Posts Tagged ‘conflict’

It’s Been A Day

July 4, 2018

It really has.

It was preceded by a night with little sleep.

I had a really hard time falling asleep and I couldn’t stay asleep when I finally did.

I rarely have insomnia, but last night there was a kiss of it.

So much to think about.

And my wild thoughts got me up so early.

Really too early.

But.

I have to say I am surprised that I didn’t feel tired today.

I also had a bit more to do than I thought I was going to.

In between my therapy session and dropping off paperwork to a former supervisor in Hayes Valley, I got a text from my boss asking for a huge favor and could I go help out at the house for a few hours.

I said sure, I went, I let in the cleaners, I hung out and listened to French House music, I did some spending plan for July and I added up my expenses for June.

I got a bit walloped yesterday.

Truth be told.

Unexpected conflict.

Lots of fear.

High amounts of anxiety.

And lots of having faith and leaning in.

I spent most of yesterday outside the house, I didn’t feel safe here and I didn’t want to have more conflict escalate.

Fortunately nothing further happened.

You want details you contact me directly I am being circumspect about what goes on my blog for a little while.

When the dust settles I may elaborate more, but tonight as I write, suffice to say it’s been unpleasant and I have been taking actions around my housing situation to the best of my abilities.

I also have to say thank God for my external support and for the people who I could call and talk to and get suggestions from.

So much lovely help.

I needed every bit.

And so, it was of no surprise, not really, when I got home after a long stressful day yesterday and found a bill from my health insurance for $867.23.

Fuck.

Really?

I knew it.

I had a feeling I was going to get a sucker punch from the endoscopy.

I looked over the bill and though yes, I was a touch upset, in the end my insurance did cover $3200 of the procedure.

Grateful for that.

I sat down and wrote out a check.

Then I balanced my checkbook.

Then.

Well.

I have therapy and need groceries.

I am sitting with money in my account, but it’s earmarked toward rent, my rent check has not been cashed yet.

I double checked my addition and subtraction and I thought about a few things I wanted to do today.

Car wash.

And decided to pull money from my savings account.

Did I have to?

No.

I would have been ok until payday.

I mean.

I would have bought nada.

But I would have been ok.

Then I thought, why feel pinched when I have money there that can be used?

I transferred the money that I had earmarked for Paris into my account and decided to make sure I looked over my budget and spending for the month.

It’s a big month for travel.

I have no regrets about what I spent in New York.

I am very happy for the trip, the memories, the mementos.

Absolutely no thoughts that I should have done it any different.

It was a wonderful trip.

Paris will be too.

I may not have the $867 that had to go to the hospital bill, but I have enough.

I’m o.k.

That became sort of the theme today.

I am o.k.

I am going to be o.k.

Everything is o.k.

Yes.

Things are hard.

Things are challenging.

Life is showing up and doing what life does, giving me opportunities to learn and grow and expand my capacity for love.

Yes.

There were tears today too.

Therapy.

I talked for the first half about my living situation and what happened yesterday.

My therapist really applauded how I handled the situation.

I was not expecting that, to be told that what I did under pressure was admirable.

That felt good to have reflected back to me.

I still had few moments of feeling overwhelmed when I talked about what had happened, but hey I didn’t die and though it was intense and unpleasant, I got through it.

I had lunch with a friend today after therapy and he reflected some of the same things back to me.

It was super fun to see him.

He works in a cool tech company and they have lunch delivered and so yay, free lunch and an hour with a good friend.

He also helped me figure out my bottom line around my situation and gave me some brilliant language should I need, when I suspect, it’s not going to be a should, it will be a when, to stand up to the situation and what is happening.

It was calming and I appreciated hearing it and that he also acknowledged I do have a lot of power in the situation.

Ultimately.

Faith.

Faith.

And more faith.

It shall prevail.

The rest of the day was nice, like I mentioned, helping out the family, getting to do the work on my spending plan, taking time to eat a nice dinner, just a salad and sparkling water, but it felt good to nourish myself on the earlier side of dinner as I had a client cancel and I wanted to do the deal tonight at 8p.m.  I was able to leave after my first client and get across town right on time.

Where again I got to be aware of fear and faith and that they are similar, belief in something that cannot be proven.

So I chose faith.

I will continue to choose faith.

Knowing that I am loved and carried and I just have to show up and take the next actions in front of me.

It will all work out.

It really will.

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Still Scared

June 3, 2018

But breathing through it.

Crying too.

Sharing about it.

Letting it go.

Reminding myself that it’s not about me, but that, yes, oh yes, I do have rights.

And quite a lot more of them then I had even realized.

I got up early today, I showered, I prayed and read and wrote and drank my coffee and applied for a Grad Plus Student Loan, since the financial aid I was approved of for my PhD program is shy $3,000.

I got approved.

I don’t know how much that will mean, the school will package the loan for me, but I do know that it will be enough.

I feel quite sure of that.

So with my breath stuck somewhere high up in my chest, I left this morning to go to the San Francisco Tenant’s Union on Capp Street.

I got there five minutes before they were open and there were already four other people in line.

However!

Thanks to being proactive, I actually got to go first, since I had filled out the paperwork online, paid the membership fee, printed everything off and handed it over to the counselor.

“I’ll see you first,” he said and asked me what I needed to know.

I told him about my situation and I got back some straight quick answers.

The notice to leave the in-law is in fact, as I suspected, not legal.

It has to be in writing and it has to be for just cause, like I haven’t been paying rent, or I have trashed the place, or I’m doing something illegal.

No meth lab here.

Just me and my notebooks quietly coexisting next to the garage.

I explained that I didn’t have a signed lease.

“Doesn’t matter, she still has to give you a written notice, she still has to have just cause, and the reasons she’s given are not legally binding,” he continued.

I was relieved and also panicked.

“What do I do now?” I asked.

“Nothing, you stay put, you pay your next month’s rent,” he continued, “you don’t have to move out, just keep paying your rent and lay low.”

Ugh.

That sounds horrible, but doable.

I just hate the idea of living somewhere that I am not wanted.

And I realize that’s also a sort of victim attitude or perhaps a martyr attitude.

Neither of which are very sexy in my opinion.

I asked about relocation money and he said I wasn’t to that stage yet, but that I could get there.

I said what if she raised the rent?

He said, and my jaw dropped, “you have rent control, there is only so much she can raise it, has she raised it since you moved in?”

I said yes, told him the amount, and he said, “that’s too much, here’s the percentage that she’s allowed to raise it, you could sue for back overpaid rent retroactive three years.”

Holy shit.

I had no idea about that.

I chatted with my best friend about it, I’m a bit stupid with math, I’ll write you a Shakespearean sonnet in ten minutes, but maths, bah, numerological dyslexia strikes again, and asked what the raise would have been and figured out that it was raised $30 too high.

I mean it’s not a ton over, but I could reasonably say that another raise in rent is out of the question with that knowledge.

What I basically was told was you don’t have to move, you don’t need to move, make her do the work and get everything in writing.

It feels really big and scary and unpleasant.

I suspect though, that it will be a couple of uncomfortable conversations.

She’s not going to hurt me, she’s not going to change the locks on the house, I really actually can’t see that happening.

It will be uncomfortable conversations, and though I’m not happy about that, I can have them and knowing what my rights are really feels good.

Especially just knowing that I have more time to find a place.

I still intend on moving out, it doesn’t seem like this is a good home for me, it’s been what I needed for this phase of my development, but it is time to move on.

I think what the counselor gave me, though, is time.

Time to find the right situation, time to make sure that I am not desperately clawing at unreasonable housing situations, rent that I can’t afford, or room mates that I’m not really compatible with.

I sense that having the awareness that I don’t actually have to more out in 90 days will help me be more expansive.

I hope anyway.

I am still scared and uncomfortable and the crap its stirring up is big, but I am also a capable adult able to have conversations and find solutions.

I can take this to a mediator if necessary.

Though I suspect that it won’t need to go that far.

I think a buy out is reasonable, especially in this market.

This market is crazy, it still stuns me at times, but I have lived here for almost sixteen years, I can’t imagine being anywhere else.

This is home, not necessarily this little in-law, but San Francisco.

So tonight I will practice invisioning what I want.

I will imagine a big room, hard wood floors, living in a house where I probably have roommates, but I also have access to an entire house, I imagine space and sunlight.

Laundry.

Parking.

It can happen.

I know it.

I just do.

I know it’s out there and I’m ready to embrace the next thing.

I really am.

I can be scared and I can still do this.

“Men of faith have courage.”

Courage is not the absence of fear.

It is walking through the fear, it is doing the actions needed despite the fear.

I am brave.

I will walk through this.

Into the bright sunight of a brand new home.

I just will.

A Tire Swing

June 2, 2018

Floating in the air over the dense thick grass of a lawn between a thicket of trees and a few farm sheds and cabins.

A hammock in the background that is almost as tempting, an invitation to loaf, snooze, to fall upwards while laying back, high into the blue skies and the clots of cream fluff clouds drifting lazily by.

2018-06-01 13.37.08-2

I adore a good tire swing.

This was one of the better ones I have seen.

If not the best.

The swing was rigged from a line of rope strung between two trees, not from a tree specifically, so it drifted back and forth on this kind of clothes line, swinging in loopy circles and ovals.

I did not go for a ride on the swing.

Though I was sorely tempted.

I could feel it in my body, the desire to climb in, push myself up into the air and drift through the warm breezes ruffling through the trees.

It was such a pretty day.

Sunny and warm.

Not typical San Francisco weather.

Then again.

I wasn’t in San Francisco.

I was outside of a small town to the south of Half Moon Bay called San Gregorio.

San Gregorio is tiny.

Population 214.

There’s a general store and a post office.

And then just beautiful rolling mountains.

It’s close to the coast so the drive in was gorgeous and breathtaking.

I am always so stunned when I get to drive down the One, it’s just such a tremendous gift to live next to such beauty.

I am in awe of the Pacific ocean, the sunlight, the green mountains, the twisty curving roads.

The family I work for have friends staying in San Gregorio and they were moving back to Finland, so there was a drive to meet them for lunch at the Air BnB they were staying at.

On a goat farm.

Yes.

I got to go hang out with some kids, not just the ones I work for.

It was precious and sweet, and the sound of the baby laughing in my arms as the goats crowded around me melted my heart.

I love animals.

And I am good with them.

I am not afraid of them or of getting messy, though for a minute I was like, damn it man, had I known we were going to a goat farm I would have dressed differently.

Especially knowing that where we were going was warmer.

Ha.

I was all in black, black leggings, black therapy dress, black, black, black, and the dress is long-sleeved.

It’s a super comfy, but professional little jersey dress I got from the Gap last year when I started seeing clients, it works for nannying and with a simple switch out from my nanny shoes to my “therapy shoes” I feel like I can be very professionally attired to see my clients in the evenings after I finish my nanny shift.

Though perhaps a great outfit for in the city, not necessarily the best for a goat farm.

Three times I had to take the hem out of the mouth of a goat.

It made me laugh though.

And after the week I have had up in my head about the whole 90 days to move thing it was a relief.

Sidebar.

Phone call message from the Tenant’s Union confirmed that my landlady does not have just cause to ask me to move out.  I got the message while I was in transition from nannying to my internship, so I missed the call, but the woman left me a lengthy message addressing all the points I had brought up and she confirmed that legally my landlady does not have the right to ask me to move out.

She encouraged me to get my copy of the Tenant’s Union handbook when I go into my drop in session tomorrow, and that I was protected despite not being on a lease and living in an illegal unit.

That was a relief to hear and also a bit like, ok, here we go, this is really happening, what do I need to do next.

I spent some time talking out loud in the car on my way home, how would I say it, would I write it down, would I ask another person to be there with me, what would happen, I could tell I was getting scared, I don’t like conflict, but also that really I just need to take the emotional bit out of it and be business like.

I have rights, here they are, make counter offer.

Done.

And of course, more will be revealed tomorrow when I sit down with the counselor and see exactly what my rights are.

No need to have the conversation before I have all the information.

Anyway.

Like I said.

A relief to be outside, in the fresh air, in the sun, getting to play with the children and push my oldest charge on the tire swing.

He had trepidations at first, but I had a feeling that once he had a ride he would fall in love with it like I did when I was his age.

And he did.

It was the sweetest thing to watch the simple pleasure on his face as he floated through the air up high, against the bright green of the trees.

Such joy.

It filled me up.

There was a house in Wisconsin that we lived at briefly in all our transitions from here to there (I told my therapist how hard it was to separate this thing happening with the notice to move out with the shame and fear and running away in the middle of the night my mom did on more than one occasion to avoid getting evicted by the police for not paying rent.  I am not my mother, I have paid and I’m not doing anything wrong, but that voice inside that insisted, you’ve been bad and now you’re being punished, took a whole lot of talk to calm down) when my mother had moved us cross-country from California to Wisconsin where she had grown up, in Lodi, a small town 30 ish miles to the North of Madison in Columbia County.

I don’t remember the house very well, we were only there for a brief time, I think she was crashing with friends on the couch until we moved into a small apartment in Baraboo, but I do remember the tire swing.

It was my savior.

This succor from the trauma of running away in the middle of the night, the constant moving, the constant uprooting, the wondering where I was going to sleep next, if it would be safe, was there anywhere that was safe?

The tire swing.

It was safe.

Although it was exciting to go high, really, I just like being held secure in the middle of the tire, arms wrapped around it, swaying back and forth in slow swoops and circles, staring up into the leaves of the old oak tree that it hung from.

I was in that swing every day until we moved.

I can still feel the rope in my hands and smell the faint rubber smell of the tire and see the smooth patch around the rope where many small hands had worn the treads smooth.

My childhood was not one I would wish upon another, but it was mine and to say that there never was joy in it would be a lie.

I was a happy kid when I was allowed to be happy.

I was happy in that swing.

2018-06-01 13.37.22-2

And I was happy pushing my sweet little boy charge in the tire at the goat farm for his first time ever, quiet and sure that he would be as safely held as I was.

The light dappled down over me and the warm smell of hay arose in my nose and I let my eyes close for a moment as I pushed his small weight towards the sky, remembering again and again that I am loved, safe, and perfectly held.

Now.

And.

Always.

 

First Day

June 1, 2018

No tears.

Since Saturday and the bomb drop.

I also took a few actions today that helped with that.

I became a member of the San Francisco Tenant’s Union.

$35 for a year-long membership.

I think it will come quite in handy.

I plan on getting up early and going to do drop in counseling regarding my landlady asking me to move out 90 days from tomorrow on Saturday.

I also placed a phone call with the Union, of course I did not get a live person, but as a member I was allowed to place a call and get a call back, which I think is very cool.  The Union will not take phone calls from non-members.

I left a succinct message regarding the situation, that I was planning on coming in on Saturday, that I had done a good bit of reading of the handbook and that I wanted to know if there was anything that my counselor would need when I came in.

I quickly asserted that I had no lease, that the landlady had given me a verbal notice to quit the in-law, and that I had been living here for five years paying rent on a monthly basis, $1200 a month plus utilities for the first three years and $1250 plus utilities for the last two.

I didn’t get a call back today and from the information on the message I may not get a call back before I head in on Saturday.

But.

It felt good to take a small action.

I also put it in my God box.

I wrote a note, I said some prayers, I asked God to take care of it and show me where I’m supposed to live next.

I also did my morning readings and prayer and that always, I mean always helps.

Especially when one of the readings was talking about principles before personalities and I realized how applicable that was to my situation.

I don’t like my landlady’s personality and I have found myself wanting to ruminate about that when it really has nothing to do with my situation, who she is as a person is none of my business.

How she treats me as a tenant is and I am not in agreement with what she asked of me to do.

I am in fear, I won’t lie, that it’s going to get uncomfortable to live here if I find out that I have rights that are due me and when I request for them to be honored I suspect that there will be push back.

But.

Until that happens I am trying pretty damn hard to stay out of that crazy making in my head.

I have already decided that she will tell me I’m not allowed to use the washer and dryer in the garage and that she’s going to want me to get anything I have in storage in her garage out.

My bicycle, my Burning Man bins, my tents.

I also suspect she will ask me to park my scooter on the street instead of next to the house.

But.

Again.

Those things haven’t happened and are not happening right now.

They may.

And if they do I will handle them at that time, worrying about what happens in the future doesn’t actually prepare me for what’s going to happen and so often my experience has been that much of what I’m afraid of doesn’t come to pass.

Thus attempting to stay present and stay in the moment where there really is nothing wrong.

My rent is paid for this upcoming month and I have time to find out what my options are and I have time to look for a new place to live.

Because no matter what comes of the Tenant Union drop in counseling, moving is on the table, on my plate, is going to happen.

It just is a matter of how it happens and when and if I get any sort of compensation to more.

Even if I find out I don’t have to move and I suspect that may very well be an option, I just feel like the landlady will make it hell to live here and I’m not much interested in that.

I feel like the best case scenario is I get some money to help facilitate the move and I am able to make a jump to a bigger and better place.

I have been seriously considering the option of getting a three bedroom house in the Outer Sunset.

I have been doing some Craigslist research and there are some very doable options out here.

I have seen a few other homes that might work in the Richmond neighborhood and one or two elsewhere, one in the SOMA which is a no go, I don’t want to have to worry about street parking and a few in Portola, one in Glenn Park, some in the Outer Mission/Excelsior.

But the Outer Sunset seems to have the biggest amount of choices and I am really liking the idea of having a house.

Granted I don’t have the furnishings for a house, but I believe they will come.

If I can get another couple of folks together I could easily snag a place that’s big, sunny, has parking, maybe even a garage, washer and dryer on site and/or hookups for them.

A few places also have fireplaces and yards.

I mean.

That sounds fucking terrific to me.

Two of the houses I really liked also have Master bedrooms with their own baths.

I could be the Master tenant, pay a little more, have a big room, my own bathroom and then full access to the rest of the house.

It’s beginning to sound more and more feasible to me.

And exciting.

I’m not exactly looking forward to the uncomfortable conversations I feel are  going to occur, but then again, I am feeling very positive that I am heading into a much better housing situation than I currently have.

And for that.

Well.

I am fucking grateful as hell.

Sometimes

July 26, 2017

I’m smiling and you may not know the reason, but I’m smiling and damn it feels good.

I am happy.

I had a great day.

Lots of scootering all over the city.

Lots of errands run.

Amazing what I can do when I’m not working.

Ha.

I mean, I did go to my internship and I saw two clients today.

One who is new and the other who is returning, in fact, my first client, which feels pretty damn good, getting to know this client and seeing how the therapy is working for the client is an amazing experience.

I am growing more and more and finding out more about how I am a therapist.

I model myself a little on my own therapist.

She was fucking fabulous today.

We had an amazing session.

I sat down and said one name.

I want to talk about _____________.

And we dove in.

There was so much there.

I gave a history of the relationship and why it is relevant to me today.

I talked about conflict resolution and how in my past I wasn’t allowed to have conflict.

Conflict was not rewarded with resolution.

It was generally smashed and violently so.

Conflict for me was dangerous and scary and so I just learned at a very, very young age to avoid it at all costs.

Thank you to my school program and working towards getting my Masters in Counseling Psychology, (one more year!) that, oh, what?! Relationships have conflict and that’s ok.

Shit.

Who the fuck knew?

So.

I had some conflict that I needed my therapist to weigh in on.

It was astounding to hear her perspective and when I was stuck she helped me figure out where I was stuck and what it was.

We got to the bottom of it.

I was so freaking happy.

I am still not excited for conflict and when it happened, the conflict I am alluding to, it was years ago but it has become very relevant in present time,  I did not know that resolution could happen, that repair could happen.

I am much better at it now then I used to be.

Some practice, some stepping up and being a woman and an adult.

I remember when I really stepped out of my comfort zone with a former employer and let her know how I felt about an interaction we had and how I was really hurt by it.

I am certain that my past employer had no idea how her words had landed, but man, they had landed so hard on such a tender part of me that I knew I had to address it.

It would mean changing patterns of behavior I had been using for years, survival skills if you will.

And I did.

It was hard.

Man, it was so fucking hard.

But.

It opened a door that I didn’t know was there and an opportunity to exit that work environment a few months later with a kind of grace and dignity that I would not have thought I could have done.

Except that I let the repair happen.

I had the conflict, I said this doesn’t sit well with me, this is how it felt when you said what you did and I want you to know I can’t be treated like this.

It was one of the most powerful experiences I have ever had.

Scary too.

So freaking scary.

I mean.

It was my job, my everything, and I loved my charges so very much I was devastated by the thought that I might lose my livelihood, one, and two, that I would alienate myself from the boys.

Those children meant so much to me it was excruciating to confront their mom.

Yet.

When I did, as I mentioned before, the conflict though hard was not as hard as I had thought it would be and it led to an unexpected resolution and repair of the relationship.

I mean, the last time I saw her we hugged and we both expressed how good it was to see the other person.

Oh there were lots of other things to work through, in that relationship before we got to that point, but the point is that I got to and I grew so much it astonished me.

There is always an edge to push always an experiencing for me to have.

For which I am grateful beyond words.

I have had so many life experiences that I can really be of service and value to my clients.

That is a huge gift and one that I don’t take lightly.

I have to say.

I really like therapy.

I like being a therapist.

I like being smart, I like using my brain, but more importantly I like making intuitive moves and letting things unfold in the field as my clients and I work together.

It is powerful.

It can be really hard too.

But for the most part.

Man.

I am happy getting to be a therapist.

I have so much to learn but that I am actively using the skills that I have learned over the past few years, in school, and the decades of experience I have had over the span of my life and the challenges met, my God, I have had some challenges and I have a lot to share.

And having the tools and language of therapy is a huge gift.

It’s like having done the readings and the trainings and the dyads and all the paper writing and all the books and articles and internet Ted Talks, the podcasts and the lectures that I have sat through, the work I have done on myself, the inventories and the taking suggestions and trying different things, my God, I can see how important all of it is.

And that none of it is wasted.

None!

My therapist has remarked a number of times to me how “alive” I am.

And I am.

I am happy.

I am free.

I am joyous.

I am of service.

I have purpose.

I am love.

I know.

That last one sounds full of myself.

But you know.

I think I am.

Or better.

That.

I am a conduit for love.

That feels more apt.

A channel.

And to know that I have been given that and that I get to grow more into that shape of love excites me.

Even when it feels overwhelming.

It is an amazing revelation.

And I am here.

Open to all of it.

Grateful.

And.

So relieved to no longer be in my own damn way.

It is extraordinary.

And now.

Please.

Pardon me.

I have some happy dance to do.

Sweet.

Sweet.

Sweetest.

Dreams.

See you on the flip.

 

Forgive

April 9, 2017

Forgive.

Forgive.

That’s what the message said.

I forgive you.

I hope you had joy while you ate my chicken soup.

I roasted that chicken last Sunday then used the bones to create a stock, it has garlic, onions, corn, cauliflower, broccoli, and carrots, and brown rice.

I hope it fed you.

I hope it nourished you.

I wish you well.

I forgive you for taking my soup.

I forgive you for taking my gift, the one I was going to give to my friend in the cohort who is getting married.

I hope it brings you love and light and joy.

I do.

I forgive you.

And more than that.

I forgive myself.

I was not to blame, I didn’t do anything wrong.

I will, however, remember the feeling of what it was like to mystify myself.

Because I didn’t believe you could do this to me.

Take from me.

Take my things.

Take my little piece of home in a Mason jar.

My warmth and succor after a long day of class.

I was not expecting to have that happen in a space where I practice so much vulnerability.

Please God.

Have me see what you want me to see and help me to let go of what I can.

I forgive you because I have to forgive me.

Some things are valuable.

And some things are ,well, just things.

“It’s just stuff,” he said and looked into my eyes and held my gaze, “you get to grieve the loss of it, don’t shove off the feelings, but don’t hold onto it, let it go, they’re just things, and as crazy as this sounds, the Universe has something better for you.”

I did not think that sounded crazy at all.

I believed every word of it.

I also took what he said to heart and let myself feel the sorrow of the loss.

I cried my tears.

I also know that the soup and the gift were symbols of other things that I had taken away from me, a sense of safety, a sense that the world is not a scary place, an inner equilibrium, home.

So.

I find solace and safety within myself.

That I am enough and that I can take care of myself.

I was able to source another gift for my friend.

I was able to go to The Market and get dinner with one of my favorite people.

I was able to accept hugs and shoulders to lean into and validation that what I was feeling was appropriate.

I took some action too.

I reported it to the school, if someone is rifling through the student lounge and stealing it should be shared with the students at the campus.

Food is a sacred thing.

We all need to eat.

So.

I forgive you.

I hope my soup warmed you, fed you, nourished you, gives you sustenance.

For that is what it has done for me.

I am proud of myself for taking care of myself, for having the good cry, for letting my T.A. approach me in the cafe and actually have a conversation about it that was both sweet and intimate, but affirming of me and my abilities.

“You are amazing, you have so much light,” he said and gave me such a hug.

I felt seen, validated, and empathized with.

I am grateful for that.

It was an unexpected gift in the wake of the loss.

He was right too.

It’s just stuff.

I have unshakeable faith that God took something from me that needed to be elsewhere, those things, all things really, are for God to appropriate, I had them for a little while, they are needed elsewhere.

I now have open hands to accept the things that God wants for me.

One of the biggest gifts were all the interactions I had with my cohort, my friends, and my T.A.

I was smitten with the love and affection that I was showered with.

I still am.

I had some wounds open.

Sure.

It felt that I my home dumped out and stolen.

It felt like Goldilocks and the Three Bears.

I could almost see the person searching through the refrigerator and going, “Ooh, this looks yummy, and then seeing the gift and thinking, “Ooh, I must have that.”

I understand.

There is a thrill in theft.

I have stolen.

I know.

It has been a long time, but I have.

There is entitlement in stealing.

There is adrenalin.

It can be addicting to swipe something.

To gain vicarious thrill from a source that is unwitting.

But this is just a story.

There is a narrative, an arc of action.

Perhaps there is guilt and shame.

I don’t know the persons story.

I do wish for them the ability to get what it is they need.

That is unconditional love.

I do not like what happened, I don’t care, not one fucking bit, but I do hope there is relief for the person, I wish them the best.

Because you can’t steal what I have in my heart.

In my strength of person.

You only took some stuff.

Stuff does not make the world go round.

You can’t take my sense of value, self-worth, or safety.

You can’t take away my experiences, pains, joys, loves, laughter, growth or healing.

Those things are nonnegotiable.

They are mine and you are not going to ever take that from me.

No one puts Baby in a corner.

I am my own woman and I am grateful for this, already, I grow stronger.

Something got moved around today, an opening was made for some unexpected healing, perception, awareness, and growth.

Actually.

I should be thanking you, Soup Thief, you unwittingly gave me an absolute firm sense of my core and my abilities.

I learned how to use my resources and how to accept help.

I learned it is ok to grieve for something, whether a thing, or a concept.

I softened and I grew.

Pretty amazing day when it all comes down to it.

I will say, I am freaking tired though, it was a draining afternoon to evening.

So.

Another cup of tea.

My apple and some blueberries.

A comfy pillow behind my back.

Half an episode of Billions.

And a good nights rest.

Conflict.

Resolved.

Home

February 12, 2017

Sweet home.

I’m not there yet.

Even though I am home.

That’s not the home I am talking about.

“Welcome home,” he shouted into the dusty air, “ring the bell.”

I rang the bell.

I skipped the rolling around in the dust though.

Fuck that shit.

It’s dusty enough up in this mess.

Yup.

I’m planning my return trip to the playa.

It’s a little early, I suppose, but I am going to get my little early ducks in a row.

I’ve decided that I am not working this year.

I am going to go and just have fun.

I am going to stay with a different camp than I have before, I’ve been a member of the camp since it’s inception and have spent time there, and have friends there, and one of them mentioned to me that it was time to come out and camp with them this year and not work and really enjoy the festival.

The art.

The joy.

The get about and the get around.

I found out my when my first weekend of classes will be for the fall semester.

Last year they fell on the same weekend of the event and I was not able to go for the full amount of time.

I went up early and left early.

I was only there four days.

It was lovely and I’m super glad I went, but it was not enough and I didn’t get to see any of the burns because I left Wednesday morning of the event.

By plane.

There is that.

It was one hell of an amazing experience to fly out of Burning Man.

I don’t know if that is necessarily happening, but I’m going to let it all fall together.

I decided in my heart to go last Sunday and then I did some research and discovered that the low-income ticket application will open in a few days.

I need to update my profile and the minute it opens, February 15th, I will be applying for it.

One of the big reasons that have always worked the event is to get into the event.

But.

I don’t want to work it this year.

I want to actually go and not be tied down and when I researched a little I discovered I could definitely afford the low-income ticket and I will apply to it.

Then yesterday I discovered that the first weekend of the fall semester for my cohort will be the weekend before the event.

Thank God.

I can go!

Well.

I won’t quite say that yet.

I still have to clear it with work.

I will ask on Monday if it’s a possibility.

I already have a lot of my vacation time tied up to my trip to Paris in May, but I do have some days that are not accounted for and I want to use them for the event.

I may have to do some negotiation with the family in regards to it, but I think that they will be amenable to me going.

I sure do hope so.

It was me doing a happy dance today when I told my friend before class that I found out the weekend dates for the fall and that there was not a conflict with school, it set my day, I was super pumped.

Granted that feeling dissipated, class work was challenging and showing up for it and being present for the material made me completely forget about the event, about travel times and dates and plans and things and stuff and more things.

But.

When I got home and said “hello house,” I smiled, my eyes drawn to the print on the wall, a photo shot from above, from an airplane above the event and I remembered quickly.

Home.

And it will be the ten-year anniversary of my best friends passing and me taking his ashes out to the Temple.

It will be my 11th burn in a row.

It is a part and parcel of me.

There are experiences that I have had there that I cannot rationalize or explain.

Love and light and dirt and dust and spiritual transmogrification.

So many times.

Not just once, but time and time and time again.

Dancing the tango with a beautiful 24-year-old man from Norway who was tall and blonde and yes, heh, Nordic, with a gorgeous sweet accent and the bliss of being kissed under the stars, bent backward and kissed as though every song of the stars above depended upon the breath in and out of our bodies as we melted into the dust.

Riding out to the trash fence at sunrise on the art car “A Horse With No Name” and seeing the shots of fire thrown out against the playa, piercing and bright and bathing the dust with golden smote, softening the blue smoke bathed mountains with flames of light.

Running into a friend unexpectedly in a church pew by an organ and telling him a fairy tale in the mid afternoon heat and swelter.

Reciting poetry underneath the upraised arms of the Man and the face of the man when I looked into his eyes.

“Do you know how easy it is to fall in love with you when you recite poetry,” he said.

Why do you think I recite poetry?

I want you to love me.

And somehow.

I don’t know how.

I don’t need to know how.

I find myself easier in my person, able to let that love in, to be scaffold with it, to allow myself to be exactly who I am, hair bedecked with flowers, standing tall in cowboy boots with polka dot socks and my crinoline blowing in the breeze, my umbrella of poesy flowers opened to shelter me from the sun, face bedecked with smiles.

I am somehow more me and entirely at peace with who I am and how I am and it’s not so weird, it’s just me, and I’m not that unique, I mean, did you see what she was wearing?

Or not wearing.

Of course I want to go home.

It’s home.

Anchored in between the Black Rock Mountains and the Calico’s, underneath the rising moon and the setting sun, the howl of love that whisper whips across the playa until we are all crying out of our aloneness a coming together, a community, an expression of magic, yes.

That.

Magic.

May I always be a part of that kind of love and mystery.

And.

Yeah.

Fingers crossed.

I’ve cleared the first hurdle, school conflict, now to ask off from work for event.

Then.

I’ll get a ticket after that.

And.

Soon.

I’ll see you in the dust.

I’ll be there to welcome you home.

I promise.

 

Things Falling Together

November 30, 2016

I got up early.

I did the yoga.

Or the yoga did me.

Good class, challenging, but I can see again where I am making progress by just showing up to the practice.

So much of life, my life, is just that, constantly showing up.

Sometimes, most times, with expectations.

Once in a while, without them, and then, oh glory.

So good.

I had that happen today in yoga class.

The class was hard, but I could see and feel improvement in my body by making it regular in my schedule again.

I don’t know what’s going to happen when I change my jobs, but I’m not going to worry about that today.

There is too much going on.

December is jam-packed with all the fun.

All the things.

Travel.

Work.

School.

A friend’s wedding.

Yoga whenever I can get to the studio.

It does seem to make me more efficient.

Whether that is because I’m less anxious and able to focus better, or if I just feel better in general and it’s easier to keep a thing in motion in motion.

I came back from yoga this morning, took a shower, threw laundry in the wash, made breakfast, ate it, oh the deliciousness of a persimmon with my apple in my oatmeal–so good–and drank some tasty coffee.

I wrote four pages long hand.

Then.

I made a second cup of coffee and did my makeup.

A nice make up session, I’ve realized that though I like the big bold colors sometimes, that softening as I grow up, yeah, I’m getting older, what of it, is nice.

I feel prettier and more approachable and I rather like that.

Anyway.

The makeup was just a distraction as I found myself with a tiny bout of nerves this morning.

I registered for my second semester of classes!

I was counting down the minutes as I was drinking my coffee and writing and I realized I had a little bit of anxiety around it.

Not nearly as bad as last semester and certainly nothing at all like it was the first couple of times I did it when I was newly in school, but just there, a little rankling of my nerves and I caught it.

Oh.

Hey there.

You’re nervous, that’s ok, be nervous, I’m going to let God take care of this, just show up to the computer, sign into your student account when the clock turns 11:30 a.m. and do the next thing in front of you.

I had multiple tabs open on my computer with instructions from the school and an updated code for one of my courses.

I signed in, updated my account information, signed the waiver saying I had read the policies, nope, but what ever, I’m signing away my life to student loans, I’m not turning back now, then I was in the system.

It took less than five minutes.

Now what?

I basked in the feeling of having registered and then I brushed my teeth and washed my breakfast dishes.

I flipped the laundry into the dryer.

Hmm.

I have some time before work yet.

I could do some Christmas shopping.

Or.

I could work on some homework.

You guessed it.

I chose homework.

I started by first reviewing what I needed to write for my Psychopathology paper.

I got some ideas and I have an idea of where to start.

But.

It’s a honking big paper and I’m going to be spending a lot of time reviewing my notes and re-reading and researching my text books, so, just having an idea of where I can start was nice, but it was just an amuse bouche to pique the appetite.

No.

The paper that I knew I could knock out and get done was for my Child Therapy class.

It was basically a reflection paper on one of the text books we had read over the semester, we could choose from any one of the four and I chose the one that was latest in our syllabus, it was the freshest in my memory and really quite easy to ground myself in the material.

I wrote a paper on the book Odd Girl Out; The Hidden Culture of Aggression in Girls.

I had some experience with that.

I was bullied a bit in middle school.

I got over it.

I learned a great deal from it.

And.

I didn’t let the bitches grind me down.

Besides when I see how far I have come, part of me is grateful for those girls, they’re mean strivings only propelled me further.

But I did take something from the book that I have found to be true in my life, that I was raised to not be in conflict, that conflict is bad, and that I can’t afford any conflict in my relationships, not my friendships, my family relationships, romantic relationships, work relationships.

Increase the list ad infinitum.

However.

All relationships have conflict.

Conflict is not the problem, it’s how I resolve it.

I’m learning.

I still can fuck it up, but I have discovered that I really do blow things out of proportion and I am super sensitive to being in conflict, it feels like I’m going to die and I have inventoried it a lot.

A fucking lot.

I don’t have to be right.

I do have to be happy.

And I’ve been a lot happier just realizing that.

So much happier.

Unhappy still happens.

I mean.

Hello.

Lice.

But.

I can get out of the bad stuff faster and when I allow myself the room to make a mistake and not try to manipulate you into behaving a certain way because god forbid we be in conflict, well.

Life is a whole lot better.

Really.

So I kicked out that paper.

When I know what I want to write, the words just flow.

I formatted it, gave it a little bibliography, and printed that bitch off.

I was done with it a half hour before I was due in at work.

I gathered my gear, hopped on my scooter and made it to work three minutes before my shift started.

The dog gave me love.

The mom updated me on the things that needed to be taken care of.

I did a fuck load of cooking.

But the best.

The best.

Was the four-year old running through the house, running, arms wide open, “Carmen, Carmen, Carmen, I missed you, I missed you so much, I love you, I want to spend all day with you.”

He literally threw himself into my arms.

It took a lot not to cry, but I definitely teared up.

I had missed him too.

We had ourselves a love fest reunion and then built trains all after noon and he helped me “make dinner” (up on the step stool with the pepper grinder and the salt grinder adding “special” seasonings and “magic” to the chicken I was about to roast).

It was the perfect afternoon.

Until his brother got home.

Then.

It just got beyond exquisite.

He had drawn me a picture.

“Carmen!  This is your house, this is where you live.”

He had drawn my house in bright colors, full of love, big, juicy, heart breaking wide open love.

My little house was basically a tiny little happy house that was covered in a HUGE rainbow that filled the page and scrawled off the edges of the paper.

It made my heart just swell.

I felt like the Grinch who stole Christmas when his tiny heart got three sizes bigger.

I squeezed him very, very hard.

And when we had finished dinner–roasted chicken legs for the boys with roasted mashed sweet potatoes and sliced apples and mandarins–I had music playing and I danced with him.

“I love this song,” he said, all melty and dreamy against me.

His eye so big, so brown, so round and full and sweet, swollen with love, it was like looking at the sun, I thought I was being swallowed up whole in that love.

I sang the words to him and we slowly swayed back and forth.

He’s a big kid now, 6 1/2, but I picked him up anyway, and we danced.

It was a full beautiful day.

I really couldn’t ask for more.

Well.

Ha.

I could.

But I won’t.

My needs are met beyond my wildest dreams.

And I am so loved.

So.

So.

So loved.

Luckiest girl in the world.

Seriously.

The Internet Connection is No Bueno

August 24, 2016

Seriously.

I’m going to have to take this blog somewhere else, I get such awful reception in the room I’m staying in, I started it in a Word doc but have transferred it over to my WordPress platform which keeps going in and out.

Story of my life.

Half the time that I am at home the internet will drop or I can’t get online or I’m standing on one foot doing the electric boogaloo trying to pick up the signal so I can post my blog.

I could go elsewhere in the house, I suppose that may be the answer at this time.

I don’t want to though, I’m all cozy in my room and I need a bit of a break from the day and the family and the stuff and things.

I know very well why I am not the woman who would ever accept an in house nanny gig, meaning a live-in.

It’s just way too hard to assert boundaries when there’s no physical space, and fuck, I have a super hard time asserting boundaries anyhow.

I tried a bit today and it didn’t go well.

Which was sort of the expectation I had all along when I have thought about what I need to ask for in my job for me to do a good job.

I actually don’t want to talk about it right now since it feels very unresolved and very not able to address it in the moment and I feel pretty stressed about it.

Stress and anxiety never really serve me and as I sit in my room in this big house out in the Sonoma country side I put into my mind all the love and support I have from my friends and know that whatever happens, I’m going to be fine.

I just don’t have much practice with conflict resolution in my work life or in my life in general.

I can’t stand conflict, let me be up front.

Conflict in my life was not typically met well.

I joked with a friend tonight that I was terrified to have conflict because I realize that I think I’m going to be beaten if I bring up an issue that I have needs around.

And.

Yes.

This is a dramatic reenactment of my childhood shit that still lingers when I least want it to.

I also know that a lot of this can be circumnavigated the more I communicate what I need.

I also know that sometimes people don’t want to hear that you have needs or aren’t interested in helping you meet them.

And that’s ok too.

This is all my stuff.

My stuff I get to work on and if it doesn’t work out, hey, there are other jobs in the sea, I’m good at what I do, I am smart, capable, loving, kind, compassionate and accommodating.

Too accommodating for my own good, as the case may be.

I’ll leave it at that.

Which yes is vague blogging, but I really don’t feel comfortable airing it out here until I know what is going to happen next for me.

As there is still conversation that needs to happen.

Anyway.

One nice thing about asking for what I need is saying what I have to have in regards to hours for the fall and being met with an affirmative yes, that is doable.

Basically what I did last year, work 35 hours a week on weeks I’m not in school and weeks when I am, 28 hours a week.

It’s enough to get by and cover my costs if I am frugal.

I also found out that I am going to have a slightly different Friday than I was expecting.

I thought I would be here in Glen Ellen with the family, but mom asked me to go back to the city early, after work on Thursday and help out by being at the house on Friday while they are still here in Glen Ellen and cooking for them so that they are set up when they get back from the summer vacation and have things ready for the boys for the first week of school.

I can totally do that!

It helps me out as much as them.

I’ll be able to return the rental car early, Thursday night, rather than trying to helter skelter it back on Friday and then get back to my house to leave with my ride share to the event.

I’ll also be done with work and in the city by 6p.m. versus leaving Glen Ellen at 6p.m. and then having to drive back with Friday traffic.

This means home by 6:30 p.m. and ready to go by 7p.m.

I e-mailed my ride and let him know that I would be ready an hour and a half earlier than I thought.

There is also a very good possibility that I will be done sooner than 6p.m., but I am going to play it safe and not promise that I will be available sooner than that.

I did indicate there was reason to believe I may be done sooner, but it all depends on how much cooking I get done and how fast the InstaCart delivery gets to the house.

If it follows like it did the last time I cooked for the family when they wanted a big supply of dinners in the freezer from me when I went to my school retreat, I’ll be done by 5p.m.

That would be the most optimal.

I would love to come home and leisurely get my organized stuff out to the front of the house and change into something appropriate for a long drive and maybe shot gun a coffee or thirteen.

I mean we will be driving all night.

But that is fine with me.

I am so eager to go.

Just have to make it through the next two days without imploding.

I know that ultimately for me this is a great growth opportunity and that there is no malicious intent on either side, and it’s also just a job.

It may be challenging to get what I need or to ask for it, but if this isn’t the right place for me to keep growing and being of service, there are other places.

And I’m grateful, I’m grateful for the conflict, I’ll probably change my mind about that tomorrow when we talk, but I know that I’m growing and that this is change and change begets change and I deserve to grow.

And to know that conflict doesn’t mean annihilation.

It just means communication of uncomfortable things.

And I don’t need to be right.

But I do need to be happy.

And that means, communication.

I just need to say what works for me.

Even if it’s not heard they way I want it to be heard, or it’s misconstrued.

I know I will be better off for having voiced it.

Here’s to having a voice.

Here’s to change.

Even when it sucks.

Especially then.

Since that typically is the time when I grow the most, benefit the most, and find even greater reserves of love in my life.

Love.

Love.

It’s all about the love.

Always has been

Always will be.

Love.

It’s Been A Day

August 17, 2016

One in which I spent too much damn time in my head.

However.

I called in the cavalry.

I amend that.

I texted in the cavalry.

I also got myself out to a little hoe down of my fellows in Sonoma and got right with God and then made some phone calls from there.

I can fall off the beam easily and have really black and white thinking.

At one point today I was ready to call it complete quits at my job.

Not because there’s something screamingly bad with my job, rather, there’s something off in me, something where my ability to speak up for myself and my needs gets lost in the shuffle and the next thing you know I’m doing a job that is not compatible with my needs and I’m a wreck.

I have to communicate.

Ugh.

No fun.

Except.

Maybe it can be, maybe I am here having this experience because I need to learn, again, how to do this thing called life, how to reconcile conflict and draw up some boundaries that are good for me and empower me.

I deserve the job I want and I can probably have it here and now as soon as I can draw upon the resources that are available to me.

My friends.

Who bolster me all the time.

I don’t see myself very well and sometimes I forget that I am a valuable asset, that I am smart and capable and worthy of my hire.

I have had this come up before.

How many times have I gotten to suss this out, many.

However, I am feeling a lot more stable in my need to articulate what I need and to ask for the compensation due the nature of the accommodating that I do for my family.

See.

I’m happy to accommodate.

But what I have discovered is that I need to be compensated, to continue being flexible and rolling with the punches and what have you, I need to get properly taken care of and I have lost my ability to speak up for what works best for me.

There is no malicious intent with my employers, god am I aware of that.

The malicious intent is within me, those things that I grew up with, the danger, and it was very real, of asking for what I needed.

I knew better than to ask for what I wanted, those things never got met and as for what I needed, I didn’t know, my needs were overwhelmed with the needs of my family.

There have been plenty of times in the past where I was asked what I wanted and I couldn’t tell you to save my life, it was so much easier for me to just ask what you wanted and roll the fuck over.

I didn’t even realize what I was doing and I did a lot of shoving down of unpalatable things to keep the balance going and to save myself from being annihilated.

That sounds extreme, but you get beaten for asking for what you need or asserting your needs, for a little while and get back to me on your stance then.

That shit stays with you.

I have done work.

I will continue to do work.

This is part of my work.

Recovery is integral and an absolute necessity.

School has been amazing.

Friends.

Oh my darling, dear, sweet, loving friends who advocate for me when I am not always so inwardly supported, have been instrumental in this.

Finding the support to take the actions that to me and my personality feel absolutely mind blowing and devastating to do has been crucial.

All the walking through the fear.

I have taken in so much love and support, especially this past week, to know that I can take the next steps to ask for what I need at the job.

And.

The best part?

I will be taken care of.

I always am.

I get to fuck it up.

I get to make a mess, I’m messy, it might be messy, I might fall on my face.

That will be ok.

Part of the process.

Part of living.

Learning and bearing witness, gently, when I can to my own process.

Really when I think about it after all the trauma, drama, and agonizing shit that happened to me it’s a fucking miracle that I am who I am, that I have what I have, that I have gotten to break out and make something of this life, that I didn’t roll over and die.

I am alive.

I am fucking resilient.

I am a living fucking testimony that you can get out and you can get better and that life is exquisite and amazing, astounding in it’s joys and astonishments.

The fawn that I startled out of the bushes today on the edge of the rental property.

The red tail hawk in the sky shrieking for its dinner.

The quails chasing through the underbrush.

The sun, warm on my face, I again turn toward the nut brown skin that is in me and glow with fire and heat.

The black berry brambles tumbling down the hill full of fruit.

The sun through the trees as it sinks golden and full with possibility as I climb Sonoma Mountain Road.

The boys, both of whom have found ways to further endear themselves to me as though sensing that tremulous moment when I was offered a job today, the mom having gotten my number through a friend at school, desperate to hire me and get the ball rolling.

Except.

I don’t want to work 50-60 hours a week and go to grad school.

No way.

No how.

In reality.

I already work that much.

My job fluctuates during the summer between 35-45 and since I started school between 28-35 hours a week.

Through in my recovery and that’s easily another 15-20 hours of my time.

I can’t even imagine trying to work more than that and go to school.

I knew that and gently thanked the woman to whom I was speaking and said thank you so much, but I can’t do the job you require.

She begged me to keep her in mind and I will, but not for me.  I also suggested an agency that she could go to.

There’s plenty of jobs out there should I fall flat asking for what I need or my needs are unable to get met at my current position.

It doesn’t mean that my needs won’t get met.

They will.

I just have to speak up for them.

And.

Big.

Deep.

Breath.

I will.

 

 


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