No, I am Not Available


To do that.

I am not comfortable with it.

I have to try something else.

I will let you know.

Let me think about that.

And last, but not least, my favorite, let me get back to you.

I forget that I have options.  That I don’t have to immediately say yes to something.  I will say yes to something without thinking about what I need to do for myself.

Case in point I said I could nanny on the day I would be going in to help my friend in the city at the design firm.

I’ll just re-arrange my schedule.

Sure, I can help.

Wait a second.

I make more money at the design firm, I want to be transitioning out of doing nanny work, and I would not have to commute to both North Oakland and the Mission District in the same day and then back to East Oakland.


But there it is.

At least I see that I am the one creating the drama, or lack there of.

I want there to be more lack there of.

I do not want drama.  I do not like it, no I do not, Sam, green eggs and ham.

Sorry, I read a lot of Doctor Seuss this past week.

Talk about transitioning my language skills with my nanny skills.

I was all about the words today.

On one hand I am not sure I was of much assistance, on the other hand, I could see my fingerprints on the final project proposal.  The designer’s finished product was lovely and I learned a lot from being around her during the process of crafting it.

“I want to point out something to you,” she said, “and I don’t want to offend you.”


But I could hear the but coming and I almost knew before she said it.

“You have a tendency to use rich, flowery language,” she said, and paused thoughtfully, “there is nothing wrong with that, but it does not translate as well to what I am doing.”

“I use a conversational tone, I want there to be ease and clarity in the language used.” She concluded, “does that make sense?”

Oh yeah.

That makes a shit ton of sense.

“Carmen, it’s all very nice and good that you can use language so creatively,” said Alan Kauffman in the memoir writing course I took with him, “but that does not advance the story.  All it does is tell me you took a creative writing class at some point.”


But ouch in a good way.

Some times I need a little ouch to kick my butt into a different gear.

“I think you actually used the word, “therein” at some point in the proposal,” she told me with a smile, “or “wherein” maybe, I pulled that out.”


I use archaic language.

I have no idea why or from wherefore art thou that comes from, but yeah, it may be a habit from English Lit studies.  In which I got my degree, my Bachelor’s that is.

Which I have already and often joked, translates to “wilt thou like fries with that?”

“Here you go, the Universe is giving you exactly what you want and you go and get freaked out,” said my friend.

Yup, that too.

I am apparently not available to accept the gifts so readily being handed to me.

Yet, boy howdy, do I ever want them.

Want them bad, bad, bad.

And then when I am given them, that hard shell of defense springs up and says, “no, no, no, you can’t do this.”

I need to get that monkey nonsense out.

I added up my hours for the past two weeks and I submitted them to my boss and there it was, an amount of money I have made with using my language skills and writing skills.

They need honing and I still need training, but man, I am going to get good.

I know it.

I can sense it.

It is coming.

I still have to get out of my own way and not foil the fun with the scary.

Learning something new elicits mad emotional moments.

Tempestuous storms of tears and temper tantrums.

I am a seven-year old child trying something new and not liking how it is going, screaming with glee one moment, I can do it! Crying in terror another, no I can’t!  Wait, let me go again, out of my way, wait, hold my hand, I don’t know what I am doing.

And like that child I am going to tumble and fall and scrape knees and skin the palms of my hands.

Perhaps not on gravel, but words they can sting too.

Or they can sing.

The loveliest of songs, the seduction of prose, the scintillation of scalloping a poem out of the edge of an apple with a sharp paring knife.

I can turn a fucking phrase, I just need to learn how to craft the language and be clean with it.  To utilize the words in a way that speaks to a different kind of audience.

Something I have not done before.

Something I am going to learn how to do.

Something I will learn how to do and allow myself to do.

I will have some fun with it too.

I had a moment when I was researching how to write a creative brief and it was such a brilliant “aha” moment I said, “oh my God,” out loud.

It felt so good.

The inspiration of words, the “radical” new thought, that really isn’t new, it was just a different way of saying the same thing that was already being said, just in more concise language.

That is what is going to carry me.

That and really being of service to my friend, which is what I want to do.  Not just because I think she is awesome sauce, because she is, and not just because she is my mentor, which I have not really expressed yet, but because she is my hero and has stood by me in places and ways that I still have to tell myself I deserve.

There are people out there who will love you and push you and tell you yes you can be available to succeed for yourself and of yourself and here’s how and let me share with you.

Those are the kinds of people I want to be of service too.

Those are the kinds of people I want to say, yes, I am available.

Despite the noise in my head.

Because that service is what makes the noise go away.

And I get to get paid for it?

Fuck yes I am available.

Now, excuse me while I shake some of the nanny off my dress.

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