Day By Day

October 27, 2016

I just get by.


So the thinking goes.

I was a little off today, a little not quite myself, a little quiet, a little introspective.

This is not a problem.


It’s also not something that I care for very much, thinking about myself usually just breeds misery.

The day was just a day, I tell myself, sure, it didn’t exactly go my way, but I have no control over that.

Frankly I was just grateful it didn’t rain so that I could ride my scooter to work.

Mondays and Wednesday’s I’m up at the top of Eureka Street in Noe Valley and it’s no small climb, it’s not a good place to get to via public transportation, nor would it be an easy ride on my bicycle.


So not having rain today, grateful.

Tomorrow is another story.

Rain, rain, rain.

All week.

All weekend.


I’ll probably take MUNI into work on Thursday and Friday and to see my person in the Inner Sunset on Saturday.

I don’t have plans.

I don’t have Halloween plans.

I don’t have a date.

I don’t have anything.



I guess I have homework, there is always that.

What with the rain I suppose I could get a lot of reading done.

I had hopes to do some reading today at work, but that definitely did not happen.

Kiddo out sick from school.

So, although I had a fat baby nap, I didn’t have time away from my charges to actually sit and do any homework.

Despite having brought it in with me.

I never touched it.

I did play a lot of Go Fish.

I did hang out and read him Harry Potter.

I did dance party with the little girl and her middle brother when he got home from school.

I made homemade pizza for dinner.

I did, actually, have a really nice day with them, it just wasn’t the day I had planned.

Story of my life.

And I can’t gripe too much, I actually did some of the reading before I went into work today.

I got up and did a lot of writing.

I read a bit too and that felt good to be doing it, though it wasn’t as much as I wanted, anything is better than nothing and it’s a kind of steady progress which will get me there.

I felt a little lonely today.

There is that.

Loneliness happens.


I know that I am not alone and that helps.

Even when I am by myself, I am not alone.

I also had a moment of free-floating dread that happens about this time of year and I always forget about it until it’s happening and then it hits me and I’m like, oh yeah, this time of year was the time when I started my slide to the bottom, to my bottom.

It’s a kind of body memory.

I had an excruciating bottom and it began at Halloween and lasted until the first weekend of January.

It was devastating and all the holidays have their special marker of horror for me.

Halloween because I had thought I’d escaped my disease, or it had escaped me, my dealer had gotten arrested and for a month was MIA and I thought to myself when it happened, good, this is exactly what I need.

The goose hung high.

I was literally the proverbial boy whistling in the dark.

I had plans that Halloween to hang out with friends and have a late dinner at Bruno’s Super Club on Mission Street.

I was a flapper.

I had a pretty awesome outfit.

A beautiful grey cloche hat with a black ribbon, I had very short hair at the time, slicked back with one kiss curl on my forehead, buckle shoe Mary Jane’s, fish net stockings, a short sassy black chiffon dress, a strand of baubles, a fake beauty mark high on my right cheek, and a long cigarette holder for my cigarettes.

I got a lot of compliments on my outfit.

I was pleased.

I remember I was just having my first or second cocktail of the night and we had just finished ordering dinner.

I was going to get the sliders.

I got a phone call instead.

I hopped up to take it and headed outside for a cigarette.

It was my dealer.

He was out and how much did I want?

I hemmed and hawed and said two.

Two grams of cocaine that is.

I didn’t think about it, I didn’t think, wait, what, you weren’t going to do this anymore, I just spit out a number and then said were I was.

I went back inside, ordered another cocktail, sat down and waited for my dinner to come, which I never touched, as my dealer called just as my plate was being set down in front of me.

I hopped back up, said I’d be right back and dashed outside.

He was idling at the corner in a nondescript grey Saturn sedan.

I hopped in, handed him $100 and he handed me two grams of blow and said, I haven’t had time to cut it.


It was in brick.

I managed.

And I managed to fall right back down the fucking rabbit hole.

I went straight to the bathroom and chopped up a couple of lines.

They were too rocky, too big, but I was too excited and couldn’t wait to break it down proper.

Dinner sat and got cold.

I drank another cocktail.

Our friend got done with his shift and a crew of us headed out to a Halloween party.


I have no clue.

I do remember being the center of attention at one point on the back stairway having a game of dozens with the host and smoking cigarettes.

I remember a lot of trips to the bathroom to break up the cocaine so that I could actually snort it.

I remember calling my dealer the next day.

And the next.

And well.

You get the idea.


Hello late October, hello Halloween with all your scary and tricks and treats.

I’m not much into it anymore, though a girl does like to dress up.

I don’t like the feeling of expectation and the need to party that seems to overtake even most normal folks.

The dread, once it was named, eased off my body and I went up to see some fellows and get right with God and I left feeling reconnected and grateful for the gentle reminder of how fucking bad it was.

I never want to go there again.

I mean.





Thank God for this life.

I am.

The luckiest girl in the world.



October 26, 2016

Spice Girl.

He called me.

That is hella cute.

Especially as I am sitting here writing my blog with a cup of the aforementioned tea.

After a brief and totally pointless 24 hours, well, I suppose it’s not pointless as I have learned again what I had already known.

Tinder sucks.

The best thing about Tinder was matching with a lover I had already matched with and chatting.

Funny meeting you here.

You’re a hotty!

It was cute.

We chatted a little, discussed possible Halloween plans and that was that.

The rest of it was a fucking joke.

I had forgotten how many, oh so many, “nopes” there are.

I can’t do the swipe left, swipe right thing.

I tried.

I kept doing it backward.

Fucking dyslexia.


I would just hit the “nope” button.

I hit it a lot.

And then the ones that I did say yes too pretty much sussed themselves out as useless as well.

Ah well.

I tried.

And then I just gave it to God.

This shit does not work.

I was off the app this morning, deleting it for the fifth time.

I think that won’t be happening again.

I did have a moment though, when I realized, I did meet a couple of decent guys on the app, one of whom I had a nice little tea date with prior to going to Burning Man.

Between his schedule and my schedule we just never seemed to reconnect.

I still had his number in my phone, I sent out a little questioning text.

And what do you know.

He’d been thinking about me.


We chatted a little, I made a suggestion for going out for a cup of tea and though he wasn’t available the time I mentioned, he did seem quite eager for a rain check.

He’ll be getting back to me when he gets back into town.

And until then.

I do it the old-fashioned way.

I ask them out in person.

I flirt.

I connect face to face.

It’s harder.

Oh how easy it is to get lost in the fantasy of connection that happens online, but that’s just what it is, fantasy.



And oh so very, very, isolating.

I want to be of the world.

I want to be in reality land, even if it takes more effort.

In the end, the results will be worth it, I do believe.

I realized today too that I was going to give my number to a guy at Lucca Ravioli, he’s adorable and though I don’t see it going anywhere, it would be just a little tiny bit thrilling to flirt.


I’m only in my current job until December and I can handle it if it goes south, I won’t be going to Lucca once or twice a week for the family.

I won’t be going to Lucca at all.

I almost did it today.

The shop was busy, however, and the boys were with me and I smiled and that was enough.

I got a “thank you beautiful,” from Juan though as I was paying for the cold cuts I had gotten for the family.

He always flirts.


He’s sporting a wedding band.

Is it just easier to flirt with someone when you know they’re not available or you’re not available?

The safety net of the ring on the finger.

I did not, however, notice a ring on Adam’s finger and he’s always so flustered when he helps me out, over talkative and flirty, it’s very cute.

He’s a tiny bit younger than I normally go for, but whatever.

Take action.

Let go of the result.

I am not trying to figure it out.


Just letting go and letting God.

I mean.


I am on a runaway train toward the person I am supposed to be with.


I’ve been derailed a little over the past few weeks, but I seem to be evening out and I’m super grateful for the experiences that I have had and now.


I feel primed.

And that’s exciting.

I’m not sure what’s going to happen.

That’s cool too.

I have plenty to keep me busy.

The never-ending stack of books that I need to be reading.

The papers I get to write.

The families I work for.

“Carmen, you’re going to be leaving us,” he said soft and sad and kissed my hand and leaned into me with all his sweet weight.

Oh goodness.

The goodbyes are already killing me with the boys I work for.

They have been very concerned about me, about where I’m going to live, even.

“Are you moving?” One of them asked me, I assured them that I was not.


I realized.



At some point, I do want to move.

I live in a studio in-law with no windows.

Which technically is illegal.

But the back door is all glass and I get sunshine through that.

None the less, I do want more space and more light.

God more light would be fantastic.

Although I have tricked it out nicely and it’s cozy and warm and I do love it.


I said, “well, eventually I will move, but just to a bigger place,” I assured him and ruffled his soft brown hair.

“I know!  You could move in with us!” He jumped up and down excited with the thought.

“You don’t have enough room sweetheart, where would I sleep?”

Not that I would actually ever, ever, ever, ever consider moving in with my employers, I like have my autonomy thank you very much.

“You could sleep in the Lego room!” His eyes got wide.

“Oh, honey, that is so sweet, thank you, but you want the space for your Legos and the new piano, well, I don’t think there’d be enough room,” I finished and gave him a huge hug.

“I’ll talk to mom and dad about it, you can stay in the Lego room, it’s perfect,” he concluded.

Oh my God.

And I have two more months of this.

I am grateful I have the time to wind it down with them and it is so nice to spend time with them, although I have to reset boundaries pretty consistently with them as I’m not as often in their lives, it’s worth it.

The love I get is so worth it.

It’s been a good week.

And it’s only Tuesday.

Can’t wait to see what happens next.

It’s going to be off the hook.

Just wait and see.


Can’t Figure It Out

October 25, 2016

Because there is nothing to figure out.

I know I have written about this before.

I just struck me hard today when I was doing some reading for school.


I know.

Take a break.


I really wanted to get caught up on the reading that I didn’t have fully done from this past weekend; I have a couple of whopper big papers due the next round of classes and I want to have the reading done and organized in my head.

I got up early today.

Earlier than the last three days, four days, I’m a little lost as far as what day it is, they are all bleeding together.

All I know is that Friday will be an amazing thing to get to.

Next Saturday will be my first day off in two weeks.

Two weeks.

My employers asked me if I had a good weekend.


I went to school for 29 hours after working a full week of work and then turned around to do a nine-hour shift today.

And it was a short shift.

It usually goes 9.5 hours on Mondays.

I had a great weekend!




It was actually a lot of work, but it was so good to see some of the people in my cohort, I just have made some extraordinary friends there.

I have, I have.

And though I didn’t want to be at work, Mondays are my longest day, they are also, in some ways my most relaxed.

I only have one charge.

Her parents are gone the entire day.


She naps.

Heavenly baby naps.

So I actually did do homework.

I wasn’t going to bring my Psychopathology books with me.

I really wasn’t.

I was going to give myself some down time.

But then I thought, you’ll be pissed when you get a fat baby nap and you don’t have some homework to kick through, it’ll feel like wasted time.

You know me.

I hate wasting time.

I need to learn how to though, I do know that.


I had a sweet, lovely morning with her, we danced, we read books, we went for a walk around the block on her little push tricycle.

It was adorable.

Then I put her down for naps, had lunch, made some tea and got into the reading.

I kicked through two chapters of Psychoanalytic Case Formulation.

Don’t be jealous.

Hella sexy read.


I started reading my Psychodynamic Psychiatry in Clinical Practice book.

I know.

I know you want to read them.

It’s ok.

You can borrow them when I’m done.


I was struck as I sat on the couch fiddling around with my hair how I have changed so much and grown so much and then I was thinking about a condition that we were studying in class over the weekend.



Obsessive hair pulling.

Some people can’t stop pulling out their eyebrows or eyelashes.

Some can’t stop pulling out their hair.

I used to be a hair twirler.

I did not know that until my mom told me, years ago, that when I was little I would obsessively twist my hair until I gave myself bald spots.

I just about burst into tears.

I still do it on occasion.

And it’s a self-soothing response to stress.

It’s also extraordinarily indicative of trauma in the client’s history.

All the things I used to do to deal with the pain of being me.

Pulling out my hair.

Stopped that.

I don’t actually remember when I stopped, but I did.

I also know that during a very stressful point in my sobriety and recovery I was working with someone who pointed out to me that I was twirling my hair and he hadn’t seen me do that before and wondered out loud what that was about.

I didn’t know at the time, but I found it comforting and I will do it once in a while now.

I have noticed that I do it when I am reading for class.

I also notice a few other habits that I didn’t use to correlate to anything at all.



Fuck, this is embarrassing, but whatever.

In the interest of science, er, I mean, my blog.

I used to exhibit pretty bad excoriation.

Excoriation (skin-picking) disorder.

I know.


I’ll stop soon.

I promise.


It has faded, but it was a slow fade.

I started with my mom doing it to me, she’d pick at my acne when I started going through adolescence, then I picked it up, I am surprised I don’t have acne scars.

I used to have pretty bad acne too.

Still get it on the odd day, but it’s pretty much gone, worked its way out of my system by the time I had two years of sobriety.

I had a horrible habit around it.

I would pick at my fingers too, bite my nails, peel off the cuticle around my nails, oh so many hang nails.



A trauma survivor response.

So much fucking trauma.

And that’s when the reading hit home.

And made my chest tight and also, shit, fuck, motherfucker, holy mother of god, I finally figured it out.



I figured out why I am always trying to figure it out.

I have had an inkling of it.

But it all just fell into my lap.

I was reading about trauma, shocker, I am going to be reading a lot about trauma and I need to remind myself that I also get to do a lot of sweet self-care for myself and although I recognize my resilience and it is extraordinary, there are still ways for me to be gentle.

I mean I have had some big time information come into my life regarding my family and family of origin in the last few weeks.

I have seen it ripple out into the world in odd and interesting ways.

Some sweet, some strange, some uncomfortable.

All sorts of information and wilding things falling out of the wood work.



As I sat reading, twirling my hair, scratching at the back of my neck, why is it so itchy?

I had a huge aha moment.

Oh my god.

The reading is re-traumatizing me.


Which is to be expected.

It’s just stirring stuff up from the bottom of the pot.

It’s all good though, I realized what was happening because I had read about the ways in which trauma can manifest itself psychodynamically.


And all the other ways I have coped in the past popped into my head and that I have stopped doing them.

I stopped!

Do you have any clue how amazing that is?

I do.

I put down cocaine, alcohol, cigarettes, sugar, all forms of processed flour.

I no longer have stage four cystic acne, I don’t pull my hair out, and I don’t pick at my cuticles, I stopped biting my nails years ago and I have to say it is a small and beautiful gift to myself that I go and get them done.

I am proud of my nails.

My hair.

And of course, I have moments, trembling with the need to change and soothe and self-sabotage when I want to cut it all the fuck off.

I know that I won’t.

But it pops up.

All the things that pop up.

The last one, the one that I have been saving, since I figure I lost most of my readership a while back as this is not a sexy, sexy blog, is that “figuring it out” is a psychodynamic symptom of a child that has suffered severe trauma or sexual abuse.


Not to be tongue in cheek, but to move this along, I realized that I kept having this recurring pattern, all my life I have been trying to figure it out.

Breaking my own heart trying to figure it out, even when I was told again and again, “figure it out is not a slogan,” or good luck with that, or that there was no “figuring it out” to drop that.

That I have been standing banging my head on a wall for years and years trying to figure it out.

Because if I can figure out what is wrong with me, I can fix me.

I can fix what ever it is in me that didn’t know how to stop what was happening to me, that if I figure it out the same thing won’t happen to me again, I won’t get hurt, I have figured out what is wrong with me, why I destroyed so much and then I can get on with the getting on of life and be ok and like.

I don’t know, have a boyfriend or something.


That I didn’t do anything wrong.

I don’t have to fix something that I didn’t break.

It wasn’t broken because of me.

How can a four-year old be accountable to that?

Childlike, I blamed myself for my grandmother’s divorce, my mothers separation and subsequent divorce from my father, that I was the reason I was being abused.

I was the whistleblower.


It was still my fault.

I brought the house of cards tumbling down.

Like all abused children I believed that there was something wrong with me, and in this believing I persevered with a hope, that if I could figure it out I could change it and the abuse would stop.

A four-year old cannot be held to that.

A four-year old doesn’t know how to cross the street without holding an adults hand.

“Come on baby, we’re running away from home, momma’s mean,” I said to my two-year old sister, taking her by the hand and walking out the door.

We walked around the block.

I had been told to never cross the street without holding an adults hand.

That’s how my mom found me, walking around in circles.

That is how I found me.

In this circular pattern of thinking for so fucking long.

I can’t fix me.

I was never broken.

I didn’t cause it, I can’t cure it, I can’t change it.

I can just accept it.

Which is not approval, by the way.

It was just what happened.

I can, however, be of service and take it in stride and let it go.

I can let my heart fill up with love.

I can say it stops here.

And something new grows forward.

Something amazing.


More and more fully myself.

I am so excited.


I know this seems implausible.

But I am relieved.

It finally landed.

I finally got it.

I can stop trying to figure it out.

The relief.


The relief is huge.

And I am blessed.



And loved.

So very.




The Half Way Point

October 24, 2016

Has been met.

I wrapped up my third weekend of five here in the first semester of my second year of graduate school.

Graduate school is sexy.

In case you were wondering.

Sleep deprivation.

Overconsumption of caffeine.

Anxiety about keeping up on the reading.

Writing papers.

Cramming it all in between the nooks and crannies of living life.


Hoping once in a while to get a little sunshine on my face or a hug from a friend.


God fucking forbid.

A date.

Dating is challenging.

Throw recovery into the mix, full-time work and grad school.

Fuck me.

I’ll see you when I graduate and oh, then I’ll be interning.

That will be entertaining.

I do have hopes though for some magic.

I do.

I might even hop back out into online dating and Tinder.

I might.

I say this as I’m downloading the app to my phone.

I might use it.

Fuck me.

I amuse myself.

I was chatting with a friend of mine after class today at Philz and I told her about how I was getting a little too hormonal for my own good.

I also have to say, thank God for girlfriends you can share all the things with.

I am so lucky.

I told her about how things have gone this week and got all flustered and wound up and how if I’m feeling like this, if I’m so flushed up and flustered, maybe I need to take action.

“I need a fucking boyfriend,” I said.

“Yes, you do, but get laid and maybe, don’t worry about the guy being sober, like, throw open the pool and just you know, have some fun, get you through for a little while,” she said and laughed with me.

I’m a touch frustrated.

And it’s ok.

It is what it is.

But walking around perpetually turned on, although, hey, my skin is glowing, is a lot to deal with on top of grad school, work, etc, ad nauseum, blah, blah, blah.

It’s just life.

I remind myself.

It’s just another thing to experience.

I’ll probably have it up, the Tinder profile, for a week and be like fuck this like I have previously.


I do feel a need to take some action.

I was thinking about asking someone out.

Not that I have had the opportunity to do so recently.

Recently having been this weekend, in which I was in school classes for 29 hours, so yeah, maybe not the best time to go out on a date.


I do feel like I need to keep trying.

Keep things moving.

Keep trying.

Keep living.

I’m going to be a fucking therapist.

I should have some more relationship experience.

And besides.

I feel ready.

Definitely ready and I’m adamant about the “no married men” thing and the being available to be with someone who is available.

No going back to the drawing board.

But maybe just a little roll around the hay.


I don’t know.

I definitely don’t have to figure it out right now.

Perhaps the frustration of not getting what I want can be harnessed.


I could run the world.

Not like I’m not already busy enough.

I was able to express myself to my friend though, it was so helpful and I am so grateful for my friend and to get to have dinner with her and her husband and another beloved person tonight after school, after cups of Philz coffee in the Castro, I was really so very grateful for them.

We went and had dinner at Lark, up on 18th between Castro and Hartford.

Pretty much the heart of the Castro.

Lots of lovely men to look at.

Not that anyone of them were interested in me, aside to compliment my frock.

I have to say, nothing like having a load of gay men tell me I look divine in polka dots and red lipstick.

Thank you very much.

I wore my crinoline too, it was just too much, but just right all at the same time.

And we had such a lovely time.

My friend also suggested that I talk more with them in French.

I tried.

I get a little flustered with it, but it’s such good practice and considering how much I love my friend and she’s French and lives in Paris and I’ll be going to Paris to visit her.

I also suspect that it won’t be my last time to Paris.

When someone you love dearly is living in Paris, you go when you can.

I did rather well, with the French-speaking, actually.

I ended up describing my relationship to my person, my mentor so to speak (wink, wink, nudge, nudge) all in French and though I stumbled a bit, I got it all out and that felt rather good to explain about my person and how I am helped by working with him and the whys and whereof of getting support around my family of origin alcohol and drug addictions.

It was rather awesome.

I mean, there was still some things lost in translation, but really, I did ok.

And my friend said the same thing, she told me that I actually speak a lot better than I think I do and that what I should start doing with her is speak as much French as I can and when I can’t, then use English.

She’s totally right.

It helped immediately.

I went back and forth between English and French all dinner.

It was thrilling.

And when I thought about it.

My heart just beat so hard in my chest.

Who was this woman, in her red Chanel lipstick, speaking French at a fancy restaurant in San Francisco?

Surrounded by people who love me.

I mean.

I have absolutely no question that I am loved.

It was just amazing.

And I felt so, well, awed, really.

I felt validated too.

It’s been a good week for that.

I’m in a good place.

A happy place.

A secure place.

A place of love.

A place of polka dots and my heart on my sleeve.

A place full of music and joy.

I might be just a tiny bit relieved to be done with the school weekend too.









Damn You

October 23, 2016

Second wind.

I did not expect to be so jazzed up all the sudden.

I was crashing pretty hard in my last class of the day and just put my forehead down on the shoulder of one of my classmates and said, “make it stop.”

Or something to that effect.

It was a long day.

But hey.

It’s done now.

And of course.

I am wide awake.

I’m listening to music and writing and drinking hot tea and thinking about high-school.


That sounds like good times, right?



It was with a certain sweetness and fondness that I was thinking about myself and with a great deal of compassion for the experiences that made me.

I wouldn’t wish to go back.

I wouldn’t wish to change it.

I wouldn’t go and tell that girl child turning woman, do it different, here’s how, no.

I would not.

I am in love with who I am.

I was happy today and light and free and sad and sorrowful and of service and I showed up and yes, I was tired by the end of the day, but that girl, that girl reading books in her room, cuddled up in a worn out chair covered in my grandmothers afghan, that girl made this possible.

She dreamt.

She would listen to music and read and stare out the window.

I don’t remember what I thought about.

Sometimes I would look in a mirror and wonder about the reflection there.

I thought I was pretty.

I thought I might even be beautiful, but I did not get that kind of feedback.

I was curious.

Am I seeing myself?



There was that a lot, the asking why.

Sometimes I would fantasize or play with my hair or dress up.

Nothing that I ever reflected by wearing back to school, clothes wise that is, except with one or two exceptions of trying out a new look one week in high school my senior year that I was so nervous to wear that I could hardly enjoy it.

But I rocked it.

I have always liked clothes and fashion.

I was not in a place to wear the clothes I wanted.


Boy did I covet certain things.

I am proud of myself though.

When I look back.

I carved out my own way.

I was my own woman.

I had nothing to really model on, which was on one hand a kind of curse, but I also got to learn, trial and error what I liked and what I don’t.

I’m still discovering.


Some seeds were planted in that room.

From reading all those books.

My God did I read.

I miss that sometimes now.

All the time.

Reading for pleasure.

I don’t get to do it nearly enough.

Reading for school has super ceded that luxury.

Funny that.

Reading, a luxury.

But my God.

When I think about the hours curled up on the couch, or in my room, or in my bed, or under my favorite apple tree in the orchard.

I was moony and dreamy and fanciful and the stories I read reflected that and also, they were my escape.

I was thinking about that as well tonight.


All the ways I can check out when it gets to be too much and how I have hidden out, sometimes in plain view, and yet, how very much I want to be seen.

I felt very seen today.

I did a genogram presentation of my family tree.

I traced inter-generational traumas three generations on one side of my family and four generations of it on the other side.

All the pain.

All that hurt.

All the sorrow.

I felt my chest get hot and I realized that what was coming out of my mouth was not what I had planned and that was ok.

I have done enough public speaking, so much, I have spoken in front of crowds big and small, that I don’t really have a problem doing it.

I’m actually really quite good off script.

I typically do need to know what I am talking about.

And my family history, though not as much of a mystery as it was a week ago, was still settling in my system.

I made sure I was pretty today.

I wore flowers in my hair.

I thought of sweetness and resilience.

I thought of grace and service.

I thought how I could show up and heal by sharing.

Therein lies the issue, I feel, I believe, so much of the secrecy, the shame, the conflict and contention that doesn’t get spoken of, gets twisted up in my heart and lays there heavy and sodden like wet leaves mulching into winter on the hoar-frost covered land.


I swept clear some ground.

I laid it bare.

I spoke my truth, to the best of my knowledge and understanding.

I breathed.

I felt my face flush.

I said the words.

I was held the room did not fall apart.

Although after, when I sat I realized how much the class was affected.


One person.

Her sweet face and red eyes letting me know how my words had landed.

I don’t really recall much of what I spoke of.


The bones of it, the narrative, the stories, the lineage of pain handed down the line, mother to child, father to son, grandparent to grandchild.

I do.


Recall pointing out the brightness on the map.

The bright triangles of joy I encapsulated myself and a few members of my family.

The joy of recovery and the strength there.

“Few people realize how the family structure is affected when one member gets into recovery,” my professor had briefly tossed out into a lecture weeks ago.

I hung that star on my paper.

I flashed it bright.

My recovery.

My foundation.

My base.

My place of growth, stellar and bright and resilient.

I have no idea where the resilience comes from, perhaps my grandmother on my fathers’ side, I am named after her.


I don’t know.

I don’t need to know.

I don’t need to change anything.

I don’t approve of it, but I do accept it.

And as I sank down in my pretty dress and felt my heart beat hard in my chest I knew I had succeeded.

If I can do it.

So can you.

If there is a meaning in all of this, it is that I survived.

And that I got better, stronger, more powerful, more loving.




More love.

More magic.

Just fucking more of all the things.

And I’m almost through.

Literally and figuratively.

One more day of class and another weekend down.

One more small step down the road.

One more opening of the door to my heart.

Just a little wider.

Just a little more open.

Just a little.




The sunlight of the spirit.



All of it.


The love that gets to come in when I clear out the wreckage of my past.



More of that.

Wound Up

October 22, 2016

Just a little bit.

Just probably because it’s Friday.

Another school night.

No going out tonight.

But I’m feeling it.

Friday night.

I had class today and saw my best girls today and connected and reconnected with them.

I told them what was going on in my life and it felt really good to say all the things and talk about it and have good perspective from them.

Especially my darling French friend.

“You see, this is why I don’t read your blog!” She exclaimed as we sat and shared over lunch.

I cried a few times.


It is real.


I also felt seen and loved.

“No, Carmen, there’s no figuring it out and you don’t need to change, you are perfect, maybe it really is just San Francisco,” she added, “maybe it is just timing.”

I know that.

But you see.

I fell into an unavailable man-hole and it ate me alive for a few days.

There’s still imprints of it all over me and I’m ok with it now that I have had some time to do some writing and some talking and some sharing.

So unavailable.

So sexy.

So can’t even begin to make it work.

I could give a laundry list of reasons.

But to sum up.




Doesn’t live in San Francisco.


Fuck me.

“I’m not concerned with that,” he told me, when I finally, tearfully, called my person earlier this week, letting the cat out of the bag, and said, hey, um, I need to talk to you about something.

“I’m more concerned with the married part,” he said, “and that’s the part you get to focus on.”


The being attracted to someone who I cannot be with, that part.

Oh, like I don’t have any idea what you’re talking about.

Fuck me.

“He has bright eyes,” she said as I showed her the photograph, “there is something very compelling there, he is handsome.”

Yes, yes he does…

Yes, yes, he is.

And he sees me in a way that is so flattering, so seductive, so unbelievable that it makes me feel like, woman hear me roar.


He’s married and doesn’t live in San Francisco.

I keep going back to that.

It doesn’t matter that there’s the sexy connection, it doesn’t matter.

In the end I can only fantasize and well, that doesn’t serve me.

I want flesh and blood.

I want sweat and hand holding.

I want a person I can hold on to and who can hold onto me.

I want.

I want.

I want what I want when I want it and I want it now.

“Now” is never going to happen.

And I also deserve to have it.

The huge love, the thunderous applause of blood in my face, the arch of light in my eyes, the smothering of kisses on my face.

I want it all.

And so.

I shut it down.

I shut it down hard.

There was no consummation, FYI, not that it’s any of your business anyway, but there was enough there to know that it could happen if we were in the right place at the right time and the right moment.





I also have a living amends to not have sex with married men.

So, um yeah.

It didn’t happen.

And it’s.

Not going to happen.

So stop the fantasy, stop the playing out all the possible solutions in your head, stop trying to figure it out.

“You know, your blog is only a sliver of you too,” she added, leaning in, “in France this is not such a big deal.”

“Oh, I hear you and it’s not that, really so much,” I said in response to a question she had regarding the nature of the relationship, “it really is the married and lives in another town problem.”


Also, “he’s put you on a pedestal,” she said, “but yeah, it is so good for the ego, so sexy.”

So good.

I mean.


It’s really nice to be seen.

Even if I’m not seen fully, here in my messy end of the day braids and helmet hair, my silliness as I dance around the room, in my sadness, in my humanity.


I’m not fully seen.

But the intoxication of being even just a little seen.

Well, that is thrilling.




But, yes, ultimately, it’s a dead-end street for me.

I am grateful for the experience, wild with the gratitude, the gifts of perspective and how fast it happened, the flirtation arose, it was, well, flirted with, then I got to put a stop to it.

And get to really is the gift.

It was hard.

But with some support I did it and now I get to move on, into the light of whatever new day, new date, new man is out there waiting for me.

The deck is cleared.

“No, it is not dating for you that I want,” she said and paused.

“I want for you the grand passion, the coup de foudre, la grand amoureuse.”


Thank you.

My darling friend for saying it.

I want that too.

And though I did feel struck by lightning when it all came out, it was lightening in the distance.

The rumble of a storm brewing, a passion to end all passions.

But on the other side of the world.

And I am here.


In this moment.

In San Francisco.

In my little studio down by the sea.



Not trying to fix or change or be someone or something other than who I am.

Maybe it is San Francisco.

Maybe it is that I have had a habit of being attracted to men who aren’t available or attracted to me.

Although this was not the case, the man is attracted, oh my.


And attractive.

But again.

Not here.

Not available.


Not for me.

I also think, or have been thinking that though I have had opportunities, I have also sabotaged and defended myself from possible, or probable hurt, I have been hurt, I don’t want to be hurt again, but I can withstand the pain of being hurt in a way that I didn’t believe or know that I could.

Safety is not the issue anymore.

I am settled in my skin.

I have done the work, and though of course, there is more work to do.

I am capable of being present and available.


I am so excited to see what happens next.

It’s going to be amazing.

I have faith.

It really.

Is going to be.


I feel it.



Faster, Faster, Go, Go

October 21, 2016

Get it all done.

I was replacing the light bulbs in my overhead lamp and juggling laundry, messaging with a friend, peeling carrots for lunch tomorrow, packing my school bag and putting away the groceries.

Jesus H. Christ on a raft.

I’m a little busy.

I got up early today and wrote a paper before I went to work.

I also wrote my morning pages, because that’s where so much of the mind gets sorted out and it’s helpful to clean that out before I do my other stuff.

It really does help to set me straight.

I’m a bit bent.

I’m a bit crooked.

I need a little help.

From my friends.

My friends, pen and paper.

I picked up some of my favorite pens today at Walgreens, along with said light bulbs that I was just juggling in my hands, multi-task much Martines?

They always remind me of being in Paris and how devastated I was to not be able to have them when I was running low.

The funny thing is, they are just generic, cheap pens, but I’ve been using them for years and they just have the nicest flow to the ink.

Lovely, luscious, scrawls right out onto the page, easy, loose, and that is important to me, as I write a lot long hand and I want the pen to just be an extension of my hand.

I don’t scrimp on paper though.


That is something I just realized!

I will be buying myself Claire Fontaine notebooks when I go to Paris.

I always buy a bunch.

There is a website, I suppose I could always order them, I am still stocked up at the moment, I’ll probably need to replenish sometime between Christmas and May, but I might make it.


That paper, so good, so dreamy, slick and cool and silky under my hand when I write.

I am such a sensory little beast.

I love how things feel, I’m all about the tactile.

The wind on my skin, the warmth of the sun, the touch of something soft.

And smells.

Flowers, my perfume.

“You smell like roses,” she exclaimed to me, “I couldn’t figure out who smelled so good Friday night, and it was you!”

I smiled.

Yes, that’s me.

“But not old lady roses, what is it?” She asked.

Rose Flash baby.

My new perfume.


I suppose it’s not so new at this point, I started wearing it back in March I think, after I broke my favorite bottle of scent in the bathroom sink, the scent that I have worn with a few exceptions (the Issey Miyake Feu D’Issey years before it went off the market, fuck I would kill for one more bottle of that) Egoiste Pour Homme, by Chanel.


I know.

That’s a men’s scent.

But it works so fucking well with my chemistry.

I can only get it at Chanel down on Maiden Lane or when I travel.


I could get another bottle in Paris.

Of course I will.

How could I not?

French perfume, God, I love perfume.

So much.

And scented candles, I’m such a sucker for the good smells.

Wood smoke.



I put on my perfume before I go to bed because I like to smell it in my hair as I fall asleep.

I like clean, soft sheets and perfume.

I light up my candles when I get home.

I like my cozy.

I like my sensory things, I’m a little gluttonous when it comes to those things, but when I think about all the things I don’t imbibe in, well, fuck, bring on the perfume.

Hello, please.

I am pretty happy with the Rose Flash though, I get it at Tiger Lily a little perfumerie on Valencia Street in the Mission, I don’t know if it’s my forever scent, I vacillate about going back to the Egoiste, but it is such a lovely perfume, and I do feel special wearing it.

I want to turn heads.

What girl doesn’t?

I’ve had people stop me when I’ve worn it, as well as follow me to ask what it was.

“You smell so good,” he said to me, and kissed my neck when he stopped by Wednesday before I was heading into work.

Thanks I said and handed over his boots.

Bye bye boots.

Those boots were made for walking right out of my house and I don’t think they’ll be coming back, I didn’t invite the boot owner in and I don’t think I will be again.

But that’s another story.



Oh yes.


Right now I’m listening to the Spotify play list my dear French friend put together for me.

I get to see her tomorrow and I’m really happy about that.

In fact, I’m super happy to see a bunch of my cohort.

I have missed them.

I didn’t get it all done, all my homework, I didn’t manage to get all my reading done, but all the papers I have due, four, are finished.

And I’m not going to sweat the reading, I did enough.

I am enough.

And I don’t have to be perfect.

I do need to write my little blog, because it feels so good to write it, all the frustrations and thoughts, it takes away my pain.

Not that I’m saying I’ve been in excruciating pain.

Just a little agony.

You know, no biggie.



Where was I with my senses?

Oh taste.




The taste of an apple with the above spices liberally sprinkled on them.

Fizzy water in black cherry.


And oh are they in season, it looks like a persimmon orchard on my kitchen counter.


Let me not forget you, and I am scantily covering these senses, there is so much more that I haven’t even had the opportunity to share, write about, ponder.

I don’t have that much time tonight, I’m already up past my bedtime considering that I need to get up and go to school tomorrow.


Let me finish.

I love pretty things, color, my home is full of light and every where I look,  a piece of art, a photograph, something to rest my eyes on, some sort of beauty to see.


I want to live my life as an artist.

I might even call myself one once in a while.

Writers are artists, no?

Not that I believe tonight’s blog is art, it’s just a scattering of words on a page, a nest of luminous possibility, the thoughts that tumble, the words that I do not write, the ones still trapped in between the skin my heart and the skein of my soul.

But that too.

Is another blog.

And this lady still needs to finish her laundry.

Good night love.

Sweet dreams.

For tomorrow beckons with all its busy.

Rest now.

Rest my heart.





Inwardly Re-arranged

October 20, 2016

I got absolutely nothing done today.


I had astounding, life changing things happen.

All over the span of a few minutes.

All in a day.

Clear the decks.

Make way for change and with my heart in my throat I leapt.

I don’t know where I’m going to land.

It will be in new territory.

It will look exactly like what it looks like now.


That everything is different.

Violets covered in sugar crystals.

Like the best sex I never had.

Like spangles of star dust and fireworks and quiet.

An inner knowing.

An inner depth of knowledge about myself, my disease, an awareness of old pain that has settled again and instead of pain, is now stronger for having walked through the unbearable lightness of love.

Sunlight on my face.

My hair up today, the breath of the ocean warm on my skin as I got ready for work.

The books I haven’t read enough of, the paper I still need to write, the things all put on pause so that I could navigate through uncharted waters.

I know better than to go to alone.

I tearfully surrendered this morning to finally after days of being quiet, telling.

I told.

I was terrified.

I already knew the answer and I had worked through the big emotions and had the big talk with God, I knew.

I know that where love is concerned there is no choice.


I don’t have to see it through my eyes only.

I get to see it through the perspectives of others, who may have a different point of view, a different way of seeing.

And he did.

And he was kind.

And there was no shame in the telling.

And I cried.

And it hurt.

And then the relief.

And then the sorrow.

And then the tears again.

And then.


I knew.

And even though only a tiny bit of the story came out.

The bones of the narrative.

It was enough.

He understood and we talked about talking more and I just did that too.

And it was kind and there was no judgement, no shaming, no making me feel bad, a warm heart, a sort of support that I have, that I am so lucky to have, that I am so grateful to have that I can keep healing and getting better.

Not that I am fucked up.



Maybe a little.


There’s hope for me, always has been, I’m not in this alone.

I have no details for you.

I have only the inner workings of my heart and the assurance that I am loved for who I am without question or repercussion.

That I am seen and held and loved and taken care of.

Because I asked for help to work something through, to see where it went, to untangle the knot that I got tied up in.

Glorious knot.

So sweet was it to surrender to that binding.

A surrender that lead to further surrender, further release, further soft acknowledgement of who I am, where I have come from, and to whom I belong.

To myself.

To what works best for me.

To love.

I was saying the St. Francis prayer.


I pray.

Hush, this wilding woman with tattoos and tales of Burning Man does spirituality too.

Surprise, surprise.

There is a line in the prayer that gets me every time.

To love, rather than to be loved.

That is what I can do.

To know that I have a God.

And you have a God.

That I can only take care of myself and sometimes, a lot of the times, I don’t know how to do that, so I do, I turn towards those with more time, with more experience, with wider perspective.

And I get what I need.

And my heart, so high in my throat all day today, finally starts to ease down back into my chest, my breath back into my body, my soul careening about, high on a taut string like a diamond kite in the sky, softly, gently, sails back down, no tussle in the tree tops, nor tangled and stuck in the high wire.




A gentle, sweet landing in the tall grass.

The summer grass.

The grass in the park behind the apartment building on the North East side of Madison.

The grass not yet mowed and higher in the last push of summer, the blades warm, cradling the kite, the long string I wind back up and as I turn the handle of the spool the loose fabric of the kite slides over the top of the grass and back to me.

The call of the red-winged mocking-bird.

The high blue sky.

The sun patter down on my shoulders now more freckled as I turn from the girl to the woman.

My soul, myself, my heart.

My life.

All this purposeful trudging.

It matters.

I have changed.

I stood on the roof tonight.

I held a warm little girl in my arms.

She pointed at the sky.


“Yes,” I said, pointing across the soft midnight blue, the last light of sunset fading behind the hills of Twin Peaks, “and plane, and satellite.”

I remembered when I was little and how the lights in the sky moved me so much, the flashing planes and the story of flight.

I have had a sort of flight today.

A lifting of my spirit into that vastness and through it all a song in my heart.

I have no answers for you.

I just have love.

Like the foam left on the beach after the waves have crashed in and rushed out.

A soft melting memory of desire seeping back into the sand, a lace of bubbles upon the shore, a dream shimmering there.

A moment.

Then gone.

Ghosting kisses on your face.

Grace in the hallway.

Swallow song in the barn of my heart.

I would take away your pain.

But I have my own to carry from the shore, across the bridge.

And into the land of a brand new day.

One foot a time.

Into the light.

Into the sun.

Into the love.


The only place left for me to go.


Just there.


Late Night

October 19, 2016

For a school night blog.


I was just on the phone for over an hour and got to talking and when the conversation is good, the talking it just happens.

I don’t always get a chance to connect with people on the phone.

Like actually a phone conversation.

Not texting.

Not messaging.




It has become something special.

I remember when I was a teenager and my sister would get on the phone with a boyfriend and how jealous I was of her sitting in the kitchen on the phone, the long tangle of cord drawn taught as she pulled the receiver further and further away.


One day.

I was on the phone with a boy.

Oh my heart.

How it pounded when I answered.

And how we talked.

It wasn’t much, the talk, about going to a movie if I recall correctly.

I remember how we had met and it was cute.

In a total nerd kind of way.

It was at a debate meet.


I know.

I was captain of the debate team for three years.

Shut up.



I just remembered his name, Jeff.

I don’t recall his last name, probably better, leave the innocent boy out of it.

He approached me in the lunch room at the visiting school where our team won our first ever debate.

I was a senior that year.

That was the year that we swept.

That was an amazing year.

We started to win.

I had finally figured it out, not really, I have never really figured it out, I still cannot figure it out, oh how I wish I could figure it out, maybe if I think harder about it I can figure it out.


Sorry digressed.

Anyway, the team was doing great.


Our debate coach was sick that day.

He had sent us off alone.

We were alone!

I mean, I think about that now and I wonder, did we even have a chaperone?

Of course, there was the bus driver.

But for the most part I think we went in there and ran the tournament completely on our own.

Perhaps it was that freedom and the lack of pressure.

Perhaps it was that I was feeling myself.

I can even remember what I was wearing, which hello, that was a long time ago, but it felt special, I felt special in my clothes, not something I often did when I was in high school.

The funny thing.

I was wearing men’s silk pajama pants.

And I’m not sure how the hell I had come across them, but I loved those pants, they were a soft sky blue with piping and I felt sophisticated and I was wearing a white button down shirt and black suede flats that were really too small for my feet but so adorable that I had bought them anyhow and loved them to death and wore them until they did fit.

I remember meeting Jeff in the cafeteria.

And he remembered me.

He remembered me from another school event a year prior.

Not even debate.

It was a forensic’s event.

I also, yes, nerding out some more, was on the forensics team.

I had done poetry then got introduced to extemporaneous speaking, which it turns out I was really good at.

Jeff remembered me from that, from the year before.

He remembered.

And I was high on the feeling of doing well at that debate, that we were doing well, although it wasn’t until after lunch until after the third round and making it to the finals and then finding out how well we had done, that I realized, this boy was flirting with me.

This boy liked me.



Oh my gosh.

You like me.

Insert obligatory Sally Field reference and no I’m not that old, fuck you.

I mean.

You really like me.

Holy shit.

I am so blown away.

It still didn’t completely dawn on me.

I was too high from winning.


We won, our first time ever that I had been on the debate team, we won, and it felt really good, I mean so very good to carry that trophy back to school and leave it as a surprise for the debate coach, Mister Stewart, to find that next Monday morning.

He was over the moon and kicking himself for not having been there.

I remember too how the team ran up the auditorium in the darkness toward that bright lit stage, how they pushed me forward to take the trophy, how it felt in my hands.

I said something, thank you I’m sure, accepted it on the behalf of our out sick coach and walked back to our seats with it heavy in my arms and a bit dazed and dreamlike.

We passed it around.

Every one got to hold it.


On the bus heading back to school.

They team decided I should carry it home.

I held it in my hands the whole way back.

I also realized as we were pulling into the school parking lot that not only was I coming back with this enormous first place trophy, but also that a boy, Jeff, had asked me for my phone number and holy moly, I had given it to him.

Would he call?

He did.

As it turns out.

I was brushing my hair.

My sister had dashed down the stairs to answer it and I hadn’t bothered to move, it was never for me anyhow.

“CARMEN!” She hollered up the back stairs, “it’s for you, and it’s a boy!”

Oh my God.

I don’t remember what we talked about.

I just remember the sunlight streaming through the window in the kitchen nook and how it struck the linoleum and how the phone cord looked wrapped around my fingers, the yellow curling cord proclaiming to the world–a boy had called for me.

It’s a powerful thing being wanted.

I don’t know that I have ever quite understood it.

I don’t suppose I ever will.

My friend tonight on the phone said I was blind.


Perhaps I am.

Blindly fumbling my way along, heart on my sleeve, trying to not try to figure it out.

Trying to not be breathless and teary.

Trying and failing.

Falling under and over and for.

I have fallen for some and thought.

I should not.


I should not.

I have thought of that often today.

And then.

It happens and there is no disentangling the cord.

There is only the acknowledgement, like the sunlit kiss curl of phone cord winding around my fingers, of love.



In between the lines on the page.

In the shadow of the oak tree dappled with sunlight.

On a full mooned night.

Even when it has waned.



It is everywhere.


October 18, 2016

In no particular order.

Trip back to Wisconsin to see my best friend from back home and her three boys and husband and hang out in the snowy snow and the crisp air, the smell of wood fire burning on the over laid cloudy nights when the clouds press against the sky and insulate the light from the horizon into a kind of haze that glows all things Christmas.

I may be a little nostalgic.

I am a California girl.

I will probably always live here, unless I am abroad in Paris, but I still think I would keep a home here, but that is getting ahead of myself.


I grew up in Wisconsin, though my first memories are of California, born here, raised here until four years old, a lot of my formative years occurred in Wisconsin.

Amongst them, Christmas.

The smell, the snow, the Christmas lights.

I haven’t had a white Christmas in a while.

Although my friend joked, not the greatest joke, sort of sad comment, the state of the environment, that what with global warning there may not be snow.

I have faith.

There will be snow and walks in the night with  the sound of it crunching underfoot.

Speaking of feet.

I am so glad I never got rid of the boots I bought for my motorcycle safety course.

I have had them in my closet for years waiting for a trip back to Wisconsin during the winter.

I almost got rid of them a number of times, I bought them not realizing how warm they were, they’re lined, and most of the time, they are too warm for walking around SF and I would never wear them at Burning Man, I would die.

But I kept them.

I wore them one other time, two years ago, around November on a motorcycle ride up the coast with an ex-boyfriend.

“Nice boots!” He exclaimed when I came out of my house and slipped on to the saddle of the bike, a barely there queen’s seat that had me perched just above him and hanging on for dear life as we spun up the coast from Sausalito to the One and on down toward Stinson beach.

It’s one hell of a curvy road and it was not great weather.

I was grateful for those boots.

I will be happy to have them on my feet when I get to Wisconsin.

My flight out will be a red-eye from SFO following my last shift with my current family.

I have confirmed that my last day of work with them will be Friday December 23rd.

I today confirmed that my first day of work with my new family will be Monday January 2nd.

I will be in Wisconsin from the morning of the 24th through the afternoon of the 30th, then back to SF to get myself ready for what ever new adventures in nannying I am fated to have.


In all adventures nanny.

I sat a lot with a small sleeping child on my lap and three stuffed bunny rabbits.

She has four or five of them around the house.

She’s also been a little sick, not too bad, runny nose, little cough, but just enough that she was coughing herself awake and she lost it waking herself up after just being down for twenty minutes, inconsolable with the need to sleep and upset but not knowing where she was or what was going on.

Poor sweet baby.

I carried her around the house, up and down the stairs, I talked colors to her and sang her songs and snuggled and offered milk and checked her diaper and eventually she just collapsed on me and I sat down on the couch and just sat.

I looked at my stack of Psychology books that I was going to read and sighed.

That was not going to happen.

I sat still.

It’s not bad sitting still.

My brain had plenty to keep it busy.

Distractions galore.

Not meant for this page or your eyes, thank you very much.

I thought, there could be worse things.

I got asked out on a date, but it didn’t really feel like I was being asked out on a date, it felt like I was being asked to keep someone company, give them comfort,  I thought about it.

I said sure.


I added, you can’t stay the night.

I have things to do.

Books to read.

Papers to write.


I still have one paper left to do.

Fortunately, it’s only two to three pages and it’s a reflection paper.

I could even write it tonight.


I won’t.

The no response response was a response.

I did get a text later.


By then.

I had made other plans.

Took myself in hand.

Took care to get myself groceries for tomorrow.

Put my music on.

Let my hair down.

Buy your own damn flowers.

Make your own damn dinner.

Take care of your own damn self.

Confirmed that too.

Did all of the above, except the flowers, I didn’t like the ones they had at the market.

I’ll pick some up tomorrow.

I like flowers.

I like being taken out.

But I don’t like being taken for granted.


No thanks.

I’m a woman.

Glorious in my being, happy, joyous, free.

I am.







All of it.

I am complete.


I still need to finish my homework.

But you get what I mean.



You do make me laugh, you always surprise me, and startle me and thrill me.

You make me swoon.

You catch me breathless and abandoned, my head thrown back in ecstasy.

I am so lucky to be alive.

Luckiest girl in the world.

I really am.



%d bloggers like this: