Posts Tagged ‘breathe’

What The Fuck

April 13, 2017

Are you doing to yourself, kid?

I literally had a Cher from Moonstruck, “SNAP OUT OF IT” moment this morning.

I got up with my alarm, grateful to see that the rain was clearing and that I would be able to ride my scooter to work.

Ah work, back to work, it’s been a minute, is it time to go back already?

Yes, dear, glad you enjoyed your days off, time to hit it again.

I made a nice breakfast and had some coffee and I was just about to settle into some writing when I had this great idea to check the school website and find out about summer classes.

Like which ones I should register for, what I need to have to get to the next step, you know, keep progressing.

Note to self, as it was brought up by a dear friend in the cohort, “you’re planning on taking summer school and practicum?!”

Um.

I was.

Sort of.

I mean.

I had no idea what compelled me, fear, oh, yeah, fear, I forgot, hahahaha, to go online today and blow almost all my morning writing time on trying to figure it out.

Figure it out never works for me, and yet, there I was neck-deep into the figuring it out.

Getting more and more over my head, and without even realizing it, panicked.

Why did I take the last two days off, I should have been dealing with this, I don’t know what to do, I’m fucked, the system is fucked, why hasn’t my advisor responded to my e-mail, why is the registrar so stupid, what is wrong with the….

Whoa girl.

Back the fuck up.

I sent a friend a text asking about the summer courses, she’s always so on top of it, and I got a lot of information back, none of which I was able to assimilate or understand and when I read one of the texts I just about lost it, there was too much, it was too much, I can’t do this.

Do what?

Self-inflicted idiocy, getting myself all worked up over nothing.

I could feel the fear rising in my body and getting stuck at the top of my chest and trying to ride up into my throat.

Very grateful I caught it when I did.

Stop.

Slow down.

Breathe.

Look around.

You are sober, you’re dressed in nice clothes, they are clean, you just ate breakfast, you have coffee, lunch is packed, coffee for work is packed, your hair is done, you have makeup on, the scooter is ready to go.

You are fine.

Breathe.

I started to ignore texts that were still incoming from a number of places.

I don’t have to engage if I don’t have the space.

Then I looked at the time.

Shit.

I had wasted 45 minutes of my precious morning routine on this fuckery.

I hopped up, did the dishes, took out the trash, organized my things, turned my phone to silent and sat and wrote.

Rent is paid.

My phone bill is paid.

I am ok.

I paid for my scooter insurance for another six months.

I have paid for my Healthy SF for the next three months.

I am fine.

I am enough.

It is enough.

I have my practicum placement.

I have a therapist.

I have supervisors.

I don’t need to know what electives I could take for summer.

I can take them in the fucking fall.

If I wasn’t doing the internship I would have the god damn summer off from school.

So relax.

You are ok.

All I had to do, all I have to do, I told myself, was show up to work alive and on time, stay sober and show up tonight at my commitment.

Oh.

And maybe put some gas in the scooter.

I could do that.

When I got to work I was relaxed, had calmed down, and was able to respond to a message from a friend who is going to Paris in May with his wife and two boys about some friends I have in Paris and where he could meet them.

It was nice to stop, get out of my head, and be of service to someone else.

And Paris.

Oh yeah.

That.

You’re going to Paris, doll, in a few weeks, you have a place to stay, you will see friends, there are museums to go to, streets to walk, Metro’s to ride, postcards to write.

I was pretty back to myself and in my body by the time I got to work, which was good, it was full tilt boogie, the kids had missed me, and truth be told, I them, and I got tackled upon my entrance.

“CARMEN! I missed you! I love you! I’m so glad you’re here!”

“Tag! You’re it!”

And it was on.

It was on all day.

The cleaners came.

I made dinner.

I made dessert.

I washed laundry, folded laundry, put laundry away.

I played soccer, Mother May I, tag, hide and seek, good dog/bad dog (the four-year olds made up game), cops and robbers.

And last but not least.

I played lots of snuggles and thank God.

I got to play stay at the house and watch the four-year old nap while the older boy went to the dentist.

I played Debussy’s Clair de Lune and folded towels and baby blankets.

I returned the texts and messages I had to return and I chatted with a few friends.

I also acknowledged that I did accomplish some stuff today in regards to school, even if it wasn’t what I had set out to do, I did discover that the school had posted all the weekend dates for the next Fall and Spring semesters.

That was surreal.

To go through the next year and plug-in those dates into my calendar, ending with the last weekend in May 2018, which will be my last weekend before graduating.

Not that I even know when the ceremony will be.

But I will be there.

Summer school or not, the work will get done.

I also finally managed to set up the forwarding on my school e-mail, they just switched over to a new system, so that all school e-mails are sent to my Gmail account.

That was a big deal.

Just taking all the little, teeny tiny steps to get there.

And breathing.

Pausing.

Responding.

Not reacting.

When the fear sets in.

I see you fear, you just want me to be to be aware of all the pitfalls that might befall me.

Thing is though.

Fear is the pitfall.

Fear is the trap.

Faith is my answer.

And it was my spiritual principle.

God has not brought me this far to drop my on my ass.

I am taken care of.

I am.

Seriously.

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Too Much

August 8, 2015

It’s just too much.

Fuck.

I just opened another attachment for school.

Who do these people think they are?

At 4:45p.m. on a Friday I receive an e-mail from one of the professor’s for the retreat saying how he expects everyone will have read all the materials for the first day of class on Monday and oh yeah, by the way, he’s updated the syllabus with additional readings and another book.

Which needs to be read by the start of class.

Fuck you man.

I mean.

It’s Friday, the retreat starts in two days, you want me to go out and get another book and have that read in addition to the reader and the book I already have for the class.

Are you smoking crack?

And then.

A breath.

Some perspective.

I’m not going to have the reading finished.

I’m just not.

I will have a lot of it done.

I will have more done than some of the folks in my cohort, who apparently have been having a challenging time getting the course readers.

Yo.

Walk, drive, MUNI your ass down to Copy Central at Mission and 2nd and get a nice fat, heavy surprise.

It’ll cost about $208 and weigh in around 32 lbs.

Happy retreat!

Who’s idea is it to call this a retreat?

Fuck.

I opened another attachment that was sent around 5 p.m.

Apparently all bases better get covered since it starts in less 48 hours, this one with more pertinent information about arriving and protocol for the facility and the likes.

Oh.

And hey, there’s the schedule for the week.

Oh my God.

Oh my God.

Fuck.

(This blog should not be further read by any one easily offended by profanity)

Fuckity fuck fuck fuck.

The check in for the retreat is between 3pm and 4pm on Sunday.

Then there’s 4 hours, no wait, I just checked, 5 hours of meetings.

Ack.

So much for relaxing into the environment or doing any last-minute reading for the week.

I will squeak it in somewhere I promise.

Then the real deal starts Monday, as I said, retreat my ass, this is not a retreat, its graduate school boot camp.

I feel like I’ll be doing mental push ups until I puke up my hastily eaten organic locally sourced breakfast.

Classes start every day of the retreat at 9:15 a.m. and they end?

When.

What?

Did I see that, let me check again.

Oh.

FUCK ME.

At 9:15 p.m.

Every day.

EVERY DAY.

I know, I’m hollering at you, I’m sorry, I’m fucking freaking out.

“They do this to you,” my person said to me last night as we sat and talked about what graduate school first semester was going to be like, “they do it to everyone, they don’t actually expect that you are going to be able to read all the assigned readings, you’ll learn what’s important, you’ll learn to skim, you’ll pick it up.”

I guess.

All I’m picking up right now is my heart off the floor.

I was excited this morning.

Then the excitement faded.

Then, and this may be the first time I have said it, I said out loud, “what was I thinking?”

Meaning.

Really?

Graduate school, what was I thinking.

Hey listen I heard Mark Zuckerberg and his wife are expecting their first baby and um, I’m a hella good nanny, and I live in San Francisco and hey, want to hire a fabulous nanny?

I come with great references.

I really wanted to crawl into my shell today, retreat back into the world of nannying and just be a person amongst little people.

Le sigh.

I know that’s not the solution.

I know it’s not.

I know this is what I’m supposed to be doing.

I know it.

But man, I have to say it, I’m scared.

I’m not out of my league, I know I can do this, it’s just, well, it’s a lot and I knew it was going to be a lot, but wow, it’s a lot.

Then.

I ran into two pivotal people in my life tonight.

Two people who meant so much to me about 10 1/2 years ago.

One a woman who approached me in the basement of a church on 18th and Dolores (now intriguingly enough the new Children’s Day School middle school annex, where my little guys will eventually end up as they are both currently enrolled in pre-school and kindergarten) and asked me how I was doing and when I said I was fine and burst into tears she took me out to coffee at Dolores Park Cafe and changed my life forever.

She looked amazing.

It’s been almost eight years since I have seen her.

It was a total surprise and I whipped off the sweatshirt that was on the chair next to me and offered it to her.

My heart just over full with gratitude and joy to see her, hug her, smile into her eyes.

Then.

A man came in, homeless, after the cup of coffee, the sweeties on the counter, but he stayed and he spoke up and holy shit.

I knew him too.

He did not look good.

He looked like rough trade.

And my heart broke open listening to him.

I had met him that my second day going back to that same church basement, scared to walk through the door, he welcomed me, showed me a place at the table, showed me the ropes, became my friend.

And was in utter awe of the man.

And.

Not to put too fine a point on it, I had a flaming hard crush on him.

“Whatever gets you to go,” she would tell me, “one day you’ll look back and be amazed at who you used to find attractive.”

Oh man, was she right.

Without wanting to, I spoke up, I had to.

I shared.

I shared my solution and my gratitude and about starting graduate school on Monday, even if I don’t have all the stuff read and I feel utterly unprepared for this next step, I know I can and I will show up.

The man cam up to me after and said congratulations.

I said, “it’s really good to see you, I’m glad you stayed.”

“You don’t remember me do you?” I asked, trying to not let the tears well up in front of him, oh my poor sweet friend.

“I do, I do remember you, you look amazing, you’ve changed so much, I well, you know, Sarah and I we got kind of crazy, then got it back together and moved to Seattle and things were really good (SARAH!  Fuck I forgot about you too, my friend, I hope you are better off love, wherever you are, however you are, you have my love) and then, well, people started dying and I started using again, and now, well, five days.”

I leaned up and hugged his gaunt frame, “stay, just stay.”

He crushed me in a hug then ran out the door.

He was gone by the time I hit the sidewalk.

It’s not too much what I have.

I am so fortunate and so fucking lucky.

Oops.

More of that profanity.

I may be overwhelmed sometimes, but I have been told and I completely believe it, that God does not give me more than I can handle.

It would appear that I can handle this then.

Grateful for the opportunity to feel overwhelmed.

Grateful for graduate school and a stranger who took me out to coffee ten and half years ago and changed the course of my life.

Forever.

So grateful.

I can’t even breathe.

Oh wait.

Yes.

There.

I can.

I will.

I am.

The Student Life

July 27, 2015

It officially began today.

I sat down with my course readers and syllabi.

I outlined the reading that needed to be done before I head to the retreat in Petaluma–two weeks from today.

TWO!

Holy Mother of God.

Not to take this all so god damn seriously, but wow, how did the time go by so fast?

Don’t I have any summer vacation left?

I do, I think.

But I don’t believe it’s going to be the going out-of-town camping trip that I had discussed with my friend.

Where for art thou, friend?

I forget that people need space and that no response, well, it is a response, so keep the focus tight, like on me, and what can I do today, just today for self-care.

What indeed.

Well.

As it turns out, and I had forgotten, it’s been a few years since I’ve been in school, oh, like um, 13 I think, that having something to do in regards to my academic career has a direct and distinct correlation to how clean my space is.

Like hey.

Look at that.

My place is sparkling.

I striped the bed, laundered the sheets, did a load of laundry, scrubbed the toilet and bathroom sink, scrubbed the stove top, fuck, I even wiped out the fridge, dusted the bookshelves, swept, vacuumed, and swiffer’ed the floors (yeah, I know Swiffer is not a verb, but what else do you call that thing?).

My place is shiny and bright.

I mean, let’s be frank, it’s not like it was a disaster zone, but you know, dusty and in need of a sweep, but once I got going I knew I was in it and might as well do the whole shebang.

It’s a  way to distract myself from what is in front of me.

Stacks.

And stacks.

And.

Stacks of reading.

I also hopped in the shower, ate nice meals, two of which were outside on the back porch, the fog blew off and the sun made an appearance today.

Which was both heartening and upsetting as I really wanted to be outside doing something other than reading my graduate school readers, but, hey, I ate outside and my stewed chicken in tomato sauce with garlic and onions and yellow peppers over turmeric spiced brown rice and perfect ripe avocado, well, it was a delight to eat al fresco and sit in the sun.

Contemplating the reading to come.

But.

Before that.

Two ladies came through to do the deal and then a phone call check in with my person who suggested that I focus on my self-care and having fun rather than worry about my friend.

Although I got to have my sad feelings I didn’t let the day slip by being morose, I kept turning the focus back on what was in front of me.

And when there was nothing else to clean and lunch had been had and I even snuck in a half hour of sitting in the sun with a W magazine and a quick flip through the latest Vanity Fair, I came to the conclusion.

It was time.

I don’t foresee doing a lot of pleasure reading for a while, so I’m glad I gave myself to do so yesterday and really enjoy the hell out of the books I read and the excerpt of the book I read from a friend who has been working on a collection of shorts that is really going to be a fantastic novel and I’m going to say, “I knew him when,” and “I read that before you did,” and “I always knew he was a great writer, you should read his holiday letters.”

Which you should.

They are marvels of Midwestern Americana with a kind of wry wit that is at time dark, but always lovingly painted and I find myself transported to the scene at their home when ever I get them.

Which is the point of good writing–being transported to the picture that the writer wants you to see.

He does it.

Really good.

Anyway.

I’m not going to get that kind of reading for a while.

I may give myself a set half hour or so once in a while to have that pleasure reading, but I can see that I have a lot of work ahead of me.

It is going to be a long, arduous, committed and continual moving through material, processing it, understanding it, writing about it.

Fuck.

I mean.

I have papers due before I go to Burning Man.

BEFORE!

I just about peed my pants when I saw that on one of the syllabi.

And not just a paper, multiply papers.

I mean, I will have submitted work on readings I have done before actually going through the orientation at the school.

Good gravy man.

As much as I wish I was camping along the North Rim of The Grand Canyon, I am actually grateful that my employers changed up their vacation plans and I ended up having to work tomorrow and Tuesday.

It meant cancelling  a trip I was very much looking forward to, but it got my ass down to the Copy Central shop to pick up my readers and get going on the work.

I read 50 pages today for my Human Development class.

It took me three hours.

Fuck.

Three hours.

I can read more than a page a minute, that means 60 pages in an hour.

Then I realized a couple of things–one, this ain’t no pleasure reading, this is serious reading and though the concepts are not completely foreign, they are dense; next, I’m reading to retain, not to enjoy, which meant going back over a few things and re-reading them to make sure I understood what I was reading, plus underlining, highlighting, and taking pertinent notes in the margins of the reader.

Lastly, and not to be taken lightly, I realized the 50 pages were actually closer to 100 pages.

The reader is larger than a book, thus the pages often had two pages of a text or article printed on each page.

Reading one page was in essence reading two.

So that makes my speed of reading a little better, 100 pages in three hours is a much better ratio and caused me to feel some relief.

And.

I finished the assigned reading for the retreat, in the reader (I still have the first three chapters of an accompanying text-book to read as well, but it hasn’t been delivered to the house yet) for my class on Human Development.

I have time.

In fact, I think I may be able to actually read all the required reading twice.

I’ve got some highlighters to invest in and some time to set aside, but I can see it happening.

I also knew to take some care and take a break, to eat dinner while not reading, to sit out in the late afternoon sun and enjoy my meal.

Then I finished that last hour of reading and went for a walk down on the beach to catch the sunset before coming back here to blog.

I will strike a balance, the work will get done.

And how grateful am I to know so well.

Easy does it.

One day at a time.

First things, first.

And breathe.

Don’t forget to breathe.

It’s all going to be alright.

It already is.

Serenity Spackle

November 22, 2011

Thomas just left the building.

Thomas is better than Elvis as far as I am concerned.

Side Bar-If Elvis has left the building were an ice cream it would be peanut butter with banana and bacon.  If Thomas were an ice cream I’d say Dark Chocolate Tutti Frutti with marshmallows aka Funky White Boy With Soul (that should be a flavor ice cream!).

What kind of ice cream are you?

Thomas just finished spackling the walls of my apartment.  On his day off, he came all the way over from the other side of town to help me.  I was in high anxiety mode.  I got a “just breathe hug” and my back adjusted at the same time.

Dude.  I have good friends.

I also got a little talking to in my kitchen about embracing change.  Instead of worrying myself sick about it.  That I manage and have managed just fine with how everything is going down.

Is my anxiety that evident to all?

Sheesh.

Sorry friends.  Moving and a new job and the end of an old career and couch surfing and finding a place to store my shit and not getting the direct deposit to my account have made me a little neurotic, that’s the nice way of saying bat shit kookoo for cocoa puffs crazy.

On an up note, I did bring the lack of funds in my account to the attention of my General Manager who promptly took care of the issue by cutting me a check.  It turns out that they had sent the wrong account routing number to my bank.  So when the pay roll company tried to deposit money into my account they were turned down and it just bounced back to the pay roll company.  The GM cut me a fresh check and I deposited it directly myself to my account as soon as I got out of work.

Work was good and bad today.

Good, in that I am getting better and better at navigating the various computer programs and I got a lot of things accomplished.  Bad as I sat in front of a computer for a very long time today and about four and a half hours in the head ache commenced.  It is very evident to me that I need glasses.  I am super glad that I went to the optometrist and got this issue addressed, absurdly grateful that Tami helped me and waiting with bated breath for my glasses, they can’t come soon enough.

I have a feeling I will be spending a lot of time in front of a computer screen with my position developing the way it is.  There were times a plenty where I just made myself get up, make a cup of tea and rest my eyes for a bit.  I also went up and down the stairs a few times more than I necessarily had to.  I needed the break away from the screen and to get the blood flow going.

Tomorrow I am actually going to run an errand and pick up some things off premise.  I am riding one of the bikes to get a feel for how they handle and I am getting more lights for the office space that I am in, it’s too dim by far.  I can’t handle always being tied to a desk.  I need to move.  I am like a shark that way, move or sink and die.

Today I was also off the floor, so although I had interactions with people, I spent a lot of time being by myself in the office.  Not necessarily a horrible thing, but the day felt longer than a lot of the previous days.  Christ, I sound like an old hand at this, as I start in on my third week on the job.

Here on the home front things are falling together.  All the things that were nailed or screwed to the walls, with the exception I just realized of a couple of plant hangers, have been removed and the holes spackled over.  I have two boxes packed and more things thrown onto the side-walk sale pile.

I have decided the easiest thing to do is rent a truck.  I just don’t want to muss and fuss with borrowing some one else’s vehicle.

Ugh, planning again, must stop.  I don’t have to plan anything right now.  The wheels are in motion, things are happening.  And one day soon, soon, I promise, I will write a blog that does not revolve around moving and bicycles.

I think.

I hope.

I pray.

Like a blog about going on a date!  That would be awesome.  Now somebody ask me out.

Next.

Or how about dancing?  I need to get my groove on.  I really, really, really do.  I got a little dance music mix going while Thomas was fixing the walls–Five Years of Dirty Bird–still listening to it, and I realized it has been an age and a half since I danced.  The last time was at Burning Man and that sort of feels like it does not count.  And that’s too long to not have been dancing.

I will make a date for dancing for next weekend.  I can’t fathom trying to add anything else to my plate for this week.  I have work, then Thanksgiving, then I’m working Friday, just a half day to cover some of the hours I’m going to miss for a doctor’s appointment the following week, side-walk sale and packing on Saturday, move on Sunday.  Yup, this week does not really facilitate going dancing.

Although, I am tempted to treat myself to a movie on Thanksgiving night.  I will of course watch football with the boys at the house before meandering back to my side of town.  I will be having dinner with Thomas and Co.

Otherwise every spare moment feels accounted for and full.

But progress is being made and I can stop and pause and breathe, or allow myself to breathe when reminded, knowing that regardless of what happens, it’s all working out just fine, with or with out my worrying.

In fact, probably better without.

Better by far.

 


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