Archive for the ‘San Francisco’ Category

How The Hell

January 19, 2018

Did that happen?

I’m back in school tomorrow.

I just printed off my syllabus for a class.

I haven’t read a thing, not that there was a thing to read, not that I’m aware of, there probably is a thing or fifteen that I’m supposed to read, but the syllabus that was up for the class I printed off doesn’t technically have text books that I have to buy.

I’ll be using materials from previous classes.

It’s called Integrative Seminar and it’s like a master’s thesis class in which I will expound upon all the learning I have done in the past years of work.

I have learned a lot.

A lot.

“Carmen, sometimes that’s the hardest thing,” my therapist said recently, “you have done the emotional work and you are aware and you are educated and it can be really hard to see things that other people haven’t seen for themselves.”

Ayup.

I mean.

Then again, it’s always easier to see someone else’s problems, they’re not yours, so you’re not invested, it’s a different perspective.

My “problems” are mine and special.

I mean, hello, they’re mine, of course they’re special.

But.

The learning, it has been a lot and I have become very self-aware.

What works for me, what doesn’t, how my emotions are not something to be afraid of but signs to point me in the way I need to be going.

I don’t always care for emotions.

Oh.

That’s not true.

I like some of them a lot.

A LOT.

Happiness.

Love.

Although love has a wicked back-handed sting of pain to it at times that will throttle the breath right out of my body and make me feel like my heart is on fire.

But, um, yeah, love.

It’s so good, it’s so delicious, I want more and more and more.

I usually have to really cultivate it in myself though, how I take care of myself, how I am gentle with myself (not always so good at that, work in progress, you know), how I feed myself, or let myself rest or be kind, like say nice things about myself and acknowledge the work I do.

I mean.

The work.

A lot of that.

Other emotions I like.

Joy.

Excitement.

Affection.

Awe.

Love me some awe.

Hope is a good one too.

Elation.

I like to be elated.

Euphoria.

That one’s super fun.

Wonder.

Ecstasy.

Ooh, yeah, I like that.

I mean.

Those are fantastic emotions, I’m all over those.

But some others.

Meh.

Not so much.

Jealousy.

Anger.

Fear.

Worry.

Sadness.

Oh woe is me, I do not like the sads.

Melancholia, which is just sadness with a fancy name.

Frustration.

Envy.

Lust.

Well, heh, maybe I do like some lust.

It’s well.

Lusty.

Ahem.

Humiliation.

Pity.

Fear.

I do not like the fear thing not a bit, not at all.

Yet.

I have all of those emotions too.

The nice thing is knowing that I am allowed to hold more than one emotion at a time, in fact I can hold many and do at any given minute or moment of the day.

Sadness and love and fear and lust and anxiety today.

As well as happiness and contentment and sorrow and grief.

A great big mixing bowl of feelings.

Hey there, look at that, I’m in psychology, the “science” of soul suffering.

What is it about the soul and the suffering and the journey of it all?

I suspect it’s about love and whether or not I let myself have it, let it in, allow myself to be loved, to accept I’m lovable, enough, that I deserve all the best and most wonderful things and to act in those interests.

Not something I have always been able to do so well.

The neat thing, yes, I said neat, about all this learning to become a therapist is that I get to work on myself, so this Integrative Seminar class should be a good way for me to look back over the last few years and measure, really see, how much I have grown.

The other class.

Well.

The syllabus was not up so I am not worried about having to have read anything for the class.

I have gotten one of the books the professor e-mailed the class about and I’ll bring that with.

I’ve got class from 9a.m. to 4p.m. then I’ll be heading off to my internship at seeing a consultation for therapy and a doing a phone session with a client.

Then.

It’s officially Friday.

Dinner with my best friend and connection, conversation, life, goals, love, shoes and ships and sealing wax, cabbages and kings.

All the things.

It’s a full and busy weekend for me.

I also have to go into the dentist on Saturday and get my permanent crown put in.

I’ll be leaving school a little early on Saturday to get to my dentist appointment by 4p.m.

And I just realized.

Sigh.

That I won’t really have a day off until next Saturday, which isn’t necessarily true either, I’ll have group supervision that day, but it will feel like a day off.

It’s always a long run of days when I’m in a weekend of school.

But this is it.

The last semester to my Masters program.

The final push!

I will be meeting with my advisor tomorrow at lunch to talk about graduation and also to get my letter of recommendation for the PhD program in Transformative Psychology.

That is still definitely on the burner for me.

Whew.

Glad I’ve got my books and folders and notebooks and syllabi all set.

Lunch is packed too.

I just need to figure out what to wear.

First day of school fashion crisis.

I suspect, though, that as long as I show up, it will all be fine.

That’s half the battle, isn’t it?

Just showing up.

Super grateful to be walking into this last semester with a full and thankful heart for the process that has brought me here to where I am today.

I’ve come a long way.

Baby.

I really fucking have.

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Birthday Weekend Wrap Up

January 15, 2018

It was good.

So good.

I mean.

Super sweet and special, and full of so much love.

And dancing.

And hugs.

And love.

I know, I mentioned that already, but it was just a lovely weekend.

I mean.

Not all of it.

Going over the bridge yesterday, the Bay Bridge, the traffic was so bad I had a moment of why the fuck am I going to Oakland to do this party?

But it was worth it.

So worth it.

I had such a lovely time and got to see folks that I haven’t seen in a while and hear great music and dance and giggle and laugh.

I laughed a lot.

I felt very happy, joyous, free.

It was spectacular.

I still feel like that and also a wee tiny bit emotional, not a lot, but a tiny bit, I was surprised just a few moments ago when I was up in the Castro Most Holy Redeemer to find myself having the anticipation and anxiety of getting a little round metal chip with the Roman numerals ten and three ones on it.

Thirteen

Thirteen years.

It still astounds me.

It felt really, really, really special.

I saw folks there that saw me when I first came in, who helped me and talked to me and bought me coffees and bummed me cigarettes and made suggestions about what to do and shared their experience, strength, hope with me, in such strong graceful ways that their message still stays with me.

Show up.

Suit up.

Be of service.

Say yes.

And extraordinary things will happen.

It is astounding how many things have happened for me.

I had an inkling that this past year was going to be a big one, I remember writing about it in a blog that would have been around this time last year, feeling that it would be fortuitous, that big, big, big things were happening.

My God.

Did the big things happen.

They really did.

I am not the same woman who turned twelve, I have grown so much this past year and really walked through some things that I had no idea I was going to get to experience.

I am so loved.

So blessed.

Graced.

And grateful.

I cannot imagine how, but I feel that this year moving forward will be much the same–full of excitement, growth, travel, love, adventure.

School.

Graduating from one program.

Starting another.

Work of course, internship, of course, recovery, the big of course.

Travel.

I will go to Paris to see my best friend there, although I don’t have set dates yet, I’m still waiting for my work to sort itself out as far as their holiday, summer, travel.

I may be going with them for part of it.

And I want to do other little trips too.

Fun things.

Weekends out of the city.

New places to go and experience.

I feel abundant.

Expansive.

I feel that my capacity for love has grown and opened wide my heart so much.

I have all these images of things  and words and endearments in my head, I am suffused with this feeling of love and I am so happy for it.

My love.

So happy.

I have a feeling that this year is going to be beyond anything I have yet to experience.

It’s a wondrous thing to have faith and be taken care of and show up and really live.

I mean.

Passionately live.

I am so alive.

I am so lucky to be alive.

Frankly.

I should be dead.

Or.

Just scraping along the gutter, in the filth and the muck, trying to make beautiful things and failing.

I have made so many beautiful things since I started this journey thirteen years ago.

Poetry.

Photographs.

Friendships.

Love.

I have made huge leaps of faith.

I have made decisions that I didn’t even know I could make.

I have made music, or collaborated in making music.

I have been in a film.

I have made my way into foreign countries, sat in cafes under many different skies, and scribbled away in so many notebooks I lost count long ago.

I have ridden bicycles all over the place.

San Francisco to LA.

Oakland to Berkeley.

The Outer Sunset to the Outer Mission.

Over the Golden Gate bridge numerous times, down into Sausalito and over to Tiburon, and one memorable day, up to the top of Mt. Tam.

And in Paris.

Nothing says amazing adventure like bringing your own bicycle to the city of Lights and taking a ride down the Champs Elysees.

Although.

Truth be told I only did that a few times.

The Champs Elysees is cobblestone and that was not a pleasant ride but fuck, it was fun to do it a couple of times and say that I had.

Or past the Eiffel Tower.

I did that ride a lot on Sundays.

I have ridden my bike at Burning Man too, not the same bike, but one that I loved for many years, ridden off into many a dusty sunset to dance at the edge of the desert and sing with joy at the heavens.

I have gotten up in front of people and performed my poetry.

Spoken word in Paris at Le Chat Noir.

In the downtown office of Form4 Architecture for their principle architect.

On stage at The Elbow Room and in the studio of Sunshine Jones.

I have done plenty of mundane, every day, simple, day-to-day things too.

Often times, more often than not, with gratitude for just getting to stay in San Francisco.

That’s some kind of miracle, that I still get to live here.

The miracles are innumerable, the gifts astounding.

I can only keep it by giving it away.

The paradox that I love.

Here out by the sea, in my little studio, listening to jazz, writing to you and letting you know about my day and how important you are to me.

So important.

I am overblown with gratitude.

Love.

Love.

Love.

Thank you for thirteen years.

It’s been freaking amazing.

Just A Tiny Bit

January 13, 2018

Surreal.

I turn 13 in an hour and a half.

I have already received a few congratulations and warm sweet gifts, my god, the thoughtfulness of some people astounds me, though my anniversary is not until tomorrow.

I am grateful that I have this time to reflect and think and be in a place of gratitude and warmth and all wrapped up for the week.

It’s been a week.

I’ve plenty to do tomorrow, but I suspect that it will be done with much joy and laughter and hopefully, no little grace.

My morning will be a typical Saturday morning, yoga and shower and breakfast and coffee and writing.

Then I’m hoping to squeeze in a manicure before I have to go to group supervision at 2 p.m.

Something snazzy and flashy and definitely glittery.

Giggle.

I treated myself to a dress from Modcloth that’s super fun,

It’s also super simple and a bit basic, which is good, I wanted a comfy dress to dance in.

It’s pretty much a little black dress with a scoop neck and a skater skirt.

And.

Glitter.

Heh.

I also allowed myself to pick up some glitter fishnets, because, sparkle.

And thirteen years, thirteen years of working it out and doing the deal and showing up and being of service, well, that deserves some fucking glitter, at least so I think.

I had wanted to wear some fabulous shoes but I also want to dance, so my pink velvet Tretorns will have to do, I think they will go perfectly with a glittery dress and fishnets.

Sexy, but hella comfy.

I’ll wear some heels when I go meet my person in the Castro for dinner on Sunday.

Fancy shoes are great for sit down meals, maybe not the best for hours of dancing.

I mean.

I used to do that, a long, long time ago, when my knees were younger and I had a lot of extra chemicals coursing through my veins to keep me going and ignore the painful, numbed out feet I was mashing into the floor as I stomped along to the music long into the night.

Or.

The next morning.

It’s funny.

I’ll be up much past my bedtime, the party goes until 1 a.m. and as one of the hosts I know I will feel responsible to make sure it all goes off well.

I’m not super excited about coming back from Oakland at bar time, but it looks like that will be happening.

At least I got my FasTrak in the mail and I won’t have to pay cash at the toll bridge.

It should be a pretty quick commute back.

Sunday I do have plans, but they’re all spaced out and I should be able to take naps intermittently throughout the day if so needed.

I don’t care in the end.

A girl only turns thirteen once.

Knock on wood.

I don’t have any reservations made for future drinking or using, but I am quite humbly aware that I have been given a gift and that I need to keep passing it along.

I have seen people drift away and they usually don’t drift into wonderful waters.

I have never had a relapse in my recovery and I certainly don’t want one.

I feel really fortunate to have what I have, the community I am in, the resiliency I have been gifted with, the fellowship, my friends, the love that surrounds me.

So.

Yeah.

I’ll be up a little late tomorrow night, but it’s so well worth it.

It’s been an amazing year when I look back.

New relationships.

Vast amounts of love.

Entering my third and final year of my Master’s program.

Starting at my practicum site and seeing clients.

A new job.

A new car.

Travel to Burning Man and Paris.

Therapy.

Internal growth.

So much of that.

Holy mother of God.

So much spiritual work.

All gifts.

I could never have suspected thirteen years ago when I reached out for help the life I would get to have.

It doesn’t even make sense.

I couldn’t imagine the places I would go or the adventures I would have.

So many adventures.

So much travel.

More travel please.

Friends, art, writing.

Oh. My. God.

The amount of writing, I mean I talked about writing before I got sober and I wrote some poetry and I tried my hand a few things, but I never had a real writing practice, I just talked about it a lot.

A LOT.

The book I was going to write, the poetry, the essays, la, la, la, la, la.

All vacuous words spouted from the vapid drunk girl at the end of the bar.

Now.

Well, I can surely tell a story, and I might hold you hostage to it, but I don’t talk about things I’m going to do for hours on end.

I actually do them.

I show up.

I suit up.

And I’m thrilled beyond words that I have a baker’s dozen of years to substantiate that.

Luckiest girl in the world?

Fuck yeah I am.

Tooth Ache

January 12, 2018

My tooth hurts.

Achy.

I’m hoping it’s temporary.

I’m one week and two days away from getting the permanent crown put in.

I’m not in severe pain, it’s just there and a touch disconcerting.

I got notice today that my dental insurance is about to end, as though it was much good, and I’ve looked up on my PPO to see if there is dental available through my plan.

It looks like there might be.

Then again.

Who the fuck knows.

I had made a opthamology appointment four months ago.

Yes.

I said four.

And today I got a message to call the office.

They weren’t sure if my insurance covers the visit.

I gave them all my information and am awaiting details.

It’s so frustrating.

I have not had this experience before.

Having to wait such long times to be seen, not being able to be seen, having to figure it all out on my own.

I had Kaiser for such a long time I got super spoiled by their facilities and the easiness of booking appointments.

I wish the school hadn’t changed over to this health plan, but it’s what I have and until I can afford something different, it’s what I’ll be using.

I do get a stipend from my family, so there’s that, it’s just the inability to be seen that has me really flustered.

I didn’t go bananas on the woman who called me but I did question why the hell it took so long to be contacted if there was a question in regards to the coverage.

I mean.

I just would have kept my October appointment with my ophthalmologist on Irving street.

Really nice guy, Dr. Kurtzbay.

I liked going there, although I did not like paying out-of-pocket for the services.

The last two pairs of glasses I got were both over $450.

Plus I was a little flush, for me, and I bought a pair of prescription sunglasses.

Which I managed to hold onto for about four months before losing them.

Sigh.

Anyway.

When I got this new insurance I was excited that there was ophthalmology and dental included.

Of course.

I haven’t been able to use the services, I haven’t been able to get in to a dentist or an eye doctor, so in a sense it feels useless.

I have used the insurance once to be seen by a new primary care physician in an Outer Sunset facility that reminded me of a bad made movie scene in a third world country.

I have the number for the only dentist facility that my insurance purportedly covers and I’m going to call them tomorrow and see if I can get in.

If I can’t then I will renew my own out-of-pocket dental care for the second year in a row and just stick to my guy over at Sunset Premier Dental.

He’s not first world, but not third world either, and he takes appointments on Saturdays, so there’s that.

Speaking of appointments.

I get to see my chiropractor in the morning.

I have a 9 a.m. session.

My back as been feeling better, I will say that, not 100%, but significantly better, I’m not in nearly the same amount of pain as I was a few months back when it started to act up.

I think this is my fourth session.

I’ll have a few more sessions still covered by my family and then I will see about continuing.

I really like her energy, it’s just $85 a pop and she wants to see my weekly.

Add that to my personal therapy at $120 a session, and the week get’s expensive quick.

I wouldn’t really be thinking that much about it, but the unexpected dental stuff did eat up my little buffer.

I’m not too worried, however, I’ve gone over my numbers a bunch of times and I’m going to be just fine.

Tighter than I want to be, sure.

Wishing I hadn’t committed throwing in $200 to the party on Saturday, yup, but fuck it, whatever.

When I was out drinking and using I blew more than $200 a night and frankly, I’m happy to help host a party and have a fun time and a good dj and friends come out to dance that I typically don’t see.

It’s only a few days away, my sobriety anniversary and it still doesn’t have that anxious feeling around it, I’ve nearly forgotten, in fact, that I had an anniversary coming.

I have heard people say that before, especially busy people, but I never really thought that there would be a time when I would not be acutely aware of an upcoming anniversary.

And I’m just not.

It’s rather nice.

The party makes it rather nice too.

So.

I’m not going to focus on money, it’s all God’s money anyhow.

I’m just going to focus on what needs to be paid next and have faith that I’m taken care of.

Paid my phone bill yesterday.

Felt great.

I actually like paying my bills.

I mean, even though I didn’t want to shell out the money to my dentist, I really like that I was able to pay it and pay it in cash, well, not paper-folding money, but you know, by debit card which is not a credit card.

I have not even used the credit card I got a few months back, I’m not even sure I will for that matter.

I like paying my debts with cash.

It feels good to be accountable.

And it feels really god that tomorrow is Friday.

Fuck yeah.

I’m ready for the weekend.

So ready.

Seriously.

Doing This Thing

January 10, 2018

I have officially made the decision to go after my PhD in the Transformative Psychology program at CIIS.

I talked to the dean of the school this morning and she gave me some lovely insights into the program and what I need to do to apply for the program.

I basically have it all covered except for the personal statement.

I need two letters of recommendation, one of which has to come from my academic advisor in my program–he’s confirmed that he will write me a letter and we are meeting at lunch on the first Friday of the school weekend, basically a week from this Friday.

The other letter will come from my supervisor at my practicum site, who actually offered to write me a letter before I had asked him.

I need to e-mail him and say, yes, please do write that letter for me!

In fact.

Hang on a minute, I’m going to go draft that e-mail now.

Yes.

One more thing out-of-the-way.

I was also very grateful to discover that I had been correct in the reading of the PhD application demands–the scholarly paper the admissions department requires can be one I have already written for my current program!

That is super nice.

It’s an 8-10 page paper written in APA format (American Psychological Association).

The dean expressed that they want to see an example of my writing abilities and that I could absolutely use a paper I had already written, it did not have to be an original work.

Whew.

That is such a nice relief.

I really didn’t want to have to write a paper on top of getting my stuff together for this last semester of my Master’s program.

I’ll still need to provide plenty of other things besides the sample of my academic writing and the two letters of recommendation.

There’s also the application fee, $65, so worth it, frankly.

And a resume with pertinent and relevant experience listed.

My transcripts.

I will be very happy to provide those, especially with my current 4.0 grade point average, thank you very much.

A goal statement outlining what I plan to do with the degree once it is conferred.

And.

A four to five-page personal statement.

I mean, that’s a fair good amount of stuff.

But.

Doable.

So doable.

And, as I mentioned, the not having to write a fresh academic paper for the admissions team feels really nice.

The dean told me the deadline was end of February.

Once the application is sent in the admissions team goes through the applicants and decides who they want to call in for an interview.

At which time I would need to give some ideas about what I want to pursue, although said ideas do not have to be concrete, I can change what I decide to do the dissertation on if over the course of the program I find something really amazing and compelling.

But.

I do think I have been narrowing it down and although my idea is big and there’s a lot to explore, I’m super excited by the prospect of exploring it.

I feel like it will help me heal some trauma and in turn, I hope that I will be better equipped to help others walk through their traumas as well.

I’m super happy that I have made this decision.

I felt so freaking good when I got off the phone with the dean, I knew, I just knew it is what I am supposed to be doing.

I’m supposed to get my doctorate.

I am supposed to be of service.

I get to keep learning and growing.

It is fucking exciting.

A little scary too, but I don’t feel it will be that much harder than the work that I have done to get my Masters.

In fact, in some ways I think it will be easier.

The classes are self-directed and timed, I won’t be going into a classroom, I’ll be doing the work on my own, I’ll have my own agency to move at my own pace.

I suspect that I will want to move faster rather than slower.

The dissertation could take longer, the program is designed to be done in two years, but I sense that more than a few folks take longer to get to the dissertation.

I don’t want to do that.

Not to be worried about at this point.

I have taken as much action today as I possibly could in regards to the next steps.

I went to therapy this morning before work.

I went grocery shopping after therapy and managed to have the call with the dean of students from my car before I went into work.

I worked a full day.

Then.

I went and saw two clients this evening.

I e-mailed my supervisor at my practicum site for the letter of recommendation.

And.

I filled in a few more things on the doctoral application.

My god.

I’m really going to do this.

I am going to get my PhD.

Fuck.

My life is amazing.

AMAZING.

Reading The Fine Print

January 9, 2018

I just went through the handbook for my Master’s program with a fine tooth comb.

The one thing that I have found challenging in my program is the apparent lack of information as well as the over abundance of information.

I feel like there is so much information that just is not applicable to my experience or the learning and then there’s information that I really need, but it’s buried on page 41 of the 50 page handbook.

I’m glad I found it though.

I have gotten a mixed bag of mis-information from fellows in my cohort as well as interns in my group supervision about how many hours I need to have accrued in practicum to graduate.

I need 225 to graduate.

Of those hours I must have 150 direct client hours–sessions with my clients, not phone sessions or e-mails or paperwork or progress work–face to face sessions.

I had thought that I needed 250 direct hours and I was beginning to get a little nervous.

I should not have any problems getting the hours.

Or so I thought.

I have eight clients that I see on a weekly basis.

But.

They cancel.

Or.

They no-show.

And it’s rare, I’m seeing quite clearly now as I just got home early because a client no-showed, that I actually see all eight clients during the week.

So when I was thinking I needed 250 direct face to face hours by May, I started to get concerned.

I won’t make it, it won’t happen, how is that possible?

How is it possible that I am heading into my third semester of practicum and don’t have enough hours?

How?

As of right now I have 240 hours.

But only 130 of them are direct face to face hours.

I felt flummoxed and upset and annoyed and then I begin to berate myself.

Why did I post that stupid thing about graduating in May and filling out my graduation application?

I’m not going to graduate!

Whoa.

Slow down there.

I don’t have enough information.

I realized that I cannot just go on the information drifting about through the hallways at school or in the office where I do my group supervision.

I have to take responsibility and find out that myself.

So I went to the academics page on the school’s website, signed into my account, found my program.

And.

Voila!

There on page 46 of the 49 page hand book:

Students must complete a minimum of 225 hours [at least 150 direct client contact hours plus 75 Client-Centered Advocacy (CCA) hours] while enrolled in practicum prior to graduation.

Sweet Jesus.

I am fucking fine.

I am only twenty hours shy of having the direct client contact hours.

As for client centered advocacy I don’t have nearly that much, I have six hours.

But I do know this much, it doesn’t matter if I don’t get all the client centered advocacy hours, if I have more direct client hours, I can count those towards graduation.

Ultimately it is the face to face sessions that mean the most and I have to acquire the majority of my hours there.

And I also recognize that I could be actively going after more CCA hours as well.

Client centered advocacy could be doing research on a client and their family lineage, it could be watching a movie about alcoholics, it could be reading a CAMFT (California Assoication of Marriage Family Therapists) magazine or a psychology magazine.

Today I actually had some down time at work, and while the baby napped I read a number of articles in a psychology magazine on workaholism and chuckled to myself, multi-tasking, working and also accruing hours, sounds like I’m the workaholic in this instance.

But I’m happy I did the reading as I had that no-show and I was able to mark down another hour.

I think that I will try to acquire two hours of CCA per week as I move forward, more if I can.

I can also read outside articles, books, and go to seminars and do trainings.

But just knowing that I actually have enough moving forward is a bit of a relief.

I was getting a little worried.

I also realize that I am probably going to have to let one client go with whom I have been doing pre-dominantly phone sessions.

I am not allowed to count Telemedicine through my school.

I can towards my license, but not towards my graduation needs.

I want to be safe and make sure that I’m not squandering my time.

I am excited and relieved to have reckoned all of that out and grateful for a really good talk with my solo supervisor today.

Who happened to be quite intrigued with my dissertation idea and to my surprise, completely supports me going for the PhD.

I told him I had actually had hesitation to even mention that I was going to apply for the PhD because I thought he might disapprove of my decision.

But he did not.

And it was amazing to sit and talk to him about my ideas and to also get some really interesting feedback from him and some areas where I will be honing in more.

I made a call to the Dean of the Transformative department after I got out of supervision.

I wasn’t able to talk to her, she was stuck in a budget meeting, but I left a message and I will follow-up tomorrow.

My advisor got back to me and said he would support my efforts and write me a letter of recommendation and we made an appointment to meet the first weekend of classes.

It’s all falling together.

Even when my brain tells me it’s not.

It really is.

So nice.

So.

Very.

Very.

Very.

Nice.

Gold From Dross

January 8, 2018

I keep hearing my person talking to me about my life and what’s been happening over the last few months and school, and work, and relationships and how she managed to give me the most amazing compliment and also an admonition all at the same time.

She said that of all the people who she’s met in her life I am the best person at making gold come out of a poor situation.

She was giving me a really big compliment.

And.

She was also pointing out that I am used to not getting to work with much, so I manage to make the best out of whatever situation that I am in.

That I also, it was noted, have a tendency to take whatever I can get and spin it into something beautiful because I was never really allowed to have wants or needs.

And as it turns out, those wants and needs are not being met.

In a way.

My needs are being met and wants are desires that have a pretty name attached to them.

I have everything I need and then some.

But she had an interesting point, that just because I have the ability to make due with less does not mean that I must have less, that I’m allowed more, and that I can acknowledge those wants even if they are not met.

It’s a poverty thing, growing up so poor, take what you can get and be happy that you got anything.

It’s a kind of scarcity thinking that I have to often work around.

Like yesterday when I was getting the crown for my cracked tooth and there was a part of me that was loud and vehement, go with the cheaper option!

Fortunately.

I have done so much work that I knew that what I needed to do was go for what was best for me and my health and have complete faith that I was being taken care of.

And I was.

I paid for it, it’s done.

Today was actually quite nice, no pain whatsoever.

Well, once, once I bit down on my dinner a little too hard and there was a snatch of pain, but other than that, nothing worth noting.

I’ll be gentle with my teeth for the next couple of weeks and head back in on the 20th to have my permanent crown put in.

What has stuck with me about the comment was partially what I did yesterday and also acknowledging that there are parts of me that I just don’t let out, I don’t acknowledge that I have wants and desires that are very human and pretty typical.

Again.

She noted in the sweetest, kindest ways, nothing judgmental about me, or my situation or my life, just that she wanted me to see the parts of myself that I was perhaps pushing away as I made gold from my situation.

It struck me deeply.

And when I got off the phone with her I hopped onto the website for my yoga studio and signed up for the 4:30 p.m. class.

I was going to skip it today having been plenty active this morning and then going back to bed and sleeping until 10 a.m.

Which is the last time I will be sleeping in for a while.

Supervision starts back up tomorrow morning.

I will be up at 6:30 a.m.

I’ll be taking my car, rain in the forecast, and I will need to leave home earlier than normal to get to my supervision in Hayes Valley, during morning rush commuting hours.

Blech.

But.

Hey.

Not riding my scooter in the rain!

Supervision for an hour, then a phone call with the dean of the Transformative Psychology PhD program, then work, then two clients, then home.

It’s a long day.

So yeah, letting myself have that kiss of extra sleep was nice, plus I went to bed late last night, I was restless and had a head full of thoughts, dreamy thoughts, but thoughts that kept me up a little later than I would have wanted.

I don’t think I fell asleep until 1 a.m.

So morning yoga was out.

I flirted with the idea of doing either the 4:30 p.m. class or the 6:15 pm restorative yoga class.

But after my phone call, I knew, I had to get into my body and exercise.

It was super good.

So good.

Great instructor and I got super sweaty and just worked.

My head was quiet, except at the very end right before the final pose and it got a little too chatty, but it was emotional chatter that needed an outlet, and I was able to cry a little and let it go.

Sweat, tears, all the same thing, pain leaving the body.

I floated home and when I got there a message came in from a woman in my neighborhood about what I was doing this evening and where I might be going and did I want to head over to Quintara and 20th?

Um.

Yes, please!

Super good, caught up with my fellows, did the deal, got right with God, connected and feel really positive about moving forward into this week.

As I come up on my sober anniversary and see all the amazing insights that I get to have and all the growth that I have gotten to do this past year, it blows my freaking mind.

Like.

Just for instance.

Right before my friend picked me up to go do the deal I sent off my graduation application to my school program.

I paid the $90 fee and I filled out the four pages.

I noted my 4.0 grade point.

I expressed what name I want on my diploma, my full name, middle and all, thank you very much.

It asked if I wanted to speak at my commencement and I said I would be honored if so chosen.

I said I was going to attend the commencement and that I would walk in the procession and yes.

Yes.

Yes.

I said I wanted to pick up my diploma in person.

I want that baby in my hands as I cross the stage.

My god.

What a day.

Started with love and gratitude.

Ended with love and gratitude.

So much love.

So much gratitude.

Luckiest girl in the world.

Unfortunately

January 7, 2018

That’s not covered by your insurance.

My dentist told me this morning.

Ugh.

I sat in the chair and thought to myself, maybe I misheard him, maybe I didn’t hear that right, I mean, he speaks mostly Chinese, which I find oddly comforting, I don’t need to know what he is talking about to his assistant, but I’m pretty sure I had heard what I had heard.

Fingers crossed, please, tell me I didn’t hear what I heard.

Sigh.

But.

I had.

“Crack,” he’d said to the assistant in between poking and prodding and checking my teeth.

I was just in for a routine cleaning this morning.

I had all intents on going to the 10:30 a.m. yoga at the studio on my block and then meandering into my group supervision at 2p.m.

The supervision happened.

Yoga, well, yoga did not.

Nope.

Instead I was under the drill all morning.

My dentist took a picture of my tooth and showed me the crack.

I was surprised by how big it was and also that I hadn’t had any pain to indicate that there was a crack in my tooth.

Which was a really good thing.

No pain meant that it was probably fairly recent.

It had to have happened within the last three months, it wasn’t there the last time I went to the dentist, and it probably had occurred more recently than that.

Certainly nothing came to mind.

Nothing that I remember eating and doing any damage to my teeth.

“It’s not grinding your teeth while you sleep,” he said, answering a question I was just about to pose, “there’s not indication from any of your other teeth that you grind them while you sleep.”

Well, that’s good news.

“You eat anything crunchy?” He asked.

“Nuts?” I said, I do like raw almonds with my apple as a snack.

“Nuts, no good, nuts bad for teeth, you no more eat nuts unless you want to pay me big bucks and keep me in my mortgage,” he chuckled.

“Um no, I do not want to come back for another cracked tooth, I’ll lay off the nuts,” I replied.

Irony.

I kept thinking about my night-time snack, a couple of end of season super ripe and delicious persimmons and some raw walnuts.

Sigh.

No snack tonight.

I’ll still have my tea though.

I was really surprised by the photo and super glad that my dentist had caught it and he explained that I was lucky if there was no pain it meant the damage was manageable and that I would not have to have a root canal.

Fuck yes.

But.

I would have to get a crown.

And thus ensued the “your insurance doesn’t cover this,” discussion I had with my dentist.

Like I said, not really the conversation anyone wants to have on a Saturday morning, but I also knew when he started telling me about the differences between what my insurance would cover, it wasn’t going to cover the full amount, it would have still be $825 out-of-pocket, versus the better quality crown that the dentist was recommending, at $1200, I just sucked it up, made the decision to take good care of myself and signed the paperwork for the better product.

I was asked if I could start the work today and of course I said yes, bye, bye yoga class, and I went out and plugged the meter for parking another two hours and went back into the office, used the bathroom, prayed a bunch, came out signed off the paperwork and got ready to get injected with Novocaine.

He gave me a local, but I still felt the prick of the needle.

Ugh.

I hate needles.

I hate shots, hate, hate, hate.

The second injection was horrible, the local anesthesia hadn’t quite numbed me out in the second location, that one just plain good and hurt.

I sucked it up though, what was I going to do?

And then the dentist went to fucking town.

My god.

I will just say that smell of my tooth being ground down was overwhelming.

Not a pleasant smell, the drill, not a pleasant sound.

The taste of blood in mouth, horrifying.

I just breathed and prayed and breathed and prayed.

I had my mouth wedged open with some sort of device, that also sucks, frankly, it hurt my jaw keeping it open so long and my face felt tender for hours.

As of right now, I am happy to report, that the pain is really ok.

It’s there, sensitive now and again, a dull throb, but it’s doable.

And I have been able to eat.

They did a bunch of molds to get the fit right and then they did the temporary crown.

The permanent one takes two weeks to be ready.

I have to be cautious with the temporary one, nothing crunchy, and no gum.

I can handle that.

And two weeks from today I’ll go in and my dentist will give me the permanent crown.

I am assuming it will mean more Novocaine, but I’ve got two weeks until it happens.

I’m a baby around dental stuff, but at least I showed up and I did do the work and I paid for it all in full at the end of the session, I could have put it off until the permanent crown gets put in, but I figured I had the money in my account, just pay the damn thing.

And for that I am grateful.

I had the money.

I didn’t always have the money.

A little while ago a dental bill for $1285 would have floored me.  It was not pleasant, I will say that, and I did go through a spurt of brief financial anxiety, but I’m ok, I really am.

And so grateful I chose well and chose to take care of myself and my mouth.

There was a homeless man on the sidewalk sleeping when I came out to climb into my new car and go home and make myself a fancy espresso drink with expensive organic coffee beans.

I have it really fucking good.

I have no money problems.

Fuck.

I don’t have problems.

I just have opportunities to learn.

And.

To be stupid grateful at how good my life is.

It really is.

When Was I Happiest

January 6, 2018

Today?

I just asked myself that.

In a prompting kind of way, hey you, you need to write your blog, get your fingers moving on that keyboard, make some fucking magic happen.

Because all of the seven people who read my blog really want to know what I did today.

Meh.

I recently got an update from WordPress that I have once again celebrated an anniversary.

Eight years of blogging.

Eight.

What the fuck did I write about?

So many things, so many thoughts.

I have published over 2,400 blogs.

My average blog is somewhere between 1100-1300 words.

But for the sake of simplicity, let’s just say 1,000.

That means that I have written over 2,4000,000 words.

Over two million words!

Who the hell knew there were so many words in my head?

I never suspected that I would be where I am in now in my life when I started writing this blog.

I was living on Taylor and Washington in a large studio that was on a cable car line.

I was working as a nanny in China Basin.

I made really good money.

More than I actually make now, if you can believe that, because it was all under the table.

I had a very nice Felt 35 racing bike that I did my commute on.

I was horribly lonely.

I felt like all I did was grind at work, I worked at least 50 hours a week.

Which is funny, as I put in about fifty hours a week now and go to graduate school full-time.

But at that time I was going through a lot of weird stuff.

I was desperately trying to get abstinent with my food, which I did do in that apartment, but it took a hot ass second.

I was trying, oh so very hard, to get some head way on my book, said head way has come to naught in many ways, but you know, I started this blog by publishing each of the chapters one by one in the pages.

If you should want to read some really bad writing, well it’s there.

For sure.

I had a friend read the book in manuscript form about four years ago and he told me with no mincing of words that if he didn’t know better he would have never believed that the person who wrote this blog was the same person who had written that book.

My writing, suffice to say, has gotten much better.

That’s what happens when you practice.

You get better.

I have had eight years of practicing this blog.

Some days I am so inordinately pleased with what I have written that I may actually go back and re-read a blog.

But not very often.

I generally throw it down on the page, I”m just transcribing my thoughts, and really, thank god I have some fast typing skills, I’m just writing what I am thinking.

It’s a little like having a one-sided conversation with me.

Hey how was your day?

Let me tell you about mine, and then I’m unleashed upon you.

Or something like that.

I am reflecting as I did my Morning Pages this morning in the place where Morning Pages originated for me, about ten years ago.

Yeah.

If you thought writing a blog eight years in a row was something, check out my history with writing my Morning Pages.

Ten years, going on eleven.

I realized that this morning as I sat in Muddy Waters on Valencia and 24th.

I had a chiropractor appointment this morning and some time to kill before I had to be into work.

So instead of getting up stupid early, I let myself sleep in, packed my breakfast and brought it with me, planning to eat it at the cafe while having a cafe au lait before going into work.

The cafe is much the same as when I first started hanging out at it.

I had moved to a shared apartment in a rent controlled Victorian on Capp Street and 23rd and Muddy’s was the closest cafe to me and the one where I did a lot, and I do mean a lot, of sitting with another woman and reading out of a big blue book.

So many women in that cafe, before my regular Wednesday haunt, as well as my regular Saturday gig and many other times in between.

And it was also the scene of The Artist Way group that I was a part of for a year and a half.

It was an awesome group.

We met for an hour before rolling up the hill to a spot in Noe Valley on Wednesday nights.

We would grab the big round table towards the back of the cafe and anywhere from 6 to 10 of us would sit down for about an hour and share about the assignments we had done from the book.

We did one chapter a week, followed the instructions regarding the assignments, and talked about our experiences working the projects and doing the morning pages.

The book suggests that every morning you take time to write three pages long hand.

Emphasis on long hand.

No typewrite, keyboard, tablet, computer.

My blog does not count as morning pages and never has.

There is something so captivating about writing on paper with a good pen.

I was writing in one of my Claire Fontaine notebooks that I brought back from Paris this morning and I reflected on how it was in that group that I came to the realization that I wanted to go to Paris.

That I actually wanted to move to Paris.

It would take some years before I moved, but by participating in that group I realized how much I wanted to go to Paris and I took myself on a solo trip for ten days after doing the work in the book.

I took myself on artists dates, I went to museums, I bought myself nice paper, I sat and daydreamed in cafes and watched clouds roll by.

I looked out those same windows today and marveled.

Look how far I have come.

Look where I am now.

My best friend in Paris messaged me today about when I’ll be going back.

I have been to Paris five times since I made that decision, and yes, one of those times was to live there for six months.

I have re-written that book.

Although I still don’t think it’s at a publishable place.

I have written poems.

I have performed with djs in nightclubs reciting my poems.

One of them became a recording.

I have lectured on stage.

I have traveled.

I went to Burning Man, a lot.

I traveled to New York by myself as well as New Orleans to go see art.

I have taken 1,000s and 1,000s of photographs.

I have written millions of words.

I think I have a few million more.

I have done morning pages in Paris, London, Rome, New York, L.A., New Orleans, Madison, Wisconsin, Anchorage, Alaska, Burning Man, Reno, San Diego, Las Vegas, and probably a bunch of other places I can’t remember now.

But they all started one night in a Muddy Waters coffee shop on Valencia and 24th.

Opening a door that has led me down this meandering path of creation and love.

How lucky am I?

Luckiest girl in the world.

Graduation Application

January 5, 2018

Holy fuck.

It’s happening.

I mean.

It’s been happening for years now, when I think about it, the getting to graduation bit.

But.

Whoa.

It’s really happening now.

I got a notification from my cohort’s student representative with the program that the deadline for the application to graduate is February 1st.

I have two more weeks before I’m heading back into the first weekend of classes for my last semester and I have to be on this shit in a major way.

There are quite a few hoops to jump through,

I am a tiny bit surprised that there is so much paperwork that has to be done, and at the same time, not at all surprised, the school is small and there often times seems to be a lot of unnecessary hoop jumping on the part of the students.

This is not something new.

So good information to have as I navigate the next couple of weeks before the semester begins, because I will also have another application due in February.

The application to the PhD program through the Transformative Psychology program.

That application is due at the end of the month.

The application to graduate from my Masters in Counseling Psychology will be due the 1st of the month.

Nicely bookending my weekend of classes and all the other things that I need to take care of to get through the month.

Plus.

I am going on a trip in February to the East Coast.

Holy bats.

February is going to be a big fucking month.

And although it’s only January 4th I can feel that this month is going to fly by.

This week certainly has, I was like, wait, what, tomorrow’s Friday?

How the hell did that happen so quick?

Back to clients, back to work, holidays over, get yourself busy.

Gratefully this week really was an easing in.

I didn’t have my solo supervision, that revs back up on Monday, just my therapy this week, and I also did not carry my full load of clients.

I’ve had three this week so far, two of those session were tonight, and I will have a phone session tomorrow at 6:30 p.m.

My last client of the week cancelled.

So I will actually get out in time to do the deal.

Maybe I’ll pop over to Our Lady of Safeway and get right with God.

It’s been a hot second since I’ve been in that neck of the woods.

I’ve a full day Saturday, dentist appointment at 9 a.m., hoping to get out with just a quick cleaning and get back to my neighborhood in time to go to yoga, then a shower, some late breakfast, and getting over to group supervision in the afternoon from 2-4p.m.

I’ll have a lull in between, maybe time to get a manicure.

I’ll hit my spot at 7pm in the NOPA and call it a Saturday.

Sunday I do have a ladybug coming over to do some work and I’m looking forward to that for sure.

Of course, I’ll want to get in a yoga class, and perhaps another bike ride, I really enjoyed doing that.

If the weather holds.

It’s been raining a fuck of a lot the last couple days and it looks like there’s still some more in the upcoming days.

So grateful for my car.

Really, so much.

Especially coming home tonight when the sky just sort of opened up out of nowhere, to not be on my scooter in the rain, such a blessing.

Anyway.

Sunday may be the day to kick out the graduation application.

I do want to get it out-of-the-way fairly quickly.

I don’t want it looming over me during the school weekend, especially as I will be occupied getting into my class routine.

Plus.

I will want to have the rest of the time to work on my application for the PhD program.

Which reminds me.

I need to talk to my advisor, who just so happens to be the head of my department, about getting a letter of recommendation from him.

The PhD program requires that one of my letters come from my academic advisor.

I don’t believe it will be too hard to get a good letter from him, he was one of my first teachers in the program, I had him my first semester, he admires me, he has asked me to help advise others regarding writing academically and he’s asked after my experience with teachers in the program and some interesting internal conflicts my cohort has gone through.

I really like him and he likes me and he’s been a great advocate of mine.

I have to make an appointment to meet with him ASAP.

I’m going to be talking to the Dean from the Transformative Psychology department on Monday, I want to line up my advisor for the following week when I’ll be heading into my first weekend of the semester.

But.

First.

A little fun.

And.

Oh.

A tiny bit of pain too.

I have my anniversary in 9 days and a dance party to go to–the fun.

And.

Yes.

A thirteenth star tattoo to get–the pain.

I’ll be heading into see Danny Boy at Let it Bleed on Polk Street on the afternoon of my anniversary after I get out of my group supervision.

Danny Boy’s done the last three stars for me.

I’m planning a pink one this go around, a small’ish one, on the right side of my neck, above the big black star that I got, my 11th year, which also happened to fall right after David Bowie’s death–Bowie was sober and his last album was Black Star–seemed quite apropos.

I’m excited.

There’s some big stuff happening.

Anniversary, graduation application, PhD application, life, love, doing the deal, work, clients.

All the things.

All of them.


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