Archive for the ‘PhD’ Category

Overwhelm

August 24, 2020

I got hit with it yesterday.

I was on a Zoom call.

When am I not on a Zoom call?

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

The class that starts next weekend.

And.

I got panicked.

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

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

Like a slow motion melt.

I should have known.

I was wearing cat eye makeup with black eye liner.

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

But.

Yeah.

Anyway.

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

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

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

I literally had zoned out.

I am not a great tech genius.

I am ok.

I mean, hey I publish this blog.

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

Same here.

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

I have no clue how it works.

You probably know this.

I don’t have some spiffy amazing page.

I don’t understand back end stuff.

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

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

Also.

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

NOT ON A ZOOM CALL.

Fuck.

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

And fuck.

Vomit.

Shit.

I am the wrong person for doing this.

I am not going to lie.

I wish I wasn’t teaching.

I wish I could just quit.

Technically I could quit.

California is an “at will” state.

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

However.

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

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

Also.

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

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

I already have enough anxiety.

Which was pretty obvious to me yesterday.

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

The world is literally and figuratively on fire.

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

I hate even complaining about it.

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

My supervisor had to evacuate her home three days ago.

I don’t have problems.

I do have a headache though.

Currently in California there are 560 wild fires happening.

There’s a lot of smoke.

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

I could only handle being inside for so long.

And.

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

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

I mean none.

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

And then.

Oh.

The loveliest thing.

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

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

He’s housesitting in my neighborhood!

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

I felt a lot better.

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

Truth.

I haven’t worked on it today either.

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

That’s my soul.

My PhD work is around healing sexual abuse trauma.

Mine in particular.

And it’s a lot to hold.

I just have to acknowledge that.

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

Right now.

The work is letting myself off the hook.

Resourcing with friends.

Breathing deep (inside my sealed house).

Sleeping eight hours a night.

Watching silly light hearted tv (Glee).

Sitting with my cat.

Calling friends.

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

I will teach the class next week.

I will be great in them both.

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

I will show the fuck up.

As I know from showing up in the past.

It really is 90% of the work.

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

I’m perfectly imperfect just the way I am.

Recognizing that is the work.

So.

Yeah.

My proposal.

It will get done and I will be ok.

Everything is going to be ok.

It really is.

Hello Again

August 2, 2020

It feels like forever.

And it has been awhile.

But I am still here.

Still writing, though not so much on this platform

I have missed it, but I have also been too tired most days to log in and write.

I write in the mornings still, long hand, my three page a day habit, thank you The Artists Way, thirteen years and still going strong.

I have thought about this though, my blog, the thing that I would do religiously come rain or shine, good day, bad day, nothing really happened today day.

I sort of had a nothing happened today day, with highlights of, this is surreal, though I’m used to it.

Sort of.

We’re still deep in the pandemic and although it’s been five plus months now, there are times I’m still caught off guard with the strangeness of it.

Or that I am estranged from my friends, fellows, family, colleauges.

Oh the desire to hang out with friends at a coffee shop.

Although, truth, I did sort of last weekend.

I drove up to the Russian River area with a friend, one of the few people allowed in my bubble, and we did get coffee at a cafe in Guerneville.  There was no sitting inside, though, grab and go.

So many things are shut down, but when I get the chance to go to a cafe or a restaurant I have done so.

It happens quite infrequently.

I do better weathering things on my own.

I have been very safe and very cautious and kept pretty to myself since this has all been unfolding.

But yeah, a trip to the Russian River and being out in the sun felt extraordinary.

It’s not a big deal typically, but a bunch of months of quarantine and I felt like I was playing hooky, albeit wearing a mask, from the pandemic.

Also.

Just getting out into the sunshine was so good.

San Francisco, got to love her, has been having her typical “summer weather” which is cold, foggy, overcast and quite dreary.

Add that to the general malaise of the pandemic and it’s a bit depressing.

So when my friend suggested we head out of town and get some sun I hesitated, I have things to do (homework, prep for teaching, zoom meetings), but folded as soon as I googled the Russian River and saw the trees and sun and water.

I’m glad I did.

I am also grateful for getting out of the city.

I haven’t been outside of the Bay Area since before shelter in place.

I realized the last time I had gotten out it was Christmas when I went to Paris.

Now, that’s nothing to shake a stick at, but it also meant that I hadn’t left the city in over six months.

I don’t, fyi count Oakland, Berkeley, or Alameda, all places I have gone to, as getting outside the city…they just feel like continuations of it.

Though, San Francisco is definitely in transition, it is still the city, and once in a while to appreciate the city, I need to leave it.

I will go up one more time to the Russian River before summer ends.

Just a quick day trip to work on some teaching prep the weekend before I start teaching Psychodynamic’s.

I’m not exactly excited, truth be told, I haven’t felt like I’ve had much of a summer–my private practice therapy business has been full (and yes, I do know how lucky I am to have work to do) and I have been doing so much psychoanalytic theory reading, my brain feels about shot.

But.

I have finished, as of today all the books that are required reading for class.

I also, I haven’t shared much about this, turned down the core faculty position I was interviewing for.

I found out how much work was expected and how little money was being paid for it and I changed my mind about wanting to work for the school–I was making more money as a private professional nanny then what they were offering for a full time core faculty professor in a master’s program.

No thank you.

I kept thinking to myself that I did not work this hard to keep working harder for less money.

I felt bad, for a moment, when I told my individual supervisor who really wanted me to take on the teaching position, but I realized if I had taken it I would have been terribly resentful with myself for taking on so much work.

Especially since I am still working on my PhD.

It’s been a minute since I’ve been here, so I cannot recall if I have written about that the last time I was blogging.  But.  I have made some progress there.  I have my external third committee chair member and she has my dissertation proposal as does my internal second.

So.

I await their critiques and get to start working on a Power Point (ugh) to defend my proposal.

Once I defend the proposal I will move into PhD candidacy.

I am ready for that.

I am hoping that I will get to defend by the end of this month and then turn around and start doing the study part of my dissertation.

My hope is to do the study this fall and then do the writing for the dissertation in the spring.

I want to put in one more year and be done.

In fact.

That is my goal.

One more year at the school working on my PhD and teaching one master’s class, then I’m done.

I’ve been on this track for five years now.

I’m ready to finish it.

I have it in my sights and I am hopeful that I can put down my head and push through this last year.

I suspect things are going to be challenging with the pandemic continuing to rage and whatever weirdness is up and coming with the pending elections, but I shall keep busy, keep pushing and get through.

And.

When it’s all said and done and I have my doctorate.

I am going on a big fucking trip.

I’m thinking fly from San Francisco to London, train to Paris, then train to the South of France, rent a car there and tool around and then reverse the trip back.

Two, maybe three weeks.

That’s a carrot to work towards.

Seriously.

Another Sunday in Quarantine

May 25, 2020

I didn’t go outside today.

I wanted to.

I didn’t.

Well.

That’s not exactly true.

I did go out on my deck.

I am so grateful for my deck I cannot even begin to tell you.

It has saved my life.

I went on a long walk yesterday, I am grateful for long walks, and it was not the best walk ever.

Too many people

So many people.

Go the fuck home people.

Sigh.

I love the area that I live in (although I don’t love where I live exactly, deck excluded, the landlord and his wife are not sustaining very well right now and they fight a lot.  A LOT).  It is beautiful. I’m within a five minute walking distance to Golden Gate Park or to Sutro Heights Park.

I can make Land’s End in fifteen minutes.

I’m a three minute walk to Ocean Beach.

Except.

Well.

Dodging the people not wearing masks or walking in clumps makes the time a bit longer.

I know to avoid the beach.

I know it makes me upset to see so many people out having their sunny beach day.

I want to holler, “it’s my fucking neighborhood, go home!”

But.

Well.

I don’t.

I just stay home instead.

Yesterday’s walk was focused primarily on walking the steep hills around my house so I didn’t run into as many people as I would have if I had gone down hill.

I took one look at down hill and headed right up.

I got pissed and then I thought, just stay on the hills, walk away from the beach.

It’s a constant conversation I have with myself.

I know people are getting squirrely.

I know that folks are tired of shelter in place.

Me too.

Me too.

Me too.

And.

It’s not over yet and there are still new cases getting reported and people are still getting sick and I cannot be one of them.

I only have myself to rely on and so I walk wearing a mask.

I walk six feet plus away from people.

I walk out into the street to avoid contact.

I don’t go out much on the weekends.

I didn’t go out today.

I don’t know about tomorrow.

It is the holiday after all and the weather is going to be nice.

That’s a part of the problem.

The beach doesn’t get beach weather.

Most of the time it’s cold and foggy and windy.

But when it’s sunny, over sixty degrees, and there’s little to no wind.

Packed.

I know if there wasn’t a pandemic, it would have been bonkers yesterday.

Or today.

And what I saw was bad enough.

Also.

Since the city closed down the parking lots along the beach.

Everyone parks in my neighborhood.

Or at the SafeWay grocery store on Fulton.

Last Sunday I tried to go for a walk and I got so overwhelmed I headed home, it was nice last Sunday too.

One too many groups of young adults wearing masks on their foreheads, elbows, and knees, but not over their mouths and noses, drinking Boba tea and taking up the entire sidewalk, for me to cope.

I walked past the SafeWay on my way home and the lot was full.

FULL.

But.

There was no line to get into the grocery store.

The parking lot was being used by all the beach go’ers.

I wanted, as I have wanted on a few occasions to call the cops.

And.

Fuck.

I cannot do that.

Waste of money.

Waste of time.

But what I can do is stay home, take care of myself, and let people do what they’re going to do.

I cannot control anyone.

I can only control my own actions.

And those not all the time.

Although, aside, I did not reach out to my ex today, which is miraculous, I felt the pull of him in my blood like the sunshine on my skin.

Oof.

Hard.

Anyway.

I decided today to just forego outside and walks for the rest of the weekend.

I made phone calls.

I had FaceTime.

I wrote a lot.

I printed off the dissertation proposal.

Four pages of instructions.

I worked on my CV.

Very proud of that actually.

I sat outside and ate my lunch on the deck and got my sun that way.

I kept the sliding glass door to my deck open all day.

I heard how busy the neighborhood was.

I kept to myself.

I felt much better.

Even though I missed taking a long walk, I did not miss getting agitated.

I have a big Monday.

I have seven clients.

No Memorial Day off for me.

I’m ok with that.

I am beyond grateful that I can work.

I will go for a long walk on Tuesday and Wednesday and Thursday and maybe Friday, depending, I’ve a lot of clients Friday too.

I will keep hitting up the Zoom meetings.

I will stay positive.

I will eat well.

I have not eaten any take out since shelter in place.

I don’t really when there’s not a pandemic.

But I did like going out to eat.

Saving some money cooking all my own food that is for sure.

I will work on my dissertation proposal.

I met with my dissertation chair yesterday morning for an hour and mapped out a plan for the summer.

I want to be defending my dissertation proposal the weekend of August 27th, 28th, 29th.

There will not be an intensive.

It will be via Zoom.

And that’s ok too.

I have a plan.

I will stay busy with that, my clients, and the new position with the Daily City Youth Health Clinic–I started on Friday.

I scheduled my first client yesterday.

I will get through this.

And one day.

Hopefully, not too far in the future.

I will take a walk outside without a mask on either.

This too shall pass.

It’s Been A Minute

May 15, 2020

And I almost, but I didn’t, didn’t write.

I was all like.

Ooh, Hulu, get me some Hand Maid’s Tale.

Then I thought, really, when was the last time you blogged lady?

It’s been a minute.

There’s been a pandemic.

The thing is still happening.

And life for me did not slow down.

Pro tip: next pandemic, be enrolled in a PhD program.

I was so, so, so busy with this semester.

And it was hard, like hella hard, ridiculously hard, over the top.

Add one pandemic and make your academic career triple fold with stress and anxiety.

There were a few weeks when I couldn’t get it together.

I cried.

A lot.

I pushed back on my studies.

A LOT.

I did want to do it, I thought about dropping out, I didn’t.

I wouldn’t.

But I did think about it.

However, in the end I am so grateful I pushed through.

I wrote some tremendously good papers.

I scored a perfect 50/50 on my Method’s Comp Exam.

I had a professor tell me she cried while reading my work.

That was nice to hear.

I’m still waiting for my Lit Review to get returned to me, but the draft that I turned in before the final draft, well, the opening comment from the professor was “Excellent! Excellent! Excellent!” So I feel pretty confident that the final paper was well received.

It was a push though.

I was so grateful I rallied and got through.

I have one last goodbye Zoom class call on Saturday, but pretty much it’s done.

All done.

I have officially finished the three year course work in two years.

Now I head into the proposal phase of my PhD program.

Which I hope to get done over the summer.

There will be plenty to do and I gave myself this last week “off” sort of, to chill, although in reality I did no such thing as chill, I was just not doing homework.

I was instead training.

Yeah.

So many trainings, so many screens, so many videos.

I felt so burned out from it yesterday.

Over it.

OVER IT.

However, also ridiculously grateful.

I was hired to be an interim therapist for the Jefferson Union High School in Daily City.

Technically I was hired through Daily City Partnership, which is a non-profit that supports the high school.

I will start next Wednesday.

I will be seeing 10-15 teenagers a week, doing an hour of supervision, and and estimated four hours of paperwork.

20 hours total.

So pretty much right back to being busy.

And like I said, stupid grateful.

First, busy will help to deal with the shelter in place deal.

Second, those oh so elusive child and family hours.

I need them to get fully licensed as an MFT.

I am 261 hours away from the required 3,000 hours the state of California requires one to have to get the MFT license.

A part of that requirement is 500 child and family hours.

I have been acquiring them by working with couples, which count as “family” hours, but I don’t have enough couples in my current practice to get all the hours in an expedient way.

So when I was approached about being a therapist over the summer to support the high school kids I was thrilled.

Due to the situation with shelter in place and COVID-19 the school board allocated extra funds to bring in a therapist over the summer to support the kids.  Typically they don’t have a summer therapist, they get therapy during the school year.

But.

There’s been such a demand for it they decided to help the kids over the summer and I was approached and applied for it and last week Wednesday I was interviewed and hired on the spot.

That felt pretty damn good.

The pay is shit.

But.

It’s pay.

And really I need the hours so even if I didn’t get paid I would have probably taken the job.  In fact, dirty little secret, most therapist don’t get paid when they go after their child hours.  It’s pretty rare.  Most of the schools rely on unpaid interns.

I could rant about that quite a bit, but I don’t have the energy.

I am just super happy I get to help out some teenagers and get my child hours and get paid and get through the summer by staying busy.

I have 22 clients in my own private practice, which is pretty damn good, all things considered.

A lot of folks in my agency have lost clients.

And I did too, but I have also maintained clients, worked with them, drop my fees when and where I could, implemented a lower sliding scale, and I picked up a couple of clients too.

So I’m holding steady.

And God damn am I grateful I can work from home.

I feel so lucky about that.

I am still paying rent on my office, but so it goes.

I did let go of one of my offices, but I’m holding onto the other for a bit yet, I don’t know how long shelter in place will go and I don’t know how many of my clients will feel comfortable coming back into my office when it does, but I don’t want to give it up yet.

I know a lot of therapist have.

Many are going over completely to the idea of telehealth–video and/or phone sessions.

I will be doing a mix of it when things all settle out, whenever that is.

I now have clients in and outside of San Francisco because of being able to offer telehealth and I will keep these clients when I go back to my office.

Things are good.

Weird.

Don’t get me wrong.

Fuck.

I miss people.

I miss people something bad.

But I’m busy and grateful to have things to do and that I live by Ocean Beach and can take long walks, and I’m fed and housed and safe.  I’m very fortunate and I know it.

I hope you are well and taking gentle care.

Biggest hugs!

Ground Hog’s Day

March 21, 2020

I’m beginning to not know what day of the week it is.

That is a little surreal for me.

I am still sticking to a type of scheduled and since I have had group supervision and individual supervision the last two mornings, I’ve actually been setting alarms to get up.

Which reminds me, I need to do that for tomorrow since I have a video session in the morning with a client.

I sense tomorrow and Sunday are going to be the weird days for me.

I had supervision, an online meeting, and two clients today.

Plus a long phone call with a dear friend from my Master’s program and a long walk through the park.

I was actually a little upset today on my walk.

The beach was busy!

I mean, I sort of get it when it’s a nice day and the surf is good, but people, we got a shelter in place happening and further admonishment from the governor to hunker down.

I was surprised to see so many people and so many groups!

I had to take my judgmental self away from the beach.

It was too busy with people and the parking lot at the Balboa side of Ocean Beach was packed!

I headed instead to Golden Gate and hit the horse paths.

There’s horseback riding paths that criss cross the park and they are not nearly as trod as the regular walking paths.

I didn’t see a person and when I did pop out of the park on the Fulton Street side to head back to my house, I graciously gave everyone a wide berth or crossed the street to not make contact.

And.

Even with that decent amount of activity I felt it begin to creep in, the malaise of being confined to my own space.

And I really love my space.

So.

I had a mid-afternoon dance party and I did some meditation afterward.

That felt better.

But it is beginning to all blur together.

I had zero, and I mean like none at all, motivation to do school work.

I know I will have to this weekend and it will help break things up to focus on papers and drafts and getting work in.

Which also reminds me, where the hell is the draft I turned in last week?  I need to get it back so I can make revisions and implement changes that the professor wants.

Tomorrow all I have is one client.

I did make plans to meet a friend on the other side of the park to go walk her dog on the beach.

Her side of Ocean Beach on the Outer Sunset side, won’t be as busy as my side on the Outer Richmond side as my side has parking and a lot of surfers hit the break out here.

No break on the Judah Street side in the Outer Sunset the next nearest break is Noriega, so there won’t be cars and surfers and big families playing soccer (that’s what got me, a big group of I’m assuming family, playing soccer, there were just too many folks too close) and she and I can walk apart and let her dog frolic in the waves.

I have connected so much to the neighborhood this week, I am grateful for that.

I have taken long walks every day in the afternoon either before or after lunch and I have seen things and walked parts of the park that I have only driven past.

That has been lovely.

I also know that I am very lucky to be so close to such a large park too.  It is big enough to give wide space to others when I come across them.

I am also going through parts that aren’t often used, like the backside of the archery field or the horse paths.

I figure I will also do a longer hike at some point and really explore Sutro Baths and Land’s End.

If we are not under martial law at that point.

I keep hearing rumors about that, but I’m trying to stay out of the rumor mill, it does not help me keep my equilibrium and that has to stay in place.  I have clients to support and therapy to do.

I have also given up the office I just started subletting a few months ago.

I only use it one day a week and the woman who is my individual supervisor and my landlord has given me more access to the main office I am in.

I now have access to it in a full time capacity.

So I called the woman I sublet from and told her I had to give it up and I gave notice.

I will still have to pay rent on it for this month and I think also next month and possibly the month after.

If we are able to go back to work in our offices I may use it a touch more, but I doubt that is going to happen.

My agency is preparing for three to six months of this strangeness.

Most of us have the feeling that we won’t be going back on April 7th when the three weeks of shelter in place is up.

I’m preparing myself mentally for a longer haul.

Of course I am hoping that doesn’t happen, but I am preparing myself for the possibility.

So, yeah, gave up my Monday office.

And it’s all going to be ok.

I have food, I have shelter, sunlight, access to my deck, places to walk still (hoping that will hold out a little longer), friends to have long conversations on the phone

Oh yeah.

And.

Homework.

Sigh.

I still have lots of that.

On The Eve

January 13, 2020

Of my fifteenth year of sobriety.

I had to stop and ponder and wonder in awe at the scope of my life in these last fourteen years and 364 days.

I have come so far.

So fucking far.

It leaves me breathless with awe.

I’m a psychotherapist.

I live by myself in the most expensive city in the United States.

Although.

I still cringe at my rent, I can afford to live alone and I understand what a precious gift that is.

I work a lot, it’s true.

I’m still working six days a week and two jobs.

But!

Soon.

I will be done nannying.

I have been a nanny for thirteen years.

That’s a lot of time to be in any career, let alone one in which I have gotten to have so much unconditional love poured into my heart.

Nannying has been a tough job and the most incredible gift too.

I have never had children.

Shit.

I have never even had a pregnancy scare.

I have occasionally thought of what it would be like to have my own child, but really, I have gotten to raise so many beautiful, sweet, amazing children.

I have had so many children tell me they love me.

I have had so many babies fall asleep on my breast and in my arms.

I have felt the soft sweet breath of a child on my neck so many times as I lay them to sleep that I cannot count them.

I have sung a lot of lullabies.

I feel replete.

I do not feel grief stricken for not having had a child of my own.

I have had children.

I have also gotten to give them back at the end of the day and go my own way.

I will be hanging up my nanny clogs soon, my last day with my current family is February 24th.

So by the end of February I will just be working full time as a psychotherapist and a full time PhD student.

Just.

Hahahahahhahahaha.

Oh.

I also got my grades back for this past semester.

Straight “A’s.”

Not like anyone has every question someone with a PhD, “hey how were your grades during your course work?”

Most folks don’t give a fuck, you got a doctorate, you are doing great kid.

I had a 4.0 all through my Masters and I am looking to repeat that with my PhD.

I have also received the news that I have been granted the first person I requested to be my PhD committee chair.

Over the moon.

I found out from a fellow in my cohort that my pick only chose two of us to work with.

I am thrilled and honored that he took me on, it’s going to be some work, the work is nowhere near done yet, but it’s still a great big wonderful thing to be entering the last semester of my course work.

And I’m doing it in two years.

Most of my cohort is doing it in three and some in four years.

I know one other person who is doing the course work at the same pace as I am and we made a pact to get through the whole damn program in 3.5 years.

I am still on track with that.

I am also really on track with getting my hours for my MFT license.

I am 737 hours away from being able to be on my own without supervision, without having to pay extra for supervision and fees and stuff and things.

I will get my hours before the year ends and I am fucking thrilled by that.

My life is pretty amazing.

I looked at my things today, I looked at the art on my walls and the pictures and the beauty that I have surrounded myself with.

I am not rich.

But I am awash in beauty and prosperity and abundance.

I am so grateful.

I have slept on cardboard.

No more of that.

I have been homeless.

I have had to go to food pantries and be on food stamps.

I have worked some pretty grimy jobs.

I have struggled and worked and struggled some more.

I own a car.

What the hell?

A new car, my own car, the first new car I have ever bought.

I go to yoga.

I still can’t always get over that.

Who is this person hopping into her cute little marshmallow colored Fiat and heading up Balboa Street to do yoga?

I have nice clothes.

I bought in Paris. 

I used to wear hand me downs from my youngest aunts.

I used to have only one pair of shoes.

I have a lot of shoes.

I mean.

A girl likes her shoes.

I have framed art that I have bought in Paris too.

I remember having posters pinned up to my walls, when I had walls, I didn’t always.

Or magazine photos taped to my walls.

I always have liked to look at things.

I have gone to so many museums.

I have traveled the world.

Not a lot, but a good amount you know.

Paris, New York, London, LA, Miami, Chicago, Anchorage, Marseilles, Rome, Aix-en-Provence, Austin, Havana, Cuba, Burning Man.

Not bad for a girl raised in an unincorporated town in rural Wisconsin.

I have some pretty amazing tattoos.

I have gotten to meet and hang out with one of my musical hero’s–more than once.

I have extraordinary friends.

I have a way of life that is full of purpose and meaning and service.

I have love.

I have had terrible heart ache and I have survived it.

I have resiliency.

I have lost dear friends to death far too soon.

I have danced under the stars until dawn, in underground clubs in Paris, on top of speakers in dancehalls in San Francisco, arts cars out in deep playa at Burning Man.

I have narrated my story and performed  in front of 100s.

I have recited poetry to audiences small and grand.

I am in the world and I am alive and I am so grateful for that.

For this wonderful, sometimes painful, but always so full, so amazing, so extraordinary, beyond my wildest dreams, life.

Here’s to (almost) fifteen years of sobriety.

And many, many, many more years to come.

So many.

 

Hello Old Friend

December 13, 2019

Ah.

Sigh.

Hello my lovely, it’s been a while.

I’m back.

For a little while, a few days here, maybe a couple of weeks, I’m not one hundred percent sure, but I am going to try and post up some blogs and stay a little regular for a little while.

At least until next semester hits.

Then.

Buh bye.

This semester was by far the heaviest work load I have carried in school.

I did a bonkers amount of reading, researching and writing.

All the time.

It just was a constant grind.

And.

MMMMMMMMMMMMMMmmmmmm.

I turned in my final paper today, this very afternoon.

I am done!

I am done!

I am done!

It feels so very nice.

I already know that I have gotten “A’s” in my two other classes, I completed one last week, turning in the final paper a little early so that I could focus on the last final project I had.

Said project cumulated in a 176 page paper.

Yeah.

I said that.

176 pages.

I pretty much put together a god damn book.

But when I think about it, that’s basically what a dissertation is, a book.

This was not my dissertation but it had some thematics that I will pull in for my work.

And I didn’t write the whole thing all in one shot.

It was broken up into four parts over the course of the semester.

I basically wrote four good sized papers and then connected them all together for the final compilation.

I am so grateful it’s done I can’t even believe that I don’t have a book to read tomorrow, a discussion post to write, a paper to write, an article to read, research to do.

All I have to do is supervision and see clients.

All.

heh.

Yeah.

That’s the other thing.

I have been busting my ass building my private practice.

I currently have 24 clients!

I cannot believe that.

It just amazes me.

Yes.

I am still nannying.

Although!

Not for long.

This week I officially dropped another day, so I’m down to working two days a week and neither day is a full day.  Mondays I’ll be working 9a.m. to 4p.m. and Tuesdays 11 a.m. to 4p.m.

And!

I gave my notice.

That’s right.

I gave my mothefucking notice.

I am so over the moon.

It actually eclipses finishing the semester, I am going to stop being a nanny.

After 13 years of nannying I am going to finally hang up my nanny clogs.

They are not the same clogs I started with, but I am ready to toss them.

I had a really good talk with the mom this week and I am giving them a very healthy notice.

I will stay with them through February.

My final day will be Tuesday, February 25th.

I am sticking it out for another couple of months for two reasons–my imminent trip to Paris and my second semester PhD retreat.

I will be missing two weeks of client sessions while I go to Paris and I will miss another week of sessions in January when I am at the retreat.  This means I will lose three weeks of revenue and that’s a lot.

To offset that I am going to stay with the family until the end of February to make sure that I have enough coming in to self-sustain.

Last week I hit my number that I need to be able to just work as a psychotherapist.

It was wonderful to see that number pop up on my Ivy Pay app–I use Ivy Pay to charge clients and it tallies what I make and when my goal number rolled over I was just over the moon.

That’s it.

That’s what I need to make weekly to be able to quit my nanny job.

I can do that!

I can.

If I wasn’t going on vacation I would have quit by the end of the year.

But.

I am going on vacation, and it is needed, I am so ready for a break.  And I don’t want to worry about covering expenses or not enjoying myself.

I want to do some clothes shopping and go to museums and eat nice food and go to the ballet.  I want to go ice skating at the Grand Palais, which has the largest indoor ice rink in the world.  I will probably fall on my ass and get run over by small children, but I don’t care, it looks marvelous and I can’t imagine anything more spectacular than ice skating in a giant palace in Paris.

I mean.

Seriously.

I also am staying at a really nice Air BnB and I dropped some dimes on it, but I know it’s going to be worth it.

So I didn’t want to worry about spending, I will likely get a tattoo while there, I like doing that, a souvenir I carry with me all my days, and if I want to order a second cafe creme or fuck, a third, I will.

I get to enjoy myself and so that means a couple more months of nanny.

So be it.

It’s worth it and there’s a light, oh there’s a bright light at the end of the tunnel.

I am almost there.

I am almost 100% fully self-supporting as a therapist, as an Associate Psychotherapist at that, I actually could afford to quit my nanny job is I was a regular MFT, but having to pay agency fees, supervision fees, administration fees and the 12.75% cut the agency takes, I have to work more.

I don’t mind, I’m just paying my dues and the end is in sight.

It’s a lovely sight too.

I’m remembering my birthday dinner last year, yeah, that’s coming up soon, next Wednesday is my birthday, and how I made the intention that I would be quitting my nanny job and have a full therapy practice.

I cannot believe it actually happened.

But it did.

The week before my birthday I hit my number and I gave notice.

Amazing.

I think my intention for this upcoming year is that I be engaged to be married by my next birthday.

I’m dead serious.

I want to be engaged.

That’s the intention I will set.

Somewhere in Paris, having dinner, rare steak or a tartare, a cafe creme and a cheese plate for dessert.

I will set my intention.

Oh yes I will.

Back it Up

October 22, 2019

I mean.

Seriously.

Back that shit up.

I had the most uncomfortable experience today.

Like the fucking worst, I thought I was going to vomit, I definitely burst into tears, and I cried for about a half hour after the event happened.

Slow.

Steady.

Leaky tears.

Which doesn’t bode well for having to see therapy clients when I finished my nanny job.

I cried off most of my eye makeup, and I didn’t wear the waterproof mascara today.

Not that I think my clients ever notice the state or disarray of my makeup, but I felt pretty raw today heading out to see clients.

I deleted my paper.

I deleted a work in progress paper that I have been working on since the beginning of the semester, meaning, I have been on and off writing this paper for seven or eight weeks.

50 pages.

86 references.

Fully formatted bibliography.

Poof.

Fucking gone.

I deleted it.

It was a total accident.

I can’t get into the specifics of it exactly, it would mean trying to explain APA formatting and the technology platform that I use to help me format my papers and that said technology has definitely not been doing so well holding this gigantic thing and it sort of just disappeared.

There were warnings that something like this would happen.

I had a near panic attack at work about three weeks ago when I couldn’t open the paper and I had to send the bibliography into my professor to show the progress on the work.

It’s actually a journal, not a formally written paper, it’s rather like an annotated bibliography where I have a running list of all the references, books, articles, websites, etc, that I have been collecting to help me write my dissertation.

By the end of the semester I need to have 250-300 references.

The one that got deleted today has 86.

So I still have a ways to go, but hey, 86 ain’t bad.

There’s an upcoming assignment that’s due on November 4th where I will have to provide 25-50 pages of the journal to the professor along with the full bibliography and a bunch of other stuff I won’t bore you with.

I have been diligent about doing the work, but the app has been pretty slow, but I’m used to it and I sort of just look the other way and let the damn thing do it’s thing.

Which is what I was doing, I had just formatted another reference and had another queued up to go and I wanted to look at the paper that I was citing and I toggled out of the paper and into Chrome and I was typing something and the app popped me from Chrome back into the paper and I hit backspace and deleted the whole thing, but I also typed the letter e and that replaced the paper.  So when I hit undo, all it did was undo the letter e and leave me with a blank paper.

I couldn’t undo the undo.

I literally just about vomited.

And it was such horrid timing.

The monkey woke up form his nap and both mom and dad were working from home.

I didn’t say anything.

I went to get the monkey.

The mom saw my face though and asked if something was wrong and I started crying and said “no, well, um, yeah, I think I just deleted a 50 page paper with 86 references that I have been working on for weeks and excuse me a second.”

I ran to the bathroom and sobbed for a few moments.

Then.

I washed my face,

Dried my hands.

And.

Walked back out and started to try and get a semblance of normality back together.

All I could think about though was the gigantic stack of books on my desk and how I was going to have to go back through all of them to find the quotes I had pulled, plus all the articles and how long it had taken me to just accrue what I had.

And fuck, would I even be able to get enough together to turn in the upcoming assignment and what the fuck was I going to do about the other two classes I have work in.

I mean I felt fucking floored.

I texted a friend in my cohort who immediately called, but I couldn’t pick up, I had the monkey in my lap and mom and dad doing their work and shit.

My friend texted me a bunch of helpful stuff and I thought, I do know one super tech savvy guy, maybe I can reach out to him.

Then the dad stepped in.

He asked me to show him the app and I showed him what happened and how the paper came up just as 1 page and the letter “e.”

He did the same undo thing and it just went blank.

Then he quit the app and toggled around and found a back up in Word and saved it, cut and pasted the entirety to an email and sent it to me.

HOLY MOTHER OF GOD.

I have my paper back.

This is not an experience I ever want to have again.

I have another app that I bought and paid for at the beginning of the semester, but being a little tech phobic I never even opened it up to use it, relying on the comfortable and known to do the work for this semester.

No more of that shit.

I will be opening up Scrivener and not using Perrla any more.

I actually couldn’t bear to look at it tonight when I got home.

It’s safe.

It’s not going anywhere.

I have a file.

I have it backed up.

I am taking a break.

I need to do that.

I’m going to post my little blog.

How nice it is to be here again, sweet, sweet blog, I don’t get around to you so much anymore.

This PhD semester is kicking my ass.

And.

I am seriously grateful that I get to be pursuing a PhD and that, thank every freaking God, deity, Goddess, Universe, Spirit et al, that my paper is still amongst the living.

Because if it weren’t I’d be seriously screwed and if you think you don’t see much of me now, there would be none of me the rest of the semester.

Thank god my paper was saved.

Thank freaking god.

And now.

Netflix.

I’m taking the rest of the night off.

I have earned a god damn study break.

Seriously.

I’m Not Dead Yet

October 11, 2019

I’m still here.

Still hanging on by the skin of my teeth.

It’s been a tough, long few weeks, so much school work.

So much.

I really even shouldn’t be here.

But.

I am and there’s that and I don’t have much capacity to do much more homework today, so I’m letting myself off the hook and enjoying blogging because I like blogging and it’s hella nice to not think about homework.

I think about it all day long.

ALL DAY.

I know it’s just part of the territory.

I thought a bit about the trials and tribulations of graduate school, of getting my PhD, of how long it takes and how much work it is.

I thought.

Why the fuck am I doing this?

And.

I can’t stop now.

I mean.

I know why I’m doing this and everyone I talk to is onboard with what I’m working on, it’s just, well, fuck, it’s so much work.

I wondered yesterday what it would be to just, just, work a full time job.

How novel would that be?

Pretty fucking novel.

I am not there yet.

And it feels like it’s a little further away than I would like, but I know at some point I will get there.

I will finish my PhD.

I will just be a therapist.

I will not nanny any longer.

The nannying is sweet and challenging right now.

The big kids really miss me and it’s been hard on them, this transition of not seeing as much of me as they used to.

I miss them too.

I had a huge cuddle session with the oldest boy today when he got home from school, he’s nine and just a pie.

I love all of them in all their different ways.

Each one I love the best.

Each one is my favorite.

Each one is special.

And I’m also so ready to not be nannying any more.

I don’t want to be cleaning someone’s house in my down time, or getting another’s dry cleaning or taking out someone else’s trash or folding some one else’s laundry.

I just want to do that for myself.

Sometimes I don’t really mind, it’s a bit meditative to sweep the floor or wash the dishes, or put away laundry.

Most times I don’t mind at all.

But I am ready to transition out.

It’s been thirteen years.

It’s time for something new.

I don’t know when it’s going to be and I had some high hopes that it would be by my birthday in December.

I will fly out to Paris on December 17th and a big part of me was hoping I would be able to fly off to France being done with the family.

I’m not so sure now.

Yes.

I did start with a new client this week.

And I had a client move, two other clients transition to twice a month, and another tell me they are moving next month.

Ugh.

I need to go in the opposite way and bring in more clients.

Add to that a lot of cancellations this week and the next and I am questioning whether I will have enough set aside to make that leap in December and then go off on a ten day vacation.

I know it will all work out and I know the nannying will end in due time.

I realized this week that I may just have to hold that end date gently and if I have to work a little longer as a nanny it’s ok.

I also recognize that I cannot predict when I get clients.

It has been slowly building and I am sure it will continue to build.

I have been handing out business cards and talking to people and I’m sure I can take some other actions too, but I truly don’t know what actions lead to what results.

That being said.

I did take some actions to make sure that I am taking care of myself.

Yesterday I got a massage for the first time in two years.

There’s a small place up the road from me on Balboa Street and it’s spare and bare bones, but the table was heated and it was women’s day and I got $5 off and the massage only cost $50!

I tipped $10 and was quite happy with my one hour Shiatsu massage.

I want to do that about once a month.

I hold a lot of trauma in my private practice and I don’t want to carry around other people’s trauma, I have enough of my own thanks, I don’t need to hold vicarious trauma along with it.

So massages are good and so is exercise.

And.

Finally.

Finally.

I pulled the trigger and signed up for the local yoga studio Purusha

They are running an unlimited monthly student special for $90.

That’s a pretty fucking good deal for San Francisco studios.

I had a really nice conversation with the woman at the front desk and talked about being a therapist and a PhD student and the need to get the anxiety out of my body.

And.

That I haven’t done yoga in like a year and a half and that I feel super rusty and nervous.

I found a good class to ease back into and I start tomorrow.

I have mornings off from nannying on Wednesdays and Fridays, so I figure two days a week to start, really aiming for three to four once I’m back into the flow.

I also tell myself, don’t try to figure out your calendar quite yet.

Just show up each day you can.

So tomorrow I will get up early instead of sleeping in and go to yoga before I have supervision.

Then homework and clients in the evening.

I have had anxiety about getting something else to fit in my schedule, but I realized yesterday as I was getting the massage, the only way to maintain what I am doing is to do really extensive self-care and exercising has not been a priority.

I feel like it is now.

And all I have to do is get up, put on my yoga clothes and show up.

Showing up is 3/4s of the battle anyway.

Keep showing up for my homework.

Keep showing up for my clients.

Keep showing up for my cohort.

Keep showing up for my nanny family.

But most importantly.

Keep showing up for myself with as much love and kindness as I can muster.

I’m pretty sure I can do that.

Buried Alive

August 29, 2019

This is it folks.

You may not see or hear from me in weeks.

In fact.

I am already askance at myself for not throwing myself headlong into some reading, writing, researching, or the other.

Why, I’m writing my blog when there is a shit ton, a fuck ton, a whole lot of things to do this semester.

I knew that at my intensive, when just after two days of one class I realized that class alone was going to be a full time job.

Then.

Add in two more classes.

One is “light,” like I only have to read five books.

But the other is fairly substantial and I am thinking about using the work in progress project to write a potential publishable paper.

I get ahead of myself, but it was suggested that I might want to do that by a fellow who’s on the three year course track.

He listened to my project and was like, “you should publish that,” then told me how to do it, then approached my professor and told him what we had discussed and the professor liked it!

Holy fuck.

Anyway.

One day back from the intensive and I haven’t done a lot, although I have done plenty.

Since I have been back I have had supervision, seen 7 clients, worked a nanny shift, went grocery shopping, did laundry, and food prepped for the week.

That in and of itself is full time work.

Then, today at work, while the little guy napped (why oh why have his naps grown shorter!?) I plugged in all the due dates and assignments and readings that I needed to do over the semester into my Google calendar.

My calendar looks crazy.

It looks like every spare minute has been accounted for until mid December when the semester ends.

I sense the days are going to fly by because they will all be so very full with the work that I have to do.

I have a lot to do.

This is by far the heaviest work load.

And.

In a sense the most clear cut.

I figured out who I want to be my chair for my PhD dissertation committee and I also asked said person, or at least gave him the heads up.

It will still have to go through the channels and what not, but I know who I want and I believe he wants to work with me.

Plus.

I asked another person to be on my committee and she said yes.

So, that’s positive.

Granted, I can’t actually assign anyone to my committee without my chair’s approval.

So first the chair.

That will officially happen in November.

But I interviewed with three professors at the intensive and with each one I talk substantively about what I am doing and what my inquiry is and how I want to pursue the work.

Two of the professors I talked to for an hour.

One professor I only got to catch for ten minutes between classes, but she was ecstatic with my idea and really impressed with how I’m going about it.

She recommended that I sit in on a former TA’s dissertation defense, which I did and she was the person I asked to be my second committee member.

The professor also suggested I take her elective in Spring, which I had already written down to take!

So my courses are lined up.

I will get through this semester and I’m going to light it on fire.

I’m going to bring it.

The fact that I am going down two days of nannying a week for me is even a bigger deal now.

I need that time.

I also want to have incoming therapy clients fill up those spots, but every spare minute is going to be used.

I had clients cancel for this Friday, not all, but two, Labor Day weekend travel plans, and I immediately blocked the time off to do homework.

I will always, always, always, be carrying my laptop with me so that I can take whatever time I get whenever I get it, to be online, posting discussion posts.

I will always have one, if not two or even three books with me so that I have something I am consistently reading.

This is the semester to get my literature together.

For my Ecology of Ideas class I have to submit a literature journal with 250-300 pieces of literature–dissertations, studies, books, articles, etc.

I don’t have to read them through, but I will need to be consistently searching for materials as well as consistently skimming and scanning and adding them to my annotated bibliography and my journal.

There is so much to do.

It’s exciting too.

I’m not going to lie.

I can really see it coming together and I plan on submitting my proposal next fall instead of waiting for the fall semester to work on the proposal, I am going to do it over the summer.

I am going to dig in next summer and get it done, it will literally save me a year of tuition and waiting for approval.

A friend of mine who TA’s for some of the courses did that this intensive.

She did all her course work in two years, like I am in the middle of doing, took the summer to work on her proposal and the second day of the intensive, the first day of classes, she defended her proposal and got it approved.

Which means she moves right into her dissertation.

I’m all for it.

I made a pact with a friend of mine in the cohort and that’s what we’re going to do.

It will knock out time and a lot of tuition.

Fuck my student loans are big.

But you know.

I am so fucking worth it.

And so is my idea.

I can’t wait to show it to the world.

Until then though.

You will not see a lot of me this semester.

I literally am going to be buried under books.

I might come up for a breather around Thanksgiving.

But for now.

Well.

See ya.

I got shit to read.

So much.


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