Posts Tagged ‘crack’

I Need Off Canvas

February 5, 2019

And its only just begun.

I made myself take a break today (I was at work and the baby took a long nap) after two solid hours of writing, engaging and interacting the three different classes I have on Canvas with CIIS.

Canvas is the tech platform the classes are set up on and why yes, not a single one of my professors uses it the same as the others.

Every single one of them does it slightly differently.

And once again I had the feeling of being on top of things to only realize that I hadn’t checked into one of my classes in a few days since I was so busy posting up to the other two.

Sure as shit.

I needed to post and post pretty immediately.

I wasn’t exactly annoyed, but I was tired and I don’t know that I put up the most relevant post, but what I came to understand from last semester is that it almost doesn’t matter.

I just have to constantly be posting something.

Either a substantive post on an assignment or reading, or responding to one of my classmates.

Pretty much every week I need to be in Canvas posting and replying.

I almost didn’t want to write my blog tonight, I just wanted to come home, warm up, eat a hot dinner and crawl into bed.

But if I’m not going to do school work, and I still might do a little more tonight, I am also not going to get into bed and watch hours of Netflix, as tempting as that may be.

I will watch some.

Just not a marathon.

I need to keep that and social media to a dull roar.

The blogging is going to be helter skelter.

I have no clue when I will have time, but I figure, it’s good to stay as close to it as I can.

It’s good for my brain to unload the day and it’s good for me to have something that is not academic writing.

Besides, I’ve said it many times.

The process of writing the blog really keeps me sharp for when I need to write papers.

And boy howdy, the papers are already coming.

I have two due by next Monday.

I also have a training for my internship in Berkeley on Sunday.

I will need to be careful with my time so that I can do all the things that need to be done and all my life stuff as well too.

When I go on trainings I’m gone for half the day, 45 minutes to get to Berkeley, three-hour long training, and then on average the traffic back has been an hour and a half.

By the time I get home I need to eat lunch, which is late as it’s around three p.m. and I need to go to the laundry mat.

I am still not happy about having to go to the laundry mat.

But I am making the best of it.

For instance, this Sunday while the majority of the country was watching the Super Bowl, I was doing laundry and read 46 pages of material in my Varieties of Scholarly Expression reader.

I also did a paper on Sunday as well.

First one of the semester.

And cooked and organized things and went birthday shopping for my oldest boy charge who turns nine tomorrow.

And.

Oh yes.

I took myself on an Artist Date to Cliff’s Variety in the Castro and I bought art supplies for my Arts and Creativity in Leadership class.

I had a lot of fun.

I probably also spent more than I needed to, but honestly, I really think I needed to do it.

It felt good to say yes to myself and to splurge a little.

I mean, it’s art supplies, not crack.

Although when I was checking out I couldn’t help but giggle at all the glittering supplies I had gotten.

Glitter glue.

Glitter markers.

Glitter colored pencils.

Glitter stickers.

Plus some fancy origami paper (I won’t be doing origami with it, I just liked the paper), watercolor markers, pastel markers, and tiny colorful clothes pin holders.

No idea what I’ll do with the latter, but they were so fucking cute I had to buy them.

It was a nice splurge.

I also yesterday, had a Zoom session with one of my TA’s.

This was good, clarifying, and really just sunk it home, I’m in a PhD program.

I really have a lot of work to do and keep doing.

This is a long haul program.

But.

I am hoping to follow my TA’s cue and do some work the summer after I finish my course work so that I can get a head start into that next semester of work where I will be independent.

She told me what she did and it was basically to not take the summer off and work on her proposal for her dissertation so that as soon as the first day of fall semester hit she turned it in to her dissertation chair and was off and running.

She will likely be done in three and a half years as opposed to four and a half.

I’m all for doing it that way.

Get it done.

I am excited, more and more, as the process becomes clearer to me.

Yes, so much work, but rather fascinating work and I’ll be writing about something I am very interested in.

So, yeah, Canvas.

I have gotten three notifications while I have been writing this blog that something new has been posted in my classes, so I will likely hit it up for a few more minutes before calling it a day.

It’s how I managed to get through last semester without falling behind.

The horror stories of people in my cohort who fell behind is enough to keep me active.

Or.

The people who just dropped out completely or disappeared.

I think we lost five people?

I don’t want to drop out and I do want to get my dissertation through, I want to have a PhD.

I want to be Dr. Carmen.

I really.

Really.

Really.

Do.

Offer Accepted!

August 7, 2018

It’s official.

I just now, literally just seconds ago, replied with my acceptance for the Grateful Heart Therapy internship.

I am now part of their 2018 Fall cohort.

I will begin October 1st!

I can hardly believe it.

I will get to see clients and get paid.

I will get to have one office, instead of four different offices.

And!

Oh the nicest thing!

I found out that the Thursday morning group supervision meets in San Francisco not Alameda!

This is huge.

Especially since the group also meets a little earlier than I thought, 8:15 a.m.

But it’s done by 10:30 a.m. and I’ll be at work by 11 a.m.

I won’t lose any hours at work, I won’t have to finagle more money from somewhere else, in fact, once I start accruing a few more clients I will actually make some money.

I won’t for the first few months, it will take some time to accrue the prudent reserve the non-profit needs me to have to make sure that I can pay rent and supervision fees.

But that’s fine.

I have time to do that.

I have time and I will get paid, I suspect that I will start getting paychecks from them in or around January of next year.

I think it will take about three months to accrue the prudent reserve.

I am over the moon.

This is happening.

I will have an office.

Yes, it’s an office I will be sharing with my former professor, so it’s not mine, I haven’t decorated it, the couch isn’t mine, but I will get to rent from her and I will get to be in the space and it’s much nicer than the majority of my offices that I have currently with Liberation Institute.

One office.

God that just sounds so damn nice.

One key instead of four.

I am a very happy lady.

I almost told my boss today, but it was a hectic day with my charges, summer camps, doctors appointments, etc, and there was never really a moment that felt right.

And I’m glad that I didn’t, because I would have jumped the gun regarding the Thursday supervision.

My god I am so grateful that it’s in San Francisco and not Alameda.

Sure, I’m still going to have to deal with commuter traffic on Thursdays, but not having to go over the bridge is huge.

Such a relief.

It feels really nice to move forward.

I told one client today that I had gotten the internship and gave a soft notice for October 1st.

Now I will have to tell the rest of my clients.

Some I know will come with me.

Some will not.

For the ones who will not I will need to do a little footwork with my current internship to make sure that they are transitioned well to their next therapists.

For the ones that will go with me I will just have to tell them what office to start meeting me in when October rolls around.

Which shouldn’t be any kind of big deal as my new office is going to be in the same building as my current internship.

That is the best part of this new internship, I get to decide where I want to rent an office, and Grateful Heart takes care of the lease.

At some point I will transition completely into my own office, and I want to stay in the same building.

There is nice community there and I like the location, Activ Space (sic) in the Mission at Treat and 18th.

There’s a Gus’s Market just a block away, Stable Cafe, the new park on Folsom street at 17th, there’s Rainbow Grocery just a few blocks away, there’s plenty of parking.

And if I should want the building also has parking if I want to rent a spot.

I probably won’t at this point, but in the future when I have a sustainable income and my bills are being met well I will.

I really like the idea of having covered parking, the street parking isn’t horrible, but there are homeless folks around and there’s a bit of drug trafficking that happens in the neighborhood.

Tonight I came out and some guy was smoking crack on the sidewalk.

No thanks.

I don’t get bothered, but I know at some point it would be nice to come out of my therapy office and just get into my car without interacting with that sort of scene.

Anyway, that’s in the future.

Right now I am just going to take a moment to bask in the glow of having accepted the offer.

I really am proud of myself and the work I have done to get here.

Not just the Master’s degree and the traineeship and the internship at Liberation Institute.

But also that when it looked like my former professor and I were going to work together and then I found out we couldn’t that I didn’t sit on my ass and mope.

I went out and discovered that there were things I could do.

I heard about Grateful Heart from my therapist and remembered I knew someone who was there and met with that person and got my shit together and did the big application and got it in to the organization before I left for Paris.

I turned it all around in three weeks.

Then I got a asked to interview, which I did this past Saturday and today I got the offer.

That’s basically a month from finding out that the original plan wasn’t going to work to finding and solidifying a totally new internship.

One that is actually better for me than the original.

One door shuts.

Another door opens.

Seriously!

Foiled

January 31, 2018

But god damn it.

I tried.

I got up early, I did my morning routine, I got into my yoga clothes and I walked to the studio in the early grey blue light.

Only to be greeted by a closed up shop.

Nobody was there.

One other woman with a rolled up mat sauntered over and we both woefully looked at the locked door and sighed and each of us turned and went our separate ways.

No class this morning.

I was annoyed.

To say the least.

But.

Well.

That’s life.

And as I sat and enjoyed a really leisurely breakfast, sitting with my notebook and my cup of coffee, and my full warm belly, I reflected, it wasn’t so bad getting up early.

Sure.

I had expected to be going willy nilly full tilt boogie, yoga, therapy, work, clients, doing the deal, get it done, go, go, go.

Turns out my day was not going to be like that.

Granted.

It was still full.

I just didn’t start it out rushing about.

I slowed down.

Which is generally a good thing for me, slowing down, that is.

It felt good to sit and write and check my emails, to deal with my bills, paid my rent, popped a little money in savings, note to self, car payment is coming up, remember to do that please.

Maybe I’ll do that in the morning.

Fuck.

I could probably just do it right now.

And there.

Done.

That feels good.

I made a double payment again.

Technically I don’t have a car payment until March, since I did a double payment last month, but I figure as long as it feels comfortable to do so I’m going to pay more on the car loan than I need to.

I like to be proactive around my money.

I also received my financial aid disbursement for school today.

Which was really nice as I was getting fairly low in my account what with the unexpected dental work I had to do this past month.

Super grateful for that landing and not making me feel über tight with paying rent and making a car payment.

I knocked some into my savings, paid my rent, just made my car payment, and I may reach out to my car insurance and just pay another six months of insurance while I have the money and it’s not ear marked towards anything else.

I will also have some spending money for going to D.C.

I’m headed out in a little over two weeks.

I’ll be visiting my best friend and spending time in Georgetown.

I’m excited.

I’ve never really been to D.C.

Sort of.

I mean.

I was there once, when I was nineteen, homeless, catching a Greyhound bus from North Carolina heading back to Madison, Wisconsin.

I don’t remember much of the city.

I remember more the Hardees in the bus station and making friends with a girl who was probably my age and both of us were basically returning from having run away from home.

She and I became fast friends and sat in the Hardees in the station and smoked cigarettes and ate cinnamon rolls sticks and talked smack about our experiences.

We had a long wait for the next bus so we went for a walk around D.C.

I got really nervous about getting lost and not making the bus connection on time so we didn’t go too far.

We ended up sitting on a fountain smoking cigarettes and getting to know each other’s life stories.

Not much to tell at 19.

Except.

Well.

I had already been through a lot of shit.

Having just left a violent boyfriend who had threatened to kill me in Kill Devil Hills North Carolina, and before that having been homeless with same said boyfriend outside of Miami, in Homestead Florida.

Billy Ray.

Oh my God.

I haven’t thought of that man’s name in some time.

I was my old man, he self-titled himself that, I would never have called a boyfriend my old man, but then again, he was ten years older than me.

And he, bless his generous heart, had introduced me to smoking crack cocaine.

I have written about him before, but it’s been awhile.

I told my new-found friend all the gory details about Billy and what had happened in Florida and what had then transpired in North Carolina, and how I found myself on a Greyhound bus heading back to Wisconsin.

Thank God for that girl.

We talked and gabbed at each other for hours and hours through the long night, all the way to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where she was headed.

I remember hugging her very hard in the terminal.

I remember also that the terminal was really old and rather pretty, I remember the sun coming in through the high windows in thick honied shafts dancing with dust motes.

I remember, too, that the bathrooms were pay to pee and that I was indignant and crawled under the door to one of the stalls.

I wasn’t going to pay a fucking quarter to pee, fuck that.

And I recall coming back out, washing my hands in the old marble sink, looking at myself in the mirror and telling myself to “go home, Baby Girl, just get home.”

So.

Yeah.

This trip to D.C. is going to be much different.

I am going to stay at a nice hotel.

I am going to go to a museum that is close to the hotel.

I am going to eat nice food.

I am going to spend every moment I can with my best friend and really cherish our time together and just smash myself with love.

I feel like it’s a sort of living amends to the city of D.C.

I will not be eating in a Hardees and I most definitely will not be smoking.

I will be letting in all the love and reflecting it back at my friend and enjoying the hell out of getting to see a city I only once passed briefly through on my way from running away from home to running back.

My life has taken me many places and I’m so, so grateful that today I don’t have to run away.

Or take a Greyhound bus anywhere.

Jesus.

Thank god for that.

May I never have to take a Greyhound bus again.

Seriously.

Impromptu Dance Party

May 14, 2016

My date cancelled.

And then.

I got my period.

It’s a Friday night.

And.

I’m at home.

AND I DON’T GIVE ONE FINE FUCK!

I finished my Clinical Relationship paper.

It’s done!

Done!

Done!

Oh sweet Jesus, the relief.

Excuse me, I just had another impromptu dance party in my chair.

Happy, happy.

Joy, joy.

11 full pages.

APA format.

References, title page, all the things.

Proper like.

3,744 words.

Thank you.

Thank you very fucking much.

Lucky one.

I am two.

Lucky three, the one for me.

One, two, three I’m on my knees.

Oh my god.

I’m in tears.

This music.

I get high.

I was listening to Masters of Reality, Sunrise on the Surfer Bus, twenty years ago.

Twenty.

In that house on Franklin Street in Madison, my roommates were my boyfriend Justin–he and I shared the big back room–we had a couple of Bengal leopard cats and a tabby (Mia, Tiger, and Porkchop)–and a king size water bed (giggle), Matt, Justin’s best friend, and Naboja–the heroin junkie from Serbia.

God we were wild.

Pot growing in the closets, cats running ruckus throughout the house, Matt’s girlfriend and I were arch nemesis (why?  I have no idea, but something to do with drinking the last of my milk and leaving the empty container in the fridge), Justin playing chess and smoking bongs, Naboja running in and out of the house with nefarious friends and black tar (God I was naive).

Justin cheated on me twice in that house.

And I stayed for five years.

(five years of no writing, no poetry, no words, no journal entries, note to self you die when you aren’t writing)

Oof.

The things I put myself through not knowing there was a way out.

However.

It was not all bad, there was sweetness and light and just as I introduced him to classical music and Blues and jazz (he became a total jazz junkie) he introduced me to Soul Coughing and Jeff Buckley, we saw them both in concert together–Buckley touring for Grace at the Barrymore and Soul Coughing on tour for Ruby Vroom at the Eagles Ballroom.

He made me listen to Sleater Kinney–saw them too, at the Union South of all places on campus, tiny little space and they slayed it, fucking killed it dead on the floor revived the bitch, then killed it again.

We saw Annie DiFranco at the Civic Center.

I think Justin was the only man in the audience who was straight.

Although his hair was so long from behind he could have been a girl.

We saw Primus, fucking loved Les Claypool so hard; he turned me on to Sepultura, although I had to be in the mood, once in a while, well, I was.

We saw Beck, Morphine, Cake.

So much good music.

He found a stained glass artist at the Farmer’s Market one sunny Saturday morning, I had closed the Essen Haus the night before, a crazy German restaurant and brew hall I worked notoriously long hours for, and he’d bought a pair of earrings from her.

They were long, almost a tear drop shape, navy blue, with small striations of sky blue and robins egg blue and white at the tips.  I eventually found that artisan again and asked her to make me sets of those earrings.

I don’t have any of them anymore.

Maybe I should look her up again.

They were gorgeous in their simplicity and when I wore my hair up and the sun hit them.

Magic.

That was what there were to me that day.

Magic.

Sex and love and passion and music and youth and beauty.

God.

I was so beautiful

(and fat and ugly and ugly and fat and you better do something about that or you’re going to grow up and be alone forever)

I had no idea.

I woke up tangled in the sheets on the water bed, Porkchop meowing at me, rolled out of bed and took a shower, I smelled like beer and cigarettes and rinder rouladen gravy and weinerschnitzle and schnapps and dirty dirndl.

Justin was not there.

There was no note, it was late, afternoon already, past noon, past one, heading into the golden bright light bouncing off James Madison park and the lake and I supposed that Justin was out throwing a frisbee at the park with the guys.

I showered and enjoyed having the apartment to myself.

I put on my favorite A-line skirt and a leotard, navy blue, and dried my hair into its big mass of curls.

I went into our bedroom and turned on Masters of Reality and began dancing, barefoot, to When Jody Sings (how interesting! I just realized my professor’s name for the Clinical Relationship is “Jyoti” is it odd?  Is it God? Is it counter transference?  Read my paper and find out), the skirt a soft, small print, I mean tiny, it was such a tiny print you almost couldn’t tell it was a print, of navy, red, and green plaid (it had been a house dress of my mom’s that never quite fit me in the bodice, so I ripped off the top and reconstructed it as a skirt) flaring out around my calves.

I love a skirt that flares when I spin.

I danced in the sunlight streaming through the windows, singing the song and delighting in my own self.

Justin was standing in the door way.

Smitten.

The look on his face.

I won’t soon forget.

I can still see it twenty years ago like it was this morning.

“Did you find your gift?” He asked me, smiling, his head tilted, bright eyed (high, oh so high) and lit up.

I paused in my dance, flustered, but pleased that he’d seen me in a moment (a rare one at the time) when I felt truly myself, truly beautiful.

Oh do I ache for her.

(yes, I know, I’m emotional, I got my period, roll with it please)

He walked across the wood floor, that odd way he walked sometimes, high, on the balls of his feet like he was cantilevered forward always rushing off into the future where things were brighter, higher, more rare and real, and he took my hand and led me to the window.

“These,” he said pointing at the earrings.

I had not seen them.

Hanging from the window screen, blazing in the sunlight like the ocean at sunset tonight when I rode my scooter home, thank you God for letting me live in San Francisco and see the fire of the setting sun on the water, thank you, dancing alive and dappled with shade from the oak trees rustling in the breeze.

“Oh,” I said, softly startled, inordinately pleased.

“They are so beautiful,” I took them off the screen and put them in my ears.

“So are you,” he said and kissed me.

The afternoon melted into evening and I wore them that night to work, they matched my dirndl.

And oh.

How far this woman has come.

So very far, across the country, through valleys and peaks and the lowest lows.

My voice broke tonight.

Sitting in the front row, the low lights hiding my face, the sudden tears, but nothing could hide the break in my voice as I described how grateful I was to be there.

Sitting there in that chair there, still not done with my paper (had to do the references when I got home tonight), but almost, the writing was done all 3,744 words, and though I was tired, up at 7:30 a.m. to do the work before I went to work, I was so profoundly grateful.

Who knew I was going to be this woman?

When I scootered off after school on Saturday night I snuck through Minna Alley.

It’s a one way.

There were needles and shit and homeless people and tents and crates and a woman smoking crack out of a pipe, the scent sweet, rotten, rotting, aching with the need to fill that hole that just cannot get whole.

“I was that woman, twelve years ago, sitting on a piece of cardboard smoking from a crack pipe, and now, now, here I am riding my scooter, that I paid for in cash, brand new, riding home from the graduate school that I go to around the corner,” I paused, my heart broke open.

How lucky am I?

Luckiest girl in the fucking world.

And my paper’s done.

And my heart.

Well, once again, it is on my sleeve.

Exactly as it should be.

My love.

Exactly where it belongs.

Just there.

Love.

Just there.

 

 

Round One

May 7, 2016

Fight!

But.

Actually.

It wasn’t so bad.

Yeah.

I was tired today.

The first day back to the weekend of classes is always a little fraught with lack of sleep.

I went to bed at 11p.m.

I woke up at 6:30 a.m.

However.

Did I toss and turn and have to tell my brain, “hey, thanks for sharing, but can we just go to sleep now?”

So.

Maybe six hours?

Which is often what happens the night before my first day back, thoughts ranging from what am I going to wear, yeah, I know, shut up, I think about that, to who I am going to see–who I want to see, who I don’t want to see–what I am going to share or not share about in my therapy dyad.

Now.

That was different.

Maybe it’s because I am just in a nice place in my head, my heart, my body–doesn’t hurt to have the stars on one’s neck kissed in recent memory, and um, huh, heh, other things–perhaps it’s because I was ready and prepared for the weekend, the work, or what have you, the therapy dyad with my classmate went really quite well.

Relief.

We talked about my scooter, the childcare parking permit, not wanting to victimize myself or be woe is me about it, be an adult, also, that there is residual child hood lingering thought that since I lost it I should be punished, even though I had absolutely nothing to do with the thing falling off my bumper or that, heck, it could have been peeled off my scooter too, who knows.

Which led to talk about my bicycle.

Which, huh, led to tears.

And then we talked about Burning Man.

And though there weren’t tears, there was sadness  there for the not going, for missing what would have been my tenth year there, in a row, at that.

How I get a certain, this is my own wording, ego satisfaction out of being that girl.

You know.

The one speed riding, fixed gear owning (not that I have ridden my bicycle in fixed for the last two and a half years since my knees really started to get blown out), tattooed, bad ass on a bicycle wheeling through the mean streets of San Francisco.

I mean.

Hella sexy, right, I’m over 40, 43 to be exact, 44 this year in December, and still riding a one speed, with my crazy hair flying out behind me.

“Oh, I totally knew it was you,” he said, pedaling quickly to catch up to me.

“How?” I asked, a little incredulous, I mean I shouted “on your left,” when I whipped past and it was dark, after 8 p.m. on a Tuesday night riding through a stretch of Golden Gate Park with little light.

“Come on, Carmen, the bike, the hair, the tattoos, there’s only one you,” he chuckled and caught his breath.

Hmmm.

Yeah.

So, I have this “bad ass” identity in my mind.

That coupled with the “I nanny at Burning Man,” and the picture, well, forgive me, it’s compelling, interesting, vivid.

Now.

Who am I?

Just some chick in a psychology program in grad school on a scooter.

Or so one might think.

I am so much more than that and it’s nice to let things, parts of me go, relinquish the idea that I am this one thing here or that one thing there.

I am so very much.

And as I was retelling the story and the tears arose, I also realized that I have used my bicycle as a means of escape.

Ever since I was a little girl on my tricycle.

I have this awesome photograph of me that my mom gave me years and years ago, right as I was leaving for San Francisco, in fact, I think she gave it to me as a going away present, although I may be mistaken about that.

Anyway.

I’m two.

Sitting on my trike.

Hands gripping the handlebars, little wide leg cord flares on, brown I think, a lamb skin brown coat with the little shearling collar, my hair in a little messy bun up on my head and well, this smile.

This smile that said, you can’t stop me and here I go and come on world, let me at you.

I was just raring to go.

And that is not to say that I’m not still raring to go.

But, it’s changing.

I’m changing.

“The only thing that will always be the same is that change will happen.”

Change happens whether or not I give it, my body permission to be something other than it is and well, my body is tender and sore and I could use a fucking back rub and a leg rub, and my knees don’t hurt today, but they ache, and yeah, you know what, fuck, it’s going to rain tomorrow.

No scooter tomorrow.

I already threw my cover over it.

I did ride in today, just barely making the window before it started to get wet out there.

And happily it was dry and the rain had stopped by the time I got out of class.

But it does not look like that for tomorrow.

MUNI or taking a car.

Just depends on whether they’re still doing work on the Cole Valley Tunnel, if they are, there will be buses running and it will take too long to ride the train, but if the city is not doing work I’ll catch the N-Judah in and take a car home.

There’s a little party for the cohort to celebrate finishing up our first year together after class tomorrow.

I am not super interested in going, I joked with a fellow student, I really would like to sleep, but I also know that despite having old knees, this lady likes to cut a rug.

So.

I’ll make an appearance and be grateful for that.

That is a change too.

Granted one I never saw coming.

She was bent over a crack pipe in the alley on Minna Street between 11th and 10th, I could smell the crack cooking and shuddered.

Thank God for change.

Thank God I got to change.

Thank God I’m not sitting on a piece of cardboard on Minna Street smoking crack.

Been there.

Done that.

My luxury problems are a gift.

My body a gift.

My home, this life, my experiences, my family, my friends, my job, all the things I get to do.

All the love I get to give.

And receive.

I do not regret this new change in my life, though I am allowed a moment to mourn it, I am not definable by those things–bicycle rider, tattooed dragon girl, Burning Man nanny–I am just discovering another layer or myself, my identity, my person.

As long as I love as hard as I can.

Show up to the best of my ability.

And.

Am my complete and honest self in the moment.

I will be ok.

No matter what change comes.

Good or bad.

It’s all God.

It’s all good.

It’s all.

Really.

Just.

Love.

Love.

 

Eleven

January 18, 2016

For eleven.

I got my eleventh star this eveningIMG_8287

I think she’s pretty.

IMG_8293

Courtesy of Danny Boy Smith @ Let it Bleed.

Deep in the heart of the Tenderloin.

Wow.

Not much has changed and so much has changed.

I am beyond grateful that the reason I was in the Tenderloin was to score a new tattoo.

Not to score.

I haven’t been over to Polk Street in quite sometime.

I used to live up at Washington and Taylor and would frequently ride my bicycle up Polk and then up further, up, up, up California Street, then onto Washington, ending at Taylor.

High.

Up above the crack smoke filled streets and the dirty self-medicating junkies and the cross dressing prostitutes.

I was surprised to see a couple of girls working the streets.

I mean.

I should not have been.

It is the Tenderloin.

Maybe it was just that I haven’t seen a working girl where I live in some time.

Not much action going on in the Outer Sunset.

Although I’m sure things are shaking and moving in and out of the 7-11 parking lot just down the street from my house.

I was glad to walk the streets and not be a street walker, to be coming from my last hour of classes at my first weekend back to my second semester of my graduate school program, to be heading to get a tattoo to celebrate my eleventh anniversary without picking up.

Rather than picking through the garbage strewn gutters or standing under an awning smoking a cigarette and wondering how the hell it all went wrong.

Instead.

I find myself wondering how the hell it all went so wonderfully right.

Graduate school reinforces that premise every time I walk the halls of the university.

Every time I sit in class and raise my hand.

Every time I have a positive interaction with a professor, a student, a fellow in my cohort.

I am full, constantly, of wonder and awe.

Not withstanding I am also a little tired, it was a big weekend, but I did it, I’m through, and I don’t know if it’s an actual lighter reading load then last semester or that I am used to doing the work, but it feels easier.

Perhaps I am just easing into it.

Gratefully so with much surrender.

And.

Really.

Just a stunning amount of perpetual incredulousness that I have made it this far.

I really should not be here.

If life were fair.

I would be dead.

I also have been recognizing, noticing, and in great awareness around the myriad of strikes that have just been against me for so long.

Poverty.

Drug abuse.

Alcohol abuse.

Sexual abuse.

Neglect.

Trauma, trauma, trauma.

I don’t think about it often, I don’t need to ponder the mysterious ways of the Universe, it was just brought home today in my first class of the morning.

I shared about not having real health insurance.

I have Healthy SF, in case you were wondering, but though it provides a lot of the things that having health insurance covers, it’s not the real deal.

And as I explained to my class over a discussion about what it is like to live with the constant, chronic, high level of poverty and what it was like to grow up–though I did not see it at the time–in that dire place of not enough, I realized it was a miracle, a fucking huge ass miracle, that I got out.

The cycle got broken.

I emerged.

A phoenix from the ashes of a crack pipe.

I mean.

Let me not put to fine a point on it.

But the affects still linger and I don’t always realize them.

The shame that comes from being poor, the hot lunch program at school, the American cheese in a box, being the scholarship kid, the kid in need, or the homeless teenager, who despite having a full ride to her first year at university, couldn’t keep it together to keep food in her dorm fridge.

The constant stress of not having the money to afford health insurance, with a few exceptions here and there, worrying about if I would get sick or hurt.

I related how when I did get hurt, my ankle injury, and how I was out of work for six weeks I was blessed with amazing friends who came out of the woodwork to help me.

The GoFund me that someone started so I could pay my rent that month.

The anonymous twenty dollar bill I found in my messenger bag one night.

The rides to and from places.

The gift card for the grocery store.

I have a community of love and friendship that I leaned into really hard.

But the affects of being raised with the absence of so much, I never really contemplated until, irony, no?

I got into graduate school.

Which is a privileged place to be.

Granted.

I am.

Again.

A scholarship kid.

No shame in that.

Although, yes, I admit,  I am loathe to share it with my cohort, I somehow, still think that I don’t quite deserve it and somebody will take it away from me.

In class today the lecture covered what happens to people who live under that kind of stress, who live with PTSD, poverty, drug abuse, alcoholism, for those that self-medicate in the streets, for the homelessness and the racism that we inflict on each other.

And I just felt like gasping for air.

My palms got hot, I got hot, my flight or fight or freeze got activated.

I was alive and charged up and saddened to hear what was being said and then reacting too, to some pretty naive comments made by some well meaning, but hyper privileged classmates.

So.

I shared.

I shared what it was like, what it is still like–do you know that I will get penalized by the government when I go to file my taxes for not having “real” health insurance–to be a person without.

The thing is.

I don’t believe I am a person without anymore.

I have so much.

Love.

Abundance.

Joy.

Stars–like eleven!

I have a good job, I am in graduate school, I live in San Francisco (still, haven’t gotten priced out yet!), I eat organic food and drink expensive coffee.

What I found fascinating, though, in class, from a very astute and experienced PhD professor, is that the affects of poverty don’t dissipate for about three generations.

A lot of the stress that I carry with me, even when I am flush, may well continue to be with me, to be in my body, to just be there.

I have felt it.

I have put name to it.

I have done inventory.

I remember once writing the fear a letter, saying, “dear fear, I hear you, you may be right, but I promise, I will take care of paying rent, you wont’ be homeless this month.”

I had it taped up to my wall by my writing desk for months.

It was when I was living up in Nob Hill.

I don’t know if those affects will always be there, as so much as been lifted, so much space has been made in my heart, in my body, so much psychic change has happened for me, that I believe these intergenerational traumas will end with me.

That is my belief.

And not only that.

The experiences, the wealth of knowledge, the how I got through, the how it works, the passing it on, they are the true measure of my abundance and ability.

These things mark me, but they are not me.

I am more than the sum of my parts.

I am the light that shines around the edges of those black stars.

I go forth.

Into this furthering light.

Into this ever expanding place of being held.

Always.

Further.

Into.

This deepening love.

 

 

Crack And Cherry Popsicles

August 7, 2015

The sickly sweet smell preceded her as she walked out from the Mission Community Center.

She was wasted, sucked up.

Not the frenetic skinny tautness of a meth head.

This was classic crack head.

Sucked up and withered away.

And yes.

You guessed it.

I spotted it.

If you spot it, you got it.

I am so lucky that I got it, then it went the fuck away.

I had a day today and then I would get these moment, call them God shots if you will, coincidence, serendipity, what have you, but I saw them as divine signs as a gentle reminder that even when I “think” my load is heavy, it is light.

And it does not smell like artificial sweetener, corn syrup, and red dye number 127.

Or crack cocaine.

She saw me.

She saw me see her.

She scuttled away.

That’s the best way I can put it, scuttled, like a stunted hermit crab trying to escape a fat gull on the beach.

I put my hand on the head of the five-year old I and gently pushed him to walk on the other side of the stroller, he did not notice, too engrossed in the story he was telling me about the tooth fairy.

He has now officially lost two teeth and the tooth fairy better deliver tonight.

He’s got some expectations.

For the second tooth he wants.

Yes.

A hovercraft.

Dude.

Listen, I know it’s getting all sorts of crazy up in this joint, San Francisco rents, tech crazy, $2,000 skateboards zooming by on remote control, but little dude, I don’t think the tooth fairy is going to pony up for a hover craft.

Just saying.

Although he got to have so many special things today I’m surprised the kid could function.

He had a minor procedure and was in and out of the doctors and back home before I got to work, a simple thing, really nothing to worry about, but you know, kids, they can get anxious, so to assuage the anxiety and to help ease him through–it got to be his day.

Man what a day.

I’m not jealous of his day, it was too much of an emotional roller coaster what with the numerous videos and special snacks and outings, literally I was worn out with the treats before I had even been there an hour.

Prior to my arrival there was juice.

Popsicles.

Ice cream.

Bowls of oatmeal, which, yeah, sounds great, you know healthier than say a grape popsicle, but laced with raisins and mounds of brown sugar.

And the little brother got to imbibe too.

I have never walked into the inferno like this before.

The sugar tsunami was in full effect.

We did ease up, he only got one more cookie over the course of the day and special lunch out at Tacolicious, but it was an up and down day, sugar can take a lot out of kid and it took its course.

But he was also sweet and we had some wonderful moments today and I was pretty on keel.

In fact, considering how my day had started, I was doing hella good.

I feel like there was a lot of foreshadowing that there was going to be stuff happening and I remember praying this morning to get to work and home safely on my bicycle.

Well.

That did happen.

But so did a lot of near accidents.

Weird traffic.

And.

Yes.

A fucking traffic cop nabbed me on the Wiggle.

Fuckers are cracking down.

There is just nothing worse than the whoop of a traffic cop on a motorcycle (hello I’m on a bicycle, you don’t need to scare the fuck out of me as well as issue me a huge ass ticket) and the flash of the red and blues.

Do you have any idea who I am?

Sigh.

Just another fixed gear riding bicycle rider blowing through a stop sign on the Wiggle.

“You know there’s a stop there!” The cop hollered at me.

“Yes, I do, you are right,” I said, already in tears, partially because it was windy and partially due to the adrenalin of nearly getting smacked by a driver right before I turned onto the Wiggle where the trap was.

I swung my bag over my shoulder, pulled out my wallet, handed the cop my drivers licence and tried not to say anything.

I had just turned onto the Wiggle from Haight Street and zipped right into a truck that was in the middle of the road, no flashers, no cones, nada to indicate that it was about to drop a storage Pod onto the street as I rode by.

Nothing says good times like almost getting hit a second time on my bicycle commute.

Oh yeah, I didn’t mention that a fire truck blew through an intersection, and I heard it and pulled over, but the van right behind me, didn’t and proceeded forward only to almost get jack knifed by the engine which was blasting its sirens so loudly to warn the van that my entire body squeezed up in fear.

The van abruptly pulled over.

Narrowly missing me and the fire engine.

Add then, the Pod drop.

Then the cop pulling me over and of course I was in tears.

“You didn’t even slow down,” the cop sighed, shaking his head, “is this your current address?”

“Yes, it is,” I replied.

I did not reply.

I DID slow down.

You should have seen how fast I was going.

I always slow up at the stop signs, but yeah, a lot of times I roll through.

But.

I also always signal my turn, stop for any pedestrians in the cross walk and make sure the intersection is clear.

I don’t blow lights.

I don’t want to die.

I have been bicycling in the city for 9 years and it’s bad out there with the Uber drivers and the Lyft drivers and the tourists on the rental bicycles and the plethora of people bicycling through neighborhoods and it seems just mean, but yes, I did too slow down.

Damn it.

But did I stop?

No.

So, I’ll take my ticket.

But.

“I was startled by the Pod dropping in the middle of the road, it almost hit me, and you’re right, I didn’t stop, and I accept the ticket, but would you please go back and ask the driver to cone off the area, somebody’s going to smash into him.”

I reached for the ticket.

The cop leaned over, “sign this.”

And then, sotto vocce.

“Don’t say anything because my partner is writing out a formal ticket to the guy right next to you, but I’m just giving you a warning, ok?  You’re free to go and I’ll make sure the guy puts cones out.”

He patted my hand, ripped off the ticket and handed it to me.

Whoa.

Dude.

Did that just happen?

Amaze balls.

I hit it and obeyed the traffic laws the rest of the way to work.

Well.

Most of them.

Ahem.

And I was happily surprised that I was so even keeled.

All day.

Until.

My lunch break when I found out, that yes, the family is able to accommodate my request off for the 25th of my student orientation, but guess what?

They’re not going to be in Sonoma for a week.

They’re going to be in Sonoma for two and a half weeks.

Oh my fucking god.

Oh my fucking god.

Oh fuck me.

FUCK.

Breathe.

How old am I?

42.

Take forty of those suckers.

Breathe in, breathe out, breathe in, breathe out.

“So we need to figure out all the rental car stuff before you head out to your student retreat,” the mom said clicking over her calendar.

OHMYGOD.

“Ok,” I said.

“I thought you were only going a week,” I said.

Breathe.

“Nope, two and a half, from the 14th through the 30th,” the mom replied.

HOLY SHIT.

I sort of fell of my spiritual beam.

Why?

Well, let me tell you the ways.

Cohort retreat with the incoming ICPW (Integral Counseling Psychology Weekend Cohort) students from this Sunday, August 9th through the 17th in Petaluma.

Then I turn around, come back to San Francisco, head to the air port, pick up a rental car and go back to Glen Ellen and work for the family until, yes, the 28th.

When I am supposed to leave for Burning Man.

I tried not to vomit out the fear in my mouth.

Away from my people for a month, my five ladies for a month, no for five weeks, because when I get back, the first weekend after Burning Man, is my first full on campus weekend.

Six weeks before I can meet with a lady bug.

I made some phone calls.

I got right with God.

I said, “however I can be of service, and yes, I will make up the date on the 25th by working an extra day for the family, either the 22nd or the 23rd (I have off the weekends still, but like it matters, the one day I have off will be spent packing my shit for Burning Man, good thing this is not my first rodeo).

And I will be accountable for the Monday prior to the student orientation and I will have to be back to work the morning after.

So, a fly by to San Francisco and then right back to Petaluma.

The good news?

I won’t have a lot of food expenses.

I get paid an extra $50 per day I’m with the family outside of San Francisco.

I will have a rental car so I can go do the deal in Sonoma and Petaluma.

I will be too busy to be freaked out about anything.

I will be so in the present moment it will be exalted.

And as I rode my bicycle home through the park tonight, the one fast filling up with lights and fences and stages and sound machines and port-a-potties (Outside Lands starts tomorrow) I was so in my body it was spooky.

And exhilarating.

I am alive.

ALIVE.

And there but for the grace of god go I.

No cherry popsicle for me today.

No crack cocaine.

Just all the things.

Wow.

I mean.

All the things I could possible schedule into my life.

Now’s the time I’m going to get asked out by the love of my life.

Because, hey why not pack something else into my schedule.

Bwahahahahaaha.

See you on the other side.

Try It You’ll Like It

May 13, 2014

That’s the problem, I thought to myself as I walked past the man in the doorway at 19th and Valencia, I know I will like it.

That’s why I got to say no.

I was pushing the stroller anyway.

Not the best time to take a hit from a proffered crack pipe.

Ah.

The Mission.

You can gentrify it the fuck up.

You can take stupid photos with a stuffed gorilla at Beta Brand.

You can get your Marina eyebrows down at The Balm.

You can eat your overpriced, albeit, I hear quite tasty tacos, from Tacolicious.

I still will always prefer El Farolito.

I remember, all too fondly as I don’t eat them anymore, the taste of a super quesadilla suiza with carne asada and salsa and hot marinated carrots and jalapenos and corn tortilla chips, fifty cents extra, shit, I remember when the chips were free.

But, you can’t quite get rid  of the crack heads in the door ways.

I was actually surprised to be offered a pipe.

A. I was pushing a stroller

Then again, I know there are some crack mamas out there, I am well aware from my own personal experience, that yes mom’s can smoke up some crack.

But.

Still.

B. That anyone offered it to me.

When I hit the pipe, and I hit it only a handful of times, but more than enough to know that stuff is cray cray, I was not interested in sharing it with anyone once I got going.

I was interested in hiding the fuck out in my room.

Or plywood shack, as the case may be, which it was when I was 19.

C. Because I have never been offered a crack pipe hit before.

Yes, even in the Mission.

I have scored crack.

Good old 16th and Mission BART station.

Where would all the heroin mules work if they didn’t have that little crossroads of hell?

Actually, crack is the only drug I have scored on the street.

I never did heroin–although it was offered to me on Market Street once.

I never bought a bag of pot from some one on Haight Street offering, “kind nugs”.

I don’t even like pot any way, but when I did smoke it, really quite allergic to it, so the only time I ever did was to convince some guy I was dating that I could rip a bong hit too.

I had a cocaine habit, though, yes, yes, yes, ma’am I did.

But I was all bougie about it.

I had my drug of choice delivered.

And he got it to me damn quick.

I can only recall a handful of times that I did not have bag, or bags, in hand before I could have gotten a pizza delivered to me.

The best thing about it, the being offered the crack pipe, is that I didn’t want it, I wasn’t interested, I was so neutral, “no thanks,” I said, and walked past.

I remember once, about oh, 9 years ago, fresh sober as a new souffle wobbling from the oven, walking down Valencia Street and smelling crack.

I freaked out.

I got so spooked.

It was like I went from 0 to homeless in 60 seconds.

I got on my phone, made a ton of phone calls, prayed, tried to not pee my pants, tried to get the whiff of it out of my nose.

I have since smelled plenty of crack in the city and I will say, it can be disconcerting and I don’t enjoy it and I recognize it like a bomb sniffing canine int he airport, but it doesn’t make me freak out.

I just would rather not be around it.

For those reasons, and perhaps a few more, I don’t say, hang in the Tenderloin.

Not really my scene.

What struck me too, today, as I walked about the Mission in search of a park that had some shade for my little bunny to play in, is that the veneer of high-tech and gloss and art is a thinning patina of slap together condominiums that actually look trashy and tacky and dumb down the reason why the Mission became gentrified in the first place.

It had some character.

The character is still there, but it is caked over by tourist and junk.

I hate it when the neighborhood starts selling junk and trinkets.

I don’t want the neighborhood that I birthed my San Francisco self into to become a tourist destination, even though it already has.

I am not a grouchy displaced Missionite either, don’t get me wrong, I will still hang in the Mission and I still belong, but I don’t want to live there anymore.

I couldn’t imagine a time when I wouldn’t have wanted to live there.

And I still do kick myself, a teeny tiny, bit for turning down the large studio with huge corner window on the second floor of a building at Valencia and 22nd above Herbivore that I could have gotten into for $850.

The window looked out over to Jay’s Cheesesteak and the studio, well, it wasn’t just big, it was huge.

But the floors were carpet and I was smitten with the studio I had found in Nob Hill, which had crown molding and pressed tin panels and Victorian details and polished wood floors.

I took the smaller, more expensive, studio in Nob Hill.

And that’s ok.

It is what it is.

The Mission is different.

The city of San Francisco is different.

And frankly, I am different.

All of the above is ok.

I get to live here and I am lucky to have gotten to live here for as long as I have.

Being crack free probably has a lot to do with that.

You know, probably.

I think, anyway.

So, yeah, dude in doorway was right.

I would like it.

But I got a taste of something even better.

And I like that so much more.

So much more I can’t even express it.

It is the bees knees.

The cat’s pajamas.

And all that jazz.

I really like it.

I really do.

 

Sight Seeing

July 11, 2013

As I do my bicycle commute from East Oakland, through West Oakland, and then onto my final destination of North Oakland, I see some interesting things.

I see beauty all over the place.

Sometimes selling itself on the corner for a quick fix from reality.

Sometimes just in the pattern of the clouds against the sky.

The sky that can sometimes thrust me back into my four-year old body as it stared up from the back window of a Volkswagen bug and I am lost in sense memory until the next light changes and I realize I better stop rather than fly through the intersection.

The commute is getting quicker, I know where I need to go, which street to hit, what intersections to be wary of, which ones I can blow through without much thought, but it is still interesting.

Especially to the writer in me.

The things that caught my eye today:

The beautiful curvaceous body of a young girl, perhaps sixteen, perhaps seventeen, in a body hugging crimson short dress with new sandals.  The sway of her heart-shaped earrings broke my reverie and I realized she was a hooker working the corner, but for just a moment she was a gorgeous gazelle floating down the street.

I wonder how long she will get to stay that pretty.

The rims on the Honda Accord, a weird off-color pink that looked matte, were perhaps plastic?  Such strange rims that I almost wanted to stop a take a photograph of them, but I had places to be, babies to nanny.

The manicured lawn on Market at 41st.

It is so manicured, so pristine, and so tiny that I often think that it is astro turf and I frequently want to stop and touch it.

But then who’s crazy now?

Excuse, me sir, I am just touching your lawn to ascertain its reality, don’t mind me.

The block  between 19th and 20th streets on San Pablo.

The one that is anchored by two different liquor stores and some sort of grocery mart/ store that has a poorly written sign that I know is meant to be indicative of WIC being accepted at the Bodega, but the grammar is such that it looks like “vouchers for women and children good here”.

You mean I can give you a voucher and you’ll give me a woman?

Awesome.

Because that’s happening just a scant few steps down and I don’t think they know they can get the hook up at your store instead of soliciting it on the sidewalk or the gutter between parked cars.

The other signs on the street that amuse me/horrify me are these: Serenity Place, A Friendly Manor, and Victory House.

Ain’t no serenity happening here folks, keep on moving.

Today I saw a white man, probably in his mid-twenties wearing a full length camel-hair coat and aviator sunglasses circa 1978.

He was crashed into the side of the bus stop and was having a rapid conversation with, well, with whom I am not sure, there was no one else there, but the conversation looked brisk and intense.

There is Giant Burger, which is now Giant Burger and burritos?

I am not sure what is happening but slowly as the weeks have gone by in my travels through this neck of the woods, it appears to have a more and more Mexican slant to the menu.

There is ShugaHill, which seems to be a soul food restaurant that never is open.

And “Brother” which actually looks pretty damn good, and smells pretty fine.

I also like their sign which says, “We will deliver anywhere!”

I almost want to test that out.

There is the bridge I go under, either side amuck with garbage and depending on the day of the week, there are two pan handlers working it, either a young white woman, cannot be more than 22/23 years old, who seems to be wearing some sort of brown sack dress, and either dirty brown flip-flops or shredded black Vans, who panhandle’s on the off ramp from the highway on the tiniest meridian possible.

Her hair is also brown and lank and she does not yet have the coat of tan that indicates you have been homeless in the elements for a while.

Should she get cleaned up I bet she would look normal, just another girl on the side of the road begging for money to get her fix.

The other is the scrawniest black man, old, but I cannot tell how old, who works the other off-ramp and stands with a hand held out, no sign, next to a red painted metal shopping cart.  He is so still I often don’t realize there is a person there until I am past him and my mind registers what my eyes just saw.

Tonight I was late at the nanny job and I got to see the same strip from a vantage point that I don’t often get, dusky night ride.

I normally would head over to Rockridge and see some folks there about getting some medicine for what ails me, but tonight I was in between times and just needed to get back to Gracelandia before it was too late.

Thus I skipped straight to the commute and saw the same strip of land as night was falling and the crazy was calling.

The same strip where I want to paint a shazam sign on the side of a building saying, “SERENITY NOW!” was going off.

I mean off.

“Nigger get the fuck off me, bitch.”

There was a throw down happening between two women, indiscriminate age, fighting over what, I don’t know, but it was hot and on and people where coming from out of the proverbial wood work to see it go down, I nearly hit one old shuffling man with no shoes on, just some frayed socks, as he hustled from across the street to get a better look at the action.

One woman had grabbed the other woman’s hair and was whaling on her.

Whaling.

I was tempted to call the cops, but I just hustled through, there was enough ruckus happening that one of the stores would make the call, I am sure.

Especially since it was interrupting the brisk trade of beers in a bag sales that were happening.

Two blocks away.

Two white women, preening, yoga-fied, slick pony tails pulled back sleek and high, sat at an outdoor cafe eating salads.

Looked like arugula and figs.

Hard to tell.

Whipped by them, crossed through Frank Ogawa plaza up onto 14th then hit the Lake headed back to East Oakland.

Tonight I was not smacked on the ass, thank god, it would have freaked me out tonight, being as it was nightfall by the time I got back, but I was followed a couple of blocks rather too closely by a large truck.

I just ignored it and focused on riding.

I counted down the blocks as they went by and realized I was making extraordinary time.

36 minutes from door to door.

Not bad.

Especially as how it was such a colorful ride home.

Just Two Blocks Over

June 29, 2013

Maybe three.

And it’s a completely different neighborhood.

I suppose many places are like that, especially places where a lot of tourist go.

I don’t hang out much in the Haight, I don’t like tourists, and tonight was not much different.

I got to the house sitting gig after spending the day semi-checked out at Graceland.

There were small things I needed to attend to, laundry, a little shopping, taking care of the kittens, doing some writing, then I realized that I did not need to be in the city until 5pm and I wouldn’t need to be on a BART until 3:45/4pm and I had a lot of time to kill.

So I shot a few brain cells and watched some Netflix.

It is surreal to watch television during the day when you are not sick.

Although, technically, I am sick.

I have one of a few diseases that are self-diagnosible and I diagnosed one today.

I got the symptoms I do.

But I also have the cure and I reached out and checked in and did some crying and said yes I would be gentle with myself and that I did realize this, whatever this was, was only temporary.

I am not a big tough chick.

In case you were wondering, I am a fucking cream puff.

I get scared.

I just don’t show it.

And the strain of being scared has definitely been wearing me down.

The strain of not showing I am afraid is wearing me down just as quick.

I have been comfort eating, previously discussed ad nauseam so I am not going to go into it, comfort checking out, NetFlix you evil whore you, like I did not already have check out go to, but my room-mate has an astounding big wide-screen television with surround sound and a deep leather couch to stretch out on.

Check out central.

The road narrows they say.

“I can see it, I can see what is happening and I am getting spun out of it faster and faster and I can see how it does not work and I can’t stand that it does not work and that pisses me off, and, well, fuck.”

Yes, well fuck.

The things that once brought me fast acting relief stopped working–cocaine, beer, vodka, esctacy, mindless sex with strangers, speed, mushrooms, LSD, sugar, cigarettes, crack–and I can’t really go back to any of them.

“Look, I’d even let you stay on my couch for a week if you relapsed on crack,” one of my best friends told me last week, “I love you.”

That’s how we say I love you, I would let you stay on my couch a week.

“Then, well, I’d tell you to get the fuck out and get better,” he finished.

That is how we really say I love you and more than you know, I love you enough to support you until you can do it on your own, no free rides here sugar.

None of my check outs comes with a free ride, just to hell, just to a place of terror or confusion or disorientation, drama, adrenaline.

I realized last night riding my bike through the neighborhoods, good, bad, indifferent, really fucking bad (ok, what is up with this particular corner, just two blocks away is a fire department, which means, you know like people who are serious and have connection to the cops and such, just two blocks away from fire station and it is going off.  Off I say.  Yesterday on my way to work I saw a dwarf prostitute.

REALLY.

A fucking midget hooker.

Oakland, we got all your crazy crack needs right here.

Last night, it was just as wild, I got blown by an Escalade near off the road, blingety blinged out, and watched a pregnant hooker, that was not a distended belly from malnutrition, I think, work a corner, totter across the street to her john.

I also saw two cars lined up right in the middle of the intersection doing hand offs through the windows.

Just two blocks over.)  that maybe it was time to stop riding through the neighborhoods.

Maybe if I was that tense about it that it would just be a better idea to ride BART through Oakland, at least at night.  I am going to debate it.

Maybe that will relieve the scared little girl I forget I carry inside my brain who is clutching a very worn down stuffed bunny rabbit, poor thing as seen more than any child needs to see.

“You seem like a nice nanny,” she said to me at the park yesterday, “I like you, you got a lot of tattoos though, my uncle D, he got a lot of tattoos and he in prison.”

“NO he ain’t,” her little friend shot back, “D’Angelo just in jail, he aint’ in prison, he do got a lot of tattoos though, all up his back.”

“Oh, well, I don’t have any back pieces,” I smiled at the girls.

“Don’t get any more, you don’t want to wind up in prison,” the little girl concluded and scratched at her wrist where is disappeared under the dirty grey plaster cast that was up to her elbow.

“Ok,” I said, no need to tell her I always want more tattoos, I do want a back piece, but I don’t see a correlation to doing time, aside from the time it takes to lie still.

“How did you break your arm?” I asked.

“I fell,” she said, no more explanation.

“I broke my foot when I was your age, right during summer vacation, it sucks,” I said.

“You did?”

“Yup, I think I was about your age, you in second or third grade?” I asked.

“Gonna be in third!” She proudly exclaimed.

“I broke my foot summer between second and third grade, same timing,” I smiled, “it’s hard, but you don’t have to use crutches, so that’s good.”

“Yeah, I broke my other arm last year,” she said out of the blue.

I drew in a breath, oh baby, “how did you do that?”

“I fell.” Her eyes left mine and looked flat at the sky over my head.

I picked up my little girl a few things she likes today and said, listen this is it for the comfort, the adult me has got to get us back on track.  We can watch a few more shows then it’s back to reality time.

I walked back from Haight Street after going to the market and the temperature was dropping, the cool air from the ocean blowing in.

Just two and a half blocks from the tourist and the homeless kids trying to make the tourists, quiet, serene, peaceful, painted lady Victorians resplendent in their finery graciously curtsied up the street to where I am staying for the weekend.

I let myself in, turned on the television, said hello to the cats and settled in.

“I got a place,” I told my mom, “back in San Francisco I can’t wait, just two blocks from the beach and two blocks from Golden Gate Park.”

Just a few weeks left to go.

Hang on kiddo we can do this.

 


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