Archive for the ‘Memory’ Category

Hold That Thought

April 18, 2018

I was supposed to register today for my fall semester in the Transformative Inquiry PhD program.

But.

Nope.

Holds on my registration.

My first thought, “but I don’t have any over due library books!”

Literally.

Second thought, “or videos!”

When I was in my undergraduate program at UW Madison Four Star Video was affiliated with the UW system, I don’t really know why, but it was and I had a video that was over due.

By like a year.

And the school wouldn’t release my financial aid funds until I returned the video.

But I had already.

Or so I thought.

I had given the video to my boyfriend, my first boyfriend, now that I think of it, Rob, to return to the video store.

He said he did.

But as it turns out, he did not.

I hadn’t been dating him in a while, a while for me at least, six, seven months, and had barely seen him around the campus, he wasn’t a student, but his father was a professor in mathematics at the school.

I was so broke.

I remember it so distinctly.

I really needed my financial aid and I had to pay out $90 to the video store to replace the rental.

It was “Gone With The Wind,” I have no idea why they hell I had rented that movie, although I do like it, though the book is so much better, and was astonished that to replace the video it would be $90.

Partially because it was a double cassette movie, two different cassettes.

I am so dating myself.

I couldn’t track down Rob, but I could track down his father.

I went to his office and I waited until he had office hours.

He remembered me fondly and asked after me and I was suddenly shy to say why I was there, but I needed that money and the financial aid office refused to let it go, I mean, I reasoned, wouldn’t it make sense to just give me the fucking money and I pay the fine?

But no.

I had to pay the fine first.

I girded my loins and told Rob’s dad and he was so sweet, he opened his wallet pulled out the money and wished me the best of luck.

I ran back to Four Star Video, which was a haul, UW Madison is a huge campus and Rob’s dad’s office was on the other side of Bascom Hill, it was probably a two-mile hike, but I feel like I did it in twenty minutes.

I paid the fine.

I got my financial aid.

As it turns out, I don’t have any outstanding video rentals or over due library books, note to self, I do have a book I need to return next class session.

LAST CLASS SESSION!

I can’t get too excited yet.

I am not there.

I still have two papers to write.

I still have work to do.

My therapist and I talked a lot about it, how it feels surreal, how it doesn’t feel like it’s actually happening.

I’m having my best friend over for dinner tomorrow night to do party planning and catch up and I have to say it feels weird to be planning the party as it’s not really hit me yet that I’m going to graduate.

My therapist look at me at one point in the session and said, “you’re going to graduate.”

I’ll take her word for it.

Therapists are supposed to hold the hope.

heh.

Anyway.

The hold seems to stem from the fact that I am not yet graduated from my Master’s program and I can’t register online for a PhD while my grades are still out.

I have been provisionally accepted.

Which means I have to graduate before I can be in the program.

But.

I can register for classes.

I just have to go to school and do them via hard copy.

Hard copy!

Shit.

That sounds like craziness.

I remember when I went for my undergraduate the school had just switched from the stand in line and hand register and hope that you can get to all the classes you want to get to, to using the phone.

And man.

It was so important to call ASAP.

Once your time was up it was a hustle.

I remember waiting with my booklet of classes and the phone, dial-up, though at least not a rotary phone (although, yes we did have a rotary phone in middle school and high school, a big yellow one that hung of the wall in the kitchen nook in the house in Windsor, that had a super long curly cord that my sister would stretch tight so she could have phone calls in the bathroom without anyone overhearing her), and I would have to put in my student id pin number and then punch in the code for the class.

Sometimes I was lucky, especially by second semester Junior year and most of my Senior year, and I would get right into the classes I wanted.

But often.

So often.

I would not get what I wanted and thus began the negotiation of what class to pick up that would fulfill my schedule needs, I worked full-time (nothing’s changed, well, that’s not true, I don’t work in a bar anymore), my school requirements for my degree, and whether or not I had any interest in the class.

Sometimes I would get home from work and comb through the class lists, looking for an interesting class that I might have overlooked, sometimes I would sit on the phone, continuously dialing and re-dialing the number.

I was persistent.

Persistance paid off.

Someone would drop the class I wanted and I would be having one of my twenty-minute or half hour tries at getting into a class.

It was always the best feeling when I would dial-up a number for a class that I had been trying for days, sometimes weeks (happened a few times) and suddenly there was a spot open.

And it was tricky.

I would not be able to register for the class and then drop the one I didn’t want, I’d have to take a leap of faith and drop the class first, knowing someone might grab the class I’d drop or that someone else might be trying for the class I wanted.

It always worked out.

I remind myself of that now.

Things will work out.

I will get my papers written.

I will get it all done.

I will get registered for my PhD.

And I will have a party.

All the things.

They will happen.

I have faith.

Thank God.

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Sick Day

February 22, 2018

Oh all the poor, sweet, sick little monkeys.

I had a long nanny day.

Both my little charges were sick.

It was a day of snuggles and naps and a lot of videos.

I had to constantly be holding the baby, he just wouldn’t have it any other way.

At one point I had him down for a nap in his stroller and he kept waking up, feverish and upset, I took him out, brought him to his favorite little play area and sat on the floor with him.

Floor time is super important, just getting on the same level as a child, being there, he’s so much happier, even if I’m not super interactive, with me just being there, down on the floor with him.

I had a bunch of his favorite little snacks and got out his favorite toys and just sat in the sun with him and he ate a tiny snack and played a little bit, then he just turned and crawled up into my lap and lay his warm little head on my chest and hugged me.

I cuddled him up and hummed a little tune and the next thing I knew, he was sound asleep on me.

It was super sweet.

I mean.

I was sort of trapped, but it was a good kind of trapped.

I probably sat on the floor in the corner of the room for about an hour.

Fortunately it was in a sunny patch and there was a cozy braided rug underneath me to sit on and a wall to lean against.

I was happy to be holding him and be in the sun.

Especially considering how cold it’s been.

I just got in from my Wednesday night commitment and the walk back was hella brisk.

It is cold out there baby.

I could use a warm snuggle.

Or a hundred.

Or a thousand.

I could use a lot of warm snuggles.

Just saying.

I snuggled a lot with my little lady charge too.

We watched lots of Curious George videos and I made her homemade chicken soup with alphabet pasta.

I roll like that.

I peeled her apples to nibble on and made cups of tea and made sure she stayed hydrated and when she was sleepy I rubbed her back and petted her hair, tucking the long strands behind her small, sweet shell of an ear.

She fell asleep underneath my hand and it was such a tender moment.

I am very grateful for it, for the job, even when I was pretty wiped out by the end of the day.

The little lady bug has been sick all week and the baby has gotten it and by the end of the day, even though I’m not sick, I was pretty tired out from it.

It takes a lot of a person to constantly nurture and in one way or another I do a lot of care taking.

That is what my job is and what my internship is.

My chiropractor told me after listening to me talk about what I do, that she really wanted to help me because people in the helping careers don’t get taken care of well enough and it was obvious that I helped a lot of people.

There was a woman tonight who asked me how I do it and honestly, I’m not sure.

I pray a lot.

I try to get eight hours of sleep.

Which like never happens.

I manage six to seven most nights.

I eat well, that helps.

I try to get some fun in my life now and again.

I turn up the heat when I get home from work to take the chill out of the air in m studio, I try to keep it clean and pretty, I like to surround myself with beautiful things.

Not necessarily expensive things, but things that reflect who I am and where I have been, my little travels and journeys.

Fuck.

I forgot to send myself a postcard from D.C.

I always send a postcard!

Oops

Oh well.

I have so many amazing memories, I am sure they will suffice.

Plus I have the ticket from the Phillips House Museum, a notebook I bought at Kramer Books and Cafe off Dupont Circle and a book that I got there as well.

I picked up The Princess Bride.

My friend had never read it or even seen the movie and I got so into telling the story of it one afternoon that when I was at the bookstore looking for a souvenir notebook, I had to pick it up.

I have not owned a copy of it in sometime.

I remember well the first time I had read the book.

It amazed me.

It was such a powerful love story for me to read.

I must have been seventeen when I read it.

I had seen the movie in the theater and didn’t even know that there was a book.

A friend’s mother mentioned it in passing and then when she heard I hadn’t read the book, she loaned it to me.

I ate that book.

I read it so fast.

I was so enthralled.

I remember being in a romantic relationship, my first and only long-term relationship, and our first Valentine’s Day I gave him a copy of the book.

I was so excited.

It meant so much to me, that book.

He never read it

I used to fantasize that one day I would read it out loud to the love of my life while stroking his hair while his head rested in my lap.

I made a lot of romantic gestures in that long-term relationship that were never returned and I suppose at some point though I realized that it was going nowhere I would still try.

Eternal optimist I suppose.

The story still means a lot to me.

Stories do.

I like to tell them.

I like to write them.

I like to believe that narrative has the power to heal.

That the love shines through the words and that whenever I am in doubt I can return to the thread of the story, know the truth of it, the strength of it and lean in there.

Old fashioned romantic.

That’s me.

Wishing you, now and always.

Happily ever after.

Always that.

Always.

 

Did It

February 5, 2018

I wasn’t sure there for a moment, but I got it done.

I wrote my big paper that was due today in the middle of a full day, and just now finished editing it and sent it out.

10 pages.

3,759 words.

Hello.

It wasn’t a hard paper to write, the words came fast and furious and there was much I could have written about but did not.

The paper, at least this portion of it, was very self-reflexive, I was really writing about my own experiences in school and showing where and when I learned and what was valuable to me.

There have been so many things that I couldn’t even begin to touch upon them all.

And since I have a way with words, words way with I have, I wasn’t too hard pressed to just let them come  out.

Still.

I have to say I was impressed.

It may have been the fastest I have written and the biggest quantity of work I have done in a one day go of it.

The paper will eventually be thirty pages, but if the rest of the paper goes as swimmingly I don’t think that it will be too challenging to do the rest.

Heck.

I only have to do twenty more pages.

I have an option of not writing the full thirty, I could instead write a 12-14 page paper and do a live website.

I was going to do the website and the short paper, but at this point, fuck it, I figure I’ll just save that headache, building a website, for another day.

Hell.

I’ll probably ask a friend to build one for me.

I know little about building a website and though I’m sure it’s not difficult, I don’t want to stress about it.

If I can knock out ten pages as quickly as I did today I won’t have a problem just doing the big paper.

I also had just a fabulous day, I’m quite certain that there was something in the air that helped me to get the writing done.

I did get up quite early.

I was having a dream and in the dream there was very loud classical music playing, it sounded baroque, perhaps it was Bach, and I was doing pirouettes in a huge ball gown through an enormous ball room that was framed by these huge windows, so high, leaded glass and arched, and the floor was parquet and there were trees outside the windows through which this golden green dappled light flooded the room and splashed off my flying dress and my hair whirling around me.

I swear it was how loudly the music was playing in the dream that woke me up.

I awoke and it was dark, pre-dawn dark, I looked at my phone and it was 6:07 a.m.

Sigh.

My alarm would go off in eight minutes, so I might as well get up.

I got up put on my yoga clothes, made my bed, drank some water, prayed and did my morning routine, then set off to Java Beach with a couple of blankets in a beach bag.

My friend was already at the cafe and it was so good to connect.

Really good.

We got coffees and then walked to the beach.

We found a great spot in the dunes, pulled out the blankets, spread them on the sand and sat and talked and watched the moon set over the Pacific ocean, the surfer’s up doing their dawn patrol, the ship on the horizon pulling closer and closer to eventually sail somulent and slow under the Golden Gate Bridge.

The sun rose behind us and lit the sky with rosy pinks and striations of mauve and light purples.

It was warmer than I expected.

The company was fantastic and I got re-acquainted with my friend whom it felt like I hadn’t seen in years, though it was just a few weeks ago.

So much can happen in a few weeks.

We caught up and drank coffee and got sand every where and it was good.

The best.

The best.

The best.

And someone had a bonfire down the beach and the smell of it intoxicated my heart and reminded me of the night so many years ago when my mom and her boyfriend scooped up my sister and I and took us to the beach at night and we built a bonfire on the shore.

I collected shells in the morning and then we went to a little roadside cafe for breakfast.

It may be one of my favorite, if not my favorite, of my earliest memories.

And to have that same smell, morning ocean smell entwined with the drifting smell of bonfire, oh, it made the company that more exquisite.

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

So.

Very.

Lucky.

Then yoga class at 9a.m.

And it was a fantastic class.

The instructor was great and I did something today that I have never done before in yoga, I had a fully extended stretch sitting on the mat, feet forward, arms in front of me, bending at the waist, flat back, hands wrapped around my feet and yes, I was able to touch my forehead to my knees.

I have never done that.

I have always wanted to be that flexible and there it was, the stretch happened today and it felt glorious, to be in my skin, in my body, and stretched out.

Afterward the hottest shower I could stand and breakfast, coffee, morning pages.

I wrote a lot of morning pages today too, just trying to capture all the things I saw and felt at the beach, the intermingling of memories and how they became big and miraculous and full of love, sublime.

And of course.

I had to clean the house.

Because.

Um.

Yeah.

I had a big fat paper to write, so best scrub, vacuum, cook, do laundry, and dust.

Fuck, I even washed the rugs in the bathroom.

Then I just said, enough, get to it.

And I got to it.

Super grateful I got done what needed to be done today.

It was a big push.

But.

Well.

When your day starts out as lovely as mine did.

Anything is possible.

Anything.

Foiled

January 31, 2018

But god damn it.

I tried.

I got up early, I did my morning routine, I got into my yoga clothes and I walked to the studio in the early grey blue light.

Only to be greeted by a closed up shop.

Nobody was there.

One other woman with a rolled up mat sauntered over and we both woefully looked at the locked door and sighed and each of us turned and went our separate ways.

No class this morning.

I was annoyed.

To say the least.

But.

Well.

That’s life.

And as I sat and enjoyed a really leisurely breakfast, sitting with my notebook and my cup of coffee, and my full warm belly, I reflected, it wasn’t so bad getting up early.

Sure.

I had expected to be going willy nilly full tilt boogie, yoga, therapy, work, clients, doing the deal, get it done, go, go, go.

Turns out my day was not going to be like that.

Granted.

It was still full.

I just didn’t start it out rushing about.

I slowed down.

Which is generally a good thing for me, slowing down, that is.

It felt good to sit and write and check my emails, to deal with my bills, paid my rent, popped a little money in savings, note to self, car payment is coming up, remember to do that please.

Maybe I’ll do that in the morning.

Fuck.

I could probably just do it right now.

And there.

Done.

That feels good.

I made a double payment again.

Technically I don’t have a car payment until March, since I did a double payment last month, but I figure as long as it feels comfortable to do so I’m going to pay more on the car loan than I need to.

I like to be proactive around my money.

I also received my financial aid disbursement for school today.

Which was really nice as I was getting fairly low in my account what with the unexpected dental work I had to do this past month.

Super grateful for that landing and not making me feel über tight with paying rent and making a car payment.

I knocked some into my savings, paid my rent, just made my car payment, and I may reach out to my car insurance and just pay another six months of insurance while I have the money and it’s not ear marked towards anything else.

I will also have some spending money for going to D.C.

I’m headed out in a little over two weeks.

I’ll be visiting my best friend and spending time in Georgetown.

I’m excited.

I’ve never really been to D.C.

Sort of.

I mean.

I was there once, when I was nineteen, homeless, catching a Greyhound bus from North Carolina heading back to Madison, Wisconsin.

I don’t remember much of the city.

I remember more the Hardees in the bus station and making friends with a girl who was probably my age and both of us were basically returning from having run away from home.

She and I became fast friends and sat in the Hardees in the station and smoked cigarettes and ate cinnamon rolls sticks and talked smack about our experiences.

We had a long wait for the next bus so we went for a walk around D.C.

I got really nervous about getting lost and not making the bus connection on time so we didn’t go too far.

We ended up sitting on a fountain smoking cigarettes and getting to know each other’s life stories.

Not much to tell at 19.

Except.

Well.

I had already been through a lot of shit.

Having just left a violent boyfriend who had threatened to kill me in Kill Devil Hills North Carolina, and before that having been homeless with same said boyfriend outside of Miami, in Homestead Florida.

Billy Ray.

Oh my God.

I haven’t thought of that man’s name in some time.

I was my old man, he self-titled himself that, I would never have called a boyfriend my old man, but then again, he was ten years older than me.

And he, bless his generous heart, had introduced me to smoking crack cocaine.

I have written about him before, but it’s been awhile.

I told my new-found friend all the gory details about Billy and what had happened in Florida and what had then transpired in North Carolina, and how I found myself on a Greyhound bus heading back to Wisconsin.

Thank God for that girl.

We talked and gabbed at each other for hours and hours through the long night, all the way to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where she was headed.

I remember hugging her very hard in the terminal.

I remember also that the terminal was really old and rather pretty, I remember the sun coming in through the high windows in thick honied shafts dancing with dust motes.

I remember, too, that the bathrooms were pay to pee and that I was indignant and crawled under the door to one of the stalls.

I wasn’t going to pay a fucking quarter to pee, fuck that.

And I recall coming back out, washing my hands in the old marble sink, looking at myself in the mirror and telling myself to “go home, Baby Girl, just get home.”

So.

Yeah.

This trip to D.C. is going to be much different.

I am going to stay at a nice hotel.

I am going to go to a museum that is close to the hotel.

I am going to eat nice food.

I am going to spend every moment I can with my best friend and really cherish our time together and just smash myself with love.

I feel like it’s a sort of living amends to the city of D.C.

I will not be eating in a Hardees and I most definitely will not be smoking.

I will be letting in all the love and reflecting it back at my friend and enjoying the hell out of getting to see a city I only once passed briefly through on my way from running away from home to running back.

My life has taken me many places and I’m so, so grateful that today I don’t have to run away.

Or take a Greyhound bus anywhere.

Jesus.

Thank god for that.

May I never have to take a Greyhound bus again.

Seriously.

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.

And I Will Be Driving

January 2, 2018

All week.

No scooter for me that I can see for the next six to seven days.

Rain.

Loads of rain in the forecast.

Tomorrow it looks like it went from forecasted rain to just overcast, but I think I will take my car anyway, just in case and because I really like driving it.

I reflected on that as I was helping my person run a little errand from his house, I got to spend a really lovely afternoon with him catching up, checking in, and doing the deal.

He’s doing really well, but gets tired fast.

We did a walk around the block after chatting for an hour and a half and then an errand to the bank, he was done in by the time I got him back to his house.

A very sweet little abode up in the upper part of Noe Valley at Caesar Chavez and I think 27th.

He’s been there for twenty years.

A gorgeous little one bedroom with the sweetest view.

I joked that I wanted it when he dies.

“Girleen, you’ll be with someone long before then and you and your man will want more space than I have here.”

He made a good point, it would be cramped for two people, but I have to say I had a little apartment envy considering it’s a little more than twice the size of my studio and he pays much less than I pay and he has windows, so many windows, hella jealous of the light, but super grateful he’s in a really good spot.

Anyway.

It was good to get face to face time.

We do a lot of phone check ins, I might call him every day, just leaving a message to touch base, and at least once a week we do a longer check in, and then we meet when my schedule allows, once his hip is fully healed there will be more regular face to face meetings.

I’m super grateful for him, he helps me so much with my perspective and my way of being in the world and he is a marvelous witness to my journey, he’s family really.

I have told him that should I get married he would be the person giving me away.

He’s the only man who I could fathom walking me down an aisle.

He sees me and for that I am graced.

I’ve been working with him now for about four years and he’s seen me through a lot.

I did not have much more on my plate today than seeing him.

I got up, after sleeping in, last time I’ll be sleeping in for a while, and went to yoga.

I didn’t have to bargain too hard with my brain to go and I had a good work out.

I really do want to get in more yoga classes, I realized today that going three days over the long weekend really made a difference, I could tell how different my body felt and some poses were much easier with just another day of practice thrown into the mix.

I could sneak into the 7 a.m. yoga class tomorrow, it would end by 8:15 a.m.

I’d have to fly home, shower, and dress lickety split and be on the road by 8:45/9 a.m.

I have therapy at 9:30 a.m. in Noe Valley before work.

Yes.

It all starts back up tomorrow.

Work, therapy, seeing clients.

It’s not a full week with clients, I still have a few that are out-of-town, so it will be a nice easing back into the week.

What will be nice is that the kids will be back in school, which means a little less frenzy at the house in the mornings and some solo work with just the baby.

Back to work tomorrow.

Back to therapy.

It will be good.

I feel like I have come through an interesting time with the holidays.

And I’m grateful for the experiences I got to have, I learned a lot about myself, my expectations, and what I need in my life and what love means to me and how to work on cultivating that in my life.

I am loved.

And I’m not unaware of it.

I am grace with it.

It is like a sun halo on my heart.

A field of eider-down puffs and late afternoon light strained through honey.

This love that catches at my heart like breezes through summer trees.

I am adorned with it.

I got to see it very clearly today in my chat with my person and I am once again awed by all that I have.

Gratitude in spades, gratitude for my life, my experiences, for getting to be the woman I am, for what I have.

It’s not conventional, my life, and fuck, you know, I’m grateful for that too.

I believe I live a more passionate and alive life than most and I wouldn’t trade it for some one else’s trumped-up ideas of stability.

I have so very much.

And I am so very alive.

I am also grateful that I took care of my house today and got myself ready for the week.

I took down the Christmas tree, wrapping up all the ornaments, rolling up the lights, taking down the Christmas cards, packing things away.

All done for another year.

It was the right time to do it and I’m glad I didn’t leave the tree up longer, although for a minute my heart was just not into dismantling it.

I have some very sweet memories of my time with said Christmas tree this year and wrapping up all the ornaments and putting them in my Christmas box really highlighted the holiday I got to have that was similar and completely dissimilar to any other Christmas I have had.

So many lovely memories.

Nestled into tissue paper and carefully tucked away in my precious box of ornaments.

And today is the first day of a new year.

So much is going to happen.

I can feel it.

A pricking in my fingers.

A tingling in my bones.

Electricity in my blood.

This year is going to blow the lid off.

Just you wait.

It’s going to be a hell of a year.

Watch me.

And Just Like That

November 29, 2017

I have registered for my last semester of class!

I can hardly believe it.

It feels very surreal.

And.

Fucking amazing.

I will have three classes next semester.

Once a month I will be in class.

Five weekends.

I will be in class from 9 a.m. until 4p.m. Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.

January.

February.

March.

April.

May.

I will graduate Saturday, May 19th.

Holy fuck.

It’s really happening.

I have to take Integrative Seminar, I really don’t know what that is, and Research Methods, which sounds boring as fuck and like a class that is a box to check off.

The other “class” is my practicum, or what I often refer to as my internship.

I’ll still be seeing the same amount of clients, but I may move some of them around, I’m not quite sure yet.

And that’s ok, that can be figured out later.

I was just looking over the piece of paper that I have been making little check marks on for the last three years.

Here’s a list of the classes I have taken and passed, passed pretty well, you could say, I’ve got a 4.0 thank you very much.

I have taken Group Dynamics.

Therapeutic Communication.

Human Development

Integral Philosophy

Psychodynamics I and II.

The Clinical Relationship.

Professional Ethics and Family Law I and II.

Multicultural Counseling and the Family.

Applied Spirituality.

Gestalt Therapy.

Family Dynamics and Therapy.

Psychopathology and Psychological Assessment.

Child Therapy.

Trauma.

Couple Counseling.

Community Mental Heal & The Recovery Model.

Special Topics in Psychotherapy.

Transpersonal Psychotherapy.

Alcohol & Chemical Dependency Counseling.

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy.

Jungian Dream Work.

Psychopharmacology and Human Sexuality.

Elder, Spousal, & Child Abuse.

And practicum which includes Individual Supervision and Group Supervision.

Whew.

That’s a lot of reading.

Just reading the list made me shake my head, I did all of those?

Really?

Amazing.

And I just have to do three more classes.

Sure.

I have to finish this semester first, but I will, I will.

OH, and although its a not a “class” I am also required by my program to attend 52 weeks of personal therapy with a licensed MFT.

Today marked 26 weeks.

Half way there.

I’m not actually worried about getting in all the therapy, which is one little thing that I don’t have to stress about, thankfully, my therapist went through my program and she told me that she would sign my paper even if I didn’t get the full 52 weeks.

I get the sense though that I will get the requisite amount of hours.

The therapy is good for me.

I have been getting to work through a lot of things that I never even knew I had to delve into, some of which I probably have been needing to address for years without even realizing I did.

I like my therapist a lot and she really has a good perspective on me and who I am and sometimes there is a lightness and a friendliness and almost a sense of talking to not just a contemporary, but a friend, a friend with a lot of perception.

A lot.

And a really helpful way of reframing my experience and also validating all the work I do.

I do a lot.

In some sense I’m a fucking therapists wet dream.

I do the work, I don’t make her work, I process the fuck out of my shit.

I do a lot of grieving, I let go of a lot and then I jump right back in.

Today’s session left me pretty wrung out and sad.

It was mainly expressed first through anger, which has always been a very dangerous emotion for me, I don’t think it was ever safe for me to express anger in my family and I didn’t often even realize I had it unless I was enraged and that feeling, rage, scared me to death.

Very dangerous and very rarely expressed.

Almost never.

I can remember a few times touching into it and frightened me badly.

I know better now, there isn’t really anything wrong with anger, it’s a sign, and it’s a primary emotion, it’s a top emotion, but there’s generally secondary emotions underneath it and that’s where I need to look, under the covers of anger and see what’s underneath.

Most often for me, it’s fear.

Fear of losing something I think I have or fear of not getting what I want.

I had a lot of fear come up today and it was hard to slog through, but I knew the anger I felt was about fear and eventually it all came out and I felt sick with it, on fire with it, I felt like I wanted to vomit it all out, retch it into the wastebasket, scream it into a pillow on the couch.

I just cried a lot and it moved.

It’s probably still moving.

Ah, all the things I get to work on, so very many.

I have discovered so much about myself from doing my course work and now, in the therapy, getting out the secrets and the sadness and the trauma and all the stuff I carry around like it’s a special knapsack full of rocks.

I just want to let them all go, put them back into the stream and let myself float away.

I have burdened myself for so long with false ideas.

“I failed,” I crumpled into my hands, I buried my face in my palms and just sobbed.

I won’t get into the specifics, they’re not relevant, but I can say in a general sense that I have been carrying around the idea that I failed at something and that I had not even realized I believed about myself, that I failed so badly at something that I ruined another’s life.

A.  Who am I to say I’m God?

I’m just not that powerful.

B. I was a child.

I was a child doing an adults job.

Granted.

A super precocious child who might have given off the impression that she knew what she was doing, but ultimately, at the end of the story, I was doing an adult’s job with the resources of a child.

A poverty-stricken, neglected, abused child.

Smart as fuck.

But a baby.

I was just a little girl trying to hold it all together and I couldn’t, I couldn’t make it work and I have been, for years, decades, even, carrying around this idea that I failed.

I was shocked when that popped out of my mouth.

My God.

Oh, sweet, sweet, baby girl.

You tried so hard, you didn’t fail, you did the best you could.

And you got out.

I could barely carry the burden of taking care of myself.

Jesus Christ.

I’m still in awe of my session today.

That so much got sorted out.

Really astounds me.

Therapy.

Wow.

It fucking works.

It so damn does.

Thank God.

Thank fucking God.

Slow It Down

November 22, 2017

I left my therapists office very, very, very aware that I was not going near my brand new car.

No way.

No how.

I needed to just take a walk for a moment, slow down, get regulated, be in my body.

Then when I felt like I was not going to crash into anyone I walked back to my car, drove it a few blocks and got right back out.

I was up in Noe Valley and I wanted to take a moment and let myself have a little self-care and to sit down and grab a coffee and enjoy the fact that I wasn’t going into work.

Usually after I get out of therapy I make a quick run to Whole Foods on 24th and then skeedadle to work.

Today I wanted to go grocery shopping, but I also wanted to window shop a little and really just to slow down and appreciate that I had some time off.

Oh.

There was a little bit of a niggling voice that reminded me, hey lady, don’t get too comfortable, you’ve got a fuck ton of homework.

Nothing brings that home more than getting an e-mail from a professor reminding me that all assignments for that class need to be turned in by December 9th and um, I haven’t turned in any of those assignments yet.

I have been waiting for this week off to get all caught up with that class.

I had started the readings, but really not gotten too far.

This time off, fyi, is going super fast, I can’t believe tomorrow’s Wednesday already.

And I have been doing homework diligently every day, every damn day, reading, getting caught up, getting ahead, or finishing the reading.

I’m done with all my readings for Jungian Dream Work and all my reading for Drugs and Alcohol.  I’m 3/4s of the way done with Transpersonal and about the same amount done for Psychopharmacology and Human Sexuality.

So not bad, but all those classes also have a final paper, one of them has a final project as well.

I need to get as much work in as I can this week.

And.

Oops.

Fuck.

I’m working tomorrow.

I sort of want to kick myself over it, I should never had said I was available and not think that the mom wouldn’t take me completely up on it.

Not my current family, they are on vacation.

No.

The family I used to work for.

I got a huge mournful face of longing on the last day of school pick up from my former charge and a deep sweet ask for a play date, “when are you going to come over?” He asked with such sweetness and desire I just couldn’t say no and when I bumped into his mom I mentioned I would have down time.

I thought maybe an hour or two, a playdate, something fun and easy.

I got asked to work five hours.

Ugh.

Of course I said yes, the mom had already told the boys I was going to see them and I didn’t want to disappoint them.

I also think I knew, at least in the back of my head, that though I like and respect the parents, I have a much more enjoyable time when I am, or have been, alone with the boys.

So I have a hunch the parents are going to take an afternoon day date and go see a movie or go out to lunch and I will have my two sweet guys to myself.

And maybe the dog, she’s a sweetheart, it will be good to see her too.

It’s not a bad thing the work, it’s just a little like come on kid, you’re busy, even though you’re not working, you’ve got a lot of reading and homework that needs attending to.

But.

Ugh.

Sometimes I have a hard time saying no.

Not always.

And I have said no to this family before when some requests were made, so it feels like a sort of concession, as well as, yes, an opportunity to make a little cash and to get some boy snuggles from my little guys.

I have gotten to do a play date with the youngest and one of my charges that was super fun and sweet, but I haven’t had any alone time with the older boy and I think he may need to see me.

I just got the sense.

And I can often times say no to a parent, especially if I’m busy, but wow, it’s super hard to say no to a child that needs you.

So with a tiny touch of chagrin, yes, I’ll be working tomorrow.

But.

I won’t go in until 1p.m.

So.

Yoga in the morning.

I haven’t been in over a week, or just over a week?

My back’s been sore and I’ve been busy, even though the work hasn’t been happening, oh man has the homework, so tomorrow will be good to get back into it.

I had thought originally with the time off I would be at the studio a lot, but I let myself get some sleep this past weekend and when my back was feeling super tender it felt better to rest than to push it.

I don’t express pain a lot, but I was definitely in some pain, still am, but it seems to be easing up a bit.

I’ve made a doctor’s appointment and I’ve been taking ibuprofen, but the appointment is not for a few weeks.  I’m going to try to be gentle and fingers crossed another few days of not carrying the baby around in the carrier will be good to my back.

And.

I was super nice to myself today, and I got a load of work done.

I re-parked my car in Noe Valley and went to Bernie’s Cafe and got a cafe au lait and sat on a bench and let the sun hit my face.

I got into being in my body and letting go of the material I worked on in therapy.

Suffice to say my therapist is recommending more therapy.

Ugh.

EMDR.

Just check the link, I don’t feel like describing it 100% however, I will say that it is a trauma treatment that is often used for PTSD.

I did it in a session once ten years ago with a therapist and I will say it worked, but it was close to the end of my time with that therapist and I didn’t have more follow-up.

I am ready to do it again.

Although I am loath to go and get more therapy, once a week at $120 a pop is enough.

Then again.

I want to work it out, get it out, process it, I want it out of my body, I want my body to be free, my heart to be free, my soul to move about the world and not go into traumatic reliving.

I need to be in the light.

And I know that means more work.

Fine.

I’m ready.

I told my therapist today that I feel like I can do it now, when I couldn’t before, I could barely touch into the trauma without falling completely apart.

I am much, much, much stronger now.

Internally, externally, emotionally, spiritually.

I am ready to do the work, and I suspect that I will finally get to resolve some things that have been burdening me for decades.

Let them go.

Embrace my life.

Help others.

It was good for me to take the moment today to sit on that bench, to get sun on my face, to slow down, I did some window shopping, I got some groceries, I came home and ate a nice lunch, I sat outside on the back patio.

Then.

I jumped back into the homework.

I kicked out three more hours of reading and I did two of the eight assignments.

Sigh.

There’s a lot to do, but I’ll get it done.

Even with working tomorrow.

It will all fall together and I have absolutely no regrets about being easy with myself at the beginning of the day.

I’m a fucking therapist.

I have got to practice what I preach.

Let me reframe that.

I get to.

 

 

 

And Then She Went

November 21, 2017

And got a car.

Holy shit.

I did it.

Not without a bit of hand holding.

Thank fucking god for my friend who came with me.

Just having another person there was super helpful and I didn’t feel quite as overwhelmed as I think I might have had I gone alone.

And.

Well.

It was hella nice that I had a female sales person.

The person who I had been working with to set up the deal ended up being out sick and I got another sales associate, and she was super sweet, very accommodating, and really helpful.

I had really already done the majority of the work, so it was just signing the papers, coordinating with my insurance company and doing the test drive.

I was nervous about driving the car, I won’t lie, I haven’t driven a stick shift in a while.

But it was just like riding a bike.

I had no problems using the stick.

Yeah!

That’s right bitches, I got a manual transmission.

Which is one of the reasons the car was on sale and that was fine with me, I know most folks like an automatic, but this lady learned on a stick and I love the control I have in the car versus driving an automatic.

I learned on a Ford Diesel station wagon how to drive stick.

My mom taught me.

It was horrendous.

Let me make no bones about it.

She was not the right person to teach me and getting screamed at while stalling out the car at the four-way stop intersection in Windsor Wisconsin is a trauma I may well never forget, she did, however, eventually teach me how to do it.

Or she at least installed the fundamentals.

I actually feel like it was my Uncle Jeff who taught me how to drive.

My mom was bitching about my inability to get the mechanics of it at a Thanksgiving dinner with family and my uncle piped up and said, “I’ll teach her.”

And like that we were getting bundled up in coats and out the door.

I remember there was snow on the roads, and they were a little slippery, but we were not anywhere close to any other cars, and it was Thanksgiving, most folks were not getting in their cars to go anywhere, most folks were still digesting their food and watching the Packers play Detroit and wondering if they might be able to sneak a sliver more of pumpkin pie in their bellies without exploding.

I remember the truck cab was really cold and the  stick was huge, he had an old Ford.

He told me my mom was too worried about me ruining her car to relax, he didn’t give a fuck if I hit something or killed it, it was an old truck, he was fine with me beating on it.

And in that moment I felt a huge burden fall off my shoulders and I could breathe again.

He also explained a bit better to me the feeling of what the clutch did underneath my left foot when the truck wanted to shift into another gear and I could feel it much better underneath the big clutch on his car and the much smaller one on my mom’s.

I started it, popped it into first, shifted into second, got it up to speed in third, managed to not slip on any ice or snow and we drove around for a while.

I had a great big grin on my face.

I got it!

It made sense, I could feel it and sure enough, the next time I took out my mom’s car I was able to do it and I’ve been successfully driving a stick ever since.

My first car I bought on my own, with money from detassling corn four summers in a row at Kaltenberg Seed Farms–I had gotten a bonus for perfect attendance, was a Honda Civic, stick shift.

Then after that car died, it really went quick and I didn’t have the money to fix it, I got my first car in a relationship in my early twenties.

We went in halfsies on an old Jetta that was a stick.

I really loved that car.

It died soon after my boyfriend and I broke up, but for three years it was a great little car and I think we only paid $500 for it.

And when the Jetta died my boss at the Angelic Brewing Company sold me his car, a two door Honda Accord that I had for three years, also a stick shift, when he upgraded to an SUV, which were just beginning to get a lot of attention.

All the cars I have owned have been manual!

But this.

THIS.

Is my first brand new car!

I have never spent more money on a car.

The Honda Civic in high school was $500 used, the Jetta $500, the Honda Accord my boss sold me I think I paid $1200 for.

This time my car cost $12,000.

But seriously.

A new car for $12,000 is fantastic.

I, of course, did not pay the full sticker price, no way I could have.

I put $2,000 down and my car payments are going to be $186 a month.

l also pre-paid for six months of car insurance.

I just felt better doing that and I’m going to have to pay it and then I left myself room with my money, I didn’t spend the entire $5,000 I pulled from savings, nope, I gave myself a year’s worth of back up payments with that money, in case anything happens, I’ve got a year of payments stacked.

I don’t have to make my initial payment after this until January and when I do I will pay more than the $186.

I do want to pay it off faster than the loan terms, which would stretch out for six years.

But I also don’t want to hurt myself by throwing all my liquid cash at the car.

Which was nice.

I had some left over to take my darling friend out to lunch on Shattuck Avenue.

And where we parked made all the hairs on my head tingle.

We were directly across from the hotel that I stayed at when I first traveled to Berkeley to meet up with a friend and get myself reappointed with the Bay Area.

It’s not a hotel anymore, but I recognized the building and it felt so amazing and synchronic and auspicious.

Lucky, you know?

I could never have imagined the life that I created out here in San Francisco when I was sitting in that hotel room on the phone with my friend from Wisconsin trying to tell her that I had found where I wanted to be and that I was going to move to San Francisco, in fact, I was seriously considering not coming home and just leaving my entire life in Madison to die.

My friend convinced me to come home, to finish my degree, to give it another year, um, especially since we had just signed a lease on a 2 bedroom apartment, and I said I would, but I was moving to San Francisco as soon as I graduated.

And 15 years after I donated my car, my little two door Honda Accord, to the Goodwill on South Van Ness I got to drive my brand new Fiat Pop 500 home to my little studio by the sea.

Pretty fucking amazing.

And!

I found parking.

Hahahahahaha.

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Nailed It

November 14, 2017

So, so, so happy.

I went into the third meeting of “People Who Usually Don’t Lecture” in between meeting with my supervisor this morning and going to work.

Yesterday I completely rewrote the piece I had given them last week.

I didn’t even use the old narrative.

I wrote a completely new piece.

And.

They  loved it.

Loved.

Thank God.

I wasn’t sure I had it in me to do another rewrite or edit, I was feeling pretty damn done with it, but I am so glad I took the time yesterday and wrote a new piece instead of trying to make the other work, I took their suggestions and wrote the piece from the perspective they were looking for.

And.

Well.

Shit.

Taking suggestions, it works.

The piece drew tears.

There was emotional resonance, there was power, I spoke with clarity, humor, strength, and though I didn’t mention the word resilience once, I think it was clear throughout the piece that it was there.

And although I did bring in the word gratitude, it really wasn’t until the end and it tied the piece up.

I read it straight off the computer once.

Then.

I was asked to read it off script.

I was not expecting that and it took me a minute to get into it.

They left the computer screen up for me so that I could go to the piece if I got lost, but haha, the screen went blank and into screen saver mode after the first minute and I just rolled with it.

“That was amazing, you actually verbatim recited a number of sentences!”

Yeah.

I have a pretty good memory.

Granted.

It’s also my story and I have told it a few times, hundreds, in different rooms and spaces, so I know it pretty well, but this was this first iteration of the story and it was told from a very different perspective than I typically tell it.

I’m grateful that it landed so well, that it resonated emotionally, that it was exactly what they were looking for and then some.

Especially since I have another rehearsal to go to this week, on Saturday in the morning.

I’ll be meeting all the folks who are lecturing, there are 7 of us.

It’s from 10a.m.-?

I just need to be out by 1:30p.m. so I can make it to my group supervision.

I also need to get them a photo for the promotions.

They will begin promoting it next week.

Eek.

The tickets will be $25 and they expect to sell out.

Wow.

The venue space holds 180 people.

That’s a few folks.

Mark your calendar, Tuesday, December 5th, at 7p.m. at The Chapel on Valencia Street at 19th.

Woot.

They will also be video recording it and it will be edited and posted to YouTube.

EEK.

My first time on that forum.

What the hell am I going to wear?

Holy shit Batman, fashion crisis.

I hadn’t even thought of that until now.

Not going to worry about it now, I’m sure something fabulous will fall out of my closet, and I have great shoes, I’ll be fine.

It will be interesting though, I’ll be working that day, in fact, I’ll need to get out of work an hour early, they want the lecturers there at 5:30p.m.

Doors at 7p.m.

I usually work until 6p.m.

I’ll be coming straight from nanny land.

Hmmm.

I should bring a second outfit to work, back up clothes, or I can just wear beater clothes and get dressed up before I leave for the gig.

My goodness.

So much to think about and not to mention all the other things on my plate.

The producer actually thanked me for taking the time to do this project with them.

I am so flattered.

Really I am.

It feels like such a privilege to get to share my story.

And I realized today that though I’m a bit immune to my story, its my story, I know it pretty damn well, it’s still a good story.

As well as, I’m a good speaker.

“You have it, you’re a star,” my dear French friend told me once, after I had gotten up in front of a bunch of folks at our second year school retreat and recited some of my poetry, “you command attention, you have it, that je ne s’ais quoi, you have it, you’r a star.”

I’ll never forget that she said that and she’s not wrong, it wasn’t just my friend being nice, I know that I do have a way of being able to command and step up and present.

I haven’t a clue where it came from, but I know that I can recognize that it began to be crafted when I was in 6th grade.

We had public speaking for part of the class and everyone had to do presentations and get dressed up and we were video taped and it was a big, big, big deal.

I remember how well I was nervous, but when I talked, it didn’t come out, in fact, no one knew, I also didn’t know what the hell to do until the last-minute and I ended up pulling something completely out of my ass and did a speech on pencils.

I got an “A.”

I watched that video later, my teacher used it in a demo to show what I did well, and I was amazed to see how calmly I stood there and talked, and I knew how I felt, and what it felt like to get up there and do it and it was intense, but there was no telling that when I spoke.

It’s been like that ever since and, well, practice, lots of practice, and something, something else, I don’t know how to say it, but when I’m in the right space, I just channel it, I’m not really in control, it’s more like I’m a mouthpiece and what needs to be said is just coming through.

It’s an amazing feeling to experience.

If I try to analyze it or control it, it goes, but if I step into it, take a big deep breath, focus and let go, well, fuck, it’s marvelous.

I’ve got to practice some this week, but I have to say, I feel really good about it and now that I have the narrative where it needs to be I’m just going to print it off and read it once a night until the performance.

I won’t have it memorized, but it will be known in my brain and I will be comfortable being off script.

Hell.

I pulled it off twice today.

I think I got this.

Yeah.

I do.

I got this!

 


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