Posts Tagged ‘dissertation’

Odds and Ends

August 30, 2021

Bits and pieces.

I have not been here in a while.

And while that is not exactly true, I am here quite often, I have not written in a while.

Oh.

A poem every now and then.

I have one niggling at the back of my brain that I should have written on Friday afternoon when it struck me but I couldn’t quite get myself to sit down and do it.

So.

I find myself here, at the keyboard, writing and thinking and sometimes, oh, sometimes, dreaming.

Thinking about you and where you’re at and how is the pandemic treating you, things like that.

Or.

Do you ever walk past my apartment, slow, longingly, thinking about ringing the buzzer.

It happens once in a while.

Someone will buzz my door and I think it’s you, but it’s the wrong time of night or I am in a session with a client and cannot answer.

I do go and look.

But if it was you, well, you are long gone.

Other times I think, you drive by, you must, not that often, but often enough.

Do you see the lights on?

Do you look for the Marilyn Monroe print high up on the wall, the one you can see from the street through the top fo my window where there is not a blind, or maybe the top of the David Bowie book up on the ledge-the one you surprised me with, that you bought at Dog Eared Books in the Castro.

Do you?

I think you do.

But what do I know?

Not a lot it seems.

Even though I keep myself busy with all the things.

School, work, school, work, recovery, repeat.

Week after week.

And thoughts of you.

Urges to be seen by you, drive by and see me out for a walk around Jefferson Square Park, too far off your route even where you in my neighborhood.

Or.

Since the weather has changed, not much, but enough to drive people to the park to catch the sun before the inevitable fogs rolls right back in, see me sitting on a bench in Octavia Green reading a book and sipping a sugar free strawberry soda through a green and white striped straw in a Mason glass jar with a handle; the only drinking jar left in the group I bought aeons ago.

Every time I go to Octavia Green, I think, maybe today he will see me.

Stop.

Park the car.

Get out and walk to me.

Surprise me.

Face full of sun and hope.

Despite myself and all the years.

Four years now that I have had you in my heart, if not always present, no not always present, so not here, just there, over there, on the other side of a hill, watching the moon rise and set from a different part of the city.

Sometimes the moon annoys me.

Stop reminding me of him.

Go away now.

Leave me be.

And yet it goes on doing what moons do.

Wax.

Wane.

Repeat.

Ah.

I digress.

See.

I get lost, in the dreams and hopes, the fantasy and revery.

The longing, sigh, still in my heart a dark romantic thinking up poetry to write about you.

That hit me today.

The fact that the only poem you ever recited and recorded for me, a Pablo Neruda that wrecks me, that I can’t find the damn recording.

I thought I had it in a file with your name on it.

Messages and photos and emails.

But it’s not there.

And I remember the book of poetry I gave you on Christmas Eve last year and how you said, “we should read these to each other.”

Fuck my wayward heart.

Why today?

Why did that little bon mot pop into my head?

You’ve been on my mind.

When aren’t you I suppose.

But more so now than you have in months.

It’s been eight months since I saw you last.

Seven’ish months since your last text.

I was mad at you.

Told you to leave me alone until you figured it out.

Seems you haven’t.

Figured it out.

That’s what I tell myself.

He’s figuring it out.

Gah.

Even to myself that sounds asinine.

Yet.

Hope.

She springs eternal.

Fuck you hope.

I did something yesterday.

It felt feral and impulsive.

And I did not stop myself.

At first.

I did later.

I pulled a card from the metal heart on my desk that I bought for you over a year ago and wrote tu me manques.

“I miss you” in French.

I signed it.

Sealed it.

Wrote your address on it.

Stamped it.

With, oh apropos, the LOVE stamp.

Flipped it over and stuck a crow sticker with a rose in its mouth to the back of the envelope flap.

And then looked at it.

Propped it up on my computer.

What the fuck am I doing?

It was a little like the other night when I held my finger hovering over your private Instagram account.

I almost hit request.

I did not.

But fuck.

It was close.

The card was like that.

I asked God for a sign.

I know God doesn’t work like that.

Not usually.

I threw it in my bag and went to lunch with a friend.

I had coffee and told that friend what was in my bag.

I sat in the park.

I texted another friend and told on myself.

Although to be frank, honest, virtuous, vigorous with my truth, I knew the latter friend would cosign the card.

He thinks we should be together.

“He’s the love of your life, figure it out!”

He didn’t coax me to mail it or not mail it.

He did ask me if it was a love letter.

Sort of.

I walk around with it in my bag longer.

I waited for the sign that never came.

I walked past the German restaurant on the corner and put it in the mailbox.

I woke up this morning and thought to myself.

What that fuck did I do?

It’s Sunday, can I get it back?

And.

You know.

I don’t want it back.

I just want you back.

Same as fucking ever.

Sigh.

My heart.

I miss you.

Je te veux.

Tous les jours.

I probably always will.

I tried to run the numbers in my head.

How many days till the card reaches his PO box?

I mailed it late afternoon yesterday, a Saturday, which means it’s still in the mailbox on the corner, as it’s Sunday.

It will get picked up tomorrow.

Process Tuesday.

Maybe land in your PO box on Wednesday.

Maybe.

But the thing is.

Though I used to mail you things weekly.

I haven’t for eight months.

Maybe longer?

Do you even check the mail there anymore?

I wanted to send you a chip on your anniversary.

I didn’t.

I wanted to send you a birthday card on your birthday.

I didn’t.

I wanted to let you know when I landed in the ER.

But I couldn’t.

No other sound is quite the same as your name

Good grief.

I should stop listening to music, I get smacked with the sads sometimes.

Anyway.

I really tried to not reach out.

I deleted your number in my phone.

I don’t email you.

But I come close.

I thought.

I just have to make it through my dissertation defense.

I just need to heal from my next surgery in October.

And how long.

How long before you figure it out?

Or I do.

“Why can’t you be with him?” My friend asked.

I told him all the things and he just sighed, “I don’t like how this movie ends, you’re supposed to be together.”

You would think that.

I have only had one soul mate.

You.

I have only really loved one man.

You.

But sometimes you don’t get to be with the one you love.

I’ve read a lot of books, that seems to happen an awful, awful, awful lot.

It’s only in movies, spun sugar fairy tales, that we end up together.

And I swear we were our own little movie, the romance of it all was horrendous.

Heartbreaking.

And so delicious.

I remember one of the last things you said to me about Sabrina and Nick.

“That’s us.”

And I freaked out.

“They die at the end and get to be together in the afterlife! Is that how I get to be with you, when we’re dead?!”

I think I hung up the phone on you.

I was devastated.

But once in a while, I think, what if you meant what the characters said to each other.

“We’re end game.”

Is that what you meant?

That somehow we end up together, in the end?

I sure hope so.

I suppose I shouldn’t have wrote the card.

Had some fucking restraint.

But I didn’t.

Maybe I’ll regret it.

Maybe.

Maybe not.

Maybe I’ll regret writing another sad lonely hearts club blog about a man who is just there, over the hill, but not here where my heart beats still with longing and thoughts of what if, oh what if?

Sometimes I think that maybe it’s just this down time.

This little whiff of time after turning in my dissertation to my committee, this little jot of time before I have my final push to finish my PhD.

Maybe I’ve had a little more time than usual.

And the grief it sank in and got me again.

I suppose I shouldn’t take actions out of sorrow.

But that wouldn’t be very poetic.

Now would it?

The deed is done and I can’t take it back.

You’ve got mail.

Boxes and Boxes

October 5, 2020

Oh my lord.

The boxes of writing I have begun to sort through.

Holy moly.

There are four huge bins of notebooks, poetry, manuscripts, journals and journals, cards, spending plans, photographs.

A life unboxed.

I am beginning the study part of my PhD study for my disseration.

I am doing an evocative autoethnography–which is basically a study of oneself in reflection and conversation with society.

Recovery society and tattoo society and society in general.

I am using triangulation of my materials to bear out what I think I am going to discover in question to my dissertation inquiry–which is the Transformative Tattoo; What Can Healing from Trauma Look Like?

There’s a lot of moving parts and I’m not going to get into all that right now.

However.

I am excited to be at this part in the work, albeit also intimidated, there is so much material to sort through.

I recently, Friday, got an email confirmation that the dean of my department has approved my dissertation proposal, signed all the paperwork that my PhD committee has also signed and sent it onward and upward.

To the provost.

So, as of Friday, the department of the Provost as received my proposal.

I need one more signature.

Then.

Yes.

I will become a PhDc (Candidate).

One step closer to PhD.

I really hope to be a doctor by this time next year.

I want to defend my dissertation next August, the same weekend as the PhD intensive that my school holds.

With all the fingers crossed, I am hoping to defend in person.

However, I know that it may be virtual depending on what happens with pandemic.

FYI.

Working on a PhD during a pandemic while maintaining a full client case load is the way through.

I am too busy to get too involved in all the crazy out there.

Not to say that I am not aware of it, I am, so are my clients, I hear about it every week and there is so, so, so much anxiety, but I try to stay out of it as much as I can.

I am thinking of deactivating my social media.

I have had FaceCrack off my phone now for two years–got rid of it when I started my PhD program, but I still have and use Instagram on my phone.

I have not, however, disabled Facecrack in general, so I can hop onto it through my laptop.

Which I am on a lot.

I have been doing about 28-30 client sessions a week through telehealth an the majority of those are via video, I’m always on my laptop.

Even when I have phone sessions, I still have to hop on my laptop to do my session notes after.

I just notice it’s too easy to slip off into social media, “for just a few minutes.”

And it’s just a mucky, sticky, uncomfortable place.

I don’t participate in conversations, I stay neutral, I don’t air my opinions, although I have unfollowed a few people who are far outside my comfort zone with their opinions and I have unfriended a few people from my high school who posted racist white privileged content on their media pages.

Um.

No.

Having been one of the only people of color at my school when I transferred into my middle school in 7th grade, I know very, very well how racist the community I was living in was.

Some via ignorance, you scoop up what your parents serve when you are a child, some via hate.

Either way.

No thanks.

And don’t get me wrong, being a mixed race woman of color growing up in a white culture I experienced plenty of racism at the hands of my own mother and her side of the family.

These are also not conversations I have had with anyone on that side of my family.

Nope.

And no thank you.

My family members that seem to idle on that side of the road I have unfollowed.

I love my family, but I don’t have to submit to witnessing racism or privilege.

I have dealt with it enough in my life and I know it will always show up in my life.

It always has.

Anyway.

That was a segue.

Really what gets me about social media is that it has an algorithm that makes little to no sense for me and it’s a time suck.

My time is valuable and I need to use it wisely.

So I flirt with deactivating FaceCrack.

I haven’t done it yet, but it’s tempting.

Note to self.

I don’t like this new format that WordPress has set up.

Sigh.

Another note to self.

This has probably been the new format for a minute and I just haven’t gotten on it to blog recently.

I do find it challenging to show up here when I am on my laptop so much.

But.

I told myself today it was time to hop back on the horse.

If only to keep my writing and typing chops up to par.

I don’t want to be lax about the writing practice. I am not in my PhD coursework any more, I’m officially cleared that, which is brilliant and wonderful.

But.

Also.

I am not writing papers at all this semester.

No paper writing on topics and electives I wasn’t all that interested in is lovely, but I was getting a lot of practice at writing when I constantly had a paper due.

I don’t have any papers due anymore.

The next “paper” I write will be my dissetation.

And I don’t believe I will start writing my dissertation chapters until January when I finish my study.

I have given myself the fall to do my study and sort through my materials and also the first month of the year, January, but by the time winter break is done, I want to transition into the writing.

Then give myself the spring semester to write, the summer to polish, and be ready to defend at the end of summer.

I want to have my reached my goal of defending my Phd on the three year anniversary of having started the program.

A program that is 4.5 years long.

I am proud of myself for pushing the way that I have–finishing the coursework in two years instead of three, working over the summer to do my dissertation proposal instead of waiting for this fall semester, and setting out to do a study that has no participants, just me and my conversations with the world.

This is not to say that what I am doing is easy.

It is not.

Seriously, you should see the stacks of material I have to sort.

Plus.

This blog.

I am using material from this blog as well.

And I have over 2600 blogs on here.

Anyway.

I digress again.

The point is that I want to write, I want to keep my writing chops sound, I need to keep practicing and that practice comes in the morning when I write my three pages long hand and now, again, in the evenings, I need to commit to doing my blog again at least a few times a week.

I figure it will be mostly on the weekends since I run clients pretty late during the week–my last sessions end at 8:30p.m. M-F and then once a month I’m teaching on the weekends, but if I set my eyes on the prize and get back on here and keep my fingers warm.

Well.

I sense that when it is time to write the thing, oh la la, I’m going to write a dissertation, I will be ready.

So.

Lovely to let myself be here and hello to you all out there who I haven’t given you much to read over the last couple of years, I’m not back in full force.

But.

I.

Am.

Back.

Another Sunday in Quarantine

May 25, 2020

I didn’t go outside today.

I wanted to.

I didn’t.

Well.

That’s not exactly true.

I did go out on my deck.

I am so grateful for my deck I cannot even begin to tell you.

It has saved my life.

I went on a long walk yesterday, I am grateful for long walks, and it was not the best walk ever.

Too many people

So many people.

Go the fuck home people.

Sigh.

I love the area that I live in (although I don’t love where I live exactly, deck excluded, the landlord and his wife are not sustaining very well right now and they fight a lot.  A LOT).  It is beautiful. I’m within a five minute walking distance to Golden Gate Park or to Sutro Heights Park.

I can make Land’s End in fifteen minutes.

I’m a three minute walk to Ocean Beach.

Except.

Well.

Dodging the people not wearing masks or walking in clumps makes the time a bit longer.

I know to avoid the beach.

I know it makes me upset to see so many people out having their sunny beach day.

I want to holler, “it’s my fucking neighborhood, go home!”

But.

Well.

I don’t.

I just stay home instead.

Yesterday’s walk was focused primarily on walking the steep hills around my house so I didn’t run into as many people as I would have if I had gone down hill.

I took one look at down hill and headed right up.

I got pissed and then I thought, just stay on the hills, walk away from the beach.

It’s a constant conversation I have with myself.

I know people are getting squirrely.

I know that folks are tired of shelter in place.

Me too.

Me too.

Me too.

And.

It’s not over yet and there are still new cases getting reported and people are still getting sick and I cannot be one of them.

I only have myself to rely on and so I walk wearing a mask.

I walk six feet plus away from people.

I walk out into the street to avoid contact.

I don’t go out much on the weekends.

I didn’t go out today.

I don’t know about tomorrow.

It is the holiday after all and the weather is going to be nice.

That’s a part of the problem.

The beach doesn’t get beach weather.

Most of the time it’s cold and foggy and windy.

But when it’s sunny, over sixty degrees, and there’s little to no wind.

Packed.

I know if there wasn’t a pandemic, it would have been bonkers yesterday.

Or today.

And what I saw was bad enough.

Also.

Since the city closed down the parking lots along the beach.

Everyone parks in my neighborhood.

Or at the SafeWay grocery store on Fulton.

Last Sunday I tried to go for a walk and I got so overwhelmed I headed home, it was nice last Sunday too.

One too many groups of young adults wearing masks on their foreheads, elbows, and knees, but not over their mouths and noses, drinking Boba tea and taking up the entire sidewalk, for me to cope.

I walked past the SafeWay on my way home and the lot was full.

FULL.

But.

There was no line to get into the grocery store.

The parking lot was being used by all the beach go’ers.

I wanted, as I have wanted on a few occasions to call the cops.

And.

Fuck.

I cannot do that.

Waste of money.

Waste of time.

But what I can do is stay home, take care of myself, and let people do what they’re going to do.

I cannot control anyone.

I can only control my own actions.

And those not all the time.

Although, aside, I did not reach out to my ex today, which is miraculous, I felt the pull of him in my blood like the sunshine on my skin.

Oof.

Hard.

Anyway.

I decided today to just forego outside and walks for the rest of the weekend.

I made phone calls.

I had FaceTime.

I wrote a lot.

I printed off the dissertation proposal.

Four pages of instructions.

I worked on my CV.

Very proud of that actually.

I sat outside and ate my lunch on the deck and got my sun that way.

I kept the sliding glass door to my deck open all day.

I heard how busy the neighborhood was.

I kept to myself.

I felt much better.

Even though I missed taking a long walk, I did not miss getting agitated.

I have a big Monday.

I have seven clients.

No Memorial Day off for me.

I’m ok with that.

I am beyond grateful that I can work.

I will go for a long walk on Tuesday and Wednesday and Thursday and maybe Friday, depending, I’ve a lot of clients Friday too.

I will keep hitting up the Zoom meetings.

I will stay positive.

I will eat well.

I have not eaten any take out since shelter in place.

I don’t really when there’s not a pandemic.

But I did like going out to eat.

Saving some money cooking all my own food that is for sure.

I will work on my dissertation proposal.

I met with my dissertation chair yesterday morning for an hour and mapped out a plan for the summer.

I want to be defending my dissertation proposal the weekend of August 27th, 28th, 29th.

There will not be an intensive.

It will be via Zoom.

And that’s ok too.

I have a plan.

I will stay busy with that, my clients, and the new position with the Daily City Youth Health Clinic–I started on Friday.

I scheduled my first client yesterday.

I will get through this.

And one day.

Hopefully, not too far in the future.

I will take a walk outside without a mask on either.

This too shall pass.

Buried Alive

August 29, 2019

This is it folks.

You may not see or hear from me in weeks.

In fact.

I am already askance at myself for not throwing myself headlong into some reading, writing, researching, or the other.

Why, I’m writing my blog when there is a shit ton, a fuck ton, a whole lot of things to do this semester.

I knew that at my intensive, when just after two days of one class I realized that class alone was going to be a full time job.

Then.

Add in two more classes.

One is “light,” like I only have to read five books.

But the other is fairly substantial and I am thinking about using the work in progress project to write a potential publishable paper.

I get ahead of myself, but it was suggested that I might want to do that by a fellow who’s on the three year course track.

He listened to my project and was like, “you should publish that,” then told me how to do it, then approached my professor and told him what we had discussed and the professor liked it!

Holy fuck.

Anyway.

One day back from the intensive and I haven’t done a lot, although I have done plenty.

Since I have been back I have had supervision, seen 7 clients, worked a nanny shift, went grocery shopping, did laundry, and food prepped for the week.

That in and of itself is full time work.

Then, today at work, while the little guy napped (why oh why have his naps grown shorter!?) I plugged in all the due dates and assignments and readings that I needed to do over the semester into my Google calendar.

My calendar looks crazy.

It looks like every spare minute has been accounted for until mid December when the semester ends.

I sense the days are going to fly by because they will all be so very full with the work that I have to do.

I have a lot to do.

This is by far the heaviest work load.

And.

In a sense the most clear cut.

I figured out who I want to be my chair for my PhD dissertation committee and I also asked said person, or at least gave him the heads up.

It will still have to go through the channels and what not, but I know who I want and I believe he wants to work with me.

Plus.

I asked another person to be on my committee and she said yes.

So, that’s positive.

Granted, I can’t actually assign anyone to my committee without my chair’s approval.

So first the chair.

That will officially happen in November.

But I interviewed with three professors at the intensive and with each one I talk substantively about what I am doing and what my inquiry is and how I want to pursue the work.

Two of the professors I talked to for an hour.

One professor I only got to catch for ten minutes between classes, but she was ecstatic with my idea and really impressed with how I’m going about it.

She recommended that I sit in on a former TA’s dissertation defense, which I did and she was the person I asked to be my second committee member.

The professor also suggested I take her elective in Spring, which I had already written down to take!

So my courses are lined up.

I will get through this semester and I’m going to light it on fire.

I’m going to bring it.

The fact that I am going down two days of nannying a week for me is even a bigger deal now.

I need that time.

I also want to have incoming therapy clients fill up those spots, but every spare minute is going to be used.

I had clients cancel for this Friday, not all, but two, Labor Day weekend travel plans, and I immediately blocked the time off to do homework.

I will always, always, always, be carrying my laptop with me so that I can take whatever time I get whenever I get it, to be online, posting discussion posts.

I will always have one, if not two or even three books with me so that I have something I am consistently reading.

This is the semester to get my literature together.

For my Ecology of Ideas class I have to submit a literature journal with 250-300 pieces of literature–dissertations, studies, books, articles, etc.

I don’t have to read them through, but I will need to be consistently searching for materials as well as consistently skimming and scanning and adding them to my annotated bibliography and my journal.

There is so much to do.

It’s exciting too.

I’m not going to lie.

I can really see it coming together and I plan on submitting my proposal next fall instead of waiting for the fall semester to work on the proposal, I am going to do it over the summer.

I am going to dig in next summer and get it done, it will literally save me a year of tuition and waiting for approval.

A friend of mine who TA’s for some of the courses did that this intensive.

She did all her course work in two years, like I am in the middle of doing, took the summer to work on her proposal and the second day of the intensive, the first day of classes, she defended her proposal and got it approved.

Which means she moves right into her dissertation.

I’m all for it.

I made a pact with a friend of mine in the cohort and that’s what we’re going to do.

It will knock out time and a lot of tuition.

Fuck my student loans are big.

But you know.

I am so fucking worth it.

And so is my idea.

I can’t wait to show it to the world.

Until then though.

You will not see a lot of me this semester.

I literally am going to be buried under books.

I might come up for a breather around Thanksgiving.

But for now.

Well.

See ya.

I got shit to read.

So much.

In The Right Place

September 3, 2018

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

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

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

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

But.

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

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

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

But that was back in February, March?

Back when I was still in my Masters program.

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

But here.

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

The course work is no fucking joke.

I am going to be reading until my eyes bleed.

However

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

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

God willing it will become a book.

I mean.

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

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

Makes me happy.

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

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

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

Oh.

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

And that the writing is far less substantive heartens me.

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

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

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

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

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

HE GOT EXCITED!

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

I think I floated away from the classroom.

I mean.

I am tired.

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

Tired.

But good tired.

And tired happy.

Tired that there’s going to be so much.

But also tired with a purpose.

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

In fact.

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

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

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

Well.

It made me smile.

It really did.

IMG_E4816

 

Reading The Fine Print

January 9, 2018

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

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

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

I’m glad I found it though.

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

I need 225 to graduate.

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

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

I should not have any problems getting the hours.

Or so I thought.

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

But.

They cancel.

Or.

They no-show.

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

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

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

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

How?

As of right now I have 240 hours.

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

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

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

I’m not going to graduate!

Whoa.

Slow down there.

I don’t have enough information.

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

I have to take responsibility and find out that myself.

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

And.

Voila!

There on page 46 of the 49 page hand book:

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

Sweet Jesus.

I am fucking fine.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I was getting a little worried.

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

I am not allowed to count Telemedicine through my school.

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

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

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

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

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

But he did not.

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

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

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

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

It’s all falling together.

Even when my brain tells me it’s not.

It really is.

So nice.

So.

Very.

Very.

Very.

Nice.

Really?

January 3, 2018

Already?

FUCK.

I just read over the syllabus for one of my classes.

Vomit.

Vomit.

Vomit.

I am not ready.

No.

No.

No.

Sigh.

I got an e-mail from a friend of mine in the cohort, we take almost all of our classes together and I switched out a class to be in the this last class with her, tipping me off to a website builder that I could use for class.

I was like.

What?

Wait?

Is the syllabus already up?

And fuck me, yes, it is already up.

I read it over, I got a little tired reading it.

I think I just want to go back to reading my pleasure reading book and not look at a syllabus again for a day or five.

My next weekend of classes is January 19-21st.

It’s still a few weeks away, but it’s looming.

Fortunately the class that has the syllabus up has no readers or textbooks I will need to buy.

Unfortunately and I’m super annoyed by this, I do have to use readings, readers, and textbooks from my previous classes.

The class is Integrative Seminar, and it basically requires that I write a 22-29 page paper with a personal narrative of when and where I had revelations in my classwork and what those looked like and how I will bring those insights into my therapy sessions with future/current clients.  Plus a part of the paper has to be a clinical review of one of my current clients.

Ugh.

That’s a fucking pain in my ass.

Not that I can’t write that many pages, I won’t have a problem doing that so much, but um, I didn’t save my notebooks from my previous classes, I recycled most of them, I also don’t have the majority of my textbooks, I sold them back.

ARGH.

I do have one ace up my sleeve, I just now literally realized.

I have a program on my computer called Perrla.

It basically is a graduate student’s wet dream.

It helps format papers in APA (The American Psychological Association) and it builds your bibliography for you as you’re writing the papers.

I should have all my papers from all my classes, except for maybe the first couple I wrote, that are saved in my Perrla program.

I can reference those papers to write the bigger paper for this class.

That will be my saving grace.

So grateful I just remembered that.

Really no need for me to get all anxious about shit anyway, I’m a writer, I will write.

I have had some pretty transformative moments in school and I have grown so much in my personal life that I am sure I will be able to knock out a 30 page paper with ten references pretty damn quick.

Plus, thank God!

Thank fucking God, I keep really good notes from my supervision sessions with my solo supervisor.

And I am fairly certain I have all my notes from supervision and now that I know I’ll be presenting a case I can take more prodigious notes while in session with him.

I don’t know what I’m bitching about.

All things considered I will be writing more than 30 pages for a PhD dissertation.

God only knows how much writing that will entail.

I talked my therapist a lot about that today, amongst other things, like coming up on my 13th sobriety anniversary and what I will be doing to acknowledge that, and how I sent out an inquiry to the dean of the school I’m thinking about applying to.

My therapist is way behind me going for it.

It’s nice to have that support.

And she made a really good observation that by the time I will finish up my PhD I will also be close to accruing all my hours for licensure.

That sure would be swell.

My PhD and my license.

I’m so down for that.

I got a response to my inquiry late afternoon today while I was at work.

I probably had gotten it far earlier, but work was a busy one and I didn’t check my phone until nearly end of day.

And there it was, a message from the dean in response to my ask.

She told me two very valuable bits of information–the program only accepts students in the fall and the deadline for the upcoming fall semester is the end of February.

My timing couldn’t be better.

She asked that we make time to chat soon either in person or over the phone.

I asked for a phone interview to discuss the program after I get out of supervision next Monday morning.

I am going for it.

I can’t believe I writing that and at the same time it feels exactly like what I am supposed to be doing.

I am genuinely excited.

Sure.

It will be more work, but I’m used to it at this point, I’ve been doing the work now for over two and a half years, I know what needs to be done and the time it goes by so quick.

“How’s school?”  A friend asked me New Year’s Eve.

“I graduate in May!” I told her, I might have squealed, jumping up in down a tiny bit.

“Oh my god, didn’t you just start?”

Yeah.

That’s what it feels like, like I just started, and I also feel like I’ve been doing it for a really long time, the school bit has very much informed my last two and a half years, it has colored literally everything I have done.

And not done.

Oh the social stuff I have missed out on.

Then again.

I cannot fathom the growth that I would not have had if I not been in school.

The growth I have had is astounding.

Nothing says personal growth quite like going to school to be a counseling therapist.

Shit.

Let me process some stuff ok?

On top of getting back into therapy.

Thank God for therapy.

It’s been so good for me.

So I’m not mad at what I “missed” I have gained so very much.

And I’m just going to keep growing.

What a magnificent thing.

To be on a path where I am always learning and growing.

That is a gift.

Seriously.

All The Mother Fucking Things

August 22, 2016

I got it done.

I almost cannot believe it.

I finished the reading for my Gestalt class so I can write the paper tomorrow.

Brief aside, so early into the blog, but.

I know I’m on the right track when the last sentence of the book, involving an imaginary conversation that Fritz Perls is heaving with Freud (a dead Freud, seven years gone at that point) stirs me to tears.

I was moved.

And I am excited that I have found what I believe to be the therapy modality that I want to work with and also.

Heh.

All things Burning Man.

Gestalt and Burning Man.

Yup.

I have a desire to write my dissertation on a theory I have around Gestalt and the evolution of Burning Man, the here and nowness of things.  I am rather nascent in my explorations, but I do know that I am heading in the direction of what I want to do and I am so very happy to think about combining two different things into a project that could lead me to dissertation.

Anyway.

I get a head of myself.

Which is so not Gestalt, and so not Burning Man.

But is so easy for me to do.

In the moment, I am sitting in my pajamas, yes, before 8p.m. on a “school night” for me as I will be getting up early, early, early to drive to Sonoma for work in the morning.

I made the decision to stay here overnight and go up early so that I could wrap up any lose ends and take care of things for my imminent trip to the playa.

I cleaned the house, re-packed my clothes bin for the burn, I had a suspicion that I was not really well packed, that I may have over packed a little in fear and went through all my gear to make sure I really was going to use it or wear it.

I’ll only be out for four days and four nights.

Which means 8 outfits.

I paired down a little what I had and organized it better.

I was tempted to go back through all my bins, but when I did a mental inventory I knew that I was fine and really well set up for the event.

My camera has freshly charged batteries, I have my back up phone battery charger, I have all my tent, bedding, sleep, cook, cooler, and hair supplies.

Hello.

You know this girl is going to get her big, pink, flowered hair on.

Please.

Then I took care of business.

I paid rent early.

I don’t like to have that hanging over my head before going out there, and it feels good to be accountable.

I won’t have to worry about paying any bills when I get back, I can just ease back into my life with little thought–paid my DMV renewal on my scooter, early, but hey, the bill came in the mail, I don’t want my dusty brain to forget it when I get back, and organized my ticket, vehicle pass, and yes, I printed off my Early Arrival pass.

I have them all right here, right at my elbow, just waiting for my return on Friday night.

I’ll be leaving work by 6p.m. at the latest and returning the rental car to SFO, grabbing a car from the rental drop off to home, then my ride share will come and get me, it’s looking like 8:30 p.m. for the pick up.

We load up and drive out.

I confirmed with him via e-mail, updated him in regards to groceries and water–suggested that we not get water in SF, but rather pick it up at the SafeWay in Reno which is open 24 hours.  Less weight in the car, less gas to get us up over the Sierra’s.

He totally agreed.

I also went shopping for a few things to have at the house for when I get back.

And I’ve packed my suitcase, so recently unpacked, again for this week’s work in Glen Ellen.

All that I have left to do is dry the load of laundry in the dryer and write this blog.

Heck.

I even addressed all my Burning Man postcards and stamped them up.

I met with two ladies today and did the deal, too.

Which was super good and really grounding, they are such gifts, I am so lucky to get to work with them and share my experience, strength and hope.

My other lady did a phone check in and by the time all that was done I felt really ready for the next phase of my development.

An extraordinary thing that.

One which lead to me realizing that I had no real need to go out all willy nilly and secure further stuff and things for that thing in the desert.

That, I, in fact, had everything I needed and a little more (one white crinoline and one black crinoline), that there was no reason to stir my anxiety pot by driving around town in the VW Bug rental car.

Especially when I got the perfect parking spot in front of the house last night.

Why move it and cause myself stress to buy things I don’t really need, but think I might want.

Nah.

I got it.

I really am ready.

The few things I have left to get are just a couple of food stuffs that I want to wait until Reno to procure–some apples, one more container of unsweetened vanilla almond milk, and some carrots.

As for the rest of it.

It’s done.

I am so glad I didn’t leave the neighborhood, I am so glad I took time to re-pack and re-organize and also to realize that I really am done.

It’s done.

I’m ready.

The rest of the week is to show up kind and compassionate with sweetness, tolerance, and love to work.

To write a six page Gestalt paper and to do some reading for another of my classes.

Thank you Sunday.

For being, well, easy like Sunday morning.

Giggle.

It’s been fruitful, restful, and far less stressful than I thought it would be.

Hella grateful.

Seriously.

It’s A Small World

August 18, 2016

There’s a second family out here in Glenn Ellen hanging out and overnighting and they are sweet and fun and nice people.

And.

Heh.

They know a lot of my friends.

Ah Burning Man.

You get me all the time.

I just got offered a nanny gig out there for next year.

The mom was very serious about it and I told her I couldn’t quite yet commit, especially as the mom from the gig I was supposed to do this year wants me for next, but I liked her energy, this new mom and her connection and I felt a lot better engaging with her than the other mom.

Who knows.

She did ask for first option on me and I gave her a handshake affirmation.

But I think it’s great and funny they know some very good friends of mine.

I just had to laugh.

Smallest little world.

San Francisco.

Burning Man.

Nannying.

Graduate school.

All the stuff all the things.

All the things.

I ordered more of my books last night and checked over the syllabus for a couple of my classes.

I have been reading the Gestalt book that got to me late, which is hilarious, since the class ended last Sunday.

However.

I do have a paper to write on it and I feel since it’s a modality that is resonating with me that I shall finish the book and feel more competent in doing the paper.

I don’t actually think I will have a difficult time writing said paper, it’s just six pages long and I’m pretty good at knocking out the writing.

Which also feels good to know since I have decided to pursue a PhD.

Yeah.

I know.

I’m just beginning the second year of my three year Masters program and already I am thinking about what is next.

But.

It is important for me to acknowledge that I am going to go for it.

I’m happy and excited and a little bit scared.

It’s going to be a lot of money.

In the end, though, I know it will be worth it and yes.

My ego will be well pleased with  the title, Dr. Carmen Regina Martines.

Say that three times fast.

What cinched it for me was my Ethics professor.

She really embodies what I want to be when I grow up, well, not an Ethics professor per se, but an all around academic, an advisor, a therapist, a consultant, I mean the woman has consulted for the White House, for the state of California, she has been an expert witness at the Supreme Court level.

And she’s a riot.

And she’s smart and funny.

But most importantly.

She is of immense service in her community.

She travels, she has clients all over, she has a couple of offices, she teaches, she helps battered women and works with the prison systems, she advocates for the elderly and deals with elder abuse and my god, yes.

Yes.

I want that.

I want to be in that position where I can be that person.

Plus.

She outlined it for me in five minutes.

Sweet, simple, fast.

She told me how to accrue hours, well, not necessarily accrue them but that I don’t have to go towards the clinical side and accrue an additional 4,000 on top of the 3, 000 I have to get to sit for the boards to be licensed for the MFT certification.

Which in and of itself is a huge deal.

3,000 hours.

Sweet Jesus on a pogo stick.

That’s a lot of time.

She told me though, get my MFTI number (Marriage Family Therapy Intern) and start accruing the hours and interning and doing all the stuff and when I am close to the end of the program approach her with a dissertation.

Huh?

What?

Obviously, not a full dissertation, but the outline, the big bullet points, the basics of what I want to work on.

I have had a few ideas pop around my head and I have actually had the moment not once, but twice in class when a professor said to me, that would make a great dissertation.

I am a writer.

I can write.

I write all the time.

Why not apply that knowledge, skill, and abilities therein towards a doctoral degree?

She also gave me a good suggestion to get started.

Start a file and whenever I read an article that seems interesting, I put it in that folder.

Consistently adding and then after a little time go in and look at the things that have been catching my attention.  She told me, “you will see a pattern, it will emerge and you will find a topic and then you will write and bring it to me.”

I can do that.

She also happens to sit on the board that I would present my dissertation to.

And she told me, I can help you, I can read it over and say, more here, less there, pull this apart, look at that, and make sure it is APA formatted and just all the things.

My God.

I am really going to do it and not from the standpoint of just bettering myself and my circumstances, which it will, have a doctorate in psychology is a big fucking thing, but it will be better for my community, for the people I want to help, I will get to be of better and bigger service.

Not that the service I do now is anything to sneeze at.

It’s not.

So to have a conversation with this new mom, curious to know about me and what my goals are, I piped up a little at dinner and I think I caught her attention with an experience I shared, to have this mom ask me about my future and my goals.

It was pretty fucking cool.

And that she could see it and it appears to be something she’s also tracking towards and she knows some of my favorite San Francisco people?

It was an exciting exchange and the first time I have voiced it outside of my school intensive and a few of my closest friends in the cohort.

And my professor.

Who caught my attention to ask me a question as I was leaving the last day of class by yelling after me as I left the building.

“Hey Dr. Martines!”

Oh my god.

That was a mighty good feeling.

Mighty.

Mighty.

Mighty.

Good.

Dr. Carmen Regina Martines.

Yes please.


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