Posts Tagged ‘experience’

Is It Over Yet?

December 7, 2018

Normally this would be a lament about the holidays and being overwhelmed with being cheery and bright.

But frankly I can’t wait for that shit.

No.

I’m on the “can this semester please be over yet?” tip.

I’m feeling pretty done.

I have to finish one book, which has been decent if not scintillating material, do one more big discussion post on that book, write a ten page paper, a twelve page paper, and do a creative piece (of my choosing, thank God) that encapsulates the material of one of my classes.

Meaning I have thee big things yet to do.

The book reading is just reading, it does involve effort, but hey, I can sit at the laundry mat on Sunday and kick it out.

The papers are where the big effort comes in.

I mean.

The things that I need to cover are deep and conceptual and complex.

I have to use language I’m just beginning to get the hang of and I have to write on concepts that are deep and multi-layered, plus, god damn, I have just read so much this semester I’m not sure exactly where to go for my references.

I have a lot of them.

I also feel like I’m going to have to go back in and re-read a bit, not heavily, I really don’t see that happening, but I will have to have a good sit down with my materials, articles, videos, books, and discussion posts and see what jumps out at me.

I am very grateful that I did my book review a week early and got it out-of-the-way.

I have already gotten quite a good amount of feedback from my TA in that class and my professor, who also noted that I had very satisfactorily submitted all the deliverables for the class.  I could probably send in a pretty picture and a poem for my final project and I would pass the class easily.

Of course.

I won’t do that.

I do want to do something that integrates my whole experience and I have a few thoughts and ideas to explore before I really have to knuckle down.

But as this project and the ten page paper are both due the 17th of the month I need to attend to one this weekend and then to the other next weekend.

I will use the time between at work for finishing reading and posting to my last, thank God, discussion thread for the semester.

I don’t really want to write the ten page paper this weekend, I really just want to chuck it all and go Christmas shopping.  I haven’t at all and I have just barely begun writing a few Christmas cards.

My mom sent me a message yesterday that both my birthday and Christmas presents are in the mail.

ARGH.

I have nothing in the mail.

Well, except for the three cards I have managed to write out in between supervision this morning and work, clients yesterday and work, therapy and being a therapist, and all the school work.

I am allowing myself a compromise as far as it all goes, since my Trauma training on Sunday was cancelled and I have five extra hours in my day that I wasn’t expecting to work on the paper.

Therefor I resolve to let myself go Christmas shopping on Saturday after clients and appointments.

I will try to do it all in one fell swoop.

I actually don’t have a ton of folks to buy for, so it shouldn’t be too hard, mostly I just like the idea of going out and buying some nice things for people I love and then maybe a little something for myself too.

I am on the fence about Sunday, as far as scheduling stuff goes.  Even with the Trauma training being cancelled I still have household duties to do and I’ll be meeting a lady in the afternoon to do the deal and my person in the evening and I really want to get my Christmas tree.

I am just wondering if I use it as a carrot or if I just get the tree early and then whatever time I have left in the day before I meet my person in the evening I will then devote to working on the paper.

Either way, it will get worked on.

I am not going to pressure myself to getting it all done, but I am going to take a really big swing at it and then give myself the week to let it stew and process and hopefully refine it as much as possible.

Considering that the paper is the only paper (well, I have written a lot in the discussion posts) example of my writing this professor is really going to get and he’s the guy that designed this PhD program, I kind of want to blow him out of the water.

Kind of.

Ha.

I really want it to be a good paper.

Which means I have to not do the whole thing in one fell swoop.

I can do that, in fact, I have done that for a number of the papers for my other classes this semester, but I usually have a plan and the papers tended to be towards creative things that I was able to crank them out.

This paper feels like it has to be a bit more thoughtful.

Anyway.

Enough with the school stuff.

I posted up another discussion before starting this blog, so I can say that with no compunctions.

I want to wrap up my day, I was up at 6a.m. for group supervision before work, and have some tea and watch some Peaky Blinders.

Yes.

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That’s Not Mine

September 13, 2017

It’s yours.

Or.

It is mine?

Or is it both?

Turns out yesterday it was both/and.

I hate that.

Both.

And.

I had a client working through some traumatic stuff in session yesterday and I realized later that I had taken some of it with me.

It was hard to shake.

Why was it so hard to shake?

I talked to my therapist today about it.

We isolated it and moved through it and all sorts of stuff came up.

Jesus fucking Christ.

All the stuff.

Fortunately, and I mean this in the sincerest way possible, fortunately, I have been doing self-examination and inventory and work on myself for such a long time that I was able to work through it.

I can’t and won’t divulge what happen in session with my client.

That’s a breach of ethics and I am honor bound to keep those things within the walls of my office.

But.

I can say that what happened had a resounding feel to me of something that had happened to me.

I couldn’t quite pin it.

I know that there was an extraordinary amount of emotion in the room when I worked with my client last night.

I relayed to my therapist things that happened for me in my body, what it felt like, the counter transference that happened and the transference.

And.

That I recognized that some of what I was feeling was my clients and some of what I was feeling was mine.

Thank God for a great therapist.

We isolated it.

Or.

I isolated it.

She did what therapist do, good therapists, she held the field, she let me find my way, she made some connections for me that I didn’t see, she held me with empathy, she validated my experience, she reflected and gave me perspective.

And.

Holy shit.

There it was.

And I broke down and bawled.

Great big ugly tears.

Relieved to get it out.

Although it tried to stick for a second.

It tried really hard.

It did not want to come out.

I was choked with grief.

Stricken.

I got it out though and I named the emotions I was feeling.

Trying to stuff them all into the crumpled ball of tissue in my moist hand.

Guilt.

Shame.

Unendurable guilt.

For getting out, for doing better, for surviving.

For being financially “well off.”

Bwahhahahahaaha.

Have you seen my student loan statement?

I have.

Meh.

Anyway.

Though I may have a fuck ton of student loans, fuck it, I’m worth the investment, I am, I am, I also have a modicum of financial security and I have a nice little home and I have nice little things.

I have a scooter.

I have a bicycle.

I have security.

In so much as I continue working at the pace I am working.

I don’t have much of a security blanket in the savings account.

But hey.

I have a savings account.

When I think about how successful I am in comparison to my mom or my sister and how I have always managed to find a way out, I sometimes, more so than I want to admit, have guilt.

And then.

I belittle my experiences or my own traumas, because, man, they had and have it bad too, and I’ve found a way through.

There is no way through but through.

It’s painful.

But.

Fuck.

It’s so worth it.

And I also see that I am not responsible for my sister, for my mother, for my father, my nieces.

I am, and can only be, responsible for myself.

But the guilt.

It hit me hard.

I was feeling awkward about an upcoming birthday in my family and I was relaying how many times, so many, too many to count, that I have sent gifts trying to foster some sense of connection and love to my family.

And.

Have not received it.

Oh.

I know there’s love.

But I haven’t the emotional connection to my family that I was trying to cultivate, a sort of reciprocation of love and that I need to let go of trying to get it the same way I have been doing so for decades.

We, my therapist and I, talked about how I might be able to establish connection, about what I could do.

I have to say it felt futile.

I was fucking flummoxed.

Then.

As I sat and the grief washed over me and I saw how hard I had tried to do something, taking the same action time and time again, that maybe there was another way.

Maybe.

I don’t know.

But I sussed a few things out and suddenly I had an answer.

It may not be “the” answer.

But.

It felt good to process it all out and find the connections and see how the traumatic experience that I bore witness to when I was with my client last night led me to work through and settle out something that has been nagging me for decades in my relationship to my sister and my nieces.

I don’t have a lot of close family.

Just my sister.

I have almost no relationship whatsoever with either of my nieces.

Although I helped significantly in the first years of my oldest niece’s life.

And I love her so much.

After I moved away from Wisconsin our relationship grew very thin.

My sister had troubles of her own and many challenges that I could not face for her.

Fuck.

I had to deal with my own shit.

The last time I saw my oldest niece was over fifteen years ago.

She was nine.

In a few days she will be 25.

I was nineteen when she was born.

I was the first person to hold her.

I saw her crowning.

I saw my sister endure the most excruciating pain.

I rocked that baby to sleep so many nights, I sang her songs, I can feel the heaviness of her carrier in my arms now.

I loved her beyond any previously known capacity to love.

And that is enough.

I gave what I could when I could and when the paths of my family and mine diverged, it was right to go the way I did.

To allow others the dignity of their own experiences.

To allow others to feel the weight of their choices, the consequences, good, bad, indifferent, to their actions, and not interfere.

I can still love my sister, my mother, my father, my nieces.

I can still love my cousins and aunts, uncles, my remaining grandparent.

But.

I don’t have to do so at the expense of myself.

I don’t have to lose myself in care taking.

I mean.

hahahaha.

Who the fuck am I kidding?

I’m a therapist in training, I may very well lose myself in it all over again, the care taking thing, but I also get to have boundaries and frames and I get to help in a way that won’t drain me.

At least that is what I have hope for.

I have a deep capacity for love and my experiences have borne this out.

I have and will always love my family.

I just won’t put their needs before mine any longer.

I deserve better.

And.

Well.

Fuck.

So do they.

Who the hell am I to decide how they should live their lives.

They have their own God.

As do I.

Thank God.

Grace.

Over.

Drama.

For the most part.

I was a hot mess yesterday and today in therapy but it got worked out and it got worked out fast.  So grateful for that.

Beyond words.

And though it may not seem cause for celebration.

It is.

And.

I am.

Yes.

The luckiest girl in the world.

Seriously.

I am.

All Systems Go

August 22, 2017

Fuck.

It was a busy, full, going on all four cylinders from the moment I got up, day, from early morning until.

Well.

Until.

Right about now.

I just got off an email back and forth with director of my internship, did a bunch of e-mails with some clients, booked some sessions, logged my hours for today in Track My Hours, and whew.

It’s like um, 10p.m.

I got up at 6:30 a.m.

That’s a full day.

I got some writing in today though, I hadn’t gotten as much morning page writing in the last week or so and it was really good to just let go on the page and scrawl away.

I also showered yesterday so I skipped it this morning, giving me a little more time to process all the junk in my head.

I don’t even know what I wrote, only that it felt good to write.

And.

I did a written gratitude list and sent another out to a friend via text.

I’m on a list he sends it to and I like getting it.

Not just because it reminds me to be grateful, it definitely does that, but to see what other people are grateful for.

I am grateful for everything.

My life is beyond my wildest dreams.

Sometimes it is strange and I wonder, how did I get here, but I know there are no mistakes in God’s world and I am being taken care of and having all the experiences I am supposed to be having.

Like being of service to the woman I am traveling with to Burning Man.

I am still having some trepidations about going with someone who is 74 years old, but I also am happy that I get to be of service to her.

It’s a nice to be of service to others, it gets me out of my head, and if you’ve never been to Burning Man it is super hard to imagine and of course, if you’re 74 there’s a different approach you’re going to make than if you are 24 or my age, 44.

How did I get to be 44?

Fuck.

Time flies.

I suppose I will look back in 30 years and wonder how it is that I got to be 74.

I’m going to be old.

I know it.

I also hope to be of service all the way to the end of my life.

I believe that’s the only way that I am going to be happy, by having a useful life, by helping others, it gives me happiness, it gets me out of my own head and I got to do a lot of it today.

I had a few phone check ins, one lady who I just recently met, and got to share some experience, strength and hope with her and although we are vastly different, we are the same person and it was good to hear how relieved she was to know that she’s not alone in her journey.

I got to talk with one of the other women I work with in recovery and I also got to see clients tonight.

And.

I worked with my supervisor.

I also got to go over my review with him, which was really enlightening and I got a better idea of how he thinks of me and what I am doing and that he also, although he didn’t exactly say it, likes me.

We had a great session and I learned a ton from him today.

I often feel as though I am taking a solo masters class in psychoanalytic theory when I am working with him.

I write a ton of notes and I can hear him in my head sometimes when I am with a client.

It’s exciting to work with him, he pushes me, he’s extraordinarily smart and intelligent, and I feel smart when I am working with him.

I like feeling smart.

I have always understood that I was intelligent, but the smart part of that eludes me, I have been mystified most of my life as to what people meant when they say, “you are so smart.”

I haven’t always felt that way.

Smart.

In fact.

I have often felt rather stupid, stupid in love, stupid in my life choices, idiotic some of the decisions I have made, or so I tell myself, but oh, the learning, the learning is so much.

I have such a wealth of experiences.

Mostly because I try to say yes to doing things.

Sometimes to my detriment, I’ll get too busy, I will get to wrapped up with my schedule and I won’t have the time to appreciate what is happening.

I try to find balance.

I don’t often succeed, but I try.

And I’m ok with failing.

Ah.

Who the fuck am I kidding.

I am never ok with failing, but I recognize that I am going to fail and that I will try again and again until it works its way out, whatever it is.

I guess what I am saying is that I live.

I am not sitting on the bleachers, I am in the game.

I am hustling.

Sometimes perhaps a little too much, but I know that it’s what it is right now.

And that all the things I did, mistakes, which were not mistakes, life experiences, travels, moving to Paris, moving back from Paris, trying things out, has led me here.

Right where I am supposed to be.

With the people in my life with whom I am supposed to be with.

Such gifts.

Such grace.

I didn’t expect it to look like this.

But.

I have to say.

It is a beautiful thing.

My life.

So beautiful.

My heart aches with it.

Grateful beyond words.

And now.

One more gratitude list before I retire.

Because.

Truly.

There is that much to be grateful for.

Every day.

Grateful.

Every damn day.

I Didn’t Do Much

August 3, 2017

But I did a lot.

I mean.

I really did.

I didn’t even go to yoga.

No.

I slept in, I lounged in bed, I was dreamy and soft and it felt so nice to lie there and let my body be and not spring forward and charge off into my day.

Oh.

I had thoughts of going to yoga.

But they were dispelled for better things.

I took the morning easy.

I ate a lovely breakfast and made myself a latte.

I made some phone calls.

I talked to people I loved.

I got right with God.

I wrote.

I wrote a lot.

I mean.

I can fill a page, the words they stream endlessly out of my finger tips, scrawled across the page, margin to margin, all the thoughts and dreams and feelings there on the paper, my pens in a mug on my table at the ready.

I do go through my pens.

My cheap little guys that I buy at Walgreens.

I am particular.

I only like the Wexford black ink pen.

That’s the generic gel ink pen that Walgreens markets.

I love it.

I begged a friend, who asked me what I wanted from San Francisco, when I lived in Paris, to bring me back pens.

The gel ink is the smoothest and the pen is just the right grip for my hand.

Ask me sometime.

I’ll show you the place it sits on my fingers and the writer’s callous there.

Yes.

I have a callous on my middle right finger from writing.

I rather adore that callous.

I also have a distinct muscle in my forearm, again, my right side, I am right-handed, that is pretty developed solely from doing the writing I do every day.

I love words.

Can you tell?

I did more than write today, although I did not go far from my house.

I made it to the back and sat in the sun for a brief moment in the afternoon around 2:30pm when there was fleeting sun that came through the fog.

Mostly I stayed home.

I did work on the house.

I cleaned out my closet and got a bag of clothes and a couple of pairs of shoes to sell to Crossroads.

I also moved everything in my kitchen, and pulled up the rug that I’ve had for the last three and three-quarters year, it was just a simple rag rug, but it had gotten pretty worn out and a bit ragged and I’ve been wanting to replace it for sometime.

I ordered a replacement on Amazon and it was delivered yesterday.

So.

Everything got moved, and I pulled up the old one, shook it out super hard, I did not toss it, it still has a use for me–I’ll be taking it to Burning Man and lining my tent with it.

I also had a long conversation with a woman who was referred to me by a friend in the fellowship who is going to Burning Man for the first time and she had a lot of questions and I just let her pick my brain for nearly an hour and told her where I was going to be camped and all the fellowship and community that is out there and it felt really nice to share my experience, strength and hope with her.

After I finished our conversation I got serious about re-organizing my space and cleaning, everything got dusted, even all my books.

And I winnowed through my books.

I’ve been wanting to sell a bunch of them for sometime.

I only have so much space in my in-law and though the idea of having a big library and loads of bookshelves is super serious appealing.

MY GOD how I want that.

Someday.

A house with a big library, books upon books upon books, paper, ones I can pull down from the shelf, hardcovers, and read, and inhale and love on.

But.

I repeat.

My space is small and I have only so much room and the stacks of books were starting to collect too much dust and really I haven’t had much time for pleasure reading since I started grad school.

So.

I dusted them all off, sorted through the ones I was absolutely not going to part with.

Like.

My copy of Bastille, Issue #2.

The small press that published my short story in Paris, “The Button Boy.”

Poorly edited, there’s a typo and a misprint.

But.

Fuck.

My short story.

In print.

In a publication.

I can say with no small amount of writer’s pride that my first publication was in Paris.

Not selling that guy.

Then a few books that were given to me as gifts and hold far too much sentimental value to ever let go.

Ever.

And the funny thing is, whatever doesn’t sell, I will happily take back and keep.

There will be some that don’t.

But for the most part I am such a sucker for the printed word, I tend to buy hard covers or first runs, so when I do sell I tend to be able to sell most of what I have brought with me.

There was a little sadness packing up the books.

But.

It’s stuff.

And when I came home tonight from doing the deal up the street.

Fuck was it good tonight!

I was so happy to come into my super clean, super tidy little home.

Fresh and clean and dust free, with a new carpet in the kitchen.

And.

Ha.

A “new” book on my table.

I discovered a book I bought two years ago, right before the first semester of my first year of grad school.

I had never gotten to read it.

Two years later.

I started and I’m 37 pages in.

I have my hopes that I will finish it before my text books start arriving in the mail, because as soon as they do, that’s the end of my pleasure reading.

I assure you.

Sneaking in one more day of leisure before I go back to work on Friday.

Yoga, this time for sure, in the morning.

Shower, morning prayer, writing, breakfast, go sell the clothes, go sell the books.

And then a mani/pedi.

I have a client consult in the early evening.

And that’s it.

The days of leisure and pleasure reading will soon be over.

It’s been a sweet little bite of time off from my day job.

My house is clean.

I did a lot of cooking today too, all my meals for Burning Man are in the freezer as well as covering my first weekend of my first semester, so I don’t have to cook or deal with that.

Yes.

It’s a few weeks out.

But it’s nice to have it done and there won’t be down time soon like I have had.

Sigh.

I have no complaints though.

It’s been a good run.

I feel rested.

I feel rejuvenated.

I feel ready for the next chapters.

And I feel happy having taken care of my home.

My sweet little sanctuary by the sea.

It may be small.

But.

It’s all mine.

And.

I do love it so.

Yes.

Yes, I do.

 

Sometimes

July 26, 2017

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

I am happy.

I had a great day.

Lots of scootering all over the city.

Lots of errands run.

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

Ha.

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

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

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

I model myself a little on my own therapist.

She was fucking fabulous today.

We had an amazing session.

I sat down and said one name.

I want to talk about _____________.

And we dove in.

There was so much there.

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

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

Conflict was not rewarded with resolution.

It was generally smashed and violently so.

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

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

Shit.

Who the fuck knew?

So.

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

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

We got to the bottom of it.

I was so freaking happy.

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

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

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

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

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

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

And I did.

It was hard.

Man, it was so fucking hard.

But.

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

Except that I let the repair happen.

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

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

Scary too.

So freaking scary.

I mean.

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

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

Yet.

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

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

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

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

For which I am grateful beyond words.

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

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

I have to say.

I really like therapy.

I like being a therapist.

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

It is powerful.

It can be really hard too.

But for the most part.

Man.

I am happy getting to be a therapist.

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

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

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

And that none of it is wasted.

None!

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

And I am.

I am happy.

I am free.

I am joyous.

I am of service.

I have purpose.

I am love.

I know.

That last one sounds full of myself.

But you know.

I think I am.

Or better.

That.

I am a conduit for love.

That feels more apt.

A channel.

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

Even when it feels overwhelming.

It is an amazing revelation.

And I am here.

Open to all of it.

Grateful.

And.

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

It is extraordinary.

And now.

Please.

Pardon me.

I have some happy dance to do.

Sweet.

Sweet.

Sweetest.

Dreams.

See you on the flip.

 

Mystified

April 15, 2017

And over it.

I have had so many suggestions about dating.

“You have to ask for what you want,” a friend said.

Yes.

I fucking get that and when I do, I still don’t get what I want.

I’m not bitter, but befuddled.

I had a guy friend break down the whole “we should hang out sometime,” as a really weak way of asking a girl out and that it’s quite prevalent in the dating culture.

Well.

Good to know.

So.

When complaining, yes, I do complain, I am not a fucking saint, if I was I wouldn’t need y’all and I still need you, despite my weak protestations, to another friend, I was told, “you have to get clarification.”

Ask the person when do you want to hang out.

So.

I did.

And.

Well.

NOTHING.

I got the intuition, I know you’re interested, I can see it in your eyes, you’ve got some mojo I’ve got some mojo, let’s get together and have some fun.

He gave me his number.

He said, “call me,” in fact, he repeated it twice.

I said I would.

I, in fact did.

No response.

I started to second guess the whole thing in hindsight today, but then I rethought it again, it’s not my issue.

I got clarity.

That’s all.

I called.

I left a message, I said, “let’s nail down a time to have a coffee date,” and truth be told, I probably bumble fucked my way through it.

Not even a text back.

Dude.

Hahahaha.

I just wrote “dud,” before correcting it to dude, but maybe dud was not quite the Freudian slip I thought it was.

Dud.

Drawing a blank, dum dum bullet, faulty switch.

It’s you not me.

I insist.

I know you find me attractive, I’ve known since I first met you and when I saw you yesterday and we slipped right back into the easy, intellectual banter that I have come to hallmark our few conversations, I could feel it.

I gave you my phone.

You put your phone number in it.

Granted.

I had asked for a speaking engagement, it’s not like you were putting your phone number in my phone because we were going to get it on later that evening.

No.

I asked you to do service.

And you said yes.

And I said super.

And that was about it.

Until.

You caught up with me a little later and we conversed, and conversed, and conversed, until the room was empty and everyone was walking out the door.

That’s when you opened the door to the phone call and said, “we should really get together, hang out, talk, call me, really, call me.”

I replied “I would love to hang out.”

Now.

Maybe this is where I fucked it up.

Maybe, the friend who gave the advice about guys motives when they say “hang out” was not an ask for a date and I should have clarified immediately.

But.

I went from the gut, the feeling, the look in your eyes.

Because I’m gullible sometimes.

But.

I’m not stupid.

I also have a lot of experience now seeing when men are attracted to me and nothing happens and then years later I find out they were attracted to me and that I was right.

I’m right.

You’re attracted to me, you weren’t asking for a friend hang out, I know it.

Grr.

I don’t know which one of my guy friends to slap.

And then.

I think.

Ah, fuck it, I killed the fantasy, which in the end is always so super valuable.

He didn’t call back.

No response is a response and it’s about as good and obvious as a flat-out no.

And frankly.

I’m fucking proud of myself for sacking up and calling him.

I didn’t text.

I called.

I left a message.

It may have been awkward, but I did it.

I took action.

I remind myself, that the results are not mine and I have no regrets.

I wouldn’t change the sequence of events to “I wish I hadn’t bothered to call,” because I am so super glad that I did.

I mean.

Good for you, girlfriend, another one out-of-the-way between you and whomever is next.

I’m really ready for next.

I’m not actively searching, no, I’m just ready.

That’s all.

I’m happy about that, that I’m not looking, I’m not trying to get on some new dating app, although the brain flirts with it once in a while, no, I’m just ready, available.

I’m proud of myself.

I keep trying.

That says something.

Sure.

I experience frustration and sure, this is a thing, this thing I keep writing about, but believe that all is not for naught, that there is learning here, that I have to keep changing and growing and loving myself for who I am.

I really am not looking for a completion.

I complete myself and I won’t be complete until I die.

I am excited to keep growing and changing and loving and trying new stuff.

Life is fucking amazing and awesome and I’ve come so far and have so much further to go.

Yet.

I long for someone to walk along with, carrying a conversation with, have fun with, connect with.

It is natural to want to partner up, it doesn’t mean I know how to do it, or am upset with myself for being single nor am I in self-pity.

My life is good and my growth, astounding.

I just find myself a bit bewildered.

It is my growing edge.

The not knowing.

And also the ok with the not knowing.

I like to say I like surprises.

But that’s a fucking lie.

I do like anticipation.

But not surprises.

Perhaps this is God’s way of getting me ready for a surprise I will really cotton to.

Who knows.

I obviously don’t.

Getting down with the unknown.

Throwing my own dance party to a soundtrack that is in another language.

God’s time.

God’s will.

Not mine.

Sigh.

Ha.

Oh, resignation, look at you.

Or shall I say instead.

Surrender.

Over and over and over again.

Powerless over it all.

Fucking all of it.

Help me God.

Seriously.

Forgive

April 9, 2017

Forgive.

Forgive.

That’s what the message said.

I forgive you.

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

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

I hope it fed you.

I hope it nourished you.

I wish you well.

I forgive you for taking my soup.

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

I hope it brings you love and light and joy.

I do.

I forgive you.

And more than that.

I forgive myself.

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

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

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

Take from me.

Take my things.

Take my little piece of home in a Mason jar.

My warmth and succor after a long day of class.

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

Please God.

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

I forgive you because I have to forgive me.

Some things are valuable.

And some things are ,well, just things.

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

I did not think that sounded crazy at all.

I believed every word of it.

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

I cried my tears.

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

So.

I find solace and safety within myself.

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

I was able to source another gift for my friend.

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

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

I took some action too.

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

Food is a sacred thing.

We all need to eat.

So.

I forgive you.

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

For that is what it has done for me.

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

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

I felt seen, validated, and empathized with.

I am grateful for that.

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

He was right too.

It’s just stuff.

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

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

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

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

I still am.

I had some wounds open.

Sure.

It felt that I my home dumped out and stolen.

It felt like Goldilocks and the Three Bears.

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

I understand.

There is a thrill in theft.

I have stolen.

I know.

It has been a long time, but I have.

There is entitlement in stealing.

There is adrenalin.

It can be addicting to swipe something.

To gain vicarious thrill from a source that is unwitting.

But this is just a story.

There is a narrative, an arc of action.

Perhaps there is guilt and shame.

I don’t know the persons story.

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

That is unconditional love.

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

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

In my strength of person.

You only took some stuff.

Stuff does not make the world go round.

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

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

Those things are nonnegotiable.

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

No one puts Baby in a corner.

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

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

Actually.

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

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

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

I softened and I grew.

Pretty amazing day when it all comes down to it.

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

So.

Another cup of tea.

My apple and some blueberries.

A comfy pillow behind my back.

Half an episode of Billions.

And a good nights rest.

Conflict.

Resolved.

Get Your Sexy On

March 26, 2017

That’s what it felt like today.

When I wasn’t in tears.

I was in this interesting back and forth between working it and being worked over.

I went to yoga and had a really great class, my favorite teacher was teaching and he may start offering some more classes at the studio, at times I could make, so I don’t have to obsess about doing more yoga while I’m doing yoga.

I felt soft and strong in my body and I had a very open moment as I was finishing the class in the final meditation where I just felt some heart opening and some letting go of old, old, old wounds.

I think I moved through the world with that awareness today, both tender and beautiful, open and sore, alive, and sad, awed and in wonder.

I felt in my body and confident and sexy.

And I found out today that a man who I have always found drop dead sexy gorgeous has found me attractive too.

What?

And.

Of course he’s not really available to me at the moment, but fuck, it was really awesome information to get.

It means that my instincts are pretty spot on.

In fact, my instincts are so much better than I give myself credit for that I am really seeing that I am, in fact, my problem.

I was talking with a friend earlier about a coffee date I have tomorrow and how I wasn’t sure if the guy was really interested, and where’s the follow through, and…

“You know, I hear you say that a lot, like, the guy is interested, wants to hang out but doesn’t set a time, I hear this a lot, and…”

Ugh.

And yeah, I know, I have to say something, I have to be the confident one.

And confidence is sexy and God only knows how badly I want to be sexy.

Psst.

Hey lady.

I hate to break it to you, but you are sexy, just stop shooting yourself in the foot.

Don’t bother with vague, be assertive, if someone says “hey, let’s hang out,” or “we should hang out sometime,” nail them to a time.

I don’t have the patience or bandwidth to dilly dally around.

I will always be busy, that is the nature of who I am.

There will always be something in my life, because I don’t wait around to live, I go out and do things.

Except date, I’m not so great at that and it’s because I am in fear.

Fear of not getting what I want and fear of getting what I want.

So.

I am vague, I don’t say what I need, I dance around.

Fuck that.

I am confident.

Well.

Ha.

Obviously not always, but thinking or acting like I’m not a hot tamale is asinine.

I am gorgeous, I sound like an asshole, but I don’t often affirm my attractiveness as I have been classically trained like many women, to deny myself, my beauty, my authority as a sexy creature, as someone worthy of being pursued.

When I down play myself, I actually de-value my worth and I wall up and I get cold and then, well, fuck, who would want to ask me out?

I remember an ex-boyfriend telling me once that he was very surprised by my lack of self-confidence, “I feel like I am constantly having to ‘piss on my tree’ you are always being stared at, and you have absolutely no clue.”

Of course not, because I won’t be safe then.

But I’m not safe anymore in my bubble of self-dom, dancing alone in my room when I should be, could be, ought to be dancing in someone’s arms.

So.

Fuck it.

Fake it until I make it.

I’m not going to get back on dating apps or sites or any of that happy horse shit.

But.

I am going to get a hell of a lot clearer and more direct with men.

The next time a man says we should hang out, I’m going to ask when, give a time I’m available and say let’s make a plan.

Because this sexy beast is worth making a plan for.

I have had a lot of friends advocate for this sexiness and God forbid I waste it, I only have this life to live and I am not going to live it with regrets.

I have made many leaps of faith in my life.

Moving to Paris to turn 40.

Quitting a highly paid nanny job to go work in a bike shop.

Traveling by myself to London, Rome, New York.

Moving to San Francisco with a 2 month sublet, $2,000 in savings and no job.

Fuck.

The biggest leap of all.

Getting sober.

If I can do that, I can ask for what I want from a man and a date.

Yes, yes I can.

I have the power.

It’s not mine.

It’s Gods

And if you think that’s crazy, that’s ok.

God is a sexy beast too.

Like to like.

I always say.

My instincts are just fine.

How could they not be?

They are God-given.

Seriously.

Time to unleash myself from my own fear and shame shackles and get the fuck on with my life.

God did not mean for me to be alone and it’s my own fear that’s keeping me that way.

I’m over it.

Ready for the next phase of my development.

Bring it the fuck on.

This PSA, FYI, is not brought to you by my hormones.

Thank you very much.

Just my own personal reality check.

With a little help from my friends.

Thank you friends.

I couldn’t do this without you.

Thanks for having my back when I was too afraid to.

My heart is open.

My eyes are clear.

My sexy is definitely back.

Watch out.

 

 

Solidarity In Solitude

January 22, 2017

No.

I did not march.

Although I was giving myself a complex about it, I did not go.

I did the deal.

I did the laundry.

I did the homework.

I did the writing.

I did the grocery shopping and the cooking and then, the more doing of the homework.

I’m a feminist for being in grad school, paying my own way, working as a self-employed woman, being sober, radical isn’t it, not smoking, being kind, using my voice and my experience to help others.

I could list lists of lists to convince you.

But the only person I really needed to convince was myself.

As I found myself feeling judged by friends for not going.

I think a lot of this had nothing to do with friends, I don’t think anyone gave my presence a second fucking thought, except that whenever I got asked if I was going, or it was assumed I was going, I bristled.

So I wrote some inventory.

First thing that came out is that I was afraid of being judged, that I was in judgement around myself, my experience, and god fucking forbid, whether or not my friends on social media saw pictures of me marching around with a pink cat hat on.

Sorry.

But no.

And I support Planned Parenthood.

Fuck.

They sure as shit supported me.

Years and years of service and sliding scale and birth control.

I went there in early recovery when I slept with a man and didn’t use a condom and found out he was an ex-heroin junkie who used to shoot dope with dirty rigs.

Oh my fucking god.

Get me to the doctor.

Planned Parenthood.

HIV test.

Negative, thank you.

And out the door.

I have donated plenty of money to them and I believe in them.

I believe in love, liberals, random acts of kindness, activism, resistance, raising your voice.

I mean.

I do live in San Francisco.

But I also believe in radical self-care.

And when I recalled, after doing some great work at beating myself up for waffling on whether I was going to go to the march, was that today was my first day off in two weeks.

Of course I didn’t want to go to the march!

I wanted to go back to bed.

I wanted to cancel on my yoga class.

I wanted to hide under the covers.

I did not.

I did get up.

I did go to yoga.

I did lots of breathing and I knew, even as I sat in solidarity with my sisters, mothers, friends, aunts, cousins, girl-friends, mentors, teachers, I need to do self-care today.

When I finished my inventory and realized, that yes, once again, I am just in abject terror or being unloved, abandoned, and alone, I felt a lot better, made a phone call, did a check in, got on the train, got a cafe au lait at Tart to Tart and went an anniversary celebration of a 70-year-old institution here in San Francisco.

It was amazing.

It was sweet.

Lots of old-time experience, strength, and hope.

And though I knew part of me might feel a little untoward for not going to the march I wasn’t horribly upset to be missing it, for I was making connection, radical spiritual connection with many people quietly doing something that has been consistently saving lives for decades.

I’m ok with that.

And I was also ok to go get a mani/pedi and sit in the window and watch the trains go by.

Trains so packed with people that it wouldn’t pick up more and the stop in front of the beauty parlour was overflowing with women and picket signs and pink hats and supportive spouses, boyfriends, kids.

It was a beautiful thing to watch and witness.

And yeah, there’s a part of me that wishes to be there, but the part of me that gets overwhelmed by big mob like crowds was more than happy to sit back and focus on doing reading for school.

That’s a pretty radical thing.

Working full-time and going to school full time.

I had no compunctions about coming home when the rains came in and curling up with my homework and doing a bunch of reading and roasting a chicken in the oven.

So many years.

So many decades of doing for others before doing for myself.

I felt immense gratitude for this expression of humanity, for allowing myself the quite reprieve of a day off and not trying to work hard to work harder.

I really needed a break and I am glad I got over the guilt of taking it.

If I had isolated, if I hadn’t made an effort to go out and see my fellows, to talk with a friend on the phone, to connect with the clerk at the grocery store, then I would feel bad.

If I had spent all day lolling about pleasure reading or watching Netflix, I would feel bad.

But I didn’t.

I did a lot of work.

Shit.

I am doing it again.

Rationalizing and justifying why I didn’t go.

I didn’t go because I didn’t want to.

There.

Done.

Moving the fuck on.

Tomorrow.

Yoga in the morning.

Meeting with a lady in the afternoon to read and share experience.

Getting a tattoo after that.

Meeting with a friend after that for dinner, catch up, and doing the deal.

It’s a nice weekend, this, especially when I don’t need to feel guilty, not enough, or bad, for making decisions that are ultimately mine to make.

Not to people please.

Just to show up the best way I know how to today.

Right here.

Right now.

This is ok.

Seriously.

It really is.

One Dozen

January 14, 2017

Long stem blushing pink roses.

One for each year I’ve been doing the deal.

That was what greeted me this morning.

Actually.

The full moon setting this morning from my back door is what greeted me, all pearly and low hanging, incandescent in the first blush of morning.

I took out my camera and shot a few photographs.

I don’t believe that I did it any justice, that moon, that opal jewel in the dark indigo wash of sky over the ocean, but I gratefully pulled out my camera to give it a go.

That camera a gift.

Something that I can frame my world with, a poetic extension of my world view, a way to take the moment and hold it, like a poem in my mouth, a moment luxurious with depth and meaning and love.

I awoke to love.

Great love.

Outpourings of love.

Messages of gratitude and sweetness, kindness, reflection and beauty.

I felt blessed.

I felt more and more blessed as the day went on.

I had school today, my first day back in classes, first day, second semester, second year.

I had some trepidation after I was ensconced in all the readings prior to class, but by the time I was a quarter of the way into my first class I knew, this was going to be a different semester and yes, loads of work, every fucking semester has been so, it would be good, soul enriching, spirit broadening work.

I am looking forward to the semester and the learning in a way that I had felt disconnected from and dissatisfied with in my experience last semester.

Those cobwebs got blown away and I feel refreshed and re-invigorated by the work and reconnected with my cohort and really alive with the school.

Oh.

There’s still wonky crap, but what academic institution doesn’t have it’s foibles?

I had a surprising and wonderful discussion with my advisor and I have an appointment to talk to one of my professor’s about a letter of recommendation for practicum tomorrow after my morning class.

Things move a pace.

I made some executive decisions regarding where I am going to apply to practicum and I feel hopeful that those will suss out.

I had to face the fact that unless money suddenly falls the fuck out of the sky I’m probably not going to be able to do the UCSF practicum.

The program is looking for a 25-40 hour a week commitment.

And it’s not a paid internship.

Most aren’t.

But to work 25-40 hours a week on top of a full-time job and full time graduate school feels.

Well.

Fucked.

And impossible.

I had a chat with a third year student who is also in the weekend program and works full-time and he told me about where he was doing practicum.

The Liberation Institute.

Which is in the Mission and would be handy to my work and school commute.

Plus I found out after attending the workshop and practicum fair that the institute has weekend and evening hours available to interns.

Yes and yes please.

If I’m going to accrue hours and not get paid at least let them be during times that will facilitate me working full-time.

I live in San Francisco and I need to keep paying the bills.

And well, that would allow me to do it.

My current job is flexible with me having one Friday off a month to go to classes, but I can’t imagine that I would be able to work a job with benefits for less than full-time hours and the family needs me 35-40 hours a week.

There is a way forward and this may be the way.

Sure.

I’d love the acclaim of working for UCSF, but maybe this is better for me, not trying to cram so damn much into my schedule and still letting me do the deal.

Because doing the deal for the last twelve years is what has gotten me to where I am.

I would not be in graduate school if I was still out there using and drinking.

I’d be homeless.

You bet.

I’d be dirty and broken and soul less.

I might be dead.

If I were lucky I’d be dead.

But I’d probably drag along the bottom of the gutter terrorized and blank and shattered.

No thank you.

So a balance needs to be made.

I have always believed that it was of utmost importance to not put the life that I was given before the way of life that I had learned by taking the simple suggestions made to me in the very beginning of my recovery.

Simple, daily practices that keep me going one day at a time.

One hour at a time.

One fucking minute at a time sometimes.

And here.

Twelve years later.

Fierce and free and strong.

Joyful and happy.

Content and blessed.

So many gifts I have been given, so much life to live that I have been graced with.

It boggles my fucking mind.

Yes.

Yes it does.

Boggles I say.

And I know that as long as I put my recovery first.

Well.

Everything else will follow.

That’s been my experience.

When I didn’t know what to do or where to go.

I always knew where to go.

Church basements and funny rooms in the backs of odd buildings.

Holding hands with strangers that became family.

Sitting in cafes reading from blue bound books and sharing my experience, strength and hope.

How this works?

I can not tell you.

I don’t know.

I just do my best to take the suggestions given to me and to turn around and give it all away.

You can’t keep it without giving it away.

A crazy paradox of love and altruism that isn’t really so altruistic.

I mean.

I don’t want to fucking die in the gutter with a crack pipe in my hand sitting in between cars on Minna Alley on a piece of scavenged cardboard.

Been there.

Done that.

God’s got better plans.

Yes.

Thank God.

And thank you.

You know who you are and I love you more than I can possibly express here.

But when I see you on campus you know I will give you a hug and perhaps in the circle of my arms you feel just a small expression of the depth of gratitude I have for you.

I have so very much.

Yes, love.

Love.

For you.

Always.

Forever.


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