Archive for the ‘Insights’ Category

A God Damn Christmas Miracle!

December 25, 2022

I was not expecting that I would get my suitcase back today.

On Christmas.

ON CHRISTMAS!

Come on.

That’s like a stupid rom/com movie trope.

I mean, I can just envision the script, tired American in Paris for the holidays wears outfit four days in a row and cries in tepid bathtub after multiple delays and flight cancellations, losing baggage at Charles de Gaulle, battling with weary agents at Lufthansa who don’t give a fuck and just keep handing over a piece of paper with directions as to how to file a claim, buys wrong toiletries at Franprix (damn it I know better French than to buy sugar scrub instead of face wash), finally understands that French je ne sais crois of messy updo (fuck my hair is trashed after cheap toiletries and not being able to use a real blowdryer), no makeup (cuz was in suitcase that was lost) and world weary look-tres chic, tres sexy. Meets cute in a cafe when the regular notices same outfit on the third day in a row and falls in love when he takes her out clothes shopping in the Marais.

Well.

All of that was true except the last sentence.

I just took me out clothes shopping in the Marais.

But back to movie.

I mean, my life.

I mean.

Hmmm, what if my life were a movie?

What if the love of my life is just me?

What if I just keep falling in love with my own damn self?

An ex reached out to wish me Merry Christmas this morning.

Signal perfect teardrop rolling down face.

I am tired of this particular Christmas tradition, frankly, time for a new one.

I am ok with being alone on Christmas.

Not always, not for every moment of the day.

Not for the seven hours I waited for my bag, but you know, I wrote a lot, I watched Lady Chatterly’s Lover, I paced a bit.

I gave up the ghost around 4:30p.m.

I remember looking at my watch and thinking, well damn, there goes the day as it started to get dark and the suitcase had not arrived.

I sighed, thought about what I would make for dinner–I had planned ahead and grabbed a poulet roti, rotisserie chicken, from the frou frou boucherie on the block, so I would have a nice meal, yesterday.

So I was shocked and delighted when just after 5p.m. Paris time, my phone rang and it was the delivery driver!

I ran out the door (thankfully I had the keys in my pocket, I had a nightmare thought about running out the door and locking myself out, another movie trope, no?) and down the steps, opening the door to the courtyard just as the delivery service pulled up.

I have never been happier to see a suitcase in my life.

It looked like it had been dropped out the plane and dragged down the runway, but it was closed, and upon opening, all was there.

Thank goodness.

Makeup!

Bras and underwear!

My blowdryer!

My new boots!

My jean jacket I had just bought a month ago.

My favorite sweatshirt.

Note to self.

I over packed.

Of course.

I didn’t know I was going to wear the same outfit four days in a row, so there is that.

I put on some makeup, swept my hair up into a messy up do, I mean, I will fix that tomorrow with proper products and a good blow dryer, and bustled out the door.

Christmas night in Paris is not a real big night out, but I needed a walk after staying inside all day.

It was a lovely night, I caught the sliver of the new moon climbing over the rooftops of the Marais, walked by Hotel de Ville and smiled at the kiddos riding the carousel, I walked over the Pont Notre Dame and circled Ile Saint Louis, remembering all the many times I have crossed that bridge.

I have crossed quite a few bridges in Paris.

I have lived here poorer than a tit mouse.

I have cried in cafes here.

I have struggled.

Even with a little money in my wallet and my Air France credit card, Paris is not easy, the bureaucracy, the time it takes to get things done, it wears you, I mean, me, down.

My time in Paris has never been easy.

But.

It has always been beautiful, and perhaps those things most beautiful are not the things that are most easy.

I thought I was going to have an idyllic return, a victorious, sexy return to Paris, ten years later, turning 50, and eating at some fancy restaurant with my Parisian friends.

I was sitting in SFO instead waiting for yet another delayed flight to load.

I thought I was going to wear chic shoes and pretty clothes.

Not my Vans sneakers all week long, but hey, I still have two days to rock some heels (fyi, how the fuck does Emily in Paris totter around in those heels all day long? No fucking way) and will perhaps tomorrow night when I take myself out for a fancy dinner.

I did, however, master the messy bun, the scarf (grabbed at COS in the Marais), and the side bag swagger, and the no makeup look, except a red lip–the only makeup I had in my possession, a red lip crayon.

It’s been a trip.

Things I have figured out.

-How to turn up the hot water heater in the flat, sorry Air BnB person trying to save on utilities, I paid an arm and a leg for this place and I deserve a hot bath, I’ll return it to its lukewarm setting when I leave.

-I speak better French than I give myself credit for. Many, many compliments and looks of surprise when I say I am from the US.

-I still don’t speak French as well as I want, like, um, hahahaha when I told the delivery driver he was tres jolie (smacks forehead) and then quickly changed it to tres gentile (jolie is pretty, gentile is nice).

-I love the Metro, well, most of the time, there were some strikes and driver shortages, so it was rather packed, but it is simply an amazing train system, and off all the places I have been, probably the easiest to use.

-I don’t need to do the Louvre again, this time I skipped it, I went to the Palais de Tokyo, the Centre de Pompidou, Musee D’Orsay, and Musee de l’Orangerie. Those are my favorites, I don’t need to kill myself drowning in tourists trying to take a selfie with the Mona Lisa.

-Palais de Tokyo has the best book store and cafe hands down, of any museum I have been in anywhere.

-Saying please and thank you and have a good day and using manners gets you really quite far, I sort of already knew this, but I find it rather comforting the little formalities, the have a good day, have a good night, Bonnes Fetes, et al, makes things a little more human.

-I don’t like how much time people spend on their phones here, I was surprised, phone culture here has caught up with America, and in some ways, seems worse. Maybe it was the pandemic. It made me a little sad to see it, but there are still people on the Metro reading books.

-I don’t want to come back to Paris alone.

Yeah.

Your read that last one correct.

In my many times of traveling here I have not done it with a true partner and though I am my own good company, I am a little tired of being the solo lady traveler in Paris.

I’m not going to quit traveling, but after time number eight, I think I want a different experience with the city.

And with myself and with someone else.

I had an ex reach out prior to my trip on WhatsApp, a different ex than the one who caused the tears, (the only platform he’s not blocked on, but is now, thanks) and wish me a happy birthday and hopefully I’ll be enjoying a romantic time in Paris, and how I deserve to be with someone who loves me–can’t argue that, but please, stop.

I am my romantic time.

I’ll draw a bubble bath, watch a movie, have a snack.

And plan my last couple of days as a single lady in Paris.

The rom/com trope is that I am happy and ok single.

And that I can have complex emotional feelings and experiences and long for a partner too.

I have had some very intense dating experiences this year.

And I forgive myself for that.

The change now is to surrender, like I did my lost luggage, not look for it on apps, or dating sites, to not project myself as larger than life, to be vulnerable and let myself be approached.

I tend to have men project (and some former female friends) on me a certain fantasy of who I am.

Because I live grand, I write this blog (though, honestly, not always the best reflection of me it is sometimes taken to be a completely accurate picture of my life, when it is just a montage of snapshots) and I live with my heart of my sleeve.

I want to be gentle, be approachable, and maybe soften up the makeup and glitter (a little, not doing away with it all), wear my hair up messy, and be ok with being human and older and still not having it quite altogether.

I think it’s tres chic this.

Thanks for the lesson Paris.

I am not sure when I will see you again, but until then, thanks for teaching me all the things vulnerable and how to turn up the hot water heater in French.

Trop gros bisous.

Longings

November 7, 2022

I have been sitting with this topic for a little over a week now and really contemplating what I long for.

Last Friday, not this weekend, but the one prior, I had a pretty revelatory session with my own therapist.

Who clearly stated something that I have never been able to articulate.

That I am afraid of my longings.

As soon as he said it, it threw light on so much of my life.

He asked me, “what happened to you when you were younger when you longed for something?”

“I was shamed, humiliated, made fun of,” I answered immediately, there was no pause to think.

My therapist went further, “you were striped naked, you were beaten,” he introjected. “If you longed for something you were going to get hurt.”

Tears filled my eyes.

Fuck.

Of course I am afraid of my longings.

I was also taught a lot of other not so great things.

I’m not enough, I’m ugly, I’m fat, I’ll be alone forever, I’m not lovable was basically the message I got.

I had to earn love, achieve love, work for love.

And so often, I still did not receive it in a way that was healthful for me.

I was eviscerated for my achievements as well.

Mortified by achieving, yet also pushed to achieve.

I have to do everything myself, take care of myself, and defend myself.

Things I learned to do well.

I also have to take care of everyone around me.

I am not allowed desires, dreams, hopes, longings, and if I should voice them I’ll just be ridiculed for those longings.

One of my longings is for romantic intimacy.

Partnership.

Shit.

I just teared up.

That old story, here, right now, I’m not even allowed to talk about that.

Or write about it.

Dare I even post this blog about it?

I think so.

Because.

I am trying something different.

First, that re-engaging with a former ex this past September, a few weeks after Burning Man, was me falling back into the pattern of not letting myself long.

It didn’t work and I extricated myself.

With a lot of help from my people, sitting quietly, listening in to my body–all the reflux flair up that I hadn’t had for years came right back with a fucking vengeance.

And of course, my therapist, “the question is, why do you want to be with someone who is not honest?”

Ouch.

And why?

So I stopped and it ended as it was going to anyway, I knew it wasn’t good for me.

Moving on.

Doing work.

Doing the therapy.

Writing a lot.

Letting go.

Surrendering.

And when I said no to making myself small, all these kinetic, beautiful little miracles started happening.

I got my diploma in the mail the next morning.

I got unstuck with my book project and started a process journal.

I reached out to a photographer and asked to collaborate and got a “I’m very interested!” response and a “let’s meet for coffee.”

I saw a friend I haven’t seen in nearly two years and took her out on her birthday to breakfast.

I started writing the epilogue to my book.

I started blogging again.

I started, trying, I’m not always great at it, but trying, to lean into my longings.

I shifted my schedule a bit to open up my Friday nights so I can socialize more.

I’m digging into really old, deep, entrenched stuff with my therapist.

He said some very interesting things, he usually does, thank god for him, he’s the best therapist I have ever worked with, receently.

Like in my session this Friday.

He reflected that people are drawn to me, but that I project an image and instead of that, what would it look like if I was a magnet instead?

I knew what he meant.

I can have a big personality, I have presence.

For instance.

Dating.

I usually do the asking out, I think I have to, that no one is going to be drawn to me and that my longings will go unseen and that I have to ask, so I do.

A friend told me about this recently, “you come across as boss lady, soften it a bit, no body is going to ask boss lady out.”

Ok then.

Soften.

Draw to me rather than push away.

No more asking out guys.

Wait.

Let myself be asked out.

Actually, I have always, always, longed for this.

I have so infrequently had it happen, it seems a dream to have someone ask me out.

But, I think that it’s because I come across as unapproachable.

And I pine for that which is unavailable–not so much anymore, I am leaning, thank you–which is to say that my action is to focus on what is not really there so not to be hurt if I long for something.

Remember, I was shamed for having desire.

And I’m not talking erotic desire, I’m talking desire for affection, love, conviviality, joy, awe, wonder, laughter, closeness, honesty, play.

And.

I won’t sneeze at erotic desire either.

I am a sensuous being.

I long for touch.

The pandemic was rough yo.

Plus, the surgeries I had last year made it tough too, hard to feel sexy when you’re in pain.

Anyway.

Dating.

It’s back on my plate.

But this time no apps, no asking people out, no projecting out to the world.

Just a softening into the longing, articulating vulnerability, being ok with being messy, messy hair, no make up, well, not all the time, I do love me some lipstick, letting go of the crazy hair (hell my hair is crazy enough on its own) and going back to my natural color and yes, letting it go gray. I am of a certain age, it’s ok.

Just leaning in.

Soft, warm, sweet, longing, Coleman Hawkins on a rainy November night, with misty fog encapsulating street lamps, the heat turned on, the cats cozy curled up next to me, hot, homemade soup in a bowl, and looking out the windows at the darkening sky with longing that soon, yes please, there will be someone sitting next to me, who will put his arm around me and listen to the music with me, kiss the top of my head, and be absolutely ok with just me.

No striving to prove myself or be different, bigger, brighter, shinier, faster, more fabulous.

Just me.

That’s it.

And that is all that I need to be.

Warm, vulnerable me.

Book Project

November 5, 2022

So.

Here I am again.

Thinking about publishing a book.

But this time it is different.

This time I am ready.

Ten years ago I moved to Paris.

I moved to Paris to “become a writer.”

The truth was.

I already was a writer.

I had been a writer for decades.

I was on the cusp of turning 40 when I moved to Paris.

I am on the cusp of turning 50 now.

If you had told me that I wouldn’t really be looking at being published for a decade after moving to Paris.

Well.

Fuck.

I would burst into tears and likely thrown myself off the cutest nearest bridge.

Good thing I didn’t know.

Hell.

I had no idea ten years ago that instead of becoming a published writer, which, by the way, I am published–my dissertation was published on ProQuest on August 8th–I was to become a therapist.

I had no idea what Paris was going to hold for me.

It was terrifying, cold, heart breaking, wet–it rained a lot, and it snowed!

I got lost all the time–sometimes literally, often figuratively.

I spent a lot of time in churches–they are heated to a nice toasty warm that I would often find myself seeking reprieve from the weather in.

I wrote.

All the fucking time.

I wrote three, sometimes four, times a day.

I edited and re-hashed and re-organized a memoir.

I wrote short stories, poemss, blogs.

I wrote in my journal (s).

There ended up being many, many, many journals–all of which I still have.

I wrote in the morning.

I wrote in the afternoon–in cafes, my favorite being Odette & Aime.

Which was just around the corner on 46 Rue Maubege, I lived at 18 Rue Bellefond.

I would sit for hours in the cafe and sip at tap water and a cafe Allonge–which is basically a black coffee.

I was so poor.

Tit mouse poor.

Starving artist poor.

Hemingway in A Moveable Feast poor.

But like, Hemingway made it sexy.

I was not sexy.

I couldn’t often afford a cafe creme–thus the Allonge–I would eat lunch from the Monoprix–basically a Walgreens with a bit of a supermarket in it.

Lunch would be a single serving piece of cheese and a packet of peanuts.

Often accompanied by an apple I would buy from the Friday market around Square D’Anvers.

Once I treated myself to sausages, heaven, at the Friday market but only once–they were rabbit and to die for.

Breakfast was apple in oatmeal and milk.

Dinners were often from the roti chicken place down the street by the Metro entrance for the Cadet stop.

Not the fancy place up the road that was Monsieur Dufrense.

But the Halal place, the owner was sweet, the chicken was cheap.

I could make one of those last a good four days, sometimes five.

I worked under the table, nanny, dog walker, baby sitter, English tutor.

I took French classes that a friend in Chicago wired me money to go and do.

I walked everywhere, when I wasn’t on the Metro, which I used frequently as I had a Navigo monthly pass.

There were times, especially when I was doing baby sitting outside the periphery, that I realized, no one, not a single person, not a soul, knew where I was.

I was baby sitting in the ghetto, the low income housing, taking three trains to do an under table gig that basically paid 8 Euro an hour.

I walked past drug deals, prostitution, gambling places.

I walked briskly like I knew where I was going.

Irony.

The place was located on Rue Victor Hugo.

Sounds hella romantic.

Was hella sketchy.

I remember once taking a picture of the street lights reflecting in the rain, once, on a very early morning commute from my place in the 9th arrondisement to outside the periphery, at like 7a.m.

It was a gorgeous shot, the light, the reflection on the sidewalk, the darkness, the sheen.

I got so many comments on social media after I posted it….so pretty, so Paris, so exciting, lucky you, living the dream!

Sure.

The dream.

Which was actually a nightmare.

Scary, cold, intense, broke as fuck.

Taking an elevator up 9 floors in a tenement in the ghetto outside of Paris.

The kids were sweet, but they didn’t have books, they like to watch the Mickey Mouse Club.

The tv was their babysitter, except when I was there, I insisted on taking them outside.

The park in the middle of the low income houses.

I would watch them race around on their cheap plastic little scooters and stare at the clouds in the sky.

What the hell was I doing with my life?

Query another agent, send off another book proposal, watch my thin stash of Euros in my wallet slowly get a tiny bit bigger, after baby sitting, or tutoring, or house sitting, quietly buying my apples and peanuts and Halal chicken, and then have to pay a week’s rent where I was staying–in a one bedroom lofted apartment where I slept in the living room on a fold out futon that must have been 25 years old, it was so hard.

I didn’t usually have the month’s rent.

But I would pay week to week to week.

Living on peanuts and apples.

Like I said.

Hemingway made it much sexier.

So.

Ten years later.

Many adventures since.

So many adventures.

I am sitting in my very cozy, very pretty, one bedroom apartment in Hayes Valley in San Francisco.

I have a successful private practice therapy business.

I own a car.

A new one.

I have traveled back to Paris, and will do so again in December to celebrate my 50th birthday with a new tattoo from my favorite tattoo shop–Abraxas on Rue Beauborg in the Marais, where I will also be staying a beautiful and hip Air BnB, also in the Marais.

I will buy myself dresses this time instead of packets of peanuts.

I will buy notebooks from Claire Fontaine.

I will go to many museums.

And not on the free days.

I will have a lot of cafe cremes, and not a single Allonge.

I will eat a chicken from Monsieur Dufrense and an actual meal at Odette & Aime.

Also.

I will eat my birthday dinner at my favorite restaurant La Cantine du Troquet on Rue de Grenelle.

I will celebrate a dear friend’s wedding anniversary the day before–having become amazing friends in my Master’s in Psychology program, I have stayed at her family home in the Marais and as she will be celebrating, I will be at my Air BnB just a five minute walk from her home.

I will go to my favorite cafe, Cafe Charlot, which is open on Christmas.

I will be there for Christmas as well as my birthday.

I will take photographs and write, like I always do.

Although.

Hopefully I will not be writing agents to query them about a memoir, just writing in general, after scoring a few of my favorite notebooks, a small stack, at least five, maybe more.

I will instead be querying agents now about my book proposal.

Not exactly a memoir, but in a sense very much so, but with a different scope, seen through the lens of my dissertation, with beautiful photographs not take by me on my phone, but by the professional photographer I am meeting with next week for coffee in Petaluma–Sarah Deragon with Portraits to the People.

She did my headshots for my website and I adore her work.

I queried her if she would be interested in collaborating with me and I got a yes.

I’ve got some work to do before I see her.

Sketch out the book better, mock something up.

Cut and paste and write.

See.

I keep coming back to the writing.

Which is what I am doing, here, now.

Practicing.

I’m not exactly out of practice, I still journal every day, did it today, I’ll do it tomorrow.

But.

I haven’t been blogging in a while.

Time to polish the chops and sit at the keyboard and see where my meandering brain takes me.

I had not thought that it would be a time travel back to Paris ten years ago, I don’t often know where this page is going to take me, but take me it does.

I figured that the best way to put together my book proposal and manuscript was to open my blog and write my intentions and start from here.

I don’t know how exactly to get an agent.

But there’s Google for that.

I do know my dissertation is a mighty fine academic piece, but it’s not a book ready piece.

No one, well, my dissertation committee did, wants to read my Method and very few people are going to be interested in my Lit review, but there’s some juicy stuff in there.

Dramatic.

Traumatic.

Sexy.

Sad.

Transformative.

Pain.

Story.

There’s story and it’s good story and it’s got scandal.

And who doesn’t like scandal?

I’m going to risk it all and put it all out there with transparency and honesty and integrity.

And hopefully, someone will bite.

I want to do a kind of coffee table art house photography book with my poems, essays, blogs, memoir excerpts, and pictures of my transformation alongside the story of what I discovered with my research in my dissertation.

I also will write an epilogue with new insights.

The transformative tattoo; Walking towards joy.

Coming to you soon.

Fingers crossed.

Musings

July 17, 2022

From COVIDlandia.

And what I am hoping is my last day of quarantine.

The COVID test I took this morning showed the barest, faintest of lines.

I flirted with saying, I’m all good, and running out willy nilly.

But.

I figured one more day in quarantine and taking care to not infect others might be the ethical thing to do.

As opposed, to, oh, I don’t know, randomly licking people and running away saying, “I have COVID!”

I have these thoughts once in a while.

I did go outside briefly today, masked, of course, to go to my office and water my plants.

Oh.

Such sad plants.

I felt so bad.

Poor babies hadn’t been watered in nine days.

No one is at the office on the weekend, so I figured I was safe and I still wore my mask inside just in case and no one was there.

Just my sad little plants.

I gave them all a good watering and then shut the office back down.

Next week I will be doing all my sessions remotely, I figure, just be safe.

I don’t need to expose my suitemates to anything.

I do hope to test negative tomorrow.

I had a moment of thinking, ooh, I’ll go swimming tomorrow if I test negative.

Yeah.

I don’t know about that.

Sounds great, but considering the amount of congestion and aching lungs I have experienced over the past nine days, maybe swimming laps is not the course of action to take on my first day back into the world.

I’ll get up and stretch again and do minimalist yoga.

I’ll go for a walk.

I’ll prep food for the week.

I will dream about all things Burning Man.

Yeah.

That thing.

I am going.

I haven’t really written about it.

I’ve been tied up with all things FINISH YOUR FUCKING DISSERTATION.

I mean.

It’s finished, I mean, finish jumping through the hoops that your school forgot to tell you to do even though they approved you to graduate.

Oh.

You’re missing something and we forgot to tell you?

OOPS.

I mean.

The profound apology from the provost helped, but like, dude, I’ve not actually graduated yet.

Which is also why Burning Man is on my mind.

I “graduate” eye roll, at the end of summer.

That is when I will officially matriculate.

I returned the dissertation with the few edits that the writing center indicated needed to be done; for the pain in the ass y’all have been, you could have just fucking fixed them and moved it along, in 274 pages there were five things that needed to be attended to.

Anyway.

I’ll be connecting with the guy at the center who is the last gate keeper to getting it published on ProQuest on Monday.

Pending his final stamp of approval I will then upload it and that’s it.

It will get published and I will matriculate.

At the end of summer.

Which means.

I get to graduate.

Again.

And this time.

I’m going to do it my way.

At Burning Man.

Yeah.

Where my graduate school journey started back in 2014 when I had a dark night of the soul.

I left Burning Man that year distinctly altered.

I quit the job I had been working.

Got a different one.

And applied to graduate school to get my Master’s in Psychology.

I got in and started in the fall of 2015.

I managed to go to the event in 2015, 2016, and 2017–somehow figuring out how to balance full-time nanny job with full-time graduate school.

I graduate from my Master’s program in May of 2018 and went right into my PhD program in August of 2018.

I could not manage the event whilst doing my PhD program.

My first year missing the event since I started to go in 2007.

I mean.

I managed to go even when I moved to Paris.

I still do not know how that happened.

But my PhD program started each semester with a week long intensive and it was the same week as the event and the amount of work that I had to do to get ready for the intensive was too much for me to even think about going up pre-event.

The year I went in 2016 I didn’t even go for the event, I was up for in the desert for four days and left before the gates even opened.

The PhD work was too much.

Not to mention working full time, plus.

So, I missed 2018 and 2019.

And then the pandemic.

Knocking out 2020 and2021.

Although I had people who asked if I would consider going to “Plan B” the unofficial event last year, you know that one that was not sanctioned by the org, wink, wink, nudge, nudge.

But.

I was too close to defending my dissertation, I had also just had the first of my two major surgeries, and it was too much.

This year I had been prepared to go months ago.

I was going to help run and manage a kitchen on playa for an art project a dear friend of mine is builidng.

But an unexpected tax bill, what the fuck accountant?!

And the looming paying back of student loans dissuaded me.

I hung up my apron and prepared to sadly not go.

Except.

Well.

There was this day three weeks ago, a month ago, I don’t know, time is wonky for me still, when it was hot out.

Like hot.

Like 93 F.

San Francisco rarely gets hot.

Even now, in the middle of July, I am wearing a hoodie, and it’s not because I have COVID, it’s because I live in San Francisco and fog.

But it got hot that day.

I remember a couple of last minute client cancellations led me to having a leisurely lunch and left enough time for me to go for a long walk.

Without a sweatshirt.

Without layers.

In a sundress.

And bare legs, I wasn’t even wearing leggings.

Oh my, my, my.

Speaking my fucking language.

Only thing about summers in Wisconsin I really miss–warm nights without having to wear layers, sundresses all day long, hair upswept in a messy bun, humid wind kissing your skin.

Sigh.

This day in SF wasn’t like that.

It was more like Burning Man.

Hot.

Dry.

Warm wind.

I was walking down Laguna crossing Fulton, and I was just drenched in sun and hot wind and I sighed, “oh, this feels o good.”

“Just like Burning Man,” a little voice in my heart whispered.

And like that.

Like that.

I decided to go.

I reached out to a bunch of folks.

I asked after tickets.

I received more than a few offers.

Some of which I couldn’t quite comply with the asks, pre-burn, build week, nannying, work duties, etc.

But one of them I could take and so I did.

And like that.

I had a ticket.

And plans began to brew and things began to fall into place.

Like fast.

Sometimes when I know that I’m supposed to do something, everything just falls into place.

If it’s meant to be you can’t fuck it up.

If it’s not meant to be you can’t manipulate it into happening.

This was definitely meant to be.

And although the loss of revenue missing a week of work being sick with COVID has definitely stung, it hasn’t made it impossible.

My ticket is paid for and my vehicle pass and I’m accruing all the gear that I need.

And maybe a few flowers to stick in my hair.

Like you do.

Or, ahem, like I do.

I got some boots, a new black out tent, a folding camp rocking chair, a new cooler, a new parasol, a new bicycle (I miss my old steed, I was looking at old phots of the event and I will miss that ride, but hopefully my new bike will be up to muster), a new queen size air mattress.

I’ve rented a cargo van with a friend that will be traveling in from Utah and I’ll be picking him up in Reno.

He’s got stuff in SF that I will bring up for him, so right now we are splitting costs on the rental.

I almost thought about stuffing my little Fiat with all my things, mounting a bicycle rack on the roof.

But.

Ahem.

A girl likes her clothes.

And also, unobstructed views whilst driving.

So.

I agreed to the van.

Which I think will actually come nicely in handy.

Provide some shade for my tent as well as be a place to hole up in if there is a dust storm.

And plenty of space for my friend’s gear, plus another if we wanted.

Originally a mutual friend from Marin was going to ride up with me, but he’s bailed.

In all the preparing and list writing and chatting with a good friend of mine who has graciously accepted to take care of my cats, I suddenly had an idea.

Perhaps it was a vestige of COVID fever, perhaps divine inspiration.

I realized, huh, if I matriculate at the end of summer, that means I’ll be “graduating” on playa.

HOLY SHIT.

I can have a graduation party.

At the best party in the whole fucking world.

With all the friends I couldn’t have come to my graduation.

Because I was only allowed three people at my weird ass hybrid zoom graduation reception at my school in May.

I contacted my dear friend with the art project and he’s going to help me plan a ceremony at his art piece!

I’m going to graduate on playa.

I am also going to walk in my full PhD regalia–robe, funny hat with the pom, and my hood.

Oh yeah.

Then I am going to burn it at the Temple and leave the institution behind and move into whatever next phase of life I am supposed to be having.

This year is special too as it marks my 20 year anniversary of moving from Madison, Wisconsin to San Francisco.

My best friend from Wisconsin rode shot gun with me in my little two door Honda Accord packed to the gills, rode I-80 all the way to the Bay back in 2002.

We were gassing up in Nevada getting ready to go through the Sierra’s and she said, looking at some dirty hippy with literally a cardboard sign, begging for a ride to Burning Man on the exit ramp to the gas station, “we should go.”

“Where?” I asked, toggling the nozzle of the gas pump to get every last precious drop into my tank.

“Burning Man,” she replied.

I looked at my car, stuffed full of my life and the soft pack of a super sized duffle strapped to the top and thought, no fucking way am I taking all that I own out to the desert in this car.

I laughed and got back in the car and we started to drive towards Tahoe.

My friend tried one more time to convince me, “this might be my last chance to go!”

______________ “I’m not going, it’s impossible, I can’t take my car out there with all my stuff, and I have to pick up the keys to my sublet in the Mission,” I replied.

And then I remember pausing and thinking, how do you know about Burning Man?

I had read about it in a 1995 issue of Spin magazine.

And yeah, I was definitely down with going, just not right then.

“What do you think Burning Man is?” I queried my friend.

“It’s a radical feminist movement where they BURN THE MAN!”

If I could have fallen out of my seat laughing I would have.

In some ways, my friend is actually right, Larry Harvey and all that he is and that they burn a man, yeah, but there is a very heavy lift that the women in the organization have done quietly behind the scenes for a long time.

Believe me.

I have seen some things.

Anyway.

We did not go that year.

But every since I started going, my friend gives me shit, that she missed her time.

She wasn’t wrong.

She got pregnant just after leaving San Francisco, literally that weekend, and then had three boys.

One who just graduated from highschool.

What the hell?

And here I am, almost 20 years later, all excited about going out to that thing in the desert again.

Where I will graduate into my next level of life.

Or just have a quiet spiritual experience while I ride my bike far out into the edges of the playa to look at the stars.

Who knows where this life is going to take me next.

But I’m down for it.

I’ll be there.

With flowers in my hair.

Seriously.

And maybe a glow stick.

Heh.

Music For Dancing Slow

March 13, 2022

Oh bunny.

All the feels.

I have been thinking about you a lot recently.

You’re just in the air.

In my dreams too.

My God. I really have had a lot of dreams about you recently.

I used to not dream so much about you.

I don’t know why now.

But there it is.

Maybe it’s because I was in Hawaii recently.

I wore the necklace that you gave to me, the little glass heart, the one that you handed to me that day we drove to Sonoma to have a picnic.

The day I gave you cuff links, out in the high grass while we picnicked and made out and I was shy about showing you the tattoo I had gotten for you.

You told me a story about having bought the glass heart with a little fold of yellow ribbon in the glass, from a jewelry vendor somewhere in Maui and how it pulled you to buy it and you didn’t know why you were buying it.

For someone you had not met yet.

I wear that heart a lot.

I wear the bracelet with the infinity sign on it, every day.

Every day.

I’m still in love with you, likely always will be, and that’s ok.

You in the ether, ephemeral and close and then far away.

In my dreams, in my thoughts.

I sometimes still think that I will end up back in your arms, years later, run into you and be once more with you.

Hopeless, die hard, romantic here.

I don’t cry as much over you as I used to and I try to date and I’m not always so upturned over you, I can say I’ve moved on, a little, but I “pray, every day, that you’ll be back in my arms once again.

That just spun out into the air from my speaker.

It’s from one of the songs on one of your playlists that you made for me.

I haven’t listened to it in a very long time.

But.

I have been thinking about it.

Because.

Analytics.

What does that mean exactly, you ask?

Well.

Lover.

I could be wrong, maybe I am, but I also wonder, could he, is he, “it was not so long ago that you broke my heart, tears on my pillow, pain in my heart, caused by you, if we could start anew, I would take you back and tempt the hand of fate” is he out there reading my blogs?

Also.

Side bar.

Wow.

This playlist seems a little too prescient.

You made this for me for our six month anniversary, I asked you to make me a playlist for slow dancing with you.

I wanted love songs to dance to and these are love songs, but they’re also predicting heart break.

Did you know, even back then, that we would cause each other so much heartbreak?

So, so, so much.

Someday, someway, you’ll realize that you’ve been blind, yes darling, you’re going to need me again, it’s just a matter of time.

Fuck.

You knew this was going to happen, didn’t you, we would bash our hearts out on each other and hurt each other and try again and again, so many times.

GAH.

Maybe I should stop playing this.

That was like a side bar to the side bar.

Back to the analytics.

So, my blog lets me know a few things on the back end of the platform that no one except me can see.

I can’t see who reads my blogs.

But I can see where in the world my readers are coming in from.

I can see how many reads a day I get.

I can see if someone is in the archives.

And.

I can see what particular blogs are being read.

And.

Well.

I’ve been seeing something recently that makes me think a lot about you darling.

And maybe it’s not you.

But someone, once a week, on Thursdays, which are actually Fridays for me I think (WordPress is on a different time zone so I don’t know if it’s actually Thursdays when the blogs are read), reads a bunch of my blogs.

And two of them constantly pop up.

“Love Songs and Nail Salons.”

And.

“Hello, Stranger.”

It feels like you’re out there, quietly waving to me.

You haven’t called me or texted me or emailed me.

You did connect with me briefly, oh so damn briefly back in October, just days before my dissertation defense, and we could have talked, you called after receiving a card from me, but when I had to go into a client session you left a voice mail and that was it, not another call or text.

Despite telling you I could talk, I sent you a text later after my session ended, but you said you were on “East Coast time” and going to bed and you never reached out again.

I got damn angry.

That riled me up for a while.

Then I had my surgery and had to finish my dissertation and then it’s the holidays and my birthday and that’s when I wrote Love Songs and Nail Salons.

You are intertwined with my birthday and you might always be.

I’m not sure how long this person, you or someone else, I like to pretend it’s you, I like to pretend you’re reading this now.

Fantasy.

Hope.

Idiocy.

You pick.

I don’t care if you don’t want me, I’m here right now, I put a spell on you, because you’re mine.

Boy howdy, you put together one hell of playlist darling.

Shoo bop, shoo bop,

Hello stranger, it seems so good to see you back again, how long has it been?

Seems like a mighty long time.

Oh fuck.

Wow.

That pulled some tears up.

Hmmm.

Yeah.

I still have all the feels.

I am grateful to be writing this though.

You’re not going to read it.

Someone will though.

And maybe that’s ok.

When the love is this strong it doesn’t go away, the grief, the pain, the sorrow, time doesn’t heal all the wounds, the arrows of love from Cupid’s bow, my container to hold it all just got bigger.

You know.

What I used to tell you to make the hurt less, um, hurt”y”.

Sometimes God breaks your heart to break it open and make it bigger, all the better to hold more love.

Can what you’re thinking bring happiness, or will it bring misery?

Honey bunny.

You knew.

You knew we were doomed.

You don’t have to tell me pretty baby, you want me to try and forget you, I’ll do the best I can.

I should have listened to this closer.

I think I was just so damn enamored with you at the time. So fucking in love with you.

I remember when I was told, people will tell you all the time who they are and what they can offer, believe them.

Yeah.

“I want to fuck you,” someone told me recently. He’s not available for anything else, and I heard it loud and clear and expect nothing else from him.

Should that come to pass.

Repeat to self.

When someone tells you who they are, believe them.

I wanted so bad to believe that you would get out of your situation.

But you told me all along, you couldn’t, that you wouldn’t.

And here I am, still, wondering, but maybe….

Ah.

Big, deep breath.

I had a revery once, last March, and I can’t even believe I am going to write this, but I am, because that’s what I do.

(“I could never write a blog,” an ex-lover once told me, “you wear your heart on your sleeve, you tell things about your life I never could.”)

While I was in Joshua Tree being all woo woo with a bunch of girls in the desert doing a guided mediation and a sound bath, how much more woo can you get?

But once I stopped having contempt prior to investigation.

Something happened.

I had a vision of the two of us.

I‘m a fool to want you, I’m a fool to want you, to want a love that can’t be true, a love that’s there, for others too. I’m a fool to hold you, such a fool to hold you, to seek a kiss that’s mine a lone, to share a kiss the devil has known. Time and time again, I said I’d leave you. Time and time again. I went away.

I had a vision of us in Hawaii, living together at the end of our lives, on a lanai, or a porch, you had me in your arms, I had long, long, long hair, threaded with gray and I was so frail, and I died in your arms while the moon set over the ocean.

I can’t get along without you.

Oh love.

Maybe that’s all there is to this love, this exquisite pain that lets me know I have loved and lived and still have so much life yet to go.

I don’t know who’s reading those blogs of mine so assiduously for the last stretch of time, but it’s put you in my mind.

If you ever go, darling, I’ll be oh so lonely, I’ll be sad and blue, crying over you, dear only.

By the way.

I had that vision far before I was even thinking about Hawaii or going to Hawaii, and now having been and knowing how much I resonated with the islands and how much you do too, oh Maui baby, I do wonder.

Maybe one day, some day, far away in the future, in another life, in some other dream, I will see you on a beach somewhere and be once more in your arms.

Unforgettable, that is what is what you are…like a song of love that clings to me, ooh, how the thought of you does things to me. Never before has someone been more unforgettable.

Until then, sweet heart.

Be kind to you.

Love yourself.

Take care of yourself.

And I will do the same.

Are you lonesome tonight, do you miss me tonight, are you sorry we drifted apart?

You gave me something no one else ever has and I will never forget it.

Even if I never see you again.

I will always have you in my heart.

Always.

Because.

Love is strange.

Baby Steps

March 8, 2022

I had an in person session today at my office.

It was good.

It was also good to actually meet this client in person as we have never met in person before.

They started with me during the first shelter in place lock down.

I am coming up on the anniversary of that event.

And having some anniversary feelings.

I remember well the week prior, two years ago, things were playing out in the on again off again relationship I had been desperately trying to figure out for years.

Not playing out well, in the end, that relationship ended.

I still have pangs over that.

Why didn’t he figure it out?

Why couldn’t we make it work?

Why?

Why, I am always reminded is not a spiritual question.

It doesn’t help and knowing why is some sort of balm my brain wants to have to explain away the inexplicable.

It just was.

It just couldn’t work.

I just didn’t work.

And no matter how hard I tried I only got hurt.

I have been thinking a lot about relationships, dating, who I am, what I want.

In some persistent way I have always stowed away this thought of marriage, commitment, partnership.

Yet.

I have never really gotten close.

Despite a former “semi” proposal when I was in my mid-twenties from my one and only really “long term” relationship.

Is five years a long term relationship?

Anyway.

Why marriage?

Why partnership?

Wearing a dress, having a ceremony?

Societal expectations?

Family expectations?

My expectations?

Expectations typically lead to resentments.

I do crave company and touch and physical connection, I’m not going to deny that; but historically marriage is actually not great for women.

In a heteronormative marriage that is.

They work more, care take more, do more of the household labor.

Men actually statistically reap huge benefits being married.

Women not so much.

So why do I want it?

When I think about what I want I think about the physical connection of being with a man, I like closeness and, I hate the fucking wording of this, one of my “love languages” is non-sexual physical touch.

I’m cuddly.

Which the last guy I dated did not provide.

I love sex.

Don’t get me wrong, sex is definitely still a need, that drive is still there at 49, and may it be for some time thank you very much, although a touch softer of a demand then it used to be.

But affection.

I crave affection.

Hand holding, massage, leaning into someone, having my head rubbed.

Sigh.

But does that have to preclude being married?

I mean.

I might be putting the cart before the horse.

Am I shutting myself down from potential connection thinking better do it for the long haul?

Also.

What do I need from a partnership that I’m not already giving myself?

I love to travel, I love my home, I have a great space (when it’s not being invaded by the sonic intrusion of DJ Douche Bag upstairs), I don’t share it with anyone.

Well.

My cats.

They do think they own everything.

I keep my space the way I like it.

I have my schedule the way I like it.

I do my own thing.

What do I think I am missing out on?

What if I wasn’t missing out on anything?

I think some of this is just being really comfortable with my life and starting to find a nicer balance now that I’m not in the PhD mode all the time and have gotten a modicum of space from the last surgery I had and some decent recovery in my body.

Also.

Thank God.

My back is feeling much better.

A very easy weekend, lots of rest, lots of heating pad.

I’m actually using the heating pad right now too.

It is just nice after my day at the office.

I still need to dial a few things in there.

I’m going to pop over to Black & Gold on Valencia and pick up a vintage coat rack I’ve been eye-balling for months.

I could use an alternative set up chargers for my MacBook and a small extension cord by my desk for all the things I need plugged in–not all of my sessions are in person, I still am doing plenty, the majority of my session via video.

And one more hanging plant for my office.

But other than that, it’s such a sweet, welcoming space and I was happy to be there in my sessions today.

I ran five, only one was in person, from my office and one from home this morning.

Tomorrow I will be at home fully, all my sessions are remote.

I will be going in again on Thursday as I have a client that wants to be coming back in person.

This client was one of the last, although not the last, clients I saw in person prior to lock down.

It will have been two years.

I’m so grateful for this small baby step into a different experience with therapy and seeing my clients.

It’s not “back to normal”.

I don’t know if it’s the new normal.

It’s just nice to be getting a little more engagement with the world.

And maybe that’s how I look at dating, partnership, relationships.

Just with some curiosity and lightness and that I don’t have to figure it out.

Figure it out is a shit slogan.

For now.

Everything is exactly the way it’s supposed to be.

It always is, truthfully.

I just sometimes get stuck in thinking it would be better if….

If what?

And why wait to be happy, when…

I am happy now.

And that is good enough.

It really is.

I Would Follow You

January 17, 2022

To Wisconsin.

He said, underneath the heat lamp at the outdoor cafe.

On our first date.

There have now been four dates.

Tomorrow will be number five.

And that is all you need to know about him.

I would like to spill all the words and looks and the synchronicities and the eyes, oh, the eyes.

But.

I am not going to.

I spill so much of my heart on these pages.

“You wear your heart on your sleeve,” an old lover once told me, “I could never write about the things you do, share the things you do, it’s what makes you a good writer.”

I don’t know about that necessarily.

I think a good writer is just one that writes.

I still write every day.

In the mornings.

Three to four pages, sometimes just one or two, but I always write.

I don’t show up here as often, sometimes I think it might be time to hang up the blog, but I just keep holding onto it.

There is something here still for me.
I am not sure that there is anything here for you though.

I just keep letting you go.

I don’t know who shows up to read these ramblings any more.

I don’t know who you are.

I do know that you still read the words.

Sometimes you search me out.

Sometimes you find me on some old social media post I thought I had scrubbed away.

Sometimes you find me with esoteric search engine terms.

You keep finding me.

And I keep writing for ghosts.

This time.

This time though, I am writing for me.

About a month ago I sat down in front of my computer with too much eye make up on and a bushel of glitter and my hair wild and I did my dissertation presentation for a friend who is a film maker.

It was not as good as when I defended my dissertation and was awarded my PhD, that feeling of being so in the moment and not even realizing the camera was on was not with me when I did it for my friend.

But.

He got the gist of it and he liked it and he said, yeah, we can make this into a film.

It had been suggested to me by one of my former supervisor’s that I make the dissertation into something, a one woman show, a documentary, a film.

He said I had it, that he could watch me present the work all over again, would pay for it and that it was better than a lot of what he’s seen on Netflix.

I mean.

Fuck.

What a great compliment.

And also.

Fuck.

Scary and wonderful and am I really going to do this?

I mean.

I just finished my PhD.

I have a full time therapy practice.

Shouldn’t I just be taking long walks on my days off?

Just looking at the sky and the city and breathing without the pressure of a writing project on my shoulders.

Just walking around and watching the birds wheel in the sky.

Just listening to music on my Airpods and smiling that I don’t have to go anywhere, don’t have a deadline, don’t have to do another draft or edit or more research.

I can put away the research.

I have shelved the books.

I can let it go.

Or can I?

There is something here.

There is a story and I do think there is a movie and so does my friend.

When I started writing my blog, twelve years ago now, I would sometimes get a line of words in my head or a phrase and I would know, that’s my blog.

That’s the line.

That’s my way in.

I don’t actually need anything more than that.

Just the line.

What follows after that line I never know.

I just have a feeling for what has to be written in the next moment, the next breath, the next beat of time.

And I kept thinking about how my friend sent me the info about how to write a screen play and how it should be a certain kind of way and I was like, well, damn, I don’t have the “ending” you’re supposed to have.

But who ever does have the ending that they’re supposed to have?

What if it wasn’t bad timing lover, friend, soul mate, what if it was just that we weren’t meant to be, not really, not ever and we stole something, took away light from the moon and carved out a tiny moment in the soul of the world and hid our love.

But it couldn’t stay.

We weren’t meant to be together.

We never were.

Because we aren’t.

So I let it go again.

Let you go again and choose something else, I look up at the stars, the moon be damned, and find a new way forward.

It is dark and it is new and I don’t know where it’s going.

But when I put my hand on his back last night I thought I might just find a new way through.

And I might just have an ending to my story that has hope.

It may not be the fairy tale ending.

I have had my heart broken too many times by the fairy tale.

It will be a different story.

A new story.

And yes.

It will be a love story.

My love story, though.

My way through.

My way out.

When I chose to walk out the door to my apartment and take a right and not a left and meet him at the corner of the street and take a deep breath and say.

“Hi, it’s nice to meet you.”

And really, really mean it.

It really has been so nice to meet you.

I don’t know if we’ll ever go to Wisconsin.

But that you would follow me there.

Well.

That is one hell of a way to start something.

Something that begins with hope.

I’m Ready

November 14, 2021

To date again.

Well.

I mean.

Theoretically.

I am in no shape to actually go on a date.

I’m still pretty much tied to my bed.

Although I do feel increments of change, small shifts in my body signaling to me of my healing.

My dear friend was over yesterday and she said I looked “sooooo much better,” which is nice since I feel like I look like ass.

But she insisted.

It might have been the shower I had.

I was cleared to shower this past Tuesday.

It might have been one of the greatest showers of all time.

Rivaled many a Burning Man fresh back from the playa shower.

And if the after care hadn’t been so damn hard, it would have been the top shower of all time.

I mean.

I didn’t shower for two weeks.

Sure, I did a whore’s bath.

You know, baby wipes and deodorant and perfume.

Very 1800s French of me.

heh.

But really, I like a good shower.

In fact, I have often said that God is a good shower.

I mean, think about it, it feels so good to have hot water sluicing down ones back.

The sigh of relief when I get underneath a good hot shower with great water pressure.

Oh, so good.

So to go two weeks was pretty hard.

But I had to, the drains didn’t all get removed until two weeks after the surgery.

I had three drains, two of which were removed one week after, and the last 13 days later.

I cannot tell you how obnoxious they were.

Granted that first week I was on heavy painkillers so though annoying, I didn’t find them that uncomfortable.

Sans Percocet, they were infruriating.

Always this slight annoyance, not quite pain, although if I jostled myself too hard or took down my sweat pants too fast.

Egad.

Aside.

One of my friend’s calls sweat pants “my give up” pants.

For the record.

I have never owned sweat pants until this surgery.

I bought two sweat suits prior to the surgery.

I was told, loose pants and zip up fronts.

So sweatsuits seemed appropos.

And on the shelves they were cute, but on me, eek, I do not care for them.

Maybe that’s why I’m feeling better today too, not wearing a sweat suit and I put on a bra.

It’s the small things.

I did contemplate taking another shower today, but I’ll hold off one more day.

Three days is still a bit to go for me, but like I said, despite how fucking phenomenal the shower feels, the after shower routine is really hard.

I feel pretty tired just getting out of the shower and drying off.

Making sure I’m not vigorously drying myself, putting on Neosporin on the stitches, re-bandaging myself, and the skin tightens when it dries so I feel like I’m getting pulled apart and my range of motion gets much smaller. I end up feeling like a hunched over little old lady.

And don’t talk to me about drying my hair.

Holy shit.

Just getting to my blow dryer and doing a quick pass through is really hard.

I did manage it yesterday, but I was super shaky after just a few minutes of it.

Although like I said, I rallied and I put on leggings, a bra, a t-shirt and a button down shirt instead of the zip hoodie and sweat pants over the binder that I am wearing over the bandages, over the stitches.

I might burn the sweat pants in effigy when I’m done.

There’s also a psychological fatigue that happens.

I told myself both times that I showered not to look at the belt lipectomy, which by the way, if you don’t know, is not a tummy tuck, which would just be a midline scar across the front of the belly.

A belt lipectomy is like the name, think of a belt encircling your waist.

It is a full 365 degrees around.

Removing excess skin and tissue from around the entire trunk.

So, it’s a lot.

I know when it’s healed I’ll be ecstatic, but looking at it right now makes me a bit nauseated.

But yeah, I looked, and I think that makes it hard too, it’s not pretty to look at and I’m still bruised and swollen.

In fact, the post-op paperwork does say that many folks go through a regret phase and some slip into depression.

Now.

I won’t lie.

I have had some depressed mood, I mean, aside from two post-op trips to see my surgeon, I haven’t been outside since October 25th.

I am grateful, truly, that I live in a beautiful apartment and it is very sweet, but it is not outside.

Outside where it’s been sunny and late fall gorgeous and 70!

Sigh.

Just a walk to Patricia’s Green is all I really want, but I’m not quite there yet.

So, why do I think I’m ready to date?

It’s mental.

Not physical.

I think I’m finally over my ex, or pretty damn close to it.

I haven’t seen him since January and I think the grief of it all is finally passing.

It’s certainly lightened substantially.

Especially with all the work I put into my dissertation and also the work of transforming with the surgery.

I am the same.

Yet.

I am different.

And too, the new therapist I started working with has been a God send.

I’m ready for someone who is available, physically and emotionally.

I’m ready for some requited love.

I think I’m done with the unrequited kind, thanks.

I’m healing physically and emotionally.

I also, yes, yes I did, I also, booked myself a trip to New York in spring!

I’m going to go for the last weekend in May.

I got a ridiculous fare, $304 roundtrip!

And I scored a room at the Jane Hotel in the Meatpacking District.

I’ve only ever stayed in Brooklyn when I’ve gone to New York before.

Once staying with a friend on Myrtle Ave.

Once an Air BnB in Green Point.

Once an Air Bnb in Bedstuy.

This time I’m staying in Manhattan.

I am super excited.

I’m taking a red eye out after my last client on a Thursday, landing at 6:15a.m. at JFK on Friday.

I will stay at the Jane Hotel Friday night and Saturday night and check out Sunday morning, catching the noon back to SFO Sunday, and due to the time difference, get in Sunday afternoon and have a little time to recalibrate before going back to work on Monday.

I am super excited.

Yeah.

I know I already said that, but seriously.

It will be late spring, warm, but not too hot.

I will walk around in my new (ish) body, in sundresses and skirts and sandals enjoying the warm.

I will go to the Highline.

I will walk the Hudson River Greenway from the hotel to the Beekman for breakfast Saturday morning, it’s about 45 minutes.

I flirted with staying at the Beekman, but fuck paying that much money, I’ll just go have a breakfast there, I had lunch there with my ex when we were in New York summer of 2018 I think, and my God it was beautiful, the dining room is just ridiculous, the atrium, the velvet couches, the leather club chairs.

Then I will just walk the city.

Go to Central Park.

Go to book stores.

Go dress shopping.

Go to the Whitney.

I will likely hit the Whitney my first day in, on Friday, it’s literally a five, ten minute walk from my hotel.

Lunch somewhere in the neighborhood, walk over to Perry Street, a ten minute walk, to do the deal, meander around Greenwich Village, or Bleeker Street.

Buy a new dress.

Go out to a fancy dinner…maybe Catch in the Meatpacking District or Strip House, steak people, it’s a steak house, in Greenwich Village.

Though I do love Peter Luger’s Steak House, I’m not going to go to Williamsburg to get it.

I want to stay on the island and just meander.

And I’ll end my nights at the roof top bar, sans alcohol, just some bubbly water and me sitting underneath the night sky looking out over the city.

A romantic weekend away with myself.

And I have the feeling that sometime around then I’ll be ready to really date.

It’s going to take a few months for me to really feel able to get out.

The recovery from the surgery literally takes months, and can take up to a full year.

But I can see it coming.

All this work I have done on myself.

The emotional, mental, spiritual, and physical transformation, of me.

I mean.

I’m still me.

But.

I’m becoming, have become, something greater than the sum of me.

Even though, technically, there is less of me around.

I take up less space.

And yet I have more space, I am more spacious.

I have grown the space in my heart.

It is a grand thing this.

My metamorphosis.

Though not complete.

It is well underway.

New York State of Mind

November 7, 2021

It’s interesting what a little down time and sitting in my bed for, what now, twelve days?

What it will do to your mind.

I’ve been bed bound recovering from a surgery.

Third surgery this year.

Kind of crazy.

I have not had any surgeries in sobriety until this year.

I am no longer afraid of the pain pills or of becoming addicted to that shit.

I do not like them.

No.

I do not.

Ugh.

Gross, wonky thoughts, horrible nightmares, weird mind meanderings, drugged sleep.

Not for me.

When I was out there using and drinking and smoking and fucking around I liked the up all night kind of drugs.

Cocaine was my spirit animal.

This girl liked to party all the time, party all the time, party all the time.

I didn’t like the slow track.

Never have.

Likely never will.

I have a good girl friend who tells me I drive like her step mother.

Now in some vernacular circles that might come across as an insult, not in this case.

Her stepmother was a rally race car driver.

What my friend doesn’t know is that I slow down when I have folks in the car with me.

heh.

Anyway.

I will also add that pain killers, they do work you know.

I have found myself asking for them.

But only right after the surgery.

The first surgery this year happened in early February.

Burst appendix.

Well, it wasn’t burst until I was actually in the ER.

Then it burst.

Guess that’s a lucky place to be if you’re appendix is going to pop, might as well be where it will be taken care of.

I eschewed the pain meds, I said, no thanks, I’m sober, don’t want any, no way, no how.

Except.

Well fuck.

It was surgery.

And coming out of it was excruciating.

Apparently when I came out I still said no to the pain meds on offer, I have no memory of this.

However, after about twenty minutes or so, maybe more, maybe less, it’s hazy, I couldn’t take it.

The nurse who was typing up a note looked at me and said, “honey, you’re dying, let me give you something.”

Tear leaked down my face and I nodded yes.

Oh sweet God.

Was the relief immediate and welcome.

That was the only time I took anything.

I refused the rest.

But after having gone through that experience I realized I could handle surgery.

And not relapse.

Thank fucking God.

I also realized I was tired of my belly.

The loose skin from the weight loss.

Weight loss I’ve sustained for years and years and years now, twelve I think.

I was too old when I lost the weight for my skin to bounce back.

It just sagged.

I have always been self-conscious about it and it was disarming to lose all that weight and then be left with a body I still had to come to terms with.

I think that’s why a lot of folks actually gain the weight back.

The skin is depressing.

I did a lot of work.

I did a lot of praying.

I did a lot of acceptance.

And I had beautiful body experiences.

I have dated men who were stunning.

My ex for sure.

Gorgeous and hyper fit.

And I still felt self-conscious.

Not as much as I used to.

But it would happen.

No matter how many, “thank you God for this beautiful body” prayers I said, I still felt something.

Sometimes is was dismay, like if I hadn’t been messed with as a kid would I have drown myself in a sea of sugar to cope with the feelings that wouldn’t ever leave me.

Add weight to protect myself from the world, from the predatory gaze of men in my family or on the street on in school.

Would I have been just a normal size kid?

A beautiful body to match my beautiful face.

I used to wish that I could just cut off my head and put it on another body.

And yeah.

The work has worked and the acceptance has worked and I’m hella grateful for this body that I have been given to walk around in and ultimately, that it saved me, it took the brunt of the mental and emotional pain I was in and held it for me.

Thanks body.

And.

I also wanted something more.

Something transformative.

Like all my tattoos.

A new story for this body.

A new experience.

The appendectomy and the healing that happened and the focus on that part of my body pushed me to inquire about skin reduction surgery.

I have talked about it for years with my therapist.

I have dreamt about it, if I win the lotto type dreams.

So.

I talked to my GP.

And she agreed.

And she referred me to a plastic surgeon at Kaiser.

And I stood naked in front of a mirror and took 365 degree photos of my body and the sagging skin on my stomach and upper arms and sent a stranger photos.

My first naked selfies.

Probably my last.

And I met with the surgeon and he asked me why I wanted the surgery and I told him my reasons and I told him about all the work I have done and how long I’ve been abstinent and how much I wanted to do it, with tears on my face.

And he said.

“You’re the perfect candidate for this surgery, you really are, you deserve to have this surgery done.”

And he said.

“But your insurance won’t cover it, Kaiser won’t cover a dime of it, believe me, I have fought for this for many a patient.”

He asked me one other question, “does the skin on your belly prevent you from walking?”

Um, no.

And he said unless it was so much skin that it prevented my mobility my insurance wouldn’t cover it.

And he ended with, but I still think you should do it and I’m going to refer you some numbers of colleagues in the Bay, as Kaiser in San Francisco is not doing any cosmetic surgery at the moment due to the pandemic.

I took naked selfies for no good reason.

Ugh.

And for all the right reasons.

I called all the numbers and I got no after no because pandemic, because booked up, because on vacation, blah, blah, blah.

So.

I decided to go out of pocket.

I found my own surgeon.

Dr. Kenneth Bermudez.

And he is special.

He is fabulous.

He was amazing to meet and he’s been a dream to work with.

He was not cheap.

I blew all my savings.

I’ve been saving to buy a house.

But instead I decided to remodel the one I live in.

I also used student loans.

I ain’t gonna lie.

I figure I’ve become a great therapist, I have a full client load, I have a lovely business that I have built and worked on and put my heart into creating.

I can afford it.

I will make the money back.

So we set a date, July 16th, to do a brachioplasty, belt lipectomy, and butt lift.

There were some complications which meant that I had to derail the surgery a bit, turns out I was anemic and the surgeon wouldn’t due the full surgery.

But we compromised.

He did the brachioplasty.

And I’ve been recovering from that, pretty well, too I think.

It’s been rather extraordinary to not have the wings of skin hanging off my upper arms.

My arms are still healing and it was painful to go through the process, but man, it was worth it.

After a month and a half of healing I got an iron transfusion to accompany the plethora of iron supplements I had started taking in July.

And my surgeon set my date for the belt lipectomy for October 26th.

hahahahahahahaha.

Right after my PhD dissertation defense.

Can I just say that whole thing was stressful as fuck.

I successfully defended.

I am a doctor.

Huzzah!

And I pretty much turned right around and started getting myself prepped for the belt lipectomy.

Big ass surgery.

And in hindsight I am grateful that there were complications with the first surgery, I don’t think I could have dealt with both my trunk and my arms being inoperable.

It would have been too much.

So I went in 12 days ago and got it done.

He removed 7lbs.

7lbs!!

Of loose skin and tissue.

Fucking amazing.

I’m still too swollen to see much of a change, but I am excited for getting healed up enough to see the difference.

And wear clothes and buy new clothes.

And walk outside of my house.

I’ve been pretty bed bound for the last twelve days.

But.

I am happy to say.

That once again, I got off the pain meds really quick.

I was on Percocet, which is basically Oxycodone.

I hated it.

I mean.

In the beginning I took it without thought because I was in so much pain.

And I slept a lot, a lot, a lot.

But after my six day post-op follow up appointment I felt ready to titrate off the shit.

I went one more full day on the meds, going longer in between taking the pills.

And I had a plan to wean down and cut the pills in half and be off of them by this past Friday.

But.

Ack.

I remember one night, Tuesday it was, one week after the surgery, where I realized that I didn’t need them and that I didn’t want to continue taking them and I was afraid I would become bodily addicted.

So I stopped cold turkey.

And yeah, it wasn’t fabulous, the first night, Wednesday, was hard to sleep and I stayed up until 3 a.m. watching videos, but I got it out of my system and I haven’t had anything since this past Tuesday.

Four and a half days now.

Just Extra Strength Tylenol, lots of bubbly water, and videos.

Movies, series, cooking shows.

And for some reason.

An awful lot of what I have watched has been set in New York.

I have always wanted to live in New York.

And in some ways I sense it’s a good thing I didn’t when I was till actively drinking.

I think New York might have been the death of me, San Francisco nearly was.

So I never made it there.

I never moved there.

But I have thought of it often.

A brown stone in Brooklyn.

A therapy practice.

Seasons.

Granted.

I know winter there is not the bucolic cinematic scene that I watch cozied up with my fuzzy blankent.

Winters are brutal.

But spring, summer, fall.

Oh, wouldn’t it be nice?

I am nostalgic for a place I have never lived in, though I have visited three times.

And I fit in.

I fit in quite well.

I love the characters, and the character of the city.

I also know it can grind a person down and I know a lot of folks that have moved away.

But there is something about it.

Even now, on the cusp of turning 49 I think about moving to New York.

Though I sense you have to be young to make it in New York and really get established.

I am too old.

I have my one bedroom rent control apartment in Hayes Valley and my office is a five minute walk away.

I have the fog and the cable cars and the trolleys, the ocean, the multitude of beautiful hills and vistas, the Victorians.

Sure.

Yeah.

There’s homelessness and rampant drug use and shit on the sidewalk and some guy in the neighborhood who walks around with a super huge sound system strapped to a rolling cart, but there is still beauty.

So much beauty.

And just like I fit in New York.

I fit in San Francisco.

I’m in year twenty of living here.

So.

I don’t think I’m moving to New York anytime soon.

But there is something there.

A life maybe, running parallel to the one I am in now.

That once in a while I can just see out of the corner of my eye.

So when I’m ready and fully healed up I think it might be time for another trip back.

Which might be a bit yet, I do have to heal and I am going to Hawaii in February for a conference.

Maybe in the summer.

A four day weekend.

A stay at some swank hotel or a cute Air BnB in Brooklyn.

Until then.

I’ll keep watching videos.

I’m still on bed rest.

But I’ll keep the dream alive.

New York, you’re so often on my mind.

Overwhelm

August 24, 2020

I got hit with it yesterday.

I was on a Zoom call.

When am I not on a Zoom call?

I was going over the lesson plan with the former professor of the Psychodynamic’s class that I am teaching this fall at CIIS.

The class that starts next weekend.

And.

I got panicked.

We had been on the call for a while, an hour and half maybe, she’s also my supervisor, so I was also doing client work, it wasn’t all class prep.

But, the last half hour of it was and I suddenly felt myself totally start to lose it.

Like a slow motion melt.

I should have known.

I was wearing cat eye makeup with black eye liner.

Guaranteed to have an emotional moment and cry, I mean, duh, I should know by this point.

But.

Yeah.

Anyway.

I teared up, I got blown up, and overwhelmed and sort of lost it.

I said, “wait, stop, I don’t understand what you just told me.”

It sounded something like, “PDF, blah, blah, blah, download, blah, blah, blah, upload to Canvas, blah, blah, blah, blah blah, just sent it to you, blah, then you blah, blah, blah, and that’s it!  You’re all set.”

I literally had zoned out.

I am not a great tech genius.

I am ok.

I mean, hey I publish this blog.

Although half the time I just think of it as turning on a light switch, I don’t understand how electricity works, just that when I flip the switch the light turns on.

Same here.

I sit down, I type some stuff, I edit it for spelling mistakes and then I hit the “publish” button.

I have no clue how it works.

You probably know this.

I don’t have some spiffy amazing page.

I don’t understand back end stuff.

My back end is what I am sitting on in my chair.

Basically what was happening was the back end stuff for the platform the school uses for online learning.

Also.

Let me reflect that when I agreed to teach this we were not in shelter in place, there was no pandemic (although there were some weird things going on out in the world.  I do remember telling my supervisor that I felt like something big was going to happen. I thought maybe there would be a dot.com bust not a pandemic), I was going to be teaching in person, lecturing in front of a class.

NOT ON A ZOOM CALL.

Fuck.

So figuring out how to handle the class and transition to online teaching and making PowerPoints (why God why?) and uploading this and creating that.

And fuck.

Vomit.

Shit.

I am the wrong person for doing this.

I am not going to lie.

I wish I wasn’t teaching.

I wish I could just quit.

Technically I could quit.

California is an “at will” state.

I could get fired at any time and I can quit at any time.

However.

I just don’t think I can quit five days before the class starts.

I can be an asshole, but I’m not that much of an asshole.

Also.

Jesus fuck am I glad I did not accept the core faculty position.

The thought of having to do more work like the work I have been doing to prepare for this class makes me want to throw up with anxiety.

I already have enough anxiety.

Which was pretty obvious to me yesterday.

I love my therapy clients, but everyone of them is stressed to the max, hello pandemic, the current political situation, riots, economy in the tank, and oh yeah, the fires.

The world is literally and figuratively on fire.

I have had a low grade constant headache for the last four days.

I hate even complaining about it.

I”m safe in San Francisco, but the smoke is bad, I don’t have to evacuate my home like so many people I know.

My supervisor had to evacuate her home three days ago.

I don’t have problems.

I do have a headache though.

Currently in California there are 560 wild fires happening.

There’s a lot of smoke.

I made myself go for a walk yesterday despite the smoke.

I could only handle being inside for so long.

And.

Yeah, the overwhelm thing and me crying on a Zoom call with my anxiety about getting all the tech crap set up for the class and I was kaput.

I had intended on working on my dissertation proposal defense yesterday and I just had no juice left.

I mean none.

I called a bunch of friends and left messages and tried to focus on listening to others instead of whining about my stuff.

And then.

Oh.

The loveliest thing.

I connected with a friend who also was out for a walk and we literally happened to be three blocks from each other.

I hadn’t seen him since right before shelter in place and it made me want to cry.

He’s housesitting in my neighborhood!

We walked, socially distant, in our masks, through the smoky streets of the Mission District and caught up and laughed and joked about hugging, but we did not.

I felt a lot better.

Not good enough to give my proposal any work, but better.

Truth.

I haven’t worked on it today either.

Except in my mind and in my heart and in my psyche.

That’s my soul.

My PhD work is around healing sexual abuse trauma.

Mine in particular.

And it’s a lot to hold.

I just have to acknowledge that.

When I’m strong and resourced and the world isn’t on fire or in a pandemic or a crazed political state, I am able to do the work.

Right now.

The work is letting myself off the hook.

Resourcing with friends.

Breathing deep (inside my sealed house).

Sleeping eight hours a night.

Watching silly light hearted tv (Glee).

Sitting with my cat.

Calling friends.

I’ll get the proposal done (another PowerPoint, ugh again).

I will teach the class next week.

I will be great in them both.

Because I am smart and strong and I am a good teacher and I will make mistakes and that’s ok too.

I will show the fuck up.

As I know from showing up in the past.

It really is 90% of the work.

The rest is non-judgmentally allowing myself to teach without expectations of perfection.

I’m perfectly imperfect just the way I am.

Recognizing that is the work.

So.

Yeah.

My proposal.

It will get done and I will be ok.

Everything is going to be ok.

It really is.


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