Archive for the ‘Insights’ Category

Birthday Weekend Wrap Up

January 15, 2018

It was good.

So good.

I mean.

Super sweet and special, and full of so much love.

And dancing.

And hugs.

And love.

I know, I mentioned that already, but it was just a lovely weekend.

I mean.

Not all of it.

Going over the bridge yesterday, the Bay Bridge, the traffic was so bad I had a moment of why the fuck am I going to Oakland to do this party?

But it was worth it.

So worth it.

I had such a lovely time and got to see folks that I haven’t seen in a while and hear great music and dance and giggle and laugh.

I laughed a lot.

I felt very happy, joyous, free.

It was spectacular.

I still feel like that and also a wee tiny bit emotional, not a lot, but a tiny bit, I was surprised just a few moments ago when I was up in the Castro Most Holy Redeemer to find myself having the anticipation and anxiety of getting a little round metal chip with the Roman numerals ten and three ones on it.

Thirteen

Thirteen years.

It still astounds me.

It felt really, really, really special.

I saw folks there that saw me when I first came in, who helped me and talked to me and bought me coffees and bummed me cigarettes and made suggestions about what to do and shared their experience, strength, hope with me, in such strong graceful ways that their message still stays with me.

Show up.

Suit up.

Be of service.

Say yes.

And extraordinary things will happen.

It is astounding how many things have happened for me.

I had an inkling that this past year was going to be a big one, I remember writing about it in a blog that would have been around this time last year, feeling that it would be fortuitous, that big, big, big things were happening.

My God.

Did the big things happen.

They really did.

I am not the same woman who turned twelve, I have grown so much this past year and really walked through some things that I had no idea I was going to get to experience.

I am so loved.

So blessed.

Graced.

And grateful.

I cannot imagine how, but I feel that this year moving forward will be much the same–full of excitement, growth, travel, love, adventure.

School.

Graduating from one program.

Starting another.

Work of course, internship, of course, recovery, the big of course.

Travel.

I will go to Paris to see my best friend there, although I don’t have set dates yet, I’m still waiting for my work to sort itself out as far as their holiday, summer, travel.

I may be going with them for part of it.

And I want to do other little trips too.

Fun things.

Weekends out of the city.

New places to go and experience.

I feel abundant.

Expansive.

I feel that my capacity for love has grown and opened wide my heart so much.

I have all these images of things  and words and endearments in my head, I am suffused with this feeling of love and I am so happy for it.

My love.

So happy.

I have a feeling that this year is going to be beyond anything I have yet to experience.

It’s a wondrous thing to have faith and be taken care of and show up and really live.

I mean.

Passionately live.

I am so alive.

I am so lucky to be alive.

Frankly.

I should be dead.

Or.

Just scraping along the gutter, in the filth and the muck, trying to make beautiful things and failing.

I have made so many beautiful things since I started this journey thirteen years ago.

Poetry.

Photographs.

Friendships.

Love.

I have made huge leaps of faith.

I have made decisions that I didn’t even know I could make.

I have made music, or collaborated in making music.

I have been in a film.

I have made my way into foreign countries, sat in cafes under many different skies, and scribbled away in so many notebooks I lost count long ago.

I have ridden bicycles all over the place.

San Francisco to LA.

Oakland to Berkeley.

The Outer Sunset to the Outer Mission.

Over the Golden Gate bridge numerous times, down into Sausalito and over to Tiburon, and one memorable day, up to the top of Mt. Tam.

And in Paris.

Nothing says amazing adventure like bringing your own bicycle to the city of Lights and taking a ride down the Champs Elysees.

Although.

Truth be told I only did that a few times.

The Champs Elysees is cobblestone and that was not a pleasant ride but fuck, it was fun to do it a couple of times and say that I had.

Or past the Eiffel Tower.

I did that ride a lot on Sundays.

I have ridden my bike at Burning Man too, not the same bike, but one that I loved for many years, ridden off into many a dusty sunset to dance at the edge of the desert and sing with joy at the heavens.

I have gotten up in front of people and performed my poetry.

Spoken word in Paris at Le Chat Noir.

In the downtown office of Form4 Architecture for their principle architect.

On stage at The Elbow Room and in the studio of Sunshine Jones.

I have done plenty of mundane, every day, simple, day-to-day things too.

Often times, more often than not, with gratitude for just getting to stay in San Francisco.

That’s some kind of miracle, that I still get to live here.

The miracles are innumerable, the gifts astounding.

I can only keep it by giving it away.

The paradox that I love.

Here out by the sea, in my little studio, listening to jazz, writing to you and letting you know about my day and how important you are to me.

So important.

I am overblown with gratitude.

Love.

Love.

Love.

Thank you for thirteen years.

It’s been freaking amazing.

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Doing This Thing

January 10, 2018

I have officially made the decision to go after my PhD in the Transformative Psychology program at CIIS.

I talked to the dean of the school this morning and she gave me some lovely insights into the program and what I need to do to apply for the program.

I basically have it all covered except for the personal statement.

I need two letters of recommendation, one of which has to come from my academic advisor in my program–he’s confirmed that he will write me a letter and we are meeting at lunch on the first Friday of the school weekend, basically a week from this Friday.

The other letter will come from my supervisor at my practicum site, who actually offered to write me a letter before I had asked him.

I need to e-mail him and say, yes, please do write that letter for me!

In fact.

Hang on a minute, I’m going to go draft that e-mail now.

Yes.

One more thing out-of-the-way.

I was also very grateful to discover that I had been correct in the reading of the PhD application demands–the scholarly paper the admissions department requires can be one I have already written for my current program!

That is super nice.

It’s an 8-10 page paper written in APA format (American Psychological Association).

The dean expressed that they want to see an example of my writing abilities and that I could absolutely use a paper I had already written, it did not have to be an original work.

Whew.

That is such a nice relief.

I really didn’t want to have to write a paper on top of getting my stuff together for this last semester of my Master’s program.

I’ll still need to provide plenty of other things besides the sample of my academic writing and the two letters of recommendation.

There’s also the application fee, $65, so worth it, frankly.

And a resume with pertinent and relevant experience listed.

My transcripts.

I will be very happy to provide those, especially with my current 4.0 grade point average, thank you very much.

A goal statement outlining what I plan to do with the degree once it is conferred.

And.

A four to five-page personal statement.

I mean, that’s a fair good amount of stuff.

But.

Doable.

So doable.

And, as I mentioned, the not having to write a fresh academic paper for the admissions team feels really nice.

The dean told me the deadline was end of February.

Once the application is sent in the admissions team goes through the applicants and decides who they want to call in for an interview.

At which time I would need to give some ideas about what I want to pursue, although said ideas do not have to be concrete, I can change what I decide to do the dissertation on if over the course of the program I find something really amazing and compelling.

But.

I do think I have been narrowing it down and although my idea is big and there’s a lot to explore, I’m super excited by the prospect of exploring it.

I feel like it will help me heal some trauma and in turn, I hope that I will be better equipped to help others walk through their traumas as well.

I’m super happy that I have made this decision.

I felt so freaking good when I got off the phone with the dean, I knew, I just knew it is what I am supposed to be doing.

I’m supposed to get my doctorate.

I am supposed to be of service.

I get to keep learning and growing.

It is fucking exciting.

A little scary too, but I don’t feel it will be that much harder than the work that I have done to get my Masters.

In fact, in some ways I think it will be easier.

The classes are self-directed and timed, I won’t be going into a classroom, I’ll be doing the work on my own, I’ll have my own agency to move at my own pace.

I suspect that I will want to move faster rather than slower.

The dissertation could take longer, the program is designed to be done in two years, but I sense that more than a few folks take longer to get to the dissertation.

I don’t want to do that.

Not to be worried about at this point.

I have taken as much action today as I possibly could in regards to the next steps.

I went to therapy this morning before work.

I went grocery shopping after therapy and managed to have the call with the dean of students from my car before I went into work.

I worked a full day.

Then.

I went and saw two clients this evening.

I e-mailed my supervisor at my practicum site for the letter of recommendation.

And.

I filled in a few more things on the doctoral application.

My god.

I’m really going to do this.

I am going to get my PhD.

Fuck.

My life is amazing.

AMAZING.

Reading The Fine Print

January 9, 2018

I just went through the handbook for my Master’s program with a fine tooth comb.

The one thing that I have found challenging in my program is the apparent lack of information as well as the over abundance of information.

I feel like there is so much information that just is not applicable to my experience or the learning and then there’s information that I really need, but it’s buried on page 41 of the 50 page handbook.

I’m glad I found it though.

I have gotten a mixed bag of mis-information from fellows in my cohort as well as interns in my group supervision about how many hours I need to have accrued in practicum to graduate.

I need 225 to graduate.

Of those hours I must have 150 direct client hours–sessions with my clients, not phone sessions or e-mails or paperwork or progress work–face to face sessions.

I had thought that I needed 250 direct hours and I was beginning to get a little nervous.

I should not have any problems getting the hours.

Or so I thought.

I have eight clients that I see on a weekly basis.

But.

They cancel.

Or.

They no-show.

And it’s rare, I’m seeing quite clearly now as I just got home early because a client no-showed, that I actually see all eight clients during the week.

So when I was thinking I needed 250 direct face to face hours by May, I started to get concerned.

I won’t make it, it won’t happen, how is that possible?

How is it possible that I am heading into my third semester of practicum and don’t have enough hours?

How?

As of right now I have 240 hours.

But only 130 of them are direct face to face hours.

I felt flummoxed and upset and annoyed and then I begin to berate myself.

Why did I post that stupid thing about graduating in May and filling out my graduation application?

I’m not going to graduate!

Whoa.

Slow down there.

I don’t have enough information.

I realized that I cannot just go on the information drifting about through the hallways at school or in the office where I do my group supervision.

I have to take responsibility and find out that myself.

So I went to the academics page on the school’s website, signed into my account, found my program.

And.

Voila!

There on page 46 of the 49 page hand book:

Students must complete a minimum of 225 hours [at least 150 direct client contact hours plus 75 Client-Centered Advocacy (CCA) hours] while enrolled in practicum prior to graduation.

Sweet Jesus.

I am fucking fine.

I am only twenty hours shy of having the direct client contact hours.

As for client centered advocacy I don’t have nearly that much, I have six hours.

But I do know this much, it doesn’t matter if I don’t get all the client centered advocacy hours, if I have more direct client hours, I can count those towards graduation.

Ultimately it is the face to face sessions that mean the most and I have to acquire the majority of my hours there.

And I also recognize that I could be actively going after more CCA hours as well.

Client centered advocacy could be doing research on a client and their family lineage, it could be watching a movie about alcoholics, it could be reading a CAMFT (California Assoication of Marriage Family Therapists) magazine or a psychology magazine.

Today I actually had some down time at work, and while the baby napped I read a number of articles in a psychology magazine on workaholism and chuckled to myself, multi-tasking, working and also accruing hours, sounds like I’m the workaholic in this instance.

But I’m happy I did the reading as I had that no-show and I was able to mark down another hour.

I think that I will try to acquire two hours of CCA per week as I move forward, more if I can.

I can also read outside articles, books, and go to seminars and do trainings.

But just knowing that I actually have enough moving forward is a bit of a relief.

I was getting a little worried.

I also realize that I am probably going to have to let one client go with whom I have been doing pre-dominantly phone sessions.

I am not allowed to count Telemedicine through my school.

I can towards my license, but not towards my graduation needs.

I want to be safe and make sure that I’m not squandering my time.

I am excited and relieved to have reckoned all of that out and grateful for a really good talk with my solo supervisor today.

Who happened to be quite intrigued with my dissertation idea and to my surprise, completely supports me going for the PhD.

I told him I had actually had hesitation to even mention that I was going to apply for the PhD because I thought he might disapprove of my decision.

But he did not.

And it was amazing to sit and talk to him about my ideas and to also get some really interesting feedback from him and some areas where I will be honing in more.

I made a call to the Dean of the Transformative department after I got out of supervision.

I wasn’t able to talk to her, she was stuck in a budget meeting, but I left a message and I will follow-up tomorrow.

My advisor got back to me and said he would support my efforts and write me a letter of recommendation and we made an appointment to meet the first weekend of classes.

It’s all falling together.

Even when my brain tells me it’s not.

It really is.

So nice.

So.

Very.

Very.

Very.

Nice.

Gold From Dross

January 8, 2018

I keep hearing my person talking to me about my life and what’s been happening over the last few months and school, and work, and relationships and how she managed to give me the most amazing compliment and also an admonition all at the same time.

She said that of all the people who she’s met in her life I am the best person at making gold come out of a poor situation.

She was giving me a really big compliment.

And.

She was also pointing out that I am used to not getting to work with much, so I manage to make the best out of whatever situation that I am in.

That I also, it was noted, have a tendency to take whatever I can get and spin it into something beautiful because I was never really allowed to have wants or needs.

And as it turns out, those wants and needs are not being met.

In a way.

My needs are being met and wants are desires that have a pretty name attached to them.

I have everything I need and then some.

But she had an interesting point, that just because I have the ability to make due with less does not mean that I must have less, that I’m allowed more, and that I can acknowledge those wants even if they are not met.

It’s a poverty thing, growing up so poor, take what you can get and be happy that you got anything.

It’s a kind of scarcity thinking that I have to often work around.

Like yesterday when I was getting the crown for my cracked tooth and there was a part of me that was loud and vehement, go with the cheaper option!

Fortunately.

I have done so much work that I knew that what I needed to do was go for what was best for me and my health and have complete faith that I was being taken care of.

And I was.

I paid for it, it’s done.

Today was actually quite nice, no pain whatsoever.

Well, once, once I bit down on my dinner a little too hard and there was a snatch of pain, but other than that, nothing worth noting.

I’ll be gentle with my teeth for the next couple of weeks and head back in on the 20th to have my permanent crown put in.

What has stuck with me about the comment was partially what I did yesterday and also acknowledging that there are parts of me that I just don’t let out, I don’t acknowledge that I have wants and desires that are very human and pretty typical.

Again.

She noted in the sweetest, kindest ways, nothing judgmental about me, or my situation or my life, just that she wanted me to see the parts of myself that I was perhaps pushing away as I made gold from my situation.

It struck me deeply.

And when I got off the phone with her I hopped onto the website for my yoga studio and signed up for the 4:30 p.m. class.

I was going to skip it today having been plenty active this morning and then going back to bed and sleeping until 10 a.m.

Which is the last time I will be sleeping in for a while.

Supervision starts back up tomorrow morning.

I will be up at 6:30 a.m.

I’ll be taking my car, rain in the forecast, and I will need to leave home earlier than normal to get to my supervision in Hayes Valley, during morning rush commuting hours.

Blech.

But.

Hey.

Not riding my scooter in the rain!

Supervision for an hour, then a phone call with the dean of the Transformative Psychology PhD program, then work, then two clients, then home.

It’s a long day.

So yeah, letting myself have that kiss of extra sleep was nice, plus I went to bed late last night, I was restless and had a head full of thoughts, dreamy thoughts, but thoughts that kept me up a little later than I would have wanted.

I don’t think I fell asleep until 1 a.m.

So morning yoga was out.

I flirted with the idea of doing either the 4:30 p.m. class or the 6:15 pm restorative yoga class.

But after my phone call, I knew, I had to get into my body and exercise.

It was super good.

So good.

Great instructor and I got super sweaty and just worked.

My head was quiet, except at the very end right before the final pose and it got a little too chatty, but it was emotional chatter that needed an outlet, and I was able to cry a little and let it go.

Sweat, tears, all the same thing, pain leaving the body.

I floated home and when I got there a message came in from a woman in my neighborhood about what I was doing this evening and where I might be going and did I want to head over to Quintara and 20th?

Um.

Yes, please!

Super good, caught up with my fellows, did the deal, got right with God, connected and feel really positive about moving forward into this week.

As I come up on my sober anniversary and see all the amazing insights that I get to have and all the growth that I have gotten to do this past year, it blows my freaking mind.

Like.

Just for instance.

Right before my friend picked me up to go do the deal I sent off my graduation application to my school program.

I paid the $90 fee and I filled out the four pages.

I noted my 4.0 grade point.

I expressed what name I want on my diploma, my full name, middle and all, thank you very much.

It asked if I wanted to speak at my commencement and I said I would be honored if so chosen.

I said I was going to attend the commencement and that I would walk in the procession and yes.

Yes.

Yes.

I said I wanted to pick up my diploma in person.

I want that baby in my hands as I cross the stage.

My god.

What a day.

Started with love and gratitude.

Ended with love and gratitude.

So much love.

So much gratitude.

Luckiest girl in the world.

Unfortunately

January 7, 2018

That’s not covered by your insurance.

My dentist told me this morning.

Ugh.

I sat in the chair and thought to myself, maybe I misheard him, maybe I didn’t hear that right, I mean, he speaks mostly Chinese, which I find oddly comforting, I don’t need to know what he is talking about to his assistant, but I’m pretty sure I had heard what I had heard.

Fingers crossed, please, tell me I didn’t hear what I heard.

Sigh.

But.

I had.

“Crack,” he’d said to the assistant in between poking and prodding and checking my teeth.

I was just in for a routine cleaning this morning.

I had all intents on going to the 10:30 a.m. yoga at the studio on my block and then meandering into my group supervision at 2p.m.

The supervision happened.

Yoga, well, yoga did not.

Nope.

Instead I was under the drill all morning.

My dentist took a picture of my tooth and showed me the crack.

I was surprised by how big it was and also that I hadn’t had any pain to indicate that there was a crack in my tooth.

Which was a really good thing.

No pain meant that it was probably fairly recent.

It had to have happened within the last three months, it wasn’t there the last time I went to the dentist, and it probably had occurred more recently than that.

Certainly nothing came to mind.

Nothing that I remember eating and doing any damage to my teeth.

“It’s not grinding your teeth while you sleep,” he said, answering a question I was just about to pose, “there’s not indication from any of your other teeth that you grind them while you sleep.”

Well, that’s good news.

“You eat anything crunchy?” He asked.

“Nuts?” I said, I do like raw almonds with my apple as a snack.

“Nuts, no good, nuts bad for teeth, you no more eat nuts unless you want to pay me big bucks and keep me in my mortgage,” he chuckled.

“Um no, I do not want to come back for another cracked tooth, I’ll lay off the nuts,” I replied.

Irony.

I kept thinking about my night-time snack, a couple of end of season super ripe and delicious persimmons and some raw walnuts.

Sigh.

No snack tonight.

I’ll still have my tea though.

I was really surprised by the photo and super glad that my dentist had caught it and he explained that I was lucky if there was no pain it meant the damage was manageable and that I would not have to have a root canal.

Fuck yes.

But.

I would have to get a crown.

And thus ensued the “your insurance doesn’t cover this,” discussion I had with my dentist.

Like I said, not really the conversation anyone wants to have on a Saturday morning, but I also knew when he started telling me about the differences between what my insurance would cover, it wasn’t going to cover the full amount, it would have still be $825 out-of-pocket, versus the better quality crown that the dentist was recommending, at $1200, I just sucked it up, made the decision to take good care of myself and signed the paperwork for the better product.

I was asked if I could start the work today and of course I said yes, bye, bye yoga class, and I went out and plugged the meter for parking another two hours and went back into the office, used the bathroom, prayed a bunch, came out signed off the paperwork and got ready to get injected with Novocaine.

He gave me a local, but I still felt the prick of the needle.

Ugh.

I hate needles.

I hate shots, hate, hate, hate.

The second injection was horrible, the local anesthesia hadn’t quite numbed me out in the second location, that one just plain good and hurt.

I sucked it up though, what was I going to do?

And then the dentist went to fucking town.

My god.

I will just say that smell of my tooth being ground down was overwhelming.

Not a pleasant smell, the drill, not a pleasant sound.

The taste of blood in mouth, horrifying.

I just breathed and prayed and breathed and prayed.

I had my mouth wedged open with some sort of device, that also sucks, frankly, it hurt my jaw keeping it open so long and my face felt tender for hours.

As of right now, I am happy to report, that the pain is really ok.

It’s there, sensitive now and again, a dull throb, but it’s doable.

And I have been able to eat.

They did a bunch of molds to get the fit right and then they did the temporary crown.

The permanent one takes two weeks to be ready.

I have to be cautious with the temporary one, nothing crunchy, and no gum.

I can handle that.

And two weeks from today I’ll go in and my dentist will give me the permanent crown.

I am assuming it will mean more Novocaine, but I’ve got two weeks until it happens.

I’m a baby around dental stuff, but at least I showed up and I did do the work and I paid for it all in full at the end of the session, I could have put it off until the permanent crown gets put in, but I figured I had the money in my account, just pay the damn thing.

And for that I am grateful.

I had the money.

I didn’t always have the money.

A little while ago a dental bill for $1285 would have floored me.  It was not pleasant, I will say that, and I did go through a spurt of brief financial anxiety, but I’m ok, I really am.

And so grateful I chose well and chose to take care of myself and my mouth.

There was a homeless man on the sidewalk sleeping when I came out to climb into my new car and go home and make myself a fancy espresso drink with expensive organic coffee beans.

I have it really fucking good.

I have no money problems.

Fuck.

I don’t have problems.

I just have opportunities to learn.

And.

To be stupid grateful at how good my life is.

It really is.

When Was I Happiest

January 6, 2018

Today?

I just asked myself that.

In a prompting kind of way, hey you, you need to write your blog, get your fingers moving on that keyboard, make some fucking magic happen.

Because all of the seven people who read my blog really want to know what I did today.

Meh.

I recently got an update from WordPress that I have once again celebrated an anniversary.

Eight years of blogging.

Eight.

What the fuck did I write about?

So many things, so many thoughts.

I have published over 2,400 blogs.

My average blog is somewhere between 1100-1300 words.

But for the sake of simplicity, let’s just say 1,000.

That means that I have written over 2,4000,000 words.

Over two million words!

Who the hell knew there were so many words in my head?

I never suspected that I would be where I am in now in my life when I started writing this blog.

I was living on Taylor and Washington in a large studio that was on a cable car line.

I was working as a nanny in China Basin.

I made really good money.

More than I actually make now, if you can believe that, because it was all under the table.

I had a very nice Felt 35 racing bike that I did my commute on.

I was horribly lonely.

I felt like all I did was grind at work, I worked at least 50 hours a week.

Which is funny, as I put in about fifty hours a week now and go to graduate school full-time.

But at that time I was going through a lot of weird stuff.

I was desperately trying to get abstinent with my food, which I did do in that apartment, but it took a hot ass second.

I was trying, oh so very hard, to get some head way on my book, said head way has come to naught in many ways, but you know, I started this blog by publishing each of the chapters one by one in the pages.

If you should want to read some really bad writing, well it’s there.

For sure.

I had a friend read the book in manuscript form about four years ago and he told me with no mincing of words that if he didn’t know better he would have never believed that the person who wrote this blog was the same person who had written that book.

My writing, suffice to say, has gotten much better.

That’s what happens when you practice.

You get better.

I have had eight years of practicing this blog.

Some days I am so inordinately pleased with what I have written that I may actually go back and re-read a blog.

But not very often.

I generally throw it down on the page, I”m just transcribing my thoughts, and really, thank god I have some fast typing skills, I’m just writing what I am thinking.

It’s a little like having a one-sided conversation with me.

Hey how was your day?

Let me tell you about mine, and then I’m unleashed upon you.

Or something like that.

I am reflecting as I did my Morning Pages this morning in the place where Morning Pages originated for me, about ten years ago.

Yeah.

If you thought writing a blog eight years in a row was something, check out my history with writing my Morning Pages.

Ten years, going on eleven.

I realized that this morning as I sat in Muddy Waters on Valencia and 24th.

I had a chiropractor appointment this morning and some time to kill before I had to be into work.

So instead of getting up stupid early, I let myself sleep in, packed my breakfast and brought it with me, planning to eat it at the cafe while having a cafe au lait before going into work.

The cafe is much the same as when I first started hanging out at it.

I had moved to a shared apartment in a rent controlled Victorian on Capp Street and 23rd and Muddy’s was the closest cafe to me and the one where I did a lot, and I do mean a lot, of sitting with another woman and reading out of a big blue book.

So many women in that cafe, before my regular Wednesday haunt, as well as my regular Saturday gig and many other times in between.

And it was also the scene of The Artist Way group that I was a part of for a year and a half.

It was an awesome group.

We met for an hour before rolling up the hill to a spot in Noe Valley on Wednesday nights.

We would grab the big round table towards the back of the cafe and anywhere from 6 to 10 of us would sit down for about an hour and share about the assignments we had done from the book.

We did one chapter a week, followed the instructions regarding the assignments, and talked about our experiences working the projects and doing the morning pages.

The book suggests that every morning you take time to write three pages long hand.

Emphasis on long hand.

No typewrite, keyboard, tablet, computer.

My blog does not count as morning pages and never has.

There is something so captivating about writing on paper with a good pen.

I was writing in one of my Claire Fontaine notebooks that I brought back from Paris this morning and I reflected on how it was in that group that I came to the realization that I wanted to go to Paris.

That I actually wanted to move to Paris.

It would take some years before I moved, but by participating in that group I realized how much I wanted to go to Paris and I took myself on a solo trip for ten days after doing the work in the book.

I took myself on artists dates, I went to museums, I bought myself nice paper, I sat and daydreamed in cafes and watched clouds roll by.

I looked out those same windows today and marveled.

Look how far I have come.

Look where I am now.

My best friend in Paris messaged me today about when I’ll be going back.

I have been to Paris five times since I made that decision, and yes, one of those times was to live there for six months.

I have re-written that book.

Although I still don’t think it’s at a publishable place.

I have written poems.

I have performed with djs in nightclubs reciting my poems.

One of them became a recording.

I have lectured on stage.

I have traveled.

I went to Burning Man, a lot.

I traveled to New York by myself as well as New Orleans to go see art.

I have taken 1,000s and 1,000s of photographs.

I have written millions of words.

I think I have a few million more.

I have done morning pages in Paris, London, Rome, New York, L.A., New Orleans, Madison, Wisconsin, Anchorage, Alaska, Burning Man, Reno, San Diego, Las Vegas, and probably a bunch of other places I can’t remember now.

But they all started one night in a Muddy Waters coffee shop on Valencia and 24th.

Opening a door that has led me down this meandering path of creation and love.

How lucky am I?

Luckiest girl in the world.

Happy New Year!

January 1, 2018

I really haven’t any resolutions to share with you.

I prefer to just treat each day like it’s a new day instead of having expectations that I need to change or get better or perfect something.

I need to grow a little everyday and not try to cram a bunch of resolutions into my day and think that I’m going to change over night.

Little bits by little bits.

Baby steps, baby.

And I took some nice ones today.

I got out of bed.

I know.

Crazy.

I really wanted to stay in bed and in fact, did sleep past the point I would normally get up.

My brain was trying to hijack my body though and convince me that I didn’t need to go to yoga.

I needed to go to yoga.

It, my brain, almost won out, but I have smart feet and I also have inborn knowledge from having done enough yoga that I always feel better after a class, even if it’s with not my favorite instructor at the studio.

Which is the excuse that I used the day before to not go, but really, I assure you I had gotten plenty of exercise the previous twelve hours to not feel upset about missing a class and I think that I needed the extra sleep yesterday.

Today, not so much, and I knew that I would not be happy with myself if I skipped yoga two days in a row during a time that I could be going to yoga.

I can’t typically make it to classes during the week, work and my internship conflict, so I’m a weekend warrior.

To not go on both Saturday and Sunday would have been sacrilege.

So I got my happy ass out of bed and into my yoga clothes and I stayed in them for a long time.

It was a great class, I was really surprised, maybe not having any expectations that I would enjoy the class I actually did.

I came home thinking that I wanted to go on a bike ride too, the bike ride had been running around in my head for a few days now that I think on it, and I figured I could actually make it a nice physical day for myself, maybe even go back to the late yoga class.

It’s a restorative yoga class, so it wouldn’t have been like a big effort, although I didn’t end up going, something else came up.

But.

I did go on the bike ride!

It was great and in fact, I might let myself go on another tomorrow.

I was supposed to meet with a ladybug today, but she had to cancel, so after a good check in via phone, I pulled my bike out and pumped air into the tires, grabbed my messenger bag, a water bottle and my bike locks, in case I wanted to stop anywhere I could lock up my bike.

I rode out from the house down 46th to Sloat, then up to Great Highway, up past the zoo a bit, and then stopped right before the hill to gaze at the ocean for a while and snap a quick photo of my bicycle, she is a pretty, pretty thing, before I headed back down Great Highway, riding past my turn off to Fulton Ave, the up to 47th and around the park for awhile, around the soccer fields and the back side of the Beach Chalet, I went past the archery fields and eventually popped back out onto Lincoln Ave at Chain of Lakes, back down to 46th, then two blocks back to the house.

IMG_E0126

It was smashing.

I am so glad I did it.

Aside from the exercise it also felt really meditative and I reflected over and over again how amazing it is that I live somewhere so beautiful, that I literally am blocks away from Ocean Beach, that I get to ride my bicycle around a world-renowned park, that I get to live here in San Francisco.

It is a huge gift.

After the bike ride I had a late lunch and then made some chicken soup.

I’ll be visiting my person tomorrow, he just had a hip replacement surgery, and I wanted to bring him some more chicken soup, he’s gone through the two big Mason jars I gave him right before the surgery.

I’ll be heading is way by 1 p.m. and we’ll go for an easy walk around the block.

Like literally.

Just around the block.

And maybe a few minutes of hang out time.

I don’t think he’s got the energy for big visits, but he wants to see my face and I, his.

It will be good to see him.

I’m also going to hit up another yoga class tomorrow.

It’s nice to have a Monday off and the studio is open.

That will make three yoga classes over the weekend and a bike ride.

Not bad.

Especially for someone who is  loath to exercise.

I generally like it once I’m doing it and I know how important it is to move my body, but my brain is a sabotaging machine.

Anyway.

I signed up for the 10 a.m. yoga class and I’ll see my person at 1p.m.

Other than that I have no New Year’s Day plans.

Doing the deal somewhere and chilling out with my new book.

NEW BOOK!

That’s not a psychology book.

I know.

Crazy.

I went up to Blackbird Books, the new book store in my hood next to Trouble Coffee, and splurged on the new Jennifer Eagen book, Manhattan Beach, I’m going to indulge my literary self and not read any psychology for at least a week.

So freaking sexy.

I may just spend most of tomorrow lazing on the chaise lounge after I get back from helping out my person and just read.

Such luxury.

And that’s it, that’s my New Year’s Day plans.

To chill the fuck out.

The year is going to be full and amazing, hello, I’ll be graduating, going to Paris, and starting  PhD program, traveling to D.C., and who knows what else will happen, seeing many clients and nanny’ing up a storm.

Wishing you and yours the Happiest of New Years!

Big love from the city by the Bay.

May the year bring you so much love and joy.

So much.

You Look Much

December 31, 2017

“Better than when you came in!”

And.

“I remember you from 19th and Dolores, I mean it, you look amazing.”

He said to me with a big grin.

It’s nice to run into folks who remember me from when I first got sober.

I have changed quite a bit.

I mean.

So much.

It’s extraordinary.

Hell, I feel like I’ve changed a bunch in these last four years and certainly since I’ve been in my graduate program with school.

My life really blows my mind at times.

My great job.

My relationships.

My new car.

Um, hello.

I got her washed today.

First of all, fuck, it’s pricey in the city, but oh, man, she looks so pretty when she’s clean and I just know it will keep the life of the car up to take care of it.  I’m pretty sure I’m going to go check out the place on Bayshore that you can get a membership to and get unlimited car washes for $29.99 a month.

I paid $33 today at the one on Divisadero.

I got a wash a few weeks back, my last weekend of classes, at the place on Van Ness and that was $30.

The one on Divisadero did a much better job.

However, $33 is a bunch of money.

If I can get unlimited washes at the place on Bayshore for $29.99 a month, I go once and it’s pretty much paid for itself.

It’s a place called Shine-N-Seal.

It’s a bit out of my way, but I was thinking today when I left my group supervision that it’s worth checking out on a day when I’m getting out of group since I’m in the Mission and the Bayshore is not so far away, maybe a ten minute drive.

And after dropping the $33 at the place on Divisadero I’m ready for something a little more economical, especially since I’m realizing how much I really like having my car and I like having her clean.

Like.

A lot.

It’s super nice.

Plus.

Grocery shopping today, being warm, being able to bring more back than when I’m on my scooter, listening to music in the car, I really dig on that.

Anyway.

I have reflected a lot today how good I have it and I’m super grateful for that perspective.

I also got hella sleep today.

I was up for a little while this morning but then decided screw it, back to bed.

I didn’t go to yoga, I have a hard time committing to the instructor for the class I could have gone today, I just do not like his classes and when the option to crawl back into bed was happening, well, I just rolled with it.

I mean.

Fuck.

I felt like a million bucks today.

Super rested.

I got lots of laundry done, all fresh linens on the bed, all my towels done, and a run to the grocery store before I left for supervision.

Which was so chill.

There were only two of us so I got to go over a load of my clients and also check in about some school stuff, intern stuff, applying for my intern number, which will happen after I graduate in May.

Some talk about the PhD program I’m considering going into.

Yeah.

I said that.

I am getting pretty serious about it.

My supervisor at my practicum site told me he would support me through the process, he did the same thing I’m considering, like almost to a “t.”

“Carmen I worked full-time, I ran this place, and I got my PhD at the same time, you can totally do it and I’ll write you a letter of recommendation for the program.”

He went to the same graduate school program that I am in.

He also remembers me from 19th and Dolores.

And basically I got, “baby you’ve come a long way,” in no uncertain terms.

I have done a hell of a lot since getting sober, it is incredible when I think about.

Super grateful.

Over the moon grateful.

Blessed.

Crazy graced.

Lucky as fuck.

I don’t know how else to express it, but that I want to keep doing the deal and staying in the boat and doing the work, man I want to live this life and keep getting to do all sorts of amazing things.

Like get my doctorate in psychology.

Because.

Why the fuck not?

I’m only going to get older.

Plus, I can put off my student loans for a while yet, I have a place to accrue my internship hours, I will go for my MFT license and I will be a licensed MFT with a PhD.

Yes, please.

Today I had a few moments before showing up for group supervision, I went to Gus’s Market and got a salad from the salad bar and some stupid expensive blackberries, but gosh they tasted so nice, and a bottle of bubbly water, because I roll like that, and when I was walking down the hall on the fifth floor to supervision there it was.

“Take a Peek!”

A sign on one of the offices.

Oh yes, yes please.

Let me take a peek.

Look at that.

It was a big office, bigger by far than most of the offices I work in out the building.

I totally took a moment today dream my private office.

The space smelled of fresh paint and had a big window, double the size of most of the offices I am in, and it got sunshine.

I envisioned book shelves and file cabinets and a couch and a therapist chair and a place to have a tea-pot and a little mini fridge and oh, I could put down a nice cozy rug and hang art on the walls.

I just got into it.

It’s years away yet, but it’s not that far down the road.

My own private office, my own private practice.

I’ll be Dr. Martines licensed MFT and psychotherapist.

I’ll set my own hours, so that I can go to yoga in the morning and do the deal whenever I fucking want, I’ll make good money, I will have great health insurance and I will take nice vacations, I’ll have parking in the private garage in the building and live in a home that’s not next to the garage and below a barky dog, oh, man, I can see it.

It’s really not that far off.

It was super sweet to just have that moment in the office and I know that I might not be in that office space, but I will be in one, and I’ll be taken care of as long as I keep doing the things that I need to do to stay in recovery.

My life is fucking amazing.

REALLY.

Luckiest girl in the world.

Strange Little Day

December 29, 2017

I called in sick today.

Which is very, very, very rare for me.

However.

I was really, really, really sick.

I had begun to feel sick last night, in retrospect, I was coming down with a pretty bad headache, bad enough that I didn’t write my blog last night when I got back from my evening commitment.

Pretty unusual for me and when I think about it, pretty indicative of how bad I was feeling.

I don’t always let myself be sick.

Not like I really have a choice, but my brain seems to think that it does, that it can choose whether or not I’ll react to the illness.

Last night I made myself a cup of tea and a little snack and even while I was enjoying it I was not enjoying myself at all.

My head fucking hurt.

And.

I couldn’t take any ibuprofen.

Not since getting the diagnosis of silent reflux from my doctor and when we had gone through all the things I didn’t eat and she couldn’t figure out why the hell I had all the symptoms but wasn’t eating any of the foods that would cause it, she hit on it, almost by accident.

“Ibuprofen?”

Oh yeah.

I take a lot of that.

And pretty much I’m causing my stomach to bleed out, I’ve been ulcerating it causing the reflux, causing all the off again on again pain, which, yes, was probably also exacerbated by the stress of this past semester.

It was a touch stressful, yes, it fucking was.

Anyway.

I have a headache.

It’s rotten bad.

And.

I can’t take the only pain-killer I have in the house, ibuprofen.

I can take it and maybe alleviate my headache, but it will blow my stomach out of whack.

So I make the decision to just go to bed and try to sleep it off.

Like a fucking hangover, which, for the record, it’s been a long fucking time since I’ve had one of those, but that’s what it felt like I was doing, trying to sleep it off.

I was in bed by 10:15 p.m. and had the alarm set for 6:30 a.m.

I woke up once around 3 a.m. to use the loo and the headache was still there and pretty awful.

I stumbled back into bed and prayed that when I woke up it would be gone.

It was not gone.

I got up anyway and got myself into the shower.

My head still hurt and my stomach felt horrid.

I dried my hair and started to get dressed.

It took a long time.

It really took too long a time.

I knelt down by my bed and started my morning readings and prayers and I started to get sweaty, like awful, cold sweat, I got super hot, broke out into a sweat and could barely say my prayers.

I finished, got up, felt woozy, sat down on my chaise and thought, fuck, maybe I should call into work.

No.

I can’t do that.

I have the next four days off and the family needs me.

I got myself up went to the bathroom and checked my face out in the mirror, fuck, I was shining with sweat and now I was chilled.

Eek.

I wiped my face, washed my face, and took a big deep breath, just go make your breakfast and you’ll be fine once you get some coffee in yourself.

I started to make breakfast.

I couldn’t fathom how I was going to eat.

The smell of the coffee wasn’t good, the apple I was cutting up to put in my oatmeal nauseating, I started to get sweaty again.

I couldn’t eat.

I was not going to be able to eat anything.

How the fuck was I going to go into work without eating breakfast?

I turned back to the stove, I poured some almond milk in a heating canister and the smell was way too much.

I turned off all the burners, walked away, left the bowl of cut up apples on the counter, the milk in the can, the percolator on the stove, an egg in a pan of water and I picked up my phone.

I stared at it.

I have to call in.

I can’t go in.

I called.

I lost the signal.

I called again.

Same thing.

I tried one more time.

Got through.

Told my employer I was super sorry, don’t know what was going on, food poisoning, stomach bug, then I started to cry.

I don’t cry.

Ok.

Sure.

I cry if you know me, if you don’t know me, you’re my boss or someone I engage with professionally, I’m not going to cry in front of you (doesn’t mean I won’t cry in the bathroom at work, but that’s different), and I started to cry, which is the ultimate sign to me, I was really sick.

My boss was sweet told me to get some rest and I got off the phone, took off my clothes and crawled right back into bed.

About ten minutes, maybe fifteen minutes of being in bed I sat up with a bolt, I’m going to actually throw up.

No, no, I’m not, I haven’t thrown up in years.

But I wobbled quickly to the bathroom.

And.

Holy shit.

I threw the fuck up.

I barely had time to drop to my knees and pull my hair out of my face.

My super pretty hair, I was having a great hair day, all for naught, the nice hair.

I vomited three times in succession and then got up, rinsed out my mouth, flushed the toilet and tottered back to bed.

I considered grabbing a bowl just in case to put by the bed, but I fell asleep too quickly to do anything about it.

I recall, in a dreamy sort of way, responding to a few text messages that came in during the morning, but most of what I did was drift in and out of sleep for the next five hours.

I got up a little after 1 p.m.

I drank a little water, my head still hurt, but I didn’t feel nauseous.

I made some of my breakfast that I had left on the stove hours earlier.

I was able to eat about half of it.

I talked with my best friend on the phone for a bit and by the time I was done with the conversation I felt better.

Well enough to finish the other half of the oatmeal and drink some coffee.

The headache went away about an hour later and the stomach totally settled.

I have no idea if it was food poisoning or if I was just suffering a migraine.

I don’t remember having an aura, which I typically do before a migraine, and I haven’t had a migraine in such a long time that I wasn’t sure if it was that or just a bad headache.

Either way.

It’s gone.

And.

I spent the entire day at home.

I rested.

I watched Blade Runner 2049 and chilled out.

I feel a lot better.

Good enough that I signed up for a yoga class in the morning.

I will take it easy, but I feel like I’m back to myself.

Sometimes a girl just has to take a sick day.

Grateful as fuck that I didn’t push myself to go into work, I would have probably thrown up in my new car.

No thank you.

I’ve got a super nice day off planned for tomorrow.

I am über grateful that I feel better.

Like over the moon.

Night friend.

See you on the flip.

Sweetest dreams ever.

Made It

December 26, 2017

I had a sweet day.

It helped that I got out of my house, and yes, out of my head.

My head is not the nicest place to hang out.

I woke up to the screams of a young child, my upstairs neighbor’s kid, opening Christmas presents and the ferocious shredding of paper package wrapping.

Just before 8a.m.

Ah, so much for sleeping in.

I had a hard time going to sleep last night, I was pretty sad and lonesome and a wee bit on the morbid side of things.

I hadn’t gone that far into the dark side in a while.

I cried myself to sleep.

Which, you should know, I’m loathe to share, but I’m also not a very good liar, and I have no desire to become a better one, now that I think of it, it was just what happened, that’s all.

I did lots of praying and lots of just letting the sadness come.

Sadness happens, I had tried to put it off most of the day yesterday, the lonely and the sad, but it snuck in, as it will sometimes at the end of the day when I haven’t the energy to marshal it away any longer.

So I let it out.

It wasn’t a wallowing and it wasn’t weeping, it was just slow, slippery tears and a very tender heart, some lonesome thoughts and some tenderness.

Even though I woke up before I was planning on getting up, I woke up quite serene.

Sure, some residual sadness at the corners of my day, in the pockets of my room, but mostly just a soft melancholic slick sheen to the day, a sort of soft focus sad that was like mist and it lifted itself away the more I got into being a wake and getting myself dressed and fed and caffeinated.

A good writing session and a fast realization that I needed out of my house.

I got my package and card, last Christmas gift to give, for my friend whom I was going to see in the East Bay and I headed out the door.

It wasn’t as cold as it’s been the last few days and that felt nice.

I wished Merry Christmas to a neighbor and got into my car.

I drove up to the Inner Sunset and grabbed a nice parking spot on 7th and Irving and went and did the deal.

It was so good and I felt a lot better.

Afterward I called my friend and said hey, I’m out and about now, would it be ok if I came over early?

I didn’t want to be alone any more.

She was happy to have me over sooner, so I grabbed a cafe au lait from Tart to Tart and hit the road.

The traffic was light and I made quick time.

I was going 70 mph over the Bay Bridge and getting passed left and right.

It felt good to be on the road and going someplace, getting out-of-town, getting out of my head.

I listened to music, no more Christmas carols thank you, a mixed tape play list I really love and sang at the top of my lungs.

I reflected on all the lovely things I have in my life and all the gifts I have been given, the amazing relationships, the love, the passion I have in my life, and how grateful I am for this life I get to live.

I got to my friend’s place in San Leandro, and got the grand tour.

She’s really liking living there.

I couldn’t do it, but we all get to make the best choices we can for ourselves and though I miss my friend not living in San Francisco something awful bad, I understand why she’s where she is.

And I am super grateful I still get to make it here in this city.

We hung out at her house a bit, got caught up, exchanged presents, then went to the Piedmont theater in Oakland.

We saw Ladybird.

It was a sweet movie and the theater was pretty full.

It was nice to be surrounded by folks and sitting next to my friend.

It was nice to be in a movie theater, I don’t go out to the movies often.

We walked around the Piedmont neighborhood for a little while and found a Thai restaurant that was open and had a lovely late lunch.

By the time we left the sun was setting and I drove her home, we’d taken my car, it was fun to have a passenger, and then I turned around and got back on the freeway and headed home.

It was a quick drive back, a bit of traffic at the toll bridge, but for the most part, really quick.  I need to get myself a FasTrak for the car, although I don’t have plans to go over the bridge, I know I will and it’s so much faster to use the FasTrak lanes than have to wait to pay to get through.

And like that.

Done.

I just hopped over to the website and did the deal.

I will get the toll pass in the mail in the next week and I can just pop it in my glove box.

I don’t know when I’ll go over the bridge again but I will, I do know that.

Maybe not to San Leandro anytime soon, but I’ll be going over to Oakland for my sobriety anniversary on January 13th for a dance party I’m throwing with a friend.

I won’t be going before that, I think, despite having an invite to a New Years Eve party in the East Bay, I’m not feeling going over the bridge on New Years Eve, it’s just not my thing.

I will probably keep that weekend really low-key and not go out carousing.

Maybe a little road trip up the coast, but that’s all.

I am glad to be done driving for the day, I was out a lot.

I’m going to have a little dinner here in a minute and just chill out, maybe go to bed early and just call Christmas over.

I made it through, like I always do, and life will go on without pressures and holiday expectations, just life, just doing the next thing in front of me and being grateful to keep putting that next foot down on my little journey, despite not knowing where it’s going exactly.

I just know that I am going somewhere and I can trust that everything is happening just exactly as it is supposed to happen.

I have faith.

Everything is perfect.

In my imperfect world.

 


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