Archive for the ‘Writing’ Category

Into the swim of things

January 30, 2022

I got back in the pool today!

First time since my surgery.

Second time since my prior surgery.

Yeah.

It’s been a minute.

I was thinking to myself, as I checked into the facility, that had I known how many times I would be out due to surgery, I wouldn’t have bought the year pass.

Sigh.

Oh well.

When I look back over the year, I got the membership last year at the end of January, so basically a year ago, I did have a good run to begin with.

Then I got hit with the appendicitis a few weeks into the membership in February.

That knocked me out for a while.

I got back into the pool about three, four weeks after the surgery.

Then I had the brachioplasty at the end of July and well, frankly, that one still hurts.

Not as bad, no not as bad at all.

But my arms were so damn tender and achy, for quite some time after. I literally could not lift my hands over my head for months, that I didn’t get back into the pool until months and months after that procedure.

And when I did, I barely managed 400 yards.

Half of that was kicking while holding a kickboard.

Then I was back getting surgery at the end of October.

That one little time I swam 400 yards was it for me.

Partially as I really wanted to stay COVID safe and so stopped prior to the next surgery.

But mostly because I was defending my PhD dissertation on October 15th and I had to bust ass on getting my stuff complete and preparing for the defense.

Then I had to get ready for the next surgery.

That surgery was done on October 26th.

Which seems like it was so long ago, but in reality, was just three months ago now.

I have been impatient at times with myself and wanted the recovery to go faster.

I am used to being strong and connected and embodied and not being able to move fast, well fuck, I could barely hobble around for weeks, it took a lot out of me. So much. Hell, I couldn’t even stand up straight for weeks.

And because it’s been a slow recovery I haven’t addressed a lot of things that I would like to have dealt with by now.

Like.

I still have things stacked up in my kitchen–boxes of research and my Christmas tree–that I have not put into storage yet because I can’t quite lift heavy things yet.

But.

I will soon.

I can feel it.

And despite being cleared for exercise a few weeks back, I just didn’t feel that comfortable with the idea of getting back into the pool.

Sometimes just taking a shower can zap the energy right out of me.

But something whispered to me last night, “go swim tomorrow,” and I did!

I got my swim bag out of the closet and loaded up my toiletry bag with all the things and checked to make sure I still had a working swim cap and goggles and I got my flip flops and queued everything up to walk out the door in the morning.

I didn’t even sleep in!

I can on Saturdays, but I didn’t.

I was up at 7:30a.m., without an alarm! I made my bed, did my routine, pulled on swim suit, put my binder over the top of it, and put on sweats.

I was out the door by 8a.m. and in the pool literally twenty minutes later.

And it hurt.

I won’t lie.

And.

It felt so damn good.

I mean.

I am tired now.

Like exhausted, swimming makes me really tired.

But it was also so lovely to be back in the water.

I thought that I was not going to be able to do much, the pain was pretty quick, but I was like, just swim a length and do a flip turn and if the flip turn fucks you up too much, get out.

I was pretty proud of myself for just getting in the damn pool in the first place.

And!

The flip turn did not fuck me up.

I was able to do it.

Yeah, again, there was some pain, but tolerable.

I knew I wasn’t going to push myself, but my arms felt pretty damn good and I felt like I could keep going so I did a bit more.

Not a crazy amount.

I mean, I swam 600 yards, that was it.

But it was luscious.

The water felt so good and I was happy to be back in my happy place.

I am not a super talented swimmer, but I am a decent swimmer, and just moving through the water with ease, albeit it slow ease, felt so damn good.

So I told myself, “good job kiddo,” and got out of the lane after my 600 yards and hit the showers.

I was happy to take it slow in the shower and slow getting dressed and just go gently.

Like really gently.

My body is still healing.

And.

It will continue to change for a bit yet, full recovery is estimated at 8-12 months.

I’m at 3 months.

I’ve still got a ways to go.

But, I’ll be back in the pool soon.

Tomorrow, as a matter of fact.

But that will be it for a few days.

Prior to all my surgeries I was swimming four to five days a week.

I’m going to start out with two days and see how it goes.

Soft and gentle.

Easy does it.

And it was nice to also be at the club, as it’s close to the Ferry Building, which had a farmer’s market today.

I bought myself some flowers and some late, I mean way late, end of season persimmons, and had a nice walk through the market, noticing all the things that are changing and the early signs of spring foods–radishes and lettuces and budding pussy willow branches.

I love a farmer’s market.

I came home afterward, had a lovely breakfast, with some of those persimmons, drank my latte and did a ton of writing.

I went grocery shopping.

I went to Dolores Park and hit up a friends birthday party.

And I walked 12,000+ steps today.

I am done in.

Like I said.

I wasn’t going to even write this blog, but something compelled me to.

Whatever it was, I have to say, it’s nice to be back here again too, doing the writing, dumping out the days’ contents onto the page and letting it go off into the ether.

My arms are sore.

Both from the swimming and from the writing.

But it is a good sore, a welcome sore, and let me tell you, I will be sleeping like a baby tonight.

Swimming through the stars, sliding through the water of the night into the morning.

When I will wake up and do it all over again.

Sweet dreams.

My friends.

Sweet dreams.

I Would Follow You

January 17, 2022

To Wisconsin.

He said, underneath the heat lamp at the outdoor cafe.

On our first date.

There have now been four dates.

Tomorrow will be number five.

And that is all you need to know about him.

I would like to spill all the words and looks and the synchronicities and the eyes, oh, the eyes.

But.

I am not going to.

I spill so much of my heart on these pages.

“You wear your heart on your sleeve,” an old lover once told me, “I could never write about the things you do, share the things you do, it’s what makes you a good writer.”

I don’t know about that necessarily.

I think a good writer is just one that writes.

I still write every day.

In the mornings.

Three to four pages, sometimes just one or two, but I always write.

I don’t show up here as often, sometimes I think it might be time to hang up the blog, but I just keep holding onto it.

There is something here still for me.
I am not sure that there is anything here for you though.

I just keep letting you go.

I don’t know who shows up to read these ramblings any more.

I don’t know who you are.

I do know that you still read the words.

Sometimes you search me out.

Sometimes you find me on some old social media post I thought I had scrubbed away.

Sometimes you find me with esoteric search engine terms.

You keep finding me.

And I keep writing for ghosts.

This time.

This time though, I am writing for me.

About a month ago I sat down in front of my computer with too much eye make up on and a bushel of glitter and my hair wild and I did my dissertation presentation for a friend who is a film maker.

It was not as good as when I defended my dissertation and was awarded my PhD, that feeling of being so in the moment and not even realizing the camera was on was not with me when I did it for my friend.

But.

He got the gist of it and he liked it and he said, yeah, we can make this into a film.

It had been suggested to me by one of my former supervisor’s that I make the dissertation into something, a one woman show, a documentary, a film.

He said I had it, that he could watch me present the work all over again, would pay for it and that it was better than a lot of what he’s seen on Netflix.

I mean.

Fuck.

What a great compliment.

And also.

Fuck.

Scary and wonderful and am I really going to do this?

I mean.

I just finished my PhD.

I have a full time therapy practice.

Shouldn’t I just be taking long walks on my days off?

Just looking at the sky and the city and breathing without the pressure of a writing project on my shoulders.

Just walking around and watching the birds wheel in the sky.

Just listening to music on my Airpods and smiling that I don’t have to go anywhere, don’t have a deadline, don’t have to do another draft or edit or more research.

I can put away the research.

I have shelved the books.

I can let it go.

Or can I?

There is something here.

There is a story and I do think there is a movie and so does my friend.

When I started writing my blog, twelve years ago now, I would sometimes get a line of words in my head or a phrase and I would know, that’s my blog.

That’s the line.

That’s my way in.

I don’t actually need anything more than that.

Just the line.

What follows after that line I never know.

I just have a feeling for what has to be written in the next moment, the next breath, the next beat of time.

And I kept thinking about how my friend sent me the info about how to write a screen play and how it should be a certain kind of way and I was like, well, damn, I don’t have the “ending” you’re supposed to have.

But who ever does have the ending that they’re supposed to have?

What if it wasn’t bad timing lover, friend, soul mate, what if it was just that we weren’t meant to be, not really, not ever and we stole something, took away light from the moon and carved out a tiny moment in the soul of the world and hid our love.

But it couldn’t stay.

We weren’t meant to be together.

We never were.

Because we aren’t.

So I let it go again.

Let you go again and choose something else, I look up at the stars, the moon be damned, and find a new way forward.

It is dark and it is new and I don’t know where it’s going.

But when I put my hand on his back last night I thought I might just find a new way through.

And I might just have an ending to my story that has hope.

It may not be the fairy tale ending.

I have had my heart broken too many times by the fairy tale.

It will be a different story.

A new story.

And yes.

It will be a love story.

My love story, though.

My way through.

My way out.

When I chose to walk out the door to my apartment and take a right and not a left and meet him at the corner of the street and take a deep breath and say.

“Hi, it’s nice to meet you.”

And really, really mean it.

It really has been so nice to meet you.

I don’t know if we’ll ever go to Wisconsin.

But that you would follow me there.

Well.

That is one hell of a way to start something.

Something that begins with hope.

Odds and Ends

August 30, 2021

Bits and pieces.

I have not been here in a while.

And while that is not exactly true, I am here quite often, I have not written in a while.

Oh.

A poem every now and then.

I have one niggling at the back of my brain that I should have written on Friday afternoon when it struck me but I couldn’t quite get myself to sit down and do it.

So.

I find myself here, at the keyboard, writing and thinking and sometimes, oh, sometimes, dreaming.

Thinking about you and where you’re at and how is the pandemic treating you, things like that.

Or.

Do you ever walk past my apartment, slow, longingly, thinking about ringing the buzzer.

It happens once in a while.

Someone will buzz my door and I think it’s you, but it’s the wrong time of night or I am in a session with a client and cannot answer.

I do go and look.

But if it was you, well, you are long gone.

Other times I think, you drive by, you must, not that often, but often enough.

Do you see the lights on?

Do you look for the Marilyn Monroe print high up on the wall, the one you can see from the street through the top fo my window where there is not a blind, or maybe the top of the David Bowie book up on the ledge-the one you surprised me with, that you bought at Dog Eared Books in the Castro.

Do you?

I think you do.

But what do I know?

Not a lot it seems.

Even though I keep myself busy with all the things.

School, work, school, work, recovery, repeat.

Week after week.

And thoughts of you.

Urges to be seen by you, drive by and see me out for a walk around Jefferson Square Park, too far off your route even where you in my neighborhood.

Or.

Since the weather has changed, not much, but enough to drive people to the park to catch the sun before the inevitable fogs rolls right back in, see me sitting on a bench in Octavia Green reading a book and sipping a sugar free strawberry soda through a green and white striped straw in a Mason glass jar with a handle; the only drinking jar left in the group I bought aeons ago.

Every time I go to Octavia Green, I think, maybe today he will see me.

Stop.

Park the car.

Get out and walk to me.

Surprise me.

Face full of sun and hope.

Despite myself and all the years.

Four years now that I have had you in my heart, if not always present, no not always present, so not here, just there, over there, on the other side of a hill, watching the moon rise and set from a different part of the city.

Sometimes the moon annoys me.

Stop reminding me of him.

Go away now.

Leave me be.

And yet it goes on doing what moons do.

Wax.

Wane.

Repeat.

Ah.

I digress.

See.

I get lost, in the dreams and hopes, the fantasy and revery.

The longing, sigh, still in my heart a dark romantic thinking up poetry to write about you.

That hit me today.

The fact that the only poem you ever recited and recorded for me, a Pablo Neruda that wrecks me, that I can’t find the damn recording.

I thought I had it in a file with your name on it.

Messages and photos and emails.

But it’s not there.

And I remember the book of poetry I gave you on Christmas Eve last year and how you said, “we should read these to each other.”

Fuck my wayward heart.

Why today?

Why did that little bon mot pop into my head?

You’ve been on my mind.

When aren’t you I suppose.

But more so now than you have in months.

It’s been eight months since I saw you last.

Seven’ish months since your last text.

I was mad at you.

Told you to leave me alone until you figured it out.

Seems you haven’t.

Figured it out.

That’s what I tell myself.

He’s figuring it out.

Gah.

Even to myself that sounds asinine.

Yet.

Hope.

She springs eternal.

Fuck you hope.

I did something yesterday.

It felt feral and impulsive.

And I did not stop myself.

At first.

I did later.

I pulled a card from the metal heart on my desk that I bought for you over a year ago and wrote tu me manques.

“I miss you” in French.

I signed it.

Sealed it.

Wrote your address on it.

Stamped it.

With, oh apropos, the LOVE stamp.

Flipped it over and stuck a crow sticker with a rose in its mouth to the back of the envelope flap.

And then looked at it.

Propped it up on my computer.

What the fuck am I doing?

It was a little like the other night when I held my finger hovering over your private Instagram account.

I almost hit request.

I did not.

But fuck.

It was close.

The card was like that.

I asked God for a sign.

I know God doesn’t work like that.

Not usually.

I threw it in my bag and went to lunch with a friend.

I had coffee and told that friend what was in my bag.

I sat in the park.

I texted another friend and told on myself.

Although to be frank, honest, virtuous, vigorous with my truth, I knew the latter friend would cosign the card.

He thinks we should be together.

“He’s the love of your life, figure it out!”

He didn’t coax me to mail it or not mail it.

He did ask me if it was a love letter.

Sort of.

I walk around with it in my bag longer.

I waited for the sign that never came.

I walked past the German restaurant on the corner and put it in the mailbox.

I woke up this morning and thought to myself.

What that fuck did I do?

It’s Sunday, can I get it back?

And.

You know.

I don’t want it back.

I just want you back.

Same as fucking ever.

Sigh.

My heart.

I miss you.

Je te veux.

Tous les jours.

I probably always will.

I tried to run the numbers in my head.

How many days till the card reaches his PO box?

I mailed it late afternoon yesterday, a Saturday, which means it’s still in the mailbox on the corner, as it’s Sunday.

It will get picked up tomorrow.

Process Tuesday.

Maybe land in your PO box on Wednesday.

Maybe.

But the thing is.

Though I used to mail you things weekly.

I haven’t for eight months.

Maybe longer?

Do you even check the mail there anymore?

I wanted to send you a chip on your anniversary.

I didn’t.

I wanted to send you a birthday card on your birthday.

I didn’t.

I wanted to let you know when I landed in the ER.

But I couldn’t.

No other sound is quite the same as your name

Good grief.

I should stop listening to music, I get smacked with the sads sometimes.

Anyway.

I really tried to not reach out.

I deleted your number in my phone.

I don’t email you.

But I come close.

I thought.

I just have to make it through my dissertation defense.

I just need to heal from my next surgery in October.

And how long.

How long before you figure it out?

Or I do.

“Why can’t you be with him?” My friend asked.

I told him all the things and he just sighed, “I don’t like how this movie ends, you’re supposed to be together.”

You would think that.

I have only had one soul mate.

You.

I have only really loved one man.

You.

But sometimes you don’t get to be with the one you love.

I’ve read a lot of books, that seems to happen an awful, awful, awful lot.

It’s only in movies, spun sugar fairy tales, that we end up together.

And I swear we were our own little movie, the romance of it all was horrendous.

Heartbreaking.

And so delicious.

I remember one of the last things you said to me about Sabrina and Nick.

“That’s us.”

And I freaked out.

“They die at the end and get to be together in the afterlife! Is that how I get to be with you, when we’re dead?!”

I think I hung up the phone on you.

I was devastated.

But once in a while, I think, what if you meant what the characters said to each other.

“We’re end game.”

Is that what you meant?

That somehow we end up together, in the end?

I sure hope so.

I suppose I shouldn’t have wrote the card.

Had some fucking restraint.

But I didn’t.

Maybe I’ll regret it.

Maybe.

Maybe not.

Maybe I’ll regret writing another sad lonely hearts club blog about a man who is just there, over the hill, but not here where my heart beats still with longing and thoughts of what if, oh what if?

Sometimes I think that maybe it’s just this down time.

This little whiff of time after turning in my dissertation to my committee, this little jot of time before I have my final push to finish my PhD.

Maybe I’ve had a little more time than usual.

And the grief it sank in and got me again.

I suppose I shouldn’t take actions out of sorrow.

But that wouldn’t be very poetic.

Now would it?

The deed is done and I can’t take it back.

You’ve got mail.

It’s A Good Thing

January 18, 2021

To write.

I am making an effort to get my blogging back on.

This is not a New Year’s resolution, seems late in the month for that shit anyway.

I can’t remember the last time I made a resolution.

I like my life.

I don’t feel compelled to do some big self-improvement.

Granted.

There are some things I would like to do a bit more.

Definitely a little more exercise.

Being housebound with the pandemic and also not nannying and sitting my office chair for eight or nine hours a day has left me feeling a smidge out of shape.

So.

More outside time, more walks and more bicycle rides.

Especially since I took my trusty whip into Valencia Cyclery yesterday and got her nice and tuned up–adjusted the headset and got a new silver Izumi chain.

She rides like a dream.

I’m committing to at least two bicycle rides a week, maybe three, and more walks.

I have been walking, though I feel like I could just keep that up as much as possible.

My whip all dolled up with a new silver Izumi chain.

I’m alone a lot, who the fuck isn’t, with the pandemic and shelter in place.

At least getting outside I see people in real time, rather than Zoom time.

Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate the fuck out of Zoom, I get to meetings, I work with clients via video, I am grateful.

But it is not the same as seeing people in the flesh.

Even if they’re masked.

I recently had a friend move to the neighborhood–literally two blocks away! And I’m excited to connect and get some face to face, six feet away, and do some walk abouts in the hood.

I’ve recently ended the relationship, again, god, I am done with it.

Really.

Done with it.

No more.

Move on.

Move the fuck on.

Be available for something true and sustainable and transparent.

The holidays were tough and I realized I’d compartmentalized a lot of my feelings since reconnecting with my ex, mostly because I so desperately needed human connection, but after opening up Christmas gifts alone I really broke down.

Plus.

That night, Christmas night, an old friend reached out to me from L.A. and asked how crazy would it be if we went on a date.

Holy crap.

That was from left field.

He’s also had some experiences dating women coming out of bad marriages and/or divorces and he pretty much shared that he’d recently turned someone down due to that and how really unavailable they were and it resonated a bit too much.

I teared up.

I divulged some of the ups and downs of the past few years and we commiserated.

He also made a play for me and made it pretty clear he’d like to connect.

Granted we’ve not talked more than ten minutes on the phone since that time and scattered texts, AND, he’s in LA, so long distance and on fire with COVID right now, so not really anything coming of it.

Except.

How much my heart longs for an honest, out in the open, committed monogamous relationship.

It led me to have no contact with my ex for a week–also because I had to study, had to, for my LMFT exam.

That was some crazy.

I grinded for a good week on the studying.

I already had been studying for weeks, six at that time, put in a total of seven, but that last week prior to the test I probably put in about 40 hours of study.

On top of seeing my full client load.

I was bonked.

I turned off my phone.

I deleted Instagram off my phone.

I saw no news.

I had already deactivated Facebook.

It was just me and the study guide from The Therapist Development Center.

And.

It worked!

I passed!

I passed!

I passed!

So freaking grateful.

I took the exam on Wednesday, January 6th, the same time as the idiocy that was breaking out in D.C.

Not that I knew anything.

I was in a box on the fourteenth floor of 201 California Street downtown and had nary a clue what was going on.

Thank goodness.

I mean.

I found out soon thereafter, but I was so foggy brained after taking the four hour exam that not much registered until the next day.

I texted a bunch of folks my news, including my guy, and I thought, after a week of no contact I would get back more than, “Congratulations beautiful.”

But that’s what I got.

And I knew that we were going to end.

And that it was over, yet again.

And that’s ok.

I mean.

I have to forgive myself and accept my messiness and let go of the sadness.

I believe that some part of me thrives on that sadness, or is comforted by it, and all the old story lines of unrequited love and yada, yada, yada.

No more.

Free.

Out to the world.

Masked.

But out.

And writing again.

Not just because of the ending of the relationship, partly yes, but because God’s given me this time that I needed, desperately needed, to work on my PhD study.

I put it way on the back burner to teach Psychodynamic’s at CIIS this fall and then I had myself immersed in my studying for the LMFT exam.

Now that I have finished teaching and am “just” working as a psychotherapist, I am dropping deeply into doing the work necessary to catch up on the time I lost for my study.

Every day I have been doing a little bit.

I just keep telling myself that I have to do a little every day.

And today, I also recognized, as I was combing through some old blogs for data, that I also have to get my writing chops back on.

It’s been a while since I sustained a daily blog practice.

I don’t think that I can do that right now, but I can at least get back into it on a weekly basis.

So.

Pledging to at least sit here and write on Sundays, and any other day that feels sutainable.

Continue working on gathering the study data and keep doing the work to transition from my agency to my own private practice.

I still am 100% on board for defending my dissertation this year.

So.

I have to get the work done.

Have do.

And.

EEK.

I got asked to work at Burning Man.

Holy moly.

I mean, I don’t know if it will actually be able to happen with the pandemic, but that I was asked, also lit a fire under my ass.

I would love to go and be completely free to enjoy it.

So.

Again.

Show up.

Suit up.

And do the next action in front of me.

This is the final push.

I finish this and no more school.

I am so ready for that.

So ready.

Seriously.

Boxes and Boxes

October 5, 2020

Oh my lord.

The boxes of writing I have begun to sort through.

Holy moly.

There are four huge bins of notebooks, poetry, manuscripts, journals and journals, cards, spending plans, photographs.

A life unboxed.

I am beginning the study part of my PhD study for my disseration.

I am doing an evocative autoethnography–which is basically a study of oneself in reflection and conversation with society.

Recovery society and tattoo society and society in general.

I am using triangulation of my materials to bear out what I think I am going to discover in question to my dissertation inquiry–which is the Transformative Tattoo; What Can Healing from Trauma Look Like?

There’s a lot of moving parts and I’m not going to get into all that right now.

However.

I am excited to be at this part in the work, albeit also intimidated, there is so much material to sort through.

I recently, Friday, got an email confirmation that the dean of my department has approved my dissertation proposal, signed all the paperwork that my PhD committee has also signed and sent it onward and upward.

To the provost.

So, as of Friday, the department of the Provost as received my proposal.

I need one more signature.

Then.

Yes.

I will become a PhDc (Candidate).

One step closer to PhD.

I really hope to be a doctor by this time next year.

I want to defend my dissertation next August, the same weekend as the PhD intensive that my school holds.

With all the fingers crossed, I am hoping to defend in person.

However, I know that it may be virtual depending on what happens with pandemic.

FYI.

Working on a PhD during a pandemic while maintaining a full client case load is the way through.

I am too busy to get too involved in all the crazy out there.

Not to say that I am not aware of it, I am, so are my clients, I hear about it every week and there is so, so, so much anxiety, but I try to stay out of it as much as I can.

I am thinking of deactivating my social media.

I have had FaceCrack off my phone now for two years–got rid of it when I started my PhD program, but I still have and use Instagram on my phone.

I have not, however, disabled Facecrack in general, so I can hop onto it through my laptop.

Which I am on a lot.

I have been doing about 28-30 client sessions a week through telehealth an the majority of those are via video, I’m always on my laptop.

Even when I have phone sessions, I still have to hop on my laptop to do my session notes after.

I just notice it’s too easy to slip off into social media, “for just a few minutes.”

And it’s just a mucky, sticky, uncomfortable place.

I don’t participate in conversations, I stay neutral, I don’t air my opinions, although I have unfollowed a few people who are far outside my comfort zone with their opinions and I have unfriended a few people from my high school who posted racist white privileged content on their media pages.

Um.

No.

Having been one of the only people of color at my school when I transferred into my middle school in 7th grade, I know very, very well how racist the community I was living in was.

Some via ignorance, you scoop up what your parents serve when you are a child, some via hate.

Either way.

No thanks.

And don’t get me wrong, being a mixed race woman of color growing up in a white culture I experienced plenty of racism at the hands of my own mother and her side of the family.

These are also not conversations I have had with anyone on that side of my family.

Nope.

And no thank you.

My family members that seem to idle on that side of the road I have unfollowed.

I love my family, but I don’t have to submit to witnessing racism or privilege.

I have dealt with it enough in my life and I know it will always show up in my life.

It always has.

Anyway.

That was a segue.

Really what gets me about social media is that it has an algorithm that makes little to no sense for me and it’s a time suck.

My time is valuable and I need to use it wisely.

So I flirt with deactivating FaceCrack.

I haven’t done it yet, but it’s tempting.

Note to self.

I don’t like this new format that WordPress has set up.

Sigh.

Another note to self.

This has probably been the new format for a minute and I just haven’t gotten on it to blog recently.

I do find it challenging to show up here when I am on my laptop so much.

But.

I told myself today it was time to hop back on the horse.

If only to keep my writing and typing chops up to par.

I don’t want to be lax about the writing practice. I am not in my PhD coursework any more, I’m officially cleared that, which is brilliant and wonderful.

But.

Also.

I am not writing papers at all this semester.

No paper writing on topics and electives I wasn’t all that interested in is lovely, but I was getting a lot of practice at writing when I constantly had a paper due.

I don’t have any papers due anymore.

The next “paper” I write will be my dissetation.

And I don’t believe I will start writing my dissertation chapters until January when I finish my study.

I have given myself the fall to do my study and sort through my materials and also the first month of the year, January, but by the time winter break is done, I want to transition into the writing.

Then give myself the spring semester to write, the summer to polish, and be ready to defend at the end of summer.

I want to have my reached my goal of defending my Phd on the three year anniversary of having started the program.

A program that is 4.5 years long.

I am proud of myself for pushing the way that I have–finishing the coursework in two years instead of three, working over the summer to do my dissertation proposal instead of waiting for this fall semester, and setting out to do a study that has no participants, just me and my conversations with the world.

This is not to say that what I am doing is easy.

It is not.

Seriously, you should see the stacks of material I have to sort.

Plus.

This blog.

I am using material from this blog as well.

And I have over 2600 blogs on here.

Anyway.

I digress again.

The point is that I want to write, I want to keep my writing chops sound, I need to keep practicing and that practice comes in the morning when I write my three pages long hand and now, again, in the evenings, I need to commit to doing my blog again at least a few times a week.

I figure it will be mostly on the weekends since I run clients pretty late during the week–my last sessions end at 8:30p.m. M-F and then once a month I’m teaching on the weekends, but if I set my eyes on the prize and get back on here and keep my fingers warm.

Well.

I sense that when it is time to write the thing, oh la la, I’m going to write a dissertation, I will be ready.

So.

Lovely to let myself be here and hello to you all out there who I haven’t given you much to read over the last couple of years, I’m not back in full force.

But.

I.

Am.

Back.

Back it Up

October 22, 2019

I mean.

Seriously.

Back that shit up.

I had the most uncomfortable experience today.

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

Slow.

Steady.

Leaky tears.

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

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

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

I deleted my paper.

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

50 pages.

86 references.

Fully formatted bibliography.

Poof.

Fucking gone.

I deleted it.

It was a total accident.

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

There were warnings that something like this would happen.

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

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

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

The one that got deleted today has 86.

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

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

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

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

I couldn’t undo the undo.

I literally just about vomited.

And it was such horrid timing.

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

I didn’t say anything.

I went to get the monkey.

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

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

Then.

I washed my face,

Dried my hands.

And.

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

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

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

I mean I felt fucking floored.

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

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

Then the dad stepped in.

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

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

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

HOLY MOTHER OF GOD.

I have my paper back.

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

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

No more of that shit.

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

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

It’s safe.

It’s not going anywhere.

I have a file.

I have it backed up.

I am taking a break.

I need to do that.

I’m going to post my little blog.

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

This PhD semester is kicking my ass.

And.

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

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

Thank god my paper was saved.

Thank freaking god.

And now.

Netflix.

I’m taking the rest of the night off.

I have earned a god damn study break.

Seriously.

No Bandwidth

September 14, 2019

I mean.

Ok.

Maybe a tiny bit.

There is some.

But it is small and slight and I chose to write a blog instead of using it for homework.

Don’t worry.

Shh.

Anxiety be gone.

I will work the homework is a serious manner tomorrow.

I promise.

I had one client cancellation, there will be homework done then.

And after I finish with my last client at 2p.m., aside from lunch, I have no plans except to bury myself in the work.

My fucking god.

There is a lot of work.

And I have been doing some over the week, don’t get me wrong, I have attended to it.

JESUS FUCK.

I am so grateful I just caught that, I had an assignment due.

I actually don’t know if I would have caught that if I hadn’t been writing this.

I stopped and popped into my online classroom and saw correctly that I had something due.

Good grief.

I am so glad I caught that!

I already had done the work, I just hadn’t formatted it to turn in.

Whew.

It’s turned in and now I can go back to whining about how much work this all is and when the fuck and am I going to have the time to do all the reading.

All the reading.

So much reading.

So much.

I have seven, seven, new books that have arrived in the mail this week.

I’m going to say that again.

SEVEN.

Ugh.

I keep reminding myself that I just have to do what’s in front of me today.

It really becomes impossible if I look at that stack of books, like maybe if I just sleep at my desk and never leave it and never move I might, might, get through the stack by the end of the semester.

But.

I have a life.

A big life.

A full life.

I also have a private practice I am trying to fill since, well, that’s like my income.

Not fully.

But soon.

Today, yes, today.

Today was my last Friday as a nanny.

I am still nannying, but I am reducing my hours down to three days a week as opposed to the five days a week I’ve been working for like, forever.

Thirteen years, give or take a few other odd jobs here and there, I have been nannying for thirteen years.

There is an end in sight.

And maybe that’s why I needed to write tonight.

To mark this.

It’s a big step.

Next week I work two days less a week as a nanny.

And soon, by the end of the year, by February at the latest, I am hopeful that I will be done completely as a nanny and be fully self-supporting as a therapist.

It’s a big freaking deal.

I have been working so long and so hard to get here.

I remember when I turned ten years sober how I was putting the finishing touches on my application to my Master’s in Psychology program.

That was four and a half years ago.

It’s been a long road, but I have been on it, working and working and working and the working, well, it does seem to be paying off.

I reflected this morning while I was doing my morning pages (I still do that, I may not be blogging every day like I used to, but I am still committed to that practice, I can’t not write, I would die) that I have really come far since last year.

I moved into my new place September 15th of last year, I started my first year of a PhD program, I was hired in August to work for Grateful Heart as an Associate MFT to establish my practice.

I left my other internship where I was not paid to transition to Grateful Heart in October.

I had four clients.

Now.

I have eighteen.

That’s a pretty damn big deal.

To make it through a year of a PhD program, work full time and set up a private practice therapy business.

I don’t know that I held down the fort in all areas all that well.

Oh.

And yeah.

I broke up with my soul mate, the love of my life, the one.

The fucking one.

I have been grieving that a lot lately.

It’s been a lot of sadness and tough at times and I don’t write much about it here.

Aside from the odd poetry post that I happen to throw up.

Tonight’s full harvest moon is also not helping.

It’s been excruciating when I think about the language of love that we spoke to each other through the moon.

How many text messages and phone calls looking at the moon wishing for him?

So many.

Crying for the moon in the sky, crying for him.

Crying all the time.

I still cry.

It catches me off-guard sometimes.

I think this last time it’s been different, more final, more ending.

Hopeless and heartbroken.

And still thriving.

Still alive.

My therapist reflected that to me this week after I shared some things about the current issues I have around the ending of the relationship and how I am still affected by it.

She said, “you can be heartbroken and thrive too.”

Heartbroken.

And.

Thriving.

And overwhelmed by the work, but up to it and ready for it and grateful for the lessening of nanny hours so that I can work more on my dissertation and my course work.

So that I may cultivate more clients for my therapy practice so that I may, sooner, oh please, rather than later, stop nannying altogether.

I don’t know how it will look or when it will happen, but I sense it is out there just around the corner.

Just there.

Under the shadow of the moon.

Like my love for you, my love.

Always just there.

Lit by the moon.

 

Buried Alive

August 29, 2019

This is it folks.

You may not see or hear from me in weeks.

In fact.

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

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

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

Then.

Add in two more classes.

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

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

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

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

Holy fuck.

Anyway.

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

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

That in and of itself is full time work.

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

My calendar looks crazy.

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

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

I have a lot to do.

This is by far the heaviest work load.

And.

In a sense the most clear cut.

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

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

Plus.

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

So, that’s positive.

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

So first the chair.

That will officially happen in November.

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

Two of the professors I talked to for an hour.

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

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

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

So my courses are lined up.

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

I’m going to bring it.

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

I need that time.

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

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

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

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

This is the semester to get my literature together.

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

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

There is so much to do.

It’s exciting too.

I’m not going to lie.

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

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

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

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

Which means she moves right into her dissertation.

I’m all for it.

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

It will knock out time and a lot of tuition.

Fuck my student loans are big.

But you know.

I am so fucking worth it.

And so is my idea.

I can’t wait to show it to the world.

Until then though.

You will not see a lot of me this semester.

I literally am going to be buried under books.

I might come up for a breather around Thanksgiving.

But for now.

Well.

See ya.

I got shit to read.

So much.

Behind the Ball

August 23, 2019

Ugh.

Ugh.

Ugh.

Here at my intensive in Pacifica for school and I just had to swap out my elective courses.

Which is a blessing and a bit of a disappointment.

And just fucking reality.

My elective class was supposed to be taught here at my intensive, but somehow the professor, who is in another department got slated to be teaching at the intensive in Petaluma, she’s the head of another department and it’s required there.

So.

All the work for the elective I was going to take is online and will have to be done via Zoom sessions, video sessions, and all the Zooms are required and all of them take place on Tuesday nights when I have therapy clients.

And so I dropped that class like a hot fucking potato.

I talked to my advisor, who is here at the intensive and got the go ahead to register for another course and I’m all set.

The thing is though, I haven’t read anything for this new elective.

I just ordered five books which will get to my house in a week.

It bums me out that I could have had these books already at my disposal for the last few weeks and gotten some reading done before the intensive.

Also.

That I read a lot while I’m here.

I have both of my previous semesters and it was super helpful to kick out a few hours of reading each day in between my courses.

It’s a lot of work, but considering I’m not obligated to show up for my nanny gig or my therapy clients, who I rescheduled heavy the beginning of the week and had to cancel my Friday and Saturday clients, it’s doable as I’m here just doing the coursework.

Oh well.

At least I got into the elective that will work better for my schedule and I will get to meet with the professor and I will have the class here and I will get the work done.

I always do.

Always.

How?

I can’t quite tell you, but it happens and I sense that what with the transitioning down of my nanny hours there will be the time to devote to the massive amount of reading I will have to do for this semester.

I have two offices spaces to read in and I will be carrying books with me where ever I go.

This intensive I lucked out too, I have a room mate.

Oh well.

I was hoping I wouldn’t have one, but so it goes.

I was not too happy to walk in on her vaping in the room though, especially since I requested to not be paired with a smoker.

“I smoke, but I don’t smoke in the room,” she said, and waved the smoke away.

I was like, hmm, you’re in the room, smoking, so you do smoke in the room, but you won’t any more now lady pants.

Then she said she was “thirsty” and did I want to join her for a drink?

Ah.

NO.

Fuck.

Not the room mate I was hoping for.

But the room has an amazing view of the ocean and I know it will be ok.

I’m not going to worry about it.

Glad I remembered to pack pajamas though!

I’m secretly hoping that my friend who’s coming in tonight from North Carolina doesn’t have a room mate and I can swap into her room.

She was supposed to room with someone who’s dropped out of the program.

I was surprised and not surprised to see that a few more faces weren’t here.

Its a lot of work and it’s demanding work and some people didn’t really seem to have their ideas fleshed out or solid and to be wishy washy about what they’re doing, well, it was obvious to me that some folks just weren’t going to make it.

I, however, am powering through this.

I am going to be a doctor.

I also have to say that registering for the new elective was sort of fun as I got to see that all my courses were under the category “Doctoral” how fucking sexy is that?!

Pretty sexy, even with my bifocals on.

Heh.

By product of graduate school, loss of eyesight from reading until your eyes bleed.

Actually, someone told me today that bifocals were “gangster as Fuck”.

I laughed out loud.

I just thought they meant I was old and losing my eyesight.

I’ll definitely take gangster as fuck any day over that.

Just set my alarm and already I am thinking about winding it down.

It’s been a long day, even though it feels like I didn’t do a whole lot, I did do group supervision this morning for two hours and pack and run errands and clean my house before heading to Pacifica and getting settled in here.

I feel pretty tuckered out.

I’m just going to wait for my friend to get here from the airport, give her a hug and wind it the hell down.

Doctor Carmen signing off.

Heh.

 

Sun Burst

August 18, 2019

They left their car behind in the Pan Handle of Florida.

Broken down along the side of the road.

Tin can from a Chunky’s Chicken Corn Chowder soup barely holding

Together the rotten muffler.

Love.

Flashes like heat waves rolling up from asphalt

Pavement, as smoke eddies and drifts from a lit

Pall Mall filter Gold Light 100, grasped like a lifeline into

Another time where glorious naivety

Flexed in her 19 year old calve muscles.

Feet strong and unweary, propped on the dashboard watching the

Moss dipped trees roll along outside the window while Jethro Tull blasts from the radio.

These stories written in the power of youth and the glory of

Summers wandered through decades ago.

Her skin tattooed now with narratives and bygone memorabilia.

Literally.

She, her, I, wears her heart on her sleeve.

(Left side inside wrist wreathed with cherry blossoms)

She, her, I, has not forgotten the sunshine splash of freckles

Constellating his face and the desire badgering her heart to kiss each one.

Love rises like mist in a swimming pool at night in

Saint Augustine awash in humidity and the susurration of wind in palm leaves.

Song of flash pan memories born on the wings of cicadas,

Bark of a worried dog, crackle of fire on the edge of night,

Embers glowing on her (my) face, fronting strength under the curious

Gaze of heroin junkies and good ol’ boys with running mates and prostitute

Companions holding bent Budweiser can carburetor crack pipes.

She, her, I, will dance, never the less, none the less, dance now, dance then

Beneath the swelter of stars, amid the whispers of sexy, sexy, sexy

Spilling from the mouths of men unable to grasp her, attain her, hold her (me).

Love, lost like a plasticine slipper in the dusky playa at sunset.

Burnished with desire to kiss the bottom lip of his mouth and vanish into the

Streets of the Mission District, oh my sweet San Francisco how unexpected

Summer night strewn me with ghost kisses of fog being sucked in over Twin Peaks.

She, her, I will climb the hills back towards the sea, remember her (me) her face

Aswirl in dark curls, your face writ with awe, once again in her (my) hands.

Oh bluest eyes

Peering back into mine, this blissful fantasy a phantasmagoric feeling all

Ephemeral and moon washed will haunt you, I, me no more.

For yes, oh yes,

My darling.

This too shall pass.


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