Archive for the ‘Memory’ Category

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.

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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!

 

And. End Scene

November 13, 2017

I made it!

I got through the school weekend.

Only one more left in the semester.

Holy shit.

Very excited about that.

Although not at all excited about the extraordinary amount of work I will have to produce for the last weekend of classes.

Four papers.

One final group presentation.

Plus wrapping all my online CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) webinars and assignments and doing all the work for my online Child and Elder Abuse class.

Whew.

It’s a lot.

But.

I’ll get it done.

I always do.

I did have a moment today, though.

I was pretty wiped out by the class, a lot of emotional content for me was coming up, shocker that, go get a degree in psychology and watch the stuff surface, and I really couldn’t even decide what the hell I was going to do with the day.

I had some ideas.

Maybe I’d go shopping.

But.

I’m trying to hold out from purchasing anything as it looks like I’m getting quite close to actually putting down money on a car.

My application for a car loan was approved and I can go into the Fiat dealership in Berkeley and get the Fiat 500 Pop that I’ve been eyeing.

It seems surreal that it’s actually happening.

I even transferred the money out of my savings account today.

I am not sure exactly when I’m going to go and get the car, the dealership actually offered to deliver it to me!

But I want to go into the dealership and go with a friend and make sure I’m doing all the things correct.

I have never bought a new car before so it’s all completely outside the scope of my experience.

Anyway.

Clothes shopping, though tempting, did not seem like the best idea.

I vacillated between rushing out and getting over to the Mission by 12:15 p.m. to do the deal, or just taking it easy and seeing where God wanted me to go.

Rushing is not what I wanted to do and so I meandered towards the Inner Sunset.

I realized I was super hungry and though I needed to do grocery shopping and I could just make food when I got home, I was too distracted and it felt like too much and when a friend in cohort asked what I was doing for self-care today, it struck me that I had no good answer for her.

“Maybe yoga?” I replied.

And it struck me that maybe I wanted to treat myself a little.

So.

I went to Marnee Thai in the Inner Sunset and got my favorite dish there–banana curry with duck and brown rice and a big mug of tea.

It was perfect.

And I did do some clothes window shopping and even tried on a few things, but didn’t buy anything.

Instead.

I went and got a manicure and perused a trashy magazine.

I got a decaf, yes, I’m that person, past a certain point in the afternoon I go decaf, cafe au lait at Tart To Tart and finally did my numbers from my spending plan for October and then did a spending plan for November.

After that.

I went grocery shopping after and that felt very good and proactive.

I did some work around the house and attended to a few small things and did some food prep.

Then.

Yup.

I wrote.

I wrote a lot.

I re-wrote the narrative completely for the “People Who Usually Don’t Lecture” folks.

I meet with them again tomorrow in between supervision in the early morning and work.

I think I had been dreading doing that work and not having an idea of how to get it going, but as I finished balancing my check book and I was sitting by my computer, I just did it.

I just kicked it the fuck out.

Then when I finished it I realized I could make the 6:15 p.m. restorative yoga class at my studio.

Yippee!

I scurried into my yoga gear and walked over, getting nice and settled in as they dimmed the lights and light the studio with candles.

So pretty.

So relaxing.

Such a nice gift to give to myself.

An hour and fifteen minutes later I came home, made a hot dinner and proofed my narrative.

I just sent it out a few minutes before starting my blog.

Super fucking happy.

I’m going to go take a shower and chill out.

Fuck yeah.

 

Oh.

And here’s the piece in its entirety, I may still change it, but well, I thought you’d might like to read it.

Enjoy.

 

Running Away From Myself

I ran away from home to San Francisco. I was 29 years old. I had just graduated from college with my undergrad degree in English Literature, which would translate to a career of asking “wilt thou like fries with that?” I had also just gotten a black belt in Shaolin Kempo Karate, and I had won an award for a manuscript of my poems from the UW Madison Book Store. I was on my way. I was going to be the next great American novelist. I had a plan.

I was going to find myself in San Francisco. A friend later told me that she was quite concerned for me, one does not find themselves by moving across country in their two door Honda Accord with all their possessions and a two month sublet in the Mission District. I, however, was convinced that I needed to move to San Francisco, it was home, Madison, was not. I never considered it to be running away from myself. I just thought I was getting the hell away from the craziness of my family.

I was running away from my mom who was smoking crack, from my sister who was shooting crystal meth with dirty rigs, from my homeless father, who would spare change for beer money outside the brewing company I was the manager at. I had been to San Francisco to visit a friend the year prior and knew it was where I wanted to be. I moved here Labor Day weekend of 2002. I had a blast. I drank, I danced, I partied, I went to clubs, I cut lines at 1015 and DNA Lounge, and one day did blow in the bathroom with a friend, maybe it was the Mezzanine or the bar at The W Hotel. I had arrived! I made so many new friends my phone could barely handle all the numbers. I was having the time of my life.

Then I started to have repercussions from all the partying. Drugs are like that, fun, fun with problems, then just fucking problems. The problems led to me getting really creative with my money, stashing it in my bra or sock or back left pocket of my pants so I wouldn’t spend it on coke. But inevitably, after a few drinks, I would call my dealer. And the money ran out, really, really, fast. I was gregarious and the life of the party, and as a dear friend told me later, “just because you didn’t go to prom in high school doesn’t meant that you get to be the prom queen now.”

Yet, I kept going. I got ominous warnings from my friends, I got warnings at work, and I pissed off my roommate for bringing the after party back from the clubs at 4 a.m. I accidentally did a line of meth in the bathroom at the End Up one night, with a new friend who I thought was giving me cocaine and two days later found myself still awake deconstructing Laura Croft in a trailer in Brisbane where my new best friend was making banana walnut pancakes in the kitchen.

I still don’t know how I got home. I started making deals with myself. Don’t drink tonight; I noticed I was quick to call my dealer after a beer. But didn’t you see how hard my job was, what assholes I was working with, and how much my feet hurt? It had nothing to do with the three grams of blow I did the night before while dancing at DNA Lounge in platform Steve Madden heels, no, it had to do with the head manager at my restaurant giving me a shitty section where I had to run all night long to serve my tables.

Things spun out of control. Faster and faster. One night I was just going to go home and a friend convinced me to grab a bottle of wine from the restaurant and go back to her place. A bum outside her door spare changed us as we were going into her apartment, I gave him a cigarette. Hours later when I left, he was still there and he offered me some crack cocaine. Of course I smoked it. And twelve hours later I found myself hiding on a piece of cardboard between parked cars on Minna Street smoking rock with a homeless man who was angling for me to become his girlfriend.   It had to stop. It had to.

I tried a number of ways to control and enjoy my drinking and using, but things just never took. No matter what I did. I lost that fine dining restaurant job, I lost friends, and I lost a lot of dignity. I left a $500 a month rent controlled room in a large Victorian house in the Mission for a room on Potrero and 25th for more than twice the rent. I figured I wouldn’t spend my money on cocaine if my rent were more expensive. I was wrong, was I ever wrong. I remember waking up one morning for a lunch shift and wondering what I had done the night before and when it finally came to me as I was getting out of a cab in front of work I was so overwhelmed I leapt out, and ran and vomited in the bushes before going in for my shift.

Finally, on January 10th, possibly the 11th of 2005, I hit the bottom that would change my life. I went to the restaurant I used to work at to see a friend, I wasn’t going to drink. Nope. I wasn’t, but the bartender put up my regular, a double dirty martini on the rocks with extra olives and a pint of Sierra Nevada. I drank a sip of the beer and called my dealer. I rang a friend, he met me out, and we went all over the city and at one point ended up at my house. He left his drugs with me, “you won’t do them will you?” He asked as he left. I did them. I stole from my friend and in that moment I made the decision, I was done, I don’t know why stealing a few grams of coke from a friend was how I smashed into my bottom, but it was. I made a cry for help. And it was answered.

It came from unexpected places. I thought I was just going to go to rehab. Instead I got introduced to a community and an amazing fellowship, and I drank a lot of coffee, a lot, I still do. Twelve years and some change later, notice my star tattoos? One for every year I’ve been sober, I still don’t know how the magic all happened, I am grateful beyond belief that it has. I get to do and be someone I never even knew I wanted to be. I am a nanny, I’ve been one for over a decade, I get to give children the kind of love and attention I missed getting as a child. I’m also a third year graduate student in psychology, I go to a full time graduate program on the weekends at CIIS (California Institute of Integral Studies) which is located on Mission and 10th in the SOMA. The back of the building abuts Minna Street.

That same street where I gave a homeless man a cigarette, and he smoked me out with crack, I was once again twelve years later. I will never forget coming out of my Psychodynamics class at the end of the semester, holding a paper I had just gotten an A+ on and hopping on my scooter to go home. As I pulled out, I heard the roll of a lighter be flicked and the inhale of breath, there was a girl, a young woman, hair up in a messy bun, eyes downcast, smoking crack on a piece of cardboard between two parked cars. She was I and I was she. I can never, not now, not ever, express the tremendous gratitude I felt in me at the moment. As I zoomed off on my scooter, from my grad school program to my little studio by the sea. I was no longer running away from myself. I was just going home.

Big Day

November 7, 2017

I got to work and walked in and sighed.

I already had a super busy day and I was tired before I even walked into the door at work.

Not in a bad way, just in a sort of thrown into unexpected places way and reflecting on what had transpired in the time before I got to work.

Super intense meeting with my supervisor and a lot of deep work around a specific client, who I saw this evening and got to apply all the things that I had worked on with my supervisor.

Which was really fulfilling and also a little exhausting.

And exhilarating too.

I felt like I was really being a good therapist and that my client was making some amazing headway.

I feel better and better the more I get to see my clients and learn about them and those that show up consistently and let me bear witnesses to their growth is really an amazing thing to witness.

At times exhausting, the work is challenging, but as I expressed to my boss today I am so grateful for it.

I didn’t even see my boss until after 4p.m. today, I was at work at the house, picking up my charge from school, and she was off and running her Monday as well.

I think we were both pretty tired from the day, but it was good to connect with her.

She’s great to work for and super flexible with my schedule.

Which is good since I’ll be going in late one more time next Monday.

I’ve been asked to come in again next week to work further on the lecture series, “People Who Usually Don’t Lecture.”

The women that are running the project have a certain vision and they have produced so many of this lecture series they really have a clarity about what needs to come across and what resonates with the audience.

So.

Although all the work I did on the narrative was not for naught, ugh, I still am going to have to re-write it.

I could heavily edit what I wrote, but I think a fresh rewrite with the direction they want from me will make it a far stronger piece.

I have a very clear idea what they want and I know how to write it and I have the opening line in my head so I know where it will go.

Sometimes, most times, all I need is that opening line or thought, the idea opens the door, I walk in and then I start describing what I see, it’s like walking into a warm room with a rag hook rug on the wood floor, a fire burning in a stove, a rocking chair with a soft throw on the arm and a pillow against the back.

I just need to settle into that chair and write what I see on the walls, tell the story in the pictures I see.

There I am running away from home to San Francisco at the ripe age of 29.

What happens.

Here’s a snap shot of DNA Lounge.

Here’s a picture of me in the back patio of The End Up after having been up all weekend.

All the things and crazy dark adventures, a Polaroid on a push pin board.

That time I made out with my best friends boss at The Elbow Room in the photo booth.

And forgot that I had a strip of photos of us kissing.

It fell out of my wallet when I was looking for something, and my friend picked it up.

“Oh my God!  You made out with STEVE!  YOU MADE OUT WITH MY BOSS?!  He’s gay!”

He wasn’t that gay that night.

Here’s another one of a night at Bruno’s on Mission Street, all dressed up for Halloween and getting ready for a night out on the town when my dealer calls and hey, he just got out of 850 Bryant (the jail here in San Francisco) and how much do I want?

Well.

Fuck.

I’ll start with three grams and go from there.

Hung over.

Cracked out.

Dancing at strange parties with strange people and all the misadventures there of.

The producers wanted a little more of the nitty-gritty of my using and then what happened.

I had put too much of an ellipses in the narrative and it made it seem like I did a line of blow and then suddenly got sober.

They wanted to hear more about the despair.

Because.

Well.

Drama.

It gets your attention, and it provides the vehicle to show how far I’ve come, the things I went through, and who I am.

They also wanted me to talk a little bit more about my nannying.

And what it means to work with children.

“Oh, I think I know what you mean,” I said to the woman speaking to me, “that I get to give the kind of love to a child that I never had for myself growing up.”

She teared up.

Yes.

That.

Let me pull your heartstrings.

Let me show you how resilient I am.

It’s not necessarily a drama play, it’s what really happened, but I have ten minutes to cover all the things and they wanted to sharpen certain points for power, so that it lands with the audience and connects them to me and my story.

Whew.

That’s just going to have to sit on the back burner for a little while and percolate.

I have a full client load this week, therapy tomorrow morning before work, group supervision mid-week, when I normally don’t have it until Saturday–but I’ll be in class Saturday so I have to do it this Wednesday, and yeah, that, school, it’s a school weekend.

No wonder I walked into work and already felt exhausted.

Sigh.

It won’t be that bad.

It’s not that bad.

And I am grateful I get to do this project, it is nice to be wanted, it’s nice to know that I have been chosen because I have something powerful to share and that I am someone who knows how deliver a story.

So that’s what I’m going to do.

But the re-write has got to wait until Sunday after I get out of class, I just don’t see getting to it before then.

I still have reading for class I need to attend to, and well, the week full of stuff.

Grateful that I have pockets of respite and some lovely things planned too, that have nothing to do with work and school and clients.

A girl needs a little fun too.

Especially when there’s so much else to attend to.

I need to let myself let loose a little too.

All work and no play makes me a very dull girl.

And I’m so not dull.

Seriously.

People Who Don’t Usually Lecture

November 1, 2017

Holy crow.

They picked me!

I am so blown away and honored.

And nervous, fuck, if I think about it too long I might get myself in trouble, but overall, wow, wow, wow, just amazed.

People Who Don’t Usually Lecture is a lecture series that is a kind of anti-TEd Talk where the focus is on people’s personal stories and journeys.  They were given my name by my mentor and friend who commissioned some sonnets from me after a chance (chance, my ass, that was grace, God, the universe if you will) encounter at Burning Man.

They have been doing the series in Tel Aviv for the last four years or so and have gone global this year.

There will be shows in New York, Buenos Aries and, yes, here in San Francisco.

I interviewed with them today before I went into work.

I wasn’t even sure what the hell I was going to talk about, and if I think on it real hard I know that I told a good bit of my personal story, my journey, how I got from here to there and back again, but I didn’t choose my word so much as just let them come out, I just asked to be a channel and let what needed to come out come out.

I’m not sure how I got to be so lucky to be a story-teller, but I did.

I do think it has something to do with remembering to say yes to things.

When my friend had first mentioned it I was intrigued, but really had no clue what was being talked about and I sort of forgot.

Then we had lunch this past Sunday in North Beach and I got a bit more of the back story.

It sounded fascinating.

So, yes I was nervous taking my scooter up into the hills over Dolores Park to meet with the people who run the show.

But, well, you know me, half the battle, three-quarters, 7/8’s haha, of the whole deal is just showing up.

Take the action.

Let go of the results.

The results are God’s anyway.

They really seemed to like my story and I saw one of them was moved to tears, more than once and it was amazing to watch their reactions and then to hear them say they could listen longer and wanted to know more and that they didn’t usually offer a spot the day of the interview to a lecturer.

But.

Well.

They did to me.

Oh my God.

I’m going to do a lecture!

It will be short, ten minutes, and I will be speaking with others in the community, I believe my friend will be one of the lecturers as well.

And when I had mentioned our poetry project and creativity and my experiences I actually got a soft, but firm, no, that’s not what we want, we want your story.

They talked to me about what they had heard and themes that came up in my telling my personal journey, I think I talked for about twenty minutes or so, straight before they started asking questions and collaborating with me about what they would like me to focus on in my story.

I will be covering the thematic of resilience and gratitude.

Two things I have in spades.

Oh.

Do I ever.

I have to write-up my narrative for them to go over by Monday morning.

I will go in and speak with them again and they will go over my story and give me pointers on what they want me to focus on.

I have to write-up the piece and get it to them by Monday a.m.

I will go in at noon next Monday and see them again.

I have the rest of the week to think about it and then to write it out.

They asked me to give them a ten minute piece.

It will be off book as well, so even though I will have a narrative to hand into them so that they can help me polish and pull out the tasty bits, I will be on my own up on that stage.

Just me, myself, and I telling a little story about how I got where I am today.

I am so honored and a bit in awe.

A bit in wonder.

I’m grateful, so grateful I get to do stuff like this.

It will just be ten minutes of my life, but I suspect it will be a lot more, it will be a gift to my community, without whom I wouldn’t be where I am today and certainly not fucking asked to give a lecture before hundreds of people.

The lecture series will be held at The Chapel on Valencia Street in the Mission, Tuesday, December 5th.

I’m not sure of the time yet, but in the evening.

I’ll have a dress rehearsal there on December 3rd and then do the deal on the 5th.

I’m really over the moon.

And though I, of course, it is my story after all, know what I’m going to write about, I don’t know exactly what I am going to write about.

Which is fine.

I’m ok with extemporaneous speaking I did it through high school as well as debate, as well as doing French forensics and poetry.

I’ve spoken in front of loads of people, I will be able to do this too.

It’s a little scary, it’s on stage and I know there will be a lot people there.

But.

Really.

I just need to show up and open my mouth, just show up and ask to carry the message, my journey, my story, my resiliency, and not the mess.

I’m good at the mess, I want to carry the message.

Which is often that, if I can make it through the terrors and traumas of my life, then so can you.

And.

Not only that, I can share how, I can share my experience, I can share my hope, and that I did it and how I’m happy now, have been happy now for some years, and I’m loved and my life is fulfilling, rewarding, and full of service.

Life is not a vale of tears and when it is, well, it is gold, a kind of coin I can spend helping another in their struggle by sharing how I got through.

Which is the greatest gift, after all, isn’t it?

Having experiences to share with others.

Love and gratitude tonight.

So very much.

I’ll keep you posted.

Night all.

Sweetest dreams.

 

 

Scheduling

October 27, 2017

And moving forward.

I spent a great deal of time talking with the mom today at work regarding the rest of the school year.

What the family needs.

What I need.

It’s been a little over ten months with them.

We are going to sit down and renegotiate the contract in December, make sure my health insurance needs are being met, talk about vacation times, and schedules moving forward past spring when I graduate in May.

I asked off for a little travel time in February.

And I asked off for May 18th.

Which is the day before I graduate, the day before the commencement ceremony.

I suspect that my mom is going to want to spend some time with me.

She has told me that she and her partner will come to San Francisco to see me walk, to see my graduate with my Master’s Degree.

I have some feelings around that and no little nervousness, I haven’t seen my mom in a while and there’s a sense of wanting to show her a different San Francisco than the last time she was here.

Oh.

I didn’t entirely disappoint, I think.

I took her to Hawthorne Lane for dinner.

I took her out to the bars.

I took her to Coit Tower.

I can’t remember if we did Twin Peaks.

I took her to Chow on Church Street.

Philz Coffee before it was hip and Phil flirted his ass off with her.

I got her quesadilla’s from El Farolito, super quesadilla suiza with carne asada.

I took her to Tartine.

I did pretty good

I also ditched her at some point to get absolutely shit faced obliterated.

I was just going to go out for a few drinks with a friend at Blondie’s in the Mission.

I had already been with my mom for a week, I had taken her to London, on my credit card which I was soon to max out, but it still had a few dollars on it, hung out with her, fed her, bought her smokes, and drinks, and tuk tuk rides around Buckingham palace, to the Wheel, to the National Gallery, to see a show, we saw Stomp, I took her to a fancy tea place where we got stinking tossed on fancy ass over the top expensive cocktails.

So.

I was ready for a little mom break.

I ran down to El Farolito and got her the quesadilla.

I called my friend and said, “I need a margarita, I need a break from my mom,” and she said, “I’ll see you at Blondie’s in a half hour.”

I got my mom situated in my apartment on the couch in the living room, my room-mate was out-of-town, thank God.

And I got dressed and fled into the night.

I had two double margarita’s on the rocks with extra salted rim and when my friend said “let’s have another!”  I got a little scared.

I could feel it coming on.

It was probably coming on before I even got off the plane at SFO.

I think I knew.

I could feel it in my body, I knew it in my conscious even if I wasn’t saying it out loud.

I was going to score.

I had all the reasons in the world to get fucked up.

I had been with my mom for a week in a hotel room in London, flown there and back with her, I deserved a fucking drink.

But I knew if I kept drinking, well, something else was going to get up in the mix.

I looked at my friend and said a bit under my breath, “if I drink more I’m going to want to do blow.”

I said this because this was the friend who had used to be sober who had done that AA thing and had said to me once while we were on a run that maybe I might have a problem because of how I didn’t like myself when I used.

I had no idea what the fuck she was talking about and was aghast.

I didn’t like myself?

Truth was I fucking hated myself, but I couldn’t let myself see it.

She had told me that all I had to do is let her know if I wanted to use and she would help me to not pick up.

What ever that meant.

So in that moment, two double margarita’s in, with the urge to call my dealer on my phone and arrange a little something, something for delivery, I said, to the best of my ability what I thought was a plea for help.

Her response?

“I could definitely do some blow!”

Fuck me.

I sighed.

I know I sighed.

I got my phone out of my purse and I dialed my dealer and arranged for him to meet us at Blondie’s.

I went across the street.

“Hey, where are you going,” the cute guy sitting next to me said.

I flippantly replied, “my friend wants to do some blow so I’m going to the ATM across the street to get some cash before my dealer shows up.”

“Holy shit!” He jumped up, “me too, can I get some too?”

And like that, I had a new friend.

I was so popular.

Ugh.

I will spare you the dirty details of the night.

It was so close to my bottom that it was a pretty intense scene.

And I remember all of it, oh yes I do.

Right down to getting back to the house, while my mom was still asleep in the living room, with a couple of grams of blow in my bra, what I hadn’t yet used, to chop and snort and cram as much in as I could before she woke up.

I was that kind of addict.

I did not fucking matter that my mom was in the front room, probably heard me come in, probably knew what I was doing, nope, didn’t matter.

Because once I started, the party was not over until every fucking last bit was gone.

Suffice to say my mom’s last day in town was a bit of a rough one.

I muggled through.

I guess what I’m getting around to is that maybe I’ll want to show her a nicer time than I did before.

We are both in different places, and I also hope to have some time to celebrate my graduating from graduate school.

A nice meal somewhere with friends, good coffee, laughter, connection, company.

A party.

I should throw myself a little party.

Ah, May, you’re a bit away.

But when my employer and I walked through the months and worked on getting my schedule lined up with theirs, well, there you were, a tiny bit bashful but a little smile on your face, a daisy tucked up behind your ear, saying here I am, let’s have some fun.

Yes.

Of course, my dear.

Let’s.


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