Archive for the ‘Self Care’ Category

Huge Relief

September 10, 2017

To change my mind.

To see where I was taking on too much.

To apologize and make an amends to a friend.

To get honest with my person and with myself.

To see where my priorities lie.

To let go.

To surrender.

Such relief.

I have been grappling with something for a few weeks now and I suspect that recent events in my life, like letting go of the idea that I have to go to Burning Man every year for the rest of my life and that I always have to be working toward something, coalesced this afternoon as I rode my scooter into my internship.

I don’t want to do the Aids Life Cycle Ride.

Let me clarify.

If I wasn’t working 40 hours a week, interning 15 hours, and going to graduate school full-time I would be totally down with doing the ride.

But.

I realized.

I am working so hard already and to commit to another commitment seems fool hardy, prideful, and unrealistic.

I like to believe that I am superhuman.

“You don’t have to be Super Carmen,” my person told me, “Carmen is good enough.”

Fuck me.

I forget that all the time.

As if I am not constantly trying to self-improve, do better, live harder, go bigger, I am not enough.

And.

Good fucking grief.

I am enough.

I also realized that I had self-sabotaged myself by committing to do something that would make me re-arrange my already super full schedule and in effect make it so I would not have any days off.

NONE.

Yes, that’s right, I would be working full-time, seven days a week, for the next 10 months.

Fuck that.

I deserve to let myself have a little down time.

To love and be loved.

To not go crazy in my last year of my Masters program.

I mean.

I’m still working six days a week, I’m not slacking.

I rode my scooter to my internship and thought, it’s ok to change my mind, it’s ok to see where I bit off too much and it’s alright to acknowledge that maybe I knew this all along.

That maybe I didn’t buy the road bike when I had the chance because I really knew I didn’t want to do the ride.

I think I was setting myself up to give myself an out.

I had run into my friend who convinced me to ride again a week before I went to Burning Man and his talks about doing training rides made me feel nauseous.

How the hell was I going to fit it in?

I started to consciously let myself know that maybe, just maybe, it would be ok if I changed my mind.

I actually think going to Burning Man really helped me with that.

I realized there, at the event, on a very deep level, that I work really hard to work really hard on my vacations.

Maybe.

Just maybe.

Instead of busting my ass, granted for an amazing cause, and I don’t regret the $95 I dropped to register, it’s a gift that I wouldn’t ask back if I could have it back, to bust my ass on my vacation.

Maybe.

I might want to actually have a vacation.

Like.

Lay on a beach.

Or.

Sit in a fucking cafe and read a book, people watch, drink coffee at ridiculous hours and not worry about getting up at the crack of dawn to ride 100+ miles and then come back from a seven-day ride, for which I would be using my vacation time, to go right back to work.

I mean.

Maybe I want a real vacation.

And.

Then.

When I said it out loud, when I got on the phone with my person, I got to my internship a little early simply so I could have time to talk with my person, I felt the biggest most amazing relief.

I knew in that instant that it was the right decision for me.

“Honestly, doll, I’m relieved to hear you say this, I was wondering when you were going to come to this realization.”

OH my god.

I love that he doesn’t judge me, that he didn’t tell me to not do it, that he let me have my process, and then to have it reflected back to me with honesty, well, that was that.

I’m not doing the Aids ride.

And I am ok with it.

We talked a lot about things happening in my life and I shared about a great deal of joyful things and it was so good to catch up.

I also talked about doing a trip for my graduation.

What that might look like.

Barcelona.

Paris, maybe L’Ile de Re, where my friend has a family home, off the West Coast of France, especially since she was such an important part of my first two years in the program.

That it might be really nice to see her and celebrate the accomplishment.

She was also the person who has said time and again how much I would like Barcelona.

In fact.

My savings account, I have two, one is my prudent reserve, and the second, my travel savings, is called Barcelona.

Not “going to Burning Man” again next year.

Not “doing the Aids LifeCycle ride and spending over three thousand dollars on a bicycle, gear, and who knows how many countless hours on the training.”

NOPE.

It’s named, “Barcelona,” because when my friend mentioned how I should go I thought, that would make a great graduation trip.

So maybe instead of sabotaging my dream with stuffing in more than I can handle, it’s ok to admit I made a mistake.

I told my friend tonight face to face and sat down and talked to him.

He totally got it, and then he added, “I totally honey potted you into agreeing, you know I did, don’t feel bad that you can’t, it’s ok.”

It’s ok.

Sigh.

Fuck.

Thank you.

I apologized again and hugged him and that was that.

I need to apologize to the three people who donated and then I think I’m clear.

I’ll also contact my ride representative and rescind the ride number, the ride will fill up and someone else will get to ride in my stead.

And.

I also contacted my assistant director, who is in charge of scheduling my clients and said, I need to not take clients on Saturdays.  I can do a consult now and then, but no clients.

At least for this semester.

I feel a lot better.

Much clearer.

Much cleaner.

And so relieved to be just regular old Carmen.

Super Carmen gets to put her cape back in the closet for at least today.

Thank God.

It needs a dry cleaning anyhow.

Ha.

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An Unexpected

March 29, 2017

And welcome.

Change to tomorrow’s schedule.

The mom has asked me to come in at 1 p.m. and stay a little late, dad is out-of-town for the next week with work, and I was happy to help out.

I want to be flexible with them and helpful and I know that the stress of being new mom with three-month old baby and a seven-year old and four-year old and without the dad around to help for the first time since baby was born is a big stress.

Big.

Plus going in late on a Wednesday is not a big deal for me since I have a late day on Wednesdays.

I do have a commitment in the evening, but it’s not until 8:30 p.m.

Which means that tomorrow.

Yes.

I can go to yoga on a week day.

First time this has happened since I started the new job on January 2nd.

I have been a weekend warrior with the yoga and have, dare I say it, missed the extra days I was able to go in before work at my prior job.

I don’t miss the late nights, I’m not particularly psyched to work that late, but to be flexible and help out and be able to go to a yoga class before work is a nice perk if I’m going to be working a later hour.

I’m not working extra hours, I’ll just be shifting them up so that I can be there with the older kiddos while mama takes care of getting the baby fed and asleep.

I’ll also help out the same way on Thursday.

I will go in at 1p.m. and work until 8p.m.

I will not, however, be doing yoga before work on Thursday.

Before work on Thursday will look like meeting with my advisor and turning in my paperwork to the registrars office.

I’m ready for that hoop to be jumped through.

I took another little leap today.

Actually.

Let’s be frank.

I took a huge leap today.

I had my first day back in therapy with my new therapist.

Hello therapy, it’s good to see you again.

“Oh good, lots of kleenex boxes,” I joked as I went into her office.

I was kidding and serious all at the same time.

The session was really good, we got to know each other and I committed to going back.

She asked if I was interviewing any other therapists and I said no, I had found what I wanted with her, I was honest that her location and availability was a big draw for me with my schedule at work, but also that I had felt a really nice connection with her when we had our phone interview last week.

And after a few minutes into our session I knew it was a good fit.

It really helps that she went through the same program that I am going through and I can see that she will be a huge asset and support as I navigate all the school stuff.

Plus.

I liked her.

And that means a lot.

And.

“You’re going to make a great therapist,” she told me at the end of the session.

And acknowledgement I was not at all expecting and it left me with a nice glow.

I know I am going to be a great therapist, but man, it’s nice to hear it out of a professional’s mouth.

Yes.

I did use the tissue box.

I also recognized and spoke to my anxiety.

Fear of carrying the additional burden of $120 more a week.

Nearly $500 a month in additional costs going out.

But I also know.

I know.

I can carry it.

I may have to shift some things around, probably won’t be putting any more into savings for a little while and I won’t be buying new clothes, but I can handle those things.

I can still pay rent, phone, groceries, utilities on what I make and be able to absorb the cost of the therapy.

My clothing allowance is about $250 a month and my savings is also about $250 a month.

I have some in savings for my travel plans and I have some in savings as a back up teeny tiny prudent reserve.

So if I just cancel out clothes and savings for a little while, trim down on eating out, which I don’t do that often anyhow, I’ll be fine, I can afford the therapy.

And.

Honestly.

I need to afford it.

I must have it documented that I am going and besides, I need it to keep going on this career path, I have to work out my own stuff, I have to reconcile it.

There is stuff there.

A lot of my work has been done and I have an extraordinary foundation from doing recovery work for the last twelve years and my therapist acknowledged that as well.

Which I found really affirming.

We talked about me thinking what my goals will be for the therapy beyond helping navigate the school process, interning, and getting my own hours met for my LMFT.

One thing we discussed was that she could help me with some anxiety strategies.

My anxiety has been pretty high since I started the program and some times I feel absolutely swamped by it.

I told her that I had been doing yoga and that was helping.

I am holding on tight to my two days a week and I am super happy that I will sneak in another class tomorrow morning.

Heck.

I’ll even be able to sleep in a little tomorrow.

It’s going to be a long couple of weeks, but I can get through it.

I read a ton today at work on my lunch break and I should be able to do that as well one more day this week, probably not tomorrow or Thursday since I’ll be coming in late, but Friday I will.

And I get to meet with a friend and do the deal and catch up over dinner afterward.

I haven’t seen him since my birthday, he’s just getting back from Puerto Rico and I am super excited to catch up with him.

I still might try to get to Puerto Rico in July.

There are so many plates spinning in the air I’m not going to try to predict it, but if I can, I will.

Oh life.

So much stuff.

So grateful for it all.

And a sleep in tomorrow followed by some anxiety reducing yoga.

Life is good.

All the things people.

All.

The.

Things.

Look At You

March 11, 2017

Beautiful!

“I miss you and your flowers,” she finished and gave me a big hug, “make sure and spread your love around we need it.”

That was a very nice way to end the first day of my three-day weekend of classes.

A big love hug from one of my favorite professors.

It was really good to see her and also to just take a moment to reflect on how far I have come.

It was about two years ago this month that I found out I had been accepted into the Masters program where I am at.

So much has changed for me from making that decision and following it up with some actions.

Actions that often felt tiny, small, inconsequential but ended up leading me here, now, in my second semester of my second year of a three-year Masters of Psychology program.

Not too bad.

Not too bad at all.

And so much of the work has been showing up with faith in the process.

I’m still not 100% sure what I am going to do, but I have so much more clarity and I have direction and I have, now,  a couple of years of doing the work under my belt and I know that I can do the work, which is huge.

It’s also exhausting.

I am tired.

I mean.

Tired.

Sometimes the transition is a challenge, the one where I am getting up an hour and a half earlier than I do on the weekdays, the one in which I skip having a weekend off, the one in which I have to show up, suit up, and participate, instead of sleeping in.

I got an adorable text from a friend in regards to it being the weekend and Friday and I laughed.

Which is better than bursting into tears, my Friday is more like a hard-core 11 hour Monday after working a full week of work.

Followed by another eleven hour day and then a seven hour day and then it’s Monday again and I get to go back to work.

Fuck.

I’m tired thinking about it.

I always make it through.

Some of that time I am more caffeinated, but I had to cut it out after a certain point today otherwise my brain would be up half the night attempting to process all the stuff that I went through during the day in class.

And I went through a lot of stuff.

I’m actually doing work now.

Sigh.

Ugh.

Turns out I missed a podcast that I needed to listen to for my Trauma class.

So.

Yeah.

Homework on the weekend I thought I had it all done.

Oh well.

So it goes.

It’s an interesting podcast, there is that.

I just want to finish my tea and watch an episode of America’s Next Top Model.

Shh.

Don’t tell.

I mean I would like to wind down, but I also know that I am trying to balance it all out and be present and have done the work and yada, yada, yada.

I am glad though, to be in class, to see my cohort, see my friend, have an impromptu lunch at a sushi spot with a friend in the program.

Good to connect and reconnect.

I got to see people I care about and love.

To know that I have another community of people to connect with is a great deal to me that I was never expecting to get out of the program.

An extra unexpected gift.

The friendships, the hugs, the conversations, the people who have expressed their affection for me and for my journey.

It is a blessing.

I’m excited for all of us, for the path being travelled that we are on, oh, I know, our paths will fork and people will change and go on their different ways, but we have this time together, these three years and it is an incredible experience.

Nope.

I don’t always want to be vulnerable, I don’t want to process, but I do, I grow, I change, and as I turned down a few invitations to do things this evening, I know that I was doing the thing that was going to best take care of me in my person and show up for class as rested and as ready to participate and share my experiences.

The relevant ones.

Sometimes I don’t share, sometimes the gory details are shined up a bit, but really I am pretty clear about who I am and where I have been and, now, where I hope to move towards.

It’s been an opening of a new part of me.

I am appreciative and honored and sometimes.

Well.

Yes.

Tired.

But.

Here’s to working a little extra, doing a tiny bit more, taking one more little step towards that goal.

I don’t need to know where the end goal is.

Oh.

And look at that.

Podcast done.

Blog almost done.

Ready for a spot of tea and then.

Yes.

Some rest.

So I can get up and do it all over again tomorrow.

See you on the flip.

Where.

I will be.

Ready to teeter totter a few more baby, albeit tired, steps down the road.

 

It’s December

December 2, 2016

How the fuck did that happen?

I mean, seriously?

The days so full they just float on past.

I got a lot done today and at the same time had many moments of not having enough time to do it all.

NOT ENOUGH TIME.

Papers to write.

Practicum to figure out.

Doing the deal every damn day.

Not that I hate on that, it’s just one of the things in my schedule, a constant and a source of pleasure, but additional time that I always have to account for.

Even though I was not in contact with any of the usual suspects today, I couldn’t have used my phone to save my life, there was always something happening.

The day just whipped past, as so many of them do, unless they don’t and that’s always an interesting experience, but not one that I have often.

I got up early and did some writing and made breakfast.

But.

I did not eat it.

No, I just prepared it and packed up my lunch for work and did my Spending Plan for the month of December and balanced my numbers from November.

It’s the first of the month, got to represent.

I drank a small, for me, cup of coffee.

And went to yoga.

Because yoga.

And I’m getting back into a groove and routine with it and I like that.

Even though it feels like less time, it’s important, imperative really, to exercise and move and I haven’t had enough of that recently, so back in it with a vengeance.

Which is why I prepared breakfast, but did not eat it.

I do not like doing yoga with food in my tummy, it feels awful.

I had a great class and felt really strong in my body and then came home, threw laundry in the wash, myself in the shower, got dressed, did my hair, makeup, made more coffee, and ate my breakfast.

Then.

Hopped on the scooter and zoomed off to work.

And there was no down time.

It was all on, full tilt boogie.

Extra cooking.

Extra laundry.

Extra big feels from the boys.

Which I’m getting used to.

But it doesn’t change the tenor of my job and it certainly does not make it easier.

Today I was greeted by one little monkey who said, “Carmen!  I missed you!”

I got great big hugs and snuggles.

The older boy ignored me and then said, out of the blue, “you know, Carmen, you’re sort of chubby.”

Wow.

Um, thanks kid.

HA.

But who needs to be right when they can be happy?

Happy was my principle today and for the most part I was able to have that.

Not all day long, not all the time, but for a good part of the day I was really happy.

Just happy to be alive, in my skin, with a job, a scooter, a home to come home to, a Christmas tree with blue lights, sunflowers in a Mason jar on my kitchen table, a laptop, an Iphone, all the stuff, all the things.

“You’re right ___________ I am chubby,” I said without skipping a beat.

His mother, however, was aghast and took him aside and told him some stuff and I got an apology, but he was actually quite confused and later when we were out at the park having our own little play date (his brother had a doctor’s appointment) I told him what I thought and how I felt about what he had said.

“You know, honey, you’re were right, I am chubby, and I’m ok with that, and it’s astute of you to notice and you used a new word, which is cool, but you know, your mom was right too, some people might have their feelings hurt if you said that to them,” I explained as the light faded from the sky and the early winter evening sank over the Mission.

“I didn’t mean anything by it,” he said, his eyes open really wide, which he does when he’s trying to express his sincerest sincere self.

“I know pudding, it’s ok, I am chubby, full, happy, replete, and that just means there’s more of me to love on you,” and I gave him a hug.

What’s the fucking point getting upset with a child?

I am soft.

I am curvy.

I am also strong as fuck, and there is a six-pack underneath the extra skin on my tummy, you just can’t see it.

I also come from big, strong, strapping people.

I am not, nor will I ever be a waif.

I could starve myself all day long.

And I have restricted during a period of my early abstinence when I went a little over board, but I was always thinking about food and that drove me just as bats as the bit of extra weight.

I like who I am.

I like how I look.

I am beautiful.

I am happy.

I am vivacious.

I am succulent.

I am divine.

I have absolutely no humility either, but that’s a character attribute I will probably be striving for all my life.

I am a voluptuous woman.

And I am alright with that.

I got a message from an old lover.

He didn’t seem to mind my chubbiness.

Not at all.

Not one fucking bit.

Nope.

Anyway.

I don’t care about it enough to make a fuss about it and I didn’t want my charge to be shamed because he was observant.

It is what it is.

Although, I do have to say I have had the idea pop into my head a bunch of times though in regards to trying cool sculpting or liposuction.

Or a surgery to remove some of the excess skin from my weight loss off my arms and tummy.

But then I think.

Whatever.

This is my perfect body, imperfectly perfect, and God-given and if it was supposed to be different.

Well.

It’d be different.

Maybe if I had the money to spare.

But for now.

The spending plan for December does not include cosmetic procedures.

Ha.

It was fun to do, though, I like putting in my Christmas categories and getting a few things squared away for the holiday and my traveling.

I’m happy.

It was a good day.

Busy yes.

But so good.

So good to be alive.

And hey!

Fingers crossed.

Completely louse free.

I have my last appointment tomorrow at 11 a.m.

I am ready to be done with it.

Seriously.

And it’s Friday.

Yippee!

Bring it on.

I’m ready for a little fun.

I really am.

 

I Need To Make An Amends

March 18, 2016

Actually I need to fill out an amended tax form.

“You’re making an amends to yourself,” he told me, leaning into the table and looking at me with his bright eyes.

Indeed.

I had not even thought of it like that.

In fact, up until yesterday I hadn’t told anyone what was going on.

In the crazy.

In the head.

All by itself, the I’m not worthy drum still tries to sound a rhythm.

Fortunately, I told on myself yesterday and that opened me up to being able to find some recourse around a tax penalty I received for not having health insurance.

Because that’s what our country does to its people who can’t afford insurance, they slap you on the wrist and kick you when you’re down–like giving a homeless person a ticket for loitering.

And I understand it to a point, it’s to help prod people into having some sort of coverage, but I think about all the people that are getting screwed because they are neither here nor there.

I make just enough money now that next year I am going to have cover all my health insurance through a private insurance plan.

No more Healthy San Francisco for me.

Not that they have covered my grossest costs regarding health care–my glasses–but they certainly had me covered when I had my scooter accident and I had to go to the ER.

A visit that could have cost me thousands of dollars but in the end was  a $100 co-pay.

So whatever, I figured, when the penalty was leveed on my taxes that there was nothing I could do about it and that was just the cost of doing business.

That is until oh, around the 24th or 25th of last month when I received an interesting piece of paperwork from Kaiser Permanente–the provider that Healthy SF has me paired with–it was my IRS 1095-B form.

In lay man terms.

It was my out for the tax penalty.

Dear Carmen ______________

The affordable Care ACT (ACA) requires taxpayers to prove they had health coverage in 2015 when they file their taxes for 2015.  The enclosed IRS Form 1095-B reports proof of coverage.

Well fuck me.

I paid that fine.

It was taken out of my tax refund.

It was about $850.

That’s a nice little chunk of money I want back.

Especially since, well, that’s going to cover my new glasses, both pairs.

Well, not quite, but it’s damn close and what’s funny.

I wasn’t going to do anything about it.

I just sort of chalked it up to I made a mistake and now I’m going to pay for it and next year, well, now I know and I won’t make that mistake again.

Except well.

Dang it.

$850.

That’s a little bit of money.

That’s more than I make after taxes for a week’s worth of work.

That’s a ticket to Maui and back.

Plus some.

But.

Well, I fucked up, so I have to pay for the price.

I stuck the papers in my little file in and let it go.

Except.

Well, it sort of stuck.

And yesterday when I told my friend it was a relief to let it out.

It sort of took the starch out of it.

It had been weighing on my mind and although I kept telling myself I was ok with it, I obviously was not.

“Why don’t you call the IRS?”  My friend asked over the phone.

Oh.

My.

God.

Like actually call the IRS?

Are you nuts?

But.

Um.

Maybe that’s not a bad place to start.

“I’m sure there is something you can do, you should call, if you owed them $850, you know they’d be calling you.” She concluded.

True that.

So this morning I climbed into my big girl pants and I opened my laptop, after doing my morning routine, I logged onto the IRS website.

And wouldn’t you fucking know it!

There’s a tab that says: “make a mistake on your filed taxes?”

Oh.

Ha!

I’m not the only one who fucks up.

In fact, there are so many folks that mess up filing their taxes there is a form that they have so that you can fix your mistakes.

How freaking easy is that?

I was a bit chagrinned.

But also really grateful that I didn’t keep this to myself.

The fear is idiotic, but it was there and it was also an old way of living, a way of being that doesn’t work for me, that I get punished when I do something wrong, that I am a bad girl.

You know sometimes I am a bad girl.

Ahem.

But not in this case.

No.

In this case I made a mistake and I filled out my taxes and filed them to the best of my ability.

I used the information that I had and I made a decision.

So the decision was incorrect.

The thing about mistakes is that I’m not going to be punished, there is no need to be pilloried, I can just be a human and try to fix it.

Again.

To the best of my ability with the information I have.

I have the form to amend my taxes and I have the form that proves I had health coverage that is adequate for me to prove to the federal government that I was complying with the Affordable Care Act.

Oh.

This again.

“Adulting.”

I am acting the grown up.

I am growing up.

Grateful I also got transparent with my person at the cafe tonight.

It’s nice to be accountable to someone and to someone who is not going to judge me.

We read a big chapter and talked about acceptance being the answer to all my problems and how focusing on the problem only makes it bigger, but the more I focus on the solution, well, that problem just takes care of itself.

Thank God for solution.

Seriously.

So, so grateful that I don’t have to do this alone.

I got a spiritual solution for your desperate aim.

And tomorrow is Friday.

Ah.

So nice to be making it through the week and being accountable and showing up and also amending my behavior when and where it is appropriate with love and guidance that comes from outside myself.

What a gift, this life.

Grateful.

To be so constantly.

And.

Continuously.

Graced.

 

And All That

March 9, 2016

All there is to balance.

All there is to do.

All the fun to be had.

All the flirting.

I love flirting.

It is just so much fun.

I also like taking it a little further, so here’s to trying again and another date for tomorrow night.

Yes.

I am busy.

But fuck it, I also have been told so many times to lighten up and go have fun and all work and graduate school are not going to be allowed to suck the fun out of my life.

And there’s room for it.

I do have room for it.

I am busy, yes, but not so busy that a little lightness, a cup of tea, a conversation, can’t be made.

I can and have made the time.

So here’s to another round of trying and also knowing that I don’t have to make the same mistakes, and also that, yes, there’s probably other mistakes that I will make and overall and all and all, it’s all for the good.

No matter what.

Ah dating.

So much fun.

So many places to get humility.

But really, what I have been responding to is when I am being sparkled at.

That seems a really good way for me to know that there is something true there.

Is the person shining at me?

Is the man across from me engaged.

I mean chemistry.

So.

I’ll be climbing back into the saddle and having very much learned my lesson, be a better date as well.

And if there’s no chemistry, so be it, I tried.

Just keep showing up.

And just leave it alone.

I did some inventory tonight with my person after work and it was just so good.

I shared and when asked what I should have done instead, it was so simple, “walked away and left him alone.”

Or as my dearest girlfriend said today, and has said before, “go where it’s warm.”

And believe them when they say they are not available or if they don’t call back or text back that’s the same as I’m not available and it doesn’t even matter if they’re interested.

“Honey, they’re all interested, they’re just not all available.”

Exactly.

So believe them when they say I’m not available and save yourself the fucking heart ache.

Because they, the guys, the men, anyone, could be a friend too, are giving you all the information you need right up front, right away, and I can hear it with honesty and integrity and believe it.

Which means living in reality.

Not fantasy.

Because even though fantasy is nice it sure as shit ain’t real.

And the “safety” it offers is not really safe, it’s just another way to self-sabotage my way to unhappiness.

I’m also lightly holding all the things in my heart around this.

It has been an ever deepening awareness of myself that I have been sticking my hand into for years, this I want to date, be involved romantically, try, and then not wanting to try, feeling unworthy, unlovable, not good enough.

You know what’s crazy?

Every single swipe on Tinder that is a positive for me, every guy that I have said, sure, I’d go on a date, has been a match.

100%

I haven’t not matched at all.

And.

I realized it was freaking me the fuck out.

Whoa.

I am attractive.

Shit, fuck, what?

Um.

Hello.

And there’s this nasty little voice in me, oh, that’s just a good picture, you’re more photogenic, you’re body’s not good enough, etc, etc, etc.

Shut up.

I am perfect.

The body is perfect.

Well.

Imperfectly perfect, perfect for me, soft in spots, curvy in others, a grey hair there, a wrinkle here, but this is it, this is me and me is pretty and sweet and sexy and nice and stupid sometimes, but I try and my heart is big and I’m a great cook.

Not that I’m trying to get you to ask me out or anything.

Heh.

I’m must appreciating my assets and knowing, really, firmly, in good stead realizing, that I am worthy.

Worthy of love.

Worthy of respect.

Which all has to do with how I treat myself and the behavior I accept or do not accept from those I engage with.

Which means knowing what I need and want and sticking to my guns.

Anywho.

That’s what’s upstairs in my thoughts tonight.

That and weather and being a bit bummed to not be on my scooter, I thought I was going ot get in one more day of being on it, but it started to rain as I was doing some reading for school before I headed into work, so I grabbed a car and it looks like that’s how it’s going to be for the rest of the week.

I’m not going to ride my bike, I’m not going to waste time on MUNI, my time is a precious resource, so I’m also not going to be upset about spending a few extra dollars getting to and from work and to and from school.

Tomorrow, more reading, get the final edits done on my papers, work, my commitment, and a tea date.

Then.

I get ready for the school weekend and I’ll see you on the other side.

Well.

I’ll still be showing up here.

I haven’t failed to blog yet since I started graduate school.

Kind of amazing that, now that I am thinking about it, but I love it so, I do, my little blog.

My troublesome outlet, I do love it, I do.

The writing is my balm.

The words clicking out of the keyboard onto the screen, then out into the world, to land, well, who knows where.

Just that I sent them out.

Just that I show up.

That’s all.

Try.

Fall down.

Get the fuck back up.

Laugh at myself.

And love myself.

And oh yeah, let me not forget this one, remember.

Always.

That I am worthy.

I am enough.

Yes.

Oh yes.

I am.

So.

Fucking.

Worthy.

She Keeps Us Civilized

January 22, 2016

The mom said to her guests as they thanked me at the end of my shift this evening.

Well.

I try.

Sometimes though, the five year old is just going to stand on his head and fart on his friend and giggle wildly.

Fortunately the parents were outside in the back yard enjoying daiquiris.

I was inside with four boys: 5 3/4; 51/2; 4; and 3 1/2.

I add the halves and the quarters.

They are very fierce about their age and the hierarchy of who sits where in accordance to what age.

They were lined up left to right, oldest to youngest, along with two stuffed huskies, one stuffed cat, and one very, very loved teddy bear.

Four cups of milk in sippy cups and four graham crackers.

And.

Pengu.

Man.

There is nothing funnier to this age group than Pengu.

Nothing.

There is just something about the claymation little penguin that tickles the funny bone.

I find it endearing and cute and about the only video I can stand watching with the boys.

It’s a special night when the boys get videos, when I’m there we don’t watch videos.

I have been told by the boys that they do watch a lot of videos 0n the weekend.

I know they do and that’s not my business.

I am in no position to criticize or judge any one and their parental style.

I have in the past and it did not serve me well.

Glass houses and stones and what all.

The boys had a play date and I made pizzas.

I had to laugh at one point.

I don’t eat sugar or flour and here I am rolling out pizza dough–spinach and mushroom, pepperoni, plain cheese, and cheese and mushroom–and navigating around open containers of sugar and booze.

Not my normal.

Even at work.

But no matter.

I did my deal and took care of the boys and was grateful for my own lovely little abstinent meal and my extra time to get done laundry and pick up all the different sets of train tracks that had gotten pulled out to entertain the boys.

Three separate sets.

I pondered my psychology reading and was happy to use some theory on the boys.

I mean.

Come on.

I’m in the heart of family.

And I’m going to be a therapist.

Gold mine.

It’s like doing field work all the time.

I mean I got an A+ in Psychodynamics using a scene at the dentist office where one of the boys had a temper tantrum and I was able to apply Freud and Melanie Klein theory to what was happening.

I am a very lucky girl.

I am also a very lucky girl to have done some work today before work.

That’s the funny thing about work.

I work before it and I work after it.

Sometimes the work I do outside of work is more work.

But I digress.

I did some reading.

I checked over a couple of my syllabi.

Specifically I read the entire seven pages for Applied Spirituality.

,

I was resentful, wildly so, the first time I read it.

Hey, don’t you know who I am?

Don’t you know what I do?

I am special.

I already apply spirituality to my life.

Don’t tell me what to do.

Which.

When I took some time to reflect.

Was a rather unspiritual stance to take.

After doing some inventory on it and discussing it with another person at length I realized that I was, once again, being inflexible about my schedule.

I have a certain way of doing things and a certain time and don’t bother me while I am.

And.

Don’t even try to get me to do anything else.

It’s a matter of life and death.

Motherfucker.

Ah.

Yeah.

So, you can see, not so spiritual at that.

I recognize the fear behind the thoughts, I’ve been doing it this way for years, and I’m doing just fine, and I’m going to hold onto this way of doing things and you can pry my practice from my cold, dead, but still fucking spiritual, hands.

I laugh at myself.

I had a small epiphany–the poetry epiphany–and decided to not change up my practice so much, as deepen it.

I’ll grab some new spiritual readers, I will change out my daily readers, I’m still going to use conference approved literature, there is a really good reason I stick close to the original message of recovery.

It works.

But there’s more than one daily reader, so I will try another.

And I went for it this morning.

I wrote a full sonnet after writing my regular morning pages and doing my gratitude list.

I’m using a notebook that I bought at the museum store at the Centre Pompidou in Paris.

I’m calling the series.

“Love Letters To God.”

I debated posting the first sonnet here, but I am not sure how I am going to incorporate them yet for the class, and since that is the reason, the impetus to do the writing, I’m going to wait until after my professor gets back to me regarding my proposal.

That may not be for at least a week.

I got word today that my professor was under the impression that classes started this upcoming weekend, he has not officially posted the syllabus and sent out an apologetic e-mail this afternoon giving some suggestions and saying basically, just wait for a week and I’ll be ready for you.

I find this extraordinarily unprofessional considering this is a graduate school program and I am paying graduate school tuition out the fucking ass.

But this is not the first time that something wonky has occurred–readers not ready, etc.

And frankly, I don’t bear a grudge.

It’s just humanity happening in front of my eyes.

I can get fussy about it or I can be grateful for an extra week reprieve from the start of another round of grad school work.

It will all work out.

And.

I have no complaints.

I mean.

I wrote a delicious sonnet.

It made me happy to write.

Happier to read.

The next thing to explore is to see if I can link a sound byte to my blog or if I should do some sort of podcast on Youtube.

Which I know nothing about, but I do feel quite compelled to have some voice recordings out there.

It feels like the next thing to do in this evolution of being an artist.

Yup.

Me the artist.

How lovely that is to claim.

I am a poet.

I am a writer.

I am an artist.

Hell yeah.

Bring on the spirituality.

Bitches.

Nightmare

November 8, 2015

On 46th Avenue.

I woke up this morning from a nightmare.

I don’t have them much any more and it wasn’t the worst nightmare I have ever had, in fact, it so pales in comparison to the night terrors that I had just prior to getting sober that I hesitate to even call it a nightmare.

It was a bad dream, however.

And though I can laugh at the absurdity of it when I shared it with a friend earlier today, I can also recognize that my stress level and my anxiety about having enough time are making themselves known in my subconsciousness.

I dreamt I was back at The Angelic.

That is, I dreamt that I was back running the Angelic.

The Angelic Brewing Company that is.

A now defunct micro-brewery that I helped manage for six years from the time I was 22 years old to the time I was 29.

Yes.

I know, that looks like seven years, but it was six years, perhaps 6.25.

I digress.

The point is, that it was a stressful job and there was a period of four years when I was not only running the Angelic, I was also in school full-time and I was training in Shaolin Kempo Karate at a dojo on State Street.

Said dojo being conveniently located between campus and the brewery.

I spent a lot of time in downtown Madison between those three places.

And I worked hard.

I am good at working hard, if you haven’t noticed.

I ran a successful business.

Was my job title the most prestigious?

Nope.

Floor manager does not have a prestigious ring to it, like say, General Manager, Kitchen Manager, Bar Manager, Head Brewer, etc.

Shit.

Sometimes it felt like the bar back was getting a better job title than I.

However, I had a lot of responsibility for the establishment and I worked full time hours when I was not in school and about 32-35 hours a week when I was in class.

Similar to what I am doing now.

The only difference being is that I drank to cope then.

And I certainly do not have that option now.

Not that I even want that option.

I used up all my drink tickets from the holiday party.

And yours.

And yours.

And hers over there.

And definitely his.

He’s holding out, there’s some I stole from his back pocket.

Needless to say,  I was managing my drinking or I might not have been able to manage the brewery as well as I did.

I would go through periods, then, when I had stress dreams about work.

i would dream I had forgotten to set the alarm or I left the safe unlocked, or I had miscounted a till, or somehow, while I was busy in the back, some bartender or cocktail waitress had left for home, after the bar had closed for the night, accidentally leaving the door wide open and somehow all sorts of people wandered in and I had to get them all out and no one would listen and the cops were on the way.

And.

You get the point.

This morning I woke up having dreamt that the General Manager had booked a band (the brewery was also a default nightclub and very popular bar during the evening hours–day time hours it functioned mostly as a mirco brewery with a semi-decent pub fare menu–burgers, fries, nachos, homemade soups, etc) that was too expensive to pay out.

I dreamed I was in the office counting out tills (the queen was in the parlour eating bread and honey, the king was in the counting house counting all his money) and I noticed that people were coming into the bar.

We didn’t have video monitors or cameras at the brewery, so that’s a made up thing in my brain, but it was very real in the dream and l looked in aghast at the doors to the establishment swinging back and forth as more and more people were coming in for the show and no one was paying.

Fuck.

Where are my bouncers?

I need to put someone on the door and start collecting money.

There won’t be enough money to pay the piper.

But there was.

And I paid the piper yesterday.

My scooter is parked in front of my house, locked thank you–I got a disc lock–safe and sound and fully paid for.

But I could see my financial insecurity coming out in the dream.

As well as my time management issues.

I’m not going to have enough time, I hustled about the office at work, finding the contract for the band and gasping at what the GM had agreed to pay and furthermore.

What the fuck was Metallica doing playing at the Angelic?

That’s when I woke up.

Part of me laughed.

And part of me sighed.

It’s been a while since I have had a stress dream and I know that ultimately, I do all my own stressing.

I tell myself that I am not going to have enough time.

That the things I need to do are going to take up too much time.

Like picking up my scooter today.

Which I successfully did and it got it’s plates put on it and a tidy little basket and rack on the back.

One, said basket, that I have already used today, I went grocery shopping!

Oh how lovely was that?

To not wear my messenger bag over my shoulder and haul a big sack of groceries on my back.

There’s still going to be some bike riding for a bit until I get the parking permit at work, but soon, my bicycle will be getting a lot less action.

I intimated to myself that I wasn’t going to have enough time.

Time to get the scooter.

Time to meet with the ladies.

Time to hear a big inventory.

Time to grocery shop.

Time to do that Therapeutic Communications transcription that was due today.

(I just sent it out an hour and a half ago)

Time to do anything.

Of course, but fret.

And have anxiety.

But the thing is.

All the things got done.

And it wasn’t a nightmare.

And time just sort of folded and here I am sitting at my table, writing my blog having sent in a big transcription project and read a long tiresome chapter in preparation for a paper I’m going to have to write next weekend, and I met the ladies, and I got a ride in on my scooter along the Great Highway at sunset to get groceries.

There’s no need to hold onto any anxiety.

All the stuff.

It got done.

And.

I have a lovely new scooter.

Yay!

Life.

She is grand.

Yes.

Not a nightmare at all.

But a truly sweet dream.

Plenty of which, I shall have tonight.

May you as well.

Sweet dreams.

Good night.

(don’t let the bed bugs bite!)

It’s Not Cancer

March 28, 2015

It’s eczema.

Bahahaha.

Oh.

That’s so awesome, I cannot even tell you.

And the fasting, well, broke that as soon as I could, but it went a lot better than I thought it would.

Although by the time I was due to leave work I was plenty wonky and light-headed.

My doctor and I did a full work up since I had not been in to see her in about a year.

Three full vials of blood drawn.

I’m not exactly squeamish, have you seen how many tattoos I have?

However, I am not a fan of watching blood being drawn.

Especially three vials.

Then I got to do the infamous pee in a cup thing.

Which was nearly clear, since I had drunk water all day.

I had coffee with unsweetened vanilla almond milk this morning around 7 a.m. and that was it until 4p.m today.

My first “meal” of the day was the snack I had packed in my bag–an Aztec Fuji apple from BiRite and one piece of low-fat string cheese–and an apple juice box that the lab technicians gave me as soon as the blood draw was done.

I had thought to foil the fast by getting to the appointment early, however, I had to have the test re-ordered, it, the one I had been avoiding since I had no desire when it was previously requested to fast, had been over a year.

So the doctor had to re-request the lab test.

And since I was there, she also had them check STD’s, HIV, and the general round-up of those goodies.  I had unprotected sex with my ex boyfriend (he was clean and had a vasectomy), but since she offered and I want to be able to walk into my next relationship with absolutely no doubts about my status, I said go ahead and run the panel.

It didn’t cost anything, aside from some light-headedness all day and the inability to focus on tasks.

Although a couple of times, things were so bright and clear I felt a little high.

I remember staring at a flowering purple bush, while walking to the park this morning with my charge, the vine was blooming out and how green the leaves were and the stamens and pistils were flagrant with color and the blooms iridescent with sunshine.

I felt like I was on a light acid trip.

“Carmen! Carmen! Carmen!”

My little guy chimed up, “why we stopping?”

Um.

Because I’m entranced with this plant.

Oops.

My doctor also ordered an anemia panel and admonished me to keep taking my iron supplement, which I had stopped doing for a while, then noticed that I was getting light-headed at work about a month ago and re-upped my iron.

Plus, two back to back days, well, not today, but Wednesday and Thursday, of spinach and kale salads.

A trend I will continue through the weekend.

“I’m jealous of your blood pressure, it’s amazingly low,” my doctor also said.

And my weight is the lowest it’s been since I had my crazy food relapse a year and a half ago.

I’m within ten pounds of my nutritionists recommended weight.

With the slight tweaking of my snack, that should balance it’s self out with out too much stress in the next four to five months.

I also realized that the weight was probably a by-product of two things–first, the ankle injury I sustained last June, though I was abstinent the entire time, I was off my ankle and not exercising for a month, unless you count hobbling around on crutches a work out.

Plus, I didn’t really get back into the swing of riding my bicycle until I started my current job.

The other?

The ex boyfriend.

He was an eat out kind of guy, which was nice, but I cook very simple foods and despite being very careful when I eat out, there are often hidden calories in things that you don’t think about.

For instance, I don’t cook with butter, but butter is a mainstay in a lot of restaurants.

Anyway, it was actually nice to get on the scale.

And I won’t be doing it again for a while.

I can get obsessive with weighing myself.

I know what I weigh and I am fine with it.

I like my dress size and I don’t expect it will change either.

I am a happy, perfect size 10.

So much nicer than the 22/24 I used to run.

Ugh.

So grateful that is no longer the case for me.

My doctor took one look at the red patch on my cheek and said, “oh definitely not skin cancer, it looks like eczema.  Have you ever had eczema before?”

“No,” I said, surprised, happily.

“Hydrocotisone will clear it right up, over the counter any pharmacy you pop into.”  She continued, “now let’s check the knees.

And there are some issues there.

However, perhaps not as bad as I had feared, certainly not as bad as I had feared.

“You seem to have the most problems with your knee caps, the left one is a little lose and wobbly, describe the pain again,” she said and rotated my knees around.

“It’s not the cartilage, although I can hear it crunching and popping, which is actually not something to be worried about,” she continued the exam.

I told her when it hurt and expressed my concern with riding my bicycle.

“Nope, it’s not your bicycle, in fact, it’s great that you ride so much as riding a bicycle is a rehabilitative exercise often prescribed for knee strengthening.”

“However, you may need to do some stretching in your quads and hamstrings, you may be pulling your knees off balance, so I am going to refer you to the Physical Therapy Department.”

Because I have such developed legs from bicycling, I may have to do strengthening on the back of the muscles, and so, I’ll be seeing a physical therapist.

Cool.

All in all some really nice news.

And I will take eczema hands down over skin cancer everyday.

I’ll be reloading on sunblock anyway when I go pick up the hydrocortisone.

Better safe then sorry.

And no more fasting.

EVER.

 

Fast Times

March 27, 2015

At my house.

Not at Ridgemont High.

Not also the fast times you are probably thinking.

In approximately half an hour I will be having my last snack of the day and then there will be no more food until probably 3:30/4p.m. tomorrow.

I am having to fast.

I do not want to fast.

I do not like to fast.

I am not one of those ladies (or gentleman, I have known a few guys who will) who do that whole cayenne, maple syrup, lemon juice Master Cleanse thingamabobs.

Nope.

I like my food.

I am not a undereater.

Never have been.

Probably never will be.

Although there are times I wish I could be, which is not healthy, and is just fantasy, but there it is.

I shared tonight that one of my first fantasies when I was a kid was not a sexual fantasy.

No.

It was a fantasy about going to the grocery store and eating whatever I wanted.

I mean not just being in the grocery store, but being alone in the grocery store, aisle after wonderful aisle, all to myself.

I would sleep there and eat there and I would fall asleep at night dreaming about what aisle I would start in and how long it would last.

Most of the time I never made it past the cereal box aisle.

Oh cereal in a box, how do I love thee, let me count the ways.

Honeycomb.

Cocoa Puffs.

Captain Crunch.

Cocoa Pebbles.

Rice Crispies.

Corn Chex.

Wheaties.

Corn Flakes, but only for a minute, they lose their crunch too fast.

Grape Nuts.

Corn Bran, Quaker Corn Bran Squares, don’t know why, but love them.

Raisin Bran Crunch.

And I am sure I am forgetting a bunch of them.

I haven’t eaten box cereal in such a long time.

And I really don’t hanker for it.

I don’t fantasize about supermarket aisles or candy aisles or beer and wine aisles, either.

I stick to the outside aisles of the store if I’m at a SafeWay, even at Whole Foods–although they have become sneaky with their placement of the hot tables and prepared foods daunting you near the check out lines.

There is a sound psychological reason for the fantasy, scarcity and poverty.

We just didn’t have the much money growing up and my mom comes from a family that also went through the Depression.

My grandparents had a huge garden at their home in Lodi, Wisconsin.

And I remember with much fondness all the wonderful things that grew there.

I miss that garden a lot.

And although my grandparents are many years gone now, I still have this unwavering belief in the existence of that garden.

It is still there and I can go to it some day when I go home for a visit.

Not that I see myself in Southern Wisconsin any time soon.

There is not much left for me there.

Some memories, and a few acquaintances, but my best friend lives in Northern Wisconsin just across the river from the Twin Cities in Minneapolis.

Should I head back to the land of all things dairy, it would be to go up North, not to Southern or Central Wisconsin.

My family subsisted often times on food stamps, welfare, school lunch assistance programs.

Government cheese anyone?

Ramen noodles.

Hot dogs.

We never had sugared cereals, it was a huge deal.

Popcorn was a big treat.

Or my mom might make a cake or when I was older I might bake a pie, there was ice cream when there was a special occasion-Mitchell’s Frozen Custard if it was a really big deal.

I remember though, my mom would eat bags of Lays Potato Chips and drink bottles of Mountain Dew like it was water.

I never really liked Mountain Dew, but I could and would drink it when it was offered, mostly because I liked peeling the label of it and making weird origami like designs in the bottle with the paper shreds, which I would stuff back inside the empty.

I fantasized about food because there wasn’t enough.

I also fantasized about food because I am a compulsive eater and that was a way for me to check out.

I could make six pieces of cinnamon toast and eat them all.

If given the chance I would over eat and I never really understood why.

Now.

With time and patience and love and recovery, I don’t.

But fasting.

Well.

That freaks me out.

Not having food when I need it.

I mean.

I just did a big bonk the other day, Tuesday, when I ran around all day long with the boys and had dinner one hour later than I typically do.

The good news.

It will only be half the day.

I will skip my breakfast and morning snack.

No oatmeal with an apple and unsweetened vanilla almond milk for me tomorrow morning, no hard-boiled egg.

I will have coffee though.

I can do coffee in the morning.

No low-fat string cheese at 10:30 a.m.

No big green kale and spinach salad.

Oh.

I had the best salads the last two days.

Yesterday–kale, spinach, raw almonds, strawberries, cauliflower, carrot, brown mushrooms, olive oil, white balsamic vinegar–so good.

Today–kale, spinach, Roma tomato, swiss cheese, chopped turkey, carrot, olive oil, white balsamic vinegar.

Both days a big Aztec Fuji apple from BiRite sliced up and dredged in cinnamon, nutmeg, pumpkin pie spice, and sea salt.

The days have been warm and sunny, hell I even rode my bicycle home with out my sweatshirt on, a true rarity.

Grateful it was warm.

I forgot my sweatshirt at work.

It could have been a miserable ride home.

I am so glad I have recovery around my food, and well, so many other things as well.

And although I am nervous about going without, it’s not because I can’t afford to eat well, it’s a doctor’s request to do a blood test (one I’ve been putting off for over a year because I didn’t want to do the fast) and I will survive.

I will also take myself out for a nice meal after.

Nothing crazy.

Mexican beans and rice with chicken chunks at Herbivore with a mixed green salad.

Then off to the Inner Sunset where the real treat will be getting done with work early to get my nails done and hit up some fellows I don’t get to see normally on a Friday.

And it will be the weekend right after that.

Fast times indeed.

The week it does go by.

So too shall the fasting.

For like so many things.

This too shall pass.

 


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