Posts Tagged ‘community’

Get It While

January 22, 2019

The getting is good.

I don’t have much time left.

Just a few days before my next semester of course work begins for my PhD program.

Which means, many, many, many books, articles, discussion posts and who knows how many projects, tears, yelps of frustration, and ranting there will be.

I am assuming there will be much.

There will be moments, I already know this, where I will question, what the exact fuck am I doing getting a PhD?

And there will be moments when I know beyond a doubt that I am doing exactly what I am supposed to be doing.

Showing up will, as always, be the most important thing.

I have been showing up first and foremost by doing the reading already.

I am nearly finished with my third book of the semester.

I haven’t really taken a look at any of the syllabi, well, one, a tiny bit, but there wasn’t a sequence of reading listed (I sense it will get revealed at the intensive our first day of class), so I figured, just read as much as I can while I can.

That really helped me last semester, I stayed on top of the reading by having read a couple of the books before the semester had gotten underway.

My suggestion, always start in on the reading as soon as possible.

Always carry some reading material with you as well.

I don’t know when the kids are going to be in school, out of school, sick, napping, not napping, or whether I will be doing pick up or drop off.

My schedule at work is fairly consistent but surprises always happen and the times when I thought, surely, not today will there be any time to read, there’s been time.

And, of course, the converse has happened.

I have really needed/wanted to work on something and I show up to find a home sick from school monkey.

Today was all about the monkey.

I had all three of my charges today as it was a school holiday.

The dad was home and that was nice, he took one of them and I had two of them and we sort of swapped back and forth the whole day.

I did baths, he cooked, I ran two of them up and down the hill to the playground, he did Lego models and took another out to lunch.

It worked well and it was a nice day, especially to be outside after all the rain over the past week and this weekend.

I didn’t get any reading done at work, but I did have a nickel of time in between work and my evening commitment.

I ran to the grocery store and did some shopping and then hit up Tart to Tart in the Inner Sunset for a quick half hour of reading and studying.

I feel like this is going to be a better semester from the stand point of having made it through the first one I know I can do the second.

I got all “A”s and I’m still a little overwhelmed by that and sincerely grateful to have earned them.

I do feel like I really did show up for the classes and did what was necessary and then some.

I figured when I got home that I would do some food prep and write a blog to settle myself down.

I feel like I want to do 18 different things before now and bed time but there really isn’t a lot to do.

I have to get through the next few days of work and I get to see clients tomorrow night and Wednesday.

Thursday morning I have group supervision bright and early, 8:15 a.m. so I’ll be up at 6 a.m. to get ready and be there on time, but after that, I don’t have to do anything but get my butt to the intensive and check in at 3p.m.

I’m out of supervision by 10:15a.m. and my nail salon opens at 10a.m., I’m going to go and get a mani/pedi and then treat myself to some Marnee Thai for lunch–I’ll be staying at a hotel in Burlingame which means hotel food, for the intensive, I figure one nice meal before I jet is needed.

I’m thinking I’ll be packing day of the intensive.

Burlingame is super close and won’t take me that long to get to, maybe 40 minutes depending on traffic.

It is far enough away that I will pretty much be staying there to make an effort to connect and hang out with my cohort and be present for the experience.

Although I did consider what it would be like to just stay at home the entire time and commute back and forth, I figure, I’m paying for the intensive as part of my tuition and it’s required that I attend all the classes, it will be a lot easier to just stay there the whole time.

I mean, Pacifica was where the last one was and that too isn’t too far from me in San Francisco, I could have stayed at home, but I know I would have missed out on a part of the bonding that I think is necessary to doing the classwork.

Plus, it’s good to put names to faces and I’m already thinking about a few of my classmates that I am excited to reconnect with.

Funny enough, there are a few people who at the first intensive I wasn’t much enamored of, but after witnessing how they showed up for the classes I want to touch base and let them know how much I appreciated them being in class.

And you know, it will be good to commiserate with others about the work and life and there’s not a lot of folks out in the world working on a PhD, so it’s community that I will want as I continue to do the work.

It can be a little isolating.

I do, also notice that I miss some of my cohort from my Master’s program.

So.

Yeah.

Two more days in town and then I’m out.

I’ll likely do some blogging while I’m there, but I am not committing to anything.

Last semester was a doozy, I expect that this one will be too.

Good too.

I predict it will be good too.

God lord.

I am really getting a PhD.

Crazy!

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Bullshit

January 15, 2019

I keep expecting someone to say that when I say, “thank you for 14 years.”

It sounds so surreal coming out of my mouth.

How the hell did that happen?

Really?

Fourteen years.

Nights and weekends, nothing in between, nothing to take the edge off.

As if anything really could.

Using or drinking for me over an issue or a problem would just be pouring gas on a bonfire.

I would burn it all down and I don’t actually think I would die.

That would be the easier, softer way.

No.

I think I would live a miserable, dire, soul less, ugly life.

I have so much in my life I cannot imagine ever going back.

I do see it happen though.

So here’s to having more commitments and suiting up and showing up and doing the deal no matter what.

My life is really wonderful and it was with much sweetness that I picked up some metal last night in front of my community who witnesses me with so much love.

It really awes me the amount of love I have been given access to.

Most of all, the love I feel for myself.

The level of compassion and forgiveness I have for myself really is so vast.

I didn’t have it growing up.

Occasionally I would have a moment where I thought I might have something worthy in me, I was certainly smart, but how many times does it take for a person to hear that she is “too smart for her own good,” before she begins, I begin, to think the same.

I used to also wonder.

How come if I’m so damn smart I can’t figure out my life or what I want or where I’m going.

I mean.

I had some idea.

I knew I wanted out of Wisconsin and after multiply failed attempts I made it out in 2002 to travel all the way across the country and cross the Bay Bridge in my little two door Honda Accord.

I still remember what it felt like crossing over that bridge.

I was definitely crossing a threshold.

I had no idea.

Sometimes I think it’s a good thing that I didn’t know all the things that were going to transpire.

Who knows if I would have made it out.

I do certainly remember that.

I had a feeling of dread that my time was soon to be up in Wisconsin and I needed to leave, there was a constant low-level thrum of anxiety, a beating drum of doom that throbbed just below everything.

I was in constant fear.

I had no name for it though.

I had no idea the anxiety I was under.

I knew the depression.

That I had at least been seen for, once when I was in my early twenties and when the therapist wanted to medicate me as my insurance wouldn’t allow her to continue serving me unless I was prescribed meds, I bounced.

I didn’t understand then what depression meant.

All I knew was that sometimes it was terribly hard to get out of bed.

Or bathe.

I remember my boyfriend once made a comment about it, that the sheets needed to be changed or washed and I knew I had to get out and wash the bedding and myself, but getting into the shower was so damn hard.

I can remember how sunny it was too and we lived really close to James Madison park, literally just a few blocks away on Franklin.

I can count the number of times I went to the park on a sunny summer day on one hand and have more than a few fingers left over.

I could not get myself out of the house.

I knew it would pass.

It always did.

But it started to get longer.

And longer.

I might have a day of it once in a while and then nothing for sometime and then it would just snake back in.

For some reason it happened (and can happen for me now, there’s sometimes a feeling of dread during the longest days of the year) during the summer when there was lots of light and no reason to be caged up inside.

People think depression and they see rainy days and grey skies.

I saw sunshine and couldn’t bear to be out in it.

I worked nights.

I slept days.

Sometimes, in the dead of winter I would not see the sunlight at all.

Unless it was the sunrise coming up as I was coming home from closing the bar where I worked.

I was diagnosed with Seasonal Affective Disorder in undergrad.

Turns out that some folks, about 10% of the population that has the disorder, actually experience the depression in the summer.

I remember one year that was really bad.

I was in between jobs, I had just given notice to the Essen Haus where I had been the General Manager and was transitioning to my new job at the Angelic Brewing Company as their Floor Manager (still the worst title ever, how about Queen of Doing Everything, that seems more apt).

I had two weeks off.

I was supposed to have taken those two weeks off to go on a road trip with my boyfriend, but it didn’t come to fruition due to the Angelic needing me to start before the trip had been planned.

I postponed it and planned on doing it the next year which never happened either, but I digress.

My boyfriend went to work in the morning and I sat in the living room of our apartment in a rocking chair.

I sat there all day long.

I might have read books.

I would sleep as long in bed as I could, then get up and sit in that chair until he came home.

Part of me suspected that there was something very soothing about the rocking of the chair, I used to self-soothe as a child when I was upset by rocking back and forth, I can still slip into it if I’m really freaked out.

I don’t remember much of that week, but one particular scene is always in my head and that is of the shadows growing longer and longer in the apartment as the sun set.

They would crawl slowly across the floor and I would watch them inch up the walls until the apartment was muddled in twilight and I would only get up to turn on the light five minutes before I thought my boyfriend was going to get home.

There were many nights of sitting in that chair in the dark by myself alone.

I told no one.

Wowzers.

I had no idea that was going to be what I wrote about tonight, but hey, there it is.

In addition to the SAD, I have depression.

Hahahaha.

Sigh.

Major Depressive Disorder is the clinical diagnosis.

I managed it once in early sobriety with antidepressants but after a few years I got of the meds and deal with it through writing daily in my morning journal, I use a light therapy box every morning, I write affirmations, I get outside as much as I can, I eat really, really, really well, I do my own therapy work, I cultivate relationships with my fellows and I have good damn friends.

And I don’t drink.

Alcohol is a depressant you know.

I didn’t.

Not for years.

And for years I have been pretty free from that great ocean of doom and for that I am so grateful.

My life is lovely.

Challenging, sure.

But absolutely lovely.

Thank you for 14 years!

You know who you are and I love you, very, very, very much.

Halfway There

March 9, 2018

Tomorrow marks the mid-point to the semester.

I’ll be halfway through the last semester of my Masters degree!

I’m so excited.

And.

Yes.

I am completely done with all my homework.

Everything is turned in.

I did all my reading assignments.

And I worked on my dyad partner’s paper today at work, so that I have comments and responses to her paper, that’s part of the work for this big final paper, we work in groups and read our group mates paper and make comments and help them with their work.

So I did that today at the Upper Noe Valley Rec Center.

I just had the baby out for a walk and he fell asleep in the stroller, so I grabbed a cafe au lait from Xo Cafe on Church and Day Street, walked over to the Rec Center and did the paper and then I did the evaluations for school that I have to turn in as well for the class.

I got it all done.

I’m not sure how I wrote that damn annotated bibliography yesterday and did all the reading and that I saw a licensed MFT this week, after seeing clients, and worked a lot, I put in four hours of overtime at work, paid in cash when I left today, thank you very much, and still got to do the deal.

I mean.

Whew.

It’s a week.

Plus I terminated with a client tonight.

It was a good termination and the client and I parted ways very amicably and it was a mutual termination.

It was nice to reflect on the work that happened over the course of the treatment and to see how my client has changed and how, too, I have.

The client was one of my first clients and it was good for me to see how much I have grown since I started doing my practicum.

I only have about seven more weeks of being in practicum and then it turns into an associateship.

The California Association of Marriage Family Therapist has changed the title from MFTi (intern) to associate.

Once I graduate, I become an associate.

I will be an Associate MFT.

I will have a registered number.

And I will be fully on my way to getting my license.

The next hurdle will be filling out all the paperwork and getting all the signatures.

I first, though, have to graduate.

I need to continue showing up for classes, participating, and doing the work.

But It feels really god, and I want to acknowledge that, to be halfway through the homestretch semester.

I think ordering my cap and gown really put a big explanation point on it.

I’ve been thinking about what I want to do for my graduation party.

I need to celebrate.

This Master’s degree is a huge deal for me.

Finding out what I am supposed to be doing and finding my way through school to get me to the point where I can become a licenced therapist is such a huge thing for me.

I felt like I was floundering for years not knowing exactly what I was supposed to be doing, nanny, go to Burning Man, yearn to be a published writer, never get published, nanny, think about applying to a Creative Writing Masters program, not get into it, nanny, go to Burning Man, maybe try living in Paris for a little while, come back to San Francisco, nanny some more, go to Burning Man.

Have huge epiphany at Burning Man.

Quit crappy nanny job.

Get better nanny job.

Apply to grad school.

Get in!

And suddenly I am going to be a therapist when I grow up.

When I reflect back on the journey of getting to where I am now I am absolutely flabbergasted.

How did I make it through?

And I’m still working through it, but it feels so tangible now, the hard work is paying off and I’m almost there.

I can see the diploma.

I will be framing that post-haste.

In a really nice frame.

Really nice.

Just saying.

Anyway.

So, yeah, a party.

But I’m not sure how to do it.

The commencement ceremony is from 3-5p.m. in Hayes Valley.

Do I grab an early dinner with the folks coming to my graduation and then bomb out to the beach?

I want to do a beach bonfire at Ocean Beach.

Or.

Do I skip it and head straight back to the house and get shit over to Ocean Beach and get things set up.

I feel like I need to enlist some friends to get things set up but then I’m responsible for this and I want it to be nice and I want to appreciate the friends in my life who have been so generous with me during my time in grad school.

I think I may skip trying to make dinner plans.

Maybe instead, I can do a nice brunch before hand and then go to the commencement and after ward head to the beach.

That way I can be there by 6p.m. and set things up.

Not that I’m planning anything hard or fancy.

Fire wood in a box, couple of blankets, a folding chair or two, a cooler with some sparkling water.

That’s it.

Folks want more than that, they can bring it.

Mostly I just want a reason to have a bonfire at the beach and I can’t imagine a better excuse than I am graduating with a Master’s Degree.

I want to invite lots of folks, and acknowledge all the people who helped me a long the way, past employers who wrote me letters of recommendation to get into the program, to my current employers who put up with me not working one Friday a month so I can go to classes, to friends and visiting family, and families I used to nanny for, everyone who gave me one single word of encouragement, I want them there.

Or at least to extend the invitation to be there.

And when the sunsets I will have tears on my face and joy in my heart being surrounded by friends, family, loved ones, and my community.

I cannot fucking wait.

Bring on this weekend of classes.

Let’s go!

Nice Little Day

December 24, 2017

Yoga.

Writing.

Loads of writing, just my morning pages, but the last week was super busy with early starts every day at work–I worked seven hours of overtime last week at my nanny job, so I didn’t get to my morning writing every day (skipped one day completely) or I got just a half page or maybe a page in.

Today I wrote four pages.

It felt so good.

Nice breakfast.

Leisurely latte.

Laundry.

Little bit of grocery shopping.

Group supervision.

Group today was really small, so I got to do a super long check in and do work around three clients, I don’t typically get that much time, my group is usually six of us and sometimes I get maybe fifteen minutes, twenty max, today, loads of time.

It was really good and it was also a sweet group to be in today.

Lots of support around my clients.

And.

Oh.

So nice.

I had a number of clients cancel this week and next.

Normally I wouldn’t be too happy about so many clients cancelling, but since my solo supervisor is on vacation for the next two weeks I was looking at having to get extra coverage.

As it turns out with all my cancellations next week I won’t have to at all.

Thank God.

It’s not a huge deal, but I get a lot more from my solo supervisor than the woman I go to if he’s not available.

Not to say she doesn’t have value, it’s just different and the rapport is not as strong and well, I get more from working with my supervisor.

And frankly, it’s nice to have some time off next week from clients.

I will only have two sessions next week.

One client Tuesday evening and one client on Thursday.

That’s going to be a short week for me.

And then a four-day weekend.

I will enjoy that quite a bit.

After supervision today I went into the fray.

Yes.

I went downtown on the Saturday before Christmas.

It was lit.

But.

I knew where I was going and I had a plan.

I even found parking that wasn’t metered.

I usually try to duck into the lot behind the Mint, it’s infrequently open, but once in a while you can score.

I wasn’t able to, but I went around the block and on a hunch I turned down Jessie Street and there it was, a spot, no meter, and only a block and a half from the Sprint store.

Yup.

I went and got a new SIM card for my new Iphone 8 and it’s working great.

It took a few minutes, but that’s all I had to do was stand around and wait, the tech guy in the shop did it and I didn’t have to pay for anything, which was really nice.

Then.

Heh.

I went even further into the crazy.

But it felt a little exhilarating because I had a single destination point and a gift card to Sephora burning a hole in my pocket.

I left the Sprint Store on Mission, slid through the back door of Bloomingdale’s and strode right through the makeup and perfume counters, zipped through the Westfield Mall and zig zagged through the masses of people on Market Street.

The line for the cable car was crazy.

I went into Sephora and I did a swoop.

I pretty much knew what I wanted and went to the exact make up aisles I wanted to grab products from.

I’m a total lip gloss junkie.

I picked up one of the Sephora brand lip glosses that I use on the regular and three different shades of Anastasia of Beverly Hills–one bubble gum pink with high glitter, called Girly, I know, I know, I was totally channeling my thirteen year old adolescent self (even though I never wore makeup when I was a teenager, making up hard for lost time) and then a pretty Vintage Rose gloss and a subtle glitter called St. Tropez.

Yeah.

I know “subtle” glitter.

But it sort of is.

Heh.

I had enough left over on my gift card that I splurged on a box of pretty highlight illuminating powders.

Super pretty.

I love makeup.

I love dressing up.

I love that I looked super chic and urban in my all black leotard and boho black skirt and leggings, my hair up in a high messy French bun, and my rose velvet pink Tretorns.

I had a total moment of “I have arrived.”

Which is funny.

But.

There it is.

I had that moment.

I felt happy and light and airy walking out of the crowded store.

I did not have any issue with the crowds, I got back to my car, had plenty of time to sneak in a quick pop over to Whole Foods and pick up a couple staples and fill up my gas tank before heading over to the NOPA to get right with God.

That was great.

I made dinner plans with a friend for next Saturday, I got connected, I participated and it felt lovely.

Home and a hot bowl of chicken soup with brown rice, veggies, and Andouille sausage and folding all the laundry I did earlier.

A super sweet, chill, lovely little day.

Tomorrow should be much the same, relaxed, restful, happy.

I’m going to go to yoga again in the morning, have the same leisurely sort of morning I had today, meet with ladybug and roast a chicken.

I’m thinking I’ll go to the Inner Sunset and treat myself to a mani/pedi and some eyebrow waxing, a hot cafe au lait and maybe a book from Green Apple Books, pop into the spot on 7th and Irving and get right with God and call it a day.

I’m not worried about it being Christmas Eve, it’s just a lovely Sunday that I get to relax.

And Christmas.

Well, that will be chill too.

I’m going to go over to the East Bay in the afternoon and see a girlfriend and go to a movie matinée and get Chinese food.

Super simple.

And that’s it.

No pressure.

No expectations.

I’ve been given so much this holiday season.

I have nothing to ask for.

It’s been intense.

But it’s been a really lovely Christmas.

Anything else is just more sprinkles.

(or glitter)

On top of the frosting.

Of some very lovely cake.

 

Bonked But Not Broken

December 17, 2017

Perhaps a touch tender, but for a minute I thought I was going to actually get a shiner.

Fortunately I only cut my brow bone.

How did this happen you ask?

Eagerly going in for the salad at Gus’s Market’s salad bar.

I didn’t see that the glass partition was raised, whomever had restocked the salad bar hadn’t lowered the shield and I didn’t see it.

Not at all.

I smacked right into it.

“OW!”

I said and then I started laughing, what kind of idiot I must have looked like?  I’m glad I could laugh at myself, it really was sort of funny, like someone smacking into a glass window while walking out to the patio.

I chuckled pretty hard and the guy across the way said, also laughing, “that is exactly the kind of stuff that happens to me, I’m glad I’m not alone.”

“Here to be of service,” I laughed again and got my salad.

I actually hurt myself worse than I thought.

I was standing in line to check out when I realized I could feel something dripping down my eye.

Oh my God!  Am I bleeding?

I paid for my salad and La Croix and popped open the camera app on my phone and turned it to selfie mode.

Yup.

Sure as shit, I was bleeding.

I asked one of the cashiers for the manager, who hustled right over.

I took off my glasses, explained what happened and asked for a band-aid.

I in hindsight I was pretty damn calm and I wasn’t upset about it and I wasn’t going to make a fuss, although a tiny petty part of me was like, “buy my salad!” But I was actually just really aware of how I felt internally, that I was happy, joyful, spiritually attuned, and not really ready to pull a class action law suit against the manufacturer of shield glass on salad bar.

I took the band-aid, went to the bathroom, washed the blood off and put the band-aid on.

I actually looked kind of cute.

I had just come from a holiday ladies brunch and holiday party and had dressed up for the occasion.

The band-aid added a certain kind of tough aplomb to my outfit.

The brunch was also the reason why I felt as good as I did.

I had gotten to reconnect with ladies in my fellowship and community that I have sorely missed over the semester of busy.

It felt so good to sit and chat and catch up and see how folks were doing.

I even got a client referral from one of the women there who is a licensed MFT.

That felt really good.

In fact, the whole day felt really good.

I had a great supervision group.

Nobody noticed my eye, the bleeding stopped pretty quick and though I have a tiny bump and an obvious cut, it’s hidden quite well by my glasses frame, and I got to have a merry check in about all my adventures the last two weeks.

Last week I wasn’t in supervision as I was in class so my supervision group wanted to hear all about the lecture and how my semester had finished.

And one of the other interns, who has been there over a year, talked to me about a possible client referral, and he said, “you’re an amazing therapist.”

I just about broke out into a blush.

Later I thanked him for saying it and he added on, “not only are you an amazing therapist, you’re just an amazing person, you really have so much to give.”

I just was so struck by the sweetness of it and we hugged and wished each other happy holidays.

So nice.

Then!

Oh my gosh.

I run into a woman I used to work with at Hawthorne Lane, the fine dining restaurant that was my first job in San Francisco.

It turns out she has an office in the same building that my internship is in!

I was so happy to see her, it felt really good to reconnect and see how well she was doing, she had a big cancer scare a few years back while I was in Paris and to see her healthy and happy and ask after her husband and son felt super sweet.

She told me how great I looked and how happy she was to hear how I was doing, she was in awe that I was heading into my last semester of my Masters program.

Validation galore today.

Then off across town in my pretty little car to do some Christmas shopping.

And may I just say, how nice it is to have a tiny little car.

Aside from the fact that she is so adorable and cute, she’s teeny and I found parking in a spot that no one else could possibly have fit.

As well as when I got home tonight, squeezed right into the tiny spot on my block that almost always is open.

Then some Christmas shopping.

And.

Oh.

Yes.

A little holiday sparkle manicure.

Because.

Glitter.

Then back across town to the NOPA and getting right with God and connecting with my folks there.

So good.

I also found out that two of my friends who I had thought were going to be out-of-town for Christmas are in town.

We made some got to go dancing plans.

That felt really good.

Then the drive home, warm and cozy in my car listening to Music to Slow Dance to, a playlist that I am just in love with, and yup, there was my parking spot waiting for me.

And.

When I got in.

Mail.

Man, I love getting holiday mail.

I have a little garland of stars and green box twine that I hang my Christmas cards to, I got to add two in the last day.

The mail made me very happy.

A birthday card and a Christmas card from my grandmother.

She’s my last grandparent alive.

I was over the moon.

Last year she forgot my birthday and that sort of bummed me out.

But she didn’t this year!

It just felt extra special sweet.

And that was my day.

Sweet.

Funny.

Special in quiet ways.

Tender and in love.

Happy.

And I just signed up for a yoga class tomorrow morning.

Plus.

Yes.

I may let myself go do a little birthday shopping tomorrow.

Because.

Well.

I’m going to be the birthday girl real soon.

And it feels nice to get myself something sweet for my birthday.

Without sounding facetious.

I deserve it.

I work really hard.

But I have no complaints about that.

It is something I get to do.

My life is grand.

Full of love and light and joy.

Happy.

Happy.

Joy.

Joy.

Luckiest girl in the world.

Officially Astounded

December 4, 2017

And just a tiny bit exhausted.

Just a tiny bit.

I did it!

I got all the things done today that I needed to do.

I did not think that was going to happen and I started to resign myself to the idea that maybe I was going to have to write my Drugs and Alcohol paper sometime over the week.

But.

Fuck yeah.

I did it.

I just printed off the paper a few minutes ago.

About twenty-five minutes ago to be exact.

I sat through my last CBT Webinar (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) and when it was done I made the executive decision to just crank out the paper.

I had done some reviewing of the material before the webinar and I felt like I had a really good idea of what I was going to write about.

In fact, I was sort of, sort of, haahahaha, fuck this online webinar class, annoyed with the CBT webinar, I really did not like the format, and wished that I did not have to sit through it as I had the Drugs and Alcohol paper so in my mind I wanted to get right on it.

But sit through it I did and when it was finished I flipped once more through my notes and got it done.

I’m done with it!

So much fucking relief.

It’s printed off and in my folder.

I still have a couple of small things to do to be prepared for the final weekend of classes, but the two big papers I needed to do are now done.

The relief is real.

I have a worksheet that I need to spec up for my final group project presentation, but I’m not going to go in with an actual paper script, I know so well what I am doing that I will be able to speak extemporaneously.

Thank God for extemporaneous speaking.

I did a bit of that today as well.

I had the final dress rehearsal for People Who Usually Don’t Lecture.

I got to hear all the talks and I was pretty engaged.

The project is really going to go off well and I’m very grateful to get to be a part of it.

Mostly to get to be in the same group of people doing big things in community.

It is really a nice feeling to be a part of something human and getting to connect with yet another group of folks that I might never have met except for having been invited to participate in the  project.

It is a blessing.

And I’m beyond grateful that I get to do it.

Granted.

Still nervous.

I get pretty nervous before speaking and this will be in front of 150 people as well as being on stage, lit and video recorded.

In fact, I was video taped today.

Which I was not expecting.

I wore a flannel and jeans.

Sigh.

Oh well.

I think I’ll be wearing a dress for Tuesday’s performance.

I want to look pretty and I have a feeling that I will be more confident dressed up.

I also just want to give a good talk.

The person going after me references me in his talk and it’s an honor to get to be on the same stage.

I leaked tears the entire time he was speaking and it was really just such a nice moment to hear how he was affected by me and also that he got to know, via my blog and various other ways, how much he affected me.

I am still mystified how that works, but human connection is something so powerful.

I am a creature who needs companionship and people and I am just so grateful for all the people in my life that I have gotten to know and be around.

It’s amazing.

It’s amazing too that I’m almost done with this semester.

By this time next week I will be done.

Well.

I might still have one last paper to write, might, that’s funny, I do have one last paper to write, it’s due the 15th of the month.

My last class is the 10th and it ends at noon.

So.

I’m going to go out to sushi with a girlfriend from school to Domo in Hayes Valley to celebrate, and then, yes, I will go home and write my last paper.

I’m not really looking forward to doing more work on that day, but it really makes the most sense, especially as the paper is due on a Friday.

I won’t really have a good block of time to work on it except that Sunday.

What I’m hoping is to enjoy a good lunch with my girlfriend and hang out and spend quality time with her and then get back here to the house and kill my last paper.

I want to get my Christmas tree next Sunday.

That’s the goal.

Finish my Jungian Dream Work paper and then go celebrate by getting myself a Christmas tree.

That’s how I like to roll.

I still can’t believe that I got all the two papers done this weekend that I needed to do.

Considering how overwhelmed I felt yesterday heading into my group supervision it really is something else to be on the other side of it.

Now I just have to get through the performance Tuesday and I’ll be golden.

I’ll be able to roll up on my last weekend of the semester very mellow and relaxed.

So, so, so grateful it’s almost done.

So very grateful.

Now.

Tea and climbing into my bed.

I’ve got a big week ahead of me.

Seriously.

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.

 

Waiting

August 16, 2017

For more to be revealed.

I am waiting.

And.

Yes!

It’s happening.

Oh my God.

I have a ride to Burning Man.

Holy shit.

And the best part?

She’s a 74-year-old first time burner.

I want to have that much spunk when I’m in my 70s, let me tell you.

She and I were connected via some mutual friends who suggested to her that she contact me as someone who has experience going to Burning Man.

I said, sure, I’ll let her pick my brain, happy to share about food prep, how to get there, how to get back, how much water to bring, etc.

I had seen a post in a community forum for my camp that I will be staying with and it appeared that she was also looking for a ride to the event.

So.

Imagine my surprise when I get a message from her saying that she’s decided to not only drive to the event, but she wants to give me a ride.

What?!

I was not, in any way shape or form expecting to go to Burning Man with a 74-year-old woman virgin burner from Santa Cruz.

The playa hath provided.

Or.

God.

As the case may be.

I will not have to rent a car!

I will share drive cost, split the vehicle parking pass with her, and give her all the Burning Man tips she can possibly handle.

I can’t believe I have a ride!

I am so relieved.

And that she’s willing to go on my time frame, which allows me to go to class on Sunday.

The weekend the event opens, next weekend, holy shit, is the same weekend as my first weekend of school.

I have to go.

I’ll be in class Friday 9a.m.-4p.m.

Saturday 9a.m.-8p.m.

And.

Sunday 9a.m.-12p.m.

I’ll hop on my scooter, get home and throw myself together.

I will have to be packed and ready by 1p.m.

I’m sure there will be a little wiggle room, but the fact is we’ll want to get on the road as  soon as possible, it’s an 8-9 hour drive depending on the traffic.

Which on a Sunday really shouldn’t be too bad.

We will stop in Reno at the 24 hours SafeWay and buy ice, dry ice, water and anything that may have been forgotten in the melee to get out-of-town.

I am pretty seasoned at going, like I said, this is year eleven, and I pretty much have all my stuff ready, it’s just not all in the same spot.

And considering that I don’t live in a big space it won’t take me real long to compile everything and have it ready to go.

Really.

The packing shouldn’t take me more than an hour.

I figure I’ll suss that out this Saturday.

Get all my bins out, shake off the dust, so to speak, the dust never seems to quite go away, and get it all organized in one spot in the garage.

Depending on how much room she has in the car, which doesn’t sound like a ton, I may only take my one big cooler.

I have a large cooler and a medium size cooler.

The large one is the one I invested in for this year, it’s on wheels and holds a lot more than my medium size one, plus, it’s a much better insulated cooler than the one I’ve taken the last few years.

I have a ride!!

I am over the moon.

Aside from the fact that I get to be of service, I mean, she is an elder states(wo)man and it’s an honor and a privilege, I believe, to take someone who means a great deal to her community, to her first Burning Man.

At the age of 74.

How freaking radical is that?!

I love it.

I get to be of service and she’s really happy to have the company.

I think it is a total win/win scenario.

I also feel like she’s not going to have any issue leaving a little early from the event, I’m pretty much hoping to leave as early as possible Sunday morning and get out an on the road.

I want as much time Monday to recuperate and take 18 different super hot showers and time to wash all my clothes and get the dust out of my hair.

Wow.

I am over the moon.

I have a ride.

Such a relief.

And yes, the thought of driving my own car was a lovely thought, but not the possibility of losing a big deposit on a rental from Burning Man dust.

One day.

Perhaps sooner than later.

I will have my own car.

And I will offer someone else a ride out to that thing in the desert.

Until then.

I am happy as a clam.

A dusty one, mind you.

To have this opportunity.

Luckiest girl in the world.

Or at Burning Man.

Seriously!

It’s Not Time

July 16, 2017

To write this blog yet.

But.

Well.

It wants to be written.

Even though I opened up my WordPress site and sat and stared at the blank screen and thought, I don’t have a thing to write about.

Denial.

I should fold my laundry and put it away.

I will wash my dinner dishes.

So instead of starting to write I got up and put my laundry away and I did the dishes.

I even pre-emptively filled the kettle for a cup of tea after I finish writing.

I know, hot tea, sounds excruciating to think about in July, but it’s July in San Francisco, I’m in bunny slippers and thought for a minute about turning on the heat.

It’s chilly here in July, unlike anywhere else.

Although there was some warmth in the city today after the fog lifted and I got out of the Outer Sunset, I even put on a little sunblock just in case.

Anyway.

I digress.

It was when I was filling my kettle that I realized that I was avoiding the elephant in the room.

Or the plum, as the case may be.

I bought a plum today.

A beautiful, gorgeous, fat black plum.

I’m not a big fan of plums.

I mean, they’re nice and all, but I wouldn’t typically choose to buy a plum, not really my thing.

A persimmon?

Get the fuck out of my way, I’m buying them all.

But a plum?

Nope.

But.

Ugh.

I usually buy one around this time of year.

And it’s not because it’s stone fruit time.

I want stone fruit I eat cherries.

I love cherries.

Or.

Yellow nectarines.

So good.

Not the white ones, only the yellow, and not peaches.

I know, what kind of monster am I?

I don’t like the texture of skin on a peach and the fruit is typically too soft for me, I know friends who would kill for a perfect peach.

Me?

Not so much.

But.

There I was at Gus’s Community Market on Harrison and 17th in front of the plums and I saw it and just reached for it.

My heart in my throat.

Tears prickling my eyes.

I picked out the biggest, prettiest plum in the pile.

I thought about him.

I wrote a story about it once upon a time, a children’s story, about sharing.

I called it “Shadrach and The Plum.”

It was about a little boy and how he shared his most precious treat, a big juicy sweet plum (insert some ee cummings here and an icebox please) with a little girl at school who had forgotten her lunch.

He sat down next to her with his brown paper bag and saw that she had nothing in front of her, her parents had sent her to school with no lunch, he thought to himself as he took the food out of his paper sack, “I’ll share my lunch but not the plum, plums are my favorite, she’s can’t have my plum.”

He asked her, “do you want some of my lunch?”

She nodded eagerly and pointed to what she wanted, “I want the plum.”

He didn’t say a word, he just handed it to her and ate his peanut butter sandwich and drank his milk.

I heard about her later when I read the story I had written to his family.

In hindsight I don’t know if it was the best idea, they were still grieving, it was their first Christmas without him and here I was some girl from San Francisco wearing flowers in her hair and her heart on her sleeve reading a story about lessons we learn from our friends.

Because.

Well.

Shadrach was like that.

He would give you what you needed without question.

I might get teased about it later, I might be razzed, but he always saw me so much clearer than I saw myself.

His death anniversary is coming up.

Sigh.

Ten years now.

And sometimes it still feels like I’m in that ICU at General holding his hand, or in my room on in that crazy old Victorian on Capp and 23rd, sobbing my heart out into a pillow as I prayed and prayed and prayed to God.

I knew better than to ask God to save Shadrach, I pretty much knew he was gone, I never said boo about it, I never tried to change anyone’s mind about their hopes and I certainly did not express any of my doubts about him waking up from the coma to his family, I just kept showing up and asking them what they needed, put I kept asking God to help me through it and the only way I knew how was to not focus on myself.

How can I be of service?

I was brought up that way, in my recovery community.

“How do I do this?”  I called a friend who had just lost a mentor, a man who had 43 years of recovery and who I also knew quite well, the past week.

“You show up and help his family and you ask ‘how may I be of service?’ and you help them that way, and that’s how you get through.  And through you will get.”

He told me how brave I was and how much he loved me and that I could hang in there.

I did.

And I do.

I still hang in there.

I still show up.

I saw that damn plum and almost cried, but as a reminder that I get to live today I bought it.

I did what I needed to do today and I went where I was supposed to go and when I saw someone in my community who was losing it over the recent loss of our young mutual friend tonight, well, I held her hand and I didn’t let her run out of the room.

I just held her and hugged her and hugged her more until she got all the sobs out.

“You don’t do this alone,” I told her, “don’t run out.”

“I can’t handle all this death, it’s too much,” she said and tried to break away again.

I hugged her some more and then I told her some stories.

I told her about losing my best friend to a scooter accident, my best friend who was sober, who was committed, who was about to run the SF Marathon.

The same marathon that is about to be run here on the 23rd of this month.

The signs just went up by the park and I thought of Shadrach, I thought of how beautiful he was when he was running and how strong and graceful.

I thought of the last thing that I said to him, the best gift the moment, that moment when you realize you have to say something or regret it for the rest of your life.

Although, of course, how could I know?

“Shadrach, I just have to tell you, if I never see you again you have to know how beautiful you are right now, you are just glowing,” I touched his arm.

He raised an eyebrow at me and was about to say something witty and cryptic and instead he smiled at me and hugged me to him.

That was the last thing I said to him.

Well.

It was the last thing that I said to him when he was still coherent and not brain-dead in a hospital bed for a week before his family pulled the plug.

I shared my story.

And.

I told her about another woman we both know and how she lost her best friend on the day of his one year sobriety birthday, how he was hit by a bus coming home from his anniversary party.

I mean.

Fuck.

I told her she didn’t have to do it alone and that she was strong enough to shoulder it and that she was lucky, lucky that she got to feel the depth of love she felt for this person who just died a few days ago, that she could be grateful for the time she got to know him.

I hugged her again.

I’m a hugger.

And.

Told her to call me and lean in.

It’s not easy grieving and sometimes I felt like the sadness of Shadrach’s passing would never leave me, but it did.

Well.

That’s also not true, but it lessened, or I got used to it I suppose.

Although seeing that big purple plum sitting on top of a Mason jar on my kitchen counter brought it all home.

I still miss my friend.

He taught me so much.

Not just how to love.

But.

More importantly, that I was lovable and worthy of love.

A lesson that took many years to sink in.

But in it did.

So.

Tonight.

I will raise my plum to my lips and taste the sweetness and let my fingers be sticky with gratitude and love and memory and honor my friend and all the gifts he gave me, so many years ago now.

All the love he planted in my heart that has grown and flourished and bloomed.

All the things.

All the love.

And.

Always.

The best.

The sweetest, coldest, juiciest plums for you.

Always.

 

 

A Good Cry

July 12, 2017

And then back to living.

I saw my therapist today.

Yes.

A psychotherapist has a therapist.

Especially since I am a therapist in training, although, let me tell you, I felt like a therapist today, seeing clients, filing paperwork, checking all the boxes, circling all the things that needed to be circled and doing the work.

I can get super caught up in how much longer this road is and how the hell am I ever, I mean, ever, going to get 3,000 hours, but I can’t, I just can’t focus on that.

One hour at a time.

Fortunately I have some practice living a day at a time and when I reflect on how those days add up and all my accomplishments have come in small increments, but come they have, then I don’t have to get too caught up in the numbers.

It’s just a numbers game and I’m doing it the best I can as fast as I can without killing myself in the process.

I mean.

I still have to process all my own stuff, plus carrying around my clients in my head.

I do that now.

I have them in my head and sometimes I will think about them and once in a while I have a momentary flash, a connection, a thought or feeling and a little aha moment, that feels pretty special.

But.

Yes.

I do have to process my own stuff too, I have to look at my own emotional life sift through the chafe and dander and see what is needing to seen and what is needing to be let go.

I knew.

For instance.

I needed to titrate my social media intake today.

I woke up a bit emotionally hung over.

I cried a lot yesterday.

On and off all day, with one really big cry in the evening when I was talking with my person on the phone and going over the shock of what had happened and how the death of my friend had not just hit me, but many others, the numbers of people who showed up to be present for each other and for the family of the deceased was extraordinary.

Not to mention all the people in so many other places he had affected, who’s lives he had touched–Portland, Seattle, Memphis, New York, Los Angeles, Austin, Oakland.

Gah.

I can hear him saying “West Oakland” in my head and such joy at his goofiness suffuses me.

For he was joyful.

Oh sure, sad and fucked up and scared and young and insecure, who hasn’t been those things, but also bright and kind and funny and so there for you and warm and sweet and musically talented.

Oh the music the world has lost.

So.

Seeing all the pictures, all the photographs, all the expressions of heartbreak, my social media feed was just awash in tears and sadness.

I really had to not look after a while.

And I knew when I woke up having felt puffy eyed and sluggish and a bit off kilter that I wasn’t going to allow myself to wallow in the emotionalism of social media.

I needed coffee, some ibuprofen, and a good breakfast.

Sounds like a hangover, right?

Except instead of booze or blow it was emotion.

And as I expressed to my therapist today after plopping down on her couch and telling her I was going to cry and then immediately doing so, I also realized that some, a lot of the emotion I had in my body, on my heart, in my head, was not mine.

It was the communities.

And I’m grateful.

Really grateful.

I got to feel it and touch into it.

But.

I could not continue swimming in it any longer.

So I talked it out, processed it, linked it to other things, made traverses, expressed emotions, cried a lot in the beginning, but by the middle of my session I was going other places.

Oh.

It was all interconnected.

I am good at making connections.

And it was honest and insightful.

I am pretty good at those things too.

Not always.

I am a work in progress, people, don’t expect perfection, I am far, far, far from perfect.

But.

I am loving and kind and sweet, I would hazard.

I am compassionate and more importantly, I am empathetic.

Sometimes too much and I get overextended and I give too much, I have been trained well in that way of life, being my mom’s caretaker, taking care of my sister, my oldest niece, an ex-boyfriend of five years who might as well have been my mother for all the caretaking he required, but I have grown a lot.

Oh, so fucking much.

And I know when I need to caretake and when the other person needs to do the job their own damn self.

And there’s no irony that I am in the care taking profession.

A. I am a nanny, I care take all day long.

B. I am a psychotherapist.

But it’s not my job to care take as a therapist and that’s a really intriguing thing for me.

I am also not there to make my client feel better, to sugar coat, or to shoo away uncomfortable feelings.

Uncomfortable feelings need to happen.

There’s nothing wrong with them.

I like to look at them as signposts, directions, “hey this thing you do, it doesn’t work for you.”

For instance.

There’s nothing wrong with anxiety or depression.

They are signs that the way things are going, the tools being used for living, well they might not be working so well.

I mean.

Booze was one hell of an amazing solution for me.

Until.

It was not.

So was cocaine.

My God.

I remember the first time I did a line of good blow.

It was like I had all the answers.

ALL of them.

And I was fine with the way those answers were conveyed and I rather scoffed at a friends warning that perhaps I like that drug a little more than was perhaps healthy.

Um.

Yeah.

But when those solutions failed I had to find a better way, a different way and there was depression there and there was anxiety and all sorts of other juicy psychological terms and conditions.

And slowly.

One step at a time.

I got to change what I did.

What I ingested.

What I thought and felt.

For something else.

I was given a significant solution to my problem.

Of course.

I won’t tell that to a client, they have to find their own way, I think that I am a mirror, an attachment figure, a person who can and will have to withstand the disappointments and anger and discomfort of others so that they can learn how to use that information and devise their own solution.

Therapy is not for symptom relief.

Just like alcohol, ultimately, and every other drug I took, weren’t for symptom relief.

I had to find a different way.

And I did.

And today when I walked out of my therapist office I felt a lightness and a joy.

I am alive.

I am not guilty for being alive

I have so much joy and passion in my life, such happiness, I felt light and though there is still sadness for the loss of this beautiful person, I have also a deeper connection to how alive I want to be and how alive I am allowed to be.

To be alive, in this moment, sober, and free.

It is amazing.

Happy.

Joyous.

Moved beyond words for my experiences and this amazing place I have been lead to.

Grateful.

So very grateful.

Thank you for being a part of my journey.

May it bless you too.


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