Archive for the ‘Recovery’ Category

Little Gold Star

January 20, 2019

Today I got my 14th star tattoo.

14 stars.

14 years of being sober.

I decided I need to give myself a gold star.

It’s been that kind of year.

When I reflected on all the things that I went through and all the places I’ve been, I think that I definitely earned it.

This past year I traveled to DC, New York, Paris, and Marseilles.

I graduated with a Master’s degree in Psychology.

I went through a buy out and moved.

That was some serious stress let me tell you.

I also started a private practice therapy business.

And.

A PhD program.

I also got my grades back from said program.

All “A”s.

ALL.

I was a little surprised to tell you the truth, I had an issue with a final paper I turned in for one of my classes and I didn’t think it was going to fly, the paper, that is–I digressed from the specific instructions the professor gave and did rather what I wanted to do.  It was the only paper for the class, although there were so many discussion posts that I feel like I actually wrote seven papers for the class, and I ran a huge risk doing it.

The risk paid off.

So, yeah, a gold star felt really appropriate.

2019-01-19 20.54.20-2

Yes.

It did hurt.

And it felt really right and I was, obviously, very happy with it.

Not only was I pleased with it, but it filled out the space perfect.  I am very satisfied with the way all my tattoos look and really have little desire to put anything else in that area.

Not sure where I’ll put the 15th, but let’s just let me focus on the 14th star.

It really was quite a year.

I walked through some really challenging things and came out the other side.

I reflected on a lot of that today as I went about my day.

I saw clients at my office, did lots of writing, read for one of my upcoming classes for this next semester (school starts next Thursday!), went to Let it Bleed on Polk Street, got an iced coffee for a treat, walked around the Tenderloin and took graffiti photographs, caught up with my friend DannyBoy at the shop, took myself out to lunch in Hayes Valley, had a coffee with a friend in the Mission at Maxfield’s House of Caffeine, went to Divisadero and got my nails done, and then hit my Saturday night commitment and did the deal.

It was a day.

I’m really happy with my life right now.

Oh, sure, romantically it’s strange, but you know, that will work itself out.

Or not.

I have ceased (fighting anyone or anything) trying to figure it out.

I’m just showing up every day and taking care of myself and I feel really good about what I did today for myself and my own care.

I also thought a lot about what I want to bring forward for this next year.

Get through the next semester of classes, add clients into my private practice, travel.

I also want to get through the Below Market Housing Homeowners workshop.

I really am going to go after buying a house in San Francisco.

My friend whom I met for coffee happens to be a realtor and we spent an hour going over what I need to do to get myself in line to actually do that.

She gave me a good idea of how much money I will need to have saved up, which will take some time (or not, who knows, money may fall out of the sky) to save, but I can do it.

Plus that I should get a credit card.

Which I’m not super stoked on the idea.

I had one that I’d gotten last year and then never used as it made me uncomfortable.

But.

My friend insisted I was really going to need a credit history that showed me paying off a card.

She said get one, pay it off every month and always pay more than the minimum payment.

If I do get another card, and that’s an if, I will definitely not let a balance roll over.

I just do not like the idea of having any credit card debt.

I do, however, like the idea of having a good credit score and something that shows I am a good risk for a home loan.

I shall take it under advisement.

I actually tried to re-open the credit card I had closed but I could not figure out how to do it and just sort of set it aside tonight when I got home.

I feel like I did a lot today just by sitting down and talking about it.

I will manifest a house in San Francisco.

See if I don’t.

In the mean time there is plenty of other things for me to do.

I do want to keep a soft focus on it though, always have it in my mind and see where I can expand my awareness of abundance.

I am continuing to practice that opening up to the universe, to the flow, to God, to abundance, I have continued to give away a little more than I typically do.

More tip in the tip jar, more money in the basket, continuing to pay my bills within 24 hours of getting them.

And!

Oh my gosh, this is definitely part of the gold star, I got approved to become an employee at my internship.

Which means that I will start bringing in more money.

I am so psyched about that.

I’m excited for this year.

I feel like all sorts of incredible things are going to happen.

I really do.

Faith.

I like that.

Faith, abundance, joy, honesty, integrity, serenity.

Words to live by.

Principles to underpin my gold star.

And!

Love.

Let me not forget that one.

Never forget that.

Seriously.

 

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Bullshit

January 15, 2019

I keep expecting someone to say that when I say, “thank you for 14 years.”

It sounds so surreal coming out of my mouth.

How the hell did that happen?

Really?

Fourteen years.

Nights and weekends, nothing in between, nothing to take the edge off.

As if anything really could.

Using or drinking for me over an issue or a problem would just be pouring gas on a bonfire.

I would burn it all down and I don’t actually think I would die.

That would be the easier, softer way.

No.

I think I would live a miserable, dire, soul less, ugly life.

I have so much in my life I cannot imagine ever going back.

I do see it happen though.

So here’s to having more commitments and suiting up and showing up and doing the deal no matter what.

My life is really wonderful and it was with much sweetness that I picked up some metal last night in front of my community who witnesses me with so much love.

It really awes me the amount of love I have been given access to.

Most of all, the love I feel for myself.

The level of compassion and forgiveness I have for myself really is so vast.

I didn’t have it growing up.

Occasionally I would have a moment where I thought I might have something worthy in me, I was certainly smart, but how many times does it take for a person to hear that she is “too smart for her own good,” before she begins, I begin, to think the same.

I used to also wonder.

How come if I’m so damn smart I can’t figure out my life or what I want or where I’m going.

I mean.

I had some idea.

I knew I wanted out of Wisconsin and after multiply failed attempts I made it out in 2002 to travel all the way across the country and cross the Bay Bridge in my little two door Honda Accord.

I still remember what it felt like crossing over that bridge.

I was definitely crossing a threshold.

I had no idea.

Sometimes I think it’s a good thing that I didn’t know all the things that were going to transpire.

Who knows if I would have made it out.

I do certainly remember that.

I had a feeling of dread that my time was soon to be up in Wisconsin and I needed to leave, there was a constant low-level thrum of anxiety, a beating drum of doom that throbbed just below everything.

I was in constant fear.

I had no name for it though.

I had no idea the anxiety I was under.

I knew the depression.

That I had at least been seen for, once when I was in my early twenties and when the therapist wanted to medicate me as my insurance wouldn’t allow her to continue serving me unless I was prescribed meds, I bounced.

I didn’t understand then what depression meant.

All I knew was that sometimes it was terribly hard to get out of bed.

Or bathe.

I remember my boyfriend once made a comment about it, that the sheets needed to be changed or washed and I knew I had to get out and wash the bedding and myself, but getting into the shower was so damn hard.

I can remember how sunny it was too and we lived really close to James Madison park, literally just a few blocks away on Franklin.

I can count the number of times I went to the park on a sunny summer day on one hand and have more than a few fingers left over.

I could not get myself out of the house.

I knew it would pass.

It always did.

But it started to get longer.

And longer.

I might have a day of it once in a while and then nothing for sometime and then it would just snake back in.

For some reason it happened (and can happen for me now, there’s sometimes a feeling of dread during the longest days of the year) during the summer when there was lots of light and no reason to be caged up inside.

People think depression and they see rainy days and grey skies.

I saw sunshine and couldn’t bear to be out in it.

I worked nights.

I slept days.

Sometimes, in the dead of winter I would not see the sunlight at all.

Unless it was the sunrise coming up as I was coming home from closing the bar where I worked.

I was diagnosed with Seasonal Affective Disorder in undergrad.

Turns out that some folks, about 10% of the population that has the disorder, actually experience the depression in the summer.

I remember one year that was really bad.

I was in between jobs, I had just given notice to the Essen Haus where I had been the General Manager and was transitioning to my new job at the Angelic Brewing Company as their Floor Manager (still the worst title ever, how about Queen of Doing Everything, that seems more apt).

I had two weeks off.

I was supposed to have taken those two weeks off to go on a road trip with my boyfriend, but it didn’t come to fruition due to the Angelic needing me to start before the trip had been planned.

I postponed it and planned on doing it the next year which never happened either, but I digress.

My boyfriend went to work in the morning and I sat in the living room of our apartment in a rocking chair.

I sat there all day long.

I might have read books.

I would sleep as long in bed as I could, then get up and sit in that chair until he came home.

Part of me suspected that there was something very soothing about the rocking of the chair, I used to self-soothe as a child when I was upset by rocking back and forth, I can still slip into it if I’m really freaked out.

I don’t remember much of that week, but one particular scene is always in my head and that is of the shadows growing longer and longer in the apartment as the sun set.

They would crawl slowly across the floor and I would watch them inch up the walls until the apartment was muddled in twilight and I would only get up to turn on the light five minutes before I thought my boyfriend was going to get home.

There were many nights of sitting in that chair in the dark by myself alone.

I told no one.

Wowzers.

I had no idea that was going to be what I wrote about tonight, but hey, there it is.

In addition to the SAD, I have depression.

Hahahaha.

Sigh.

Major Depressive Disorder is the clinical diagnosis.

I managed it once in early sobriety with antidepressants but after a few years I got of the meds and deal with it through writing daily in my morning journal, I use a light therapy box every morning, I write affirmations, I get outside as much as I can, I eat really, really, really well, I do my own therapy work, I cultivate relationships with my fellows and I have good damn friends.

And I don’t drink.

Alcohol is a depressant you know.

I didn’t.

Not for years.

And for years I have been pretty free from that great ocean of doom and for that I am so grateful.

My life is lovely.

Challenging, sure.

But absolutely lovely.

Thank you for 14 years!

You know who you are and I love you, very, very, very much.

What Would You Buy

January 8, 2019

With one dollar?

He asked me to write it down on the note card.

Then he asked what would I buy if I won $10, then $100.

Then $1,000.00

And $1,000,000.00

And also.

$10,000,000.00

My friend had talked me into buying a couple of lottery tickets right before New Years, he always does around New Years and at first I balked.

“You’re one of those people,” my friend told me, we were just leaving Reno.  She had been working at a casino in Wisconsin and was driving cross-country with me to help me move to San Francisco from Madison.

“What do you mean?  I’m one of ‘those’ people,” I asked, but you know in my head I think I sort of knew.

“You’re one of those people that they warn us about at the casino,” she finished.

“Really?  Come on, how can you tell after twenty minutes of me playing slots?”  I asked skeptical, but as I mentioned, perhaps there was a little inkling of knowing what she meant.

She broke it down and yup, I pretty much qualified as one of those people.

I still do.

Which is why I’m pretty careful about not gambling, playing the lottery, buying scratcher cards, going to Reno or Vegas for a fun weekend of playing slots.

Nope.

Something inside gets a little wacky.

Gambling can easily become an addiction and I found out later in life that my mom had a gambling addiction in addition to a few other things.

Some things run in the blood.

So when my friend was like, hey just buy a lotto ticket, its tradition, I balked at first.

Then.

He explained himself and I thought, ok, maybe.

I bought two.

I didn’t win.

But for a day or two occasionally I would think about what I would do if I did win.

Pay off my student loans.

And my best friend’s student loans and probably a few friends in my Masters degree cohort too.

I would definitely quit working, as a nanny, I’d still work as a therapist, I think its important to give back and I’m a good therapist, and I think that having something constructive to do is important.

I would travel a ton.

I would go to Paris and take the Belmond Simplon-Orient Express from Paris to Venice.

And I would upgrade to the suite, which is 3,500 Euro for one way.

God it’s a pretty train, all art deco and fancy and stuff.

Then Venice.

Which I have always wanted to go to and have not made it there yet.

I would get skin reduction surgery for the excess skin I have from my weight loss.

I would buy some pretty clothes.

I would buy a flat in Paris.

I would buy a house in San Francisco.

I would buy a house in San Francisco.

I’m going to buy a house in San Francisco.

I have been writing an affirmation now for a few years every morning in my writing that goes something like this, “I own my own home in San Francisco.”

It really has seemed a bit of a pipe dream, even though I had someone tell me to look them up when I entered my Master’s program when I was ready to buy a house.

She was assuming I would eventually come into a decent amount of salary becoming a therapist.

I’m not quite there, but I am beginning to taste the reality of it.

I actually think I can buy a house.

I really do.

Even here.

In the most expensive market in the United States.

This feeling is pretty new to me, only having happened in the last 24 hours.

Yesterday I had  a huge resentment surface around my current landlord.

There is a gigantic water leak in my hallway entry, a leak that was not just drip, dripping, but literally soaking the hallway to my studio.

Granted.

There is not an actual leak in my studio, it’s dry, but the hallway from the entry door to the studio is sopping wet and my landlord happens to be a contractor, I was aghast when it happened a couple of weeks ago and even more so yesterday and the day before.

I got angry about it.

It’s pretty obvious that he’s not doing a thing about it and it’s rather disgusting to walk through.

That and I’m pretty sure, though I haven’t quite figured out what the correct amount is, that he’s overcharging me utilities.

I made a call to the Tenant’s Union last night to go over a few things–like I don’t have a heater in the studio, which I found out was illegal, and it’s been super cold.  I bought out-of-pocket a space heater, but it doesn’t seem much of a solution and apparently my using it is blowing up the utility bill.

Something smacks weird in all this and add-on to a few drunken loud parties, pot smoke in the garage leaking into my bathroom, and some domestic fights that I have heard and I had pretty much made the decision yesterday that I was going to honor my lease but after it was up, get the hell out.

It’s just not quite the right fit.

It’s better than what I had and I will be honest I looked past one red flag that I probably shouldn’t have.

I did some inventory around it and discussed it in detail last night before doing the deal up in the Castro.

One thing that came out is that I have been practicing faith around my finances instead of fear, I have for a few weeks now.

The buy out monies that I pre-paid the first six months of rent will run out in February and I will have to pay rent out of my pocket and I’ve been concerned.

Afterall.

It is $1,000 more than what I was paying.

So I have been doing contrary actions.

Tipping more when I get a coffee or going out to eat, and I’m a good tipper (once service industry, and I did it for two decades, always service industry), giving a little more when asked, paying my bills early, making a car payment when one isn’t yet due, etc.

Believing that I will have enough and acting as thought there is more money coming in.

Yeah, I was miffed about the utility bill and my landlord saying I owed more, I mean, dude, you owe me a heater in my unit, you should pay the fucking bill, is what I wanted to say, but I also did restraint of tongue and pen and text and figured it would be much better to talk with the Tenant’s Union before I talk with my landlord.

I just paid the bill, wrote a check, and I also said, I’m still going to use the space heater.

The studio is god damn cold.

It’s winter.

It’s been a cold winter for San Francisco and the unit is not insulated, so even when it warms up it doesn’t hold it for very long.

Anyway.

After I got my anger out and had a good talk and then listened to a good talk, I said I was going to have the faith that I didn’t have to actually look for a shitty place, I will be able to afford something better.

Then my person said, “why don’t you just buy a house?”

I was like, Jesus, you’re right!

I am going to buy a house.

The lottery ticket, like I said didn’t yield a win, but it did put the desire to be a homeowner square in my face and I have thought for a long time that I might be crazy, but somehow I was going to end up owning a house in SF.

San Francisco has a Below Market Housing lotto for new homes that are built to accommodate those in the city that can’t afford to buy market rate houses.

I have to attend six hours of workshops and do a 1 on 1 counseling session before I can enter the lottery, but once that’s done, I can apply to every listing that goes up.

Guess who signed up for their first workshop last night?

Yeah.

That’s right.

And I have this feeling.

I really do.

I am going to buy a house.

And it’s not that far away.

I can feel it.

Seriously.

 

The Good Enough

January 1, 2019

Paper.

I got a message yesterday as I was winding up the laundry and gathering it from the dryer at the mat up the way on Balboa.

It was a message from one of my professors.

I have already begun reading for the next semester, three of my text books have landed in my mail box, and I wasn’t really thinking anything about the message other than maybe he’d gotten my grade in early.

That was not the message.

No.

Fuck my life.

The message basically said it looks like the final paper you sent in was a draft and not the final copy and it is full of typos and ends abruptly and doesn’t answer the questions that I wanted answered and makes me wonder if you understood the scope of the material in the course.

Holy shit, what?!

I was flummoxed.

First, that I had sent in a draft?

I never do that.

I am scrupulous about doing a spell check and when he said “typos” I was really curious about what it could be.

I was also pressed for time as I was supposed to go meet up before doing the deal in the Castro and I had only so much time, not enough, surely to look up the paper and see what I had sent in and remedy it.

I scrambled my laundry home to my house, I had fifteen arguments in my head with my professor, I got upset with myself, I started thinking about the paper I had written and internally I knew, the prof was right on at least one point, I hadn’t really written a paper that was outlined in the directions.

I had deviated and written something that I wanted to.

My professor had also noted that though it was “fascinating” it didn’t address a lot of the topics that he wanted covered.

And that bit about me not understanding the scope of the material?

Well fuck off.

Did you not read all the freaking discussion posts I put up?

I mean.

Fuck.

I did substantial, 1,000 word plus discussion posts, on a weekly basis, two, three, four times a week.

I understood the scope of the fucking material.

I was mad.

I was also mad at myself.

How could I have sent in a draft?

What was I thinking?

I also had a vague recollection of actually being rather proud of the paper I had sent in, though no, it was not written in the way he wanted, it was well written and I felt that in my own way I had actually answered all the parameters of the paper.

I sent him a message and apologized for the paper, told him I had a standing appointment to meet up with my person and I had to do the deal after and then I’d get right home and get on figuring out what had happened.

I teared up a bit, I imagined I was going to have to do a load of work, my brain went right to the worst thing ever.

I was failing the class and what the fuck was I doing even bothering to try to get a PhD?

I was in over my head.

I was tired.

I didn’t want to re-write the paper, was I going to have to re-write it?

But I loved my paper, I really had liked it and I had spent more than one day on it.

Quite often I will write a paper in one shot and then edit it and send it out.

I did this one in two days, I felt like I should have been getting a pat on the back and a “how clever are you?” comment about my paper, not some insinuation that I didn’t understand the course work.

I was incensed and upset.

I cried big raccoon eyed tears when I made it to the Castro and basically wet down the table at Firewood Cafe with my weeping.

I couldn’t believe I had actually worn not just eyeliner, but also mascara and not the waterproof kind.

I looked a little beat up when I left.

I got down to it though with my person and came to the conclusion that.

1. The professor was right, I hadn’t written the paper the way he had assigned it.

2. I was being arrogant.

3. I didn’t have to get an “A” in the course.

4. All I had to do was pass the course.

5. I was fucking tired and overwhelmed and I didn’t have a whole lot in me.

So after a lot of getting humble and admitting that I may have turned in not the best paper I could, whilst also admitting that I was beating myself up a little too hard, I left the Castro, came home and looked up the paper.

OHMYFUCKINGGOD.

It was like the draft of the draft.

It was awful.

I don’t have a clue how that got past me.

All I could think was that I had updated my computer at one point and maybe that was it.

But it was true, the version I had sent to my professor was a hot mess, typos, misspellings, the last page was missing, the paper ended in a super abrupt way and I had also pasted the directions in the paper so that I could refer to it when I wanted to.

But you don’t send that in to the professor!

Ugh.

I spent some time trying to find the final draft and there wasn’t one saved on my computer.

So.

I made the decision to not re-write the whole thing, I still was holding onto the idea that I wasn’t that in the wrong with the content of the paper and he had said it was fascinating.

I cleaned it up, re-arranged a few pieces, wrote out the last page that had been missing and sent my professor an e-mail apologizing for the draft that had ended up in his e-mail.

I also defended what I wrote, but admitted that yes, he was right and I hadn’t done the paper by the guidelines he’d given.

I said if there was anything else I needed to do for the paper I would happily do it.

I sent it out and crashed out early, I was wiped out emotionally and mentally.

There was nothing in my e-mail when I woke up.

I spent much of the morning thinking that I might be spending my New Years Eve writing a ten page paper on a topic that I had basically shelved eleven days ago.

Then.

OH!

Sweet relief.

I got an e-mail this afternoon saying that he’d gotten the new copy, that he understood that it was a mistake getting the first one, that further, he understood why I had written the paper I had and that I didn’t have to do anything else, and happy new year.

HAPPYFUCKINGNEWYEAR!

Sweet Jesus.

What a freaking relief.

I don’t even care what the grade is that I get.

I am certain I will pass.

The paper was good enough.

And I can now say, with finality that this semester is over.

Which is good since I’m doing reading for the next one at this point.

Not tomorrow though.

Tomorrow is a holiday and I will treat it as such.

Grateful as all get out that I made it through this year.

It was one hell of a ride.

Seriously.

Rendered Speechless

December 27, 2018

I don’t often look at old photographs.

I just did.

Work photos from over sixteen years ago.

Longer, perhaps, though not much more than eighteen years, I’ve been in San Francisco for sixteen, so they have to be at least that old.

There’s a private Facebook page with photographs of a place I used to run for six years.

1996-2002 I was the Floor Manager at the Angelic Brewing Company in Madison, Wisconsin.

A lot of the photographs are ones that I took myself.

Although I don’t have the album that they are located in.

I used to take a lot of staff photos.

Before Facebook and camera phones.

I kept a photo album in the office and I would put it out during big staff events.

Most usually the annual holiday party that I was in charge of organizing and running.

We got silly.

I remember one year I bought a bunch of disposable cameras.

Oh the pictures on those cameras.

Many stories.

I was rendered speechless though when I saw a photograph of myself that may have been at my heaviest weight when I was working there.

I don’t actually know what I weighed.

I didn’t like to use the scale.

But I do know that the shirt I was wearing was a size 26.

I now wear a size eleven.

So much has changed.

I just sat on my couch before logging onto my computer and I had an abstinent meal.

Abstinent for me means no flour (of any kind–almond, oat, coconut, corn, wheat, etc) and no sugar.

I do eat fruit, so I get sugar that way, though I tend to not eat fruit with my dinner.

I will.

Just not always.

Fruit is a sort of desert for me.

For dinner tonight I had about a 1/2 c of sautéed broccoli with a cup of brown rice and a roasted chicken leg and thigh.

I had some bubbly water and I listened to jazz.

When I think about the way I ate when I ran the Angelic.

Oh my God.

Freaks me out a little.

Sort of like how the picture did.

I almost want to post it here but I’m not actually sure how to do that and I am also not really sure I want to post it anyway.

I am grateful though for the changes I have gone through and for the good reminder that although my body doesn’t look the exact way I want it to, it looks a hell of a lot better than it did.

I mean.

I used to have a double chin.

I haven’t had a double chin in a long ass time and I am hella grateful for that.

The amazing thing about the photo is that I’m doing the splits on the bar.

I was a lot more limber then than I am now.

I was also studying to get my black belt in Kung Fu.

That also blows my mind, that I got a black belt at the weight I was.

I wonder sometime what it would have been like if I had lost the weight sooner.

But really that doesn’t do me much good to think about that, it’s just fantasy and speculation.

I also had to have some recovery under my belt before I could get abstinent, recovery, therapy, self-care.

A lot of that.

Self-love.

I am really quite proud of myself when I see how very far I have come.

All things considered.

I shouldn’t be where I am at today.

I am very, very, very grateful.

I’m also grateful to have gotten through Christmas.

Three gay boys, two movies, and one sushi dinner.

It was an official San Francisco Christmas.

Matinee at the Kabuki, hanging out in the Castro, then the Metreon in the evening.

I am grateful too for the people I spent time with.

I am grateful for San Francisco being my home.

I am grateful for all the lovely gifts I was given.

The biggest one, always does seem to be perspective.

That’s why the photo hit me so hard.

Just how far I have come.

I’m 46 now.

I look so much better at 46 than I did at 26.

I may have been a little older in the photo, but my weight would have been about the same.

It got bad there for a bit.

But then I think, I needed to be the way I was, to feel safe.  I ate to feel safe in a body that was not a safe place to inhabit.

I ate because I had been hurt.

I did not want to hurt anymore.

I also ate because it was a compulsion.

There were times when I would find myself in the dark raiding the desert fridge at work– shoving an entire piece of Irish Cream pie into my mouth, one, two, three pieces in under five minutes.

I hated it and I couldn’t stop it.

I also didn’t realize that once I put sugar into my body it was sort of on.

Sugar is just as addictive as many narcotics.

Sugar activates the same place in the brain that cocaine does.

I loved cocaine.

And before I had cocaine.

I had sugar.

I had a lot of it.

God.

Just thinking about how much soda I drank too.

Ugh.

I mean.

I worked in the service industry for two decades.

I did not drink diet soda ever, I scoffed at it.

I drank straight up Coca Cola.

I drank vats of it.

When you work in the service industry you usually get free soda.

And because I was in management, I got free meals.

French fries dipped in sour cream.

Fried fish sandwiches with buckets of tartar sauce.

Pasta with chicken and mushrooms and cream sauce and parmesan and bread sticks.

OH bread sticks.

Idaho nachos–cottage fries instead of corn chips–with heaps of cheese and chicken and black beans and guacamole and sour cream.

Pizza.

Pizza.

Pizza.

Beer cheese soup.

And it was a brewery, so yes, lots of beer too, many, many, many pints.

Ex-employees used to joke about how they would lose the “Angelic 20” when they stopped working there since they weren’t always drinking the beer.

Which was not light in any sense of the word.

Oh.

How things have changed.

For the better.

I might have a nostalgic moment once in a great while for something.

But not ever looking like that picture again?

That will kill any craving I might have.

Fact is.

I don’t crave food, when you don’t have it in your system, the urge goes away.

Hella grateful for that too.

So here’s to not having to make New Years resolutions.

I am resolved every day.

I am happy.

Joyous.

Abstinent.

And.

Motherfucking.

Free.

 

Today I Ate

December 25, 2018

An entire book.

I mean.

I consumed it.

I chopped it up and snorted it down like it was some sort of happy drug.

I haven’t read fiction in so long it was an aphrodisiac.

I still feel a little high.

I did just like I said I would and I slept in this morning.

I woke up at 9:45 a.m.!

Holy Toledo.

I cannot remember the last time I slept that late.  I mean, maybe the ARTumnal Airpusher after party silent dance rave I went to in November, but even the day after coming home from a night of carousing and dancing I was still up by 8:30a.m.

I think.

So this morning was nuts.

I believe it was partially, at least this is my excuse, not that I need one, that it was so clouded over.

Dark and stormy.

Grey and misty and wet.

True San Francisco winter weather, not exactly rain, but mist and wind and rainy and all-pervasive.

San Francisco rain doesn’t really always come straight down, it seems to enwrap you and get everything soaked.

Without directly raining all that much.

So I slept in.

I might have even slept longer were it not for the siren song of my bladder yelling out about the big mug of tea I had before I went to bed last night.

I got up and was leisurely.

Like in a major way.

I think it was 11:30a.m. before I actually sat down for breakfast.

A phone call from my best friend was partially the reason, but mostly, I was just going slow and easy.

I enjoyed my late breakfast and wrote a ton.

A lot.

It was lovely.

And though I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do, I did know I was going to need to make a run to the grocery store and maybe see what was playing at the Balboa Theater, which is just up the road from me.

Unfortunately I’d already seen one of the movies and the other I am planning on seeing tomorrow.

But.

La Promenade Cafe was open and so I took my book and settled into a big leather arm-chair by the front window and sank into my story.

I bought this book last summer, a few weeks before I was to start my fall intensive for school.

A day before I got my first text-book in the mail for said intensive.

I only read a few of the stories, it’s a collection of shorts from A.M. Holmes called Days of Awe.

I really like her work, I’ve only read her novels and was happy to find that the shorts were just as compelling and in a way very interwoven, so it felt like I was reading a novel in a way.

I read at the cafe and listened to music and people watched and thought how nice it was to actually be in a cafe in my new neighborhood.

The first time since I’ve moved here since mid-September that I actually did something other than laundry in the neighborhood.

It felt a little like getting settled.

I did another first today too, this one may surprise you, although it shouldn’t considering how busy I keep myself.

I went for a walk around my neighborhood!

Yeah.

I know.

I really haven’t done any walking, unless it was from my car to the house or from the house to my car.

I had gotten back from the cafe, unloaded my groceries, roasted a chicken, made a late lunch, sat on my couch, watched the rain, ate brown butter brussels sprouts and hot roast chicken and listened to Coleman Hawkins.

It was delicious.

The food.

The music.

The rain on the windows.

It felt outside of time, I couldn’t remember what day of the week it was, Sunday, Monday, it all blended together.

My tree looked pretty, I lit candles, it was so cozy.

Then the sun burst out for a few minutes and I thought I should go for a sunset walk.

I quickly bundled up, there was only a few minutes before the sun was going to set, and I walked out the door on 48th and down Balboa towards the sea.

As I got closer, I realized that there was a path that I hadn’t seen before and what do you know, it’s actually a little park!

Sutro Dunes!

I had no idea.

Sweet little wood slat path along the base of the grass and flower covered dunes.

In the twilight it was deeply moving and full of divinity.

It felt really good to just do a little stretch around the neighborhood, to see the Cliff House hanging like an ornament over the ocean, to smell the fresh washed air, to just be.

I am pretty lucky when I think about it.

I live by the ocean.

It is literally a block away from my house.

Although I don’t get down to it as much as I would like, it is always a solace to me and I see it every day when I leave in the morning.

I always say hello.

I am in perpetual awe of its beauty.

And I am not often home at sunset to ponder it.

It was a really lovely little gift to me.

I got back to the house right before the rain began again and settled back on my couch, my first day of really sitting on my couch too!

My first day really using my coffee table like a coffee table.

I drank a second homemade cafe au lait, so decadent to have two in one day at my house, and I read more of the book until I left to go do the deal up at 7th and Irving.

Which was also just marvelous.

Ran into some much-loved fellows and heard exactly what I needed to hear.

Came home, heated up dinner.

And yes.

Yes I did.

I ate the rest of the book.

I read 288 pages today.

It was not a chore.

It was the best feeling.

And guess what?

One of my text books for the next semester did come in the mail today.

I did not read it.

I was tempted.

But I realized, did I want to leave the A.M. Holmes until next summer?

Or was it actually ok to let myself have Christmas Eve without homework?

It was ok.

And it was so lovely.

Exactly the kind of day off that will sustain me for many weeks as I marshal my way forward towards this next milestone of learning and life.

Gratitude this Christmas for all the gifts in my life.

There are so many.

The best, I dare say, may be my relationship with myself and the life I have been given.

Grace.

That’s what it is.

Grace.

I have been blessed.

And may you be as well.

Merry Christmas to all.

And to all.

A.

Very.

Good.

Night.

Not A God Damn

December 24, 2018

Thing.

Nothing.

I have no plans for tomorrow.

Zero.

Zip.

Nada.

I won’t be doing homework.

I won’t be going to work.

I have no clients.

I have no obligations.

I have no chores to do.

I did laundry today and cleaned up from last night’s holiday party.

I have no party to prep for.

I have absolutely nothing to do.

Except.

SLEEP IN!

Oh my God.

I am not setting an alarm for the first time in weeks?  Months, I mean, I don’t know.

It’s been a while.

I already feel like I’m playing hooky by writing my blog at 10p.m. at night.

I can stay up as long as a fucking want!

Although I won’t.

Because I am a creature of habit and I don’t want to blow my entire sleep schedule completely up.

I will have to work this upcoming week and not all of my clients went out-of-town for the holidays and I have group supervision as well as a one on one evaluation with my supervisor.

But hey.

That’s not tomorrow.

Tomorrow there is nothing to do but rest.

I have briefly entertained the idea of going to the MOMA, but I’m not sure I want to go downtown.

It may actually be the only place in the city that’s busy with shoppers and tourists and such.

I may not want to drive anywhere.

When was the last time I did that?

Not drive anywhere on a day off?

I had also thought about taking a nice long walk on the beach, but um, rain.

Looks like it’s supposed to rain most of the day tomorrow.

I could actually spend the entire day in the house and not leave it and lay around in my pajamas and not put on clothes or make up or do my hair.

I could.

I probably won’t though.

I can let myself sleep in a little, but not getting dressed and lazing around the entire day in pjs feels weird.

Besides.

I don’t wear pjs.

No.

I do like the idea of being up and doing a few things and I will do my normal morning routine, I will just not be doing it to the sound of an alarm going off.

I will wake up when I wake up.

There have been times that unscheduled open time freaked me out.

I have not had it in such a long time though, that I think I will manage to not freak out.

Christmas day I will be going out and about.

Not crazy like, but a matinée at the Kabuki Theater, The Favorite, with my person, then meeting up with a few others for Chinese food at Eric’s in Noe Valley, and then downtown to the Metreon for Mary Poppins.

I allowed myself to get wrangled.

Frankly I’m not really interested, but free ticket and not being by myself Christmas night was enough to get me to agree despite my lack of enthusiasm for the movie.

I do expect The Favorite will be fun, I heard it was wicked good and the previews definitely looked good.

I can’t imagine going out to more movies tomorrow.

Two movies in one day is decadent enough, I could read some books, not text books.

Although, knowing me, if the books I ordered for next semester happened to show up I might actually to get a jump on the work.

But I sense that’s not what I should be doing.

Keeping the space heater on, getting cozy with a novel on the couch and sipping hot tea and staring at my Christmas tree sounds about right.

I might walk to the store and buy a chicken to roast.

I really am contemplating not driving anywhere, although it’s likely that I will go out in the evening to do the deal, I could for most of the day just be at home.

It’s a nice home, it is.

I had a lovely time hosting my first little party here last night.

I had ten people show up and all the chili got ate!

All of it.

I had no left overs at all.

Oh, I had some, but not chili.

Anyway, it was lovely, very sweet, and I felt happy to have folks in the house and I made a pie from scratch, crusts and all, in heels and fishnets over silver glitter tights.

I mean.

It is Christmas after all, I had to wear some sparkle.

I found it quite appropriate to be in my kitchen in heels baking pie with my house full of gay boys and girlfriends.

It was good.

Chosen family.

I felt really blessed.

I have some of the best people in my life.

It was so nice too, to socialize.

I haven’t had much of that what with school and my internship and work and all that jazz.

I even tentatively talked going out dancing with a few of my girlfriends in January.

Not New Year’s Eve.

Total amateur night and way too expensive.

If I were to go dancing on New Year’s Eve I’d actually go to a friends party in the East Bay that’s a big sober event and usually a good time.

But not really sure I want to navigate the bridge on New Year’s Eve either.

The girls and I were thinking a little later into the month, although, not too late as I will be starting back up with school the last week of January.

I basically have one month off from school.

My spring intensive starts on January 24th.

So a few weekends of fun before I have to buckle back down with the books.

Two tops.

I will want to give myself some time to go over the materials before the intensive, there was reading assigned before this semester’s start, I can’t imagine that they won’t do the same for this upcoming semester.

Which is neither here nor there.

I am off topic.

Off topic from tomorrow.

My lazy, do nothing, have no responsibility to anything or anyone day.

Oh God.

It sounds so good.

I think I’ll get started now.

Good night.

Sweet dreams.

And don’t bother calling me in the morning.

My phone will be off.

I’m motherfucking sleeping in.

Seriously.

The Last Moments

December 18, 2018

Of my 45th year.

Tomorrow is my birthday.

I will be 46 years old.

It’s a surreal number.

Really.

All of them have been a touch on the surreal side ever since passing 40.

But now, well, as I edge closer to 50 than 40 and my body slowly starts to fall apart, I can say yeah, I’m getting old.

Well.

At least older.

And I’m not kidding about the body thing.

I mean.

I can still shake my booty on the dance floor, or in my house as it stands, I just did some dancing to a really lovely remix of “Take You for a Ride on a Big Jet Plane” and I really did break it out.

But.

The signs of getting older are there.

Despite wearing my hair up in gigantic poufs today and donning pink glitter eyeshadow.

I don’t have clients on Mondays after my nanny gig, so I like to play a little with the makeup and the hair.

But you know.

There’s some wrinkles underneath that glitter and there’s definitely some grey hair in those poufs.

And, you know.

I’m ok with it.

I like who I am.

I have worked really fucking hard to get here and my body has managed to carry me through.

So what if it looks like it’s been well-traveled, it has.

Every wrinkle and grey hair a testament to how far I have come.

I did have a moment though, last night, when I was getting ready for bed and I was like, enough with all the stuff.

My aesthetician did some work to remove a patch of collagen that has been bothering me for years recently and I have to touch it up every night and morning to make sure it goes all the way away and I have begun washing my face with actual cleansing foam instead of soap.

She was horrified when I told her I washed my face with soap.

I felt like I was getting scolded by my mom.

So now, I use some cleansing foam and yes, I always use sunblock, she made that a big ass deal years ago.

God.

I sound all sorts of bougie right now.

I hadn’t seen my aesthetician for eight or nine years, I used to go to her when I had really bad cystic acne.

That is one nice thing of getting older, that damn acne finally went away, but I had it well into my early thirties.

In the last few years I have noticed my skin getting a tiny bit dryer and last year I noticed that I had stopped getting black heads at all.

I used to still get those guys.

It seems that the oil in my skin is drying up.

So now I use moisturizer too.

I’m sure these are things most women much younger than me are doing, but you know, I’m a simple lady with the routines, so this adding in of stuff feels new.

And.

Now I’m wearing a night guard at night so I don’t crack any more fucking teeth and have to get any more crowns.

No thank you.

But it’s weird.

And I have to remember to put it in at night, adding another thing I need to do, on top of also taking my reflux meds.

I swallowed the three tiny pills and popped my mouth guard in and snorted.

It has begun.

I’m taking pills at night and wearing a night guard next thing you know I’ll be wearing Depends.

Ugh.

Anyway.

I’m a lucky bitch and I know it.

I don’t look my age, so now that Mother Nature is actually showing me that I’m not immune to this whole getting older thing, I just want to respect it and embrace it.

I don’t want to struggle against it.

I’m going to be 46 in the morning.

And if it’s anything like 45’s been, it’s going to be a pretty damn good year.

In my 45th year I graduated with a Masters in Integral Counseling Psychology.

I traveled to D.C., New York, Paris, and Marseilles.

I got hired at a private practice internship and started subletting an office space as a licenced Associate Marriage Family Therapist.

I danced.

I sang in my car a lot.

I took walks on the beach.

I loved really, really, really hard.

I cried a lot.

I wrote a lot of poetry.

I started my first semester of a PhD program.

I’m one week away from finishing the semester!  I just posted my final discussion post and turned in my final project for my Creative Inquiry Scholarship for the 21st Century class.

It’s been a damn good year.

I’m happy with who I am and where I’m going, even if I cannot see the final destination, I don’t really need to know that anyway.

Oh!

And I moved!

I went through a buyout and walked through a tremendous amount of fear.

I bought my first ever couch.

And it’s pink velvet, so there.

I’ve done a lot of therapy work and feel better about myself and supported in the work i do as a therapist as well.

I bought art from friends.

I pushed myself out of my school, nanny, internship shell and got back into the fellowship in San Francisco a bit more.

I ate a lot of apples.

I like apples.

I wrote a lot of Morning Pages.

I wrote a few blogs, not as many as I might have considering the issues I had there for a while.  But huzzah!  I have, with much help, gotten the two sites separated and I was happy to post my first blog on my therapy site tonight.

I’ve had a damn good year.

I’m a very lucky girl.

Or woman.

I suppose at 46 it’s time to really step into that women role.

Well.

Except when I wear my bunny slippers.

I don’t care how old I get, I’ll probably always wear bunny slippers.

heh.

So here’s to making it alive, sober, abstinent, happy, joyous, and motherfucking free, one more time around the sun.

Thanks 45, it’s been fun.

Bring on 46.

The Poetry Is

December 1, 2018

Spectacular.

I was bowled over by the compliment I just received from a professor regarding a poem I wrote and recorded for a group project in one of my classes.

It is always nice to hear that, that my poetry is “spectacular.”

I mean, who doesn’t want to hear that?

I’m always so flattered.

It comes naturally and it comes with great effort.

I have taken a great deal of time to cultivate and practice my writing skills.

I find that because I have taken so much time doing the work that when I need to sit down and do it, it comes easily and smoothly with what feels like minimal effort.

That means, however, that I have to continually be practicing to keep that flow going.

I can’t rest on the laurels of my gym results from last year if I want to stay in shape.

I have to write.

And therefore it gives me much pleasure to be back here again writing.  I don’t know that I will be able to post as much as I did prior to jumping off into my PhD program, but I am hopeful that I will give it a good god damn shot.

I have to admit that when my blog got intertwined with my professional site I was really upset, how was I not going to be able to blog?

How?

Then, slowly, I saw that it was a gift, this little break from my practice.

It was a opprotunity to do the writing for my classes instead of for my blog.

I have done so much writing for classes.

Each week I’m posting about 4,000-5,000 words in discussion groups.

On top of a pretty constant hum of papers, projects and just all the reading.

My God.

There is a lot of reading.

But as I sit here reflecting on all of that I am also sitting next to a gigantic stack of books I have read.

In fact.

There’s only one book left to read and I’m not 100% certain, but I’m feeling pretty close to it, there may not be any articles left to read either.

I’m sure something will crop up, it always seems to do so.

Yet.

When those things have cropped up I have been able to navigate through them.

Not without some profanity, I won’t lie, I have sworn a lot at my computer over the last couple of months and on more than one occasion, or fifteen, I have wondered, what the fucking hell am I doing?

I have so much on my plate.

Just working full-time and getting my private practice up in running is more than enough to keep anyone busy, let alone putting the course work for a PhD on the line too.

I have a lot going on.

And somehow, everything’s been getting done.

Sometimes at what feels like the last-minute, but I realize that I get it done and I get things turned in on time.

I have already witnessed a distinct amount of people in my cohort suddenly just disappearing.

Some of it is in not participating as much with the discussion groups and some of it is not even checking in on a group project.

I basically had someone completely no-show for the entirety of one of the group projects I was involved with, and at one point I actually thought that I was going to be doing it alone as the other person took such a long time jumping in.

And it got done and my professor thought my poetry was spectacular.

So.

Yeah.

I think my brain can let up on the, what are you doing part, because I am doing something big and worthy and worthwhile and beautiful and it’s going to be a long haul, it is, but that’s ok.

I’m only getting older anyway and I want to really leave my mark out on the world.

However I can, whether it is in service to my recovery community, my therapy clients, or just being an example to someone that you can get what you want despite where you come from or the hardships you have had.

I am excited for what it will all bring, even knowing that it will be a tremendous amount of work and that the great deal of effort I am putting in now is not done for naught.

I keep being told too that my writing is good, that my writing is needed in academia, that my ideas are good, that my contributions are worthwhile and wanted.

It’s nice to feel wanted.

It’s nice to feel that I am contributing, especially at this level of academia.

I suspect that there will be fewer people next semester in my cohort than there was at the beginning of the program.

But I know I will be there and I know that I will continue to strive to do the best I can and show up.

One day at a time.

One hour at a time.

One minute at a time.

Just doing the next thing in front of me.

I will get there.

Wherever there is.

There is here, is now, is in this moment, in this creation, this mass of words and thoughts and dreams.

There is in the space between the words where the love light shines and I find myself again and again in the poetry and the prose of my experience.

In my narrative, my story, my life.

Writing it all as it happens, lucky to be so fortunate to be able to do so and happy that I can continue to do so.

For that I am aware that I am lucky.

I am a very lucky girl.

Very.

So Very Pleased

September 23, 2018

I got a lot done today.

I hung all my artwork in my new home.

I got my new couch delivered and my new chair and they were quickly assembled and they got here ahead of schedule, which was so awesome as it made it possible for me to not only attend a Zoom session for school, but also get to my group supervision on time.

Effectively making it possible for me to even take enough time to do some much-needed personal grooming and pampering, I went and got a mani/pedi and my eyebrows waxed.

And no, I didn’t glaze out with some trash magazines but actually did homework reading.

My books go where ever I go.

That has become mandatory.

Even if I don’t think I will have time, I’m bringing them along.

One at a time I will get through the reading.

There is so very much.

And though a part of me really wanted to do more homework tonight when I got home from doing the deal, I realized that I needed to finish as much of my unpacking as I could.

I just needed to feel settled completely in my home.

I am pretty damn close.

Hanging all my artwork really felt good.

So too blasting some French House music.

My place is sound proofed, plus the landlord is away camping this weekend.

So I didn’t have any compunctions about using a hammer at 9p.m. at night and hanging up my art.

It feels so nice to look at my space.

My couch is freaking perfect, so to the chair and the pillows I got really work nicely, I almost didn’t get them when I was at the store and I even had a moment when I packed them up and I was going to return them, but something made me stop and I am so glad I did, they work really well and look hella cool.

I’m very happy with my couch.

And tomorrow I will get my coffee table, end tables, and bedside tables set up.

I actually hired a woman from Task Rabbit to do it.

I figured it was worth it to not frustrate myself for hours.

I will instead spend a great deal of time tomorrow studying and doing homework.

I have to.

My work week will be full on again as the mom is back from her work travels and I will have the baby full-time again, I may have some time to do readings, but I won’t have time to do writing, which is what I was doing a lot of in the early afternoons before I headed out to pick up the big kids from school.

So tomorrow is definitely a full day of study.

I have one ladybug coming over to do work for an hour and I’ll get out and do the deal, but other than that, I can’t do anything but the work.

Well.

Probably some laundry.

I will want to do that, but I’ll bring homework with me for sure.

It will be my first time going to a laundry mat in years and though I am not excited about that, I am quite happy with how my home has come together and it feels very good to be here.

There are still some things that need to happen for me to entirely settle in, I haven’t gotten a dresser yet and I still have some clothes in a big garment box, but for the most part the space is nicely curated and it feels like me and it feels fun and polished and warm and sweet.

Once it’s all set up I’ll post a few photos.

I really do love the fact that I got myself a pink velvet couch.

Pink is not my favorite color, but I do like it and the couch is just so very me.

A sort of vintage 1970s Paris couch.

It’s the best.

Yeah.

I am very happy in my new home.

It’s also quite a space of reflection for me, to see how far I have come in the last few years.

When I think about how I moved back from Paris with $10 and what I have now, it’s really astounding how much can change in five years.

I got my Master’s degree, I’m working on my PhD,  I went through a buyout (a San Francisco rite of passage now it seems), I found a wonderful new place to live, I have had the most intense romantic love of my life happen, I have traveled back to Paris three times since I moved back, as well as going to New York three times, New Orleans, Burning Man five times, D.C., Atlanta, and L.A.  I bought a scooter, sold the scooter, bought a new car.

I never thought I would actually buy a new car, and holy shit, I did.

I’m starting a private practice internship.

I am fucking living life.

And yeah.

It does get overwhelming at times, but I have a primary purpose and I’m sticking to that.

The PhD is an amazing gift to get to do, but ultimately, it is not the endpoint for my life, although I know it’s going to consume a good bit of my life for a while, it is not my omega point.

Love is.

Deep love.

Loving myself to the best of my abilities and spreading that love as far out into the world as I can.

And now that my home base is almost secure and safe and settled.

I feel that I will be able to do so with even more veracity and courage.

I am in a good place.

It is a challenge.

There are challenges.

No lie.

But I am in a good place.

And I vow to love as hard as I can from this place as I can.

I promise.

Really.

I do.


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