Archive for the ‘Gratitude’ Category

Straight A’s

June 2, 2019

I got my grades back.

It’s official.

Straight A’s for the second semester.

Which means that I have a 4.0 for my first year of my PhD program.

I am pretty damn pleased.

Even if, in the grand scheme of things, nobody really gives a damn about my grades in a PhD program.

I don’t believe I have ever heard someone ask another person what their GPA was for a PhD.  Most folks just stop at, holy fuck, you got a PhD.

Holy fuck are my words.

I mean.

I certainly wouldn’t care what someone’s GPA is if they got a PhD, they got a PhD!

That’s some big work.

And.

Nevertheless.

I am quite pleased.

Really pleased.

It was a hard semester.

I really thought life was going to fucking end when I got shingles.

On top of the wicked bad break up and just feeling overwhelmed with being in a PhD program, trying to grow my private practice and working full time as a nanny.

It was a big deal for me to get straight A’s.

I’m one of the few people in my cohort working full time.

My cohort also is getting smaller.

Two more people dropped out and another two decided to do the three year course track versus the two year.

I am not doing that.

I am staying put with the two year run on getting the required course work out of the way and I hope to do the rest of the work in two years.

I think I could even do it in a year and a half if I follow the example of one of my TA’s who really busted ass.

I’m not going to push myself too hard, it’s a lot of work no matter what.

I’m not so focused on it at the moment anyhow.

I’m studying for something else.

My Law & Ethics exam for the BBS (Behavioral Board of Sciences) here in California.

An Associate MFT has to take the Law & Ethics exam to renew their license.

My license expires on June 30th.

I am set to take the test on Tuesday, June 18th at 9a.m.

I have to get 70% to pass the test.

It’s a tricky little thing and there’s a lot of picky details that have to be addressed.

I am using the Therapist Development Center’s test prep to study.

So far I’m about half way through the material, maybe a bit more.

I’ve studied a good bit so far, but haven’t hit the 70% yet on the test.

Today I took a practice exam and got 61%.

Ugh.

This is not to beat myself up.

The first time I took one of the practice tests I think I got 48%.

I didn’t study, you just take it and see where you are at then start studying.

So I have gotten better, but still need to improve.

I really am fairly confident though.

I have two more weeks of studying and the material builds on itself.

I also have taken the tests really fast.

You’re given 75 minutes to do the test.

My first prep test I did in 15 minutes.

The next I might have taken 18 minutes.

Today I took one and forced myself to slow down a bit.

I still finished it in 30 minutes, maybe 35.

I will be able to have more than ample time to go back and recheck questions that don’t make sense.

Some of them I just made stupid mistakes from reading a little too fast, some of it is just remembering to sort out all the weird numbers that you have to know.

When to report to Child Protective Services versus Adult Protective Services for instance, when there’s an abuse you make an immediate report but each service requires you to also turn in a written report and they’re different times.

Or.

What is the smallest font that you can use on a release form?

Or.

All the different ages around when a therapist has to report child abuse if a minor is having sex.

It makes sense once it’s digested, but it took me a few rounds of listening to the lectures to get it all sussed out in my head.

I really am not worried though.

I take tests well and I have plenty of time to make it through all the study materials and actually go through the lecture series a second time.

I’m really ready to give the studying a break though.

I am really ready for some time off from hitting the books.

I basically one weekend of “down time” between my last paper and having to start the studying for the exam.

Two more weeks.

Take the test.

Pass it.

And then get ready for my Havana, Cuba trip.

The family I nanny for will also leave for a summer trip and I will have some down time too.

I’ll have to stay local for the most part, but I think I might be able to sneak in a little road trip or maybe a couple of nights out of town, drive up the coast.

I see my clients on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays.

So a little road trip on a Sunday or a Monday seems like a thing.

Santa Cruz or maybe Monterey.

I haven’t been to Stinson in a long time either or Muir Beach.

I could go to Point Reyes and get oysters or do a drive up Mt. Tam.

Lots of options.

Just some more studying to do before I can.

And a moment.

A sweet little moment to acknowledge that I showed the fuck up for this semester despite life challenges.

And I got all motherfucking A’s.

I’ll take it.

Seriously.

 

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Havana, Cuba, Baby

April 9, 2019

That’s right.

I am going to CUBA!

I just booked my ticket for July.

Yeah.

I know, Cuba in July is going to be hot, but fuck I don’t care, I like it hot, steamy, warm, bring it on.

You know where it isn’t hot in July?

San Francisco.

It’s fucking freezing.

It’s foggy, grey, dreary, damp, and hella cold.

Especially where I live, right out by the ocean.

It is not pretty.

The nice summer, the Indian summer glory that I hope no one ever really discovers except the locals is mid to late September and early October.

Then its glorious.

But July?

Forget it.

Crap weather.

I was going to go to Hawaii.

That had been the plan.

But.

I kept getting disgruntled when I looked.

So expensive.

The flights have been steadily going up and what had once seemed reasonable and doable began to look much less so, especially when the cost of the tickets easily eclipsed what I had paid for my round trip ticket to Paris in December.

Granted, Paris in December is during the off-season.

But one would think that Hawaii isn’t all that packed in July.

The tickets though and the cost of accommodations was depressing.

Do I want to spend that kind of money to lie around on a beach?

Will I get bored.

I suspected I would.

Would I get resentful and annoyed at the expense?

I think I would have.

Really I was mostly worried about getting bored.

I mean.

Sure, a nice lay around on a beach is all good, but I couldn’t actually imagine doing it for an extended period of time.

One friend said five days was his max and then he was done.

Another friend said a week was way too long and that it felt like paradise with strip malls.

I spent a lot of time on Air BnB trying to find accommodations I liked that weren’t too expensive or didn’t look like my grandmother’s kitchen.

Nothing against my grandmother, I love her, but do I want to spend a lot of money to stay in a place that looks like her kitchen?

No.

I did find one place and it was a bit more than I wanted but I compromised and figured better to stay somewhere that would make me happy.

And the site went down.

And there was a glitch in the dates.

And sorry, we don’t know what’s wrong.

But basically for two days straight I couldn’t book it.

I took that as a sign.

I felt bad for not wanting to go to Hawaii.

Shouldn’t I want to go?

I am sure it’s lovely.

But what do I like to do on vacation?

I like to walk around and see things, I like architecture, I like museums, I like, really like people watching.

I felt flummoxed and a bit baffled at myself, did I or did I not want to go to Hawaii?

When it came right down to it I realized I did not.

And that’s ok!

It’s ok to change my mind and its ok to know that I am a savvy traveler and I would really rather go somewhere more exotic and have an adventure in an urban environment.

I like cities.

I am a city kind of gal.

Don’t get me wrong, I love being out in nature, but when I think about traveling I want to go to a city.

I have always found the idea of Cuba and specifically Havana, very appealing.

All the Art Deco, the Prado Theater, the Habana Vieja (Old Havana), the churches and all the vintage cars, the colonial architecture, Cuban coffee, veranda life, sitting on a balcony or in a square having fruit and coffee, walking around and really seeing something different.

Also, there are plenty of beaches in Cuba.

As soon as my friend said, “strip mall” I knew I wasn’t going to Hawaii.

I wanted something more.

So, yeah, I bought a ticket.

There’s some hoops to go through, you can’t really travel to Cuba on a tourist Visa, you must have a reason to go.

I did a lot of research and the category that best fit me was that I was going to support “the Cuban People” which means that I won’t be staying anywhere or buying anything that has any ties to the military or government.

Fine with me.

I’ll support the local artists and musicians.

I will stay, fingers crossed at Hotel Chez Nous.

You have to love that it’s a “French” named casa.

It’s considered a “Casa Particular” which means a local family that runs a “hotel” or sort of “boarding house”.

The rooms are in two different homes in Old Havana, one that is old school Colonial and the other is Art Deco.

You can’t reserve online, you have to make a request, so I sent off my request and hopefully I’ll be staying there.

The room I want is 45 Cuc, Cuban convertible peso (which is pretty much one Cuc to one dollar) a night!

I request the Art Deco single with a balcony.

That’s my style, sitting on a balcony in Old Havana, overlooking a square smack in the middle of Old Havana.

Yes please.

Bring on the sundresses, sandals, iced cuban coffees con leche, walks along the old port, visits to churches and museums, and yes, some spicy Cuban food.

God damn I am excited

I did not feel excited by Hawaii.

I feel ecstatic about Havana.

Nervous too, I don’t speak Spanish and there are some hoops to jump through to get the Visa but, overall I’m fucking thrilled.

But hell yeah, Havana, baby.

It’s going to be one hot, sexy summer.

Well, at least nine days of it will.

Heh.

 

Heart Broken

March 5, 2019

Here I am trying to hit my once a week mark for my blog.

So sad.

I remember when it was every day and the streak was a long one.

I am happy to have a few spare minutes today though and I had an experience over the weekend that I thought I’d like to post about.

It does pertain to my recent heartbreak and break up and my love and my loss.

I am still grieving, I suppose I will for a little while yet.

I’m trying to just be nice to myself about it and when the sad comes let it.

I have stayed very busy through the weekend, although yes, I did actually sleep in on Sunday.

I woke up at my normal time, 6:30a.m. and then again at 7:30a.m. and I almost got up at 7:30a.m. but I was having a rather lovely dream of being with him and I literally thought I heard his voice in my room, so I buried myself in my pillows and said, I’ll just sleep another half hour.

Was I surprised when I woke up at 9!

I think I needed the sleep though and I definitely felt tender about my situation, but also some space and some gratitude for the experience seemed to be working on my heart and I was happy that was happening.

If tender.

Very tender.

Sometimes I completely forget.

Then I see something and it’s all there, the last 22 months, the first six months, the laugher, all the conversations, all the sweet nothings (which meant everything) whispered in my ear.

All the amazing sex.

Fuck the sex was good.

But if it was just all about the sex it wouldn’t hurt the way it has and does.

He and I both acknowledged that many times over the last year when we were really trying to figure things it.

It was that we were also best friends and that is a huge loss.

My person I talk to every day I haven’t spoken to in eight days.

Eight.

It feels like a lifetime.

I can’t imagine going another eight.

Yet.

I figure that is just what is going to happen.

Day after day will go by and one day I won’t miss him.

And one day I will be with the person who fully wants to be with me, can meet my needs and doesn’t have anything holding him back.

I don’t know when that day is, I’m not looking forward to it, I just know it will come.

The day I forget to miss him.

That is really not now.

I get broken up watching crows right now.

There was a joke he told me once, it was rather dark and a bit grim and funny as fuck and he said something about “like a crow laughing at a funeral,” and I just got it stuck in my head.

Thing is.

I like crows.

They’re smart, clever, live in social groups (appropriately called “murders”) and they mate for life.

I was fond of us being crows symbolically.

And of course two freaking crows nest in the neighbor’s house at work.

I see them all the time.

I tell them to send him my love and let him know I miss him.

Desperately.

I’ll see two crows playing and swooping through the air and sort of lose it.

I have a little pile of love cards and notes that I was planning on sending him in the mail, that’s been a part of our courtship, letter writing, and now they just sit desolate and sad on my desk.

There is no one else I can send them to.

I thought about it, but he said no contact by mail too when we ended it.

There really is no contact.

I haven’t blocked him on my phone (I suppose I’m wanting a miracle of change to happen) but social media and internet we’ve had no contact and haven’t been in each other’s social stuff for a while.

I was thinking about him a lot on Friday and missing him and also feeling a little lost thinking about a new client I have.

A couple.

And how I was going to see them the next day and some things I wanted to bring into the session and then I had the voice of doom pipe up in my head.

“How can you be a good couples therapist if you can’t even stay in a relationship?”

Cue some deep sighs and teary eyes, although I didn’t shed any tears.

Instead I directed my attention to the assignment I needed to do for my Creative Arts in Leadership class.

Which was about making a mask of my inner leader after having listened to a guided meditation.

I won’t get into all the details but to say I was instructed to have a question for my inner leader and I decided to go for that one, being a couples therapist who had failed at love.

It took me a while to get into the meditation, partially because it required me to be still and I know me, when I am still the feelings come and sure enough there they were, all marshaled up ready to let me know how much I missed him and how sad I was.

Sigh.

But I got through it.

To sum up the mediation we walked through a woods and came to a clearing and there was a structure there (for me a cottage in the middle of a big wildflower meadow, with a round door and a chimney jutting from the roof and lead paned windows) that we had to approach–our inner leader was there.

Mine opened the door before I could knock.

A beautiful older woman in her mid-sixties, with long silver-grey hair in braids wearing a simple sleeveless cotton shift, her arms and torso covered in blue woad tattoos.

I crossed the threshold and handed her my heart, I didn’t know until that moment I had been carrying it through the woods in my hands.

It was blackened and ravaged by crows.

I asked her how could I possibly be a good couples therapist if I had lost my love?

She didn’t say anything, simply took my heart and held it up to her face with a gentle smile and kissed it.

At once it turned into a beautiful shining apple.

She handed me back the apple and indicated that I should eat it.

I did and instead of going into my stomach the apple went into the empty space where my heart had been.

It took root at once and an apple tree immediately sprang forth loaded with shimmering apples in the golden sun.

I realized that the gift of the pain was a gift of experience I could give back to others.

It was sublime.

It was surprising and I came out of it with a grace and softness that I had not had going in.

I sat down at my desk listened to some Johan Sebastian Bach Cello Sonatas and made my mask.

Then, as per my assignment instructions, I wrote in my journal about the experience.

As I was wrapping it up, the voice of my inner leader spoke up, “who wants a couples therapist who’s never had their heart-broken?”

I scrawled that down in my journal and I knew it was true.

My life experiences are gifts that I get to give to my clients.

They may not accept them, that is not for me to decide, but I can offer them my experience and I believe it is valuable beyond words.

I’m still sad.

I miss my love so much.

But I also know the value of my experience.

Deeply.

I’ve never had my heart-broken before.

He was my first true heart-break.

Now I know.

Now I really know.

How bad it hurts.

Baby.

It hurts so bad.

 

 

Fifteen Minute Blog

March 1, 2019

That’s about all I got tonight.

Fifteen minutes.

I almost decided to not write, but then I thought, when am I going to have the opportunity again?

I mean.

PhD full tilt boogie.

38 hours a week at my day job.

I’ve also clocked 13 hours at my internship so far this week and I have a client tomorrow as well as three on Saturday.

This is it.

Take the moment.

I could, sure, do some homework.

But.

Well.

I’m pretty on top of it right now.

I wrote a paper over the last two days at work as I was left pretty much alone during the afternoons at work with the baby (who’s really not a baby anymore, 26 months tomorrow) who has been taking these great big fat three-hour naps.

I can knock out a lot of work in three hours.

It’s been a huge gift.

When people ask me how I’m doing it, that’s really the key right now, homework while the baby naps.

Of course I do homework at other times, but the three hours really gives me a way into staying abreast of the work.

I have plenty to do the next couple of days as well with school work, new module’s opened in one of my classes, which means obligations to post discussions and respond to others.

I have done the readings so it shouldn’t be too bad and if the baby naps well tomorrow and the mom’s out of the house, I’ll get it done.

I’m staying busy.

Maybe, sort of, on purpose.

I will say I was a little surprised today to not be as upset and sad as I thought I would.

Then again, when I have slowed down from school, work, clients, dealing with my car being in the shop for six days, OHMYGOD do I love having my car back, I have broken down pretty quick.

I’ve been very careful since the break up to not listen to certain music.

I’ve gotten caught once or twice when I was in a ride share on my way to work and the driver had something come on the stereo that knocked me for a loop.

Cue wearing my ear pods on all drives to and from where ever I was going.

As well as making sure to listen to music at work that’s very upbeat.

I’m sure there’s more grief to grieve.

I lost my best friend and we have a no contact agreement.

I have felt lonely  and lost and sad.

I have also felt some freedom I wasn’t expecting and some relief that it’s done.

Walking around last week for five and a half days knowing that I was about to break up was harrowing.

Just the relief of not having to do that is tremendous.

I haven’t looked at photos either.

And I’ve not gone looking through texts or emails.

Maybe I’m packing too much swaddling around myself.

I don’t know.

I just know that the first time we went through a break up it was so horrendously sad I walked around for days, weeks, feeling like I had been beaten.

And I couldn’t stop crying.

I have had a few moments of unbearable crying jags, but just not to the extent of last time.

I was also not practiced at the breakup.

He and I have gone through it two times officially from my side and once, in a sort of conditional way on his side.

Third times the charm I guess.

Oh.

I do sort of still hope that something miraculous will happen.

That he will decide to alter the things I asked him to alter and we’ll be together.

And I know I can’t wait around for that, it probably won’t happen, and I can’t live my life hoping.

I have to live my life in faith, I know that.

The situation I was in was untenable and I went on in for almost two years.

I’m lucky to have known the depth of love that I had but I also went through a lot of pain.

A lot.

Things were just never quite what I wanted.

Fuck.

Now I’m teary.

Shit.

I thought I’d make it through.

Oh well.

My person reminded me that it wasn’t that there was a lack of love if anything that was what made it so terrible to do, we were so in love with each other.

We’d frequently call the other the One, or soul mate, or magic, or love of my life.

So, it’s rather heartbreaking that we couldn’t get around the issues that broke us apart.

I could wish it different, but I couldn’t make it happen.

And man.

Did I try.

I really tried to be super flexible and not look at things with black and white thinking but in the end I wasn’t getting my needs met and he and I both knew it and he was guilty and sad for it and I was upset over it and it wasn’t working.

God I wish it had.

Ugh.

Now I know why I wasn’t wanting to blog.

I knew that I was going to process emotions doing this and now I’m typing and crying and the heart ache is there and it doesn’t matter what I’m playing on the stereo, it’s all love songs about him anyways.

Well, that was fun.

I just precipitated a crying jag with my head on my table.

Ugh.

I can’t really avoid myself and my emotions when I’m writing, they just naturally come up.

Sigh.

And I can have some compassion for the part of me that doesn’t want to feel and has kept mighty, mighty, mighty busy not thinking about it.

I am sad.

I am tender.

I miss him so much.

Fuck.

I miss you darling.

I miss you so bad.

A Girl

February 25, 2019

And her books.

I just looked at the gigantic stack of books on my desk/kitchen table and laughed.

Hands up.

You are surrounded.

I should give up the idea of my table really being at all for dining.

Although I do eat breakfast at it every morning, it really is a repository for my books and notebooks and handbooks and readers and pens and my new white board with all its definitions that I am trying to make myself read as often as possible.

I really am in PhD land.

I mean.

You, dear, gentle reader, most likely already know that.

I went from a daily blogger to a weekly blogger, at best.

I actually am uncertain when the last time I wrote a blog was.

Maybe when I was headed out to DC for the weekend last week?

There is so much work that my schooling demands right now that I hardly have time for anything else.

Which, I guess, is good.

It’s something I get to be grateful for.

As.

Ugh.

I broke up with my boyfriend today.

It’s not the first time we have broken up, first time was last January and man, that might have been the worst pain I have felt in sobriety.

Including the time my best friend died.

It was so painful that when I wrote about it I had people reach out to me to see if I was ok.

I know that the language I was using was liken to someone dying and it certainly felt like I was dying.

It’s a kind of pain I’m not about to wish upon anyone.

We reconciled, after a few hits and misses sometime in February or March.

Then we tried it again, with variations, trying to figure out the best way forward.

We had success, we had setbacks, we tried not seeing each other, we tried just hanging out, we would spontaneously erupt into passionate embrace if we were any place semi alone.

We stopped again.

We started again.

We tried being just friends.

We cried.

A LOT.

Fuck did we both cry.

We went to New York in July and had a marvelous, terrifyingly amazing, soul rending romantic and heartbreaking time.

We decided to give it a break and let each other gently go.

I to Paris, he to his other pursuits and work and stuff and things.

He had things to work on.

I had things to do.

Through all the tumult we have loved each other.

We are the loves of each others life, soul mates, the ONE.

And.

We haven’t been able to be completely together.

For reasons I just cannot articulate right now.

I just can’t.

Maybe one day.

Just not this day.

When we left each other in New York it was amidst many a tear and then I headed off to Paris.

We “practiced” not being in contact with each other.

It was excruciating.

My best girlfriend in Paris convinced me I had to stop, I wasn’t happy, I wasn’t helping him by standing by waiting for him to do the work necessary for us to really have a go at being in a relationship to each other.

I decided in Paris that she was right and it was over.

And it was.

For a little while.

We decided again on no contact, except sending each other mail.

I have a heart-shaped box full of mail, including the Valentines Day card he gave me last week with the most adorable pair of silver unicorn earrings anyone has every seen.

I’m his special unicorn.

And you can just fuck off if you snorted through your nose at that.

We’ve always believed the other person is magic.

Our love has felt like that.

Today he told me that after being with me he finally understands all love songs.  That he has a secret decoder ring, me and our experience being together (and apart and together and apart), that all love songs make sense now.

God.

I might start crying.

I have been on and off all day.

Makes it challenging to read the stack of reading for school, but I also am proud to say I muddled through more than one might expect considering the circumstances.

I just want to put my head down, have a good cry, and write a lot of painful poetry.

But.

I soldiered on, met with ladies, did readings, did the deal, did my laundry, roasted a chicken, read for hours, wrote discussion posts for school, responded to discussion posts from school and took down all the photographs of us together that I had up in the house.

Sigh.

So.

Yeah.

We mailed each other love letters and cards and kept in contact that way, romantic, sad, sweet, painful, loving, all the things.

It certainly made shopping for stationary fun and stamps and I can’t tell you how often my heart skipped a beat when I saw mail in my mailbox.

We had agreed after I came back from Paris in July that he had things to work on and that it would be best to not connect until February.

But things happened.

Deaths.

Not really my place to talk about, but I reached out and we reconnected and well, fuck, one things leads to another doesn’t it?

Back in it again for December, my birthday, Christmas, oh the pretty, pretty gifts we gave each other and the love oh, god damn it the love.

I got more tattoos.

He got more tattoos.

We talked.

A lot.

We started texting again, making plans to see each other.

I tried to internally change my point of view of what I needed in the relationship.

We took off the holidays from discussing the relationship and where it was going or not going and just loved on each other as much as school/work/travel/business demands could be met.

We decided to go on a trip.

We went to DC last week.

It was lovely and sad and sweet and hard.

And.

We started the process again of saying goodbye.

We did.

Then we didn’t.

Then we came back.

And this Tuesday.

Insert therapy here.

Mine, my own therapy, not me being a therapist, and I shared about it all, my therapist has been in on everything since the beginning, and she said simply, “your needs are not being met.”

I broke down into tears.

It was true.

They were not.

“It’s not working,” I said and sobbed.

Though there is no lack of love.

My God.

The love.

I just cannot express how much love we have for each other.

We can’t be together right now the way things are.

So.

We made plans to see each other and cleared a lot of time and talked and cried and listened to Bach cello sonatas and held each other and made love one last time and looked into each others eyes and said goodbye.

It was the most kind, gentle, sweet, tender, sad, SAD, break up.

Full of spiritual principles and honesty.

It was excruciating.

Heartbreaking.

But.

Oh.

So.

Beautiful.

And there.

Cue the tears.

Oh my fucking God this hurts.

Not as bad as the first time.

But still.

Awful bad.

I know I am a going to be ok, but right now, I just want to curl up in bed and not do another thing.

I will grieve, I will be sad.

I will let myself have the experience of the loss and I will let go.

Gracefully and grateful.

I have never had love like this before.

All else was a facade.

I don’t know that I ever will again.

I just know I am beyond grateful for the experience, despite the pain.

The pain lets me know how meaningful it was.

REALLY.

Meaningful.

I gave him my copy of The Princess Bride as he left.

I had bought it last February on a trip we took together and over the course of a couple of months I read it to him, on that trip–his head in my lap, and then I recorded myself in the subsequent weeks reading the chapters so he could listen to it on business trips.

His favorite character was Fezzik.

No wonder he’s the love of my life.

Now.

Forgive me.

I must go and cry for a little while.

Sweet dreams my love, know that I will always love you.

Always.

Always.

Always.

Your, baby girl.

Sneaky Blog

February 12, 2019

I really should probably look at my homework.

But.

Fuck.

I have done a lot in the last couple of days and I also really should let myself off the hook once in a while.

I wrote a paper yesterday as well as attended a three-hour training in Berkeley for my internship.

Day off, what day off?

I also did laundry and roasted a chicken for food prep and packed up my carry-on for a trip this weekend.

I am going to do a quick zoom in and out of D.C.

A friend gave me some miles and I’ve booked an Air BnB with a fireplace in Georgetown.

We’re going to hang out, go to coffee shops and eat nice food.

I might not even go out all that much.

Sit in front of the fire-place and toast my toes.

I am going to do as much homework as possible this week so that I can actually enjoy my time there.

The trip was originally supposed to be before I started up school again but my friends schedule got wonky and we had to push it out.

So.

I will have a quick two and a half days and I’ll be right back in it.

Next weekend will be my weekend off.

Of course it does mean staying on top of things and as of such I did read 65 pages of an article today.

No fucking article should be that long.

Just saying.

Thank goodness the baby took a long nap today.

Poor little guy.

He’s been sick.

Went with the mom to the pediatrician today and it turns out he’s got an eye infection, a sinus infection and an ear infection in both ears!

He’s going to get a whopping big dose of antibiotics in the next couple of days and hopefully it will all get knocked out.

And yes.

I do actually have his cold.

I suspected I was coming down with it on Friday.

Sure as shit, Saturday I was running a fever.

But there was really nothing to do about that.

I got up, I did my morning routine, I went and saw my clients.

Fortunately it never really got anywhere as bad as the little guy’s had.

I’m a tiny bit sick, more like a light runny nose and some yuck congestion in my nose and throat when I wake up in the morning.

It’s like I got the diet version of his cold.

It’s enough to be a little annoying, but not enough to knock me down.

I will admit I was in bed pretty early last night, just to make sure that I was getting enough sleep.

That is the thing I constantly have to do for myself, get enough sleep.

Other things are getting dropped.

Socializing.

Blogging.

My blogging has been slight and I’m not excited about that, but I have to address homework pretty much every day and there is just so much to read.

My God.

The reading is heavy.

I am so very grateful I knocked out three books before the semester started.

I’m also 3/4s of the way through one of my class readers, which is going to be really helpful as I move forward.

But there is just always something else to read.

And I am constantly being sent stuff to read as well.

I can’t do it all

And I can’t blog as much as I would like, but I feel like I’m in a good place right now, turned in that paper yesterday and today did a substantive post to one of my classes.

I need to check into the other two and see what’s on the agenda, but I don’t have to do anything quite yet.

Aha.

I actually did.

And I just did it.

Hopefully I didn’t screw with the flow of the blog, but yeah, I had an inkling there was something I needed to attend to in my Arts and Creativity in Leadership class.

And there was.

So.

That’s done and now I can say I checked in and took care of it and between that, the discussion posts, the responses to others I made today and all the reading, I’m pretty good with my efforts today.

Really.

As long as I stay sober today, ultimately nothing else matters.

But I do want to do the work to get this PhD.

It does feel really important.

I have had some people in and out of my cohort as well exhort me to do a book about what I am writing on and to have it full of photographs of my tattoos.

I am actually thinking about that quite a lot.

I do know some photographers.

I should start asking around.

Of course the two that pop up in my head first are professionals and would probably be a lot to use, but it may be worth it to start engaging in looking.

I would like to document my tattoos anyway and since I’ll be writing about them and my experiences I am also leaning very heavily towards adding them into my dissertation as well.

Which is something I can do with the methodology I’m using.

Things to think about.

I also have to remember I’m meeting with one of my professors next Friday, pop that on my calendar.

My online program piece uses a lot of Zoom meetings, but I can’t make most of them wtih my schedule.

I actually had one this Saturday, client cancelled, and I checked in with one of my professors who lives on the East Coast.

We had a great talk and he gave me some of the best compliments.

I mean.

I was really blown away.

He said, “Well, Carmen, I just think you’re brilliant, I really do.”

And.

He added a little later that he had something else to admit to, “I save your papers until the last to read, that way I have something to look forward to.”

OMG.

Best compliment.

I was so very flattered.

I really want to let myself enjoy this compliment too.

In the not so recent past I have used compliments like this to stress myself out, I better perform even better, I can’t disappoint now!

So for the last couple of days I have really held that for myself.

Of course.

The paper that was due yesterday was for his class and the first of the semester (for this class, not for the semester, I’ve already turned in two other papers thank you very much).

So.

Yeah, I had some anxiety writing it.

But overall, I think it was a good paper and he’ll like it and it’s ok if he doesn’t either.

I know that I have skills.

Maybe not mad skills, but I do think I have some writing chops.

Grateful as hell for that.

And with that.

I bid you adieu.

It’s time to attend to a few more school things before winding it down for the night.

Sweet dreams.

Sleep tight.

Don’t let the bedbugs bite.

(I have always wondered how one does that?)

Heh.

I Need Off Canvas

February 5, 2019

And its only just begun.

I made myself take a break today (I was at work and the baby took a long nap) after two solid hours of writing, engaging and interacting the three different classes I have on Canvas with CIIS.

Canvas is the tech platform the classes are set up on and why yes, not a single one of my professors uses it the same as the others.

Every single one of them does it slightly differently.

And once again I had the feeling of being on top of things to only realize that I hadn’t checked into one of my classes in a few days since I was so busy posting up to the other two.

Sure as shit.

I needed to post and post pretty immediately.

I wasn’t exactly annoyed, but I was tired and I don’t know that I put up the most relevant post, but what I came to understand from last semester is that it almost doesn’t matter.

I just have to constantly be posting something.

Either a substantive post on an assignment or reading, or responding to one of my classmates.

Pretty much every week I need to be in Canvas posting and replying.

I almost didn’t want to write my blog tonight, I just wanted to come home, warm up, eat a hot dinner and crawl into bed.

But if I’m not going to do school work, and I still might do a little more tonight, I am also not going to get into bed and watch hours of Netflix, as tempting as that may be.

I will watch some.

Just not a marathon.

I need to keep that and social media to a dull roar.

The blogging is going to be helter skelter.

I have no clue when I will have time, but I figure, it’s good to stay as close to it as I can.

It’s good for my brain to unload the day and it’s good for me to have something that is not academic writing.

Besides, I’ve said it many times.

The process of writing the blog really keeps me sharp for when I need to write papers.

And boy howdy, the papers are already coming.

I have two due by next Monday.

I also have a training for my internship in Berkeley on Sunday.

I will need to be careful with my time so that I can do all the things that need to be done and all my life stuff as well too.

When I go on trainings I’m gone for half the day, 45 minutes to get to Berkeley, three-hour long training, and then on average the traffic back has been an hour and a half.

By the time I get home I need to eat lunch, which is late as it’s around three p.m. and I need to go to the laundry mat.

I am still not happy about having to go to the laundry mat.

But I am making the best of it.

For instance, this Sunday while the majority of the country was watching the Super Bowl, I was doing laundry and read 46 pages of material in my Varieties of Scholarly Expression reader.

I also did a paper on Sunday as well.

First one of the semester.

And cooked and organized things and went birthday shopping for my oldest boy charge who turns nine tomorrow.

And.

Oh yes.

I took myself on an Artist Date to Cliff’s Variety in the Castro and I bought art supplies for my Arts and Creativity in Leadership class.

I had a lot of fun.

I probably also spent more than I needed to, but honestly, I really think I needed to do it.

It felt good to say yes to myself and to splurge a little.

I mean, it’s art supplies, not crack.

Although when I was checking out I couldn’t help but giggle at all the glittering supplies I had gotten.

Glitter glue.

Glitter markers.

Glitter colored pencils.

Glitter stickers.

Plus some fancy origami paper (I won’t be doing origami with it, I just liked the paper), watercolor markers, pastel markers, and tiny colorful clothes pin holders.

No idea what I’ll do with the latter, but they were so fucking cute I had to buy them.

It was a nice splurge.

I also yesterday, had a Zoom session with one of my TA’s.

This was good, clarifying, and really just sunk it home, I’m in a PhD program.

I really have a lot of work to do and keep doing.

This is a long haul program.

But.

I am hoping to follow my TA’s cue and do some work the summer after I finish my course work so that I can get a head start into that next semester of work where I will be independent.

She told me what she did and it was basically to not take the summer off and work on her proposal for her dissertation so that as soon as the first day of fall semester hit she turned it in to her dissertation chair and was off and running.

She will likely be done in three and a half years as opposed to four and a half.

I’m all for doing it that way.

Get it done.

I am excited, more and more, as the process becomes clearer to me.

Yes, so much work, but rather fascinating work and I’ll be writing about something I am very interested in.

So, yeah, Canvas.

I have gotten three notifications while I have been writing this blog that something new has been posted in my classes, so I will likely hit it up for a few more minutes before calling it a day.

It’s how I managed to get through last semester without falling behind.

The horror stories of people in my cohort who fell behind is enough to keep me active.

Or.

The people who just dropped out completely or disappeared.

I think we lost five people?

I don’t want to drop out and I do want to get my dissertation through, I want to have a PhD.

I want to be Dr. Carmen.

I really.

Really.

Really.

Do.

So Good

January 30, 2019

To be home.

My God.

So good.

I’m super grateful I went to the intensive and I reconnected with all the folks in my PhD cohort, don’t get me wrong, but fuck, I was ready to get the heck out.

I cannot wait to sleep in my own bed again.

Five nights in a hotel in Burlingame is not exactly my cup of tea.

Granted.

I got super lucky, again!

I had no room-mate.

Although I had been assigned to share a room with another woman, I did not pay the extra $702 to have  room to myself (there were quite a few who did drop the money, but I really couldn’t see doing it) to have it to myself.  My room-mate just never showed up.

Not sure why either.

The name of the person was not someone who I knew from my cohort, which meant I would have basically been bunking with a second year person.

Which isn’t horrible, it would have just been an unknown and another layer of the experience.

Grateful as fuck that I had the room to myself and I didn’t have to pay the extra to be alone.

It was nice to sleep and do my thing at my own schedule.

It was nice to get up in the morning and shower without having to be concerned about a room mate or another’s sleep schedule, or wearing pajamas to bed, I sleep in the nude thank you very much.

It was lovely to have the quiet, especially as I have been incorporating a fifteen minute meditation into my morning the last few days.

I had a friend suggest an abundance meditation and I started doing it the first morning of the intensive.

I do a little reading, mull on the reading, then sit and meditate and after words write down what comes up.

Sometimes my brain is just too busy, but I have found pretty consistently over the past five mornings that I have felt more abundance and my flow and I have felt more generous, both with my money and with my time.

I definitely can suffer from a scarcity mentality and I feel like I have worked a long time on turning that around.

Now I want to bring more abundance in and that means conversely being more generous.

Faith.

Not fear.

I’m grateful for that.

I found myself tipping more at the intensive, offering to get things for people, more coffee when I was doing a refill for myself, asking others what they needed, buying flowers.

That experience was really sweet actually.

The second year students had their last intensive, there’s four in total for the program if you’re on the two-year track, six if you’re on the three-year track.

I am on the get it done as fast as possible track, two years of course work, instead of three years.

It means that once again I am full tilt boogie for the semester, but having survived the first semester I feel like I have a slight leg up over the person who walked in pretty blind last semester.

Granted, I still did have an anxiety attack the third day of classes going over my third class syllabus and realizing how much the professor wanted of us.

But, I managed to not die and a dear friend reminded me that I had a near panic attack last semester going over the syllabus in my third class too.

So I was right on time.

Lean into the process.

Fuck.

He was right.

And I got through it.

So it was nice yesterday to have a big chunk of time, I had my elective scheduled on Sunday, to run around a touch and get out of the hotel and go get flowers.

I had been tapped along with two other women to do the adieu ceremony for those in the program who were moving on and wouldn’t be with us next semester.

They will instead be doing the independent research that they need to do to get their dissertations done.

I drove my car into downtown Burlingame and went window shopping and walked around.

Downtown Burlingame is surreal, FYI.

It was like a big outdoor mall.

Very little that felt unique or town like, although there was a town like sort of structure to it, it felt like a big suburb.

It was nice to be out though and considering that most of my time I spend in San Francisco, it was nice to see something new, granted, not my cup of tea, but still seeing new things is good.

I won’t be going back anytime soon, unless they decide to do the next intensive in Burlingame too.

It’s hard to say, the place that the school had been doing them is under a huge remodel and may not be ready by next fall.

Anyway, I had fun window shopping and got a few new lip glosses at Sephora and then got flowers to give to the outgoing cohort.

We had a little ceremony later that night and I have to say I was super happy that I had made the suggestion to get flowers and then went and got them, it felt right and it was so sweet to see how touched the outgoing students were.

I like this kind of generosity.

I like bringing happiness to others.

I do like feeling in the flow and in abundance.

And I realize, quite well that when I am in scarcity I tend to hold too tightly to money or objects, afraid to lose what I have.

But it’s really hard to accept what is trying to be given to me if I hold on too tightly.

Giving back, being generous, even in small ways, seems to shift that for me and I found that I felt really positive and good in my interactions with my cohort and the second years moving on.

I also participated a lot more than I did last semester.

Sat longer at meals and talked more.

Participated in the talent show.

Made myself known.

Sure.

I also ducked out of going to the bars and grabbing margaritas or drinking wine with the ladies after class and went to my room and read, but I really did try to socialize a lot.

It was good.

I am proud of myself for getting through.

And I’m ready to go back to “normal” life.

Heh.

Busy life.

Full on tomorrow, work and three clients after work–I had to reschedule some of the folks that I had not been able to meet with for having been out-of-town.

Plus!

I picked up two new clients while I was at the intensive, which was really cool.

Anyway.

Grateful to be home, it’s home, and my bed is going to be a miracle, I can tell.

And I’ll do my best, I think I really do want to do that for you and for me, by writing my blogs as often as I can.

This week I’m pretty caught up on my reading and ready, but I know there will come a time when I fall off the face of the earth for a while.

Don’t worry though.

I will be back.

I promise.

I love this too much.

I really do.

Little Gold Star

January 20, 2019

Today I got my 14th star tattoo.

14 stars.

14 years of being sober.

I decided I need to give myself a gold star.

It’s been that kind of year.

When I reflected on all the things that I went through and all the places I’ve been, I think that I definitely earned it.

This past year I traveled to DC, New York, Paris, and Marseilles.

I graduated with a Master’s degree in Psychology.

I went through a buy out and moved.

That was some serious stress let me tell you.

I also started a private practice therapy business.

And.

A PhD program.

I also got my grades back from said program.

All “A”s.

ALL.

I was a little surprised to tell you the truth, I had an issue with a final paper I turned in for one of my classes and I didn’t think it was going to fly, the paper, that is–I digressed from the specific instructions the professor gave and did rather what I wanted to do.  It was the only paper for the class, although there were so many discussion posts that I feel like I actually wrote seven papers for the class, and I ran a huge risk doing it.

The risk paid off.

So, yeah, a gold star felt really appropriate.

2019-01-19 20.54.20-2

Yes.

It did hurt.

And it felt really right and I was, obviously, very happy with it.

Not only was I pleased with it, but it filled out the space perfect.  I am very satisfied with the way all my tattoos look and really have little desire to put anything else in that area.

Not sure where I’ll put the 15th, but let’s just let me focus on the 14th star.

It really was quite a year.

I walked through some really challenging things and came out the other side.

I reflected on a lot of that today as I went about my day.

I saw clients at my office, did lots of writing, read for one of my upcoming classes for this next semester (school starts next Thursday!), went to Let it Bleed on Polk Street, got an iced coffee for a treat, walked around the Tenderloin and took graffiti photographs, caught up with my friend DannyBoy at the shop, took myself out to lunch in Hayes Valley, had a coffee with a friend in the Mission at Maxfield’s House of Caffeine, went to Divisadero and got my nails done, and then hit my Saturday night commitment and did the deal.

It was a day.

I’m really happy with my life right now.

Oh, sure, romantically it’s strange, but you know, that will work itself out.

Or not.

I have ceased (fighting anyone or anything) trying to figure it out.

I’m just showing up every day and taking care of myself and I feel really good about what I did today for myself and my own care.

I also thought a lot about what I want to bring forward for this next year.

Get through the next semester of classes, add clients into my private practice, travel.

I also want to get through the Below Market Housing Homeowners workshop.

I really am going to go after buying a house in San Francisco.

My friend whom I met for coffee happens to be a realtor and we spent an hour going over what I need to do to get myself in line to actually do that.

She gave me a good idea of how much money I will need to have saved up, which will take some time (or not, who knows, money may fall out of the sky) to save, but I can do it.

Plus that I should get a credit card.

Which I’m not super stoked on the idea.

I had one that I’d gotten last year and then never used as it made me uncomfortable.

But.

My friend insisted I was really going to need a credit history that showed me paying off a card.

She said get one, pay it off every month and always pay more than the minimum payment.

If I do get another card, and that’s an if, I will definitely not let a balance roll over.

I just do not like the idea of having any credit card debt.

I do, however, like the idea of having a good credit score and something that shows I am a good risk for a home loan.

I shall take it under advisement.

I actually tried to re-open the credit card I had closed but I could not figure out how to do it and just sort of set it aside tonight when I got home.

I feel like I did a lot today just by sitting down and talking about it.

I will manifest a house in San Francisco.

See if I don’t.

In the mean time there is plenty of other things for me to do.

I do want to keep a soft focus on it though, always have it in my mind and see where I can expand my awareness of abundance.

I am continuing to practice that opening up to the universe, to the flow, to God, to abundance, I have continued to give away a little more than I typically do.

More tip in the tip jar, more money in the basket, continuing to pay my bills within 24 hours of getting them.

And!

Oh my gosh, this is definitely part of the gold star, I got approved to become an employee at my internship.

Which means that I will start bringing in more money.

I am so psyched about that.

I’m excited for this year.

I feel like all sorts of incredible things are going to happen.

I really do.

Faith.

I like that.

Faith, abundance, joy, honesty, integrity, serenity.

Words to live by.

Principles to underpin my gold star.

And!

Love.

Let me not forget that one.

Never forget that.

Seriously.

 

Bullshit

January 15, 2019

I keep expecting someone to say that when I say, “thank you for 14 years.”

It sounds so surreal coming out of my mouth.

How the hell did that happen?

Really?

Fourteen years.

Nights and weekends, nothing in between, nothing to take the edge off.

As if anything really could.

Using or drinking for me over an issue or a problem would just be pouring gas on a bonfire.

I would burn it all down and I don’t actually think I would die.

That would be the easier, softer way.

No.

I think I would live a miserable, dire, soul less, ugly life.

I have so much in my life I cannot imagine ever going back.

I do see it happen though.

So here’s to having more commitments and suiting up and showing up and doing the deal no matter what.

My life is really wonderful and it was with much sweetness that I picked up some metal last night in front of my community who witnesses me with so much love.

It really awes me the amount of love I have been given access to.

Most of all, the love I feel for myself.

The level of compassion and forgiveness I have for myself really is so vast.

I didn’t have it growing up.

Occasionally I would have a moment where I thought I might have something worthy in me, I was certainly smart, but how many times does it take for a person to hear that she is “too smart for her own good,” before she begins, I begin, to think the same.

I used to also wonder.

How come if I’m so damn smart I can’t figure out my life or what I want or where I’m going.

I mean.

I had some idea.

I knew I wanted out of Wisconsin and after multiply failed attempts I made it out in 2002 to travel all the way across the country and cross the Bay Bridge in my little two door Honda Accord.

I still remember what it felt like crossing over that bridge.

I was definitely crossing a threshold.

I had no idea.

Sometimes I think it’s a good thing that I didn’t know all the things that were going to transpire.

Who knows if I would have made it out.

I do certainly remember that.

I had a feeling of dread that my time was soon to be up in Wisconsin and I needed to leave, there was a constant low-level thrum of anxiety, a beating drum of doom that throbbed just below everything.

I was in constant fear.

I had no name for it though.

I had no idea the anxiety I was under.

I knew the depression.

That I had at least been seen for, once when I was in my early twenties and when the therapist wanted to medicate me as my insurance wouldn’t allow her to continue serving me unless I was prescribed meds, I bounced.

I didn’t understand then what depression meant.

All I knew was that sometimes it was terribly hard to get out of bed.

Or bathe.

I remember my boyfriend once made a comment about it, that the sheets needed to be changed or washed and I knew I had to get out and wash the bedding and myself, but getting into the shower was so damn hard.

I can remember how sunny it was too and we lived really close to James Madison park, literally just a few blocks away on Franklin.

I can count the number of times I went to the park on a sunny summer day on one hand and have more than a few fingers left over.

I could not get myself out of the house.

I knew it would pass.

It always did.

But it started to get longer.

And longer.

I might have a day of it once in a while and then nothing for sometime and then it would just snake back in.

For some reason it happened (and can happen for me now, there’s sometimes a feeling of dread during the longest days of the year) during the summer when there was lots of light and no reason to be caged up inside.

People think depression and they see rainy days and grey skies.

I saw sunshine and couldn’t bear to be out in it.

I worked nights.

I slept days.

Sometimes, in the dead of winter I would not see the sunlight at all.

Unless it was the sunrise coming up as I was coming home from closing the bar where I worked.

I was diagnosed with Seasonal Affective Disorder in undergrad.

Turns out that some folks, about 10% of the population that has the disorder, actually experience the depression in the summer.

I remember one year that was really bad.

I was in between jobs, I had just given notice to the Essen Haus where I had been the General Manager and was transitioning to my new job at the Angelic Brewing Company as their Floor Manager (still the worst title ever, how about Queen of Doing Everything, that seems more apt).

I had two weeks off.

I was supposed to have taken those two weeks off to go on a road trip with my boyfriend, but it didn’t come to fruition due to the Angelic needing me to start before the trip had been planned.

I postponed it and planned on doing it the next year which never happened either, but I digress.

My boyfriend went to work in the morning and I sat in the living room of our apartment in a rocking chair.

I sat there all day long.

I might have read books.

I would sleep as long in bed as I could, then get up and sit in that chair until he came home.

Part of me suspected that there was something very soothing about the rocking of the chair, I used to self-soothe as a child when I was upset by rocking back and forth, I can still slip into it if I’m really freaked out.

I don’t remember much of that week, but one particular scene is always in my head and that is of the shadows growing longer and longer in the apartment as the sun set.

They would crawl slowly across the floor and I would watch them inch up the walls until the apartment was muddled in twilight and I would only get up to turn on the light five minutes before I thought my boyfriend was going to get home.

There were many nights of sitting in that chair in the dark by myself alone.

I told no one.

Wowzers.

I had no idea that was going to be what I wrote about tonight, but hey, there it is.

In addition to the SAD, I have depression.

Hahahaha.

Sigh.

Major Depressive Disorder is the clinical diagnosis.

I managed it once in early sobriety with antidepressants but after a few years I got of the meds and deal with it through writing daily in my morning journal, I use a light therapy box every morning, I write affirmations, I get outside as much as I can, I eat really, really, really well, I do my own therapy work, I cultivate relationships with my fellows and I have good damn friends.

And I don’t drink.

Alcohol is a depressant you know.

I didn’t.

Not for years.

And for years I have been pretty free from that great ocean of doom and for that I am so grateful.

My life is lovely.

Challenging, sure.

But absolutely lovely.

Thank you for 14 years!

You know who you are and I love you, very, very, very much.


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