Posts Tagged ‘burning man’

It’s Late

October 30, 2017

But not really.

It just feels like it is.

I had a half lazy day, half busy day, and a “I was half way out of it day,” at one point from going to bed so late last night.

2:30 a.m.

I cannot remember the last time I went to bed at that hour.

I had gone out dancing with a dear girlfriend.

We met up in the city at Brenda’s Meat and Three where I had wrapped up a delicious dinner with my person, cheese grits with shrimp, bacon and tomato.

My God.

It was so good, I could have licked the bowl.

The server laughed when I said that, and added, “I’ve seen it happen.”

I do not doubt it.

I once licked a plate at a meal out with friends, but I suspect I was a little tipsy when I did it.

The grits were just that good.

I will be having them again.

And I got a lot of compliments on my costume

I went as a sugar skull from Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead).

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It was my first time trying to do the makeup.

I think I did pretty good, all things considered.

The place that I stop at, Ulta Beauty over by the Nordstrom Rack and Trader Joes shopping area, was out of Halloween face paint.

I was like.

Seriously?

You guys are a freaking makeup store!

It’s three days before Halloween and you’re already sold out?

What the heck!

But.

I’m a clever girl.

First I asked what the lightest foundation that they had in the store was.

I’m brown-skinned enough that a very light foundation is going to look close to white on my skin.

Then I got a finishing powder that was tinted with green to pull any redness from my face and then another that was a translucent white powder.

Then I pillage the NYX cheap makeup.

Big white eyeliner, big black eyeliner, a pink one, a turquoise one, and a liquid eyeliner in lilac with glitter.

And I found a really cool blue lip gloss that was matte and had glitter in it.

I have no idea when I’m ever going to use this make up again.

But the end result, though not professional caliber, well, I thought, was pretty damn good.

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I actually got a lot of compliments last night, both at Brenda’s and at the dance.

My friend also had a great costume, she was a Hip Hop Zombie.

Which was apropos as we were going to the Time Travelers Ball in Oakland.

Great music, lots of old hip hop, lots of funk, so early electronic, old 80s and late 70s movies playing on the wall, great light system, a small fire in the courtyard, in a portable fire pit.

I ran into a few folks, from, yes, of all places, Burning Man.

I didn’t recognize the woman at all who came up and squealed at me, and how she recognized me with all that makeup on, I have no idea, but she did.

It was a good time.

And.

Heh.

Although I did not make the top three prizes in the costume contest, I did win an honorable mention and was given back my entrance fee and an open bar tab.

Which for me was hilarious to contemplate.

I had a La Croix.

It was tasty.

Heh.

And.

I had fun and I danced a lot, so much so that I was afraid I was going to break a sweat and my make up was going to slide off my face.

It stuck though.

It stuck really well, it took a lot of make up removing wipes and washing my face to get it off, in fact, I didn’t get all the white eyeliner off, man I tried, but I gave up the ghost at some point.

I was also up late as it was 9 hours a head in Paris and my best girl friend from school sent me a message on What’s App about having a Face Time session and I just said, fuck it, it is super hard for us to co-ordinate our time, so screw it, yes, I had a Face Time session this morning around 1:45 a.m.

It was so good to see her face and hear her voice.

Oh, how I miss her.

We got caught up and talked about all the things and made some tentative plans to see each other in the new year.

She may be coming back for a training and I’m pretty sure I’ll be in Europe in July and I’m going to make sure I go up to Paris and spend time with her.

I was in tears when I got off the call, it was super hard to hang up.

But man, it was late.

And I had lunch date that I wanted to be ready for.

I was going to sleep 8 hours, I was.

I set my alarm for 10:30 a.m., which is unheard of for me, but I figured, I can skip yoga, I got a workout dancing, and I want a full nights sleep.

of course.

I was up at 8:30 a.m.

Which is why it feels late right now when it’s not really.

I’m glad for it though, I did a ton of writing and I had a leisurely breakfast and a quick phone call with my best friend and plans to connect later.

Which was sweet.

So sweet.

And then off across town to Mario’s on Columbus and Union.

I hadn’t been there before, but it was classic, pure North Beach Italian Cafe and bar.

It was so good to see my friend and we chatted about all things art and kindness and words and poetry and talked about Burning Man, since that’s where we met three years ago, and projects, and life.

I am enthralled with that aspect of my life, that sometimes, out of nowhere, because I am moved to connect with someone, a new relationship happens.

It startles me every time.

It was like that with my best girl in Paris, we were sitting next to each other, an empty seat between us, at the first year retreat for our school.

And we turned to each other and we’ve never turned away.

The loveliness of it still astounds.

The people in my life who I love, who I consider my family, my loves, my friends, I am so, so lucky to know.

Beyond lucky.

Graced.

I am graced.

And tired.

Just saying.

I got a lot of other stuff done today too, grocery shopping, lots of cooking, lots of homework.

But really.

It was the connecting with my friends, with my people, with my loves, that made the most impact on my today.

An hour-long phone conversation sitting on a bench in the sunlight (the only sunlight that I got to see, man was it cold and foggy today) at Washington Square Park.

The confirmation of love.

The power of poetry.

The great gifts of kindness.

The art of being human.

It gets me every time.

Every time.

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Bach Cello Sonata No.1

October 11, 2017

In G.

And 5 and 6 as well.

Yo Yo Ma.

That is what I am listening to.

It was an intense day and I feel it slowly easing out of my body and sliding to the floor in a big puddle.

I could slide to the floor in a big puddle.

When I need to calm down and unwind I like to listen to this in particular.

It is sweet and I find it wistful, God I miss playing the cello.

There’s a spot about 1:50 into the first sonata and I can feel the bow in my hand, I can see my fingers striding over the neck of the cello and I can feel it between my legs.

I can get weepy thinking about it.

One would suppose that I would be past it, this yearning, but somethings stay with me a long time.

I don’t know that I ever really got over the loss of playing cello.

And I have had it suggested too many times to count that maybe I pick it up again.

I think.

Yes!

Let me do that.

In what fucking time?

I could give up writing in the morning.

I could play music for my morning spiritual fix.

I could not buy a car and buy a cello.

I could go over to Roland Feller and blow my heart out on a cello.

Roland Feller is the luthier for the San Francisco Symphony.

I went once, with a friend who worked out of the Burning Man offices when I was nannying there many years ago now.

He is a professional cello player and gigs about and plays with the San Jose Orchestra.

He gave me lessons for a while and one day took me to Roland Feller.

I would have never known that there was a luthier there.

It is an extraordinary nondescript house next to the Popeye’s Chicken on Divisadero Street.

There is no signage.

You have to make an appointment.

There is a gate and a call box and it looks like some cheap apartment, well, it’s in San Francisco so it’s probably not cheap, but the door opens into this gold mine of classical music instruments.

Violins.

Violas.

Stand up Bass.

Cellos.

Oh and the cellos.

I played a few different ones and I remember one in particular, it was luscious, the sound so rich, so vibrant, it made me quiver with delight.

My friend teased me a little that I was passionate and looked as though I might be having the sexy thoughts.

I had never had a cello quite that caliber ever before in my hands.

It was exquisite.

And one day.

Well.

I have written on this topic before, I will have another cello.

I’m not there yet.

But one day.

And in the mean time.

Well.

I have my Yo Yo Ma and I have Bach.

And Debussy.

And Chopin.

Oh the Chopin Cello Sonata in G Minor.

Oof.

So good.

The Bach is my favorite, but that Chopin is glorious too, passionate and brash and stupendous.

I love that I love classical music.

I don’t look the type.

Except, well, maybe that’s not true.

I feel like I might look the type, that there’s a brazen woman cellist in my heart.

Maybe she smashes herself on her music like I smash myself with my poetry.

Maybe one day the two will get back together again.

I don’t expect that I will ever be great, I never was great, but I had heart, yes, I had great big heart and I knew it and so did my most ardent supporter–my orchestra conductor, Mister Ziegler.

Where ever you are, you meant something to me that few teachers do.

He supported me, he was honest with me, he argued for me.

He brought in my mom and my step father, the fuck (egad, maybe I need yet another inventory on the man, christ), and sat them down and tried, oh how hard he tried, to convince them to not let me quit cello.

Quitting cello was not my idea.

It was my stepfathers idea.

We didn’t have enough money and my parents, god I can’t even say that, the man was never a fucking parent to me, he was a violent misogynistic sociopath, but not a parent, had bought a house in Windsor, outside the school system I was in at the time I was playing cello.

There was no thought of a tutor, I had one actually, that my conductor had arranged with the school and I was given said tutoring for free, but to move away from the school system I would lose that.

And the school that was closest to me, the one that I would attend, DeForest, well, they didn’t have an orchestra.

Oh sure.

They had band.

But no orchestra.

They had cut the funding for the orchestra.

You should see the football stadium though, a work of art that.

Anyway.

My conductor tried to argue that my parents continuing my tutoring or that I commute in to Madison for school and still stay with the cello.

Nope.

There were words, there was fire, I could see how hard my conductor was trying to get through to my parents.

My stepfather hated me playing.

He hated me practicing.

I got lost in the cello, I wasn’t there, I was gone, gone, gone, and he wanted me present and not in my fantasy world.

He also did not like that I read as much as I did, I shit you not.

What fucking parent doesn’t want their children to read?

When I was punished some of the worst punishments were being denied those things that I loved most.

Books and my cello.

Cello was first to go.

“Put it away and go clean the bathtub,” he said.

The the books were taken.

I don’t know what I did, I mean, I have absolutely no recollection of what I had done to deserve the grounding to my room one weekend, but he was diabolical.

I had no problem being grounded to my room, fine with me, I won’t have to look at you.

I’ll read, thank you very much.

But.

Oh my fucking god, the man had removed every single book I had in my room, everything was gone, it was stripped.

Thank God I had one underneath the mattress of my bed.

Fucking stashed my back up drugs thank you very much.

So.

It wasn’t much of a surprise, after the cello was taken and my stepfather and my mom left the orchestra room with me sadly in tow, that once we moved to Windsor I was to be denied academic access as well.

“She’s too proud, she needs to be humbled, she’s not allowed to do it,” he told my mom, who had tried in her own way to get him to give his permission to sway him.

I was trailing behind in the snow walking down Windsor Road in the middle of a cold ass night listening to them argue about me and the invitation I had been given to join an advanced English class-accelerated and an accelerated math class.

I didn’t care so much about the math, irony, I was actually able to attend that, I think my mom might have had a hook up or something with the math teacher now that I look back, but the English was resolutely denied.

I can feel rage in my chest when I think about that.

“Too proud, she’s just too fucking proud.”

And maybe I was.

Pride goeth before the fall.

I have been humbled in many ways, but I still like my books and I still love listening to cello.

And I am beyond proud of how I grew and became the woman I am today.

Despite the horrendous odds against me growing up.

I got out.

And you can’t put me down.

Nope.

I will not be ground down.

I will thrive.

I am thriving.

I am alive.

Happy.

Joyous.

Motherfucking.

Free.

And yes.

Proud.

 

 

 

 

Sleep

September 29, 2017

It does wonders.

I still could have slept another hour or fifteen, or so it felt, when I woke up, but I had gotten nearly 7 hours and that was miraculous after a long slog of a day with little sleep.

I am super grateful that tomorrow is Friday.

And that the mom had gotten mixed up with dates and I don’t have to come in early tomorrow.

I will next week.

But tomorrow.

Fuck.

I might even get eight hours of sleep.

It sounds so sexy it makes me shiver in delicious anticipation.

And just being the end of the week brings me some relief.

I’m almost there.

I still have a rather long day tomorrow, full day of work, client at my internship, but I don’t have a second client in the evening until next Friday, so I’ll be out by 7:30p.m. and able to make a friend’s birthday dinner at Fang on Howard Street.

I am also supposed to go dancing with the posse of ladies afterward at Public Works for Afrolicious.

I’m on the fence about that.

Originally I wasn’t going to be able to do dinner and felt an obligation to make a commitment to my friend and say yes to the dancing.

Now.

Well.

Fuck.

It’s been a long week.

I mean.

It really has.

And I’m still not in the clear.

I don’t have a day off until Sunday.

So.

Yeah.

I’m keeping the door wide open to just doing dinner and saying, love you, but I can’t make the dancing.

And.

I love dancing.

I haven’t really danced since Burning Man and god only knows when before that.

But, yes, I do like to dance.

And the music is sure to be good.

I mean.

Really good.

I’m not committing though, not yet, I just need to see how I feel and not try to be a hero and push too hard.

If I have the energy, I’ll go for it and bounce home by midnight so that I can still get up and go to yoga in the morning on Saturday before I go into my internship.

I do know this much.

I am getting a god damn mani/pedi/waxing on Saturday.

I hate looking sloppy and my nails look like ass.

It’s always an indication to me that I am busy when my manicure looks bad.

It’s a time suck, an enjoyable one, but it takes time and when I have a school weekend, like I did last weekend, I don’t have the time.

Oh.

I tried.

I had a little tiny window Saturday between my last class and my first client, but the salon was full and couldn’t get me in for even just a manicure.

Note to self.

Make an appointment so I can get a spot.

I can’t go another week without doing the nails.

It’s a part of my self-care and it’s something I very much like to do for myself.

It’s a couple of hours of sitting still, flipping through magazines, letting someone pamper me, relaxing, using the massage buttons on the chair.

Yeah.

Definitely making some time to do that.

Then my normal Saturday night get together with my fellows over in the NOPA.

I might go out to dinner that night too, but not certain.

I also have homework to attend to, I do need to do some reading.

I actually got in a couple of articles yesterday evening, despite the fact that I had such a long day, I did a 45 minute stretch and got my CBT reading done so that I can actually know what the fuck is being talked about in my webinar on Sunday and I knocked out an article in my Child and Elderly Abuse class.

Little bits and pieces as I go.

It will get done.

I didn’t have much down time at work this week to address homework, but I have brought a book with me every day, just in case.

I never know what the time will bring, just that it’s important to utilize it when it occurs.

I hope to let myself have a little down time too.

I do what I can.

When I can.

I believe in abundance, my time is expansive.

I also acknowledge that my schedule is fucking full and it’s a lot when I step back and look at it.

But boy.

The time goes by.

And.

It won’t always be like this.

It just won’t.

It’s part of what I have to do right now.

Get the degree, get the degree, get the degree.

Eye on the prize.

Eyes softly on the prize.

I don’t want it to be the sole focus of my life.

I have people in my life who are my life and I can’t just be a soul hiding in a room studying all the time.

Or working all the time.

I need connection.

I need love

I need sunshine.

I need star shine.

I need love.

Oh.

I already said that.

But.

For the sake of telling myself that I am allowed.

I need love.

I can’t just send it out, to my clients, my family, my friends, to my job, without getting some back.

And thank God.

I am getting it back.

I am so grateful for that love.

Beyond words.

I realize that I have strength.

But I cannot be strong in a vacuum.

So.

I will do my best this weekend to let myself balance all my commitments and comings and goings and be nice to myself and maybe, I’ll get some flowers, or something else sweet for myself, be romantic, woo my heart, be gentle.

Heh.

See.

I’m making an opportunity to go shopping.

I see myself here.

Oh.

But.

It’s allowed.

Let me allow myself some sweetness for all the hard work I put in.

It’s allowed.

I am lovable and worthy of love.

And.

Maybe.

Yes.

A new pair of shoes too.

Heh.

 

Huge Relief

September 10, 2017

To change my mind.

To see where I was taking on too much.

To apologize and make an amends to a friend.

To get honest with my person and with myself.

To see where my priorities lie.

To let go.

To surrender.

Such relief.

I have been grappling with something for a few weeks now and I suspect that recent events in my life, like letting go of the idea that I have to go to Burning Man every year for the rest of my life and that I always have to be working toward something, coalesced this afternoon as I rode my scooter into my internship.

I don’t want to do the Aids Life Cycle Ride.

Let me clarify.

If I wasn’t working 40 hours a week, interning 15 hours, and going to graduate school full-time I would be totally down with doing the ride.

But.

I realized.

I am working so hard already and to commit to another commitment seems fool hardy, prideful, and unrealistic.

I like to believe that I am superhuman.

“You don’t have to be Super Carmen,” my person told me, “Carmen is good enough.”

Fuck me.

I forget that all the time.

As if I am not constantly trying to self-improve, do better, live harder, go bigger, I am not enough.

And.

Good fucking grief.

I am enough.

I also realized that I had self-sabotaged myself by committing to do something that would make me re-arrange my already super full schedule and in effect make it so I would not have any days off.

NONE.

Yes, that’s right, I would be working full-time, seven days a week, for the next 10 months.

Fuck that.

I deserve to let myself have a little down time.

To love and be loved.

To not go crazy in my last year of my Masters program.

I mean.

I’m still working six days a week, I’m not slacking.

I rode my scooter to my internship and thought, it’s ok to change my mind, it’s ok to see where I bit off too much and it’s alright to acknowledge that maybe I knew this all along.

That maybe I didn’t buy the road bike when I had the chance because I really knew I didn’t want to do the ride.

I think I was setting myself up to give myself an out.

I had run into my friend who convinced me to ride again a week before I went to Burning Man and his talks about doing training rides made me feel nauseous.

How the hell was I going to fit it in?

I started to consciously let myself know that maybe, just maybe, it would be ok if I changed my mind.

I actually think going to Burning Man really helped me with that.

I realized there, at the event, on a very deep level, that I work really hard to work really hard on my vacations.

Maybe.

Just maybe.

Instead of busting my ass, granted for an amazing cause, and I don’t regret the $95 I dropped to register, it’s a gift that I wouldn’t ask back if I could have it back, to bust my ass on my vacation.

Maybe.

I might want to actually have a vacation.

Like.

Lay on a beach.

Or.

Sit in a fucking cafe and read a book, people watch, drink coffee at ridiculous hours and not worry about getting up at the crack of dawn to ride 100+ miles and then come back from a seven-day ride, for which I would be using my vacation time, to go right back to work.

I mean.

Maybe I want a real vacation.

And.

Then.

When I said it out loud, when I got on the phone with my person, I got to my internship a little early simply so I could have time to talk with my person, I felt the biggest most amazing relief.

I knew in that instant that it was the right decision for me.

“Honestly, doll, I’m relieved to hear you say this, I was wondering when you were going to come to this realization.”

OH my god.

I love that he doesn’t judge me, that he didn’t tell me to not do it, that he let me have my process, and then to have it reflected back to me with honesty, well, that was that.

I’m not doing the Aids ride.

And I am ok with it.

We talked a lot about things happening in my life and I shared about a great deal of joyful things and it was so good to catch up.

I also talked about doing a trip for my graduation.

What that might look like.

Barcelona.

Paris, maybe L’Ile de Re, where my friend has a family home, off the West Coast of France, especially since she was such an important part of my first two years in the program.

That it might be really nice to see her and celebrate the accomplishment.

She was also the person who has said time and again how much I would like Barcelona.

In fact.

My savings account, I have two, one is my prudent reserve, and the second, my travel savings, is called Barcelona.

Not “going to Burning Man” again next year.

Not “doing the Aids LifeCycle ride and spending over three thousand dollars on a bicycle, gear, and who knows how many countless hours on the training.”

NOPE.

It’s named, “Barcelona,” because when my friend mentioned how I should go I thought, that would make a great graduation trip.

So maybe instead of sabotaging my dream with stuffing in more than I can handle, it’s ok to admit I made a mistake.

I told my friend tonight face to face and sat down and talked to him.

He totally got it, and then he added, “I totally honey potted you into agreeing, you know I did, don’t feel bad that you can’t, it’s ok.”

It’s ok.

Sigh.

Fuck.

Thank you.

I apologized again and hugged him and that was that.

I need to apologize to the three people who donated and then I think I’m clear.

I’ll also contact my ride representative and rescind the ride number, the ride will fill up and someone else will get to ride in my stead.

And.

I also contacted my assistant director, who is in charge of scheduling my clients and said, I need to not take clients on Saturdays.  I can do a consult now and then, but no clients.

At least for this semester.

I feel a lot better.

Much clearer.

Much cleaner.

And so relieved to be just regular old Carmen.

Super Carmen gets to put her cape back in the closet for at least today.

Thank God.

It needs a dry cleaning anyhow.

Ha.

Reunion

September 6, 2017

And it was good.

She ran to me with the biggest smile on her face and threw herself into my arms.

Good thing I was ready for her or I would have been bowled over.

I picked her up and snuggled her in for a great big hug.

“I asked _______________ what the best part of school was,” the mom told me today, “and she replied, ‘getting picked up!'”

And so pick her up I did.

She was so happy to see me and I was so happy to see her.

I got to get her early from school and she and I had 45 minutes to kill before her brother got out of his class, so we went to get special treats from Bi-Rite.

Bagels and plums and boxes of milk with straws.

Bubbly water.

She likes it as much as I do so now I always get two bottles or she’ll drink all of mine and then burp at me and laugh.

God I love this child.

I love all the children I have gotten to work with, and I am always surprised to find that there is more love in me to hold and to give.

This family, though, they are special, and I am so blessed to get to work for them.

I got to talk to the mom about Burning Man and show off my photos.

I got to snuggle with my little lady and hold hands, I mean, there was no shortage of holding hands, she was literally on top of me from the first minute I picked her up from school.

I got to have marvelous conversations with the oldest boy and also I made him his favorite dinner.

Roast chicken.

“OOOOOOH,” he said, when he saw that I had a chicken in the pan on the counter, “roasty chicken!!”

I almost had to tell him not to touch it since it wasn’t cooked yet, it was pretty adorable.

And I got the sweetest text later in the day when I was at my internship after work, the dad sent me a message saying welcome back and thank you so much for the roast chicken and cauliflower, it was so good.

There were many “o’s” in the “so” part, it was pretty damn cute.

I made my salt and pepper roast chicken and then topped it with tarragon brown butter and I roasted off cauliflower with coconut oil, garlic, black pepper, and sea salt.

All sorts of yum.

The baby even seemed excited to see me.

It was a warm and sweet and kind welcome back.

I am super lucky to have this family and it feels like they think they are super lucky to have me.

It’s a mutual thing.

And it’s a short week at work, which is a nice thing to.

Helps to get me acclimated to being there again and helps to ease the transition into the next few weeks which will be busy weeks for the family.

I’m grateful for them, the job, the environment, the freedom to be myself.

I realize more and more how important it is to be my authentic self.

In work, in relationships, in my internship, at school.

I also realized that I don’t need Burning Man to do that any more.

That I have fully embraced my authenticity, that I live an out loud, passionate, committed, loving life.

I don’t have to run off to that thing in the desert to find expression for myself and who I am.

And thus.

I feel.

I may be saying goodbye to Burning Man.

I had a sweet burn, I had wonderful talks with many a lady out there and I feel like I deepened some relationships that I didn’t even know I was needing to deepen.

But the fact is I am not searching for anything or anyone and I don’t have to work so hard to work so hard to enjoy a vacation.

Maybe, just maybe, I want to go somewhere with a hot shower.

Maybe I want to lay on the beach.

Maybe I want to be pampered and not have to do a ton of work and organizing and fretting and figuring it out.

My God.

The amount of mental free space I currently have for not trying to figure out how to get to and from the event is mind-blowing.

I have so many other things that I would rather focus my time, attention, energy, and love on.

So.

Yes.

I believe this last burn was my swan song.

Ironic that I saw nothing burn.

I spent my time writing, getting blown up in dust storms, connecting with ladies I love, hanging out at camp and talking with people in my community.

It was perfect and I couldn’t ask for anything more.

I feel that I have been asking Burning Man to give me something for years.

And that expectation only hindered me and my growth.

Having finally seen that.

Well.

It doesn’t feel like I need to go so badly anymore.

Next year I’ve got the Aids Life Cycle ride.

And.

And!

AND!!

Graduation from my Masters in Psychology program.

The school has set a tentative commencement date.

Saturday, May 19th.

I can’t wait.

It’s going to be epic.

You should come.

Seriously!

Because you probably won’t see me at that thing in the desert next year.

Might as well catch me when I let my mortar board sail into the air with joy.

It’s going to be great.

It’s going to be amazing.

Because.

Well.

My life already is.

Luckiest girl in the world.

Luckiest damn girl.

 

Getting Into A Groove

September 5, 2017

It took a minute.

It was slow going at first.

I still felt a bit sluggish and slow.

I slept late.

I went to bed fairly early and slept super hard.

I went to yoga and that helped a great deal.

I was stiff and needed to shake the rest of the dust out of my body.

My nose was still tender and I was a bit congested, but by the time the class ended I had sweat up a storm and my breathing was clear and clean.

It felt great to get into the class and I was super happy to find out that my favorite yoga teacher had moved back, I knew he was going to be visiting from out-of-town some holiday weekends, so I just thought, oh my God, he’s on the schedule, you got to go.

And it turns out he’ll be a permanent fixture again, which I am super grateful for.

His classes are hard, but hard in a really good way.

I have had very emotionally clearing classes with him and today it was just clearing the rest of the Burning Man out of my system.

I got back into my routine, a tiny bit, got some grocery shopping done, small run to the market in my neighborhood, I returned a ton of internship e-mails and did some scheduling stuff with clients.

I did lots of writing.

I had a super sweet engaging phone call with my best friend.

I am so lucky to have the people in my life I do.

So damn lucky.

And then.

Yes.

I did.

I got into my homework for the next school weekend.

I outlined what I need to read.

I did some reading.

I went over my syllabi.

I also wrote out a homework assignment and turned it in.

Super grateful I took the time to open up my school stuff and check in with my syllabi as I discovered the assignment for my Cognitive Behavioral class was due tomorrow.

“Oh fuck!” I said out loud.

Followed by a “damn it!”

Then I just sucked it up and got into it.

I had the time and I let myself dive into it.

I had plans to meet my person up in the Castro and I needed to run a few quick little errands before meeting with him.

So I read and did homework until I had to leave and yes, I got the assignment written and turned in.

Grateful for that.

I also did some writing for my Jungian Dream class that was good to work on.

And I got a tentative date for the commencement ceremony.

May 19th.

I like having a goal to shoot for.

It helps me to see what I am moving toward.

Although I don’t want to live in the future, it’s nice to have a carrot.

Graduation.

Ooh.

Man.

It just sounds really good.

I still have the majority of the year to get through, but it goes fast.

I know from experience.

It does go fast.

The time it whips by.

It does help that I have a full schedule, that makes the time go by.

And that I have things that I look forward to, people I get to see, snippets of sweetness that keep me moving forward.

Before I headed out to Burning Man I sat down with my employer and mapped out the year, well, not quite, we mapped out until my last weekend of school.

The school calendar for my charges was given to her, so we just went through each month and some days I’ll be going in a little early to help out with the brood when there’s a parent/teacher conference, or a bit of vacation for the kids.

I’m going to get out a little early this Friday, for example, as the family is taking a long weekend.

And.

In November, oh yes, I’m getting a ten-day stretch while they are away for a long vacation around Thanksgiving.

They’re European and don’t celebrate Thanksgiving.

I’m super stoked.

I figure I’ll do lots of homework and maybe a kind of staycation.

No need to figure it out now, just something to keep on the back burner.

Things really do seem to be flowing well for me, keeping the personal life balanced with the recovery life and work life and school life.

Yes.

It is a lot.

But not having Burning Man prep on my mind and being done with that chapter seems to have freed up a great deal of mental space for me and now that I have readjusted to being back in San Francisco I feel ready for whatever comes next.

I suspect it will be marvelous.

My life is not boring, let me tell you.

It’s full of passion and dreams and love and it blows my mind how much I have been given and that I can be of service here in the community and my fellowship is simply grace.

The love that I get to experience fills me and I feel expanded and buoyant with it.

Awed.

Amazed.

Astonished

I am wonderstruck with love.

How did I get so lucky?

I don’t need to know the answer, only that I am and grateful and not taking anything in my life for granted.

Alive.

So very alive.

There is so much yet to experience and do and feel and go.

I was chatting with my person tonight over a big salad, salads are very appealing right now after a week in the dusty dust, about moving on from Burning Man, that maybe I don’t go next year.

That maybe there are other places to travel to.

I have been doing a list of places in my affirmations and I think anyone of them may be a better alternative.

They all have showers, that’s for sure.

And though I adore the event and everything that I have gotten from going, maybe it’s time for a new adventure.

11 burns is nothing to sneeze at.

Even with a nose full of dust.

Anyway.

Enough Burning Man.

It’s time to move on.

At least for right now.

I have much more important things to focus on.

It’s going to be a good week.

I can feel it in my bones.

Seriously.

Bring it on.

 

 

Hello Again

September 4, 2017

It’s been a minute, hasn’t it?

I have missed my little blog, I have.

I got back from Burning Man last night.

I am back a day early and I cannot be more grateful for it.

I needed to get back, I was missing my world.

I also wasn’t wanting to sit in any kind of exodus line, the last time I had tried to leave on Sunday morning I ended up being in line for almost four hours.

Four hours on playa.

Four hours to go three miles.

No fucking thank you.

And I had to be back by today to give myself enough time to recuperate and unpack and unwind.

And.

Um.

Shower.

Holy Mary, mother of God.

Fuck me.

That shower was something else.

A spiritual experience for sure.

I knew when I heard that the temperature was going to rise and peak out on Sunday that I wanted to come back Saturday.

I didn’t need to see the Man burn.

I have seen it burn ten times.

I wanted to get home without a shit ton of traffic.

I asked the woman who I had traveled with to the event if she would be amenable to leaving a day early and she was quite down for it.

And in given that there was a death last night at the burn I am extraordinarily grateful that one, I did not witness it.  And two, that I had left before the event turned morbid.

Death happens.

But I am relieved that I did not witness it.

I had a very different burn than I have in the past.

First, of course, because I was not working it.

I had to laugh, even when I tried to pick up a volunteer shift at Artica slinging ice, I got turned down, they had more volunteers than they needed.

Every time that I thought I might have worked, it was pushed down and away.

I spent a lot of time sitting in Center Camp Cafe writing.

I sent lots of cards and post cards off and I did a lot of journaling.

I hung out at my camp with the ladies of the Nest, a sweet group of women that I have known for years and witnessed their growth into extraordinary beings.

It was super sweet to have such a girl centric time.

I wasn’t on the prowl for the playa boyfriend.

I didn’t need to look for anything.

I have everything I want.

I went dancing twice.

Once in camp, an amazing dj came and played at our potluck dinner for the camp.

The music was the best I had experienced in years at the event.

I danced hard for two hours.

Happy in my body and light on my feet.

Although, the knees felt a little rough the next day.

I got to know a few folks in my San Francisco fellowship whom I have known for years but not really connected with.

I went on bike rides with the posse.

I got caught in dust storms unlike anything I have experienced before.

Prior years I was always working very close to my accommodations and they included access to trailers.

A dust storm would spring up and I would be hiding out in a trailer.

A huge dust storm came up and I was obliterated in it.fullsizeoutput_ed1

The “clean” spot on my face was where my dust mask was.

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I mean, you can’t even tell I have tattoos for god’s sake.

I had been caught off guard and though I saw the storm coming, it came up too fast for me to get the fuck out of Dodge.

I spent about an hour of it laying on a bench outside of the Temple.

Completely exposed.

I rested my head on the bench, curled up next to the fencing it was by and held on for what literally felt like dear life.

I kept my eyes closed.

I wasn’t wearing goggles.

My bad.

Stupid too, since I have a pair.

I was, thank god, wearing something, my big aviator sunglasses, but my eyes still got totally coated with dust.

It was an extraordinary experience.

Not exactly pleasant.

But I surrendered to it and rode it out saying prayers inside my head and breathing slow and steady.

There was a break in it and I thought go!

I got my bike, made it five feet and it whipped up again.

I was told later the wind was roaring along at 45 mph.

The dust battered me and I held still straddling my bike for about another hour.

There was a man standing next to me on a trike.

He might have been three feet away, probably less and he was invisible to me.

I could have reached out to him and touched his arm.

I didn’t.

But.

Knowing there was someone else there made it palatable.

The experience was mind-blowing.

No pun intended.

It also lead to an experience that I had never had before.

I got topless at Burning Man.

That has never, ever happened.

I stumbled into camp, with another of my campmates who had gotten blasted by the dust too and we let the women in camp strip us down and clean us up.

She got completely naked.

I couldn’t quite do it and in fact was walking away to wipe myself down solo when I realized what a monumental task it was going to be and I started crying.

I went back and said, “help me.”

And they did.

I dropped all my pretenses, and my clothes, well, I couldn’t step out of my under wear, there really is a limit for me, and just surrendered.

I got sprayed with a vinegar and water mixture and then a baby wipe down.

I got all the dust off my eyes and eyelashes.

I actually left my hair up in the puffs and antlers and let it be the way it was.

I was told it looked pretty spectacular and just let it be.

I had to have help getting dressed and it felt as though I was a priestess being made ready for a ceremony.

We all went out that night in a mutual friend’s, who is staff at the event, car.

I wore a long white dress and fresh makeup.

I had my hair up and added some goggles to the mix, I wasn’t without them the rest of the event.

We rode around the playa, the six of us, sitting regal in the back of the Jaguar convertible, the “Shaguar” which was painted hot pink with black spots on it.

I felt like some sort of playa princess.

And I was happy to be with the women around me.

All of whom I wouldn’t have met outside of recovery.

I am lucky and grateful to have them in my life.

I felt seen and loved.

Really loved and really included.

What more could I ask from Burning Man?

I’m so glad I’m home though.

I missed it more than I had expected.

And my heart is glad to be here.

Despite having a bad tummy today, which happens sometimes after coming back from the event, especially after being smacked so hard by the dust, I am happy to be home.

Happy.

Joyous.

Free.

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So very free.

All Systems Go

August 22, 2017

Fuck.

It was a busy, full, going on all four cylinders from the moment I got up, day, from early morning until.

Well.

Until.

Right about now.

I just got off an email back and forth with director of my internship, did a bunch of e-mails with some clients, booked some sessions, logged my hours for today in Track My Hours, and whew.

It’s like um, 10p.m.

I got up at 6:30 a.m.

That’s a full day.

I got some writing in today though, I hadn’t gotten as much morning page writing in the last week or so and it was really good to just let go on the page and scrawl away.

I also showered yesterday so I skipped it this morning, giving me a little more time to process all the junk in my head.

I don’t even know what I wrote, only that it felt good to write.

And.

I did a written gratitude list and sent another out to a friend via text.

I’m on a list he sends it to and I like getting it.

Not just because it reminds me to be grateful, it definitely does that, but to see what other people are grateful for.

I am grateful for everything.

My life is beyond my wildest dreams.

Sometimes it is strange and I wonder, how did I get here, but I know there are no mistakes in God’s world and I am being taken care of and having all the experiences I am supposed to be having.

Like being of service to the woman I am traveling with to Burning Man.

I am still having some trepidations about going with someone who is 74 years old, but I also am happy that I get to be of service to her.

It’s a nice to be of service to others, it gets me out of my head, and if you’ve never been to Burning Man it is super hard to imagine and of course, if you’re 74 there’s a different approach you’re going to make than if you are 24 or my age, 44.

How did I get to be 44?

Fuck.

Time flies.

I suppose I will look back in 30 years and wonder how it is that I got to be 74.

I’m going to be old.

I know it.

I also hope to be of service all the way to the end of my life.

I believe that’s the only way that I am going to be happy, by having a useful life, by helping others, it gives me happiness, it gets me out of my own head and I got to do a lot of it today.

I had a few phone check ins, one lady who I just recently met, and got to share some experience, strength and hope with her and although we are vastly different, we are the same person and it was good to hear how relieved she was to know that she’s not alone in her journey.

I got to talk with one of the other women I work with in recovery and I also got to see clients tonight.

And.

I worked with my supervisor.

I also got to go over my review with him, which was really enlightening and I got a better idea of how he thinks of me and what I am doing and that he also, although he didn’t exactly say it, likes me.

We had a great session and I learned a ton from him today.

I often feel as though I am taking a solo masters class in psychoanalytic theory when I am working with him.

I write a ton of notes and I can hear him in my head sometimes when I am with a client.

It’s exciting to work with him, he pushes me, he’s extraordinarily smart and intelligent, and I feel smart when I am working with him.

I like feeling smart.

I have always understood that I was intelligent, but the smart part of that eludes me, I have been mystified most of my life as to what people meant when they say, “you are so smart.”

I haven’t always felt that way.

Smart.

In fact.

I have often felt rather stupid, stupid in love, stupid in my life choices, idiotic some of the decisions I have made, or so I tell myself, but oh, the learning, the learning is so much.

I have such a wealth of experiences.

Mostly because I try to say yes to doing things.

Sometimes to my detriment, I’ll get too busy, I will get to wrapped up with my schedule and I won’t have the time to appreciate what is happening.

I try to find balance.

I don’t often succeed, but I try.

And I’m ok with failing.

Ah.

Who the fuck am I kidding.

I am never ok with failing, but I recognize that I am going to fail and that I will try again and again until it works its way out, whatever it is.

I guess what I am saying is that I live.

I am not sitting on the bleachers, I am in the game.

I am hustling.

Sometimes perhaps a little too much, but I know that it’s what it is right now.

And that all the things I did, mistakes, which were not mistakes, life experiences, travels, moving to Paris, moving back from Paris, trying things out, has led me here.

Right where I am supposed to be.

With the people in my life with whom I am supposed to be with.

Such gifts.

Such grace.

I didn’t expect it to look like this.

But.

I have to say.

It is a beautiful thing.

My life.

So beautiful.

My heart aches with it.

Grateful beyond words.

And now.

One more gratitude list before I retire.

Because.

Truly.

There is that much to be grateful for.

Every day.

Grateful.

Every damn day.

Packed!

August 21, 2017

I’m ready for Burning Man.

All I have to do is get through the week.

And what a week it’s going to be.

Oof.

I have supervision tomorrow morning in Hayes Valley.

Then work, nannying, up in Glen Park.

I might, depending on what is going on with my supervisor and some paperwork, have to spin by my school and drop off a practicum trainee review.

I have seen the review and tomorrow we will be discussing it.

I’m not super excited to tell you the truth.

It wasn’t as great a review as my other supervisor, but then again, this supervisor is tough and smart and I doubt he gives very high marks to anyone he supervises.

I did good.

Don’t get me wrong.

Although I didn’t like his additional comments about how my schedule, school full-time, working full time, the practicum hours at the internship, how I’m working six days a week and have to be careful to not get overloaded and to take time to recharge.

Sigh.

I did a lot of recharging today.

And.

I also did a lot of work.

Laundry, cooking–made a pot roast (god damn was that a great supper, I marinated it over night in olive oil, garlic, sea salt, black pepper, adobo, thyme; then roasted it super slow and low for almost three and a half hours, I also soaked it down with homemade chicken stock to keep it moist while it was cooking and surrounded it by baby potatoes, parsnips, carrots, and turnips.  I ate a nice juicy slice of it for dinner over some brown rice and put a pat of butter on it and some salt, because salt, and my fucking god, heaven), went to yoga, cleaned my house, and yeah.

Packed for Burning Man.

Four large bins, one medium bin, got my cooler ready to load up, but I won’t load it until the day I head out, which is next Sunday.

I’ll be keeping everything in the freezer until the very last moment.

My four man tent, a folding chair, and my parasol.

Ta da!

I’m pretty good at the packing for the desert trip, it’s just a matter of getting my bins sorted and having laundry done.

It used to be that my wardrobe was pretty small and basically I was wearing whatever I owned out on the playa.

A little time and a little bit of purchases here and there and I have slowly acquired a playa set of clothes, although a good bit of my wardrobe still does hop into a bin, it’s not my entire closet.

And there are some things that I absolutely won’t wear out there, which is relatively new in the last couple of years, I would just dump everything I had in my bins and empty my closet.

I do need to get a pair of sunglasses, some good aviators, I couldn’t find my sunglasses and then I realized, oh yeah, stupid, paid way too much for a set of Oliver Peeples prescription sunglasses and lost them at school last semester.

Ugh.

So.

Yeah, that’s about all I have to purchase for the trip, that and the things that will wait until I get out-of-town, like ice and water, that I’ll pick up in Reno at the 24 hour SafeWay.

My ride is coming to pick me up at 1 p.m. next Sunday.

The drive takes about 8-9 hours.

I figure we’ll land on playa around midnight–the stop in Reno and any other pit stops or gassing up that needs to be done.

My ticket and the vehicle pass are at Will Call.

I was gifted a low-income ticket from the organization, it’s still $198 and the vehicle pass is $80, but it’s cheaper than the regular ticket, and I got a ticket, there’s always so many people who can’t seem to get a ticket since the event started selling out years ago.

I remember very well the first time that happened, I was nannying for the head of Media Mecca and there was a great kind of awed hush that came over her when the announcement was made over the radio channel.

It was astounding to think they sold out.

Used to be you could just buy a ticket when you got there.

You could buy a ticket at Rainbow Grocery for fucks sake.

Now it’s a big deal, it’s a lotto, they’re more expensive, they are much harder to get.

But.

Well, I keep getting lucky, I keep getting to go.

I get to keep wearing big flowers in my hair and pretty dresses and my cowboy boots and crinolines.

I don’t show much skin out there per se, sure, my bra top will show, but I always wear a bra, I’m not a run around the desert naked kind of gal.

I like a tan, but not that much.

No.

I wear gingham dresses and crinolines, or fun tights and frilly panties and loose cotton tops.

At night I wear leggings and jean shorts, and layers, I have a cheetah print jacket with a pink silk lining that I only wear at Burning Man.

I have my goggles.

And I have my box of makeup.

Really.

What I like to do is wear lots of geegaws up in my hair and put on pretty makeup.

Throw in a crinoline and my cowboy boots and that’s it.

Oh, yeah, and a few bandanas, always, one around my wrist and sometimes one around my the top of my boot, it’s nice to have a spare for the dust that kicks up.

And like that.

My day is just about done.

I need to get the last of the laundry out of the dryer and wrap up a few loose ends here at the house.

Then my full week, supervision, work, clients, therapy, and let me not forget my first weekend of classes.

Whew.

It’s going to be busy.

But good.

I know my week will be very good and I will have my moments, my quiet, sweet moments in my little home by the sea to ponder how good I have it and how much I am loved.

Luckiest girl in the world.

And packed for Burning Man!

Fuck yeah.

You Look Good!

August 20, 2017

He said to me after giving me a great big hug, “where you been, I’ve missed you?”

Interning, working, getting ready for school, prepping for Burning Man.

Oh the list of stuff.

“You like?” I said, and stepped back to let him admire my look, “I therapized today, so I was dressing for the occasion.”

“I love,” he said, then continued, “you were what?”

I told him I had clients today, I had group supervision, I wanted to dress the part, the therapist part that is, I want to look like a professional.

“You look good! It’s totally working for you,” he finished, “glad you made it tonight.”

And so was I.

And I was happy that I made an impression.

Maybe it’s just me, but I really want to give an air of being a professional, I want to be respected  and I want to set a tone for my clients, I’m not super serious and I’m not uptight, I am warm and friendly and empathetic, but I also want to send a clear message.

I am an authority and I am going to dress like one.

On the other hand.

Holy fucking shit.

Some of the people who work with me are not as concerned with their appearance.

Or their body smells.

Fuck my mother.

It was a shock today to walk into my office and be overwhelmed and I mean, overwhelmed, with the smell of rotting socks and foul shoes.

The intern before me had done a session with his client in his socks.

Granted.

I sort of understand, it was a child client, I will happily get down on the floor with a child, I will, getting on a child’s level is crucial, I would and have done sessions sitting on the floor with a kid.

I have never taken off my shoes for a session with a kid, but hey, sure I could, if I felt that it was of service to the session.

But.

Fuck.

Not if my feet smell like bad molding cheese.

God damn.

I am not over exaggerating, even if I have a tendency toward the dramatic, I am not being dramatic, it was bad.

So bad that an hour later when my group supervisor and the rest of the interns coming in for our 2p.m. session, noticed it, complained and opened the windows wider.

I shared with one of the interns about why it smelled that way and that the room also had not been vacated on time, the therapist had gone over with his client.

I was livid.

I had the room assigned to me and I had a consult waiting in the hallway.

I understand that I am working in a community mental health facility, but fuck, people, professionalism.

PLEASE.

There is something therapeutic about what I am modeling for my clients by showing up on time, by presenting a clean persona, by having a nice outfit on.

I don’t have to be dressed to the nines, but I present nicely.

I mean, I am a professional nanny during the day, I run around with a four-year old and a seven-year old and I am constantly juggling a baby–which is great, I joke often that I am emitting baby smell which has to be a therapeutic smell if there ever was one–who sometimes burps up milk or mashed carrot on me.

But.

I have back up clothes at work.

I have nanny shoes.

I have therapy shoes.

I bring in my nice clothes, I change, I put on my therapy shoes, I tidy my hair, I make sure that there’s no burp residue on me, I refresh my lipstick before I hop on my scooter and zip to my internship after my day job has ended.

I pull it together.

Ugh.

I am done ranting.

I guess I have just been taken by surprise a few times by the lackadaisical attitude of some of the interns.

I take what I am doing so fucking seriously, I want to be good.

I mean.

Really good.

I am proud of what I have accomplished and it feels good to give it acknowledgement.

I had hot pink hair when I started my Masters of Psychology program.

I have a lot of tattoos.

A lot.

And.

I dressed flamboyantly, glittery makeup, big flowers in my hair.

A little faux queen if you will.

Big hair.

Big personality.

And I love that about myself, that I can pull out a fabulous costume from my closet and do it up, but I remember quite distinctly when I began the process of interviewing for practicum that I wanted to present a bit more polished.

I went and got a good hair cut.

I went back to my natural color.

I hadn’t been my “natural” hair color in god only knows how many years.

Purple, magenta, green, blue, yellow, hot pink, cotton candy pink, rainbow sherbert, name a color I had it.

I stopped painting my nails super dark colors.

Oh.

I still do now and again, but I tend towards a neutral manicure now.

I toned down my clothes, I got some good clean, easy dresses from the Gap and a couple from Asos, that I could layer with a classic black cardigan.

I softened my makeup.

I almost never wear winged eyeliner anymore and I don’t wear glitter.

Well.

Maybe a tiny bit of sparkle, but it’s so subtle now, you might not notice it at all.

I stopped wearing flowers in my hair.

I still have them.

I will wear them at Burning Man.

I will have a wild hair parade everyday out there, I will wear flowers and ribbons and hats and fascinators and I will have fabulous makeup and flamboyant dresses.

I will wear fucking antlers on my head.

See if I won’t.

But.

Not when I have a session with a client.

I like this refined me.

It feels adult.

I like wearing heels and nice button down shirts and expensive jeans and soft, clean makeup, I still wear hoops, but not the super gigantic ones anymore.

Oh.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m an attractive woman and I have unique features and my hair is always going to be wild, but it’s just wild brown curls now not hot pink curls, and well, the tattoos, they will always be there and there will probably be another one or two add to the mix.

I am never not going to be noticeable.

But fuck me.

I will be professional.

And that’s my business.

I don’t have to judge how others do it, even though, shit, half this blog was all about judging mister stinky feet and the sloppy ass interns in t-shirts and dirty jeans, but I do get to process it out here.

So that when I interact with them.

I can be professional.

Because.

I am.

I am a psychotherapist.

And I will dress like it because it pleases me to do so.

So there.

Ha.


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