Archive for the ‘Insights’ Category

So Many Details

April 20, 2018

I had a lot of stuff that I had to remember to do today.

Little things, but things that needed to be attended to.

I had a new client, so I had to print of new client paper work, plus some of my files are shy on progress notes and so I printed off a bunch of paperwork to bring into my internship.

I have learned the hard way that there are often times therapy sessions being held in the office that has the majority of the paperwork so I will print off my own at home to save me the headache of not being able to get what I need.

I was super lucky tonight and managed to sneak in right after a client left a therapy session in the office and I was able to procure the file for my new client.

That was smooth.

I’m back to running with a full eight clients.

Although it is rare that I see all eight clients in the same week, a lot of cancellations.

Which happens when the sliding scale is so low and people decide they can afford to cancel at the last-minute.

I can’t afford to cancel my therapist last-minute, I’m on the lowest end of her sliding scale and that’s $120 an hour.

Not an acceptable trade-off for last-minute cancelling.

However, I have plenty of clients that pay $10 or $20 a session.

It tends to lead to clients cancelling.

Sometimes I think I should be running with ten clients to make up for the frequent cancellations, but then again, right now, what with trying to get through the rest of the school year and get to graduation, I think it’s best to sit at eight.

Speaking of graduation.

I just did a bunch of work for my graduation invitation for the beach bonfire party May 19th.

I’m super jazzed to be able to have a party and so, so, so grateful for my friends who are helping out.

My best friend is in charge and gave me a time line of things to do and I flubbed already, but I’m hoping to redeem myself with the content and copy that I just sent out.

We shall see.

I’m not the best when it comes to those sorts of things.

Hopefully it will be enough.

And if it’s not, I can figure that out too.

My primary focus is just getting through the next few weeks and getting the papers done that I have to write.

I booked myself some time to write this weekend, it may not be all in one go, which is generally how I like to write, but I have some commitments Sunday that take up time.

I”m hopeful that I will get the majority of it done on Sunday.

I will be doing internship paperwork and BBS paperwork on Saturday.

Although I might be able to get a few things jotted down on Saturday as well depends on what comes up in my schedule.

I’m not too worried.

Ha.

I lie.

I’m a bit anxious, but I have faith.

I always get my papers written, this time will be no different.

It’s exciting to be getting so close, even if it is a little nerve-wracking.

Just two more papers!

And then.

A nice chill last weekend of classes, some closing ceremonies with the cohort, some hugs, and that’s that.

There’s a week in between the last weekend of classes and Commencement.

I’m still in the can’t quite believe that I’m graduating, but it’s getting more real.

I think, actually, that working on the invitation was helpful, it sort of solidified it in my head that this is all actually happening.

Even getting my cap and gown in the mail didn’t make it real.

I sense that it will feel real when the papers are done.

I’m ready for that.

And I’m ready for Friday.

It’s been a big week.

A good one, but intense and I’m ready for the weekend.

Granted, there won’t be a lot of down time, but I will make time for it if it should coalesce.

All work and no play makes me a dull girl.

And nobody wants that.

Nobody.

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I Tried

April 15, 2018

But I did not go.

I got up.

I didn’t feel so hot.

I didn’t feel so bad either, except in my head, let’s be honest, the head wanted to have some make me feel like shit say, but I didn’t feel great either.

I ended up last night having some reflux before bed, so I didn’t get off scot-free, but it wasn’t a bad day for it.

So to today, I feel like there’s a little happening, but it’s not been a bad day.

The, sigh, the part that has been challenging, is that I’ve been bloated.

I have no idea what that’s all about, may have something to do with whatever’s going on, that’s what it feels like, another symptom of whatever the issue is that needs to be addressed, but a symptom that’s a bit noisome, frankly, not one I’m a fan of.

And there’s a feeling of always being rather full, even when I haven’t eaten.

I felt like I could muster the will power to go to yoga class, but then I just felt like I was going to be nauseous the whole time.

I talked with my best friend on the phone and I realized when I was in tears that I was mostly frustrated because I had made plans in my brain and those plans weren’t happening and I was mad at myself and mad at my body.

My friend suggested a nice long walk instead of yoga, go move my body, but just in a gentler way.

Fuck.

I honestly wouldn’t have thought about that, I would have beat myself up for not going to yoga and then felt bad.

Instead.

I took the suggestion and since I was in my yoga clothes anyway, I went for a long walk on the beach.

Sometimes I forget how close it is and that it’s right there, just three scant blocks away, the big beautiful Pacific Ocean, and the big swath of Ocean Beach that I’m at in about five minutes from leaving my house.

I walked for an hour.

I felt better.

Oh.

Sure my stomach is not itself, hasn’t been in some time, but I felt better, I felt better having sunlight on my face, I felt better because I was active, mildly active, but still, and I felt better for having the sound of the ocean in my ears, which was meditative.

So too, the sight of the water, calming and soothing.

I am so lucky to live by the ocean.

I remember growing up how much I wanted to get back to California, how much I missed it, how important to me the ocean was, the dream of being by it, of living by it.

I still want a home and I often think, that although it’s crazy to think I could possibly buy a house in San Francisco, I still think that I could, and wouldn’t it be nice to have a place by the sea?

I have found myself rather fond of it out here.

Oh I know.

It’s not all that central, but it’s sweet and has a neighborhood feel that I much appreciate, and there’s the ocean, which is such an intense and wonderful source of power for me.

I appreciate living in the outer most reaches of the city for reasons I could not have expected when I first moved to San Francisco.

The Outer Sunset felt like another country to me.

But having a scooter and more recently, a car, it’s not too bad getting around, and well, there’s actually parking most of the time.

Oh, sometimes I have to park further away than I want, but I generally find it pretty quick.

Granted.

My car is hella small so I probably find spaces others can’t fit, but I wager I would have a much harder time in other parts of the city.

I mean, I cannot fathom the idea of having a car in the Mission.

Not unless I did own a home or have access to a garage.

So being out here is great, the parking, the ocean, the quietness of it, and the feeling of being a part of the neighborhood.

I do like that.

And I like how that walk on the beach rather set a different and unexpected tone to my day.

I felt resourced and taken care of and I came home and had a nice breakfast, which in hindsight does really speak to the fact that something is happening for me, I got up at 8:15 a.m., did laundry, put fresh sheets on my bed, talked to my best friend, went for an hour-long walk on the beach, and I didn’t have breakfast until nearly two, two and a half hours later.

Normally, before the tummy trouble, I would have been bats if I waited two hours to eat.

But I didn’t feel hungry, it was just something I noted as I went about making my breakfast, the thought that it was late in my morning to just then be eating.

I don’t know if I will do yoga tomorrow or not.

I’m not going to sign up tonight, I made that decision, but if I feel ok in the morning I can sign up for a class.

And if I don’t, well, I go for another walk, I at least take the time I would have been doing yoga to move my body and get fresh air.

Or I go for a bike ride, I thought about that too.

Then home, a good hot shower, a nice breakfast, meeting with a few ladies to do the deal and then some food prep for the week and some work on my Research Methods paper.

After which up to the Castro for my Sunday night commitment and then off to Frances for a late dinner with my best friend.

It’s going to be a really lovely day.

I feel it in my bones.

So grateful for the sweet unfolding of my day today and all the small unexpected beautiful moments therein.

Luckiest girl in the world.

Seriously.

I Didn’t Get It

April 7, 2018

And I can’t say I’m surprised.

Disappointed.

Yes.

Surprised.

No.

There was something about the email that I got last week letting me know that the decision regarding the Diversity Scholarship had not yet been made.

I immediately began to have doubts that I was going to get it.

I’m not sure why, but it felt like the flavor of what was to come.

I was told the final decision would be reached by today, April 6th.

And I spent all day long thinking, where’s the e-mail.

I didn’t get it, where’s the e-mail?

Maybe I got it.

When are they going to let me know?

I almost texted my best friend tonight in between seeing clients.

I don’t think I got the scholarship.

But I got caught up doing paperwork and then my next client was in and therapy.

I drove home, really bad traffic, rain does that in San Francisco, the weather ups the idiot ante pretty quick, finally found parking and walked home to my little studio to make some dinner.

When I sat down to eat I got the bing that I had a new e-mail.

And there it was.

The notification letter.

I can’t tell you what it said exactly as I already trashed it, but it didn’t surprise me.

Disappointment though, I could have used that $5,000 per year.

I don’t even know how much my tuition is going to be for my PhD program, but I do know that having had some scholarship money for my Master’s program was really integral to helping me do some things.

Like buy my car.

Travel.

And, you know, pay rent.

I have steadily, over the last few years acquired expenditures that I never used to have.

My scooter, scooter insurance, my car, car insurance, dental insurance, health insurance (although that’s felt like a colossal joke), renter’s insurance, monthly yoga, and a lot of those things I helped pay for with my financial aid and my scholarship money.

And of course.

Tuition.

I’m not going to be too upset though.

It doesn’t do me well to dwell on it and although it’s a disappointment, how could it not be, I know that the money will be there.

Maybe another scholarship.

Maybe I win the lottery.

Maybe I come into money.

Maybe I just take out more student loans.

As long as tuition gets paid and I don’t have to supplement tuition with my own money, not right now, my own money goes to rent, groceries, phone, yoga, car, scooter, clothes, travel, cost of living in San Francisco.

If I get enough money to cover tuition I can cover my cost of living on what I make.

I will be ok.

I always am.

Sigh.

I don’t like the idea of taking out more student loans, but I don’t like the idea of not going after my PhD even less.

The education is important to me and the work is important and I’m doing it.

The money will come.

It will.

And before I know it, I’ll be attending my first intensive for the program.

I received an e-mail yesterday letting me know what courses I need to register for.

I will be taking five classes my first semester.

Three are credited courses and two are not.

The intensive is counted as a course and there is an online class forum that is counted as a course.

Neither of those will really affect me time wise.

Money wise.

Yeah.

The intensive runs I think at least $1800.

And typically what I have seen is that each credit of course work is about $1200.

So three, three credit courses will cost me about 10,800.

Tuition is going to probably be about $22,000 per year.

I think.

I am not 100% sure, but that was pretty close to what the Master’s Degree cost me.

I could probably look it all up at this point, and maybe I should, but it’s late, I had a long day, good, but long.

I had the first day of my fourth weekend of the program.

I did my case presentation.

I was the first to go and it felt really good to get up there in front of the class and share about my work.

I got some really nice feedback.

It felt really good to hear and it really made me reflect on how far I have come and how much I bring to my clients.

My teacher said, and I quote, “_____________ is really lucky to have you.”

Wow.

That was fucking nice to hear.

As were many of the other responses I got from my cohort.

I felt very much like a therapist as I sat there.

I also felt very much the therapist as I was working with a new client tonight in our first session.

I was marveling at how I have really learned how to listen, to reflect, to mirror, to validate and to re-frame what the client says.

I had a moment afterward when I compared how I felt taking on a new client now versus how I felt when I first started.

So different.

I really feel like I am doing a good job.

And that.

Just that.

I need to recognize.

I am a good therapist.

I am in the right field.

I am doing the right thing.

I am on the path.

I have a career.

I am a therapist.

Granted.

Unlicensed as of yet, with loads of work to be done, but I am firmly situated on this path and I am so grateful for having a purpose in my career and a career that will support me and one in which I will have great longevity.

I will get to practice for a long time.

So.

Yeah.

Bummed about not getting the scholarship, but it’s not going to slow me down from doing what I am supposed to be doing.

And for that.

Well.

I have only gratitude.

 

Ready, Set

March 28, 2018

Interview!

My PhD interview is tomorrow morning!

Holy crap.

I’ve got to get all the profanity, crassness, and foul language out of my system before going in.

Although, to give myself some credit, I am an articulate person.

I have a way with words.

Plus.

I interview well.

Which was not a talent I would have recognized in myself previous to this experience, but when I reflect on how I have done historically in interviews, I usually get the job, or the school to accept me.

Sometimes even when I don’t think I have done so well.

Hell.

Most times.

Most times before not too long ago, I would think that I hadn’t gotten in.

I didn’t think I was going to get back into my Bachelor’s program at UW Madison, I mean I seriously fucked up my first round of schooling there.

But I did, I interviewed with the dean of admissions after sending in an application letter to be readmitted and I was shocked I mean, shocked, when they let me back in.

There wasn’t even any waiting period, the woman basically told me at the end of the interview that I was accepted back.

That I could start that Spring!

It was the fall term and I think I had interviewed at the end of November, beginning of December.

I had not planned on that.

I hadn’t planned on getting in, I was “humoring” my best friend and a good friend of hers, a boss that I worked for, by applying to school again.

“You are just too smart to not be in college,” my boss said, echoing my best friend’s sentiments.

“If you don’t apply, I’m going to fire you,” my boss continued.

“What?!” I said, incredulous.

“I’m serious, Carmen, you really are just too smart, and I wouldn’t feel right if I wasn’t encouraging you to go back to school, go back, we still want you to work here, but you really should go back.” He concluded.

Of course I applied.

I didn’t want to lose my job.

And maybe there was a part of me that wanted to go back, to get my shit together, to do it right this time.

But I hadn’t expected to get right in, nor that I would be able to start in the Spring semester.

I had only a few weeks to adjust to the idea that I was going to be back in school full-time.

My boyfriend at the time was not at all pleased.

He was, in hindsight, though I couldn’t see it at the time, very jealous of my time.

He was also displeased, I suspected, because he had dropped out of UW Madison a couple of years prior and hadn’t managed to get his shit together to go back.

He did eventually.

After doing time for a felony conviction for stalking me.

But that’s another story, for another time.

Suffice to say.

The encouragement of my friends got me in and the encouragement of my friends here in San Francisco got me into my Master’s program.

I think they’re all still behind me for going for the PhD.

Last time I checked in with anyone it felt that way.

Although a few acquaintances did register surprise.

“Two more years of school!”

“We’re never going to see you at fellowship again!”

True.

And not so true.

Yes.

I will still be busy.

But I think I have learned well over these last few years to balance out my studies with my job, my recovery, and my social life.

Sometimes better than others.

And sometimes I really had to work hard at it.

Hell.

It’s been all hard work.

“Sometimes I wish I was done with the hard work!” I expressed to my therapist today.

We had a really huge session.

In fact, I left over time with her saying that she would like to support me in whatever I needed regarding our session.

I thanked her for that.

That’s the second time in a month my therapist has let me know that I can reach out for support after hours, or without having a session scheduled.

Though I don’t think I will do that.

I was quite touched.

I am, however, going to do some work.

The work it doesn’t really end.

It just changes.

And I change.

That’s the hope, anyway, that I will change.

Grow or die.

Ha.

Well.

Perhaps not that stark, not that black and white.

But I was pretty miserable today and sad and angry and upset.

I talked with my therapist about my health stuff, going really into detail, letting her know how I was affected by the system I seem to be unable to get out of.

And.

By my history.

What health advocacy looked like in my home.

In my family of origin.

Which was shit.

I only went to the doctor in an emergency.

There was no healthcare aside from the mandatory doctor’s physical before school each year.

There was only a doctor’s visit when something horrible was happening.

And it had to be really bad to get the attention of my mom.

Really bad.

I remember an incident that happen when I was seventeen.

Mono, strep, and tonsilitis all at the same time.

I was delirious.

I remember calling my mom and begging her to come home from work.

She told me she couldn’t.

I walked around the house crying and delusional with a fever that was so high the emergency room doctor chastised my mother for not bringing me in sooner.

He was irate.

It was one of the few times I remember my mom getting me a special treat from the market, croissants (day olds, but fuck, I had never had such an amazing piece of bread) and crab salad (fake crab, but crab!) and ice cream.

I certainly felt special and the words of the doctor faded out of my perceptions in a haze of fevered ice cream eating and sleep.

But the impact lasted.

I wasn’t allowed to ask for help, I wasn’t allowed to get sick, I wasn’t helped out when I was, I had to take care of myself and figure it out and doctors, dentists, hospitals, the medical system, all seemed scary and also not allowed for me.

I have done a tremendous amount of work to get through it and to be where I am, but it raised its head and there I was in therapy with a pile of tissues around me and angry tears on my face.

And.

Oh, the gratitude.

Some client advocacy from my therapist who made some suggestions and gave me some very valuable information.

Information I will be acting on pretty much immediately.

Well.

First the interview.

Then new insurance!

It’s how I celebrate now.

Not popping a bottle of champagne.

But rather.

Gifting myself.

Better.

Health care.

Officially.

#adulting

Apple Cider Vinegar

March 27, 2018

For the win!

Who the fuck knew?

I didn’t.

I had no clue.

But.

I was up for trying anything and so last night after doing some more internet research on foods to not eat, I thought, hmm, what about foods I should eat.

And there it was.

A huge amount of information about things that are helpful, including, apple cider vinegar.

Having tried all sorts of over the counter meds and this prescription that I’ve been taking now for over three months, I thought, why not try it.

It was a fucking Christmas miracle.

I cannot even begin to describe the intense relief I got almost immediately.

Relief which lasted through the night, giving me one of the better nights of sleep I’ve had in weeks.

Although it wasn’t long enough, I had to be up early for supervision before work, it was restful and I didn’t lie there in agony trying to fall asleep.

I mean.

Sure.

My brain kept me busy for a while with travel plans and graduation plans and things that need to be done, but I wasn’t in pain.

Just marveling at that it took a minute or two to drift off.

But.

Oh.

When I did.

It was such nice, deep, restful sleep.

Hopefully I will have another night like that.

Especially as I just had some more of the apple cider vinegar.

The reflux began to kick in at the end of my first client and was in full riot gear by the time I was finished with my second client.

I chewed sugar-free bubble gum on the way home to take the bite off it, but I felt pretty sore and tired and a bit head achy from it.

The reflux simmered down immediately upon taking the vinegar.

I still have a touch of a headache, but I’m hoping that too shall pass.

Especially since I have had some dinner.

I notice the reflux too when I don’t have much food in my stomach.

Which is apparently the opposite of what usually happens, most folks get it on an over full stomach.

My stomach is not really full.

I usually eat dinner after I get home from my clients, which makes dinner fairly late, tonight is was around 9p.m.

You could say I’m practicing for being in Paris, where dinner is often quite late.

My friend messaged me this morning as I was getting ready to go to supervision about my trip over.

She relayed to me that she will have more time than she originally thought she would, although it does look like the family will be gone for a weekend to Hungary for a wedding.

“You could come, or you can stay in Paris.”

I opted for stay in Paris.

I’m not sure of the exact dates for their trip, but if it’s a weekend thing that would be the 20-22nd.

I think.

Which is fine.

I have plenty of experience being on my own in Paris.

I’ll have their home to be my base and I can spend time wandering around.

I’ll do much walking in the Marais, I am very sure of that, since that’s where they live, on Rue de Temple.

It’s nice to think about travel plans.

It’s nice to think about graduation plans.

Those will come first, since that’s the order of things.

Graduate.

New York.

Paris.

Start PhD program.

I feel like I am actually going to have a real summer vacation.

New York at the end of June and Paris in mid-July.

I am going to get to experience some warm weather, some sun dresses, some sandals, hair up off my neck, bare skin, warm nights.

Sigh.

I love summertime weather.

And I don’t get that much of it out here in the Outer Sunset.

It does happen though.

And when it does one fervently, or I should just say I, hope that no one in the other parts of the city know that it’s nice at the beach.

I have a friend who lives in the Mission and will literally text me to ask how the weather is out at the beach.

Just because it’s sunny in the Mission does not mean sunny in the Sunset.

But when it is, wow, it’s spectacular.

My life feels pretty spectacular when I take a step back, even now, even with the constant reflux stuff happening.

I’m soldiering through it and learning to do even more self-care.

God.

I am just constantly learning.

There is no end to it.

I am also.

Speaking of learning.

Thinking about starting a new blog.

Yes.

I did say that.

I happened to be thinking about it last night, amongst a few other tantalizing things in regards to my upcoming travel, about starting a blog specifically for my clients.

A way of giving back some of what I learn and practice.

Part of our Integrative Seminar at school is to have website, it’s an option instead of doing the 30 page paper, blogs were noted as a great tool to connect to clients.

And.

Well.

I like to blog.

I would have to tailor it to fit a different audience.

But I think I would like to try to since it won’t be so much about my own personal, daily process, and since it will be aimed out towards the public, I think I will go live with it on social media.

I’m staying the fuck off of Twitter.

Fuck you Twitter.

I’m not really out there with my politics, but fuck you, I won’t ever use your platform again.

Anyway.

Not that facecrack is much better, but I can put it out there and see if there’s a decent response or feedback as well as hooking to my Instagram.

I may also start a second Instagram account that is client focused and centered, rather than on me and my selfies.

Thoughts.

Things to explore.

And grateful to get to explore them with a modicum of relief from the reflux.

Go apple cider vinegar go!

The Last Roast Chicken

March 26, 2018

I thought to myself as I smothered it in salt and dusted it faintly with pepper, popping it into the hot oven to roast.

Sigh.

Now.

It may not be the last roast chicken ever, ever, ever.

But.

I am cutting out things that may be influencing the acid reflux I’m having and it’s been amply noted that fatty things are hard to break down.

Chicken, lean chicken, is not a bad thing.

It’s more that I roast the chicken and I eat the skin too.

It’s so good.

But.

It’s been mentioned to me that I could and should avoid that.

I had a chicken in the refrigerator though so, well, fuck, I roasted it up.

But I took the extra medication for the reflux and I ate it with brown rice and I had a banana for dessert.

Banana’s are supposed to help.

As too, oatmeal.

Greens, broccoli, fresh veggies, proteins that are low on fat.

I figure there are going to be a few more salads in my future.

And instead of roasting a whole chicken, I’ll get skinless chicken breasts, or ground turkey meat.

Stuff that has little fat content.

I had an amazing dish at China Live recently that consisted of butter lettuce leaves and ground chicken, like lettuce tacos, it was really good and I thought, that can be a dish I replicate.

I can make it very tummy friendly.

I can make a lot of things tummy friendly.

I can also eliminate a few other things that I found out may cause reflux.

Iron supplements.

What?

I have been taking iron supplements for years, like not even blinking an eye at it, I was diagnosed with severe anemia about seven, eight years ago, and started taking it then.

But I have noticed that when I take the iron, the flax supplement and the reflux med, something is getting triggered.

So.

Tomorrow.

I think I will skip the iron supplement in the morning.

I haven’t totally cut out coffee yet, but I have significantly cut back and I’m not drinking anything at all besides the double unsweetened vanilla almond milk latte I have with my breakfast.

I just don’t know that I can totally cut that out.

If I have to I will.

But today.

Well I had the coffee.

I didn’t go to yoga, I wasn’t feeling super well and I did not want to repeat yesterday’s experience.

I did however, get a lot of stuff done today.

Not everything.

But a surprising amount.

I finished all my reading or the next weekend of classes.

I did some work on my research paper and made a list of books that I need to check out from the library at school for the paper I’m working on.

I started writing up my case study too, I’ll be presenting a client to my Integrative Seminar this next weekend of classes.

I’m the first to go and I plan on setting a high bar.

I am actually rather excited to share the case, I have done a lot of work with the client and there’s been some prodigious change.

Therapy works y’all!

Yeah, so, lots of work on that, which is good, I have to write-up an 8-10 page paper next Sunday, so I was super glad to get this part done and also to have gotten all the reading done.

That feels really good.

It means I won’t have to carry my research methods text books around all week and try to squeeze in readings here and there.

I like that.

This week will be busy and full enough as it is.

I have supervision tomorrow, work, two clients.

Therapy on Tuesday before work, work, two clients.

Wednesday.

Oh yeah.

Wednesday.

I interview for the PhD program I applied to.

Oh.

My.

God.

What the fuck am I going to wear?

I hadn’t even thought about that.

Yikes.

I’m sure I’ll find something just fine.

I am excited.

Nervous, yes, a little, but I feel like I’m going to show up and I am going to be articulate and I am going to be myself and I have a great academic record, 4.0 as a Master’s student in one of the school’s own programs, great letters of recommendation, drive, intelligence, humor, and hopefully a tiny dash of modesty.

I don’t want to be too full of myself.

But.

I will do a good job in the program and I will do the work.

I am really good at showing up and doing the work.

I did that a lot today too.

I showed up for one of the women I do work with, we met and read for an hour, I showed up to meet my person at a Thai place in the Castro and did the deal there, then I covered my Sunday night commitment and connected with my fellowship, and that was lovely.

And it was work.

But the best kind of work.

Work in service to others.

Work that amazes me, shows me how to be a better person, encourages my growth, work that shows me how to let myself love and be loved, oh, it’s hard, still!

It is hard still.

To let myself be loved.

Heck.

I even asked for help tonight and was met with such a resoundingly sweet yes to my ask, I was a bit abashed at how clumsy I was when I made the request, that I was just bowled over with the response.

Fuck.

I am so grateful I asked!

I love my people.

I am so lucky to have the people in my life I do.

So very lucky.

So.

Very.

Very.

Very.

Graced.

 

Dorked Out!

March 21, 2018

I am totally all geeked out.

I literally just cooked dinner in my cap and gown for graduation.

Hehehehee.

They came in the mail today!

It’s really really real.

I’m graduating.

It still feels surreal.

I also put the hood on backwards, and then laughed my ass off at myself as I stood in the hallway to my studio admiring myself.

In my bunny slippers.

I will probably wear different shoes to the ceremony.

Probably.

Heh.

My slippers are cute.

But who the hell would take me seriously in my slippers?

They are cozy little things, but perhaps not to walk the stage as I receive my diploma for my Master’s Degree in Integral Counseling Psychology.

I’m so excited to graduate.

It has been such a journey.

I still can’t quite believe it’s happening.

Like that horrible nightmare I used to have every once in a while that I hadn’t actually graduated from high school and I have to go back and take some test or turn in some assignment still.

No fucking thank you.

I received the official invitation to graduate from the school yesterday.

That was nice.

Really nice.

I still have hoops to jump through and forms that will need to be signed, but academically, everything is set, I’ve been cleared to graduate.

I will have to turn in my therapy form–my program requires that I do a year of therapy with a licensed MFT while I am in practicum.

A requirement that I was upset with for a little while, not the therapy part so much, but that I would have to be with a licensed MFT which costs quite a bit more than working with a trainee.

Then again.

I really like my therapist.

She’s great.

And.

Man.

We did some work today.

I sat down and said and today we’re going to talk about ______________.

And we did and it was good and I got some perspective and a different frame then what I had expected and I was super grateful for that.

Sometimes I just need someone else’s perspective.

My perspective is not always true.

And often misleading or anxiety inducing.

My therapist gave me a very different way of seeing things and for that I am so very grateful.

And.

I was able to forward that experience onto a client tonight.

I didn’t disclose my therapy session to my client, rather, I just helped my client see things different.

And the response was great.

I am always so happy when I get to be of service and help someone see something that they couldn’t on their own.

Therapy is work and anyone who tells you different is lying.

It’s hard work.

But.

Fuck.

It so pays off.

Frankly, everyone could use therapy.

I mean, who couldn’t use a person to sit and empathetically listen to them for an hour once a week?

It’s so nice to be able to talk about all the crap in my head and get it sorted and processed and let it go and not stuff emotions and have feelings and see what they are and how I want to move through the world.

Therapy has such great value for me and I am so pleased that I get to be a therapist and I get to help my clients and it really moves me when they get something from the work I do with them.

It’s work on both ends.

Which is exciting.

And I get to constantly learn things.

I had a huge amount of stuff come up around a client yesterday in my supervision then I met with the client in the evening and just sitting there and being with them and using all the work I had done earlier in the day was so gratifying.

It was amazing.

It can be hard.

I won’t lie.

Sometimes I think wow, this is some hard work, but it is so good to be helpful to others.

I am happy that I have found a career that lets me do that.

Of course, I have that too with my nanny career, but this feels bigger and feels like I will have more impact.

Although I do not, by any means, disparage the work I do with children, nor how important it is.

It is really fucking important.

My little monkeys mean so much to me.

And that I get paid to love, well, that is super special.

And I will get paid to love too, as a therapist, that’s one of my biggest goals, to provide my clients with love, empathy, kindness, to help, it’s a different kind of loving relationship than a romantic union or a friendship, it is a special relationship because of confidentiality and knowing that there will be times, many times, when the client needs to work out something and that something is going to be hard to hold.

But I get to try to and in the trying I learn and in the learning I grow.

It’s really a lovely relationship full of reciprocity and though, no, I wouldn’t call it altruistic, there is something of that flavor to it as well.

I never thought this would really happen.

Me, graduating from a Master’s degree program.

Although it was something I always knew I wanted, I never quite knew how it wold happen.

But you know.

I had faith.

And

It’s actually happening.

Really.

REALLY.

Happening.

Monday

March 20, 2018

You’re a busy lady, you are.

Got up early.

Showered, did the deal, dressed, made bed, ate breakfast, drank coffee, stretched, did hair and makeup.

Had fucking boss day with the hair.

Mostly wasted on nannying, but felt good to have a good big hair day.

“What is that?” Asked my little lady charge today as we stood on the platform for the J-Church train to Glen Park.

“Hair, and don’t touch it,” I replied.

It was a giant patch of a weave just chilling on the street.

Looked like the after effects of a bad cat fight.

“But it looks so soft, I want to touch it, is it yours?” She asked bending down to take a closer look.

“Do not touch it, and no, I promise, it’s not mine,” I added, gave her a squeeze and asked her if she wanted a snack.

Snacks are always the best distraction.

Hair weaves.

Sometimes it’s really obvious that I live in the city.

Today, many times.

There was a man just outside the door to my office space tonight, laying on the ground, belly down, sprawled out, pants off kilter, just chilling, talking to the pavement and having a nice little conversation.

I couldn’t tell if it was booze or heroin and I wasn’t going to investigate.

8:30p.m. on a Monday night, I just wanted to get the fuck out of there and get home and have my dinner.

Monday’s are a long day.

And that’s ok.

I have six weeks left of supervision.

Six weeks until I won’t have to get up extra early to get out of the house and beat morning rush hour traffic downtown to see my supervisor.

I am ready for that.

Granted.

I will miss working with my supervisor, I have learned such a tremendous amount from him.

I just won’t miss getting up early.

I decided on my way to my clients today, after a longish day with the family, the dad’s been out-of-town for work and doesn’t get back until tomorrow, for a good bit and the mom’s definitely been feeling the strain of doing the parenting for three children.

It’s a lot of work.

Especially when one of them is a baby.

I took the baby off her hands for the first part of the day, then we swapped at school pick up and I had my little girl charge all for myself while her mom took the older brother to piano lessons.

It was a nice day and we went to Dolores Park.

I am always so grateful to get to the park.

It’s a good balance, I think, with my studies and my internship and being a psychotherapist in training, to have a part of the day when I get to be outside and in a park.

It felt really good to get some sun on my face.

Really good.

Especially since the next three days call for rain and it’s been a really rainy past few weeks.

I was ready for that sunshine.

I am always ready for sunshine.

I think about Paris in July and I’m all agog to get sundresses and sandals and breezy clothes and be warm.

I like being warm.

The irony of living in the foggiest place in the city is not lost on me.

The Outer Sunset was never my first choice, but as I have been here now for four and a half years, it has become my home.

And.

Honestly.

I don’t know that I could have handled having a car anywhere else in the city.

I generally find parking on my block or within a block of my house.

I easily find parking at work and so too at my internship.

It’s really perfect.

And it’s always so nice to have the car when the weather is not great and also when I get done late at the internship, to get in my car and listen to some music.

So freaking good.

I have really been getting into having music when I drive, it’s the bomb.

I also feel safer and though the gas is expensive, it’s worth it.

I am really so happy that I got the car.

I’ve grown so much these past few years.

Walking through this school program and showing up for the work consistently, working with clients, getting back into my own therapy, my job with my current family, all the recovery work I have done and still do, it’s been such a tremendous amount of growth.

My best friend reminded me that I graduate in two months.

I will fucking walk the stage at the Norse Theater two months from today on May 19th.

That also put into perspective the work that I need to do before I graduate.

There’s still a good bit.

I got one more thing out-of-the-way today though, got another signature for paperwork that needed to be signed.

Slowly.

But steadily.

And I will get it all done.

I will.

I admitted to my person yesterday that I was having some anxiety about getting it all organized and put together and that I felt a bit stupid and was beating myself up a little.

He right sized that shit pretty quick, confirming how organized I am and that my brain was cooking up some “manufactured misery” to wallow in.

I realized he was right, I had to say some things out loud to see how silly it all sounded, and it sounded damn silly as soon as the words left my mouth.

My brain can do that, get all caught up in the thinking and not realize how asinine it is until I say it out loud to someone.

Thank God for another’s perspective.

I mean.

Really.

Thank fucking God.

Anyway.

Me and my rambles are going to wrap it up.

I want to wind down a little.

I’ve got a big day tomorrow.

As per usual.

 

The Miracle

March 19, 2018

That is sleep.

My God.

REVELATORY.

How much better I feel from having gotten a full nights sleep the last two days.

I mean.

Fuck.

I feel like superwoman.

I”m also a little afraid that I won’t be able to wind down from this good, good, good feeling in time to go to bed at a reasonable hour tonight, I do have supervision in the morning before work and that means an early start to my day.

But for right now.

Damn.

I felt really good today.

And yes.

A teeny tiny bit sassy.

I rocked some blue glitter lipstick for the fuck of it all day.

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Because sometimes a girl has to work it.

Plus I had my Sunday evening commitment up in the Castro and I need to bring it for the gay boys.

“Girl.  I am LOVING the blue lip,” was said to me many a time tonight.

My pleasure to provide the glam.

I love going up to the Castro and being fabulous.

Fuck.

I love being fabulous in general.

But even though it is San Francisco, there is still a lot of tech culture here that seems to translate to some pretty fucking boring ass clothes and looks.

Lots of yoga/work out gear.

Which I suppose is fine if your going to the gym, but all day long?

Please.

Some style.

Sundays I also feel like I can be a bit sassier too as I’m not seeing clients and I’m not working.

I don’t have to find that oh so fine balance between what I can wear as a nanny and then what will translate to seeing clients in the evening.

I typically find something neutral, black or grey and then bring a long a pair of my Fluevogs to slip into when I finish my hours with the family.

My shoes elevate my outfit and make me feel like I’m stepping into my psychotherapist persona.

One day.

One day in the not so distant future.

I will not have to wear nanny shoes again and I am certain I will let my wardrobe reflect in the not necessary to wear something that may stain easy, shred easy, get yanked on by a toddlers hand, spilled on by an eight year olds excitement with helping me cook dinner, or have stickers put all over my outfit by a five-year old with a thing for glitter and unicorns.

I feel her though on the glitter.

It’s silly, but it makes me happy.

A friend in my cohort once sent me a little article about why humans are drawn to glitter–it reminds us, that animal part of us, of the way light reflects off water.

Makes complete sense to me.

I just now that it makes me happy.

Today I felt happy.

I might have also allowed that to spill over into a few purchases today.

I got myself a new Iphone 8 phone case.

The family I work for gave me a brand new Iphone 8 for my birthday along with a silicon cover.

Unfortunately the silicon cover won’t work with most glues or adhesives, so the magnet that I have on the dashboard of my car won’t work with the cover.

My best friend suggested a thin magnet in between the cover and the phone but I decided I really just wanted a new cover, one that I could affix the magnet to, and one that’s more me than the bright red cover that’s on my phone.

I mean.

Red’s nice and all.

But when a girl can have pink glitter?

Well.

Yeah.

So, happy equals getting a new Iphone cover in pink glitter as well as a new set of headphones.

I am over the moon at the ones I found and pretty happy with the price, $79.

I got a pair of retro over the ear headphones from Imego.

They are super cute.

And I am happy to have them for my trip to Paris.

It’s a long flight, a bit over ten hours and I will want good headphones.

I can’t wear ear buds for too long, my ears are actually pretty small and the buds hurt my ears after a while, they are too big, and it gets really uncomfortable after a few hours of wearing them, usually I can’t go more than that without having to take them out.

I splurged when I moved to Paris five years ago an a really nice over the ear set from Head Candy and I had them for almost four years, but they got worn out and the last time I went to Paris they died.

I was going to get some before I went on my trip to D.C. but never got around to it.

Since I recently got my tax refund I decided it was time to get a new pair.

I’m quite happy and I know that I will have happy ears on the long flight there and back.

Yes, it’s a bit early to be thinking about Paris travel, but I also know that sometimes when the timing strikes I just have to do the thing and get it off my list of stuff to get.

I got a lot done this weekend, the sleep really did help, from doing all my laundry and housecleaning, to selling clothes, getting a manicure and my eyebrows waxed, to dropping off clothes to get mended, and a pair of my dear Fluevogs to get re-soled.

I also cooked lots of food, roasted a chicken today and also made an Italian chicken and sausage stew with crushed tomatoes, mushrooms and artichoke hearts, so yummy.

I got to hang out with my best friend and have some spectacular connection.

I got to be of service.

I met with some of the ladies I work with.

I did my commitments.

I went to group supervision.

I went to Office Max and got some folders and a binder for keeping my paperwork together for graduation purposes.

I even did some reading for school.

And now.

It’s time to wind down and get ready for Monday.

It’s going to be a week.

But.

Then again.

When fuck isn’t it?

Heh.

 

I Got Asked

March 13, 2018

I answered a phone call today, a phone call with a number that I did not recognize.

I knew immediately it was a number I should answer, it was not an odd ball number from Indiana or Wisconsin asking me if I wanted to renew my health care or a telemarketing scheme from some small town in Florida.

No.

It was an Oakland number.

Therefor local.

Therefore, necessary to answer.

I am a well-trained monkey, as part of my recovery I stay connected to people in my community by phone.

I often give out my phone number to complete strangers.

Women!

Only the ladies, thank you.

So that’s what I thought the number was.

A support call from someone, someone who I gave out my number to, some one who I may have recently met.

Happens quite frequently and when I am able, I answer those numbers.

It was not who I was expecting.

It was, in fact a woman, and it was also a stranger, but not from my fellowship.

From my school!

I got the call!

I got the call!

I got the call back to go in to interview for the PhD program.

I have made it through to the next round.

I mean.

I am going to sound a little cocky, but I am fairly certain I’m getting in.

Nonetheless.

It was thrilling to talk to her on the phone and to set up a time to go in and interview.

I will be interviewing with the department on Wednesday, March 28th at 10 a.m.

I have already cleared it with the mom to go into work late that day.

And.

Yes.

Yes, I just did.

I finished it before I started to write this blog.

I sent in the Diversity Scholarship application.

I got my financials together to show proof of need.

Hello.

I could just say I’m a nanny and I live in San Francisco, doesn’t that prove need?

But I sent in my tax forms to be transparent.

And the application itself as well as the personal essay explaining a little bit about me and what I am going to do to further diversity in my community.

I think I wrote a pretty good essay and I just let it flow.

Here’s what I wrote:

Diversity Scholarship Application

My name alone should alert one to the applicable nature of the scholarship, Carmen Regina Martines. I am Hispanic, Puerto Rican, Polynesian as well as Caucasian. I am a melting pot, I am a mix, I am the person who straddles the line between. And in that space I have an important role to play. I have dealt with the internal racism of my family, the white part as well as the non-white part, apparently neither side of my family wanted a “half-breed” a moniker one set of grandparents gave, while the other referred to me under their breath as Hapa Haole, a prettier way to say half-breed.

I am neither and I am both. I have found myself often wondering to which side I truly fall, not realizing that all along I fell along with the Puerto Rican and Polynesian parts of me—at least physically, if not spiritually (your  great, great-grandmother was a witch, my mother told me, on the islands she was well-known and revered). My great, great-grandmother was a midwife and a medicine woman, in other words, a witch. I have brown skin, brown eyes, curly brown hair, wide flat Polynesian feet, a wide Puerto Rican nose, full lips, I have been called a “wet back” I have been told I should go back to Mexico (I am neither Mexican, nor have I ever been to Mexico). I have had my name constantly and continuously mispronounced and misspelled. An Aunt, my favorite aunt on my mother’s side of the family recently spelled it wrong on social media, an aunt who lived with my immediate family for years.

If my own family cannot spell my name, then who can? I can. I lead by my example, I lead by strength and resilience, and I spell my name out to the world and I keep correcting the world until it sits up and listens, I am not here to be quiet any more. I am here to meet the two worlds halfway and instead of being somehow lessened by who I am, I become more. I have advocated for myself to get into the ICPW program at CIIS despite extreme financial hardship when I applied, I won the Diversity in Leadership award and that helped greatly, and then I won something else, I won self-advocacy, I won my voice, the full strength of it and I have every intention on using it, growing it and advocating for others, especially women, especially now, to step into their power and find their voice.

I began that journey by getting sober and abstinent from drugs and alcohol, and though I never felt different __________________, I will say I have felt different in school where I found myself to be the “only” quite often in my cohort. I grew strong first in _____ and then in school and I believe that between the two I have created a kind of crucible for change that I do not believe many have the capacity to manifest. I plan on carrying forth this deep identity and passion, my voice, my person, my experience, forward in my studies to help others embody their own power and story, and also to create new narratives, while not letting the old stories die, but rather to have them inform the new. I do not wish to stare at my past, but rather to acknowledge where I have come from—extreme poverty, neglect, violence, abuse, racism, classism, and sexism, and show how those defects, thrust upon me by others to create the worlds they needed to move through, are in actuality, assets by which I have grown, and grown through.

I have a roster of multi-cultural clients at my practicum (soon to be internship!), some full; some half, some mixed ethnicities, all with their own traumas around diversity. I am so situated to hold those stories and help reframe them in meaningful strength based ways. I believe that the continued furthering of my education will only help me to continue as a strong voice in my community, in recovery, in San Francisco, in California, and yes, I do believe, that it does ripple out, one person to the next, throughout the world, landing where it is most needed and welcomed. That is what I believe.

 

Ta da.

Hopefully that works.

And though, it’s not the essay I was planning on writing, it was what came out and I am happy with it.

And now.

I am happy to wrap this up.

I have done enough work for today.

Supervision, before work, work with a screaming baby (poor little guy has a UTI!), two clients, and all the work on the application.

I am done.

I am good.

I am so happy it’s all in.

And.

I go the interview!

Yes.


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