Posts Tagged ‘action’

Less Than 24 Hours

June 12, 2016

Since I heard the announcement.

And.

I have booked tickets to New Orleans.

As well as.

Secured a place to stay.

I cannot believe it all fell into place so quickly.

I mean.

Ridiculous.

Yeah.

I dropped some dough, but I didn’t spend all the money I had earmarked for my New York trip that I had been saving for and I transferred that money from my savings account, leaving me with a little more than my standard prudent reserve of one month’s rent and utilities.

Hey.

I know.

I don’t have a retirement plan.

But fuck it.

I only have this one life to live and somehow I don’t think that it would have all fallen together so beautifully if I wasn’t suppose to go.

Besides.

Please.

I’m going to be with my fellows.

Unless I decide to not leave the Air BnB I rented.

Holy shit.

I mean.

I was basically had when I read the “Historic, Opulent Mansion Suite With Swimming Pool” and then I saw the photo of the HUGE claw foot bathtub and the bathroom that is probably as big as my in-law studio and I was like, book it, book it, book it!

Except.

First.

I had to book the plane ticket.

Last night I was searching, searching, searching.

I couldn’t find what I needed and I couldn’t find what I wanted at the price I was willing to spend.

Everything for the time frame I was looking for was $700-$900.

That’s just a little rich for my pocket.

I figured.

I could go as high as $700.

Not that I wanted to, but I could.

I can.

I will if I need to.

Funny how registering for a commitment and dropping two five dollar bills into someone’s hand committed me to doing the deal and going to New Orleans.

“You could back out,” a insidious little voice said in my brain.

“Just consider it a donation to your favorite cause,” the snarky little voice continued.

Fuck off.

I love that I get to be wild and impetuous and leap once in a while on an unexpected adventure.

I have no man in my life, no children.

Yes.

I have friends and commitments and doing the deal and the yoga and yes I need to do all these things, but there was no one else to consult, no one else to worry about.

The only person I had to please was me.

And I am so well pleased.

I went to bed with a dazed head, a bit of a head ache from looking over too many travel sites trying to find the best deal and I realized that nothing needed to be done that quick.

I could take the day.

I could take the morning.

I could take a breath and pause.

Make sure that my impetuous idea was actually a intuitive decision that would serve me.

And.

I did just that.

I shut down my computer.

I set my alarm.

I had signed up for a morning yoga class.

I decided I would yoga it up, shower, have breakfast and coffee and do some writing, go meet my person, do the deal, and then look for a flight to New Orleans.

I saved the listing for the Air BnB and went to sleep.

I woke up a half hour before my alarm and was too restless to go back to sleep.

Hello brain.

Glad to see you’ve already had a double shot of espresso, mind if I make some coffee for the rest of me?

I got up, did my little morning routine, did some writing and headed off to yoga class.

It was hard.

What with my schedule change this past week I was unable to make any classes during the week, so it’d been five days since the last time I had stretched and I could feel my body was slow to warm.

My brain was also busy and I was grateful to get into my body and my breath and let it go.

I know that thinking about something constantly does not do me well.

It does not serve.

Action.

That works for me.

Not trying.

Not thinking.

Doing.

So I did the yoga.

And thank fucking God.

It got me out of my head, I left feeling light and sweet and joyful.

A good hot shower, some hot breakfast and coffee and I suddenly, out of nowhere I had extra time.

Where the hell did that time come from?

I have no clue.

However.

I felt it.

NOW!

Look now.

I opened my lap top and there it was.

$577.

My ticket.

Now.

Granted.

That’s still more than I would have liked to have spent, but still, not bad for a last minute purchase and moreover, it was the times I was looking for.

The deal with this being that I have work until 6p.m. Thursday the 29th of June.

The family would normally have me be working that Friday, but they will be heading out of town for the weekend and I have the Friday off.

I did not want to to fly out Friday, it would have meant losing a day of the convention I registered for, but I had not been able to find any flights that were in my price range that also left during the evening of Thursday the 30th at a time that would work for me.

I wanted to find flight that would allow me to work a full day Thursday, then basically fly a red eye to New Orleans.

Sleep on the plane.

And arrive in New Orleans on the morning of the first.

I hadn’t been able to find anything last night that would have allowed me to do so without it costing upwards of $800.

The flight I found was for 10:50p.m. evening Thursday, June 30th out of SFO.

Yes!

I can work my full shift, hop on my scooter, get my stuff, and Uber to the airport without having to ask any time off from work (I’m saving the last of my vacation pay for my grad school retreat in August).

The flight arrives in New Orleans at 8:54 a.m. Friday July 1st.

Fucking perfection.

I will get in, make my way into the city, probably head to Morning Call, the 24 hour beignet cafe in City Park, that is close to where I am staying.

You know.

The opulent, historic MANSION, with swimming pool and claw foot tub and twelve foot ceilings.

Giggle.

I will feel like a princess.

The Air BnB also offers a bicycle with the room.

I will check in at noon, chill out, maybe go for a swim, then make my way over to the convention which is a couple of miles away.

I’ll probably ride the bike unless it’s crazy hot.

Or.

I feel like walking.

A couple of miles is a nice walk.

The event starts at 4:30p.m.

I’ll probably do the two events Friday night that are listed and then go see New Orleans all day Saturday.

Walk the Garden District.

Check out the neighborhood where I’m staying.

Dine out.

Oh jambalaya, I can taste you now.

Then do the deal in the evening.

End the day at the conference on Sunday, check out of the Air BnB and have a lunch somewhere splendid and then hit the airport.

I’ll fly back at 6:50 at night, get into SFO in the late evening, right before midnight.

And have all day the fourth of July to recuperate from my travels.

Fuck yeah.

Luckiest girl in the world.

Seriously.

Love my fucking life.

So.

So.

So.

Hard.

It’s fucking fabulous.

Seriously.

 

Your Smile Could Melt Glass

April 12, 2016

He said, “you are so gentle and kind.”

And you, you my friend are high as a kite and married.

But hey.

Thanks, I do appreciate the compliment and I wished him a good night and I left Java Beach and came home and wrote a really big letter to my program director.

Because, you see, I had my heart a bit broken today and I am sure there are some of you that are going to roll your eyes, but fuck you and go read another blog.

I was at work today and granted, I was cranky, the reason I was there was to let in the housekeeper and she was an hour late.

Dudes.

I had to make some phone calls.

I got right with God.

And by the time she showed up I was happy and serene and getting myself settled in to do some homework, write that paper I have due for Madame Mildred Dubitzky.

Except it felt tremulous and awkward and my mind was too full from all the material we covered over the weekend.

So.

Some review reading and the process of knowing that often I sit down and don’t know what I am going to write and then I write the paper.

While in the midst of this I was poking around the academics page on my school site and then I saw it.

The dates for the fall semester.

Wait.

What?

Fuck.

NO!

No.

No.

Fuck me.

The first weekend of classes is Labor Day Weekend.

September, 4-6th.

What the fuck.

I’m at Burning Man.

I stared incredulous at the screen, Labor Day weekend, why would they do that?  The school didn’t last year and I made my plans last year knowing that.

I made the assumption, I know, I know, that it was going to be the same kind of schedule.

And yeah.

It was going to be tough and it was going to be wonky and I might lose some sleep, but I was going to go, I got a job, I got a ticket, I got a purpose.

And it’s my tenth year.

And though I don’t want to dwell on it because I will start crying again.

It’s the 10th year anniversary of Shadrach’s death and he was the reason I went in the first place.

I took his ashes, not all of them, but enough, a whisper, a soft remonstrance of a kiss on my forehead, prayers for happiness in the ether, the never ending spiral out of love that I know he swims in, that his joy and smile and love are still with me.

And.

Oh.

Fuck.

Ten years is a long time and a lot has happened and I have grown and it still hurts and I still miss him and I always, always, have a moment, just for him, just for me out in the deep playa and I will really miss it.

I was too upset to keep working on my paper.

I called my person.

I was told to contact the school.

I scoffed, I said I was going to accept it.

(Roll over)

I also said I was going to pray and just focus on today and doing the things I needed to do.

I called another one of my people and sobbed.

He told me to take a good, brisk walk, like big, and move.

I did that.

I told the housekeeper I was going out to run errands and I just strode like a woman on fire through the Mission.

I walked into a nail salon and got my nails done.

Black.

My mood was a little dark.

I took myself out to lunch afterwards and didn’t get on the phone, but I knew I was going to have to tell the family I had contracted to work for.

It was only going to be the right thing to do.

My heart hurt and I was still too tender to do that.

I got back to the house and made a cup of tea and the housekeeper was almost done.

She wrapped up, I took care of securing the house and I hopped on my scooter and headed to the Sunset.

First the Inner then, the Outer.

Pit stop at Dr. Kurtzbay to pick up my new progressives–re-lensed my green frames–and found a pair of sunglass frames I liked to get a prescription set.

Then from the 7th and Irving to 46th and Judah.

I dropped off my laptop and hopped back on the scooter.

I felt at a loss with what to do with myself.

I did some grocery shopping at SafeWay.

Then came home, put groceries away, looked at my homework and shelved it.

I just couldn’t do it.

I read for a while, non-school material, more of The Widow of One Year, by the fabulous John Irving.

Then I sat and meditated for awhile in the back yard, getting some sun on my face.

And after that.

Ha.

I took a nap.

I was so zapped.

I thought I slept a half hour.

I slept an hour and a half!

I made some dinner, and frankly, well, I couldn’t cook.

I knew I had to call the family I was supposed to work for.

I did.

Barely able to do it without breaking my voice.

Then I went and did the deal and I was of service and did my commitment and helped out a new lady and went to fellowship and after I shared with a woman who graduated from CIIS this past December.

“Oh CIIS empties out at Burning Man, you should see if they can change that, really contact someone,” she said while I listened.

A friend of mine in the cohort mentioned the same thing.

But aren’t I asking for the entire cohort to kowtow to my schedule?

Then I thought.

Fuck it.

Just take the action.

So.

I did.

Hey D_____-

I don’t believe we have ever met, but I am in the ICPW 2015 cohort, happy to be heading into my last month of my first year.  A little overwhelmed too!  But, over all super excited and grateful to be on the path.
That being said I was heartbroken to see that the first weekend of the ICPW 2016 fall semester is Labor Day weekend.  I work at Burning Man and was planning my travel there around school, and my assumption, my wrong, I know, that the dates would be similar for the first weekend of the second year–that is after Burning Man.
I know it’s an odd request, but it is a spiritual experience for me, part of my practice, my ten year anniversary of going as well as my best friends ten year anniversary of his death–I took his ashes to Temple my first year, and I have gone back every year since, holding many positions of service in the community.
I am sure that I am not the only student at CIIS that attends Burning Man and I am aware that there is a least one other in my cohort who was planning on going and has purchased tickets.
If there is any leeway, flexibility or other options for that weekend I would greatly appreciate your thoughts.  I am bereft.  I do understand if there is no recourse, I will forfeit my going to the event for my schooling, I have already notified my employers to look for another–however my position is extremely challenging to fill.  If, again, there is anything I can do, please let me know.
If not, I hope that for the future that the department may consider those of us who go to the event for their spiritual practice.  I have been sober 11 years and am also of service in the recovery community there.  In fact, if it hadn’t been for an experience at Burning Man two burns ago, I wouldn’t even be at CIIS–feel free to see my application essay, it’s all spelled out there.
Thank you again for your service as Program Coordinator, your efforts are noticed, if not always acknowledge directly.
Sincerely yours,
Carmen Martines
I have no idea what comes next.
But I tried.
I made an effort.
And for that I am grateful.
Fingers crossed.

The Good, The Bad

April 9, 2016

The grad school.

It was a tough day.

I woke up on the wrong side of the bed, literally.

In deep REM sleep.

I cannot remember the last time I woke up from that kind of REM and I couldn’t remember my dream.

It dissolved on my tongue like soft hazy fog, there, but not there, and it left a bitter coating in my mouth, a kind of taste I could not quite get off my palate.

A longing to go back to bed may have just been the crux of the desire and really, I did wake up on the wrong side of the bed, not the side I normally wake up on and it, the day, felt off, as I unconsciously hit my snooze button instead of the alarm off button.

Hmm.

REALLY?

You never hit snooze.

But.

I had a general dread about going into the day.

I couldn’t pin it right away, but I have since, and suffice to say I am grateful for the TA’s and the professors and the holding space they create for us as we move through the learning of how to become therapist.

I am in the client in this round of the semester and I don’t feel comfortable.

And.

This is ok.

As I wrote about in one of my papers, I am hyper self-aware of what is going on for me and what is up for me, or not up for me.

I had a little mini-break through in regards to some work stuff, but I would have come to that on my own without the dyad work.

However.

I came to realize that I say yes a little more often than I should be with my family and work environment.

I am all flexible when it comes to accommodating the families needs, but hey, oops, some of my needs, especially as I am coming out of a long school weekend, are not being met.

Not by a long shot.

I reflected and realized that I can say, “hey, let me get back to you on the scheduling,” instead of just saying yes in a blanket statement.

Sure, no problem, I can totally do that for you.

Oh, hey lady, do you realize that you just messed up your recovery schedule and your new yoga practice in one fell swooping yes?

Fuck.

I self-sabotaged the hell out of myself without even realizing what I was doing.

Ah.

But I did realize.

And I am practicing acceptance and the action will come.

I can pause.

I can reflect.

I don’t have to answer right away.

There is no emergency.

Ah.

All the learning.

So much.

My brain feels a little full and I am glad that I took some nice measures for myself today.

I took the N-Judah into class tomorrow and realized that I don’t want to do that again, despite the train getting me to my destination on time I spent most of that time, over a half hour, standing on the train and I was wedged in weird and my right knee has been tender all day for the stress I put on in in the awkward position I was in.

In fact.

Pause.

Go get the ibuprofen.

There is no need to suffer and it feels a little inflamed.

Excuse me, be right back.

Much better.

I did not enjoy the experience and I took a car home after class today.

Faster, yes, a bit pricey, but fuck it, I deserve to let myself have an out after a long week.

I mean, really.

It’s been a long week and there is no end in sight.

I have two more days of classes and then back to work.

Ok.

Actually.

There is an end in sight, it’s called Monday afternoon.

And the get together with my playa family has been cancelled.

Side bar.

I got my new holster for the event and it rocks!

Happy to come home to a little gift to myself.

And one of my cohort friends and I made the decision to go and have an adventure, and it will be a kind of celebration too, end of our first year of the masters program in Integral Counseling Psychology at The California Institute for Integral Studies.

Yes.

We are going to go the Steam Punk Masquerade Ball at NIMBY in Oakland on May 14th.

I went last year with a couple of girl friends and had a ball, and danced my ass off.

I’ll wear my new holster.

That makes me smile to think of that, hanging out with my Burning Man people and celebrating with my friend.

End side bar.

There will be time.

There will be pause.

There will be a fucking break.

I’ll have a day and a half off.

I will yoga it up.

I will sleep in.

I will wander around and take a walk on the beach or go to the DeYoung.

I will take care and take respite and I will be ok.

I am ok now.

Really.

There is no emergency, there is no drama, everything is going to be alright, because it already is.

I don’t feel all that surprised by the day and the classes and how I felt going in and the day was a sort of confirmation of some of my fears and also a way through the work and a lot of gratitude for the fact that I have already done so much of the work.

SO MUCH.

And I’m not talking grad school.

I am just talking about me, myself, my life, my journey.

That sounds like I am something to fix, I keep doing this work, but it is rather getting adjusted and making fine, small, tunings that help me stay inline, on the path, moving forward.

In that movement, I can find rest.

I can allow for reprieve and as I see myself having bowed down to the needs of the family before the needs of the nanny, I can act with a little kindness and compassion for myself.

I am doing the best I can and learning as I go.

Sometimes I have to re-experience something to get the full affect.

I’m not saying old behavior, because it’s happened, so it’s current behavior.

What is new for me is to accept that I did it and that I have options in the future.

I don’t have to think about it more tonight.

I made it through my first day of classes for my second to last weekend of my first year of graduate school.

I know.

That’s a bit of a tongue twister.

But.

I’m showing up and doing it.

I turned in two papers and I have done all the reading for the weekend.

I participated in every class and got back some really awesome comments on one of the papers I wrote for my Multi-Cultural class.

I am pleased.

A little tired.

And ready for a cup of tea.

And yes.

Some Project Runway Allstars.

Please people.

The lady needs to decompress.

Heh.

 

 

Where Do I Begin?

January 7, 2016

Eep.

I did something today.

Actually.

Ha.

I did two somethings today that I have been thinking about doing for a little while now.

One thing came up this week, Saturday afternoon in fact, in a cozy little nook at the back of Tart to Tart it was suggested to me that I go home and do something.

It took me until today.

Part of that, I will blame on the internet, which FYI, is working smashingly.

My housemate re-booted the connection and I am back up and running.

When I couldn’t get online all weekend I did find myself getting frustrated I really wanted to be taking the suggestion, in fact, when I ran it by my next person I got the unequivocal thumbs up as well and a direct mandate, to yes at my first convenience, take the fucking suggestion.

Except.

Well.

Can I?

And then.

Heehee.

I did.

I just did.

I’m nervous, blushing, high color in my face, excited, happy, can’t wait to tell my people I took the suggestion, and a tiny bit overwhelmed by it.

But.

l did it.

I booked a ticket to New York.

HA!

Yes.

That’s right.

I’m going to take myself to the Big Apple this Spring.

Oh my God.

Peeing my pants.

Not really.

Why are pants wet?

Rain.

Please, people.

Although, yes, I am quite excited.

Also a little nervous, I won’t lie.

This will be my second time going to New York, but this time I won’t be meeting a friend there, like I did last time, I’m just going to go.

Granted.

The idea was not mine.

But.

I couldn’t get it out of my head.

And.

I thought, what a way to celebrate having finished my first year of graduate school?

I booked the ticket for two weeks after my final weekend of classes.

Just in case I have any final projects or papers that need to be done, I will have the time to do so before I travel.

I’m going to fly out Thursday afternoon, getting into JFK around 10:30p.m.

I don’t know where I am going to stay yet, I just posted on my facecrack page that I would be traveling, so hopefully a friend will say, hey, spare room, or yo, I got a friend who Air Bnb’s their spot.

I have time.

I’m not going until May.

It’s January right now and I have a full semester of school work to go.

That was also one of the reasons I was holding out on booking the ticket, I was waiting to make sure I had enough money to buy my readers for my classes.

But.

The damn things are not ready yet, the earliest may be on Friday, but I was told today most likely it will be Monday.

Which means, I will have another paycheck land in my account and I could use the money I have had earmarked towards books to get the plane ticket.

So.

I took a big, deep breathe and started hunting for tickets.

I found a good price, one that I could afford, though it leaves little in my account, I have nothing else I have to buy this week before Friday and pay day (I bought coffee tonight, really, what else do I need?), and I pulled the trigger.

Even though it means taking off an extra day of work, because the best price and what made the most sense for me to fly, was to fly out on Thursday afternoon.

I wanted a red eye, so I could work Thursday, but the cost was prohibitive and I thought, I’ll have the vacation time accrued, might as well take an extra day off to travel.

I’ll get there late Thursday eve, but have all day Friday, Saturday, and Sunday to walk everywhere.

Go to museums.

Oh, The Guggenheim, and the MOMA, and the new Whitney, to start.

That’s one for each day that I am there.

I am going to fly back early morning Monday so that I am back in SF and give myself the day to recover, lay low, get my ducks in a row.

I have found that it is really important to me to give myself a day to re-adjust after time spent traveling.

So.

Yes!

A trip to New York City in Spring.

I am pleased as punch.

Really I am.

I got just a taste the last time (my first time) being there and it was helpful to have a friend, though it was not as present as I could have hoped for, who was a pretty damn good tour guide and he let me crash at his place for free.

This time.

I won’t have a tour guide.

This time I’m on my own.

And.

Yes I will wear my big girl pants and figure it all out.

Suggestions, comments, thoughts, ideas, you throw them my way.

I’m open to it all.

Mostly, I am just excited to have given myself the permission to do something for myself and to celebrate my first year of graduate school.

Assuming I make it through this upcoming semester.

Ha.

And I shall be making it through the semester with a little something sassy to keep me going.

Heh.

I did mention that earlier, I was going to write about that first, but I got swept up in the whole, holy shit, I booked a ticket to New York thing.

I have an anniversary coming up.

I have a little spending plan allowance money set aside for a tattoo, I usually get something, but I realized that I don’t have to, I got one in Paris, which has healed up so well it’s rather shocking, but there is something else that I have wanted to do for some time and I told my person about it last night and well.

Here’s to taking more suggestions.

I’m finally getting my hair done.

Yes.

That’s right.

I’m fucking going blonde.

Eek a mouse.

I’m just going to do it once.

I can’t think that I can afford the upkeep, it’s going to actually cost more than the tattoo I was planning but I said, fuck it, I pull the extra from my clothing allowance and do it right the one time.

I’m actually going to have to go to the salon more than once.

I’m getting the initial cut and color done on one day and then I have to go back a second time to do the color again.

My hair is dark.

And I have a lot of it.

I may also be losing some of the length, I’ll find out when I go.

But.

I have always wanted to do this, I’ve written about it before and gotten close, I have highlighted a bit, but never the whole damn thing.

I figure I’ll do it the once, it might break my hair, but that’s ok, it’ll be hella fun, I can say I did it, instead of deciding I want to then not doing it.

Willingness without action is fantasy.

I took a lot of action today.

Even though, in reality, they were just small actions, they both felt really big.

One was to pick up the phone and call and make an appointment.

The other, to pull my debit card out of my wallet and commit to booking a ticket.

Small.

Tiny.

Wee little actions.

And yet.

Such big results.

It’s been a day.

Happy.

Joyous.

Free.

And soon to be.

Blonde.

In the Big Apple.

 

On The Path

December 2, 2015

And I keep on keeping on.

I just registered for my second semester of graduate school.

Hard to believe that I am rounding the bend into the home stretch of the first semester.

It felt odd to be registering for the next semester when it feels like there is still so much of this one left.

That being said.

There’s not really that much more.

I have one more weekend of classes and a final project presentation.

The presentation is the thing I need to focus on next, but I’m still finishing up some of the reading.

I am not going to fret about it.

It will get done.

It always does.

One moment at a time and the work will get done.

I was thinking about that as I deposited a check to my account and immediately pulled a bunch of money out to put into a Christmas card for my Parisian friend who bought my tickets to the ballet at the Garnier Palace Opera House in Paris for the show on the 23rd of this month.

Imagine.

In 22 days I will be in a box seat with people I love watching the ballet in Paris.

In 19 days I fly out of SFO to Paris.

In 17 days it’s my birthday.

December is a big month.

And of course, that final school weekend, that I mentioned already, is December 10th-12th.

I am almost there.

Yet it all seems so far away.

I suppose once the last paper is turned in and I have done the final project presentation I will feel it.

Until then.

It all feels rather surreal.

Like I’m treading water and swimming a million miles a minute all at the same time.

It reminds me of something I read this morning before work, in my Human Development reader about death and how having some knowledge of it makes life that much more rewarding and richer.

That awareness of the present moment being the moment to most focus on.

I can’t see much past what is happening, Paris, et al, as I am so focused on living right here, right now.

It is also an assurance to my mental sanity when I stay in the present.

So many things can go wrong in the future.

Or.

There’s just the fantasy of the future, if this than that, if I wear this will he like it more than that, if I do this will she like me, if I work harder I can do this….

Blah, blah, blah.

It’s just a way to be out of the magic of what is happening right now.

For instance.

Despite being alone tonight.

I am not lonely.

I have some Chet Baker on the stereo.

I have some tea in a mug.

It’s delicious tea.

I have tickets to Paris–my friend got hard paper tickets and they came in the mail today!

I’m going to Paris!

Ahem.

The candles are lit and the air is perfumed.

There are snow flakes hanging from the antlers in the corner and the heater is blowing warm air into the studio–it’s been cold!

There are pretty pictures on my walls, my bed is made, my house is clean, I am registered for classes, friends reached out today and texted me sweet messages.

I enrolled with a friend in my cohort and we managed to get three out of five classes together.

Excellent.

There are many more things that I can reflect on right in front of me.

The photo of my sister and I when we were five and three.

In fact, that’s a thought I keep having, blow it up and frame it and send to my mom for Christmas.

I don’t think she has any other copies of the photo.

I have Christmas cards ready to be written.

Oh!

And if you want a post card from Paris, do let me know, I’ll send one.

Sending postcards has to be one of my favorite things to do, the perfect souvenir, I have postcards that I have sent myself from all over the world.

Rome.

London.

Paris.

Burning Man.

New York.

San Francisco (yes, I do send myself postcards from San Francisco–if it’s somewhere I have never been and I am having an experience I like to document it–heck I send cards to folks that live just down the street).

It’s the thing to do.

Staying here.

Staying in the moment and being kind to myself.

As I was reading school work a bit before I started writing the blog and I realized that I wasn’t really retaining the information.

Sometimes that happens.

So.

I stop.

And refocused and got into the present.

Which is where all the gifts are.

That’s why it’s called the “present.”

Mwhahahaha.

Anyway.

The point being that it’s a night for a little extra self-care, a shower, a snuggle with a cozy blanket, the rest of a French movie my dear Parisian friend suggested–Blue Is The Warmest Color.

I like to watch French movies before I travel to Paris.

It helps with getting the language back into my ear.

French music too.

All the things French.

All the things.

I’m pretty happy right now.

Yes.

I am a touched stressed, there is work to do, but I see it all happening and I know how lucky I am to be doing what I am doing, where I am doing it, and getting to do all the things.

Because.

Ultimately.

I do all the really important things.

If you haven’t figured out what that is yet.

We can have a little talk one on one.

Heh.

Otherwise.

It is safe to say that my life is a miracle.

And I don’t have to be on my deathbed to see it.

I just have to stay.

Present.

 

It’s Already

December 1, 2015

That time.

I register for second semester classes tomorrow!

What the hell?

How did that happen so quick?

I will say one thing about this whole going to school and working (nearly) full time, the time, it goes fast.

I don’t have to register tomorrow, I have until the 3rd of January; however, I am one of those folks who just likes to get it done now.

In other words.

A perfectionist.

I’m a perfectionist and I am aware of it and I am aware that it is a defense mechanism that I employ to feel safe.

It rarely works.

That’s ok too.

I can see it, which is the biggest thing.

Awareness.

Acceptance.

Action.

Like I am very aware that I don’t have to write the 5th paper for my Human Development class; however, I have been outlining the reading as I go along in case I change my mind and decide to really get a solid A in the class.

At the moment of the four papers I have turned in, we only need to write 4, the fifth is an optional paper that we can drop, I have a B, an A, and an A+ I figure the fourth paper will probably be an A as well and combine that with my participation in class and what I am assuming will be an A for my final project, I should get an A for the class.

And yet.

Here I am making notes like I might just write that fifth paper.

Just in case.

Just in case what, I have no idea.

Just to give my head a little something to worry about?

I like to keep busy, but I don’t need to make unnecessary work for myself.

So.

In a very small voice.

With the option to change my mind.

I am declaring that I will not be writing the 5th Human Development paper.

Sigh.

Let go Carmen.

I have plenty of other places I need to focus on anyhow.

I will finish the reading for all my classes in the next day or two and then I will start the final project for Human Development.

I am not going to worry.

I am not going to stress.

I say this without totally believing myself, but I say it in the spirit of being ok with myself if I do.

The thing about accepting my perfectionism and accepting myself when I fall into it.

It really has so much to do with fear.

Fear I’m not enough, you won’t love me, I’m unlikable, unlovable, you’ll abandon me, if I can make things perfect you’ll stay, so let me fix things the way you want them so I can protect myself and not get hurt.

And you wonder how it is that I chose being a therapist as a career path.

Ha.

Knowing this doesn’t necessarily change the defect.

Doing the work around it does and I have done a lot, I mean A LOT, of work on this.

Of course, I suspect there will be more.

And I am ok with that too.

It was helpful today that I also got to talk with two of my best friends in the world and re-connect and then run into another friend this evening after work who wants to go out to dinner one of these nights, I have no idea when, but maybe, and it just was good.

Good.

To hear my friends voices and to be heard back and to tell them how much I loved and missed them.

One of my friends I may get to see this week and that makes me a very happy lady.

I realize too that it’s the last day of November.

Christmas season is upon us and the month will pass quickly.

I am already booking up and it’s not even begun.

I was also trying to figure out if I want to do something for my birthday, which falls on the 18th of December, one week before Christmas, two days before I fly out to Paris.

I will be working that day.

I worked it last year as well.

I went out to a dinner with my ex-boyfriend.

I didn’t like the restaurant and my ex hadn’t wrapped my gift and it was not something I wanted or that fit, it was horrifyingly too big, and I think.

I would like to not have that experience again.

I would like to do something, but it is notoriously difficult to gather folks the week before Christmas to do something.

Every one has plans.

Every one.

I’m remembering my birthdays in SF and the one in Paris.

There was my 30th birthday party, a surprise party for me, at Casanova on Valencia Street.  My room mates, who I had only known for a few months, threw me a surprise party and invited 30 people to the party.  How I even knew thirty people after only being here a couple of months still blows my  mind.

The next year I was working at Hawthorne Lane and we went to Delfina for dinner.  Lots of wine.  Lots of fancy food.  Big bouquet of surprise flowers from friends back in Wisconsin on the table, then over to Blondies and more drinks and then someone pulls out some blow and then we’re off to the End Up.

Ahem.

Next birthday was horrendous.

Awful.

Back in Wisconsin heading into the nadir of my dark night of the soul.

My friends try to pull an intervention on me.

It doesn’t work.

I come home and my room mates have thrown me a surprise party and despite not wanting to drink I am lifting a beer and heading down to Pop’s on York and 24th to meet with my dealer.

Happy Birthday!

I got sober three and half weeks later.

I don’t remember all my birthdays from that time, the last ten years, there have been good and not so good and a few awful and really bad, but none of them were like that last birthday I had before I got sober.

Even the worst was a 1,000 times better.

So.

I don’t do anything for December 18th I’ll be ok.

Heck.

I’m fucking flying to Paris with one of my best friends two days later.

Not like I don’t have something to look forward to!

My life.

It’s not picture perfect.

Despite my attempts at perfectionism.

But.

Man.

It is really fucking good.

REALLY.

Tender Is The Heart

November 16, 2015

I have to remind myself this.

Soft.

Go lightly.

Be gentle.

Be sweet.

Hold yourself like a little kitten.

Don’t swing yourself out over the high stairway by the scruff of the neck and threaten to drop you down the stairs.

That doesn’t work.

It’s ok.

There are feelings there.

The stuff.

Well, it will come.

And.

Yes.

It will go.

And then the tenderness, to be soft, to be kind, to be sweet, to be compassionate to myself and the perfectionist child who is so afraid to fuck up and god only knows what will happen, what catastrophe of destruction will be wrought if I don’t get it all right, if I don’t do it perfect, if I don’t, I mean.

It’s the end of the world.

I look at my stacks of books and all my little post it notes.

I am preparing to write another paper.

One that I thought I would be able to do today, but I realized I was too exhausted from the writing yesterday to make any head way on this new paper.

I did do all the reading for it, but I didn’t absorb as much as I felt needed to do the writing.

I took notes, and they are funny, these little post it notes with a scrawl and a page number.

The article i have to write on is on-line and though I could print it off, I don’t have a printer, and take notes on it, I just decided to read the 21 page article on-line and stick little notes on my laptop to point to pertinent pages I needed to reference to write the paper.

But.

I will need to go back and re-read the article.

I don’t often have to do that.

I can usually do one read through.

But the directions for the paper were not sticking in my head and I wasn’t sure what exactly I was supposed to be reading for and it wasn’t until about page 11 or so that I had an inkling what I might be writing about, which is half way through the article, so I need to go back and re-read.

I had done a lot of reading prior.

And it opened up a box.

Perhaps not a Pandora’s box.

But some links were made in my mind and I noticed a lot of myself in the reading.

It was on trauma.

Sometimes I am able to be a little flip about the things that happened.

Sometimes I normalize them to deal with them.

Sometimes.

Most times.

I run the fuck away.

I don’t duck and cover.

I bolt.

But there was no bolting.

Little rabbit.

There was no hole to escape down.

There was no closet to hide oneself in under a pile of clothes in a dirty laundry basket hoping that you wouldn’t be found out, in the middle of the night in the dark, in a closet, under the pile of clothes.

I used to have that night mare a lot.

Thank God I don’t any more.

But years.

It would just pop up out of nowhere.

Hiding in the closet in the dirty laundry basket waiting for the closet door to open and the nightmare would mimic exactly the acts that I would do.

Except.

For one small thing.

There was never enough clothes in the closet to hide underneath.

Some part of me was always showing.

Some corner of my leg or a foot or an elbow was poking out.

And the footsteps.

They were coming.

Down the hall.

And the door was opening.

The light from the crack between the door and the wood panel door frame.

The way the line of light fell on the floor and I could see that line of light and then the shadow coming in through the door.

And well.

Anyways.

Nightmares.

Trauma.

PTSD.

You know.

All the good stuff.

I read some powerful things today in one of my text books and the pot.

Well.

It got stirred.

And the thing is that’s going to happen.

So when the stirring stirs something up.

What do I do?

I do my best to take care of myself.

It may not always look like what other people think is what’s best for me, but it’s the best I have in the moment and I have to acknowledge how fucking far I have come and all the work.

Gah.

The work.

It never ends.

This work.

I think.

There’s the rub, that’s the problem, I think.

That by this time I would be clear of it.

But I also know that I have come to a softer resting place with a lot of the material.

And so much of it is still blocked out.

I have dissociated with the material.

Does it surprise anyone other than myself that I am pursuing a degree in psychology to become a therapist?

Ha.

Ah.

Life.

She is a funny cookie sometime.

Fortune cookie fortune brought to you by House of Pancake:

You love hard.

Take easy on self.

Let self be loved.

Lucky numbers 18, 7, 25, 48, 53.

If only.

I’m getting better though.

I can see the progress and when I was feeling disconnected and unable to concentrate more on the reading I was supposed to do for the paper, I cut myself some slack and I took a break.

Not a big one.

Just fifteen minutes.

And when I sat back down to continue reading.

I read something else for school.

I can come back to this material when I am not so tender.

It was a big weekend.

I did a lot of work.

Emotionally.

Outside of school.

Although school was the platform that provided the emotional entrée into the stuff going on behind the scenes for me.

I am glad to know more and I am grateful to be in school and I showed up in a really big way this weekend and wrote a gigantic paper and did hours and hours and hours of reading.

And.

Talked to Professor Dubitzky about a time to have a phone conversation with her about my Psych(e)analytic paper.

We have an appointment for Tuesday night at 8:30p.m.

Not sure how the hell it’s going to work since I’m getting off work at 8p.m.

I suppose I’ll hit a cafe with my laptop and sit on the phone and do the deal.

Note to self bring laptop to work on Tuesday.

And.

That’s the weekend.

Back to work tomorrow.

Not that I ever really left off working.

Although I did double dip tonight and get to see a lot of lovely people.

Grateful for all the love in my life.

All the lovely people.

All the love.

All the things.

All the god damn time.

Even when the pot is stirred.

It just makes for a sweeter stew.

Delighted and Dumbfounded

November 15, 2015

I finished my paper.

I finished my Group Dynamics paper.

I FINISHED MY PAPER!

Oh my God.

The relief.

Ten pages, 3,357 words.

In fact, I wrote eleven pages, so I had to cut and that is fine, good really, tightened the work and it’s always better to have a little too much rather than too little.

I was not expecting to get the paper done today.

However.

I realized this morning when I was sitting and doing some writing that though it is not at all about school, turns up to be so important to me being able to facilitate so much of my school work, that I was perhaps going about my school weekend prep plans backwards.

That it might actually serve me better if I wrote the Final Paper project today rather than putting it off until tomorrow.

The paper is not due until the 17th.

But I wont have time outside of this weekend to really devote to paper writing.

I can get into a groove where I do a little reading here and there, and it’s become a lot more reading as the days have progressed toward the end of the semester, but it’s hard for me to stop and start writing a paper.

That was the “dilemma” I faced today.

Do reading for other classes or focus on getting to the final paper, even if it meant cutting it in two segments of time.

I didn’t sleep in.

I wasn’t expecting to.

But.

I had not set an alarm, just in case I wanted to lie about for an extra hour.

Glad I got up.

Glad I got going.

Dumbfounded.

Still.

By how much I got in today.

My regular morning routine, plus the laundry, and marketing, and making food for the week and beyond into the school weekend, meeting with two different ladies, sitting and hearing the end of an inventory, reading for my Human Development class.

And.

Writing the final paper.

I still can’t believe it’s done.

So relieved.

I am going to focus tomorrow on Therapeutic Communications, getting as much of the reading done for the class as I can and also I am going to write the reflection paper as well.

That will leave me with the reader from Human Development, five articles, and all the reading for my Psychoanalytic class.

I mean.

I still have a lot to do.

But.

I feel so much better having this huge paper off and into the world.

Plus, having done my food prep today I don’t have to tomorrow.

I will meet with my two Sunday ladies.

Do the deal.

Get right with God.

Then read away the day.

I promise myself I will take a walk outside and get some fresh air.

That I will also sit in the sun and eat my meals without looking at a text-book.

I will watch the ravens swoop and sing through the air.

Have you ever heard the song of wind through raven’s wings?

Oily.

Thick.

Ruffled.

Heavy.

Dark.

Yet seductive, when I lift my face to the sun, prop my feet in a chair on the back porch and let my eyes close under the warmth of the sun.

I am hoping for sun tomorrow.

I know there was some today.

I did get out of the house for a brief moment to buy eggs and coffee and persimmons from the local market.

Persimmon season’s almost over.

I will miss you my sweet orange pumpkin friends.

I don’t want to jinx it but I am hoping to have all the reading done for the next weekend of classes, um, ha, before classes are in session.

I haven’t manage that yet.

I have managed to stay on top of the writing and I haven’t turned in any papers late, yet.

I hope not to.

There are only two more weekends of classes before the end of the semester!

How did that happen?

Of course.

I can barely see ahead of myself to know how I am going to feel heading into the final weeks of the semester.

Probably feeling that I am still behind.

There’s a lot of work and I have to acknowledge to myself, if only to myself, that I did real good today.

I got the massive amount of reading finished for the paper earlier in the week, I took notes, I made notations all over the book, it was full of little blue post-it notes, I used supplemental materials, and I wrote a really good paper.

I also learned how much I learned.

Which, I feel, is the signpost of a successful class.

I learned as I was writing and I made connections and correlations and my mind was a frenzy of activity.

I may have talked to myself a few times too

Ahem.

I learned that I can be flexible.

Or try to be more flexible.

I went to a friend’s house with a different agenda than what was previously discussed and watched my brain throw itself into spasms trying to figure out what to do.

Then.

I realized.

I was just panicking and looking for a way to not do the paper.

Any excuse will do!

Put it off one more day!

My friend helps me get accommodated and I took a deep breath, closed my eyes, stopped listening to my head, and listened for my gut.

Ok.

This here.

This notebook there.

My laptop here.

This book here, these notes here, my pens, turn off the phone, sit down.

Accept the help and suggestions being offered.

See what happens.

And what do you know?

There was nothing wrong.

I got lost in time.

Forgot that food had been ordered.

Wrote and wrote and wrote.

Took a break when my stomach said, “hey! I’m hungry,” and my bladder said, “yo, bathroom break!”

A bowl of corn and chopped chicken with egg drop soup, and some prawns with snow pea pods.

Yum.

Then back to the paper.

And about 45 minutes, maybe an hour after dinner, I was done.

I spell checked.

I edited.

I tightened.

I clarified.

I opened up my e-mail, composed a note to my professor, attached the paper and sent it out into the Universe.

And now.

I rest.

I actually have a sore arm, shoulder, and stiff forearm from typing so much.

I mean, what with my morning pages, the final paper project, and this blog, I have written over 5,000 words today.

No wonder my head is sore.

But.

It’s done.

I am truly.

Absolutely.

Over the fucking moon.

Je t’aime Paris

November 14, 2015

It is with a very heavy heart that I am blogging.

The terrorist attacks in Paris threw me over the barrel.

It was a strange, sad, anxiety filled day at work, the family got some bad news and I did my best to be of service and help and I know I was, but it was stressful.

And.

Then suddenly.

The news.

The shock of hearing and seeing the photographs.

And the absolute inability to do anything other than reach out to a few people, let them know I was, I am, thinking of them.

Friends in Paris.

Fellows in Paris.

There’s nothing I can do and this is not about me.

I remind myself to focus on what I can do.

But there was still sadness in the air.

Melancholia that broke over me like waves.

Reminding me of when I was in Madison and the morning of 9/11 and all the streets so empty and still.

I had not turned on the radio and I didn’t own a television.

It was like the Martians had landed and wiped out the entire city.

I couldn’t figure out what was wrong or why there were no cars on the road.

Or why, when I got to campus, there was no one on the streets.

I finally found out what was happening when I stepped into my coffee shop, Espresso Royale, on my way to my first morning class.

And even after being told, it was so surreal and so shocking that it didn’t set in.

I still went to class.

There were two other students there and a very distraught TA who sent us home.

I didn’t know where to go.

So I went to the bar.

Where I worked.

I walked through the empty restaurant and the bar, waved to the opening bartender who was transfixed to the television mindlessly polishing glasses.

“Are we going to close today?”  He asked.

I didn’t know.

It was my day off.

I wasn’t working.

I told him I didn’t know and would find out.

The bar didn’t close.

Bars don’t typically when disaster strikes, people, in my experience, like to come around together and nurse a beverage and huddle together.

I had a friend visiting from out-of-town.

Boston.

And she was at a mutual friends.

I knew she must be frantic.

Her mother flew for one of the airlines that was used in the attacks.

I got to our mutual friends house, astounded to see on the most delicious, the most perfect of autumn days, the ultimate Indian Summer day, temperatures in the high 70s and not a cloud in the sky, that James Madison park was empty.

EMPTY.

That shoved it home for me.

I had never seen James Madison empty.

Ever.

Let alone on the most beautiful day of the year.

I found my friends glued to the television.

My visiting friend had not managed to locate her mother who was on a scheduled flight to DC and was beyond frantic with panic.

We would find out that she was safe, but it took hours.

It took hours, days, to locate friends and family.

The efficacy of the internet amazes me.

Facebook in particular.

Hats off.

I am not always the biggest proponent of social media, but I am over the moon at the Facebook Safety Attack.

All my friends, 26, checked in safe and secure.

Just got the last check in a few minutes ago and just breathed.

Like really took a deep breath.

Paris terror attacks.

I still can’t quite fathom it.

It’s not my place to understand.

And I am not going to make political statements.

That’s not how I roll.

Horrified at the anger and strife and killing.

The pain and misery that we as humans can wrought upon each other.

But.

If I dwell in that.

If I don’t lift my head and go about my life.

If I wallow in that morass of pity and amelioration I will never get out of it.

And I am only effective in my community when I am present.

Accounted for.

Relied upon.

Committed.

I’m all in.

So.

I don’t know how to say.

I am sad.

I am grieved.

I am heartbroken for that beautiful city of lights.

And in the face of it.

I will march forward and do the best I can.

To be the best person I can.

“You work harder than anyone I know,” he said and patted me on the arm.

I was surprised to hear him say that.

I was taken a little aback, but I was also complimented too, when he told me that last night underneath the heating lamps on the outdoor patio at Cafe Flore on Market Street.

Maybe.

It’s just the way I know how to love and give back and I must.

I have been given so much.

I really have.

I try to give it back.

To play it forward.

To love as much as possible.

To be kind.

To be compassionate.

Tolerant.

Patient.

Mostly with myself.

I don’t often succeed.

These are lofty principles.

But.

I try.

And when I am struck dumb with sadness and horror.

I turn back to the simple principles I have been taught and look around me to see where I can best be of service.

How can I do the best in the moment.

Right now.

Right here.

Forgive myself for being an asshole.

Love myself.

Love my friends.

Stay in touch with people.

Let myself be sad.

From heartbreak comes strength and deeper reserves of love.

At least that is what I wish for myself in this moment of reflection.

Love.

Light.

Resolution.

For my friends.

For the families.

For all those sick and suffering.

Here and abroad.

My heart is open.

And though it may not have much of a mark in the overall scheme of things.

It’s the best I have.

I love you Paris.

My heart to you.


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