Posts Tagged ‘cohort’

The Poetry Is

December 1, 2018

Spectacular.

I was bowled over by the compliment I just received from a professor regarding a poem I wrote and recorded for a group project in one of my classes.

It is always nice to hear that, that my poetry is “spectacular.”

I mean, who doesn’t want to hear that?

I’m always so flattered.

It comes naturally and it comes with great effort.

I have taken a great deal of time to cultivate and practice my writing skills.

I find that because I have taken so much time doing the work that when I need to sit down and do it, it comes easily and smoothly with what feels like minimal effort.

That means, however, that I have to continually be practicing to keep that flow going.

I can’t rest on the laurels of my gym results from last year if I want to stay in shape.

I have to write.

And therefore it gives me much pleasure to be back here again writing.  I don’t know that I will be able to post as much as I did prior to jumping off into my PhD program, but I am hopeful that I will give it a good god damn shot.

I have to admit that when my blog got intertwined with my professional site I was really upset, how was I not going to be able to blog?

How?

Then, slowly, I saw that it was a gift, this little break from my practice.

It was a opprotunity to do the writing for my classes instead of for my blog.

I have done so much writing for classes.

Each week I’m posting about 4,000-5,000 words in discussion groups.

On top of a pretty constant hum of papers, projects and just all the reading.

My God.

There is a lot of reading.

But as I sit here reflecting on all of that I am also sitting next to a gigantic stack of books I have read.

In fact.

There’s only one book left to read and I’m not 100% certain, but I’m feeling pretty close to it, there may not be any articles left to read either.

I’m sure something will crop up, it always seems to do so.

Yet.

When those things have cropped up I have been able to navigate through them.

Not without some profanity, I won’t lie, I have sworn a lot at my computer over the last couple of months and on more than one occasion, or fifteen, I have wondered, what the fucking hell am I doing?

I have so much on my plate.

Just working full-time and getting my private practice up in running is more than enough to keep anyone busy, let alone putting the course work for a PhD on the line too.

I have a lot going on.

And somehow, everything’s been getting done.

Sometimes at what feels like the last-minute, but I realize that I get it done and I get things turned in on time.

I have already witnessed a distinct amount of people in my cohort suddenly just disappearing.

Some of it is in not participating as much with the discussion groups and some of it is not even checking in on a group project.

I basically had someone completely no-show for the entirety of one of the group projects I was involved with, and at one point I actually thought that I was going to be doing it alone as the other person took such a long time jumping in.

And it got done and my professor thought my poetry was spectacular.

So.

Yeah.

I think my brain can let up on the, what are you doing part, because I am doing something big and worthy and worthwhile and beautiful and it’s going to be a long haul, it is, but that’s ok.

I’m only getting older anyway and I want to really leave my mark out on the world.

However I can, whether it is in service to my recovery community, my therapy clients, or just being an example to someone that you can get what you want despite where you come from or the hardships you have had.

I am excited for what it will all bring, even knowing that it will be a tremendous amount of work and that the great deal of effort I am putting in now is not done for naught.

I keep being told too that my writing is good, that my writing is needed in academia, that my ideas are good, that my contributions are worthwhile and wanted.

It’s nice to feel wanted.

It’s nice to feel that I am contributing, especially at this level of academia.

I suspect that there will be fewer people next semester in my cohort than there was at the beginning of the program.

But I know I will be there and I know that I will continue to strive to do the best I can and show up.

One day at a time.

One hour at a time.

One minute at a time.

Just doing the next thing in front of me.

I will get there.

Wherever there is.

There is here, is now, is in this moment, in this creation, this mass of words and thoughts and dreams.

There is in the space between the words where the love light shines and I find myself again and again in the poetry and the prose of my experience.

In my narrative, my story, my life.

Writing it all as it happens, lucky to be so fortunate to be able to do so and happy that I can continue to do so.

For that I am aware that I am lucky.

I am a very lucky girl.

Very.

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Back Home

September 5, 2018

With a huge stack of books and notebooks and pages and pages and pages of syllabi.

Oh my God.

What have I fucking done?

I went from feeling pretty good about it all to feeling super overwhelmed after my last class.

The irony being that it was the class I figured I was going to enjoy the most.

Of course, with some perspective, I still think I am going to enjoy it the most, but I am awash in the anxiety of having to produce the work.

There is a lot of work.

Yesterday’s class blew me out of the water at the intensive.

I really liked the professor.

In fact, I am quite fond of him as he swooped in one morning seeing me sitting by myself at breakfast and made me join his table at the intensive.

We had a great talk.

He loves Paris.

I love Paris.

We are now friends.

Plus, he has had an extraordinary life, three marriages, multiple degrees, Harvard, Brown, CIIS, somewhere else I forget.

Of course he has a PhD as well.

And a lot of papers that he’s written and he seems to be the co-collaborator of the way the course work is designed.

First of all.

Let me say that I had some, well, not exactly contempt, but a little wiggle of worry that because my PhD is an “online” program, that it would not be academically rigorous.

Fuck my life.

Academic rigor galore.

In fact, as one second year told me, she thinks that we actually do more work than a traditional PhD program and I think she’s right.

Second.

I was in the dark a little about the length.

I had this idea that the program is only two years long.

The course work is only two years long.

Then there’s methodology, the comprehensive exams, research, the writing, the proposal and the defense of said proposal.

The course work will be four semesters.

Then I can expect at least another four more semesters of work to finish the dissertation.

Which means two more years.

And the professor made it very clear that the fastest anyone could possible do the whole shebang was 4.5 years.

What I heard from most of the people in the program was that if I did the course work and stayed the course with my research, readings, writing, methods, etc, that it would take in total about 5 years.

So.

It’s no different from any other doctoral program with the exception of the majority of the coursework is submitted online and that a large component of all my classes is to interact and engage with the learning community on-line.

There are 30 of us in the cohort split into two sections.

There are three classes.

Introduction to Transformative Society; Self, Society, and Transformation; and Creative Inquiry: Scholarship for the 21st Century.

I am the only student from San Francisco, though the school is located in San Francisco.

There were a lot of students from the East Coast, New York mainly, I think six of my fellows were from New York, one from up state New York.

One from London, a University Professor of Psychoanalytics and Psychodynamics.

One student from Hong Kong.

One student from Oakland.

Another from somewhere in the East Bay, a few from up North, somewhere in Canada, I totally forget now, another from D.C.

The woman from D.C. was also an MFT and teaches as well at university level, specifically Art Therapy and Play Therapy for adults, she was super sweet and insisted I call her if I have any questions about marketing or setting up my private practice internship.

Said internship that although I took materials with me to work on I did absolutely no work on at all, I was so immersed in the classroom experience and the work at the intensive.  And I read a lot while I was there on my breaks, as much as I could without totally isolating myself in my room.

Anyway, a lot of high-caliber, smart people.

Majority of them women, which was very, very cool.

Grateful to be part of some smart, intelligent, driven women.

Very grateful.

One of whom came up to me with a piece of paper today in a notebook that she was keeping to show to our future selves, our name with Dr. in front of it.

I was more than happy to write mine down.

Dr. Carmen Regina Martines.

Fuck that looks good.

And now I can stop giving myself grief that I maybe was in an “easy” PhD program because it was two years and online.

Silly rabbit.

It is not easy at all.

The great thing that I realized though, after having a bit of panic and overwhelm when I was in my Creative Inquiry class yesterday, is that the material is not beyond me.

I understand the concepts, they make sense.

Oh sure, a lot of the material is new to me, I haven’t studied these things before, but I have been reading academic papers and books now at a higher level of understanding for the last three years and the materials are not cowing me.

Nope.

Not at all.

That was a nice realization for me to make.

What was causing the panic was the number of deliverables that I must have for Creative Inquiry.

8 papers.

8!

And though some of them are short, I have a couple that are not, and two that are quite big.

Plus I have to get published.

Are you fucking kidding me.

I have to actually publish a review of a scholarly journal.

Holy shit.

Now.

I am excited.

But yesterday I was just overwhelmed.

What the fuck?  I remember thinking I have to get something published too as a requirement of the course, Jesus, plus, oh, great, thanks, I also found out that I have another book to read, in addition to the books already lined up for the course, I had to pick one of four others that were presented.

Let me say this.

I will not be going anywhere without carrying a book or an article to read.

That’s why I got overwhelmed, 8 papers for this class, three for Self and Society, and one big whopper for Intro to Transformative Studies.

Plus weekly discussions and comments and interactions with my cohort.

I worked a lot on my calendar yesterday and I’m not 100% certain, but it looks like I will have to read two to three books per week to get through all the material.

Well, not quite, more like 2.5 per week.

Plus the articles, many of them big, long, academic papers of over 30 pages, and every class has three or four of these a week.

So yeah.

The material doesn’t scare me, it’s just getting the time to do it.

I’m not sure what’s going to have to go out of my schedule, but somethings definitely are.

Maybe a few less blogs a week.

Maybe.

I’ll let you know.

For now, I’m just happy I’m home and all my stuff is put away and I get to sleep in my own bed tonight.

Very happy for that.

Very.

 

In The Right Place

September 3, 2018

And if there were any doubts about my PhD program, they were all erased today.

Replaced by a feeling of knowing, really knowing that I am in the right place, at the right time, in the right program, with a cohort of people who I am really beginning to like and  respect.

I had my second full day of classes and the class today really (and when I say class let me say that one class was six hours, with a meal break in between, these are not your standard “classes” that are 50 minutes long) brought it home for me.

The first part of the class was really a sort of getting to know you exercise that took a bit longer than I was ready for and made me squirm a little bit as some folks began to go over time, but it was a good way to hear more about the folks in my cohort, and that was nice.

But.

It was the next part of the class, when the professor introduced to us the realities of the work and how the course was set up, the readings, and what he hoped to accomplish that would allow us to do our dissertations and get through to the final doctoral degree.

He expressed what we were going to do and how we would get there and I could see al the ideas that have been percolating in my head start to coalesce.

I had gotten really good feedback from the Dean of the school when I interviewed with her, she had never heard of anyone covering the topic I want to do and that excited me.

But that was back in February, March?

Back when I was still in my Masters program.

And I still have had the idea, still have had the interest in pursuing it.

But here.

At the intensive, it suddenly felt alive and very, very real.

The course work is no fucking joke.

I am going to be reading until my eyes bleed.

However

The cool thing is that I won’t have to write as many papers as I did for my Masters program.

Of course, there will be the dissertation and God only knows how long that will end up being.

God willing it will become a book.

I mean.

I really could see the culmination of the effort not just netting me the PhD, but also getting to work on putting out a book.

I’m really excited about it and my fellows in the cohort have been asking me questions and really into my inquiry.

Makes me happy.

After we had our lunch break and came back to class for the second half of the six-hour class, I was ready to dive in.

I had a nice lunch break and had gone for a little walk to get some fresh air and a coffee and sat down at the beach for a little while, got some salt spray on my face and some sun and felt refreshed and ready to jump back into the material.

Material that I was excited by, work that I am looking forward to doing.

Oh.

I’m a touched overwhelmed too, won’t lie about that, the reading load is really quite heavy, but if I consistently read, every day, as much as I can, I will get through it.

And that the writing is far less substantive heartens me.

I will have to have a big online presence, which will be a little new for me, but I have done it before with a couple of my former classes, so it’s not a completely new experience, it will just have to be something that I am consistent with.

There is going to be a lot of me working on this for a long time.

I’m grateful though, I’m grateful for the opportunity to do the work and I’m grateful to be excited and I’m grateful for the talk I had with my professor after class ended.

I went up to him and thanked him for presenting the class how he did and I told him that he had assuaged the last tiny feelings of why wasn’t I just going for a PhD in Psychology versus doing a PhD in Transformative Studies.

He asked after my inquiry and I told him what I was thinking about and he got excited.

HE GOT EXCITED!

For a tenured core faculty professor who has published over 50 articles and written I don’t know how many books, but more than one, he published his first when he was just 30, and he speaks five fucking languages, for this professor to be excited by my idea was really such a great feeling.

I think I floated away from the classroom.

I mean.

I am tired.

It’s been a lot of showing up, being present, paying attention, taking copious notes, reading, although not as much as I did yesterday, I tried to connect more with the cohort today and hung out with my fellows and talk, but I still did read, and being out of my comfort zone, in a new environment, yeah.

Tired.

But good tired.

And tired happy.

Tired that there’s going to be so much.

But also tired with a purpose.

I have a purpose, there’s an end goal and the program is exquisitely designed to get me to that finishing point.

In fact.

As far as PhD programs go, they have one of the highest success rates of programs in the United States for actually getting PhD students all the way through the process to the doctoral degree.

Most programs see 30% drop out in the first year.

So seeing the mechanics of how it works and what I have to do to get there and how thoughtfully it was all laid out.

Well.

It made me smile.

It really did.

IMG_E4816

 

And Another Thing

May 1, 2018

Just printed off my therapy verification form for my therapist to sign.

Meaning, that I will have proven, as is required by my program, that I have done a year of therapy while seeing clients at my practicum site.

I have therapy tomorrow before work.

I am ready!

I don’t know that I have ever been this excited to go to a session.

Granted.

I do like my therapist and I get a lot out of working with her.

But don’t get me wrong.

It is work.

And I feel pretty worked out right now.

In fact.

I just got back from doing the deal and there was a mediation, a candle light meditation, and yes, ahem, I did, in fact, fall asleep.

Thank God I didn’t snore.

I was a bit abashed, but I don’t think anyone noticed.

It was warm and quiet and honestly, I think I was more tuckered out today than I was expecting to be.

I think I was thinking I was going to be elated, uplifted, super energetic, I finished my last paper, I turned it in, I’m done!

But I’m not.

Not quite anyway.

I still have to go to class.

I still have to turn in paperwork, I’ll be reviewing my check list tomorrow to make sure I have all the things I need as I walk into the last weekend of school.

I really want to have all the paperwork done.

REALLY want that.

I did also, have some homework to do today, it was fun, not too hard, and I could have been annoyed by it, but I just let myself get into it.

Our professor asked that we write a little note of appreciation for each person in the class.

To the general eye roll of most of us.

I had started a few of them last week and I realized this morning that I had fifteen yet to go.

So I brought them into work and did a few while the baby napped and then when my little girl charge got home from school we sat down together over tea and snacks and she helped me with them.

She also got strawberry juice on a bunch of them, but fuck it, I thought it was sweet.

I wrote notes and she put stickers all over them.

I actually found them quite charming after she had decorated them and it was a nice little thing to do with her.

I had an extra one in the pack of colored paper squares the professor had handed out, which I couldn’t figure out who I was missing, after I looked over the class roster five times, then realized, oh, ha, it’s me, I’m counting myself and though I appreciate my efforts these past three years, I don’t need to write myself an affirmation on a piece of construction paper.

heh.

But I wrote her one.

For being such a good helper and being the best hugger ever.

She likes to call them “huggies.”

It’s pretty adorable.

Thank God work wasn’t too stressful today, I did feel pretty damn tired all day, I think I had a homework hang over.

It’s been such a big push to get all this work done.

Plus negotiating my supervision hours this week.

I finally got two different options sorted out that will allow me to get supervision and also to not miss class and if it goes well, I will also be able to do the closing ceremony with the cohort.

The Wednesday supervisor got back to me and said show up and I will ask if anyone is willing to skip so that you can attend.

I don’t care for that so much, but fuck it, I’m fine to do it.

I’d rather just know that I can attend.

Hoping that someone cancels and I don’t have to make a mea culpa pitch to the group, but whatever if I have to, I have to.

That day’s going to be a doozy.

Wednesday that is.

I’ve got an early start at work.

The GI appointment.

And hey, thanks reflux for making an appearance today, just in case I had forgotten what it felt like.

Ugh.

After that though, comes the exciting bit, my interview for a private practice internship.

Oh snap.

What the fuck am I going to wear?

I hadn’t thought about that.

Something to think about.

Then if all goes well I’ll be in group supervision at 5:30 pm.

If it doesn’t go as I hope, I can also opt to do supervision with my regular supervisor on Saturday after class, missing the closing ceremony, but getting the needed supervision I need to see clients this week.

I have seven on the books, six after tonight’s session.

Grateful for all the things falling together.

And tired.

I am ready to call it a day.

It’s been a long week already.

hahaha.

It’s only Monday.

Done

April 30, 2018

I mean.

The paper, that is.

It’s done.

It is done!

IT’S DONE!!

OH MY FUCKING GOD!

IT’S DONE.

My last paper of the semester is done and sent in.

30 pages.

10,062 words.

That makes it the longest paper I have written in graduate school, apt that it is the last one I am writing for my program degree.

My God.

All I have to do for the next weekend of classes is show up.

I have no homework.

I have finished it all.

I didn’t have to finish it today.

But.

I absolutely had to finish it today.

I have a full week and not much wiggle room between work and clients at my internship.

Plus trying to figure out supervision.

Which, I think I may have figured out, I contacted my group supervisor and asked if there was any way I could meet with her after the normal group meets on Saturday.

That means I will miss the closing class ceremony, but that’s not a requirement of the course load, it’s just something the cohort is doing as a sort of ending ceremony.

Which is fine.

I don’t actually mind missing that.

I do mind missing the class time.

I would rather be in class and participate that way.

And I also sent out another request to the Wednesday supervisor to please let me know if an opening comes up, so if there’s a cancellation or a missing person I can take their spot.

I would like to do the ceremony with the cohort, I think it will be a nice way to close out the experience, though if truth be told I think it’s a bit on the woo woo side of town.

However, I don’t have an issue with it.

I am going to have my own little ceremony, my own party, and I will get to be with my people.

People who have seen me through this very long and arduous road of academia.

My God.

I mean.

I had stacks of books and readers on the floor of my kitchen today.

I was amazed at the amount of reading I have done.

And the stacks of books and readers was about a 1/4 of what I have read and digested.

A lot of articles were on-line, especially this last semester.

And I sold back a lot, the majority of my books.

I had to integrate 10 different sources into my paper from readers, articles, lectures, books, that I have read, and I pulled a bunch of them out of the closet today where I keep the books and readers I couldn’t sell back, and I did a quick dive in to see what there was to see.

There was so much.

So much.

I was really taken by how much was there that I have read, every semester, the accumulation of knowledge in my head, the reading, the writing, the integration of all the work.

I really have done a lot of work.

Not just on this paper, which yes, I did a lot of work on this paper, but overall.

The amount of showing up, reading, and writing.

The amount of internal processing and external.

The year and a half of practicum work and supervision.

The two-week long intensives that I attended.

All the things I didn’t do because I was doing homework.

And the conflict in my cohort, the privilege that I got to speak out against, the learning how to hold that conflict, address it, heal it and move on.

The work is no joke.

I’m grateful for it though.

I have learned so much.

About myself.

About others.

The paper I wrote today had four parts to it and each part had a series of sections, about four to six parts, sometimes eight that had to be addressed.

It made me really break apart and break down what I have studied, what I have learned.

And it showed me that I have learned more than I thought.

I have a great capacity for knowledge.

For this I am grateful.

I also am grateful that I am, that I have chosen to be, in a career that will continue to push me, continue to require that I learn more.

My career is always going to have me expanding my knowledge base and learning more.

It’s exciting.

Although.

I am also grateful that I can take a little break now.

The weight of that paper has been lifted off my shoulders.

It still doesn’t feel real yet, but it’s really done.

I have submitted it and that means that there is nothing left to do.

Oh.

Ha.

I have to lead a guided meditation on Friday for ten minutes.

Heh.

I think I can do that.

Sit down, close your eyes, breathe.

Done.

It’s a beautiful thing being done.

I’m just going to sit here for a moment and enjoy the lack of nothing to do.

It’s rather extraordinary.

Kicking Ass

April 27, 2018

Taking names.

Or so it felt like.

I mean.

I just re-arranged my calendar and wrote some e-mails.

But it felt really good.

I had a lot of small things that I needed to attend to today and I was given a beautiful chunk of alone time at the work today to do so.

I knew that I was going to have a couple of hours so I brought my computer with me today.

I don’t normally, but today, with the promise of two to three hours on my own I knew I would be remorseful if I wasted that time.

I read an article for my Research Methods class.

I emailed two supervisors, no, three!

I got my supervision schedule figured out for the next couple of weeks.

Unfortunately I have to skip 1/2 of a class on Saturday of my next school weekend, but as I’ve already turned in my final paper for that class I don’t feel too bad about it.

I usually go to a Wednesday night supervision group if I can’t make my Saturday group and when I e-mailed the supervisor got back to me and said the group was overbooked, she wouldn’t be able to see me.

I was a touch annoyed, but then I thought, ok, I’ll just cut class half way through and I’ll email the professor letting her know why I am.

Basically not playing hooky to go to the beach, but cutting class to spend two hours in supervision so that I can see my clients that week.

Then.

I went over my graduation check list again.

One would think that it would be easy but, um no.

It is two pages, two, of things that need to be done.

From therapy verification forms–my program requires that I attend a year of therapy with a licenced MFT, which I have done but I have not had  my therapist sign off on the form yet, technically I have to attend a few more sessions to hit the 50 sessions required, but I have been going for a year, I’m shy a few sessions from my therapist being on vacation, but my therapist has assured me she will sign the form.

I’ve done 44 sessions, I’ll be doing my 45th on Tuesday and I plan on bringing in the form with me to have her sign it then.

I won’t be ending therapy with her, she’s great and I could stand the support as I proceed further in my career.

Heck.

My career has barely even started, I’m not yet even to the point where I can get paid.

But.

I’m not that far off.

Which brings me to some exciting news.

I have an interview with a private practice to be an intern next Wednesday!

The therapist is a former professor, one of the ones I reached out to the last time I was writing this blog, and she got back to me yesterday saying yes, she would be interested and we should talk, when was good?

I shot her some times and we have a date to talk next Wednesday at 3 p.m.

I am over the moon.

First, because she is amazing and a great teacher and how she held the frame of the class leads me to believe that she is also a really gifted therapist and she’s someone I can learn a lot from.

Second, a private practice intern gets paid.

Not much, but fuck, it’s better than the zero dollars I get now for seeing clients.

I know, I know, all the experience I’m gaining, and though it’s true, I’ve also been training for the last three years to do what I do and I’m good.  I deserve to be getting something back other than accruing another hour towards licensure.

I don’t know how much it would be, but yeah, anything is going to help.

Third, and this is so lovely, she’s got an office at Activ Space, which is where my current internship is located.

She’s in the same damn building!

I could work with her and I could work with Liberation Institute.

I have to stay with Liberation right now until my Associate MFT # is assigned to me by the BBS (Behavioral Board of Sciences).

I cannot be a private practice intern until I get that number.

I can’t accrue hours.

I can’t be paid.

But.

If I’m working for an agency or a non-profit, I work for a non-profit, I can continue to accrue hours and see clients.

I still have to get a lot of supervision, 3 hours a week, until I get that AMFT#, but as soon as that’s done I can go to a ration of 10:1 versus 5: 1 (10 clients to one hour of supervision versus 5 clients to one hour of supervision).

Speaking of supervision, that was also something I addressed today, not just checking in to see where I could get it, but also to connect with my current group supervisor to get the solo supervision I will need for the next three months as I wait for the BBS to assign me a number.

She said she could and we confirmed our first meeting.

Very grateful I can keep my client load and still be getting hours.

I know some folks in my cohort are choosing to take the three months off, but frankly that makes no sense to me.

I have to accrue hours to get the licence, I might as well be doing it for the three months while I wait for my number.

I’m going to have some vacation time anyway, but still it seems frivolous to not be getting some hours during that time frame.

Despite all that, I am very excited by the prospect of getting to be a private practice intern and I’m excited for the convenience, should it work out, I’m used to the space, I know I can park, and I know I could fit in my needs there.

So that was a bit of what I did on my big break at work.

I am very, very, very happy with myself.

And!

I got the framework of my last paper set up.

I started in, I got it organized.

I will be able to sit down this weekend and do the writing, I even did a little bit today.

The final paper is no longer than 29 pages long, not including the bibliography, table of contents, title page, and index.

I have 21 pages written.

I only have eight more pages to go.

EIGHT MORE PAGES!

So damn close.

I’m almost there.

Thank fucking God.

So Many Details

April 20, 2018

I had a lot of stuff that I had to remember to do today.

Little things, but things that needed to be attended to.

I had a new client, so I had to print of new client paper work, plus some of my files are shy on progress notes and so I printed off a bunch of paperwork to bring into my internship.

I have learned the hard way that there are often times therapy sessions being held in the office that has the majority of the paperwork so I will print off my own at home to save me the headache of not being able to get what I need.

I was super lucky tonight and managed to sneak in right after a client left a therapy session in the office and I was able to procure the file for my new client.

That was smooth.

I’m back to running with a full eight clients.

Although it is rare that I see all eight clients in the same week, a lot of cancellations.

Which happens when the sliding scale is so low and people decide they can afford to cancel at the last-minute.

I can’t afford to cancel my therapist last-minute, I’m on the lowest end of her sliding scale and that’s $120 an hour.

Not an acceptable trade-off for last-minute cancelling.

However, I have plenty of clients that pay $10 or $20 a session.

It tends to lead to clients cancelling.

Sometimes I think I should be running with ten clients to make up for the frequent cancellations, but then again, right now, what with trying to get through the rest of the school year and get to graduation, I think it’s best to sit at eight.

Speaking of graduation.

I just did a bunch of work for my graduation invitation for the beach bonfire party May 19th.

I’m super jazzed to be able to have a party and so, so, so grateful for my friends who are helping out.

My best friend is in charge and gave me a time line of things to do and I flubbed already, but I’m hoping to redeem myself with the content and copy that I just sent out.

We shall see.

I’m not the best when it comes to those sorts of things.

Hopefully it will be enough.

And if it’s not, I can figure that out too.

My primary focus is just getting through the next few weeks and getting the papers done that I have to write.

I booked myself some time to write this weekend, it may not be all in one go, which is generally how I like to write, but I have some commitments Sunday that take up time.

I”m hopeful that I will get the majority of it done on Sunday.

I will be doing internship paperwork and BBS paperwork on Saturday.

Although I might be able to get a few things jotted down on Saturday as well depends on what comes up in my schedule.

I’m not too worried.

Ha.

I lie.

I’m a bit anxious, but I have faith.

I always get my papers written, this time will be no different.

It’s exciting to be getting so close, even if it is a little nerve-wracking.

Just two more papers!

And then.

A nice chill last weekend of classes, some closing ceremonies with the cohort, some hugs, and that’s that.

There’s a week in between the last weekend of classes and Commencement.

I’m still in the can’t quite believe that I’m graduating, but it’s getting more real.

I think, actually, that working on the invitation was helpful, it sort of solidified it in my head that this is all actually happening.

Even getting my cap and gown in the mail didn’t make it real.

I sense that it will feel real when the papers are done.

I’m ready for that.

And I’m ready for Friday.

It’s been a big week.

A good one, but intense and I’m ready for the weekend.

Granted, there won’t be a lot of down time, but I will make time for it if it should coalesce.

All work and no play makes me a dull girl.

And nobody wants that.

Nobody.

I Got Asked

March 13, 2018

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

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

No.

It was an Oakland number.

Therefor local.

Therefore, necessary to answer.

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

I often give out my phone number to complete strangers.

Women!

Only the ladies, thank you.

So that’s what I thought the number was.

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

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

It was not who I was expecting.

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

From my school!

I got the call!

I got the call!

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

I have made it through to the next round.

I mean.

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

Nonetheless.

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

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

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

And.

Yes.

Yes, I just did.

I finished it before I started to write this blog.

I sent in the Diversity Scholarship application.

I got my financials together to show proof of need.

Hello.

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

But I sent in my tax forms to be transparent.

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

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

Here’s what I wrote:

Diversity Scholarship Application

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

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

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

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

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

 

Ta da.

Hopefully that works.

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

And now.

I am happy to wrap this up.

I have done enough work for today.

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

I am done.

I am good.

I am so happy it’s all in.

And.

I go the interview!

Yes.

Time To Take A Break

March 12, 2018

I should have just skipped it.

Trying to do more work after wrapping up a fairly exhausting weekend of classes, but no, I tried to do more.

But my brain was not working and as I was getting teary eyed in the Pete’s Coffee across the street from my school I knew it was time to concede and throw in the towel.

I was done.

I was a burnt little piece of toast.

Instead I had a really good talk with my best friend who bolstered my spirits and kept me on the phone out the door of the cafe, into my car and up to the Castro where I had to go for my next round of commitments for the day.

Man.

It was a long day.

And of course, I’m just now remembering that it was Daylight Savings so I was on one less hour of sleep.

I got up at 6:30 p.m. which felt like 5:30 a.m.

In fact, I got up right before my alarm went off to use the bathroom, crawled back into bed thinking I had another hour of rest and then the alarm went off and reminded me, that no, nope, no way, it was time to get up and start my day.

It was a hard day and I did a lot of work to stay with it and I am proud of myself for showing up the way I did.

There is a lot of stuff that needs to be addressed before I graduate and the final projects are coming together and I need to be doing more work around those, but for today, well.

I’m fucking done.

It’s ten minutes to 10 p.m. and I have to be up early again tomorrow to go to supervision before work.

I will say, however, that I figured out one small part of the Diversity Scholarship Application that I needed to do and the problem that was so insurmountable at the coffee shop was quickly remedied when I got home.

Some fellowship, some recovery, some doing the deal, meeting with my person and getting right with God, and voila!

Computer stuff is a walk in the park.

I’m still not doing it quite correct, but I don’t give a good god damn, I did what I needed to do and its enough, I have to remind myself that all that time, the work I do is enough.

I did a lot of work this weekend, I participated in every class, I brought myself forward, I was vulnerable with personal experiences and I used that vulnerability to show resilience and to model how my experiences can be of service to my cohort.

At least that’s what I hope I did.

It seemed as though it landed well, my efforts this week, and I’m happy with how I showed up, although, frankly, exhausted, it’s work, this school program and a lot of that work is process work, processing the experience of being in school, the psychological fallout of my own issues and my own work and then watching the interplay of what is happening with others in my cohort and what they are working with.

It was a lot.

And I’m tuckered out.

I don’t even feel much like writing more.

I sort of just want a snack and a cup of tea and a little video to chill out to.

I have a big full week, of course I do, seven clients this week, supervision, therapy, yoga if I can muster the energy before therapy and work on Tuesday, plans to see my best friend, work, as always, and getting my scholarship application filled out and sent in.

I will finish the rest of the work on the application tomorrow.

Now that I have figured out my technical issues it shouldn’t take more than a half hour, 45 minutes tops, to get everything done and turned in.

Fingers crossed.

The scholarship is worth $5,000.

It is applied directly to tuition.

And I don’t even know what the tuition is yet for the program I applied to.

Hopefully I will be hearing back from the program in the next couple of weeks.

I will either get called in for an interview, or I won’t.

I suspect I will.

The dean of the program had related to me that they generally decide within two weeks of the application deadline who they are going to call in for interviews.

I was told that they’ll make the decision very quickly after the interviews are done and that the entire process is typically done by the end of March.

Today’s the 11th.

I am assuming I’ll get the phone call this week.

That’s the thought, anyway.

And then interview. and then go get my PhD.

Of course.

There will be lots of work between here and there.

I can’t quite hold it all right now though, my head is too full and I am too tired.

So with that.

I bid you a wonderful good night.

And sweet dreamy dreams.

The sweetest.

Reading The Fine Print

January 9, 2018

I just went through the handbook for my Master’s program with a fine tooth comb.

The one thing that I have found challenging in my program is the apparent lack of information as well as the over abundance of information.

I feel like there is so much information that just is not applicable to my experience or the learning and then there’s information that I really need, but it’s buried on page 41 of the 50 page handbook.

I’m glad I found it though.

I have gotten a mixed bag of mis-information from fellows in my cohort as well as interns in my group supervision about how many hours I need to have accrued in practicum to graduate.

I need 225 to graduate.

Of those hours I must have 150 direct client hours–sessions with my clients, not phone sessions or e-mails or paperwork or progress work–face to face sessions.

I had thought that I needed 250 direct hours and I was beginning to get a little nervous.

I should not have any problems getting the hours.

Or so I thought.

I have eight clients that I see on a weekly basis.

But.

They cancel.

Or.

They no-show.

And it’s rare, I’m seeing quite clearly now as I just got home early because a client no-showed, that I actually see all eight clients during the week.

So when I was thinking I needed 250 direct face to face hours by May, I started to get concerned.

I won’t make it, it won’t happen, how is that possible?

How is it possible that I am heading into my third semester of practicum and don’t have enough hours?

How?

As of right now I have 240 hours.

But only 130 of them are direct face to face hours.

I felt flummoxed and upset and annoyed and then I begin to berate myself.

Why did I post that stupid thing about graduating in May and filling out my graduation application?

I’m not going to graduate!

Whoa.

Slow down there.

I don’t have enough information.

I realized that I cannot just go on the information drifting about through the hallways at school or in the office where I do my group supervision.

I have to take responsibility and find out that myself.

So I went to the academics page on the school’s website, signed into my account, found my program.

And.

Voila!

There on page 46 of the 49 page hand book:

Students must complete a minimum of 225 hours [at least 150 direct client contact hours plus 75 Client-Centered Advocacy (CCA) hours] while enrolled in practicum prior to graduation.

Sweet Jesus.

I am fucking fine.

I am only twenty hours shy of having the direct client contact hours.

As for client centered advocacy I don’t have nearly that much, I have six hours.

But I do know this much, it doesn’t matter if I don’t get all the client centered advocacy hours, if I have more direct client hours, I can count those towards graduation.

Ultimately it is the face to face sessions that mean the most and I have to acquire the majority of my hours there.

And I also recognize that I could be actively going after more CCA hours as well.

Client centered advocacy could be doing research on a client and their family lineage, it could be watching a movie about alcoholics, it could be reading a CAMFT (California Assoication of Marriage Family Therapists) magazine or a psychology magazine.

Today I actually had some down time at work, and while the baby napped I read a number of articles in a psychology magazine on workaholism and chuckled to myself, multi-tasking, working and also accruing hours, sounds like I’m the workaholic in this instance.

But I’m happy I did the reading as I had that no-show and I was able to mark down another hour.

I think that I will try to acquire two hours of CCA per week as I move forward, more if I can.

I can also read outside articles, books, and go to seminars and do trainings.

But just knowing that I actually have enough moving forward is a bit of a relief.

I was getting a little worried.

I also realize that I am probably going to have to let one client go with whom I have been doing pre-dominantly phone sessions.

I am not allowed to count Telemedicine through my school.

I can towards my license, but not towards my graduation needs.

I want to be safe and make sure that I’m not squandering my time.

I am excited and relieved to have reckoned all of that out and grateful for a really good talk with my solo supervisor today.

Who happened to be quite intrigued with my dissertation idea and to my surprise, completely supports me going for the PhD.

I told him I had actually had hesitation to even mention that I was going to apply for the PhD because I thought he might disapprove of my decision.

But he did not.

And it was amazing to sit and talk to him about my ideas and to also get some really interesting feedback from him and some areas where I will be honing in more.

I made a call to the Dean of the Transformative department after I got out of supervision.

I wasn’t able to talk to her, she was stuck in a budget meeting, but I left a message and I will follow-up tomorrow.

My advisor got back to me and said he would support my efforts and write me a letter of recommendation and we made an appointment to meet the first weekend of classes.

It’s all falling together.

Even when my brain tells me it’s not.

It really is.

So nice.

So.

Very.

Very.

Very.

Nice.


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