Honey, Slow Down


She chuckled at me over the phone.

“The awards letters will go out in April, you’ll know soon.”

Oh ok.

You mean, sit still and enjoy the pause in the performance, enjoy the fact that you got into graduate school and for a moment, really, there’s nothing else to do.

“Honey, you’re a human being, not a human doing,” he said to me over the phone when I called to check in and told him about the financial aid advisor’s little speech to me on the phone.

When I received the information about the graduate school program accepting me I didn’t really know how to celebrate.

I mean.

I posted it on Facebook, so that should mean something right.

The post was “liked” a lot.

Isn’t that enough.

I mean, I don’t want to rest on my laurels or anything, chop, chop, what’s the next step, let’s keep this train rolling.

I went home Friday evening and did the online counseling for financial aid and signed my promissory note and I shit you not, I was looking to see what my awards package was the next day.

I mean, logically, I knew that it really wasn’t going to be there yet, but you know, I’m just checking.

Ugh.

I decided to call and chat with the financial aid office, I was advised I may qualify for some scholarships, so I better figure out which ones and apply.

NOW.

I shared about that tonight, about needing to just pause and acknowledge the accomplishment instead of moving on to the next thing now, now, now, God forbid I have any feelings around it.

It is an accomplishment, I remind myself, I did have to do some work to get into the program and not just the work of going through the application process (8 page autobiographical statement, 1 page letter of intent, the application itself to fill out, the $65 fee to process the application, asking for the letters of recommendation, getting my transcripts sent out from the University of Wisconsin, Madison), there was the work that I did to get to the point of applying in the first place.

All the exploring of dreams and ideas, writing, writing, writing, being vulnerable, showing up for and exploring other programs, researching Masters Degrees in Creative Writing, looking at getting a second BA in education, what about exploring accounting school and taking course work at City College (which only lasted one class, I am not cut out to be an accountant), applying to Aveda (getting in, but not getting the aid I needed to go) going to an open interview at Blush School of Makeup (I still like me some make up yo), the couple of times I applied to work at the Burning Man office but never got a reply to my applications, let alone called into an interview.

All the soul-searching.

Moving to Paris.

Moving back from Paris.

More inventory.

Working jobs that weren’t a good fit until they became so painful I had to get out and when I did finally saw the way out of my gilded little cage.

Nobody puts Carmen in a corner.

But me.

So, perhaps some acknowledgement of the success is called for.

I am not going to rest on my laurels, I don’t even know how to do that, I have never had the chance to breathe and relax, I need to move and do and shake and go, nothing’s changed.

But so much has changed.

And as I realized that once again, without even knowing I was doing it, I went to the hardware store to buy a hamburger, as my dear heart said to me tonight while we were checking in.

“You just want to be seen, and you weren’t seen,” she said succinctly.

Hey, aren’t I supposed to be helping you?

I didn’t get the validation and approval from my mom I was expecting and I’m tender about it.

It brought up a whole passel of crap that I thought I had worked through, but without even consciously knowing it I had walked on down to the corner hardware store, screws on sale, and demanded a medium rare burger with sharp cheddar and mayonnaise with a nice toasted bun,  swipe some butter on that before you put it on the grill, ok?  And a dill pickle too, perhaps, even, dare I, a chocolate malt as well, heavy on the malt please.

What do you mean you only have a wrench for me.

I want my hamburger.

Maybe some fries too, double-quick.

No, I don’t need a caulking gun.

What the fuck?

I don’t fault my mom for not validating me the way that I want validation.

It’s not her job.

It ceased being her job.

Actually she walked off that job long before it was even had a job description in the mom manual.

But I looked for it long and hard all my years growing up.

I know my mom’s proud of me, but it doesn’t always come across and like going to that dry well expecting a refreshing cold glass of hydration I came up short and had the rug pulled out under my feet, to mix my metaphor’s.

Reminding me that though the sign says the Doctor’s In, I may still get the football pulled away after paying my five cents.

So.

“Be the mother to yourself you wish you had,” she told me yesterday when I called to vent about the voice mail I had received from my mom.

Except.

I couldn’t figure it out.

I couldn’t figure out what that looks like.

I was flummoxed.

What would a mom do upon learning that her daughter got into graduate school?

I kept thinking I should buy myself flowers or oddly enough, socks, I could use a new pair, or maybe a nice dinner out or write myself a card and send it to myself.

Drawing a complete blank.

Then.

I shared about it tonight and that helped a lot.

A LOT.

And I got to have a big moment of forgiveness for myself and this process and loving myself and letting go again of the idea that anyone, mom, dad, boyfriend, friend, boss, lover, sister, teacher, can really validate me.

I validate myself.

I give myself the stamp of approval.

I also forgive, again, and again, it’s a process, my mom, she really is doing the best she can, and knowing her up bringing I doubt she got much validation coming her way.

Hard to give away something you haven’t got.

Then.

I got home.

And there it was in the mailbox, like the post, not my e-mail.

The hard copy of my letter of acceptance to the Master of Arts Weekend program in Counseling Psychology with a concentration in Integral Counseling Psychology for the 2015-16 Fall Semester.

I knew what I had to do.

It was so obvious I laughed out loud.

I got a magnet and put my letter of acceptance on the fridge.

Just like a proud mom would do.

I looking at it right now and it’s pretty much perfect.

I am proud of myself.

And I will celebrate.

There’s a necklace at Fiat Lux on Church and Market I have been eyeing forever.

I’m going to buy it for myself on Friday when I get off work before heading over to Our Lady of Safeway.

It’s a butterfly wing under glass.

I’m emerging from my chrysalis.

It fills the bill.

As does the forgiveness.

Acceptance.

Awareness.

Action.

And.

Celebration.

I got into fucking grad school!

Let’s party.

 

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