The Struggle is Real

Feeling like a little girl dressed up in a grown-ass woman’s body

But seriously…you keep trying to find answers and work on yourself, but you’re left wondering, “What the eff is wrong with me?”

How come, despite all the success you’re experiencing on the outside, you still feel like a total failure?

Weren’t you supposed to be happy by now, know what the eff you are doing with your life, and have gotten over those terrible habits that started in your teens (i.e., nail-biting, overeating, and lying to avoid getting in trouble)?

Kayla’s* façade game is strong

Homegirl is checking off all the boxes of success for an early 20-something: stellar grades in high school got her into a top-notch university, she’s landed some great internships, and she’s involved in a handful of clubs and sports on campus.

Oh, plus she has a core group of friends who are loving and supportive.

Little do they know that Kayla is binge-eating weekly, has a history of self-harm, and is exhausted from keeping up her façade where she is “Great!” on the outside but saying “FML” on the inside.

Time and time again, she finds herself finishing a jumbo bag of chips or picking compulsively at her scabs and wondering, “What the eff is wrong with me?”

Maddy’s* friends joke she’s “like a machine”

Girlfriend is killing it for what post-grad life looks like: she landed the job with lots of potential for promotion.

She’s looking forward to moving up. But, oh wait, she must go to more school for those top spots.

She just worked her ass off for the past four years in undergrad. It seems like, no matter how hard she works, the finish line keeps getting pushed further and further away.

The stress and strain are starting to get to her: bags under her eyes, weight gain, and insomnia. Isn’t insomnia something that happens to older people and not to someone in her 20s?

But she can’t stop herself from going over the lists of what she needs to do the next day, replaying awkward interactions with her coworkers, and figuring out how she will be able to get everything done for everyone else, including family, friends, and her partner.

They are so proud and impressed with her “discipline,” but they have no idea how weak and pathetic she feels. “If they knew me, they would turn away. What the eff is wrong with me?”

Amanda’s* Instagram is filled with fake smiles

Sis has been struggling. She figured that by her mid-20s, she would be able to afford her place, have a decent job, and be in an authentic relationship with a great partner. Flash forward: she’s living at home with mom and dad (thanks, California housing market!), working a job that has nothing to do with her life’s passion, and s-i-n-g-l-e.

She came from a loving family but had an inkling that some of the sh*t that went down when she was a child is impacting her as a young adult.

She keeps getting into unhealthy relationships with guys who were covered in red flags. Out of fear, she feels the need to be the “best” friend – because if she weren’t, her friends would ditch her.

Her life is filled with fear of disappointing her parents, inconveniencing her manager, and burdening her friends. She avoids conflict like the plague.

And it is taking a toll: she’s arguing more with her parents, crying over dumb sh*t, and occasionally wonders what it would be like ‘not to be around anymore.’ And no matter what new habit she tries to make, she cannot get her sh*t together.

“What the eff is wrong with me? What the eff is my effing problem? I need some effing help.”

Why is the struggle so real?

What the eff is wrong with Amanda, Maddy, Kayla, and you? Maybe they lack self-esteem… or what if they just try harder?

Perhaps if they joined Orange Theory, dyed their hair, bought themselves happy at Anthropologie, or stopped giving two f*cks what other people thought then maybe (just maybe) they would feel better about themselves, hate themselves a little less, and be a tad kinder to themselves.

The question, dear reader who has made it this far, is not “What the eff is wrong with me?” but really “What the eff happened to me?”

I work with clients to answer that question and pinpoint what experiences in the past are continuing to impact them. With the use of some badass therapy skills, I will help you let your past sh*t go, pick up useful tools along the way, and change the trajectory of your life. You don’t have to live like this anymore. This is not as good as it gets.

*Names have been changed to preserve client confidentiality.

Hi, I’m Marissa.

“Though she be but little, she is fierce.”

– Shakespeare

My mission in life is to empower young women to stop playing small and start taking up space – with their parents, partners, professors, peers, and friends (darn, I was on a roll with those p’s).

I went to therapy for the first time at 20 and was struggling. On the outside, everything looked amazing; but on the inside, I was drowning, and my façade was starting to crack.

With the help of a therapist (and subsequent therapists), I was able to discard my negative patterns, dump my negative beliefs, and step into adulthood with confidence and direction. Every day, I am grateful for the opportunity to create the same change in my clients.

My background

As a twin, I like to brag that I have about nine more months of social intelligence than the average human.

I was born and raised in Claremont and am a bona fide California girl. As an undergraduate, I attended UC Santa Barbara and then received my Masters in Clinical Psychology from California State University, Fullerton.

In September of 2018, I became licensed in California and opened-up shop to my practice in March 2020.

When I am not in session with my clients, I spend my time podcasting (The Codependummy Podcast), reading, spending quality time with friends and family, binging on audiobooks, attending my own therapy, and getting my 10,000 steps a day.

My older sister describes me as “compulsive,” but I’ve been able to reframe it as “persistent.” (Did you see that? That’s what therapy did for me – it helped me transform my shortcomings into strengths, as it will do for you.)