Posts Tagged ‘experiences’

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.

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Round One

May 7, 2016

Fight!

But.

Actually.

It wasn’t so bad.

Yeah.

I was tired today.

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

I went to bed at 11p.m.

I woke up at 6:30 a.m.

However.

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

So.

Maybe six hours?

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

Now.

That was different.

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

Relief.

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

Which led to talk about my bicycle.

Which, huh, led to tears.

And then we talked about Burning Man.

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

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

You know.

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

I mean.

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

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

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

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

Hmmm.

Yeah.

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

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

Now.

Who am I?

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

Or so one might think.

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

I am so very much.

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

Ever since I was a little girl on my tricycle.

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

Anyway.

I’m two.

Sitting on my trike.

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

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

I was just raring to go.

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

But, it’s changing.

I’m changing.

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

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

No scooter tomorrow.

I already threw my cover over it.

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

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

But it does not look like that for tomorrow.

MUNI or taking a car.

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

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

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

So.

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

That is a change too.

Granted one I never saw coming.

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

Thank God for change.

Thank God I got to change.

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

Been there.

Done that.

My luxury problems are a gift.

My body a gift.

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

All the love I get to give.

And receive.

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

As long as I love as hard as I can.

Show up to the best of my ability.

And.

Am my complete and honest self in the moment.

I will be ok.

No matter what change comes.

Good or bad.

It’s all God.

It’s all good.

It’s all.

Really.

Just.

Love.

Love.

 

Get Out of Dodge!

August 1, 2015

Or at least San Francisco.

It’s actually happening.

I am, in fact, going to go to Yosemite tomorrow.

Like early.

Way early.

I’ve just finished packing, I’m only going for tomorrow and half of Sunday, so it wasn’t a hard trip to pack for, just a quick down and dirty, and fortunately for me, I have a bunch of Burning Man food staples in my cupboard, so I just raided that guy.

I’ll need to replenish a little when I get back, but I got time.

Not much time, granted, but some.

Time.

I spent some of that precious coin today.

I read for five hours.

Five.

Well, maybe more like four, I took a couple of breaks for the bathroom and to have lunch, but I really kicked it out.

I have, in fact, completed the reading for one of my classes for the retreat, that will also go beyond the retreat.

One of the classes, I realized after looking over the syllabi, is only during the retreat–a sort of seminar on Yoga and the practice of meditation–for which there is only one book.

It’s still a book that has to be read by the end of next weekend, but I can do it.

The really big reading, I got out-of-the-way today.

Things to think about as I go forward, and I”m just ruminating here, I need to find a more comfortable reading position.

Although I do find it hella funny that I am studying psychology texts from a chaise lounge.

I’m already set up with my “office” furniture.

Freud would approve, I’m certain of it.

The other is a realization that I have don’t have the same coping mechanisms as I did when I was in undergrad.

Namely blowing off steam by going out and drinking with a bunch of my co-workers from the Angelic Brewing Company.

I didn’t rely on drinking to get me through undergrad.

Or did I?

I know that I was a maintenance drinker and I daily drank, I ran a brewing company, it was inevitable that I would be drinking the beer, but I kept it to a “dull roar” I never had more than five pints per shift, and the majority of that drinking was in the late hours of the evening, I didn’t really drink on the job, once in a while a shot.

I drank when I was done counting out the money.

And the king was in the counting house counting out the money/while the queen was in her chamber eating bread and honey.

I didn’t want there to be any question as to the reliability and the integrity of my word while I was securing the tills and the check outs from the various bartenders, waiters and waitresses, the cocktail staff, even the door money which I had to count and distribute to the band that was playing that night, or to the promoter or dj.

I was responsible to a fault.

But I did drink and I had that valve to release steam.

And I often procrastinated to the nth hour.

I am extraordinarily efficient and could manage to write a fifteen page paper on King Henry the V and do it in one night and get an “A” on the paper.

I don’t, obviously, want to employ those kind of tactics to my graduate degree.

I figure, as I have so well learned over the last ten and a half years, that the slow daily progress, the sustained, continual effort, is what is going to work the best for me.

Small chunks, small steps, always moving forward.

Always doing a little something.

And some of the work is going to be easier than others.

The reading I completed today was super dense and had a new theory or concept every other paragraph.

Fortunately I am not finding anything beyond my comprehension.

A few concepts I can see I will need to go back and review them to remember and recall with efficiency and adequate understanding before heading into the first class dynamic, but I’m getting the material.

I’m also very glad that I didn’t put off the reading.

It was up in the air whether my friends and I were going to be heading out, hinged on a couple of factors, and so instead of thinking, oh, well, I’m probably going to be here in town, I can wait until tomorrow or Sunday to do the reading, I saw my spot today was clear, no work (at least not the kind where I draw a paycheck) and I sat myself down on that chaise and got to it.

I’m so grateful that I get to do this.

I remind myself that this is an astounding gift, if life were fair, I would not be in graduate school.

If life were fair.

Well.

I’d be dead.

Circumstances being what they are in my life, I have been graced and given another (umpteen it would seem) chance to do it right.

Doing it right is also taking the calculated risk, the jump, the leap, the sure, I’m ready, let’s do it, last-minute drive to Yosemite, I’ve never been, what a way to say goodbye to July and hello to August.

Because August is its own monster of a month and well, let’s see it come in like a lion.

It will go out like a Burning Man.

I already know that.

Or perhaps I should say, let it come in like a bear, I hear there are some bears out in Yosemite.

The month of August will hold my “normal” work week, next week, then an eight-day retreat for school in Petaluma, then a five-day work week in Glen Ellen (I haven’t figured out exactly how that’s going to transpire, I may not even come back to the city to only turn right back around to go work in Glen Ellen while the family takes its last summer vacation before the boys start school), after Glen Ellen, I come back, work another week in the city, then end that by leaving for Burning Man.

Oh.

And I have papers due by August 23rd from the work at the retreat and from the reading I just wrapped up today.

Yeah.

Busy month.

So.

The pleasure is all mine to say.

Adios! Good bye! Farewell! See ya!

I’m going off the grid for the next 36 hours, I’ll be back Sunday.

Have a great weekend!


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