Posts Tagged ‘drugs’

A Good Cry

July 12, 2017

And then back to living.

I saw my therapist today.

Yes.

A psychotherapist has a therapist.

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

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

One hour at a time.

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

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

I mean.

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

I do that now.

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

But.

Yes.

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

I knew.

For instance.

I needed to titrate my social media intake today.

I woke up a bit emotionally hung over.

I cried a lot yesterday.

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

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

Gah.

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

For he was joyful.

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

Oh the music the world has lost.

So.

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

I really had to not look after a while.

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

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

Sounds like a hangover, right?

Except instead of booze or blow it was emotion.

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

It was the communities.

And I’m grateful.

Really grateful.

I got to feel it and touch into it.

But.

I could not continue swimming in it any longer.

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

Oh.

It was all interconnected.

I am good at making connections.

And it was honest and insightful.

I am pretty good at those things too.

Not always.

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

But.

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

I am compassionate and more importantly, I am empathetic.

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

Oh, so fucking much.

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

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

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

B. I am a psychotherapist.

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

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

Uncomfortable feelings need to happen.

There’s nothing wrong with them.

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

For instance.

There’s nothing wrong with anxiety or depression.

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

I mean.

Booze was one hell of an amazing solution for me.

Until.

It was not.

So was cocaine.

My God.

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

It was like I had all the answers.

ALL of them.

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

Um.

Yeah.

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

And slowly.

One step at a time.

I got to change what I did.

What I ingested.

What I thought and felt.

For something else.

I was given a significant solution to my problem.

Of course.

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

Therapy is not for symptom relief.

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

I had to find a different way.

And I did.

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

I am alive.

I am not guilty for being alive

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

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

It is amazing.

Happy.

Joyous.

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

Grateful.

So very grateful.

Thank you for being a part of my journey.

May it bless you too.

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Girl Date

May 30, 2017

I totally took myself out today.

I did it all.

First.

I let myself sleep the fuck in.

I mean, I didn’t get up until 9:15 a.m.

So sleeping in, especially considering that I am up three hours earlier tomorrow so that I can meet with my supervisor–whom I would have met with today but it was a holiday.

I totally treated it like a holiday as well.

I went to a yoga class that I used to be able to go before I started my current nanny gig.

I had lunch with my favorite, most loved person in the entire world.

Pause.

Let me just let that sink in.

I got to have lunch with the person I hold in the highest esteem, who loves me unconditionally, who sees me, who supports me without question, who witnesses everything I do, who helps me see when I am self-sabotaging, and how to change that and be better and stronger and sweeter and softer and live my life to the fullest full definition of happy, joyous and free.

I mean.

That is an extraordinary gift.

We met at Souvla on Divisadero and had great big salads and talked and got totally caught up and I revealed myself and there was no shying away from me or judging, only complete sunshine and love.

I am beyond grateful for this man in my life, I wouldn’t have the life I have without him.

He is a human, don’t get me wrong, I am not putting him on a pedestal, he shows me how to be more human myself, more vulnerable, more willing to show up and more present in the moment when I do.

He is the greatest gift and I do not know what I would do without him.

We are even talking about making travel plans together.

We have talked about it before.

We travel in a similar way, carry on only, get situated, go get connected with fellows and then walk and see and witness and art and churches and more art and museums and cafes and sitting still next to each other and also knowing that we both are self-sufficient travelers, that neither of us is afraid to say, give me space, I want to do a wander on my own or nap or whatever.

We have mutual friends in Barcelona as well as Paris.

We are talking about going to Barcelona together and maybe taking the TGV to Paris or Marseille, probably Paris as we have friends there too and I will need very much to see my Parisian girlfriend and her new family.

Next May.

When I graduate from my Masters of Psychology program, a grand European tour with my mentor, I couldn’t really think of a better gift, his company means so much to me.

So.

Yeah.

Lunch was fucking fabulous and we also dished and laughed and I talked about needing to set firm boundaries around any extra nanny work that may try to weasel its way in when my employers are away in July.

And then he went his way and I went mine.

Off to the MOMA.

I wanted to catch the last day of the Matisse/Diebenkorn show.

Of course.

It was sold out, even as a member of the MOMA I couldn’t get in to see it.

And truth be told, I don’t really care a fig for Matisse, and I’ve seen so much of his work in Paris that I didn’t feel that I was missing out.

I could have my girl date with myself just fine wandering around all the other galleries without having to stand in the huge, and I do mean HUGE, line that was queued up for the show.

I strolled through the second floor galleries and got acquainted again with one of my favorite artists in the museum–Clyfford Still–1906-1980.  I adore his work, there is one painting especially that always gets me and I did my stare in awe and wonder at it for a good fair amount of time before taking myself for a cafe au lait at the Sight Glass cafe on the 3rd floor of the museum.

I sat and dreamily dreamed and people watched while sipping my coffee–days off always included cafe breaks and nursing a coffee while people watching.

Then I hit the Larry Sultan photography exhibit, which was extraordinary.

And.

Since everyone was in line for the Matisse/Diebenkorn show, the gallery was practically empty.

Heaven.

I got my art girl dose in heavy-duty.

Then having some time and seeing that the sun had decided to cut through the fog and make an appearance, I strolled through Yerba Buena Gardens, and yes, got another coffee, this time iced, and planted myself on the sheltered terrace of the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, sipped ice coffee and watched the clouds scut through the sky.

I am always so overwhelmed and grateful for the gardens and the art and the fountains and though the skyline has changed dramatically in the fifteen years I have been in San Francisco, there is still all this familiarity for the place I was sitting in.

How many times had I gone through that park high or drunk?

Smoking cigarettes and slamming extra caffeine to keep up with the high-end dining restaurant that I worked at, Hawthorne Lane, how many times had I caught cabs in front of the Metreon to go to my dealers or to have myself carried to the End Up or 1015 or some underground party.

So many times.

And the dread and the terror that was just below the surface of my skin, beating my heart with fear as I walked the paths through the garden to work, short cutting on my way to the restaurant to work a double to make up for all the money I blew on blow.

And.

Instead.

Twelve and a half years later.

Coiffed, sweetly dressed, yellow silk flower in my hair, expensive shoes on my feet, Hobo purse in my lap, having just left an exquisite show at the MOMA, I sit happy and serene, joyous and free, in that same space, quietly and consistently showing up to make amends to the area and to assuage that damage I did to myself.

So grateful I don’t have the words.

Although.

I have to say I will always keep striving to find them.

Grateful for sunshine, clarity, serenity, communicating my needs, being emotionally transparent.

For all the good things in my life.

For my life.

God damn.

Life is more than fair, you know, if it were fair, I’d be dead.

And I am so not.

I am exquisitely alive.

So.

Fucking.

Alive.

Luckiest girl in the world.

Seriously.

Day By Day

October 27, 2016

I just get by.

Or.

So the thinking goes.

I was a little off today, a little not quite myself, a little quiet, a little introspective.

This is not a problem.

Granted.

It’s also not something that I care for very much, thinking about myself usually just breeds misery.

The day was just a day, I tell myself, sure, it didn’t exactly go my way, but I have no control over that.

Frankly I was just grateful it didn’t rain so that I could ride my scooter to work.

Mondays and Wednesday’s I’m up at the top of Eureka Street in Noe Valley and it’s no small climb, it’s not a good place to get to via public transportation, nor would it be an easy ride on my bicycle.

Nope.

So not having rain today, grateful.

Tomorrow is another story.

Rain, rain, rain.

All week.

All weekend.

Ugh.

I’ll probably take MUNI into work on Thursday and Friday and to see my person in the Inner Sunset on Saturday.

I don’t have plans.

I don’t have Halloween plans.

I don’t have a date.

I don’t have anything.

Well.

Ha.

I guess I have homework, there is always that.

What with the rain I suppose I could get a lot of reading done.

I had hopes to do some reading today at work, but that definitely did not happen.

Kiddo out sick from school.

So, although I had a fat baby nap, I didn’t have time away from my charges to actually sit and do any homework.

Despite having brought it in with me.

I never touched it.

I did play a lot of Go Fish.

I did hang out and read him Harry Potter.

I did dance party with the little girl and her middle brother when he got home from school.

I made homemade pizza for dinner.

I did, actually, have a really nice day with them, it just wasn’t the day I had planned.

Story of my life.

And I can’t gripe too much, I actually did some of the reading before I went into work today.

I got up and did a lot of writing.

I read a bit too and that felt good to be doing it, though it wasn’t as much as I wanted, anything is better than nothing and it’s a kind of steady progress which will get me there.

I felt a little lonely today.

There is that.

Loneliness happens.

But.

I know that I am not alone and that helps.

Even when I am by myself, I am not alone.

I also had a moment of free-floating dread that happens about this time of year and I always forget about it until it’s happening and then it hits me and I’m like, oh yeah, this time of year was the time when I started my slide to the bottom, to my bottom.

It’s a kind of body memory.

I had an excruciating bottom and it began at Halloween and lasted until the first weekend of January.

It was devastating and all the holidays have their special marker of horror for me.

Halloween because I had thought I’d escaped my disease, or it had escaped me, my dealer had gotten arrested and for a month was MIA and I thought to myself when it happened, good, this is exactly what I need.

The goose hung high.

I was literally the proverbial boy whistling in the dark.

I had plans that Halloween to hang out with friends and have a late dinner at Bruno’s Super Club on Mission Street.

I was a flapper.

I had a pretty awesome outfit.

A beautiful grey cloche hat with a black ribbon, I had very short hair at the time, slicked back with one kiss curl on my forehead, buckle shoe Mary Jane’s, fish net stockings, a short sassy black chiffon dress, a strand of baubles, a fake beauty mark high on my right cheek, and a long cigarette holder for my cigarettes.

I got a lot of compliments on my outfit.

I was pleased.

I remember I was just having my first or second cocktail of the night and we had just finished ordering dinner.

I was going to get the sliders.

I got a phone call instead.

I hopped up to take it and headed outside for a cigarette.

It was my dealer.

He was out and how much did I want?

I hemmed and hawed and said two.

Two grams of cocaine that is.

I didn’t think about it, I didn’t think, wait, what, you weren’t going to do this anymore, I just spit out a number and then said were I was.

I went back inside, ordered another cocktail, sat down and waited for my dinner to come, which I never touched, as my dealer called just as my plate was being set down in front of me.

I hopped back up, said I’d be right back and dashed outside.

He was idling at the corner in a nondescript grey Saturn sedan.

I hopped in, handed him $100 and he handed me two grams of blow and said, I haven’t had time to cut it.

Fuck.

It was in brick.

I managed.

And I managed to fall right back down the fucking rabbit hole.

I went straight to the bathroom and chopped up a couple of lines.

They were too rocky, too big, but I was too excited and couldn’t wait to break it down proper.

Dinner sat and got cold.

I drank another cocktail.

Our friend got done with his shift and a crew of us headed out to a Halloween party.

Where?

I have no clue.

I do remember being the center of attention at one point on the back stairway having a game of dozens with the host and smoking cigarettes.

I remember a lot of trips to the bathroom to break up the cocaine so that I could actually snort it.

I remember calling my dealer the next day.

And the next.

And well.

You get the idea.

So.

Hello late October, hello Halloween with all your scary and tricks and treats.

I’m not much into it anymore, though a girl does like to dress up.

I don’t like the feeling of expectation and the need to party that seems to overtake even most normal folks.

The dread, once it was named, eased off my body and I went up to see some fellows and get right with God and I left feeling reconnected and grateful for the gentle reminder of how fucking bad it was.

I never want to go there again.

I mean.

Never.

Happy.

Joyful.

Free.

Thank God for this life.

I am.

The luckiest girl in the world.

Seriously.

Where Am I?

September 1, 2016

Who am I?

Who is this woman?

Flying up in the sky.

At oh, about 12,500 feet, over the Sierra’s, which let me be frank, was a fuck of  a lot better than how I got over the Sierra’s.

Really, nothing says it’s going to be a long ride to the playa than finding out that the roof on the car that was picking me up was not in working order.

Oh yes.

That’s right.

We drove through the night, in an open top convertible VW Cabriolet.

It was cray cray.

And may I just add.

Hella fucking cold.

I mean, we drove through the mountains at night with the top down.

In the end, it didn’t matter, we got to the playa, albeit once we landed the poor kid’s car got crop dusted with playa from every vehicle driving past.

Who the fuck needed to do dust angels on the playa when we were already covered?

He dropped me, dropped all his clothes, from an untied garbage bag stuffed in his trunk, and once I got all my stuff out of the odd nooks and crannies I had to shove my things into, I gave him a hug, told him to relax and have fun and pointed him in the correct direction.

I have no clue what happened to him.

But I am assured he had enough molly and hits of LSD to make sure it was a fun trip to his side of the playa.

Note to folks.

Don’t tell your ride share that you are carrying drugs on you.

Just don’t.

Discretion is the better part of valor.

Also.

When it’s suggested that you not have your bicycle cover up your license plate or obscure it in any way, really, listen.

OH.

And.

Navigation in certain desolate places in Nevada is not always spot on.

“Don’t turn,” I said loudly, I didn’t holler, I didn’t grab the wheel, but I almost did, he was totally on autopilot listening to his navigation system.

“But the navi says to turn left,” he said in a voice that was young, 23, slightly white male privileged and very naive.

“Honey,” I said in a kind voice, a voice that was beginning to be over being kind as I had talked him out of returning to Reno to buy bell peppers from the Safeway after having a text fight with one of his camp mates all the way past Fernley, “there’s not a road there.”

There was a dirt track leading God only knows where, but it was not leading to Burning Man.

The navigation insisted and for a moment I really thought the kid might just off road it and defy my suggestion.

Fortunately he did not and we got into Gerlach and refueled at the last gas station in town.

Then.

Burning Man.

I should call it “I didn’t get much sleep, man,” I mean really.

I didn’t get a lot of sleep.

I had gotten up on Friday at 7:30 a.m. worked then came home and left for the event and drove through the Sierra’s, remember in a chilly, drafty open roofed car.

Although, I will say it was beautiful, the Milky Way, the dark skies, the stars, the nebula and the two shooting stars I saw, exquisite.

We landed on playa around 3:45 a.m.

After a rather long, protracted grocery stop in Reno, wherein there was much re-packing and re-sorting of the small amount of space in the car.

After getting through Gate, getting the kid’s ticket from Will Call and getting to where I was camped, it was 5 a.m. by the time I had gotten my stuff to my small spot on the playa.

What was fortuitous though, was the sky starting to brighten.

By the time I had my tent up, my bins sorted, and my air mattress inflated, it was already beginning to get hot.

I tried.

Oh.

I tried really hard to lay in my tent on my new blow up mattress, but man, without a shade structure, it was just too hot to sleep.

I got up.

I did shit.

I did eventually take a nap in the communal shade structure and thank God.

I might have cracked.

I only really got emotional once the whole morning, and that was when my air mattress pump died.

I was like.

Fuck me.

It hadn’t held the charge and only blew up my mattress about a quarter of the way.

I was bereft.

Until.

Heh.

The playa doth provide.

A friendly neighbor in camp said, oh go across the street to the Electro Shock Therapy camp, they can help you out.

And help out they did.

It was a solar powered camp that had strips of chargers and before you knew it I had gotten my air mattress blown up, bed made, and was lying in a hot box trying to nap.

I retrieved the item that was to save my life, a black out sleep mask, and found myself reclining in the shade structure.

I got about an hour and a half of sleep.

Enough to get me going again.

I went to a birthday party that night and dressed up and was up until about midnight or 1 a.m.

Most nights I was up about that late and most days I was up by 7 a.m.

One day I was up at 5:15 a.m.

I went to watch the sunrise with some friends from camp on an amazing art car that took us all out to the far reaches of the event at the trash fence.

It was a spectacular sunrise.

And there were beautiful sunsets.

Long bike rides to deep playa.

Crazy conversations struck up out of nowhere.

Running into unexpected friends.

Being told how good it was to see me.

Getting tons of hugs.

But.

No kisses.

No boys.

No hook ups.

I just treated the whole thing like and art and recovery retreat.

It was fantastic though, no matter the  I am tired bit.

I am not spent.

I am happy.

Happy I got to go and got some good photos.

Although I am a little concerned, I’m having some trouble with my regular camera.

I think the dust has finally gotten to it, I’m going to try a few things, but I may have lost some photos.

Such is life.

And I have my memories.

Loads and loads.

And a day to sleep in before I head back into school.

A day to readjust, catch up on the sleep, and um, oh, yeah.

Go see Mike Doughty play.

Nice to be home.

I have no complaints.

Not a one.

I am so very happy.

Yes indeed.

I get to sleep in a dust free bed, I got the playa out of my hair, and I get to see a great musician tomorrow with friends.

Life is lovely.

Nighty night y’all.

I have some much needed beauty rest coming to me.

Sweet dreams my friends.

Sweetest, undusty dreams.

Take The Fucking Drama

June 17, 2016

Out of it.

Oh my god.

What a fucking concept.

I laughed and almost slapped my own forehead.

Instead of getting worked up about work, I just thought, fuck, all I have to do is show up and be of service, I don’t have to ask anything, I don’t have to do anything, I don’t have to be stupid and pushy, I can ask for what I need the next time it comes around.

No need to do it today.

Just having done the work around it, the internal re-arranging of my perspective was the relief.

My boss doesn’t have to change.

My boss is never going to change.

She doesn’t have to.

I do.

I change.

And today I decided that creating unnecessary drama before a three day weekend was stupid.

Idiotic really.

When I was going to get off work early today and be eating out with my boys and drinking pricey iced coffees.

Oh Stumptown how do I love thee.

Yeah, I know, it’s not San Francisco based, but fuck, they have good ass coffee.

I am all out of the coffee I bought in New York.

Frankly, I have to say I was disappointed with the Gorilla Coffee I got, the roast was far darker than I like and just a tiny bit charred to my taste.

The coffee I had at the cafe when I popped into it was great, but they were out of the beans that I wanted.

Now.

Variety, in Williamsburg, that stood up to the test.

In fact.

It was like being transported back to the cafe and the talk I had with the barista and then the getting together with my friend and doing that thing I like to do in church basements that evening.

It was a sweet reminder every time I ground up a batch of the Variety beans I brought back.

Maybe I’ll find some hipster coffee in New Orleans.

Fuck me.

Total digression.

I’m all over the place.

Like always.

But.

I’m a tiny bit at loose ends.

Having a clear three day weekend ahead of me.

I got free of jury duty for tomorrow and the family is out of town visiting aunts and uncles and grandparents in the Midwest.

I spent the day keeping the boys on the move and out of the house, hence the Stumptown, I popped into Atlas Cafe on Alabama and 20th.

I have so many fond, and not so fond, memories of the cafe.

It was my first heavily visited cafe, being a block and a half away from the first place I lived in the city, 20th and York.

The first time I go there I ran into someone from Madison who had moved to San Francisco years before me and I had had a class with at University, a TS Eliot class that was amazing and also challenging beyond comprehension, most of the class dropped, including the guy I ran into at the cafe, but I stuck it out and though it may seem odd, that was were I began to believe in God.

That coupled with the course on fairy tales I took the next summer and there, a chink in my armor.

A place where the light got in.

Not for a while though.

Just ask my dealer.

He made a few deliveries to me at Atlas Cafe as well.

I have a nodding acquaintance with the bathroom there.

And a fondness tinged with nicotine nostalgia for the back patio where once upon a time a lady could smoke a cigarette with her espresso romano–a shot of espresso with a lemon twist.

God damn.

I don’t smoke anymore.

I forget that sometimes.

I can forget many things easily.

Use to weigh over 80lbs heavier.

Forgot that.

Used to do drink every day.

Forgot that.

Used to not be able to not spend the money on the bag or pick up the phone to call my dealer to do a little delivery.

“Fuck, you’re guys faster than pizza delivery,” a friend “complained” as he had to scramble to get to the cash machine when my dealer showed up less than fifteen minutes after I had placed my “order.”

He was pretty quick.

Grateful for other things today.

Explained how grateful to be less of what I was and somehow so much more, humbled by the grace that I have been given, bowed head, loved, shined on so that I can turn it out and shine it forward.

That this body is no less and no more than a conveyance for love.

And hopefully sex once in a while.

Oh my God.

43.

STAWP with the hormones.

Oh.

I suppose I’ll rue the day when they go away, but seriously, the sexy sex chemicals in my blood stream.

I don’t have the screaming baby keening ache that I had for a few years, no, it’s been replaced by a last ditch ovarian siege where I am smoking out any guy with the testosterone to hang with me.

FUCK ME!

That’s what it feels like all the time.

ALL THE TIME.

Ok.

Maybe I exaggerate a little, but seriously, the body and the brain in collusion are trying real hard to get this lady some action.

Let’s go out and find some trouble….nothing’s sexier than regret.

Heh.

Were I to stumble upon that I might be smote.

So.

Until then.

The yoga.

The masturbation.

Thank you rechargeable Hitachi Magic Wand.

The hair geographic, which will happen Saturday.

I have a tentative date, blind date, Tinder date, not to hook up, which he made that clear, thanks, I think, but hey, you know, just trying, and I wonder if I should warn him about the impending pink hair or just spring it on him.

Fuck.

Who cares?

The drama.

There is none.

If my worst fucking problem is that I want to get laid and no one has thrown their hat in the ring, then my life is a fucking cake walk.

Rent is paid.

The phone is paid.

I got a yoga membership at the studio.

I got that thing in the church basements doing it’s deal for me.

I got happy, joyous, free.

I got friends.

I got good coffee in the cupboard.

Light in the soul.

Shine on my heart.

I ain’t got worries.

All I got.

Is three day weekend and endless fun.

Let’s see what kind of silly I can get up to.

Want to come along?

I promise.

Good times.

Seriously.

Promise You Will

December 18, 2015

She said as we parted ways, I to hop on my trusty stead–that one speed whip that has been getting me around so well for the past few years, and she the other direction down Church Street.

I had just met with my person and she was giving me some parting suggestions.

“Promise me you will do it before you leave,” she repeated, and gave me a great big hug.

“I promise,” I said.

I made a lot of promises tonight.

Actually, I committed to a few things tonight.

Things that will help me to travel.

Things like committing what I am and am not going to eat while I am in Paris.

I have other issues beyond the alcoholism and drug addiction in my life.

Food.

My number one, my first, my always.

And since it’s not necessarily something I can do without.

No one ever says, “Oh, I definitely need more cocaine in my diet,” at least not with a straight face.

Or.

“I could certainly be healthier if I had some more whiskey in my meal plan,” I mean, everybody knows that alcohol is empty calories anyhow.

But no one.

No one that I associate with anyhow.

Has said, I sure could stand to just not ever eat again.

See.

I can say I’m not going to use or drink today, one day at a time for a really fucking long time, like, fingers crossed, the rest of my life, which is going to be long and amazing, but I can’t say I’m never going to eat again.

I have to do that.

So.

I commit what I am going to eat and what I am not going to eat and that is super helpful.

It’s also super helpful that I have lived in Paris before and know how to shop, even in the winter season when the foods are not as fresh, and I know how to order in restaurants.

But.

I also was on a slippery slope in Paris and I had a major relapse in my eating behaviors about three weeks after I got back from Paris.

I am committed to that not happening and I laid out a plan of eating to help me through.

It will look very similar to what I already do here for breakfast–oatmeal with fruit (that’s my sweetener, fruit) and a hard boiled egg and coffee.

I will go to the market, buy breakfast stuffs and cook at the studio every morning.

I will have snacks, which will be fruit.

I will have lunch out or dinner out and that is cool.

I will have steak, oysters, roast chicken, vegetables, and lots of salad.

I will NOT have bread, crepes, sugar, chocolate, croissant, baguette.

Or.

Le sigh.

Les pommes frites.

French fries.

They are my slippery slope.

They were last time I was in Paris and I don’t eat them here, so I’m not going to there.

Bring on the fucking steak tartar though.

Oh yeah.

I will eat cheese.

But in moderation.

I rarely eat it here but I do once in a while.

I committed and made a plan and talked about self-care and it was suggested to me that I focus on what I need.

Not anyone else.

Just me.

To take a good look and talk to my God and make sure that I was taking care of myself and having a good time for me and not worrying about taking care of anyone else.

I am a care taker.

It is what I do.

But.

I know.

I know deeply.

That I can better take care of others when I am taking care of myself.

So.

Yes.

Some thoughtfulness around my food.

Which, truth be told, will be when I am in the airport.

That is always the challenge.

I have go to’s, but I have learned, the hard, hard, hard way, to bring food with me.

Because when you say no sugar and no flour and no potatoes they look at you like, “you crazy.”

Especially if you wave off the free cookie.

And.

Ain’t nothing free anymore on air travel, it seems, anyway.

I’ll have some apples and raw carrots, I always buy a packet of almonds, I let myself eat bananas and Naked Juice smoothies, probably the only time I do, when I travel, I prefer to eat my fruit not drink it, but sometimes it’s all I can gather.

Anyway.

I still have a couple of days here and really what my person most wanted was to hear me say that I would write my last paper before I left.

“Oh, that totally does not work for you!” She said with great emphasis.

I told her that I had two papers left.

One of which I am almost done with.

In fact, for all intents and purposes, I am done with it, I finished it today before work–I’ve been working on it everyday before work since the Monday–but I have to proof it, which I will do in the morning and send out before I head into work.

Then, one last paper.

But it’s not due until December 28th.

“You have to do it before you go,” she said, “otherwise you’re going to be thinking about it the entire time you’re there.”

Don’t I know it.

I thought about even just writing it on the plane, but frankly, that sounds fucking awful.

I am going to write it Saturday.

Tomorrow.

I am not doing school work.

I am going to let myself off the hook on my birthday.

Yes.

That’s correct.

Tomorrow is my birthday.

I will be 43.

I have one hour and 27 minutes left of being 42 years old.

It’s been a good year.

Ups and downs, that’s for sure.

But overall, a year of much growth.

Oh.

Jesus god, so much growth.

Sometimes it astounds even me that I have space for all this growth, that it just keeps coming, that I have yet another growth opportunity in front of me.

Again and again and again.

Anyway.

I digress.

Tomorrow.

No homework.

Work, yes, can’t get out of that, but it will be a fun day, my last day with the boys for a while and they have a half day at school, so we’ll do a big park adventure.

And then dinner with friends.

Easy.

Sweet.

Light.

I am grateful for it.

My present to me is that I won’t worry about papers or schoolwork and I’ll do it all on Saturday.

I promise.

 

The Magnificent

December 9, 2015

Reality.

Is so much better than fantasy.

I was listening to someone who was fondling the idea of drinking a martini to celebrate an anniversary.

It made sense.

But it also creeped me the fuck out.

I am grateful I don’t go down that path.

However.

I hear a lot of folks talk about it this time of year, the holidays.

I didn’t really need an excuse to use or drink.

I was happy.

I was sad.

It was a holiday.

It was Monday.

I had a great day at work.

I got fired.

It didn’t fucking matter what time of year, it could be any holiday, Arbor Day was a fantastic day to do blow.

I have no idea when Arbor Day is, but I was ready to celebrate.

As I round the corner toward my birthday, Christmas, New Years, I see how that old story used to work with me.

It’s time to celebrate!

Hey, I know!

Let’s celebrate all my rent money going up my nose!

Yay!

It was a white Christmas, a very, very, white Christmas that last year.

And I’m not talking  about the kind of powder that makes skiers happy on the slopes.

Although I was carving out some lines in the snow.

I started out with a martini that night.

Top shelf.

High end shit at a fancy pants restaurant in the SOMA.

I ended the night at some bartenders house in the Tenderloin playing strip poker with my dealer and some “friends.”

Actually, that is not true.

I ended the night a day later hiding under the covers in my bed having stolen a bag of blow from a friend and shoving it all up my nose and then resigning via e-mail to my job.

Yeah.

Bring me a martini now, motherfuckers, because that shit looks so good.

Eek.

So very grateful to not be in that place.

I shared about that, in a rather vague sort of way, I only had a few minutes to speak, and how I was much more fond of reality, the magnificent reality, all around me.

Sometimes it’s hard.

And often times there’s feelings.

Fucking feelings.

Can’t I just feel good all the time?

Heh.

I know that’s not the answer, not by far, and I’m ok with that too.

I used to drink and use to not feel.

Or I would eat those feelings away.

Or fuck them away.

But the thing is.

They never went away.

They just got bigger and blacker and heavier and denser, compressed at the bottom of a very dark, very bleak, very black well.

Gah.

The nightmares I was having.

Ugh.

I remembered that today.

How horrible the nightmares I was having.

So, well, nightmarish does not even begin.

In fact, what I find wonderful, amazing really, is that I don’t have nightmares anymore.

The worst I had was an anxiety dream a few weeks back and I am fairly certain that was stress related around school.

I am feeling a lot better since that point.

And that dream was unicorns shitting rainbow butterflies in comparison to the nightmares I used to have.

I recall one that made me so afraid I was going to lose my mind.

It was close to the end and I actually am not willing to write it out here.

I prefer to focus on what’s in front of me right now.

Like.

The lovely conversation I just had with my darling Parisian friend.

I am so grateful to have her in my cohort at school and we talked things to do and places to go in Paris and school and life and got caught up and I feel connected to not only my graduate school program, but just to a new important person in my life.

I love connecting with people.

Being human is what it’s all about.

Having this amazing human experience.

It is amazing.

I actually shared that I had cash and prizes tonight.

They just rolled off my tongue.

Graduate school.

A new scooter.

A trip to Paris at Christmas.

Getting a raise at work.

Who is this person?

I have worked super duper hard to get here and it just feels like it’s really just now beginning.

Of course I wouldn’t have wanted to hear that when I was newly sober, who would, ten years of work before I get some pay off.

No thanks.

And of course.

That’s not true.

The payoff has been happening for years now.

It just hasn’t always looked like it on the outside.

But.

Oh.

How I have changed.

Hell.

How I have changed in this last year.

I got out of a relationship that was not working with the most honest and kind break up I have ever experienced.

When we saw each other for the first time two weeks ago, it was awkward, but we  hugged and it was fine.

No hard feelings.

Just gratitude for the experience.

I wasn’t going to Paris last year at Christmas.

I wasn’t in graduate school.

I wasn’t riding my scooter–it didn’t work and I was too gun shy to get on and try to make it work after barely healing up from the accident in June.

I wasn’t happy last year.

I was in a sad, lonely, terrible place, but I knew it would pass and that I would get through, I could fantasize about it being different.

Or I could do some heavy lifting and do some work.

I chose the work.

And I am amazed.

Just amazed at what this last year has wrought.

Oh.

There’s still been ups and downs, I suppose there always will be.

But I feel softer, sweeter, less stressed, on the path, sure in my journey, happy in my skin, and when I am sad or scared or upset or pressured or anxious, I let myself have the feelings.

Stuffing them down does no good.

Letting them wash over me like the crash of the giant waves at the beach.

Surrendering once agin.

To the ecstasy of being completely carried.

And.

Loved.

Too Much

August 8, 2015

It’s just too much.

Fuck.

I just opened another attachment for school.

Who do these people think they are?

At 4:45p.m. on a Friday I receive an e-mail from one of the professor’s for the retreat saying how he expects everyone will have read all the materials for the first day of class on Monday and oh yeah, by the way, he’s updated the syllabus with additional readings and another book.

Which needs to be read by the start of class.

Fuck you man.

I mean.

It’s Friday, the retreat starts in two days, you want me to go out and get another book and have that read in addition to the reader and the book I already have for the class.

Are you smoking crack?

And then.

A breath.

Some perspective.

I’m not going to have the reading finished.

I’m just not.

I will have a lot of it done.

I will have more done than some of the folks in my cohort, who apparently have been having a challenging time getting the course readers.

Yo.

Walk, drive, MUNI your ass down to Copy Central at Mission and 2nd and get a nice fat, heavy surprise.

It’ll cost about $208 and weigh in around 32 lbs.

Happy retreat!

Who’s idea is it to call this a retreat?

Fuck.

I opened another attachment that was sent around 5 p.m.

Apparently all bases better get covered since it starts in less 48 hours, this one with more pertinent information about arriving and protocol for the facility and the likes.

Oh.

And hey, there’s the schedule for the week.

Oh my God.

Oh my God.

Fuck.

(This blog should not be further read by any one easily offended by profanity)

Fuckity fuck fuck fuck.

The check in for the retreat is between 3pm and 4pm on Sunday.

Then there’s 4 hours, no wait, I just checked, 5 hours of meetings.

Ack.

So much for relaxing into the environment or doing any last-minute reading for the week.

I will squeak it in somewhere I promise.

Then the real deal starts Monday, as I said, retreat my ass, this is not a retreat, its graduate school boot camp.

I feel like I’ll be doing mental push ups until I puke up my hastily eaten organic locally sourced breakfast.

Classes start every day of the retreat at 9:15 a.m. and they end?

When.

What?

Did I see that, let me check again.

Oh.

FUCK ME.

At 9:15 p.m.

Every day.

EVERY DAY.

I know, I’m hollering at you, I’m sorry, I’m fucking freaking out.

“They do this to you,” my person said to me last night as we sat and talked about what graduate school first semester was going to be like, “they do it to everyone, they don’t actually expect that you are going to be able to read all the assigned readings, you’ll learn what’s important, you’ll learn to skim, you’ll pick it up.”

I guess.

All I’m picking up right now is my heart off the floor.

I was excited this morning.

Then the excitement faded.

Then, and this may be the first time I have said it, I said out loud, “what was I thinking?”

Meaning.

Really?

Graduate school, what was I thinking.

Hey listen I heard Mark Zuckerberg and his wife are expecting their first baby and um, I’m a hella good nanny, and I live in San Francisco and hey, want to hire a fabulous nanny?

I come with great references.

I really wanted to crawl into my shell today, retreat back into the world of nannying and just be a person amongst little people.

Le sigh.

I know that’s not the solution.

I know it’s not.

I know this is what I’m supposed to be doing.

I know it.

But man, I have to say it, I’m scared.

I’m not out of my league, I know I can do this, it’s just, well, it’s a lot and I knew it was going to be a lot, but wow, it’s a lot.

Then.

I ran into two pivotal people in my life tonight.

Two people who meant so much to me about 10 1/2 years ago.

One a woman who approached me in the basement of a church on 18th and Dolores (now intriguingly enough the new Children’s Day School middle school annex, where my little guys will eventually end up as they are both currently enrolled in pre-school and kindergarten) and asked me how I was doing and when I said I was fine and burst into tears she took me out to coffee at Dolores Park Cafe and changed my life forever.

She looked amazing.

It’s been almost eight years since I have seen her.

It was a total surprise and I whipped off the sweatshirt that was on the chair next to me and offered it to her.

My heart just over full with gratitude and joy to see her, hug her, smile into her eyes.

Then.

A man came in, homeless, after the cup of coffee, the sweeties on the counter, but he stayed and he spoke up and holy shit.

I knew him too.

He did not look good.

He looked like rough trade.

And my heart broke open listening to him.

I had met him that my second day going back to that same church basement, scared to walk through the door, he welcomed me, showed me a place at the table, showed me the ropes, became my friend.

And was in utter awe of the man.

And.

Not to put too fine a point on it, I had a flaming hard crush on him.

“Whatever gets you to go,” she would tell me, “one day you’ll look back and be amazed at who you used to find attractive.”

Oh man, was she right.

Without wanting to, I spoke up, I had to.

I shared.

I shared my solution and my gratitude and about starting graduate school on Monday, even if I don’t have all the stuff read and I feel utterly unprepared for this next step, I know I can and I will show up.

The man cam up to me after and said congratulations.

I said, “it’s really good to see you, I’m glad you stayed.”

“You don’t remember me do you?” I asked, trying to not let the tears well up in front of him, oh my poor sweet friend.

“I do, I do remember you, you look amazing, you’ve changed so much, I well, you know, Sarah and I we got kind of crazy, then got it back together and moved to Seattle and things were really good (SARAH!  Fuck I forgot about you too, my friend, I hope you are better off love, wherever you are, however you are, you have my love) and then, well, people started dying and I started using again, and now, well, five days.”

I leaned up and hugged his gaunt frame, “stay, just stay.”

He crushed me in a hug then ran out the door.

He was gone by the time I hit the sidewalk.

It’s not too much what I have.

I am so fortunate and so fucking lucky.

Oops.

More of that profanity.

I may be overwhelmed sometimes, but I have been told and I completely believe it, that God does not give me more than I can handle.

It would appear that I can handle this then.

Grateful for the opportunity to feel overwhelmed.

Grateful for graduate school and a stranger who took me out to coffee ten and half years ago and changed the course of my life.

Forever.

So grateful.

I can’t even breathe.

Oh wait.

Yes.

There.

I can.

I will.

I am.

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.

A Little “Light” Reading

July 26, 2015

Oh.

Bwhahahahahaaha.

Fuck me.

Aside from the hefty price tag of the readers–$208 and change, the weight of what I have to read for my first semester at grad school also nearly pulled my shoulder out of my socket when I lifted the bag off the counter.

Jesus on a flaming raft.

The bag was heavy, nearly as heavy as the three-year old I look after during the week.

He’s about 35 or 36 lbs, he’s a solid kid, stocky, strong, wily, he can throw a tantrum with the best of them or snuggle in your lap like the largest, cutest, kitten on the “Meow Meow train,” all aboard.

At least when I carry him he’s resting on a hip or holding on to me, “pick me,” he will say.

“Why does he always get to ride in the stroller?” The five-year old demands to know.

“Physics, kiddo,” I say, using the apt answer that my best friends husband gave me as a pat answer to the question, “why.”

And at least with this, it’s partly, if not completely so.

it really is a law of physics, less weight for me to haul around, easier to push, much easier to wrangle, although the smart guy knows how to get his brother to unbuckle him when he gets that glint of monkey pants going in him.

Ugh.

Slight sidebar.

Just that feeling.

That one there.

When you are listening to an album that you, I, I, used to listen to when writing in Paris, but now it’s on your Iphone and sometimes when I get a text, the song will pause and I will know that I am being reached out to.

I haven’t had any one reach out to me and I miss someone and don’t know when I will hear from him again.

The heart aches.

It was not a text.

It was just the song ending.

End aside.

I made my way downtown, resolute to get the readers for school.

I ignored the fact that the universe had conspired to not actually have me be in a great big SUV with my friend heading towards the Grand Canyon on a wild and wooly road trip, rather I was to be traversing the canyons of down town San Francisco.

Wending my way through the towers and condos and banks and business high rise windows.

The streets empty.

There really is not a reason to be a Mission and 2nd on a Saturday.

I got off the New Montgomery MUNI station and rode the escalator up into the blue sky, the leaves of the trees lining Market Street pressing into the frame of light coming from the square above me, the street lamp, old-fashioned and burnished with the seeing of too many tourists and the discarded cups from Starbucks stuck into the hands of beggars and street performers.

I suddenly remember the first time I came up on escalator onto Market Street, that first time it was Powell Street, and how I felt seeing a similar street lamp and tree branches–the sky not blue that day, but a mottled March grey one with low hanging clouds and cool breezes.

I walk down 2nd Street past the closed doors of the American Red Cross where I have taken so many classes in adult/children CPR and first aid, all the re-certification and tests, the small rubber babies with molded faces that pull off so that the next bored student nurse can be certain its been sanitized before she puts her small mouth to the fake child to push air into it and thump it’s chest with the first two fingers of her dominant hand.

Then, I glance to the right, I have no idea why, and there she is, The Palace, where I have had so many drinks, one was never enough and more was always on the menu, after many a shift at Hawthorne Lane, most times extra dirty vodka martinis with three olives and pints of Sierra Nevada.

Occasionally the glass of champagne before a shift to celebrate a friend’s success or bolster another friends hair of the dog before going into work.

I turn on my travels, down Mission Street, longing to walk further, the Van Heusen sign reminds me of all the starched cream shirts I bought there for my shifts at the fine dining restaurant and how annoyed I always was to spend my hard-earned money on them or laundering them.

I think about the MOMA and wish it were open.

I would go in a hot second and sit in front of a Rothko or wander through the photography exhibit on the second floor, or climb to the top and cross over the suspension bridge, or find the secret doorway to the miniature courtyard that faces out towards the Yerba Buena Center and the park.

I think of all time terrible and awful.

How, even in the utter depths of my using I was never able to bring myself to use in the MOMA.

Although, damn it, I tried.

The best I could do was use the bathrooms to wash up and brush the tears from my eyes that only seemed to surface when I was surrounded by the house full of art, art that I could no longer access because it hurt my heart too much to admit that I was down for the count.

Then I would wash my hands, pat dry the wet circles under my face and go to the cafe and order a non-fat latte and sit out front on a metal back chair and put my feet up on the balustrade that separated the down trodden masses looking for scraps from the tourists like small black starlings with bright eyes hopping under the table legs, except held back by that small barrier of wealth and privilege that I pretended to belong to.

I mean I did wait on them didn’t I?

I would smoke my cigarette, then another, not chain-smoking, but so close as it became a game of semantics, drink my coffee, then head back to the restaurant to make more money that I would later spend, no matter how cleverly I would ration it out–the twenties in my left pocket only to go towards rent, not coke, ok?

Do you hear me self?

Don’t dip into the left pocket.

Or the bra cup, or the left sock.

Never mattered.

Once I got going, it was going to.

Didn’t much matter that brave lecture I gave my “sober” self (sober only in the sense of having abstained while working, which soon wasn’t really happening either), the money always flew, like pigeons circling in weary circles above the sunset lit buildings at the BART station.

I sat and waited at the front counter of the Copy Central store while the one attendant finished a job for a woman wearing navy blue and white polka dot slides and a pony tail that was just a touch too high up on the back of her head.

The stroll down memory lane exiting itself back outside, perhaps over to Dave’s Sports Bar on Third between Mission and Market, where we often ended up after a posh cocktail or two at the Palace, to really get it on.

Didn’t hurt that Marilyn the bartender knew all the words to Chicago, the musical, not the band, and if you sang along with her she would gladly sell you a case or bottle after hours, shhh don’t tell.

The memories were abruptly supplanted with reality, as first one, then the next, and the next, and the next reader was plunked down with a thud that was not satisfying so much as it was terrifying.

“Double check the readers to your syllabi,” the woman said.

I did.

Everything was there.

I pulled out my debit card.

I paid.

I left and walked back to the MUNI train station and as I did the days and ways of old were smoothed over, a soft hand blotting back the memories, a supplanting of this person with that person.

Eleven years ago when I was walking that same route there was no way I could have foreseen the purchase of graduate school readers.

I was too busy cursing that woman who had once again trembled on the lip of indulgence and instead of withstanding, fell over and promised herself, yet again, well since I already have started, I might as well do it up good.

I marveled at the weight in the bag as the readers thumped against my leg.

My graduate school student leg.

It was much less than the weight I used to carry on my back.

I can deal with this so much better than that.

That stack of reading sits on my table, just on the other side of this computer, and as I look around the sweet, safe, room I have nested for myself, I am grateful.

I am so very grateful to have walked down one side of the street and been able to reverse the wreckage to where I am today.

Scared.

Yes.

But free?

Even more so.

Well, I might be tied up with some reading for a bit.

But.

I think you catch my drift.


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