Posts Tagged ‘boundaries’

Turn It Around

August 9, 2017

It took almost all day.

But.

My day was completely and totally turned around.

I didn’t have a bad day per se, just a tender and emotional one.

It started off with a phone call that I took this morning, one I almost let ring through to voicemail, but a soft little voice said pick up the phone and check in, get accountable.

Get recovery.

Do it.

So.

Of course, I picked up.

And I hashed out somethings that have been on my mind and in my heart and I got some really good suggestions about those things.

I also was read a mild riot act about not taking on more in my schedule.

Last Friday I said yes to working with a woman who deeply touched me with what she was going through and it resonated so much with me that I said I could work with her.

And.

Of course.

That is in direct opposition to what I had been told to do, no more working with others.

I have two women I work with and I have two people who work me and I have two commitments twice a week that get me involved and maintained in my recovery.

The rest is work and internship and so very soon.

School.

It was foolhardy to take her on, so after a mild dressing down I agreed completely and immediately felt some relief.

The rest of the check in had to do with setting boundaries, and dealing with my anxiety around school.

Which.

Oh therapeutic irony, as soon as I had decided to set that boundary I started to feel less anxious around school.

I got off the phone having already had a good cry and it wasn’t even 9 a.m.

I washed my breakfast dishes, brushed my teeth, put on some makeup and hopped on my scooter, heading over to Noe Valley in a thick, cold fog.

A fog that never lifted, not all day, not in the Mission, not in Glen Park, nowhere, it was cold, foggy, dreary, all day long.

I got to Noe, my helmet awash in moisture, I might as well have been riding in rain, and made the phone call to the woman I said I would work with.

I explained why I couldn’t, I apologized, and I wished her the very best and if she needed support she could reach out.

Then.

Phew.

I felt a lot better.

One more little bit of time for me.

One less thing to schedule.

Ha.

In fact, I just toggled over to my calendar and took her off.

That felt good as well.

And.

Therapy was great, I missed my therapist last week, she was out-of-town on vacation and it felt really good to see her and get into the work.

Of course.

It takes a minute to get there, but I leapt in with the anxiety, the recognition of how it relates to school.

And how it relates to my relationship with my mother and my desire to be above and beyond, to be perfect, to excel, and the level of pressure and stress I put on myself to be the good school girl and what will happen if I don’t and the annihilation of all things good should I not perform.

There are reasons for this, and I’ll let you read between the lines.

I have written about them before, I don’t need to rehash it all right now.

Suffice to say.

I got a lot of crying in today.

It was a relief too, let me be clear, to finally connect a few dots and to see where things were messy and still needed untangling.

And where I needed to set boundaries in my life and what those looked like and how to walk through the school anxiety, and it was just really good to hash it all out.

I had a fantastic session.

Granted I had to go to work right thereafter, so there was a bit of tenderness and sensitivity in my body all day long.

But no.

Wait for it.

No.

Anxiety.

Hallelujah.

Well.

Almost none.

I got tossed a client at the last-minute, a consult add-on and I teared up, I had thought I was going to get away with only seeing one client tonight and then zipping over to school, dropping off my paperwork and getting home “early.”

Nope.

I didn’t burst into tears.

I just sort of melted into them.

Then.

I had a little chat with myself, you normally see two clients on Tuesday, this is just how it is, you’re going to be ok.

I also called the practicum office and found out that I can drop my paperwork after hours to the head of the office and she gave me a very specific spot to put the paperwork and I can go do that tomorrow.

I’m fine.

Everything is fine.

And.

Holy Toledo!

My sessions!

My clients!

Wow.

Two whole fucking hours of actively listening to someone else, not a thought in my head of my own crap, just showing up in the room, in the field, being there, being empathetic, being of service.

Mind blowing.

I left my internship walking on air.

Or fog as the case may be.

But really.

Lifted, elevated, and completely turned around.

Ah.

Therapy you devilish thing.

So good to know you.

Grateful that my day ended on such a high note.

Relieved really.

And having some nice clarity around what I need for myself and how to get it.

That helps too.

Getting through the week.

And grateful so grateful that I am on the path I am on.

I feel graced with so many gifts, its astounding when I stop and enumerated them.

My life is full of this grace and joy and beauty.

Strength and resilience.

Hope.

And.

The most amazing.

Bountiful.

Infinite.

And

Ever expanding.

Love.

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Bengal

October 26, 2016

Spice Girl.

He called me.

That is hella cute.

Especially as I am sitting here writing my blog with a cup of the aforementioned tea.

After a brief and totally pointless 24 hours, well, I suppose it’s not pointless as I have learned again what I had already known.

Tinder sucks.

The best thing about Tinder was matching with a lover I had already matched with and chatting.

Funny meeting you here.

You’re a hotty!

It was cute.

We chatted a little, discussed possible Halloween plans and that was that.

The rest of it was a fucking joke.

I had forgotten how many, oh so many, “nopes” there are.

I can’t do the swipe left, swipe right thing.

I tried.

I kept doing it backward.

Fucking dyslexia.

So.

I would just hit the “nope” button.

I hit it a lot.

And then the ones that I did say yes too pretty much sussed themselves out as useless as well.

Ah well.

I tried.

And then I just gave it to God.

This shit does not work.

I was off the app this morning, deleting it for the fifth time.

I think that won’t be happening again.

I did have a moment though, when I realized, I did meet a couple of decent guys on the app, one of whom I had a nice little tea date with prior to going to Burning Man.

Between his schedule and my schedule we just never seemed to reconnect.

I still had his number in my phone, I sent out a little questioning text.

And what do you know.

He’d been thinking about me.

Kismet.

We chatted a little, I made a suggestion for going out for a cup of tea and though he wasn’t available the time I mentioned, he did seem quite eager for a rain check.

He’ll be getting back to me when he gets back into town.

And until then.

I do it the old-fashioned way.

I ask them out in person.

I flirt.

I connect face to face.

It’s harder.

Oh how easy it is to get lost in the fantasy of connection that happens online, but that’s just what it is, fantasy.

Safe.

Reliable.

And oh so very, very, isolating.

I want to be of the world.

I want to be in reality land, even if it takes more effort.

In the end, the results will be worth it, I do believe.

I realized today too that I was going to give my number to a guy at Lucca Ravioli, he’s adorable and though I don’t see it going anywhere, it would be just a little tiny bit thrilling to flirt.

Besides.

I’m only in my current job until December and I can handle it if it goes south, I won’t be going to Lucca once or twice a week for the family.

I won’t be going to Lucca at all.

I almost did it today.

The shop was busy, however, and the boys were with me and I smiled and that was enough.

I got a “thank you beautiful,” from Juan though as I was paying for the cold cuts I had gotten for the family.

He always flirts.

But.

He’s sporting a wedding band.

Is it just easier to flirt with someone when you know they’re not available or you’re not available?

The safety net of the ring on the finger.

I did not, however, notice a ring on Adam’s finger and he’s always so flustered when he helps me out, over talkative and flirty, it’s very cute.

He’s a tiny bit younger than I normally go for, but whatever.

Take action.

Let go of the result.

I am not trying to figure it out.

Ha.

Just letting go and letting God.

I mean.

Serious.

I am on a runaway train toward the person I am supposed to be with.

Oh.

I’ve been derailed a little over the past few weeks, but I seem to be evening out and I’m super grateful for the experiences that I have had and now.

Well.

I feel primed.

And that’s exciting.

I’m not sure what’s going to happen.

That’s cool too.

I have plenty to keep me busy.

The never-ending stack of books that I need to be reading.

The papers I get to write.

The families I work for.

“Carmen, you’re going to be leaving us,” he said soft and sad and kissed my hand and leaned into me with all his sweet weight.

Oh goodness.

The goodbyes are already killing me with the boys I work for.

They have been very concerned about me, about where I’m going to live, even.

“Are you moving?” One of them asked me, I assured them that I was not.

Then.

I realized.

Well.

Yes.

At some point, I do want to move.

I live in a studio in-law with no windows.

Which technically is illegal.

But the back door is all glass and I get sunshine through that.

None the less, I do want more space and more light.

God more light would be fantastic.

Although I have tricked it out nicely and it’s cozy and warm and I do love it.

So.

I said, “well, eventually I will move, but just to a bigger place,” I assured him and ruffled his soft brown hair.

“I know!  You could move in with us!” He jumped up and down excited with the thought.

“You don’t have enough room sweetheart, where would I sleep?”

Not that I would actually ever, ever, ever, ever consider moving in with my employers, I like have my autonomy thank you very much.

“You could sleep in the Lego room!” His eyes got wide.

“Oh, honey, that is so sweet, thank you, but you want the space for your Legos and the new piano, well, I don’t think there’d be enough room,” I finished and gave him a huge hug.

“I’ll talk to mom and dad about it, you can stay in the Lego room, it’s perfect,” he concluded.

Oh my God.

And I have two more months of this.

I am grateful I have the time to wind it down with them and it is so nice to spend time with them, although I have to reset boundaries pretty consistently with them as I’m not as often in their lives, it’s worth it.

The love I get is so worth it.

It’s been a good week.

And it’s only Tuesday.

Can’t wait to see what happens next.

It’s going to be off the hook.

Just wait and see.

 

On Track

August 25, 2016

I’m super stoked right now.

I just finished reading the last bit of my assigned reading for one of my classes.

It’s so nice to have it done, to have understood and digested a lot of it too.

Oh.

I’m sure I will have “forgotten” most of it by the time class rolls around, but there is a lot more going on in my brain than my mind wants me to acknowledge.

Also.

Fuck.

I am so lucky.

How I made it to where I am considering the trauma I underwent from pre-birth on, it’s a fucking miracle.  Just reading about it in my texts books sometimes overwhelms me, but I feel lucky, graced, blessed.

I mean.

I have always secretly believed I was something special, shh, don’t tell, that there was just something intrinsically different in me, yeah, yeah, terminal uniqueness is also a quality that can separate me out and make me unhappy, but I’m talking about more than that, something different.

If life were fair I would be dead.

Hell.

I wouldn’t have been born, I shouldn’t have considering how sick my mom was, how traumatic things were for her when I was born and then the innumerable things that happened as I grew up and I mean, can you just say resilient?

I am so resilient.

So even though I can get through the big things, sometimes the little things, job conflict, will throw me for such a loop I can’t get the hell out of the way to gain any kind of perspective on it.

I mean.

I did have fear and it was not a fun time yesterday after I set my boundary with my boss, but I had to set the boundary and though the response was not what I would have preferred, it wasn’t as bad as all that in the scheme of things I have undergone and gone through.

But my brain blows shit up.

I also am acutely aware of my part.

I people please, I am a perfectionist, I can be over accommodating of the needs of the people for whom I work.

Boundaries were crossed early on in my job and I didn’t address them when they happened.

The past, can’t change it, but I can move forward and not keep doing the same things.

I have been well aware of that too, that I can’t go back and beat myself up for not doing it better, no should’s please, I did what I could in the each situation and have been given time to assess how it works or doesn’t work for me.

I adopted a here and now sort of attitude towards the whole thing.

What can I do right now, right here, to take care of myself?

Pretty fucking basic.

And so, I got a break today, appropriately timed and well delineated and fuck, I got school reading done and I got to rest, not really as I was digesting really big psychology theory, but I got to be out of the way in my space in the house, quiet with a cup of tea and a book.

I returned happy to work and there were no other altercations, issues, or weirdness.

Ok.

That’s not true, I still felt a little on pins and needles, but that again, is my feeling and asserting a need, even though it be a small need, for me, is a very big deal.

I remember well a father of one of my charges told me years ago, seriously, six, years ago, “Carmen, your problem is you can’t ask for what you need, you have to speak up.”

He wasn’t saying it to be mean, he was saying it because he wanted me to ask for what I needed, that he knew that I was not capable of doing it and that it was ok and not just ok, but allowed.

Encouraged even.

It blew me away then, and I don’t think it actually sank in for some time, I was allowed to ask for what I need.

What a gift he gave me, you are allowed to ask for what you need!

Now the difference is, with time and perspective, also knowing that though I ask and it may not be met and in that doing I get to make sure I don’t harbor resentment.

I fail to ask many times because I anticipate not getting the need met, so why bother, and then the resentments flourish and I’m stuck in the bathroom sitting on the toilet “peeing.”

I’m really praying and asking for help and clarity and what is the next action to take.

Lucky for me I have faith and I don’t have to explain that either.

And friends.

Fuck me.

I am so lucky to have the friends I have.

The amount of support I have gotten from my friends is unbelievable to this person who for so very long felt rather alone and not able to cope or ask for help.

I wasn’t allowed to ask for help.

I don’t know when that got hammered into my head, but man, it was from a very young age.

Now I’m like, help, help, help, all the time.

Well.

Perhaps not quite like that, although there are times when I am incapable of asking for help, they have gotten fewer and farther between.

And as I feel this softening in me, this loosening up, this growing, I am more and more and more grateful for these experiences I have.

I can help so many people just be showing up and saying, hey, I went through that too and here’s how you survive, here’s how you are not a victim, here’s how you in fact, are allowed to prosper, to thrive.

Thrive.

That’s what I want.

Therein lies the striving and the living and the having fun and oh!  The fun countdown is on.

Two more days of work, then I am out, out, out.

Out to the dusty dust and the art and the big, wide open skies, and floating across the playa on my bicycle and smiling from ear to ear and wearing big pouffy crinolines and ridiculous amounts of flash and bang in my hair.

Out where my heart sings 24 hours a day and my friends are all around and though there is a lot of work, it really is so much fun.

“Funishment” a friend coined it last year.

Yup.

And god damn, I am ready for it.

So ready.

I really am.

Bring it on!

Bring on the funishment!

This lady needs some.

Yes.

And.

Yes, please.

The Internet Connection is No Bueno

August 24, 2016

Seriously.

I’m going to have to take this blog somewhere else, I get such awful reception in the room I’m staying in, I started it in a Word doc but have transferred it over to my WordPress platform which keeps going in and out.

Story of my life.

Half the time that I am at home the internet will drop or I can’t get online or I’m standing on one foot doing the electric boogaloo trying to pick up the signal so I can post my blog.

I could go elsewhere in the house, I suppose that may be the answer at this time.

I don’t want to though, I’m all cozy in my room and I need a bit of a break from the day and the family and the stuff and things.

I know very well why I am not the woman who would ever accept an in house nanny gig, meaning a live-in.

It’s just way too hard to assert boundaries when there’s no physical space, and fuck, I have a super hard time asserting boundaries anyhow.

I tried a bit today and it didn’t go well.

Which was sort of the expectation I had all along when I have thought about what I need to ask for in my job for me to do a good job.

I actually don’t want to talk about it right now since it feels very unresolved and very not able to address it in the moment and I feel pretty stressed about it.

Stress and anxiety never really serve me and as I sit in my room in this big house out in the Sonoma country side I put into my mind all the love and support I have from my friends and know that whatever happens, I’m going to be fine.

I just don’t have much practice with conflict resolution in my work life or in my life in general.

I can’t stand conflict, let me be up front.

Conflict in my life was not typically met well.

I joked with a friend tonight that I was terrified to have conflict because I realize that I think I’m going to be beaten if I bring up an issue that I have needs around.

And.

Yes.

This is a dramatic reenactment of my childhood shit that still lingers when I least want it to.

I also know that a lot of this can be circumnavigated the more I communicate what I need.

I also know that sometimes people don’t want to hear that you have needs or aren’t interested in helping you meet them.

And that’s ok too.

This is all my stuff.

My stuff I get to work on and if it doesn’t work out, hey, there are other jobs in the sea, I’m good at what I do, I am smart, capable, loving, kind, compassionate and accommodating.

Too accommodating for my own good, as the case may be.

I’ll leave it at that.

Which yes is vague blogging, but I really don’t feel comfortable airing it out here until I know what is going to happen next for me.

As there is still conversation that needs to happen.

Anyway.

One nice thing about asking for what I need is saying what I have to have in regards to hours for the fall and being met with an affirmative yes, that is doable.

Basically what I did last year, work 35 hours a week on weeks I’m not in school and weeks when I am, 28 hours a week.

It’s enough to get by and cover my costs if I am frugal.

I also found out that I am going to have a slightly different Friday than I was expecting.

I thought I would be here in Glen Ellen with the family, but mom asked me to go back to the city early, after work on Thursday and help out by being at the house on Friday while they are still here in Glen Ellen and cooking for them so that they are set up when they get back from the summer vacation and have things ready for the boys for the first week of school.

I can totally do that!

It helps me out as much as them.

I’ll be able to return the rental car early, Thursday night, rather than trying to helter skelter it back on Friday and then get back to my house to leave with my ride share to the event.

I’ll also be done with work and in the city by 6p.m. versus leaving Glen Ellen at 6p.m. and then having to drive back with Friday traffic.

This means home by 6:30 p.m. and ready to go by 7p.m.

I e-mailed my ride and let him know that I would be ready an hour and a half earlier than I thought.

There is also a very good possibility that I will be done sooner than 6p.m., but I am going to play it safe and not promise that I will be available sooner than that.

I did indicate there was reason to believe I may be done sooner, but it all depends on how much cooking I get done and how fast the InstaCart delivery gets to the house.

If it follows like it did the last time I cooked for the family when they wanted a big supply of dinners in the freezer from me when I went to my school retreat, I’ll be done by 5p.m.

That would be the most optimal.

I would love to come home and leisurely get my organized stuff out to the front of the house and change into something appropriate for a long drive and maybe shot gun a coffee or thirteen.

I mean we will be driving all night.

But that is fine with me.

I am so eager to go.

Just have to make it through the next two days without imploding.

I know that ultimately for me this is a great growth opportunity and that there is no malicious intent on either side, and it’s also just a job.

It may be challenging to get what I need or to ask for it, but if this isn’t the right place for me to keep growing and being of service, there are other places.

And I’m grateful, I’m grateful for the conflict, I’ll probably change my mind about that tomorrow when we talk, but I know that I’m growing and that this is change and change begets change and I deserve to grow.

And to know that conflict doesn’t mean annihilation.

It just means communication of uncomfortable things.

And I don’t need to be right.

But I do need to be happy.

And that means, communication.

I just need to say what works for me.

Even if it’s not heard they way I want it to be heard, or it’s misconstrued.

I know I will be better off for having voiced it.

Here’s to having a voice.

Here’s to change.

Even when it sucks.

Especially then.

Since that typically is the time when I grow the most, benefit the most, and find even greater reserves of love in my life.

Love.

Love.

It’s all about the love.

Always has been

Always will be.

Love.

Hello Again

August 15, 2016

My friend.

I have missed you.

I have missed my bed.

I have missed the smell of my home.

I have missed the fog.

Not really, but it certainly felt like I was being lovingly, if in a rather chilly, cold, wet way, embraced with wide open arms.

My heart blew open a little wider as I saw the Golden Gate Bridge after coming out the other side of the Robin Williams tunnel.

Which I had not been through since it had been re-named and it gave me a pang of sorrow still at the loss of the man to this community, here in the Bay and all over the world, I suppose, but especially here.

Then the sweep and the swoop of the Industrial Orange painted bridge and the wallops of fog blowing in.

I reached into my bag and pulled out my cardigan and glad was I that I had remembered to put it in with my bag before leaving the school retreat in Petaluma.

Which, fyi, is not a retreat.

I got a chuckle from a message I received while I was crossing over the bridge in regards to how was my weekend of getting seaweed wraps and mud baths.

Ha.

I repeat.

It’s not a fucking retreat people.

My friend who gave me a ride back from the “retreat” said, “I just tell people it’s an intensive,” he added, “retreat means spa time to every one.”

And granted.

This year was certainly easier than last year.

For a number of reasons.

Amongst which, probably the top was that I know my cohort and I’m close to them and I have some really awesome and amazing friends, two of whom I got to bunk with for the eight days and it was so nice, really, awesome, to get to spend the week with them.

To check in, to chat, to snuggle, to walk hand in hand with my girls.

It was fucking fabulous.

It was also really nice to get re-connected to a lot of the cohort and also to make new friends, strengthen bonds and deepen friendships that have begun to bloom.

I had some intense, amazing, awe inspiring, very eye opening experiences and I have now a stronger sense of what I want and what I need from the program and also for myself in general, from life, from my heart, and I feel an easiness and grace that I did not have quite so much before going into the retreat.

Er.

Intensive.

I mean.

Really.

9:15a.m. to 9:15p.m. every day.

Except today, we got out early at 4:15p.m.

Yes.

Of course I had breaks for meals and tea and wanders, short, but sweet through the garden and a couple of times in the hot tub.

Yeah.

There’s a great big hot tub there, I think the most crowded I saw it was about twenty people.

The effort for me, though, felt like a lot to get in and out and shower and dress and undress and sometimes, most times, I just skipped it.

But.

I did socialize more, I hung out more, I connected more with the cohort and I feel stronger for it, more supported.

I had some work stuff come up and I got to work through it and do some stuff for myself that I’m not sure I could have done on my own.

Sometimes I just need a friend to help me write an e-mail, or tell me it is not just ok, but really important to ask for what I need.

There will be some conversations with my bosses tomorrow.

It’s been a strain and I’m not really through it yet and honest to God, I’m too tired to think about it or do anything about it right now, but it basically comes down to proper compensation for the accommodations I am doing for the family.

In a nutshell, renting the car for the trip was a bit of a shit show despite the help I got in regards to getting the car rented.

It all worked out and I’ll be driving for the next two weeks an adorable light blue VW Beetle.

It is so stinking cute it’s sort of hard to even describe it.

The gentleman at the car rental place was so sweet with me and totally helped me out, I was having a bit of a melt down.  The original rental was through Enterprise, my boss had made the reservation.

But guess what?

They don’t take debit cards.

I was hyperventilating at the desk.

Tired.

I was so tired.

Gestalt’ed out from all the work at school and in class and all the processing, jesus fuck there’s a lot of fucking processing in this program.

Sometimes it took every bit of me to not shout, shut the fuck up!

Enough fucking processing people.

But.

I didn’t and I learned to soften and ease up and let go and work, I mean really work, on judgements and projections and all sorts of super psychological stuff.

Stuff.

Yeah.

Real technical I am.

I also laughed my ass off, slight aside, when I got home to find the book for the class that I was taking all this past week had finally showed up.

A day late, and a dollar short, as they say.

But I’ll be taking it to Glen Ellen in my spiffy little blue Bug, I still have to write a final paper for the class.  The other class I took the final exam in yesterday, Ethics, and I got 100%.

Thank you, thank you very much.

Back at the car rental desk and trying to not cry, I might have put my head down on the desk, or maybe I just thought about it, I asked, what other companies there were at SFO and if I could rent from and have them cancel the car I was supposed to take to Glenn Ellen.

There was such a place!

I dashed down to flights of stairs, bombed through the queue and got the sweetest guy, who was so accommodating and helpful and dropped a huge amount of money on my debit card to rent the car.

It was obscene.

I don’t want to think about it.

And.

Then I thought about how I get to learn to value myself more and my time more and how lucky am I that even before I am a therapist, even before I go for my PhD, because, oh yes, that is happening, more on that later, I get to learn how to set boundaries, ask for what I want and practice conflict and repair.

I have to ask for my time to be compensated.

I have to set some boundaries and what ever happens, no matter how uncomfortable, I just need to go for it, because I can’t handle the the transgressions on my time and energy any more.

Oh.

And yes, I’m in the market for a new job.

I think that it’s time to return to babies and families that work out of the house.

I need some simplicity and a returning to the land of baby sounds really delightful.

Big, fat, delicious baby naps.

So I can read, and start preparing for my next steps in my academic career.

Like, um, the PhD track I’m going to be on.

Yes, yes indeed.

Dr. Martines.

Has a mighty nice ring to it, doesn’t it?

I like it anyway.

And I’m happy.

Oh so happy.

To get to do all the things.

REALLY.

All the things.

 

Stood Up

July 17, 2016

But not angry about it.

In fact.

I was rather relieved.

I sort of expected the guy to stand me up.

And since.

I had spent the previous half hour slowly sobbing into a puddle at Tart to Tart with my person and doing some inventory.

I was indeed relieved.

I was a hot mess.

Fact is, I still am.

Which happens, I forget, despite my exhortations to the universe to have a magical and amazing Saturday.

Instead it was just tender and raw, or it wasn’t, I was, I am.

I just have to change some stuff and I don’t feel comfortable with it.

Fear.

Fuck everything and run.

Or.

Face everything and recover.

I got some big prideful pants on right now and they are not serving me at all.

I have been having some issues with work, not being able to set a boundary, hoping that instead it will magically happen.

That somehow my employer will read my mind and know that I need a break.

But.

Nobody’s a fucking mind reader and people are too busy thinking about themselves, hey, look at me, I’m thinking about myself right now, and nobody knows what I need, except.

Well.

Fuck.

Me.

So.

I’m not getting the kind of break I need at work.

And I feel appalled to admit it, that I’m not some fucking super hero who can do it all.

I can’t.

I’ve been trying.

I know that I am owed a break and I don’t know how to ask for it or to express that I need a break from the whole family, not just the kids.

It’s something I keep going back to and feeling this horrid shame that I need something from my job other than the paycheck.

That to do my job well I have to get more of a break.

That being in the house with any kind of responsibility to it is not a break, it doesn’t matter that I have done it in the past, rolled along, taken my break when the kid is sleeping and sometimes the nap is long and it is lovely and sometimes the nap is short and hey, as a nanny I just roll with it.

But the family I work for, work’s from home and I feel like I have to be on at all times, that I am always being observed and it’s fucking exhausting.

And I keep saying.

Everything is fine, fine, fine.

But.

It’s not.

See, I know my job’s hard, and the people I work with, not my employers, but the people I do do the deal with, know it’s hard, a lot of friends and my school cohort know it’s a hard job. But the parents, they don’t see it that way.

Or maybe they do, I mean, I can’t read their mind either.

I just know that being in an environment in which the parents are always there is like being constantly supervised and scrutinized and I’m just not in a good spot with it at the moment.

I didn’t get out at all from the house this past week, except once to the farmer’s market with they boys, I didn’t go for a walk, I didn’t get to take them to the playground, I didn’t have respite or the relief that I find when I am out of the house and not under the eye of the parents or the monitors and camera’s.

I also know, acutely, that so much of this is also of my own making, that I need to speak up.

I have once.

It was really hard and the parents had a hard time hearing what I said and I got what I asked for, but it went away, slow and sure, and now I’m back at that point where I wonder if it’s just not time to go back to working with babies again.  Or have the conversation once again, I need a break, that I’m not getting enough structure to allow myself the flexibility to the job as well as I could be.

“There are so many jobs out there,” she said to me today, “so many.”

I have to do some more writing.

She suggested I write out exactly what I want and then just say it, regardless of consequence.

Fear says, oh conflict, oh confrontation, oh shit, you’ll lose your job and wind up being abandoned and alone and homeless in the park with a cat.

Fuck off.

I am so sick of that fear and I am so tired of doing this same fucking work.

So.

Change.

I have to change.

My employers don’t have to change.

I have to change.

I also have to lay off the beating myself up about it.

It doesn’t help.

I hate feeling tender and vulnerable and asking for what I need leads to those feelings.

I suspect because I had a lot of denial around my needs during times when I needed to have things met.

The basic things, shelter, food, clothes, love, nurturing, unconditional support.

I got what I got and it was good enough.

I am good enough and I don’t have to look to my job to be my joy or my identity.

I also get to practice in this relationship whatever it is that God needs me to be working on.

There is stuff here.

Obviously.

I’m in the job until I learn what I need to learn.

I am in the job until I fail to be of service to it.

Ironic that I can’t be of good service if I’m not taking care of myself, so the uncomfortable task of self-searching and being open for something new, whether it’s a new attitude and approach to this job or it’s looking for a job that will fit my needs better.

I need to know what my needs are.

I can surmise that the discomfort of not asking for a break is rapidly becoming harder to bear than the discomfort of not taking said break.

I am not a super hero.

I can’t be a super nanny.

I don’t want to burn out and I can’t be the best nanny if I’m nursing resentments.

All of them pretty much aimed at myself.

I’m a sitting duck.

I’m tired of shooting at myself.

I give up God.

Got some guidance?

I’ll take it.

Thanks man, I’m tired of learning this lesson.

I surrender.

Which.

In some circles is considered going over to the winning side.

I rather like the way that sounds.

The winning side is where it’s at.

Seriously.

 

Second Wind

December 13, 2015

And I have no idea where it came from.

Maybe the adrenalin of riding my scooter through the Mission and over the hills towards the Outer Sunset on a Saturday night.

Oh.

Yeah.

With the left over drunken idiots of what used to actually be a cool San Francisco treat.

Santa Con.

Look drunk hipster santa with drunk elf in fishnets, get the fuck out of the way, I just came from Psychoanalytic class and I am not interested in either your psycho-sexual dramas or your apparent desire to play out the Death Drive in jumping out into the street looking for your Uber, Lyft, taxi or other vehicle of conveyance.

Get ye the fuck back to the North Pole or wherever the fuck in the Marina you came from.

Please.

And.

Thank you.

It could be that I just had a second wind because I had to take the time to run to the grocery store, I slightly miscalculated my food for the week, no biggie, but without something to toss in my oatmeal in the morning, apple, etc, I was going to be a very sad lady.

So.

I dashed in and out of the SafeWay in the Castro, which was happily devoid of trashed Santa’s and drunk elves, although definitely equipped with a plethora of cranky trolls working the registers.

I got what I needed and jumped back on the scooter and actually made it inside my house by 9p.m.

I have no idea how the hell that happened.

I left class at 8p.m.

Happy to make such a quick trip and feeling adrenalin from the mad grocery dash and the defensive driving back home, I used it and threw in a load of laundry, packed my lunch for tomorrow, balanced my check book, opened and hung up a few Christmas cards and threw myself in the shower.

I am still jacked up.

I didn’t have any coffee past 10:30 a.m.

Although I could have used one and I thought about it.

Nope.

This is pure herbal tea and adrenalin.

I suppose I am just getting the end of the semester, almost there, keep pushing through, last day of classes is tomorrow, shot of energy.

I do hope that it wears off before I crawl into bed.

The last two nights I did not sleep well.

And I thought after Friday’s full day of classes and little sleep I would totally have gotten some.

But I was up.

I had a bit on my mind.

Blocking someone’s number out of my phone and the ramifications of how and when to set some boundaries really came up for me.

I didn’t really write about it last night as I was caught up in the spell of Christmas magic, but yeah, I have had some uncomfortable interactions with a person and through my own fault, I fully concede I let them step all over my boundaries, a situation that I could have rectified by choosing to not engage with the person, well.

It blew up.

Not, I suppose as bad as it could.

But for a minute there with the text messages coming in rapid fire and the tone and quantity of them.

I got a little spooked.

I have a history of having dealt with some trauma around a romantic relationship that turned sour and the man who I had dated and lived with for five years, after a rough break up, started to stalk me.

That continued for two years.

I will not say this person was stalking me.

I just felt that old fear come up.

And I realized that I was the person who invited it into my home.

I was mad at myself.

But then.

After the awareness.

Fast acceptance.

I don’t believe I have moved so fast from awareness of a defect of character to acceptance.

It rolled right through me.

I forgave myself and realized that I had failed to listen to my gut in regards to the person a long time ago and that listening to my gut is important.

I have been listening.

I hear rumblings, but don’t know what they are associated with and then I start to have feelings and those feelings I ignore.

So.

No more ignoring.

And then some action.

I did some inventory.

I erased the messages.

Actually I was busy erasing them as they came in.

I probably erased ten or twelve of them in rapid succession, then I realized I needed to call in the troops and I got on the phone and talked with someone, checked in, got my suggestions.

Got off the phone.

Deleted more messages that had come in during the conversation.

Then gave myself a big pause.

Took a big breath.

Prayed.

And organized my self.

Picked up my phone.

Scripted a very simple text.

Word for word what had been suggested to me.

Sent it out.

Blocked the contact in my phone.

I had already taken the person off my facecrack friends list earlier in the day.

Perhaps an early warning sign that something was on the horizon.

I will likely see this person next week.

We swim in the same waters, so to speak.

And I am ok with that.

I don’t believe there will be face to face confrontation, in fact, had the person called, I would have taken it, but the mass texting was too freaky and after one very pointed, passive aggressive, manipulative text, I had no inclination to speak with the person on the phone.

That option went right out the window.

I learned some powerful things and I acknowledged deep in myself that I knew this was coming.

Which may have been why I let it go as long as it did.

Not healthy.

Not for me, not for the other person.

However, I am not, will not, beat myself up for the experience.

In my own limited way, I was trying to be of service.

And the other person, well, I believe, too, was trying to do the best that could be done.

That’s what I believe.

That at the bottom of it all.

We are good people.

Communication sometimes goes astray.

And sometimes I need to have space from a person.

That is ok.

I get to be grateful for the time and the growth experience.

And I hope to rest well soon.

One more day of classes, and I found out my day will end a little early, 3:30p.m. instead of 4p.m., a nice gift for the last day of classes.

Almost there.

One final presentation project and two papers to go.

And.

Like that.

My first semester of graduate school.

I am utterly amazed.

And still unfortunately.

Wide awake.

Oh well.

So it goes.

At least I have a Christmas tree to keep me warm and bright.

And dreams of Paris soon to come.

Did you think I forgot?

Ha.

Self-Care, Self-Aware, Boundaries

July 20, 2015

I don’t have them always and typically I am wildly uncomfortable when I assert them.

But.

Assert them I do.

And then I find a kind of freedom that I never knew existed.

Having suddenly a person in my life with whom I am spending a lot of time with I am getting to explore what those things mean to me.

I have also realized that I can be flexible and have fun, that in the space where I get out of my routine is usually where God wants to show me something.

The comfort of a routine I cannot emphasize enough.

I know this stems from the unknowable and often unpredictable raising of me as a child.

There was no routine.

There was no normal.

“Normal,” my friend reminds me, “is a setting on a dryer.”

What is normal?

I don’t know, but I do know what sane thinking is and I have had a lot of that recently.

Also some insane thinking too, I will admit it.

The stuff with graduate school is really blowing me out, or I am letting myself be prey to the victimized idea that I can’t figure it out, that I can’t be perfect, so why even bother trying?

How about trying to have some humility?

Some patience and self-care and self-love?

How about that?

Perhaps that’s where I should start.

What makes me happy?

Oh.

Bill Withers.

Let’s listen to some Lovely Day, that will help.

Let me cook some nice breakfast and have a cup of coffee.

Let me write some in my notebook.

“Get the recovery for yourself that you wish she had,” I told her this afternoon as she rumpled through her hair.  I resisted trying to settled the frantic birds that were her hands from tearing and twisting her hair.

“I don’t get it,” she said, “it just doesn’t make sense.”

Nope.

It doesn’t.

Not when I often forget to use the oxygen mask myself before I go to help another.

My thinking can go to zero to crazily obsessed with certain people, places, or things, and then I’m living in the world of “could, should, or would,” reacting or not reacting, or rather reacting as opposed to acting, trying to figure out what is right or wrong, good or bad.

I put my judgements on the situation or person or thing.

Financial aid you stump me.

Syllabus you stump me.

I surrender.

I give up.

Excuse me.

I need to go make a cup of tea.

I don’t need to browbeat myself because I don’t know.

I can ask for help.

So I took the phone number down of the financial aid office and also the business office of the school and prepared what questions I need to ask.

Then I looked up the program co-ordinator and sent her a e-mail asking what would be the most efficient way of gathering my books and reading materials, that I felt flummoxed by the process.

Did she have any suggestions for me?

For instance I saw the reader for one of my classes listed on Amazon for $150.

Then I saw it listed elsewhere for way cheaper, but a different printing and a different adjunct editor.

So which one do I buy?

Or which addition?

And see.

Like that.

There I go obsessing about it.

So Stop.

Stop it now.

I just wrote all that down and put it in my God box.

I don’t have to figure it out now.

I don’t have to figure it out at all.

There are people whose specific job is to advise new student.

Just because I have a BA in English Literature does not mean I know how to proceed forward with what it takes to be a Psychology Masters student.

I’m not supposed to know.

If I knew what I was doing I wouldn’t need to go to school.

My friend saw me getting ramped up and said, “you need a hug.”

Yup.

I do.

I need a lot of hugs.

I am good at giving them out, but not always good at asking for them.

It’s taken me a long time, a lot of work, and continuous practice to ask for what I need and there are still plenty of times when I go tharn and just can’t do it.

I get into that mode of self-sufficiency as I am so scared to rely on anyone that I must figure it all out and have it all ready before you even have entered the room to help me that I won’t have to have your help.

Asking for help is not shameful.

Note to self.

I get to treat myself like the three-year old I take care of.

I was sitting in a room, a warm room, did you feel how warm it was today in San Francisco, even now, my back door on the in-law is open and I am in a sundress and bare feet and my cup of tea is almost too hot to drink, almost.

And I was meditating.

The sun was slanting through the windows and the breeze was warm and the twilight hours in summer, my favorite light, and I could feel myself basking in it.

Light is God.

A hot shower is God.

Love is God.

The ocean is God.

Having been filled with the light I can always turn towards the source and get more.

I saw this when I was deep into it, without thought or warning, I heard a man’s voice, deep, Southern, thick with Texan drawl say in my heart, “take your little girls hand and let her know you’re taking care of her, and she will be alright.  I don’t care if you think that’s silly or stupid, do it anyway.”

I reached out to her.

She was sitting on the kitchen floor of my grandmother’s kitchen in a yellow sundress with white polka dots, I reached out to her from my heart in my pale blue dress with its froth of crinoline underneath it and took her hand, then I turned and I reached out toward the light and took the hand offered there.

I am taken care of.

I am loved.

And tonight I will tuck in that little girl and smooth back the hair from her forehead and let her know she is loved and taken care of.

I’ll be alright.

Because I already am.

Feelings

April 30, 2015

They are just not facts, man.

But when I am in them, they will encompass my entire world view and said world view gets exceptionally small, ego-centric, and uncomfortable.

I saw it happening today at work and I stepped outside myself, took a minute, went to the bathroom, peed–it’s important to do that, take time to pee–sometimes I forget how my body functions as I will get caught up in my job.

“You make yourself indispensable,” she said, “but you have to set boundaries, because they are going to take until you have nothing left to give.”

My friend’s suggestions and thoughts and compassion as I was on the phone with her after work.

Frantic.

Over tired.

Exhausted.

And dwelling, not in the moment, oh no, that would be where there are no problems, that’s just too easy.

“You could take a sick day,” she suggested.

A mental health day.

I have not done that in years.

And I do have a legitimate mental health issue, in fact, more than one, but I am loath to do that.

However, she does have a point.

I do need to take some self-care.

I love my job.

But I can get exhausted.

And I reached that point today.

Not exactly because I was exhausted in the moment that the issue came up, but in dwelling on what the following day would look like and how I was going to manage it.

I can barely manage right now.

Let alone tomorrow.

I had to see that and I did and I let go, peed and prayed, you could say, and kept right on going with the day, which was a good day, a sunny day, a nice day, busy yes, work always is, but a sweet one with the boys.

Then it came back as I was leaving the mom mentioned tomorrow’s schedule and I got caught back up in the worrying about the tomorrow.

I am never good in tomorrow.

I awful in yesterday.

All I have is today.

I acknowledged to my friend that I had to set a boundary and I hate that, it means I am not super nanny and I have my limits and oh no.

“I remember, quite distinctly,” my friend said, not admonishing me, but showing me my own patterns, “this happening at Burning Man last year with your employer, you do too much, get exhausted, and break.”

Yup.

“Didn’t the mom tell you how important you are to the family and how they don’t want to burn you out?”  She injured further.

Yup.

The mom, did indeed say that.

So.

I have to come back with my piece and just let her know that I may not be at my highest performance at the end of the day for some of the schedule that she outlined with me.

In fact, it was so much to take in when it was brought up this morning I didn’t even register what she wanted.

I wasn’t able to process it.

It sort of went over my head and into the great blue yonder.

When she explained herself again I got it and I freaked out.

That’s so close to the end of my day and that’s a lot of extra work to add at the end of the day and oh, yeah, I leave early on Thursdays.

I come in early, not by a lot, it’s not the full extra hour of early I do on Monday’s, but a little early, so I may make a commitment at Church and Market by 6:30 p.m.

A commitment where I need to be and I can’t have food there.

The schedule the mom wants is to be out and about doing this and that during the time I am normally tucking the boys into their dinner.

And mine as well.

Despite having just eaten and being full, I was suddenly thrust into tomorrow where there’s not enough and I will have to wait until 8:30 p.m. to have dinner.

That’s not a big deal to some.

But I get angry when I miss a meal by that much time.

I have an eating disorder and though I allude to it here once in a while I haven’t really spoken about it to the parents.

It’s weird enough that they know I’m sober.

That’s been some interesting conversation.

They do know that I don’t eat sugar or flour for health reasons.

But I have not explained to them what those are.

I have left it in loose terms.

I have an allergy to sugar and flour and I get sick when I ingest them.

I don’t tell her that if I have some sugar I’m going to break out into a dozen donuts and two pints of ice-cream.

It’s not an allergy that a lot of people have.

I’m not special.

I just know what I have.

And what I have is a distinct desire to not be in the open family swim at UCSF Koret Center at 5:30 p.m. when I am typically eating dinner with the boys.

I am scared what I may say or do.

I am scared that I will be hungry and angry.

I know that I won’t be at my best.

And I don’t want to lose my job because I snap and have to shove food in my mouth.

I tried to work it out in my head, what can I make, bring to work, go grocery shopping for, do for myself that will allow me to deal.

And I just couldn’t figure it out.

Which exhausted me further.

So.

I came home.

Made some phone calls.

Cried.

Wrote an inventory.

Shared it.

Breathed.

Prayed.

And made a cup of tea.

A cuppa will fix me just about every time.

I sat and read a book.

I got quiet and stopped living in tomorrow.

I have no idea what is going to happen tomorrow.

But I can tell my employer that I am nervous about not performing at my best abilities at the end of the day.

That’s all.

I don’t have to explain.

I don’t have to rationalize.

I don’t have to manipulate through withholding my honest response.

I just have to communicate my needs.

Easy.

Hahahahaha.

Well.

Easier now than it used to be for me.

I have had some practice.

And with a little help from my friends.

I can do this too.

Thank God I am not alone.

No matter what my brain tells me.

I have a solution and I got to use it tonight.

And the feelings?

Well.

They too shall pass.

Especially after I get a good night sleep.

Sleep is such a cure-all.

And.

One more cup of tea before I retire.

I’ll worry about tomorrow.

Well.

Tomorrow.

The Cat’s Out of the Bag

November 24, 2014

Well.

Maybe not.

However, I suppose, after I write this blog it will be.

So, yeah, um.

Remember that post I wrote a little while back about getting my dating on?

Which one?

Oh lord, I know, there are a lot of them, I have been trying, mostly half-heartedly, if the truth be told, for years it would seem to be in the dating game.

A few small victories, mostly of the inner personal, reflective type scenarios, a lover, a few dates with men who I grew to appreciate their company or perhaps a night or two of their passion, but nothing really concrete or real for some time.

Then.

Inventory.

Writing.

More writing.

More surrender.

More asking and listening and taking action.

Then I started trying different things.

And I won’t say that it was easy.

None of this has been easy.

Except.

Well.

Except when it was.

When it fell right into place, when I couldn’t fuck it up or manipulate it into happening, when it was simple and direct and obvious.

It wasn’t, hey I really think you’re hot and I want to get with you, but I’m not really available, or hey, let’s have sex, and maybe I’ll think about dating you, we’ve been friends for a while, maybe this could work.

It wasn’t the surprise booty call or a manipulated I would like to hang out with you in an ambiguous way that might be or might not be a date because I am too afraid to say what I want.

It was clear.

Clear cut.

Obvious.

And there he was.

He’s been there all along.

Doing his own thing, leaving me be, but noticing and when the time was right, and it was right, it all just fell like packaged dominoes in a green leather case onto the table.

All chips down.

All in.

Yup.

That’s right folks.

I have a boyfriend.

Eek a mouse.

I just got tingles all over my body.

So, should you have been wondering, where the blog has been, well, now you know.

I was getting further acquainted with the new man in my life.

“You have to ask  yourself,” my friend said to me on the phone as I took the N-Judah up to Duboce Triangle (a messy commute on the weekends since the city has been working on the tunnel for the N-Judah between Cole Valley and Duboce park–nothing says good times like weekend tourists trying to question everyone on the bus as to why it’s not stopping), “what is your reason for blogging every day.”

I had called him to get some clarity.

The truth is that although I have missed the writing (I’m still writing morning pages, although I will admit, they too have been a bit short and spotty and not as many pages I would normally do, I have been, um, busy you know), I have found that I want to invest in the relationship and be spending time with this man.

Especially now, in the beginning, when everything is fresh and bedazzled and sparkly and glowing.

When music means extra special things and the air seems to kiss your face and what are you doing kissing a man in the aisle at Safeway?

I mean, who does PDA in Safeway?

I do apparently.

I don’t hang out at Safeway, but we were grabbing groceries and there you go, smitten kitten is going in for a little canoodle in front of the fabric softener sheets.

There are boundaries though.

I have spent some time ruminating, not thinking, not obsessing, just feeling out what my feelings are regarding this blog, what I do, what the purpose is, has the exercise in posting a day run its course, where do I go now, what do I write about, how does this relationship impact what I write and how I am here in this forum?

“Did you write your blog,” the boyfriend asked with a raised eyebrow the other night.

I made a snappy, sassy retort about where does the time go, but no, I had not written it.

I have been sacrificing it to the time monster to eke out whatever spare minute I can with my man.

I remember writing a blog about what the exercise of trying to have a date every week would lead me to–a sort of romantic/comedy B list movie starring Drew Barrymore in a holiday inspired romp–“A Boyfriend By Christmas.”

You know, the misadventures of being a woman of a certain age in a city, say, oh San Francisco, which already has a unique set of dating challenges, while she tries to find her man by the holidays.

Well, you could knock me over with a feather.

I really did not believe it would culminate this fast.

Forget boyfriend by Christmas.

Mama got boyfriend by Thanksgiving.

We’re spending it together.

Not sure what we’re doing yet, neither of us have family in town and Honey had to revoke his invitation to do an orphan Thanksgiving at his house as he was tapped to help St. Anthony’s Food Kitchen make and serve the holiday meal to the homeless downtown.

But we will be spending it together as we both have it off.

Ditto other holiday events and parties.

I’m going to his work holiday party as his date and ordered a ridiculously cute dress off ModCloth for it.

I can’t remember the last time I bought a holiday dress for a holiday work party.

There aren’t usually work holiday parties for nannies.

Anyway, I digress.

Boundaries, that’s where I was and here’s where I am at.

This is it for blogging about him.

No naming, details, height or weight or color of his eyes (such lovely eyes), no feelings to discuss, no conversations to report back on, no, nope, and not anyone else business.

Just mine.

Just his.

The cat may be out of the bag but I have no desire to talk about said cats stripes or polka dots or whiskers, this is all for me.

To enjoy and let it open and grow and happen.

And that’s all.

That’s it.

What the blog is going to be about is just further self-reflection and my misadventures there of.

I am sure I will find things to write about.

It just won’t be this certain man.

Who though, the cat’s pajamas, will remain boxed up in a compartment in my heart tucked away for only me to see.

Which is how it is supposed to be.

Quiet.

Sweet.

Personal.

Intimate.

Discrete.

Not always attributes I have in spades.

But principles to strive for and towards.

Hand and hand with my new man.

Trudging this road of happy destiny.

 

 


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