The boundaries being firm lead us to our loss.

        I do want to take MAJOR exception to her saying “We have got to have better boundaries, the texting has to stop.” I cry foul. The boundaries are at all times the therapist’s responsibility and it was very wrong of her to lay any of the blame on you. We need to be free in therapy to express all of ourselves. I once told BN I was worried that I was trying to trick him into seeing me and he told me I was more than welcome to try, there was nothing wrong with doing that. It was his job to make sure that I couldn’t get away with it. Your therapist allowed the texting, she needs to take responsibility for that. Any client, especially one with your background, would have jumped on doing that. If she needed to change HER boundary. she needs to take responsibility for it. Not act like you needed to guard her boundary or help her to set it!

        xx AG


        • XXX
          January 2, 2014 at 2:27 pm

          Hey, I just wanted to say thank you for your imput. The boundries are very confusing and hurtful. I hate them but I logically understand but my heart is like eating me from the inside out you know. The most confusing part is that she still responds to my texts. I know she knows I need more and she wants to give it to me, but at the same time she can’t cause she is afraid either of us will get into some sort of trouble. She has said she is afraid she is making it worse, so now its like I dont know what to do with myself cause I suck so bad that she does not know what to do with me. She does hypnosis and I have not let her hypnotize me in like 9 months cause I feel cheated if I dont get to at least look at her even though I can’t really look at her. Sorry for going on and on its been a couple weeks since I have seen her so it all hurts not to mention she is very special to me and I Iove her very much.


          • January 3, 2014 at 9:36 pm

            I know no matter how well we understand the boundaries, they are still incredibly painful. They evoke and bring to consciousness the terrible deprivation and loss we experienced as children, how can they not be? And what makes it so hard for your T is NOT that you suck (that’s your feelings of shame speaking) but that what you went through was so difficult and painful and healing from it is hellish and takes a strong skill set, including the ability to set and hold strong boundaries in the face of very real need and pain on the part of the therapist. I would keep being as honest as you can about how the boundaries are making you feel, including the confusion about being told you cannot text and then having her text you. It can feel scary if our therapist can not hold still. I am sorry for the pain you are in; it sounds like she is very important to you (a feeling I very much understand as I feel the same way about BN). xx AG


  9. Marijke
    December 17, 2013 at 4:53 am

    Hi AG – and all of you out there,

    I don’t know about you guys, but I can get pretty moonstruck at times and it seems to get more intense with time. Is it ageing, is it healing? My guess it’s both, as they both seem to promote a healthy development of my (female) intuition.
    The moon is full today, guys. I for one am trying to hold on to joy and sanity by the mere act of being aware of this and by cherishing and applying my sense of humor wherever I can.
    And by looking upon it as the good thing that it really is, to be able to feel such connection with nature and all things beyond.

    I wish you all the same,

    AG, sorry for the hijack – must be the moon 


    • December 20, 2013 at 3:55 pm

      ((Marijke)) What lovely thoughts, thanks for sharing them, no such thing as a hijack! 🙂 xx AG


  10. Ann
    December 19, 2013 at 8:52 pm

    XXX , Thank you for your story. It sounds like your T. Is kind of confusing! I wonder if she struggles with her own vulnerability with your relationship? IMO It is not fair for a T to start out with loose boundaries and then constrict them. I would experience it as rejection and miss the initial closeness. Do you think you could bring it up in therapy? I went to my session yesterday and couldn’t speak for about 20 minutes, because of an impasse with my T. (We have been together 2 years!) I have never been known for silence! We are trying to work it out. I am sure AG will have some great insight! AG help! 🙂 I am sorry for your struggle, remember we are not alone. Good luck! Ann


    • December 20, 2013 at 3:57 pm

      I thought you had a lot of insight on your own. 🙂 But of course I added my two cents above. Sorry about not being able to speak for 20 minutes; it is a terrible feeling to not have a voice. I hope things work out with your T! xx AG


  11. Still waters run deep
    December 19, 2013 at 11:07 pm

    Ugh! I got myself way in over my head with a “therapist” once. He was somebody who was working with my son with some adjustment issues and had some pretty unconventional methods. Since he was technically there for my son (at least initially, he also counseled my husband and me for quite a while) I didn’t see the transferance coming at ME head on. I totally set him up as the “big brother” I always wanted. The thing was he just let it happen and did absolutley nothing to address it. I bent over backwards trying everything I could to involve him in my daily life. Including inviting him to dinner several times (invitations he accepted)! HE knew what was happening with me and just let it continue unchecked. By the time (3 years later!!) we were ready to move on from him I was so hurt, pissed off and confused as hell with no resolution. I ran into him a few months ago at the hardware store. He chatted briefly with my husband while I just kind of kept my distance. NOT going there again!


  12. Still waters run deep
    December 19, 2013 at 11:14 pm

    I guess the point I was trying to make with my last post was that this guy’s boundaries were so lose. And like I said his methods were unconventional so I really had no idea what was considered “normal” for him and what wasn’t..


    • December 20, 2013 at 4:01 pm

      WOW! That therapist utterly failed you through a failure to maintain his boundaries. My jaw dropped when I read he came to dinner. No wonder you were hurt, confused and angry, you had every reason to be. The boundaries are painful enough to run into, without a therapist holding out hope that they can dissolve. It leaves you still looking for what you didn’t get, instead of being able to face and accept your losses, so you can learn to get what you need now instead of directing your energy to needs that can no longer be filled. If you don’t mind me being blunt, he shouldn’t be practicing! Glad you’re not going there again. I hate BN’s boundaries at times, but am very grateful that he never holds out hope of something I can’t really have. That would so mess with my head. I am sorry you went through this experience. xx AG


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