Posts Tagged ‘advocacy’

Sold!

July 11, 2018

And bye-bye scooter.

I am no longer the scooter queen.

I took my scooter down to Scooter Centre today and sold her.

I knew once I had found out that they would sell used scooters that it was what I wanted to do.

No more mucking around with craigslist.

Then only inquiry I received via craigslist was actually someone trying to sell me a service.

No thanks.

This was just so much easier and I knew I didn’t have time to mess around with showing it off, talking about it, dicking around, making extra time for people to test drive it.

Nope.

I just wanted to turn over the keys and let it go.

Which is what I did.

We negotiated a price and I signed off the paperwork, the owner of the shop cut me a check and I was out the door.

I celebrated by depositing the check and taking myself out for a poke bowl for lunch.

Love some nice ahi tuna.

Especially on a warm day.

I decided to enjoy said warm day and I had packed up a book and a magazine that I planned on enjoying reading in the park that is close to my internship rather than taking a car share home and picking up my car.

I walked from Mission and 10th to Folsom and 14th, swung into Rainbow Foods, picked up some cherries and a Rau raw chocolate drink and meandered to the park.

I sat in the sun.

I read for two hours.

It was brilliant.

So to the sunburn on my feet.

Ugh.

I mean.

I wore sunblock everywhere else today but I did not think about the tops of my exposed feet.

Oops.

Oh well.

It was worth it.

To sit quietly.

To reflect.

Today was a super big day.

A lot of emotions.

A lot of movement through them.

Acceptance.

Sadness.

Joy.

Love.

So many things washing over me.

With big transitions thrown in.

Like.

The supervisor I want to work with underneath the umbrella of Grateful Heart Therapy replied back.

With a resounding yes!

Yes!

Yes!

She was super happy to work with me regarding supervision and she’s got the full supervisory accreditation completed.

All she has to do is some paperwork with the non-profit and she can supervise me and they can pay me out and do all the taxes and book-keeping for her.

Win freaking win!

And!

Oh the best, the best, the best!

She does have office space available for rent.

And she will rent to me!

So I have an office.

And.

Yes.

I received back the second letter of recommendation for the internship.

So, office secured, supervisor secured, letters of recommendation secured, updated resume.

All I have to do is fill out the rest of the application and submit it by August 11th.

I plan on having it done before I leave for Paris.

I want to be free and clear to enjoy my trip and leave everything in San Francisco for a while and give it all some breathing room.

Space.

Like the new space I will be moving into.

It’s officially unofficial.

I am moving out.

I accepted the terms of the buyout negotiations that I have been in with my landlady.

The paperwork is being drawn up and I will be signing it before I leave for Paris.

I am not quite ready to splash it about social media yet.

Until the paperwork is signed and I have the buyout money in my account it seems foolish to plaster it all over the place.

Suffice to say.

I am actively looking.

I messaged about a place earlier today while I was waiting for my office to open up at my current internship.

The one I had previously applied to turned out to be a scam.

If the price seems too good there’s probably a reason.

Not going to wire money anywhere before I see the place.

Anyway.

I am looking.

You know of something you let me know.

I have some buffer time, I don’t have to leap at the first thing that lands in my lap.

I can take some time to make sure wherever I go next is a good fit.

But.

Yeah.

I will be out by November 1st.

That’s the end date of my being here in my little studio by the sea.

I came home tonight and thanked her, my little spot, for all the lovely time I have had here.

I really am grateful for the five years I have gotten to spend here.

I have a few more months.

I don’t think anything will happen before I leave for Paris, aside from signing the paperwork and closing up the deal, but should it happen I would be happy to move on out when I get back.

Having space to do so is big.

It means I can be flexible, if someone says something great is opening up but not for a couple of months, I’m ok.

I am ok.

I keep reminding myself that.

It’s been a super stressful experience and the amount of anxiety and fear I have walked through is tremendous.

I am proud of myself for doing the work.

It was hard.

And I am very grateful to all the friends who I went to with questions, concerns, fears.

The shoulders I literally cried on.

I cried a lot this last month and a half.

It’s no joke out there.

I am hopeful though that the right place will come now that the wheels are in motion.

I doubt very much that I will need until November.

But.

If I do.

It’s ok.

I’m covered.

Taken care of.

Held.

Carried.

I always have been.

Even when I refused to see it.

Luckiest girl in the world.

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Having The Emotions

July 6, 2018

And moving through them.

I feel really quite good right now.

So much better than I have in some days.

I also did a big inventory today.

I toss that word around sometimes without much explanation–inventory is a way for me to work through resentments I have about people, places, and things, sometimes concepts.

I inventoried the fuck out of my housing situation.

I saw selfishness and fear and self-seeking and dishonesty.

I saw my part, you could say.

And I found a way through.

A way to continue this process of not knowing what is going to come next.

I had a conversation with my landlady yesterday.

It was not what I expected and I was baffled by the exchange.

But.

It was enlightening and I have deep compassion for the both of us.

I mean.

That’s the only way through.

We both have things we want and ultimately, we both want the same thing at this point-me to move the fuck out.

I need something better and she doesn’t want me living here anymore.

The means to the ends is where we disagree.

And that’s fine.

There may always be opinion about that and opinion is not my business.

What people think about me is not my business.

God.

Fuck.

Of course I want to know.

I want to know so I can manipulate myself into making everyone fucking happy so that I can be comfortable.

I’m comfortable when others are taken care of.

I can relax.

But.

The facts are.

NOBODY is taking care of me.

I have to do it.

I have to put myself and my needs first.

So I have to let go of what others, the landlady, my friends, my fellows, clients, my cohort at school, my employer, think of me.

I have to.

Or it will kill me.

I can’t go around making everyone happy.

I just can’t.

So.

I got some good freaking clarity after seeing where my part was, seeing how trying to get acceptance from others or relying on them rather than my God wasn’t working.

Never has.

Never will.

People are failable.

Fuck.

I am failable.

I will fail you.

Guarantee it.

There was a time I would have apologized for that failing or tried really, really, really hard to be the perfect person and not fail.

But.

You know what?

It’s ok to make mistakes, it’s ok for me to not be perfect, it’s ok for me to fuck up.

I fucked up.

I made a decision based on fear at the beginning of my tenancy that led me here.

I’m ok with that.

Sure.

Wished I had done it different, but I can’t change that, I can accept that I was doing the best I could, in a co-dependent people pleasing sort of way, and that seeing the results accrue over the past five years has brought me to this place that is requiring me to make a really big change.

Self-advocacy.

Non-personal.

Do right for myself sort of change.

I was really grateful I did the work to get to that place and really grateful that I have been earnestly praying for my landlady.

I mean.

I have.

For her happiness, joy, financial success, romantic love, family love, relationships with friends, success with her job, everything and anything that I could think of.

We all deserve the best and by focusing on that rather than trying to make myself out to be a victim and her some overblown hyperbole of a landlord, I get to see her as a human being doing the best she can do.

We are all doing the best we can do.

It’s ok.

Another persons best interst is not my best though.

And I recognize that.

I have had a lot of time to reflect on things today and I am grateful for that.

Ooh!

I have also spent a lot of time researching an internship!

Check it out:

Grateful Heart Therapy

Grateful Heart is a therapy organization in the Bay Area which provides sliding scale psychotherapy for all sorts of folks.

It was recommended to me after I told my therapist about the internship that I was going to do falling through.

The supervisor I was going to work with made it abundantly clear that it had nothing to do with my clinical skills or abilities, she really likes me, she believes I am a great therapist, but, it wasn’t a good time for her to go from being a solo practitioner to having to incorporate a LLC.

I get it.

I was upset.

But you know, opportunity to find something that will be a better fit.

With Grateful Heart Therapy AMFTs can lease their own office underneath their supervision.

MY OWN OFFICE.

Now.

It will take time to get my own office up and running and it will take money, money that I don’t necessarily have, although I flirted really hard with the idea of using my credit card, the one I got nearly a year ago and have never used.

Or.

Hmm.

Maybe I could do a GoFundMe?

Thoughts to explore.

Anyway.

The center provides the infrastructure, they do payroll, billing, supervision.

They have over 40 supervisors and they have groups that are supervised, they do trainings and they use psychotherapeutic tools developed by the master herself–Nancy McWilliams, a clinician I have written about wanting to work under, she’s amazing, I loved reading her work in my Master’s program.

It takes some time to get things up and running, but I would be able to see clients, charge them, and have my own office.  Grateful Heart would take $350 a month for operating cost and to cover supervision, I would pay payroll taxes, etc and they would cut me a check.

I saw an empty office today at the building my current internship is in.

The door was unlocked and there was a sign that said “Take A Peek!”

Peek I did.

It’s small, but clean, on the fifth floor where I already see clients, a view of Twin Peaks.

I could imaging pictures hanging on the wall, a couch, a therapist chair, file cabinets, plants, lamps to provide soft lighting,  a spot for an electric kettle and tea cups.

I stood in the warm little space and dreamed a little dream.

It felt pretty damn good to contemplate.

Tomorrow I will be having coffee with a friend of mine who is currently working for Grateful Heart and I’m going to pick her brains about it.

I can’t wait.

I feel like I can breathe again.

And sleep.

I know where I stand with how I need to proceed forward with my landlady and I have a new internship to explore with the option of starting my own private practice office much, much, much sooner than I had expected.

I am sincerely.

And truly.

Over the moon.

Dirty Dishes

June 13, 2018

For the first time since I have lived in this home I came back from a long day to dirty dishes in the sink.

I always wash my dishes.

Always.

But.

Fuck.

I totally screwed up this morning.

I was late and I had no idea.

I mean.

I had not one single clue.

I had gotten up with my alarm, took a nice hot shower, dried my hair, got dressed, made the bed, chatted with my best friend, did some morning reading, did some prayers, I had made breakfast, a lovely latte and I was slowly digging into some emails when I had this moment of.

Oh.

It looks like I need to go in about fifteen minutes.

I had just started eating my breakfast.

Does not compute.

I looked at my watch.

I looked at my computer clock.

What the hell was wrong?

I’m doing exactly what I would be doing on a normal morning and I’m not writing and I, oh shit, I realized right then and there.

I had set my alarm a half hour later than I should have.

If I have a shower before work I have to give myself an extra half hour, mostly for dealing with my hair.

But I hadn’t factored that in.

Oh.

I thought I had.

I mean I was right on schedule, except for being a half hour behind.

I shoveled in my oatmeal.

I mean.

It was not pretty.

I tried to drink some of my coffee down but it was too hot.

I like to leisurely sip my coffee, look over emails, check my schedule, peep my blog see if anyone’s read it, then do my morning writing.

Mornings that I shower before work I also don’t typically write, so my brain was all wired that I had this extra half hour.

In reality.

In that half hour I had to be at therapy in Noe Valley and I had not put on my face yet.

Oh no.

I mean.

I was dressed and I could have gone out without make up on, but you know, I like to put on a face.

I made the executive decision to not wash my breakfast dishes, dashed into the bathroom, did the fastest make up ever, grabbed my stuff and flew out the door.

I made it.

I found parking with three minutes to spare to dash down the block, let myself in the building, and have a cup of water from the fountain in my hand as my therapist open the door to her office.

I sort of sat and had to catch my breath.

It was a good session though, not a lot of tears, a little when I got into the feeling zone of what it was like when I heard the news that my landlady wanted me to move out, but for the most part I was able to make some serious connections, talked a lot about fear and moving forward and about self-advocacy and how it allows others to have strength and how I wanted to grow.

I talked about things I have to walk through, partially for myself, and also for my clients, as a therapist I always need to be doing some growing.  I need to always be integrating new experiences into my life and though I may never tell a client what is going on in my life, it will be in the therapy room.

My experiences are pure freaking gold.

I caught up with my old friend from high school today.

And although we did not get a chance to talk as long as I wanted, it was so good to hear his voice and to catch up.

I got to tell him a bit of what has been going on, but our conversation was cut short when the mom came back unexpectedly early.

One thing that stood out to me though, was his perception of me always being a therapist.

I had been telling him about the process and graduation and getting in my AMFT# application to the BBS and accruing hours and all the things and he laughed, because he didn’t understand half of what I said, but then when I said, “you know, all the stuff one needs to become a therapist,” he replied, “you mean what you’ve been doing all your life?”

I laughed out loud.

He was right.

I have been a therapist all my life, although I had no idea that was what I was doing.

Being kind, lending an ear, giving so many of the people I worked with a shoulder to cry on, I had an open door policy at one of the places I worked and managed and people would just come in and talk about things and tell me stuff that no one else was privy to.

I liked it.

I liked feeling needed and I liked listening.

I am a good listener and I remember a lot.

I also have a very good way of seeing something with perspective.

Oh.

Sure.

Not about myself, my vision there is skewed, but in others, I can see things fairly quickly and clearly make connections that they might not see.

Or might not want to see.

“If a client doesn’t want to take it in, or can’t accept it, they won’t,” my supervisor once told me.

It’s ultimately not up to me if the message lands or not, but it is up to me to show how I see it and to be an advocate for what the client wants to change in their life.

So being in my therapist’s office today I could see very clearly that the challenges ahead are an extraordinary opportunity for growth and for service.

I have to walk through this for my self and I have to do it for others to.

“It’s a political act,” she ended, my therapist, in regards to some actions I’ll soon be taking, “I’m in awe of how beautifully you just put it, thank you for letting me witness you.”

Anytime.

And hopefully next time I’ll remember to set the alarm another half hour early.

Fingers crossed.

Nobody likes to come home to dirty dishes.

At least not me.

Fingerprints of God

June 8, 2018

If I look closely I can see them.

They are there in the unexpected places, incidents, life re-arrangements.

The “oh my God I feel in love” moment.

“We don’t choose who we fall in love with,” my boss said to me today.

It’s inevitable.

Or.

I think of all the things in my life that seemed inconceivable and then what happened when I walked through them.

I think about my boyfriend of five years when I finally broke up with him and how he hit me and how I ran away into the night.

In January.

In Wisconsin.

In a nightgown.

Without socks on.

I ran to the Sentry Food Store on East Washington and used the payphone outside the grocery store to call the police.

I remember how the sound of his car turning onto East Washington tumbled into my ears as he went out into the night to find me, driving right along the road in front of me but not seeing me squashed into the phone booth.

I remember huddling in that phone booth, panicked and scared and crying on the phone with the operator.

That needed to happen for me to get out of that relationship.

That had the fingerprints of God all over it.

And I’m grateful for it, in my own way, I learned a lot, I learned how resilient I was and I learned how to better take care of myself.

I also learned how I act when I am in fear.

I have made decisions based on self and I have stepped on the toes of others, they have retaliated.

I decided to live where I am now because I thought it was a better fit for me than the other house that was on offer.

Sometimes I wonder how that would have worked out.

I would be living in the Bayview and paying much less rent.

Would I have the same jobs, relationships, friendships, fellowship?

I have no idea.

I made a decision to move here though it was double the rent I would have paid at the place in Bayview because I wanted to live by myself.

And I thought this place was nicer.

I am sure that house is lovely now, but at the time it was under a major reconstruction and I would have been in the middle of it.

Yes.

Paying $500 a month rent, but in the middle of a demolition and rebuild.

So I picked the more expensive and I moved in here.

And here’s where I acted in fear, here’s where I have realized in the last day what is my part.

I made a decision based on fear.

When the landlady didn’t offer me a receipt for the deposit.

I didn’t say anything, but man it felt funny.

But hey, look at my place, it’s great, and it’s all mine.

When the landlady didn’t give me a lease to sign, I didn’t say anything either, though that felt really weird to.

But I stuffed that feeling down.

And every month, every freaking month, I have wondered, is the shoe going to drop, is she going to raise the rent, is she going to do something, am I ok?

And every month she would cash my check and I would feel a little relief for a little while.

I realize, or I have completely admitted to myself and to another, that I have been under this yoke of fear ever since I moved in and there was no lease to sign and there was no receipt made for the deposit.

The only thing that was said, in regards to the deposit, was that it would be put into a bank account where it would accrue interest, which I would get back when I moved out and please give at least 30 days notice when I decided to move.

Sure.

And I didn’t ask for the lease.

I didn’t.

I didn’t want to make waves.

I didn’t want to be pushy.

I should have and now I’m getting to repair that and try to do the right thing now.

Which as uncomfortable as it is, is showing up and walking through the discomfort of the situation.

It’s like walking up a steep hill.

I don’t want to do it, but I bet the view will be amazing when I do the work to get there.

I had some council last night and I found out that I do actually have a lease!

In legal terms it’s called a “de facto contract.”

Which means that every time my landlady cashed one of my checks she was acknowledging that I was paying rent for the in-law.

What a huge relief to hear that.

I got a lot of sound advice and some next directions and I was told, once again, that she doesn’t have just cause to ask me to leave and a verbal notice to vacate is not legal.

I was told to keep paying the rent.

So.

I’m going to keep paying the rent and see what happens next.

I’m sure something will happen.

I was also told to watch for whether or not my checks were getting cashed.

What do you know.

My rent check for June, that I gave to my landlady on May 25th, has not been cashed.

I will most certainly not be foolish enough to touch that money in my account, it stays put and all other monies that would be directed towards rent shall also stay put.

It’s going to be ok.

I tell myself this again and again.

I am being taken care of.

Focus on solution.

I did that today, I went to hang with my fellows after seeing my client tonight instead of coming home, even though I am working early tomorrow.

I have to focus on the solution rather than the problem.

For me that solution is spiritual.

And when I heard that God’s fingerprints are on those big things that happen out of the blue, when you’re least expecting it, well, it fucking resonated.

There is beauty here if I allow myself the discomfort of the unknown.

There is opportunity.

There is growth.

Therefor.

There is gratitude.

So yeah.

My landlady went on my gratitude list this morning.

And she will everyday until this has been resolved.

I am grateful for this opportunity to learn and to grow.

Seriously.

No More Tears

June 5, 2018

What a freaking relief.

Yesterday, last night I should say, because technically yesterday was a vale of tears from morning until about 6:30p.m. when I had to pull it together to take care of my Sunday night commitment, was the first night since my landlady gave me notice that I did not cry myself to sleep.

And!

Oh.

So good.

This morning too, no tears!

I did a lot of work yesterday, and throughout the week when I think about it, to get through the fear.

A lot of self talk, a lot of letting the tears happen when they did.

Granted.

I did holler a couple of times, “stop, just stop.”

But.

For the most part, they just kept on coming.

Yesterday was by far the worst day of it.

Of course, it was pointed out to me later that I had actually time to stop and have the feelings, I have been a busy lady and not being able to do much sitting still when I did have the chance to the emotions just ran away with the house.

I cried a lot.

But.

I think it moved things along and by the time I met with my person up at Firewood Cafe I was almost cried out.

Almost.

I still cried for the first half hour or so and then I slowly started to get relief.

And perspective.

And that it was more than just the threat of losing my place, it was also the past few weeks of busy and go, go, go, graduate, and hang out with my mom, and get all my paperwork turned in so I am really done with school, and have an endoscopy, and maybe I have cancer, but probably not, but maybe, and having to terminate with a client and all sorts of stuff, it was all the things.

All the things needed to have a word with me and then did so in a grand sweeping emotional way.

I seriously thought a few times that I was hormonal, I never cry like this for this long, unless really depressed, but then I’d still be crying and that crying is a different kind then what I was doing.

The crying I was doing was all fear based.

Not so much sadness based.

Fear based and anger based.

I have had some angry moments, let me tell you.

But it got worked out and the more I talked, cried, muddled through, the easier it seemed to be until by the time I walked into the basement of Most Holy Redeemer to take care of my Sunday night gig I was almost wholly myself.

And then!

Oh.

My old friend from my early days in recovery came prancing into the room with another dear friend and it was so good to connect and reconnect and catch up.

She’s been living in London for the last seven years, New York before that, and it was her first time back to SF in ten years.

I mean.

It was good to see her.

And hear her.

And then go out and hang out afterwards with all the friends and people and go to La Meditereanee and have some good food and laugh and get perspective.

I also heard so much advocacy for me getting to be taken care of and that there is abundance and that I do deserve it.

I sometimes forget that.

All the time.

That I am allowed to embrace abundance.

So.

My attitude changed and I began to see this whole thing as an enormous gift.

Oh.

Like many gifts I have received I did not like the wrapping paper it came in, and I have wanted to give it back, but there it is, in my lap, begging to be opened, to be revealed.

More will be revealed.

There’s always more to learn.

I get to take this situation as an opportunity to grow and to manifest what I want in a living situation.

I also get to take this as a chance to let my voice be heard, to not be run over by the circumstances, to advocate for my rights.

I listened again to the voicemail of the woman from the SF Tenant’s Union who reached out to me the day prior to my going in to the drop in session and was assuaged again to hear that what is happening is not legal and I have loads of rights.

She reiterated a bunch of them and I found comfort in that.

I know my rights and I get to speak up for myself.

Not something I have always done.

Not something that I am great at.

But fuck, what an opportunity to learn.

So.

I’m going to get to learn about something new and in the process I will find a new place to live and it will be done with grace and dignity.

At least on my part.

My part is all I’m responsible for anyway.

Speaking of my part.

And taking responsibility.

I have filled out my BBS (Behavioral Board of Science) application for my AMFT#!

Yesterday I got passport photos taken so that I can turn in a recent photo to the BBS.

All I need to do now is get LiveScanned fingerprinting done.

I will be doing that on Wednesday.

The hope is to have it all taken care of and ready to send into the BBS by Saturday.

It was strongly suggested that I send it in registered mail and insure it and track it and make sure it gets signed for.

So a trip to the post office before my internship on Saturday.

It’s a really exciting thing.

Once the BBS gives me my AMFT# I will officially be able to take payment for my therapy sessions.

At which point I will be transitioning from my current internship to my private practice internship.

I am really excited.

It feels so nice to have positive, forward motion actions happening.

And though I do not know how long this hallway of uncertainty is in regards to where I live next.

I do believe.

With all my heart.

That is will be fucking fabulous.

Seriously.

Still Scared

June 3, 2018

But breathing through it.

Crying too.

Sharing about it.

Letting it go.

Reminding myself that it’s not about me, but that, yes, oh yes, I do have rights.

And quite a lot more of them then I had even realized.

I got up early today, I showered, I prayed and read and wrote and drank my coffee and applied for a Grad Plus Student Loan, since the financial aid I was approved of for my PhD program is shy $3,000.

I got approved.

I don’t know how much that will mean, the school will package the loan for me, but I do know that it will be enough.

I feel quite sure of that.

So with my breath stuck somewhere high up in my chest, I left this morning to go to the San Francisco Tenant’s Union on Capp Street.

I got there five minutes before they were open and there were already four other people in line.

However!

Thanks to being proactive, I actually got to go first, since I had filled out the paperwork online, paid the membership fee, printed everything off and handed it over to the counselor.

“I’ll see you first,” he said and asked me what I needed to know.

I told him about my situation and I got back some straight quick answers.

The notice to leave the in-law is in fact, as I suspected, not legal.

It has to be in writing and it has to be for just cause, like I haven’t been paying rent, or I have trashed the place, or I’m doing something illegal.

No meth lab here.

Just me and my notebooks quietly coexisting next to the garage.

I explained that I didn’t have a signed lease.

“Doesn’t matter, she still has to give you a written notice, she still has to have just cause, and the reasons she’s given are not legally binding,” he continued.

I was relieved and also panicked.

“What do I do now?” I asked.

“Nothing, you stay put, you pay your next month’s rent,” he continued, “you don’t have to move out, just keep paying your rent and lay low.”

Ugh.

That sounds horrible, but doable.

I just hate the idea of living somewhere that I am not wanted.

And I realize that’s also a sort of victim attitude or perhaps a martyr attitude.

Neither of which are very sexy in my opinion.

I asked about relocation money and he said I wasn’t to that stage yet, but that I could get there.

I said what if she raised the rent?

He said, and my jaw dropped, “you have rent control, there is only so much she can raise it, has she raised it since you moved in?”

I said yes, told him the amount, and he said, “that’s too much, here’s the percentage that she’s allowed to raise it, you could sue for back overpaid rent retroactive three years.”

Holy shit.

I had no idea about that.

I chatted with my best friend about it, I’m a bit stupid with math, I’ll write you a Shakespearean sonnet in ten minutes, but maths, bah, numerological dyslexia strikes again, and asked what the raise would have been and figured out that it was raised $30 too high.

I mean it’s not a ton over, but I could reasonably say that another raise in rent is out of the question with that knowledge.

What I basically was told was you don’t have to move, you don’t need to move, make her do the work and get everything in writing.

It feels really big and scary and unpleasant.

I suspect though, that it will be a couple of uncomfortable conversations.

She’s not going to hurt me, she’s not going to change the locks on the house, I really actually can’t see that happening.

It will be uncomfortable conversations, and though I’m not happy about that, I can have them and knowing what my rights are really feels good.

Especially just knowing that I have more time to find a place.

I still intend on moving out, it doesn’t seem like this is a good home for me, it’s been what I needed for this phase of my development, but it is time to move on.

I think what the counselor gave me, though, is time.

Time to find the right situation, time to make sure that I am not desperately clawing at unreasonable housing situations, rent that I can’t afford, or room mates that I’m not really compatible with.

I sense that having the awareness that I don’t actually have to more out in 90 days will help me be more expansive.

I hope anyway.

I am still scared and uncomfortable and the crap its stirring up is big, but I am also a capable adult able to have conversations and find solutions.

I can take this to a mediator if necessary.

Though I suspect that it won’t need to go that far.

I think a buy out is reasonable, especially in this market.

This market is crazy, it still stuns me at times, but I have lived here for almost sixteen years, I can’t imagine being anywhere else.

This is home, not necessarily this little in-law, but San Francisco.

So tonight I will practice invisioning what I want.

I will imagine a big room, hard wood floors, living in a house where I probably have roommates, but I also have access to an entire house, I imagine space and sunlight.

Laundry.

Parking.

It can happen.

I know it.

I just do.

I know it’s out there and I’m ready to embrace the next thing.

I really am.

I can be scared and I can still do this.

“Men of faith have courage.”

Courage is not the absence of fear.

It is walking through the fear, it is doing the actions needed despite the fear.

I am brave.

I will walk through this.

Into the bright sunight of a brand new home.

I just will.

90 Days

May 28, 2018

A lot can happen in 90 days.

This is what I tell myself.

A lot can actually happen in a few hours, in a few minutes, in an unexpected conversation with ones landlady.

Oh my God.

I have been asked to move.

I don’t know exactly what to do yet, or whom to share this information with.

I will admit I had an impulse to post up all over social media, but I restrained myself.

I think I was in shock.

I still am a bit, truth be told.

Yesterday though, I was definitely in shock, disbelief, horror, I was freaked out, I cried in supervision when I had to do my check in, I probably should not have been riding my scooter, but in a way it might have been the best thing since I had to focus fiercely on the road for a half hour.

I rode my scooter into supervision yesterday because of the huge Carnival festival that happens in the Mission every year Memorial Day weekend.

It’s a gigantic party and it’s a huge, huge, huge parade.

Where my internship is located at was a designated area of the Mission that was to be part of the route and there was no parking anywhere to be had, I knew this ahead of time and planned on taking my scooter.

I had no idea I would be riding to my group supervision with the information I had just gotten.

I had been actually excited to go to supervision, see the therapists who have watched me over this past year as I have grown comfortable with becoming a therapist and seeing clients there, and share with them the achievement of having graduated.

All that, however, was eclipsed by the bombshell my landlady dropped on me.

She told me she wanted me to move out.

That she had been planning on talking to me about it for a few weeks, but didn’t want to “spoil” my graduation weekend and stress me out.

Thanks.

You stressed me out anyway.

I find it really interesting that I had decided to pay my rent a week and a half early for next month too, I usually do pay early, by at least a few days, but something compelled me to do it earlier than usual and I believe I may have sensed something in the air.

A few weeks ago my landlady had the property inspected as she was planning on doing a re-financing of the house, “I’ll finally get that window in the studio,” is what I thought.

That, apparently was not what she thought.

Oh, there’s going to be a window, but it’s not for me.

She told me that she was originally going to give me thirty days, then I had paid rent for this upcoming month, like I said, I like to pay it in advance, and since it might take me a little while to find a place that she thought she’d give me 60, no, 90 days to move out.

That now that I was done with school, I got into a PhD program you rotten whore, oops, did I say that? She was happy to have “helped” support me through the Masters program by letting me live here.

Helped?

I have helped you lady pants, like, I pay the rent.

I pay utilities.

I am a model tenant.

I pay rent in advance.

I have ever since I moved in.

I take the trash out, I keep my studio clean, clean, clean.

I am sober, no partying down in my little den.

I don’t smoke.

I am a fucking full-time nanny who has a part-time internship and I, until recently, also attended grad school full time.

Meaning.

I’m not around all that fucking much.

Who could ask for a better fucking tenant?

Oh.

And I don’t have any pets and I don’t complain about the dog that you got a year ago that barks and whines and cries and then gets yelled at for barking and whining and crying.

I don’t know what is worse.

The barking or the yelling at the dog to stop barking.

Considering the year of great noise I should get a goddamn discount of the rent.

Ugh.

Anyway.

I took in what she was saying and let her do the talking, I was in shock and also trying really hard to smile and nod and not say anything to just listen, to absorb information.

I was also in my scooter jacket about to get on my scooter and go ride across town to my internship, I couldn’t process what was happening.

Which was probably a good thing, I didn’t get argumentative, I didn’t freak out on her.

I did find a silent, hot core of anger later, but more about that at another time.

She explained that she’d gotten her re-financement and was going to be doing a major remodel on her house, ripping out the kitchen and the bathroom in her unit, putting in a deck, building another in-law in the back yard, pulling out the kitchen in my unit and making it a one bedroom with a bath (and maybe a hot plate), and that she needed me to move out so that she could move into my unit while the remodel was being done on her unit.

I quietly congratulated her on the refinance and asked again about the move out date, September 1st, the 15th at the latest, she needed to know as soon as possible when I was going to move out so that she could get all of her contractors lined up and ready to go.

Oh.

Ok.

Glad to hear that you need me to hustle.

Good information.

I’m only deep diving into the most expensive city to live in for rentals in the United States with a dearth of options, where closets get rented as studios, and people curtain off living rooms for extra bedrooms, where adults live in dorms with shared bathrooms and communal spaces that are marketed towards tech kids in the FiDi and Mission districts.

Sure.

No problem.

Let me get right on that.

I decided to cry instead when I got to supervision.

Oh!

And hey, she also noted, you can pay your last months rent from your deposit if that helps you consolidate your cash to get into a new place.

Hmmm.

Thanks.

I think.

Don’t you owe me the deposit back with interest, isn’t that what you told me when I moved in, “I’ll be putting this in an account that will gather interest and I’ll give you the deposit plus the interest when you move out, just make sure you give me a 30 day notice.”

See.

This is where it gets tricky for me.

I never signed a lease.

I live in an illegal in-law unit.

It has a kitchen with a full size working gas range and a full size refrigerator, but no window and no ventilation.

I cook and open up the back door to ventilate.

I am also pretty damn certain that she didn’t pull permits to do the work on the in-law when it was remodeled, but I’m not 100% certain.

What I am certain of, however, is that in her nice, sweet, off-handed way she was manipulating me into thinking I was getting a deal and that she was being kind to me.

Oh, and you don’t have to pay for July’s rent either.

And while that’s a lovely offer, I think that you, madam, are not within your rights to push me out, at least not without a written notice, or some sort of compensation.

So.

I got myself onto the San Francisco Tenants Union webpage.

They have open drop in hours and I will be going to get myself some counseling to see what my rights are.

I may not have a signed contract, I may not have a lease, but I had a verbal agreement and over four and a half years of cashed checks with “June rent and utilities” written into the memo.

I have a paper trail.

And I know I have rights.

I just don’t know exactly what they are.

But I will.

And when I do.

Watch out.

I am mad and I am not going to be manipulated into rolling over.

I am going to move.

That is going to happen.

But I am going to do it in a way that advocates for my rights.

I am not going to get pushed out.

So.

Yeah.

If you hear of anything for rent in San Francisco.

Not Berkeley or Oakland or in the East Bay or over in Marin.

IN SAN FRANCISCO.

Do me a favor and let me know.

Thanks!

 

 

I Got Asked

March 13, 2018

I answered a phone call today, a phone call with a number that I did not recognize.

I knew immediately it was a number I should answer, it was not an odd ball number from Indiana or Wisconsin asking me if I wanted to renew my health care or a telemarketing scheme from some small town in Florida.

No.

It was an Oakland number.

Therefor local.

Therefore, necessary to answer.

I am a well-trained monkey, as part of my recovery I stay connected to people in my community by phone.

I often give out my phone number to complete strangers.

Women!

Only the ladies, thank you.

So that’s what I thought the number was.

A support call from someone, someone who I gave out my number to, some one who I may have recently met.

Happens quite frequently and when I am able, I answer those numbers.

It was not who I was expecting.

It was, in fact a woman, and it was also a stranger, but not from my fellowship.

From my school!

I got the call!

I got the call!

I got the call back to go in to interview for the PhD program.

I have made it through to the next round.

I mean.

I am going to sound a little cocky, but I am fairly certain I’m getting in.

Nonetheless.

It was thrilling to talk to her on the phone and to set up a time to go in and interview.

I will be interviewing with the department on Wednesday, March 28th at 10 a.m.

I have already cleared it with the mom to go into work late that day.

And.

Yes.

Yes, I just did.

I finished it before I started to write this blog.

I sent in the Diversity Scholarship application.

I got my financials together to show proof of need.

Hello.

I could just say I’m a nanny and I live in San Francisco, doesn’t that prove need?

But I sent in my tax forms to be transparent.

And the application itself as well as the personal essay explaining a little bit about me and what I am going to do to further diversity in my community.

I think I wrote a pretty good essay and I just let it flow.

Here’s what I wrote:

Diversity Scholarship Application

My name alone should alert one to the applicable nature of the scholarship, Carmen Regina Martines. I am Hispanic, Puerto Rican, Polynesian as well as Caucasian. I am a melting pot, I am a mix, I am the person who straddles the line between. And in that space I have an important role to play. I have dealt with the internal racism of my family, the white part as well as the non-white part, apparently neither side of my family wanted a “half-breed” a moniker one set of grandparents gave, while the other referred to me under their breath as Hapa Haole, a prettier way to say half-breed.

I am neither and I am both. I have found myself often wondering to which side I truly fall, not realizing that all along I fell along with the Puerto Rican and Polynesian parts of me—at least physically, if not spiritually (your  great, great-grandmother was a witch, my mother told me, on the islands she was well-known and revered). My great, great-grandmother was a midwife and a medicine woman, in other words, a witch. I have brown skin, brown eyes, curly brown hair, wide flat Polynesian feet, a wide Puerto Rican nose, full lips, I have been called a “wet back” I have been told I should go back to Mexico (I am neither Mexican, nor have I ever been to Mexico). I have had my name constantly and continuously mispronounced and misspelled. An Aunt, my favorite aunt on my mother’s side of the family recently spelled it wrong on social media, an aunt who lived with my immediate family for years.

If my own family cannot spell my name, then who can? I can. I lead by my example, I lead by strength and resilience, and I spell my name out to the world and I keep correcting the world until it sits up and listens, I am not here to be quiet any more. I am here to meet the two worlds halfway and instead of being somehow lessened by who I am, I become more. I have advocated for myself to get into the ICPW program at CIIS despite extreme financial hardship when I applied, I won the Diversity in Leadership award and that helped greatly, and then I won something else, I won self-advocacy, I won my voice, the full strength of it and I have every intention on using it, growing it and advocating for others, especially women, especially now, to step into their power and find their voice.

I began that journey by getting sober and abstinent from drugs and alcohol, and though I never felt different __________________, I will say I have felt different in school where I found myself to be the “only” quite often in my cohort. I grew strong first in _____ and then in school and I believe that between the two I have created a kind of crucible for change that I do not believe many have the capacity to manifest. I plan on carrying forth this deep identity and passion, my voice, my person, my experience, forward in my studies to help others embody their own power and story, and also to create new narratives, while not letting the old stories die, but rather to have them inform the new. I do not wish to stare at my past, but rather to acknowledge where I have come from—extreme poverty, neglect, violence, abuse, racism, classism, and sexism, and show how those defects, thrust upon me by others to create the worlds they needed to move through, are in actuality, assets by which I have grown, and grown through.

I have a roster of multi-cultural clients at my practicum (soon to be internship!), some full; some half, some mixed ethnicities, all with their own traumas around diversity. I am so situated to hold those stories and help reframe them in meaningful strength based ways. I believe that the continued furthering of my education will only help me to continue as a strong voice in my community, in recovery, in San Francisco, in California, and yes, I do believe, that it does ripple out, one person to the next, throughout the world, landing where it is most needed and welcomed. That is what I believe.

 

Ta da.

Hopefully that works.

And though, it’s not the essay I was planning on writing, it was what came out and I am happy with it.

And now.

I am happy to wrap this up.

I have done enough work for today.

Supervision, before work, work with a screaming baby (poor little guy has a UTI!), two clients, and all the work on the application.

I am done.

I am good.

I am so happy it’s all in.

And.

I go the interview!

Yes.

Who’s Life Is This?

May 13, 2017

I said to my friend as I sat on the deck of the houseboat we’re sharing on the Seine, eating my salad in the sun slanting golden through the clouds over Le Grand Palais.

My friend pithily replied, “it’s yours.”

Oh shit.

It is.

I felt my heart swell up with gratitude and tears well in my eyes.

The tears they always well easy, but sitting on top of a houseboat in the middle of the Seine, located at Place de la Concorde/Champs Elysees, I felt blown up with joy.

This is my life.

And I’m on a houseboat in Paris.

It’s a pretty fucking amazing life, this.

I say it all the time, luckiest girl in the world, but it really feels that way, I can also see challenging things as lucky too, I have perspective, part of the reason why it felt so shocking to me is how I left when I moved away from Paris.

Broke.

Or.

How I left it last Christmas.

Heartbroken.

To just be sitting on the top deck, under an awning, waving at the Bateaux Mouche going by with their decks heavy with tourists, eating my dinner, in Paris.

In Paris.

It astounds.

I am grateful to be here, ready to be settled in one spot for a while.

It’s felt like non-stop moving at certain points and I’m happy to be moored for the rest of my time here.

I got up super early this morning.

Which was not my intention.

NOT AT ALL.

But.

I woke up at 4 a.m. wide awake.

And as much as I tried I couldn’t go back to sleep.

I rolled around, drifting in and out of thoughts, half dreams, revery, but never sunk back into sleep.

So.

I got up at 5:30a.m. and took a super hot shower, god I love hotels for super hot showers, plus huge over head rainfall shower heads, and let the water wash away the travel and the weary and washed out my hair.

Oh my God.

People.

My hair.

It’s huge.

The humidity isn’t bad, but it’s greater than what I am used to in San Francisco.

I have a lot of hair.

But right now.

It feels like.

I have.

A LOT.

It’s pretty huge.

It, my hair, has led to some interesting conversations, mostly with men, actually, all with men.

I got propositioned this morning as I left the hotel to take a morning stroll around Pere LaChaise Cemetery.

I mean.

I was basically offered cunnilingus for breakfast.

I was like.

Wow.

Paris.

It’s 7 a.m.

I’m going to wait though, and grab a cafe creme before entertaining that thought.

Yeesh.

I also was told by a way too friendly taxi cab drive that I had an amazing smile.

Thanks.

Now stop looking at me in the rearview window and drive, you’re making me nervous.

I’m pretty friendly and gregarious and sometimes I forget that doesn’t always translate here.

Smile?

Sure.

You must be a hooker and want to blow me in my cab and pay an extra fare.

Douche bag.

I also forgot, and it took me longer than it has in the past to pick up on it, I don’t think about it at all living in San Francissco, that I have tattoos.

And.

It’s warmer than the last two times I was in Pairs, I was here over two different winters I was not showing any skin.

And though I am not showing a lot, one can see that I am sporting more tattoos than the average bear.

As I was standing in the lobby to check out of my super hip boutique hotel the woman at the front was telling the other clerk that his tattoos were too big and that she couldn’t get anymore if she ever wanted to have a job outside of working at Mama Shelter.

I wanted to intervene, in French, and say something, but I played restraint of pen and tongue, nobody asked for my fucking opinion.

But.

Folks here definitely have some ideas about what tattoos mean.

Whore.

Anyway.

Like I care.

Like I give a fat god damn.

I am sitting on a houseboat in the Seine writing my blog.

This life, my life, is so fucking amazing and you know, I’ll probably go get another tattoo while I’m here, because, well, that’s what I do.

Heh.

I get to do whatever I want, well, as long as I accept the consequences.

So, I smile, and I’m joyful and if that means I get some over reaching flirting once in a while I can deal or stares or comments.

It isn’t any of my business what people think of me.

Shit.

It’s none of my business what I think of me.

I don’t always think well of myself, so I try not to think too much of myself.

Just enough.

Just barely enough.

But.

The truth is, I am more than enough and I deserve to be here and I work really motherfucking hard.

I’m happy to be on a boat in the Seine rocking on the waves of the boats rolling by.

It’s an experience I quietly dreamed about my first time walking the Seine by myself in Paris in 2007.

Seeing all the houseboats, dreaming about owning one or renting one.

When the cab dropped me off I had gotten there early and I knew which one it was by the photos from the reservation, but no one was around, just the tabby cat sunning itself on the deck.

I stood for a while, then the cat got curious, as they do, and came over and gave me the once over and deigned to let me stroke him and then I just said, fuck it, and hopped on the boat.

Standing with a goofy too big smile on my face in the brilliant afternoon sun over Paris.

On a boat.

I’m just going to keep going with this.

It will fade off I am sure.

But for right now.

Well.

Basking.

Just glowing with it.

All the things.

For.

The luckiest girl in the world.

Me.

Financial Aid

April 26, 2017

Fucking hates me.

But.

I don’t care.

I have gotten a lot more assertive in asking for help from the financial aid office at school, especially since I have had to jump through hoops that I didn’t even know were there to get what I need to get.

After innumerable e-mails I think I am almost there.

Of course there was one thing on the application that made no sense to me, not an iota and I probably filled the damn form out wrong and they won’t give me the money.

GIVE ME THE MONEY.

I need it for therapy.

That sounds a little desperate, I know.

What could be so bad that the lady has to have, HAS TO HAVE, being the operative word, therapy?

Oh, you know, sexual abuse trauma, incest, neglect, physical abuse, history of alcohol and drug abuse, poverty, racism, eating disorder.

Nothing at all that indicates needing therapy.

Ha.

I am being a little flippant.

I have addressed a lot of these issues and I have done an extraordinary amount of work on them over the years and I have done therapy before, but.

My school program requires it as a part of my degree.

And really, it does make fantastic sense, I need to have my shit taken care of so I can show up and help others take care of their shit.

It’s the classic put your oxygen mask on before helping others on the plummeting airplane.

And.

And.

AND.

I found out from my therapist today that my hours with her do actually count towards my 3,000 hours that I need to accrue to get my MFT license.

It’s going to change though, the BBS (Behavioral Board of Sciences) is going to phase that out.

By 2021 you won’t be able to count personal therapy hours toward your 3,000.

And the thing is, I want those hours to count very much, because as it turns out each hour or personal therapy is counted as three.

THREE HOURS.

Holy shit.

So.

It turns out that tonight I went into my Track My Hours app and I made sure that I was using the Pre 2021 dashboard  and I entered in my hours as my therapist suggested I do and voila!

15 more hours.

I have had, after today, five sessions with her.

Multiply that by three and I now have 16 hours.

There is was in black and white.

Valid hours: 16.

Total hours to accrue: 2,984.

Fuck yeah.

I will take that.

This is going to be huge and such a help to be able to acquire the hours.

My therapist went through the same program that I am doing and we talked a lot about the process and I was so freaking grateful to be seen and have my experience validated, especially in regards to the financial aid stuff and when she said, oh yeah, these hours count, you’ll have your 3,000 by 2021, you’ll be able to use your personal therapy and all you need is for me to sign a piece of paper with my MFT license on it.

Such a huge gift to find this out.

And.

She also suggested that I actually do talk to my offsite supervisor about my work as a nanny, considering how much time I have spent in the heart of so many families, that I actually may be able to get some of my child and family hours covered.

I would never have thought of it, I had a teacher who told me she thought nannies should get hours accredited to them, considering how nannies tend to be involved in a lot of family dynamics and bear witness to children and how they grow and learn, that it would make sense to grant nannies some hours.

I mean.

Fuck.

I’m going to at least check it out with my supervisor.

It’s probably unlikely, but hey, I do have over a decade of work with children and families, that kind of work experience should count for something.

And it does.

My therapist validated that today too, that I have been doing this work for a very long time, that I have, in essence been learning how to be a therapist for years.

She’s right.

It’s nice to let someone be right.

It was nice to be seen too, we have a good connection and I am so grateful for the sessions.

I already can tell that things are working themselves out and it’s an unexpected and lovely support of my experience with school and the anxiety that comes up for me when I am dealing with all things school.

I feel a lot more open with what’s happening and so grateful that I am doing the internship this summer, especially now that I know if I can all my hours by the end of 2020 I can count my therapy hours too.

Such a gift.

Just have to repeat that since I want to pinch myself and gleefully clap my hands.

Who knew?

Therapy doesn’t have to be a vale of tears.

Although.

It is also that.

A vale of tears.

I was sharing about a very sweet interaction I had with a previous charge and a gift that he had given me, a painting of my house, where I live, and this beautiful watercolor of a rainbow, “Carmen!  This is where you live!”

In a house under a rainbow, full of color and light and love.

“You had a lot of emotion come up for you when you shared that,” she said.

Understatement, pass the kleenex box please.

“Can you tell me about that?” She asked.

He saw me, this little boy saw me, and I represented love and color and joy to him, that my home, where I live is in a house full of rainbows, and if you have seen my home, well, there might be some truth to that.

What she said next I’m not sure that I could express how it landed, nor exactly what she said, but I can tell you how it felt, it felt like love, that the love in me was being reciprocated by the love in that little boy, that he saw me for who I am and he shared with me what that love looked like for him.

That we saw each other’s essence and what a gift for me to give that to him.

I had never looked at it like that and it felt.

Well it felt.

True.

It was a really lovely way to wrap up the session and I left having felt something big shift.

I don’t have to analyze it or reason it out.

I can just feel that I was seen, I was, and that I am a big fucking rainbow of love.

I’ll take it.

Thanks therapy.

I’ll take the hours too.

Only 2,984 to go.

No big deal.

Heh.


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