Posts Tagged ‘compassion’

Having The Emotions

July 6, 2018

And moving through them.

I feel really quite good right now.

So much better than I have in some days.

I also did a big inventory today.

I toss that word around sometimes without much explanation–inventory is a way for me to work through resentments I have about people, places, and things, sometimes concepts.

I inventoried the fuck out of my housing situation.

I saw selfishness and fear and self-seeking and dishonesty.

I saw my part, you could say.

And I found a way through.

A way to continue this process of not knowing what is going to come next.

I had a conversation with my landlady yesterday.

It was not what I expected and I was baffled by the exchange.

But.

It was enlightening and I have deep compassion for the both of us.

I mean.

That’s the only way through.

We both have things we want and ultimately, we both want the same thing at this point-me to move the fuck out.

I need something better and she doesn’t want me living here anymore.

The means to the ends is where we disagree.

And that’s fine.

There may always be opinion about that and opinion is not my business.

What people think about me is not my business.

God.

Fuck.

Of course I want to know.

I want to know so I can manipulate myself into making everyone fucking happy so that I can be comfortable.

I’m comfortable when others are taken care of.

I can relax.

But.

The facts are.

NOBODY is taking care of me.

I have to do it.

I have to put myself and my needs first.

So I have to let go of what others, the landlady, my friends, my fellows, clients, my cohort at school, my employer, think of me.

I have to.

Or it will kill me.

I can’t go around making everyone happy.

I just can’t.

So.

I got some good freaking clarity after seeing where my part was, seeing how trying to get acceptance from others or relying on them rather than my God wasn’t working.

Never has.

Never will.

People are failable.

Fuck.

I am failable.

I will fail you.

Guarantee it.

There was a time I would have apologized for that failing or tried really, really, really hard to be the perfect person and not fail.

But.

You know what?

It’s ok to make mistakes, it’s ok for me to not be perfect, it’s ok for me to fuck up.

I fucked up.

I made a decision based on fear at the beginning of my tenancy that led me here.

I’m ok with that.

Sure.

Wished I had done it different, but I can’t change that, I can accept that I was doing the best I could, in a co-dependent people pleasing sort of way, and that seeing the results accrue over the past five years has brought me to this place that is requiring me to make a really big change.

Self-advocacy.

Non-personal.

Do right for myself sort of change.

I was really grateful I did the work to get to that place and really grateful that I have been earnestly praying for my landlady.

I mean.

I have.

For her happiness, joy, financial success, romantic love, family love, relationships with friends, success with her job, everything and anything that I could think of.

We all deserve the best and by focusing on that rather than trying to make myself out to be a victim and her some overblown hyperbole of a landlord, I get to see her as a human being doing the best she can do.

We are all doing the best we can do.

It’s ok.

Another persons best interst is not my best though.

And I recognize that.

I have had a lot of time to reflect on things today and I am grateful for that.

Ooh!

I have also spent a lot of time researching an internship!

Check it out:

Grateful Heart Therapy

Grateful Heart is a therapy organization in the Bay Area which provides sliding scale psychotherapy for all sorts of folks.

It was recommended to me after I told my therapist about the internship that I was going to do falling through.

The supervisor I was going to work with made it abundantly clear that it had nothing to do with my clinical skills or abilities, she really likes me, she believes I am a great therapist, but, it wasn’t a good time for her to go from being a solo practitioner to having to incorporate a LLC.

I get it.

I was upset.

But you know, opportunity to find something that will be a better fit.

With Grateful Heart Therapy AMFTs can lease their own office underneath their supervision.

MY OWN OFFICE.

Now.

It will take time to get my own office up and running and it will take money, money that I don’t necessarily have, although I flirted really hard with the idea of using my credit card, the one I got nearly a year ago and have never used.

Or.

Hmm.

Maybe I could do a GoFundMe?

Thoughts to explore.

Anyway.

The center provides the infrastructure, they do payroll, billing, supervision.

They have over 40 supervisors and they have groups that are supervised, they do trainings and they use psychotherapeutic tools developed by the master herself–Nancy McWilliams, a clinician I have written about wanting to work under, she’s amazing, I loved reading her work in my Master’s program.

It takes some time to get things up and running, but I would be able to see clients, charge them, and have my own office.  Grateful Heart would take $350 a month for operating cost and to cover supervision, I would pay payroll taxes, etc and they would cut me a check.

I saw an empty office today at the building my current internship is in.

The door was unlocked and there was a sign that said “Take A Peek!”

Peek I did.

It’s small, but clean, on the fifth floor where I already see clients, a view of Twin Peaks.

I could imaging pictures hanging on the wall, a couch, a therapist chair, file cabinets, plants, lamps to provide soft lighting,  a spot for an electric kettle and tea cups.

I stood in the warm little space and dreamed a little dream.

It felt pretty damn good to contemplate.

Tomorrow I will be having coffee with a friend of mine who is currently working for Grateful Heart and I’m going to pick her brains about it.

I can’t wait.

I feel like I can breathe again.

And sleep.

I know where I stand with how I need to proceed forward with my landlady and I have a new internship to explore with the option of starting my own private practice office much, much, much sooner than I had expected.

I am sincerely.

And truly.

Over the moon.

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Open Heart

January 28, 2018

I have felt pretty fucking raw this past week.

I have gone through a lot and I have not walked it alone.

Today.

Ah.

Today.

I finally had a day without crying.

I got emotional, I had moments where I thought I would.

I had some strong longings, really fucking strong, to reach out and engage, but I remember that I don’t do this alone and that I have been given a lot of suggestions about how to navigate through my experience.

It doesn’t make it easier, in fact, it seems to make it harder.

But.

I suspect that the pain will be worth it.

That I will be left with something magic and special and worth it.

As I was told today, “the only way through is through.”

I am definitely going the fuck through it.

And.

Yes.

I did go and get myself some tattoos.

And yes.

They did ameliorate the pain a little bit, focused it in one location, shut my fucking brain off for a little while.

I got lost in the pain, floated around in it, distracted by the sound of the needle and the threading pain on my breast bone.

But it helped too.

And I love my new tattoos.

I got my lucky thirteen star.

For my thirteen years of sobriety.

I have a star for each year I have been sober.

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I had my artist, Danny Boy Smith, at Let it Bleed Tattoo on Polk Street, make the placement.

I had thought of doing it a little lower, but when he put it underneath my ear I was quite taken with it.

Of course.

Holy shit.

That was distracting.

Having the needle so close to my ear, very distracting, it seemed to intensify the pain, the noise did, and I was very grateful that it wasn’t that big of a tattoo, he handled it pretty quick.

I had already gotten my other tattoo and was pretty pumped up on adrenaline by that, so the star didn’t hurt that much, it was just the sound of the needle and the vibration in my ear that was a little more intense than I had expected.

My first tattoo.

Well.

Fuck.

It hurt.

Yes.

It did.

I love when people ask if getting a tattoo hurt.

Duh, motherfucker.

Of course it hurts, come on.

Needles being driven into your skin, no really, it’s like getting a warm massage.

However.

I will say, my adrenalin kicked in super fast.

In fact.

I noticed it before I was in the chair, I was getting nervous and my body temperature went up, my fingers got cold and I got a little sweaty upper lip.

Fight or flight response.

Jittery stomach.

Despite making sure that I had a good lunch and I had it later in the day so that my stomach would be full while I got tattooed.

I can’t imagine anything worse than being hungry while being tattooed.

No thank you.

Anyway.

Yeah.

The adrenalin got up there right away.

The placement was on my breast-plate.

It’s beautiful.

I love the piece.

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I feel like it really tied all the pieces together and it just feels like I got the right placement and I really love the design.

It was based on a very special Tiffany pendant I was gifted.

One of my favorite things that I have been given this past year.

God.

When I think of the gifts I have been given.

I am amazed.

Even this pain that I have been walking through.

It’s a gift.

I get to feel it.

I get to feel the depth and breadth of my feeling.

I got to see how much I love.

I love a lot.

I love hard.

I love with reckless abandon and passion.

And.

Well, fuck, that makes me proud.

I’m alive and I wasn’t afraid to be sorry, I don’t have regrets.

Not a fucking one.

Rather.

I am grateful for all these experiences.

I have been given so much love.

The fact that I was hit so very hard with my circumstances shows to me the amount of love I have.

It is enormous.

It boggles my mind.

I used to pine for a love like this and then I got it.

And I was amazed.

I am amazed, at what I have gotten to experience.

And though I don’t believe that I am done grieving yet, I don’t feel like it’s a loss any longer.

Ok, that’s not true, it does still feel like a loss, but I know that it’s becoming more than that.

It is an opportunity to love more, to allow myself to step out into the light and shine forward and be strong and generous and kind and compassionate.

With myself.

With others.

I don’t know what my love path looks like, but I do not have any doubt that I won’t get to travel further along it.

Darling, reach out, and take my hand.

I will walk this path with my hand open, waiting for you to take it into yours.

I have faith.

Love.

I have so much faith.

And I know how strong I am.

For having walked as far as I have already.

I will be able to do this.

Grateful and alight for the experience of love that I have gotten.

In complete faith, utter and complete faith, that this love is not done.

It is infinite.

It is grand.

It is eternal.

All encompassing.

A shining beacon.

A brightly lit heart.

Just like the inspiration for my new tattoo.

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Step Up

November 20, 2017

Do some service.

Get the fuck out of your head.

Worked like a freaking charm.

I sat and listened to an amazing woman today for hours.

I did a lot of reading.

I did some client work.

I got asked to do a speaking engagement and did that too.

It was fantastic.

To get to be my complete self, lit up, on fire, alive, in love, all the things.

I don’t remember what I said, which is good, that means I wasn’t trying to manipulate how people saw me, I was just sharing.

And my God.

The gratitude.

I smiled so hard.

My face actually got a little sore from smiling so much.

And.

Yes, of course, there were some tears, and love was talked about and I got to reflect on how much love I have been given and how much I still get to give back and out into the world.

It’s amazing.

I was also told this, “you sound like a psychologist!” A sweet man told me after.

That was really nice to hear.

I am grateful for so much in my life.

I have a life, I am alive, that is the start, and you know, I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again, it bears repeating, if life were fair, I’d be dead.

Life is not fair, I have more than I can have ever imagined or asked for.

I have extraordinary people in my life.

I have people I love and who love me.

I have a full heart.

I don’t do so many of the things that I used to under the guise of it makes me feel better, but really it just made me feel worse, temporary solutions to the pain I was living with.

Like smoking cigarettes, man, I still forget that, I haven’t smoked in twelve years!

No sugar.

No flour.

No booze.

No cocaine.

Sure.

I still use salt, but please, really, don’t take away my last white powder!

I also do things that I always wanted to do but I would just talk about doing them, I didn’t actually do them.

Like.

Oh.

Writing.

I write every motherfucking day.

How amazing is that?

That I consistently give myself the gift of sitting down to paper and pen and getting honest with my heart.

It is no easy task and it always gives so much back to me.

So too, this little blog.

I do love the writing, I love how my fingers fly over the keyboard, I love how the words pour out of my hands, a direct conduit from the love in my heart.

I have a great job.

I have a site to get all my practicum hours so that I can graduate in May.

Jesus.

I get to go to grad school!

How many people actually get to do that?

Granted I was getting hella frustrated with the FAFSA online tools which kept telling me my passwords were wrong and wouldn’t let me access my student account.

I have to file for the 2018 financial year.

I have not applied to school yet, but I have some fairly serious ambitions to do so, to go for the PhD, I’m thinking that I would get in Transpersonal Studies, which is a two-year program at my school.

I have to flesh some things out, when I would apply, what I might want to dissertate on.

“You should totally do it!” My therapist enjoined me.  “You find so much richness for yourself in the academic world.”

I had not thought of it like that.

I had thought of it, like I want a PhD, ego stuff.

Then.

When a professor I highly respected told me that I could be of more service in my community with a PhD I thought, yeah, I should do that.

Then.

Well.

I know this sounds kind of crazy, but it also sort of makes sense to me, it would mean being in school two more years and that would give me two more years to acquire hours at my internship before I have to start paying back on my student loans.

I am not in a paid internship.

I’m not sure that I could swing paying back student loans on top of getting my hours.

Then again.

I just keep saying, it’s God’s money, it will work out.

I do believe that.

But.

When my therapist reframed the continuation of school by reflecting to me how much I have gotten out of school, just personally, how much I have grown, that I am giving myself an opportunity to learn more and grow more.

I really liked thinking of it.

So grateful for my therapist.

We started in on a hard piece for me last week.

It was something that I have been holding for a while and I knew eventually it was going to have to come out and the work would need to be done on it.

I have done a lot of work, but there is still more to do, still places of pain that need to be touched into, places I need to grieve, things lost that I don’t know I’ve really let myself see that I had lost.

I don’t want to wallow in my past.

I don’t.

It doesn’t really serve.

But I do want to integrate those experiences, grieve what needs to be grieved, and let it go.

My therapists face when I was getting into some of it, how she pulled me back, grounded me, settled me back, ran over time with me to make sure I was calibrated and strong enough to leave the office.

I had tears on my face and many crumpled tissues, but I also felt a kind of inner awareness that this is where the real work is going to happen and I can get through it all the way.

I wasn’t collapsed in, I was strong, I was lightened, I lightened the load a tiny bit and left a good bit of it in a tissue in the wastebasket.

I have the strength to get in there, dig it out, and let it the fuck go.

So grateful for that.

I am resilient.

I have inner love and joy and strength and light.

I have been given so much love in the last few years, so much more than I thought I deserved, so much appreciation for who I am and what I do.

I really am loved.

I really am lovable.

I am enough.

I have enough.

And.

I get to give it all away.

Which.

Oh.

Glorious paradox.

Is.

The only way I can keep it.

The only way.

 

A Little Here

August 23, 2017

A little there.

I got some more reading done today for school, which I find funny as it was the opening salvo in my therapy session this morning.

I’m behind on my reading, and school hasn’t started yet, and for the first time in the history of my grad school career I don’t give any of the fucks.

I mean.

A little.

Sort of.

But mostly.

Fuck no.

I have spent so much time now seeing clients and getting into the mix and showing up to be a therapist that school stuff seems to have lost a lot of its luster.

Oh sure.

I know I have so much to learn, there is always going to be learning, I will and have years of it to go.

Getting done with my third year of my Masters program is sort of the tip on the iceberg, I will still have to intern for years before I have enough hours accrued to get licensed.

That being said.

School seems to hold less gravitas for me.

I am excited to see my cohort, I have had a lot of them reach out to me in the last few days and it feels good to be getting reconnected.

Third year!

I am a third year.

This is the big push.

One more year of this program and then.

Well.

Probably more school.

Although I’m not 100% sure.

I have, at least it seems very likely, unless I win the lottery which would allow me to not work, about two and a half years of work to do before I have all my hours.

Give or take.

I might as well go for my PhD.

I will still have to work full time or damn close.

Although.

I’ll be dropping down my hours when I get back from Burning Man.

38 hours a week from 41.

This doesn’t count my supervision, therapy, or client hours.

Just plain work hours will go down three hours a week.

Which doesn’t seem like much, but will be a great big help.

I can get a lot read in three hours.

I can.

I ended up getting in four chapters of reading this evening, as a matter of fact, at the internship when my first client cancelled.

If only they would’ve coordinated!

My clients that is, so that I didn’t have to sit for an hour in the office waiting for my end of day client, but hey, I read for school and that was great.

I finished the reading for another one of my classes.

I don’t know that I have much more time to get anything else read.

Especially since most of it is online material and I’m loathe to bring my laptop with me to work to read.

On the off-chance that I might have some down time.

It’s generally not worth the risk of me taking it.

I’ll still bring one of my textbooks with me, get a little further ahead in the reading as the case may be, if there’s time.

Like I said, at this point in the game, there’s not much and my life priorities being what they are, I am completely fine with this.

“I’m sure you have much more read than most of your cohort,” my therapist said to me as I explained my school stuff, “I suspect, you have always been a bit more prepared than most of your cohort,” she concluded.

And.

Well.

Yes.

She’s right.

I am a horrid perfectionist.

But that has eased as I have gotten used to the program and having seen the few times when I wasn’t completely caught up with my reading that I still held my own.

I am smart, I know how to listen, and I know how to contribute.

The one class that I haven’t really touched into yet for the reading was the last class to post its syllabus.

But.

Heh.

Um.

It’s a Transpersonal Psychology class.

So.

Spirituality and spiritual practices.

Yeah.

I think I might have that one bagged.

We have to keep a journal.

Pardon me while I laugh into my sleeve.

That shouldn’t be hard.

Ahem.

And talk about our spiritual experiences.

That will be interesting.

Like.

I put a prayer in my God box today.

God box?

Yes.

I have this hot pink, magenta really, pylon bunny rabbit from Paris that is a piggy bank, and I use it as a “God Box” a sort of repository for “problems” or things that I need to let go of and that I want God to have, I write down what I need to give to God, on a post it note, this one was pink, and then I fold it up, and say a few prayers.

I believe in prayer.

And I have a God of my understanding.

It doesn’t much matter to me what you think of me writing that God notes to help alleviate my issues, whatever they may be.

It’s the action that counts.

I don’t have to know the end results, in fact, it’s generally better if I don’t, I just have to take actions and something happens.

The writing it down and giving it up is an action of humility.

I don’t know how to deal with this, I am not God, I need help, I asking for guidance.

I can’t really do anything alone or in isolation.

I am not built like that.

Oh.

Fuck.

I have so tried.

I so want to figure it out on my own, I don’t want help, or so I say, I want to be strong and mighty and fierce and get it done without your help.

But.

Then.

When I don’t ask for help or I eschew what is being offered out of a false sense of pride, I ultimately lose.

I isolate.

I am alone.

And lonely.

That is never a good place for me to be.

So, yeah.

Just taking the time to write a little note and pop it in the God box, it does wonders.

I suppose my practice may seem strange or funny and I don’t really care.

I also pray in the morning, on my knees, another act of humility, a supplication, please help me, help me be of service, help me be kind, compassionate, tolerant, loving and forgiving.

Help me forgive myself, love myself, be the best possible version of me I can be.

Which I am not always.

I can get caught up in all sorts of scattered thinking or being maudlin, or distracted.

But.

To circle back.

I can forgive myself.

I haven’t finished the reading.

I won’t finish it.

It’s ok.

All I really have to do is show up on time.

Participate.

And be myself.

The rest will follow.

It always.

Always.

Always.

Does.

Affirmation

December 10, 2016

I got some today.

And.

Man.

It feels nice.

Really nice.

Really fucking nice.

I mean.

REALLY.

Especially since I’m heading into the applying to practicum and interning and all that jazz and in my last weekend of classes for the semester.

It feels good.

I mean.

The only thing that I think would feel better is if I was done with my Psychopathology paper, but that’s a ways off yet and I’m not going to focus on something that I can’t do much about at the moment.

Rather.

For just a moment.

I am going to bask in the niceness of being seen.

I got back a paper from my Family Therapist professor and the comments on it really made me happy to see.

The end one especially.

“Carmen!  Thank you for being so brave, you will be a fabulous therapist!”

Yes.

Thank you.

It’s nice to get that kind of reflection back from a teacher, even if I didn’t always see eye to eye with the class, it came around, and it feels good to be seen by my teachers and to be confirmed in my path, in the directions I am going.

I also attended a practicum fair and made some nice connections there and got some good suggestions and some great resources.

There is so much to learn and so many skills to hone.

And also so many skills to acknowledge.

I have a lot of talents and I am going to have to list them and advocate for them and say, hey, look at me, I have what you want, I turned around shit hole of a life and I made something of myself and I’m smart and capable and resilient and strong and I have mad skills with the babies and the little ones.

I need to become my best cheering section.

I’m working on it.

It helps that I am showing up for school and the program and taking suggestions and trying.

The showing up.

All the time.

And grateful to get to do it.

I took the train today and guess what?

It didn’t rain.

haahahahahahaha.

Fuck you weather.

Oh well.

I am glad I took the train in any way, it was slippery and wet and the rain had cleared off but only by a little bit, it would have still been treacherous getting into school during Friday morning rush.

Instead I took the train.

I put in my ear phones and I listened to music.

And I was happy.

Happy to be heading into school.

Happy that I was going to get to see my friends.

Happy to be listening to good music.

Music makes me happy that is for sure.

I bopped a long in my seat during the rush hour commute and I didn’t give two fucks.

I smiled.

I looked at the houses passing by the train windows, the wet grey fog wrapped around the hills, the moisture dripping down the tree leaves.

It was beautiful.

I was grateful and it was nice to sit still and just watch the city float past and listen to happy music on my way to school.

I’m dancing now in my chair.

Well.

I’m swaying along to the music.

And it is a fine, fine, fine thing.

I feel like I carried that buoyancy with me through out the day.

The fair went well and I connected up with one of the women who works at the UCSF Infant/Parent program that is based out of General and I shared my experiences and what I have done and we made a really nice connection.

I got all the information I needed.

And I will need to do a lot of work to get into the program, its prestigious, but, I felt the connection and it felt good and right and strong and my skill set would be very valuable to them.

Advocating for myself.

Seeing what I have to offer and really putting it out there to the world.

I also like that the program is psychodynamically inclined.

As am I.

I love psychodynamics.

It speaks to me.

After the practicum was over I hopped over to Psychopathology and got myself sorted with cup of tea and had a chat with my professor.

She asked how the practicum hunt was going and I expressed that of course I would be applying to the school sites, but that I was also really intrigued with the UCSF Infant/Parent program out of General Hospital.

“Really?  You are?” She asked, her head tilted, a slight smile on her face.

“Yeah,” I said, “I’ve been a nanny for over ten years and it feels very compelling to work with parents and infants and helping new parents work with their kids, and well, it’s psychodynamically inclined and I am very interested in that modality.”

“Yes, it is,” she said and her smiled broadened, she leaned in towards me, “I did my practicum work there.”

What!?

OMfuckingG.

“You did?” I said, my eyes must have gotten as round as saucers.

“I did,” she said and her smile grew larger.

“Um, well, haha, this is where I ask you if you would mind writing me a letter of recommendation,” I said, a little bashful, but shit, fuck, holy moly, my professor did her practicum and interning there?  I had to ask.

“Of course!  I would be honored to write you the letter,” she said, “absolutely.”

Oh yes!

Yes!

Yes!

Awesome sauce.

We talked about their, UCSF’s schedule, and the requirements needed and when I must have the application in, by February 14th.

Valentines Day.

Of course.

What better way to show myself that I am lovable and worthy of love than applying to a prestigious program that will lead to an internship and look hella good moving forward whatever career path I end up going towards.

I was tipped off that it’s better to apply earlier rather than later as they get inundated and they only take four interns.

I would be competing with all the schools–Berkeley, USF, State, and of course, UCSF.

But you know what.

I got this.

I can feel it.

All the little serendipitous things.

All the work aligning and showing up and doing my best and hey, who better than to help new parents connect with their children?

Heh.

Oh.

It just felt so lovely and validating and it just really dropped in my lap.

My professor offered to meet with me off hours, off campus sometime over break, we’ll commit to timing by the end of the weekend and I’ll get to pick her brain about the program and ask her what I need to have prepared and all that.

And of course.

Hahaha.

Ugh.

Just a little added pressure on myself to make sure that my Psychopathology paper is off the charts.

I sort of, kinda of.

REALLY.

Want that letter of recommendation.

I am worth it.

I deserve it.

Excited.

The future is hella bright.

And.

Happy.

Joyous.

Free.

All the motherfucking time.

All the time.

Seriously.

 

 

 

Doing The Work

October 13, 2016

And doing the homework while doing the work.

I did both today.

I did a lot today.

It was a day.

Tomorrow will be a day too.

All the days.

All the work.

Letting out slow, long breath and waiting for the tea pot to boil.

It was a good day at work.

It was a good day to do a lot of work.

I’m done with it for the moment and need a reprieve, which will look an awful lot like watching Project Runway and chilling out with an apple after I finish this blog.

I have done enough.

And.

I remind myself that I am enough.

That I am resilient and strong and I have come through so much to be where I am at and I am grateful that I have been carried to a place where I can see that.

It stops with me.

I thought today, a couple of times.

Then.

I thought.

What if that’s just another way of me trying to protect me?

How about I change instead.

How about I look at the trans-generational traumas in my family on my father’s side and on my mother’s side as the things that have made me the diamond that I am.

“Sometimes God uses a heavy hand to create a beautiful thing,” she told me as I sobbed my way through my first real inventory over a decade ago now.

The pressure it takes to create a diamond from the black morass of sadness I was created.

The crucible that holds me I cannot even begin to list all the ways and hows of it.

The secrets and shame and the wildness and the wrong.

The places I have tried to hide and not be found.

I always was.

I always knew.

I know now and it is a deep sadness, but also a formidable strength.

I sometimes can get tired trying to process it all.

“You had this conversation while you were at work?” He asked me aghast on the phone.

I did.

I had a very deep, but not totally deep, there were layers of things left unsaid and things that I still have questions about, but I got what I needed and I could trace the wellsprings of it farther back than I had first suspected.

High temperatures, high drama, high pressures.

I had some clue, but then I had no clue.

And yet, I knew all along.

In fact.

I had avoided making this particular call as I wasn’t sure I really wanted to open the can of worms.

“Sometimes going to far into a genogram can be hard for a client to deal with,” my advisor said to me as I showed him some of the work I had done.

Um.

Yeah.

And there’s so much more.

It’s like a legacy of pain that just rolls through my family.

It is astounding and deep and yet.

I feel that somehow or other I have gotten out, gotten over to the other side and I am looking at it from a distance.

Yet.

There are these ways that I react to the world and there are these defenses I have that I would like to let go of, to open myself up to more life, to not be fearful that I will be shattered again and need to begin again.

The things that worked for me, the safety defenses, they don’t work so much anymore.

And “it stops with me,” in the way that I have used it is not working.

No partner, no relationship, no children.

Because that way I wouldn’t pass it down.

It would really stop with me.

Ultimately that kind of isolation hurts me too.

It’s a solution and a defense that needs to change.

Grateful for the awareness.

Now to wade through the acceptance part and the forgiveness part and get to the action part.

Not sure exactly what action to take, except that right in front of me and to take the suggestions that others have to give me and to not carry the secret or the shame of it that curdles inward and hurts worse than shining the light on it.

Oh.

There are nooks and crannies I’m not too compelled to go spelunking in, at least not right yet, not right now.

I don’t need to stare at my past, I can just look, take it in, and accept it.

And remind myself that acceptance is not approval.

Fuck no

I fucking hella disapprove of the shit that went down.

I do not, I do not, I do not.

That being said, I can’t change it at all.

Although having a different perspective and hearing about some of the things in my family history definitely cast a different light on things.

So much compassion for the human experience.

And that I’m not dead.

For fucks sake.

Or in some straight jacket or in a gutter with a needle in my arm.

The noise of it all.

The machinery of the monsters that clanks down the hall to stumble upon me hiding in the shadows.

I will not have it.

I will not live underneath that banner of fright.

So.

I heal.

Soft and slow.

Gently I go.

It’s the only way.

Compassion and gentleness for myself and awareness that this does take time, perhaps my whole damn life, and that’s ok too, I shall always be seeking and that, that I do believe, is what will make my life that much fuller and richer and deeper and more experiential.

I am not numb.

Granted I am a little tired.

Granted I would like to make a phone call and say.

Come over, hold me, make it all better.

But there is no one to call that can make it all better.

All better is between me and my God.

And so far.

Well.

Things are going ok.

Really.

They are.

And when they are not, I know where to turn and I know that my feelings are fleeting, they pass, the sadness will be followed by joy or awe or discomfort or all of hundreds of other feeling states.

Feelings are not facts and they won’t kill me.

What I hope is that I can lose a little more of my rigidity and become more flexible while not losing myself or my self care.

Find me in the rooms with art.

Find me with flowers in my hair.

Find me with children stew across my lap, warm, and a sweet and wearing footie pajamas and listening to me read stories.

Find me with love in my heart.

Find me with my heart on my sleeve.

Find me loving, lovable and worthy of love.

Yes.

Love.

Find me there.

In that field of fallen stars, like fireflies in the grass, at the dusk of this purpled twilight of pain and gray sadness a silent reprieve of pearl light and luminous joy, a flower blooming, a remonstrance of family and a flying laugh, a wallop of joy, a holler of thunder in this church of pain.

The doors flung open.

My heart to big to be contained.

Or.

Restrained.

No more.

My.

Love.

Restrain me no more.

Stood Up

July 17, 2016

But not angry about it.

In fact.

I was rather relieved.

I sort of expected the guy to stand me up.

And since.

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

I was indeed relieved.

I was a hot mess.

Fact is, I still am.

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

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

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

Fear.

Fuck everything and run.

Or.

Face everything and recover.

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

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

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

But.

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

Well.

Fuck.

Me.

So.

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

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

I can’t.

I’ve been trying.

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

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

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

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

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

And I keep saying.

Everything is fine, fine, fine.

But.

It’s not.

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

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

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

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

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

I have once.

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

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

I have to do some more writing.

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

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

Fuck off.

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

So.

Change.

I have to change.

My employers don’t have to change.

I have to change.

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

It doesn’t help.

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

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

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

I got what I got and it was good enough.

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

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

There is stuff here.

Obviously.

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

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

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

I need to know what my needs are.

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

I am not a super hero.

I can’t be a super nanny.

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

All of them pretty much aimed at myself.

I’m a sitting duck.

I’m tired of shooting at myself.

I give up God.

Got some guidance?

I’ll take it.

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

I surrender.

Which.

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

I rather like the way that sounds.

The winning side is where it’s at.

Seriously.

 

From Garbage Bags

October 24, 2015

To graduate school.

I was sitting in my Therapeutic Communications class and something was said about the video we had just watched, a really intense video of Nancy McWilliams demonstrating psychoanalysis with a woman who was trying to negotiate a domestic abuse situation.

It was a surreal story.

It was just an hour of therapy and so much ground got covered and the therapist was amazing, directing subtly, strengthening the client, reflecting back to her, empathizing with the client.

I got a lot out of it.

A LOT.

I also got annoyed with a fellow in my cohort who kept asking questions.

Pushing questions that, as I saw it, were serving the person asking them but then, the professor used the questions to illustrate some key points in the reading we had to do for class and also to help teach the class some really salient information about being a therapist.

We, as a class, were then invited to see how our own need for resolution may be at odds with the clients.

I remember flaring up inside when the questions were being asked and feeling that there was this well of antipathy inside me.

I got annoyed.

Then I realized that I was annoyed because if I had been that woman, if I had been that client, and the solution was to get me to see a solution immediately, I wouldn’t have been able to get there, in fact, I would have said, fuck you, fuck the therapy, and I will deal with this on my own.

In effect.

What I did do.

On my own.

With a lot of help from some close friends, I got out of an abusive relationship.

It was not physically abusive until the end.

He hit me when I broke up with him.

I ran out into the street.

In the middle of January with no socks on, a pair of jeans underneath a flannel nightgown.

Now.

For those of you that know me, this is highly unusual.

Even in the dead of winter.

Even in Wisconsin.

Even in January with below freezing temperatures.

I always, since I was about 17 and the step father moved out of the house, I always, slept in the nude.

That night.

I wore a nightgown.

Intuition.

Premonition.

I don’t know.

I can’t say.

But I did.

And when I ran shivering, scared, uncertain where to go and which direction to take.

I knew I couldn’t go running down East Johnson Street, he would find me too fast.

I ran to the Sentry Shopping Centre that was on East Washington.

I ducked along the cement walls and found my way to a pay telephone, remember those?

I called 911.

I got a response and they said they would be sending a car out to me.

That was when I heard my ex-boyfriends car.

In all actuality, our car, it was just as much mine as his, we had both bought it, an older Jetta.

I could hear it turning and I hoped it was heading toward East Johnson.

But.

It wasn’t.

And I got frantic with the operator on the phone and tried to cram myself down into that very small phone booth and make myself invisible in my flannel nightgown with corn flowers on white cotton, with a ruffled that was piped with blue ribbon, with cuffs that reminded me of Laura Ingalls Wilder and Little House on the Prairie.  I watched the car, the little blue Jetta grinding up the street, hoping against hope that he could not see me flattened against the wall of the phone booth.

I believe.

Looking back.

That was the last time I ever wore a flannel night-gown.

It’s been thirteen years since that night.

Almost fourteen.

Will be fourteen in January.

That’s when I left him.

The operator on the 911 call held me together until the police arrived to take me to a friend’s house.

I will never forget the way the lights looked wicking past the back seat window, the calls coming in over the radio, the destination never seeming further away as the sodium street lights glowed sullen in the snow, the hush of the streets, the lack of traffic, the drive around the lake on John Nolan Drive.

Then my friend’s house.

I refused to talk to the police.

I did not give up the ex-boyfriend.

I was too co-dependent.

I did not want him to get in trouble.

He got in trouble anyway, it just took a little longer.

I suppose I could have navigated it differently, but I didn’t know the difference and I didn’t know how to do it.

I do now.

But I look back at that girl, that young woman with such love and compassion, what I went through to get from there to here.

And.

How long I told myself that it was normal, that it was something that happened, that I could somehow normalize the trauma of fleeing my own home in my nightgown in January in Wisconsin.

I was isolated.

My friend, my best friend and her husband were in town visiting and they noticed it.

Another friend and her partner were in town.

They all had tried to get me to see the light at some point.

My ex-boyfriend pretty much blamed them for the timing of the break up.

He was probably right, but I did not understand how much until later.

My best friend navigated me going into work the next day to tell them I had an emergency and was leaving town for the weekend.

The plan was to get my stuff and take me up North to Hudson where I could chill out and figure out what I had to do next.

I was in shock.

My ex saw us leave my place of employment, he had been driving around Madison all night looking for me and who knows how many times he was circling the block where I worked.

He whipped into the parking lot and flew out of his car, our car.

He tried to get to me.

He tried to talk to me.

My friends were all in shock.

Then.

He spit on me.

Full on in the face.

Suddenly the guys stepped forward and corralled him.

My friends got me into the back of their car.

We pulled out burning rubber.

Two seconds later my ex got in his car and pursued.

My friend’s husband lost him after a few intersections.

We flew to my house.

I unlocked the door and having no idea what to do, I grabbed a large black garbage bag and threw random clothes into it.

I ran around my house.

My sweet little home that I had lived in, nested in, hosted Christmas dinners and Thanksgivings in, had made our home, was now an unfamiliar territory or terror and fear and I just had to get out of it.

My ex didn’t get back to the house before I left.

I was that fast.

I huddled in the back seat of my friend’s Saturn and numbly watched the landscape go by.

I remember passing a refinery and thinking how spooky and eery and utterly beautiful it was in the night with the flashing lights and the mists shimmering into the black void of sky.

I reflected on this in class.

All the memories that came up.

Then the tears.

The joy of knowing, that despite myself, for it would be another long year and a half before there was closure and ultimately, really not until I moved to San Francisco in 2002 did I get finality on the relationship (he stalked me for a year and a half and I got a restraining order that he violated once then he got to go jail and do work release through the Huber program the city had in place for inmates with work release options, two full years of restraining order and yet I saw him twice more before things were all said and done.  Ah alcoholism, how I love thee, not), I had made it out.

I made it out.

I had tears of utter gratitude and awe on my cheeks at how far I have come.

From being a woman fleeing her own home with a garbage bag full of random grabbed things.

To a fully self-supporting, radically self-reliant, strong, resilient, loving, kind, compassionate, tender-hearted woman.

From garbage to graduate school.

A small transformation.

A flowering woman in bloom.

A wide open heart.

Vulnerable and strong.

“We both were tempered by fire,” my friend told me, leaning into me in sweet confidence, “but the heat of your fire was hotter than mine, and I want you to know I acknowledge that.”

Tempered.

Strong.

Flexible.

And full of empathy and compassion.

For the client on the video screen who couldn’t get out.

And.

For myself.

The woman who did.

My life continues to unfold.

And amaze.

I am graced.

I.

Really.

Truly.

Am.

Almost

September 23, 2015

But.

Not quite.

Bah.

I could not get it together to ask for my raise today.

The balking is fucking killing me.

I know it.

All my friends know it.

Fuck.

FUCK.

Fuckity fuck fuck fuck.

There.

Now that’s out of my system.

It doesn’t even matter at this point if I get the raise, I just need to ask.

That’s it.

ASK.

Martines.

Get it.

It’s not that big a deal and the relief I will get from just doing the foot work, opening up my mouth and saying the words, is going to be worth more than the monetary gains.

Then again.

I could also practice some compassion for myself, I don’t like asking for things I need, never have, probably never will.

But.

If I don’t ask I won’t get what I need and I do need to bring in some more money and I am worth the ask.

Hell.

I’m worth more than I am going to ask for, but that’s another story.

I did, however, ask for a review, a yearly review to be arranged between myself and the parents by the end of the week.

I should get a review.

I also need to get something in writing and that has to be discussed.

My contract expired and I am just going a long on a wing and a verbal agreement, a vague one at that.

No good.

I know better.

To give myself a little credit the parents were not readily available to my yesterday or today.

I wanted to talk with both of them and typically both of them are at home in the office working everyday, but that has not been the case either day and it has just felt way too much to just address one parent without the other.

So.

I opened my mouth, just like I did last night, right as I was leaving and said I would like the review for the year to be worked out for the end of the week.

I need to sit down with them and do the ask, I can’t just spring it on the mom in line at Trader Joes.

I can’t.

I did a little foot work and for that I am grateful.

Little bites.

Just a little bit at a time.

Not enough to leave a bruise, but a sharp little nip of teeth to remind me that I am better when I am focused on what is in front of me and distracted by the money.

I have been distracted by my finances for too long.

I just don’t want to think about it anymore.

I suspect that won’t ever be the case.

But.

I don’t have to fret.

I don’t have to be in anxiety.

I suppose it’s just old habit, old hat, old ways of being, the pretending that by worrying about something I am manifesting some sort of control over it.

I don’t have control over anything.

I don’t have control over what you think of me.

(I hope you like me!)

Nope.

No control.

I wish you would make me feel better.

Oh.

You can’t do that either.

Well.

Fuck.

I guess I’m here again, same old song, another day.

I was almost there, almost to self-forgiveness land, but I got a little waylaid and realized after a quick check in with a friend, that I am still actually quite mad at myself.

Would I leave if I don’t get the raise?

I could.

Not that I wouldn’t make it.

I would make it.

Just.

The thing is I don’t want to just make it.

Can you save me?

Come on and save me.

If you could save me.

From.

The rest of the freaks.

That suspect they could never love anyone.

I am sick of just making it.

I am tired of working hard to work harder.

I am being melancholic.

Yes.

Guess who got her period this morning.

Relief.

I knew that lady was about to visit and i know that I am just a touch sensitive, emotionally, and physically, out damn spot, and tired too, of the self-imposed misery of the anxiety.

I don’t want to think about finding other work either.

But.

There are other options.

Hell.

I was offered a place a substantial rent drop of where I am living now.

I turned it down.

I had my reasons.

Ask me in person if you really want to know.

There are 100 and 1 choices to be made.

There are many paths to wander down.

Come on and save me.

Why don’t you save me.

If you could save me.

From ranks of the freaks.

That suspect they could never love anyone.

Except the freaks who could never love anyone.

Let your hair down.

Shake it out.

Let the day go.

She is not all that.

She is just a day.

It is alright little lady, you do the best you can and sometimes sitting in a dim room with the heat and flash of the Castro strobing it’s lights outside the second story window is exactly where you’re supposed to be.

If I have done nothing other than sit for an hour in an uncomfortable chair and resonate with what the person in front of me is saying then it is a good day.

A god damn good day.

I remind myself.

As I look around at what I have.

I have so much.

Do you see me?

I have so much.

So much.

Love.

Kindness.

Joy.

Light.

I don’t have to be maudlin, I’m just human.

I’m just a little spiritual being having a very human experience.

Bless you little heart for being a tender thing.

I am afraid of rejection.

I am afraid that at the end of the day.

(At the end of the bar at the end of the night, another night at the end of the bar)

I am not enough.

That I am not lovable.

That I am not good enough, pretty enough, smart enough.

Not a good enough nanny, student, lover, human.

Not a good enough woman.

(Still such a little girl)

Forgive yourself sweet heart.

You’re doing just fine.

You are perfect.

Imperfectly.

Perfectly.

Perfect.

“Pet Me”

August 6, 2015

Oh baby.

Of course.

Curl up in my arms and I will hold you and pet you.

I stroked his small, warm back.

We had us a day.

it started out with one hell of a temper tantrum.

Screaming.

Outside.

Yikes.

It escalated and then.

It stopped.

He blew himself out and then got tired and we sat down on a neighbor’s steps and I held him against my heart and when his breath had slowed I looked at him, “take another breath for me, big deep breath,” I said and demonstrated.

He breathed in.

His wet eyes, mashed eyelashes, brown pools of sweet soft little boy.

“How old are you sweet pie?”  I asked him, brushing the hair off his forehead.

“Three,” he whispered.

“Three more breathes in and out and then we’ll talk about what we can do to make this better,” I cradled him on my lap while his brother hid in the stroller with his hands over his ears.

I am sure that the older brother was not the only one with hands over ears on the block for the duration of the tantrum.

But.

Then.

Peace and the struggle was over.

It was about his stuffed cat, who, yes, I refer to it as a who, sometimes a she, sometimes a he, Meow Meow, has become a source of such comfort for the littlest guy that now, this last week especially, he has insisted on leaving the house to go to the park with the stuffie.

Unfortunately.

The once white cat is now grey.

“Look!”  The five year old said at the park yesterday, “Meow Meow is camouflaged!”

And indeed he was.

The stuffed cat blended right into the dirty sidewalk.

Ugh.

It’s not that I really care all that much if the stuffed toy gets dirty, it’s more that Meow Meow has become a weapon of destruction when the three-year old loses his ability, slight at this age, to communicate his needs.

Reminds me of myself at times, I will lash out unhesitating in my necessity to claim what ever security I can grasp in my small little world.

But the reaction has gotten pretty bad and the cat ends up being used as a device to beat his brother or worse.

He’s used it to hit other little kids at the playground.

So far no real cats have been hurt in our capers, but I am concerned.

“Meow Meow is a lover, not a fighter,” I explained to him today.

More than once.

But we’re working it out.

The summer is coming to a close, in a manner of speaking, for the boys.

School camp starts next week, which is the school’s way of integrating the new students into the system, the pre-school kids and the new kindergarten kids into the system, as well as providing a nice little segue for the parents into the school year.

It is handily timed, as I will be out-of-town next week myself.

I’ll be in school too.

Oh god.

This is happening.

I got a little freaked today and wished for a minute that I could be a little cat, curl up in someone’s lap, hide away from the world with my blanket and be pet and stroked and taken care of.

But it’s just me here doing the deal, so to the best of my ability, I’m taking care of myself with kindness and compassion and breathing through the moments as calm as possible.

Being 42 years old I wonder if I should be taking that many breaths when I get overwhelmed.

It’s not a bad idea.

I had to remind myself to just take the time to sort and look at my books today, get a little more organized, I still have loads of reading to do before I hit the retreat on Sunday.

Check in time is 4p.m.

Granted, classes don’t start until Monday morning, so I do have Sunday to do some reading as well, but I really want to have the majority of it done before I head to the retreat.

I would like to also ask the cohort how the hell I’m supposed to enjoy the retreat if I’ve got hundreds of pages of reading to do to be prepared for just the retreat and as far as I can see I also will have two papers due relatively soon thereafter the retreat–which will be written while I am working with the family in Sonoma.

Retreat my ass.

It feels like boot camp.

But that’s just my perspective.

I had to take manageable little bites with the reading.

And also to be kind to myself.

“MOTHERFUCKER!”

I shouted this evening when I got home from work, looking over the syllabus for one of the classes.

I realized I had overlooked a book on the list of readings that I had to do and it precipitated a great deal of anxiety as I looked over the stack of books and yes, did indeed confirm, that I was missing a tome.

I got online immediately and ordered it through Amazon.

Most of my books I found online and I have bought all of them used.

I would not be able to afford them all at list price and I’m willing to overlook the used quality of the books to just have them in my possession.

Fortunately I discovered that the reading out of that book was not listed for the retreat.

Whew.

And I’ll have it by the time I do have to have it.

And breathe.

I’m sure the retreat will actually be good for me.

I’ll meditate.

I’ll get outside.

The great out doors.

(G.O.D.)

Get right with the trees and hills and sky.

I’ll take walks.

And, fingers crossed, I’ll get myself into the hot tub underneath the bright stars outside the city lights and I will soak away the worry and fear.

I’ll let myself be myself and I won’t be afraid.

Or I will.

But I will remember to breathe and when I have that feeling that I just need someone to hold my hand, someone to pet me, to console me, and stroke my hair, I’ll ask for God to hold my hand through it.

And I’ll get by just fine.

I always do.


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