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September 5, 2018

With a huge stack of books and notebooks and pages and pages and pages of syllabi.

Oh my God.

What have I fucking done?

I went from feeling pretty good about it all to feeling super overwhelmed after my last class.

The irony being that it was the class I figured I was going to enjoy the most.

Of course, with some perspective, I still think I am going to enjoy it the most, but I am awash in the anxiety of having to produce the work.

There is a lot of work.

Yesterday’s class blew me out of the water at the intensive.

I really liked the professor.

In fact, I am quite fond of him as he swooped in one morning seeing me sitting by myself at breakfast and made me join his table at the intensive.

We had a great talk.

He loves Paris.

I love Paris.

We are now friends.

Plus, he has had an extraordinary life, three marriages, multiple degrees, Harvard, Brown, CIIS, somewhere else I forget.

Of course he has a PhD as well.

And a lot of papers that he’s written and he seems to be the co-collaborator of the way the course work is designed.

First of all.

Let me say that I had some, well, not exactly contempt, but a little wiggle of worry that because my PhD is an “online” program, that it would not be academically rigorous.

Fuck my life.

Academic rigor galore.

In fact, as one second year told me, she thinks that we actually do more work than a traditional PhD program and I think she’s right.

Second.

I was in the dark a little about the length.

I had this idea that the program is only two years long.

The course work is only two years long.

Then there’s methodology, the comprehensive exams, research, the writing, the proposal and the defense of said proposal.

The course work will be four semesters.

Then I can expect at least another four more semesters of work to finish the dissertation.

Which means two more years.

And the professor made it very clear that the fastest anyone could possible do the whole shebang was 4.5 years.

What I heard from most of the people in the program was that if I did the course work and stayed the course with my research, readings, writing, methods, etc, that it would take in total about 5 years.

So.

It’s no different from any other doctoral program with the exception of the majority of the coursework is submitted online and that a large component of all my classes is to interact and engage with the learning community on-line.

There are 30 of us in the cohort split into two sections.

There are three classes.

Introduction to Transformative Society; Self, Society, and Transformation; and Creative Inquiry: Scholarship for the 21st Century.

I am the only student from San Francisco, though the school is located in San Francisco.

There were a lot of students from the East Coast, New York mainly, I think six of my fellows were from New York, one from up state New York.

One from London, a University Professor of Psychoanalytics and Psychodynamics.

One student from Hong Kong.

One student from Oakland.

Another from somewhere in the East Bay, a few from up North, somewhere in Canada, I totally forget now, another from D.C.

The woman from D.C. was also an MFT and teaches as well at university level, specifically Art Therapy and Play Therapy for adults, she was super sweet and insisted I call her if I have any questions about marketing or setting up my private practice internship.

Said internship that although I took materials with me to work on I did absolutely no work on at all, I was so immersed in the classroom experience and the work at the intensive.  And I read a lot while I was there on my breaks, as much as I could without totally isolating myself in my room.

Anyway, a lot of high-caliber, smart people.

Majority of them women, which was very, very cool.

Grateful to be part of some smart, intelligent, driven women.

Very grateful.

One of whom came up to me with a piece of paper today in a notebook that she was keeping to show to our future selves, our name with Dr. in front of it.

I was more than happy to write mine down.

Dr. Carmen Regina Martines.

Fuck that looks good.

And now I can stop giving myself grief that I maybe was in an “easy” PhD program because it was two years and online.

Silly rabbit.

It is not easy at all.

The great thing that I realized though, after having a bit of panic and overwhelm when I was in my Creative Inquiry class yesterday, is that the material is not beyond me.

I understand the concepts, they make sense.

Oh sure, a lot of the material is new to me, I haven’t studied these things before, but I have been reading academic papers and books now at a higher level of understanding for the last three years and the materials are not cowing me.

Nope.

Not at all.

That was a nice realization for me to make.

What was causing the panic was the number of deliverables that I must have for Creative Inquiry.

8 papers.

8!

And though some of them are short, I have a couple that are not, and two that are quite big.

Plus I have to get published.

Are you fucking kidding me.

I have to actually publish a review of a scholarly journal.

Holy shit.

Now.

I am excited.

But yesterday I was just overwhelmed.

What the fuck?  I remember thinking I have to get something published too as a requirement of the course, Jesus, plus, oh, great, thanks, I also found out that I have another book to read, in addition to the books already lined up for the course, I had to pick one of four others that were presented.

Let me say this.

I will not be going anywhere without carrying a book or an article to read.

That’s why I got overwhelmed, 8 papers for this class, three for Self and Society, and one big whopper for Intro to Transformative Studies.

Plus weekly discussions and comments and interactions with my cohort.

I worked a lot on my calendar yesterday and I’m not 100% certain, but it looks like I will have to read two to three books per week to get through all the material.

Well, not quite, more like 2.5 per week.

Plus the articles, many of them big, long, academic papers of over 30 pages, and every class has three or four of these a week.

So yeah.

The material doesn’t scare me, it’s just getting the time to do it.

I’m not sure what’s going to have to go out of my schedule, but somethings definitely are.

Maybe a few less blogs a week.

Maybe.

I’ll let you know.

For now, I’m just happy I’m home and all my stuff is put away and I get to sleep in my own bed tonight.

Very happy for that.

Very.

 

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Trudging

February 6, 2018

But getting it done.

I already feel like I’m trudging this week and it’s only Monday.

I think that I had a “I wrote ten pages for a paper” hangover from yesterday.

Hashtag: #homeworkhangover.

I did so much stuff it didn’t really feel like a day off then I went straight back into the fray today.

I got a lot done today too.

Not just work and clients.

But also homework.

I got to work a little early and read in the car for fifteen minutes.

I did reading while the baby napped.

Unfortunately there was work being done on the house and the baby woke up a bit and I had to transfer him from the stroller to the carrier, but I had gotten the reading done I needed to do.

I finished one chapter and read a 27 page article, on research.

So dry.

Ugh.

But I also got back my grade from my first paper that I turned in last week and got 100% on it and some really great comments from my professor about being excited to read more of my work through the rest of the school year.

So that was nice.

I still have two chapters to read before the weekend of classes, so I’ll be toting my book around with me until it’s done.

Fortunately, although my schedule is full this week, I can see little pockets of time when I should be able to deal with it.

All things school.

Getting it done.

I was reflecting this morning on how “easy,” it really wasn’t easy per se, knocking out those ten pages was, and how I may opt out of doing the shorter paper and the website option.

I think I’m just going to stick with what I know and that is the writing.

I can write fast, not quite as fast as I think, but pretty damn close.

I think I also went over this in last night’s blog, but my brain is tired today and a little spaced out.

Really, it’s not much of a surprise, there’s a lot happening for me, personally and within my academic career.

I’m grateful for the fullness of my life, but I’m going to be super happy to take off my upcoming weekend to D.C. and just not do a damn bit of work, just take the time off to let myself have a mini vacation.

I need it.

I need it bad.

I’m really excited about going.

I’ve not done any traveling for a bit, outside of Burning Man and I feel itchy for it.

I also realized today that I need to do my taxes.

I have all my stuff ready, I just haven’t really had a spare minute to do the work.

I usually have it done really fast.

I do it online using Turbo Tax and I get my refund electronically.

I should be getting a refund this year and that’s always an impetus to do the damn things.

I am pretty sure that at this time last year I had already done my taxes.

If I have time to sneak it in this weekend on Sunday after school, maybe.

I like doing my taxes.

Well.

Let me refrain that.

I find that doing my taxes is anxiety producing, but I do really like getting a refund and I usually use that money for travel.

Or tattoos.

But since I just recently got two tattoos, I don’t have an itch for more.

So travel it will be.

I’m waiting for my employers plans to be made clear around their summer plans.

I may be going with them for part of their trip to help out.

I may not.

But I will be taking my vacation at the same time as there’s, I agreed to do that this year.

Which means I will be in Paris sometime in July.

Which will be fucking hot.

But it will be Paris.

And I will get to spend time with my best friend in Paris and her husband and babies.

Which won’t be such babies when I see them again.

I miss her and presence at school, so it will be really good to connect with her.

We probably also won’t spend the entire time I’m there in Paris, we might go to Brittany where her husband has family, but most likely we will go to L’il de Rey, an island off the West coast of France that her parents have a home on.

A home on an island off the West Coast of France.

With a pool.

In July.

Count me the fuck in.

I mean I love, love, love Paris, but I’m more than amenable to hop a train and hit the coast for a few days.

Anyway.

Paris, France, travel.

That’s all down the road somewhere.

Next weekend.

Well.

That is a hell of a lot closer.

And I am so, so, so looking forward to it.

I’m ready to dust off my carry on and figure out what clothes I’m going to take to D.C. with me.

It looks cold and rainy.

I hope the rain does not stick around.

I can handle cold if there’s snow.

Rain is rather yuck.

But.

Whatever.

I don’t care that much about the weather.

I care about what I’ll be doing there and I’m just ready as all get out to go.

I just need to make it through the week and the weekend of school.

One day down!

D.C. in t-minus 10 days.

But, who’s counting?

Doing This Thing

January 10, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

In fact.

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

Yes.

One more thing out-of-the-way.

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

That is super nice.

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

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

Whew.

That is such a nice relief.

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

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

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

And a resume with pertinent and relevant experience listed.

My transcripts.

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

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

And.

A four to five-page personal statement.

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

But.

Doable.

So doable.

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

The dean told me the deadline was end of February.

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

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

But.

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

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

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

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

I’m supposed to get my doctorate.

I am supposed to be of service.

I get to keep learning and growing.

It is fucking exciting.

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

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

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

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

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

I don’t want to do that.

Not to be worried about at this point.

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

I went to therapy this morning before work.

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

I worked a full day.

Then.

I went and saw two clients this evening.

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

And.

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

My god.

I’m really going to do this.

I am going to get my PhD.

Fuck.

My life is amazing.

AMAZING.

Graduation Application

January 5, 2018

Holy fuck.

It’s happening.

I mean.

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

But.

Whoa.

It’s really happening now.

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

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

There are quite a few hoops to jump through,

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

This is not something new.

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

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

That application is due at the end of the month.

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

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

Plus.

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

Holy bats.

February is going to be a big fucking month.

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

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

How the hell did that happen so quick?

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

Gratefully this week really was an easing in.

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

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

My last client of the week cancelled.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

If the weather holds.

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

So grateful for my car.

Really, so much.

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

Anyway.

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

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

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

Plus.

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

Which reminds me.

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

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

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

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

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

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

But.

First.

A little fun.

And.

Oh.

A tiny bit of pain too.

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

And.

Yes.

A thirteenth star tattoo to get–the pain.

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

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

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

I’m excited.

There’s some big stuff happening.

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

All the things.

All of them.

This Is The End

May 9, 2017

Goodbye my friend.

Well.

Perhaps not quite yet.

But.

Oh my heart.

I am going to have to stop with my blog.

Or at least this iteration of it.

I met with my supervisor for my practicum, my off site supervisor, who is deeply analytic, and who is so spooky smart it amazes me.

I also realize in the writing of that, I too am smart.

I get so much from our interactions because I too, am intelligent and it is a pleasure to be met and held and supported in that academic nature, and also just in the humanness of curiosity and the journey of being human.

I just docked my hour on Track My Hours.

I have done 21 of 3,000.

Only 2,979 to go.

Heh.

As I get closer to taking clients I will begin to shut down my blog.

I have suspected that this might need to happen and after my discussion with my supervisor today I am pretty sure that this is going to happen.

My heart hurt when I shared with him how long I have been writing this and what pleasure I find in it, but I also know that to be in service to my clients I need to drop the blog.

I need to be more anonymous on the web.

I have recently changed all my Facebook stuff to be über private and today I turned my Instagram profile to private.

I am also going to clean out my Facebook friends.

I would go do that right now, except that I want to write and not get sucked into the social media hole.

My supervisor said he uses Facebook twice a year.

TWICE.

I love that.

I also like that my friends who are off Facebook seem to be happier and more centered in their lives and irony, spending more time with their friends.

I was, in fact, quite absent from Facebook this past weekend, so, so, so much to do.

I will miss writing the blog and the responses I have gotten from it.

But.

I won’t stop writing.

I will just find a different iteration of.

I will keep blogging, but the nature of the blogging is going to be different and written with the task in mind of writing or an audience that may very well include my clients.

I love how my supervisor explained it, the perspective was not that I was going to be found out about something, but that the client needs to have the space to fantasize about who I am as a therapist.

Parent, partner, sister, friend.

That in the space held for the client I need to be whatever person they create so that they can find a different relationship then the one that they are having problems with.

I sound rather esoteric, but I understood deeply what he meant and he shared with me a very poignant example of a client with me.

I have to hold so many things and the frame is the most important.

And I was told clients would Google me and try to friend me and follow me on social media, that I might be stalked, or followed, that clients would try to find out information about me.

Now.

I am a fair open book in my blog but I can tell you that I have surprising responses to the things that I have written, more so than I can enumerate here.

People presume to know who I am.

And, they don’t.

Oh, a few have some more insights than others, but I am so many things and not all that I write about here is current day, I weave in personal history and narratives, I have themes that I return to again and again.

Those stories are precious to me and important and experiences I wouldn’t change for anything, but they are often stories.

There is me and there is the blog and they are the same.

But.

They are not one and the same.

The blog is her own character.

And I am going to be a therapist.

I need to protect myself, I will need to titrate how much social media I ingest and start to examine how I express myself in the online world.

I’m not sure about a hard stop with my blog.

But I know it can’t continue too much further.

I also will be starting my internship in two weeks and I am not going to have much time.

It may be that I have to sacrifice the  blog to that as much as to anything else.

I shall see.

I shall hold it and nurture these little blogs, my little fluffy fledgling birds of prose and see that they have a place to be saved and that I find another way to express creatively and in a manner that resonates with myself and my need to be an artist.

A poet.

An author.

I thought about that.

Maybe I find my outlet by writing a book.

Maybe I start a completely new blog.

Maybe I tailor sharply this one.

Even the name is personal.

I am Auntie Bubba.

But that name has a history, a story, an origin and that is from my family and I don’t know that I want my future clients to know that my family nickname is Bubba.

Um.

Hahahaha.

NO.

I have taken a few small actions today to start the de-escalation of social media.

I know I have an old LinkedIn account that needs to be cleaned up.

I will winnow out the Facebook friends and start really thinking about how to navigate the blog and what I will do instead.

What would happen if I put a hard stop to it when I go to Paris?

It feels sad but also, interesting.

What space might be created for something else.

Something new and surprising.

A new chapter.

A new work.

A new journey.

A new experience.

All the things.


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