Posts Tagged ‘FAFSA’

Step Up

November 20, 2017

Do some service.

Get the fuck out of your head.

Worked like a freaking charm.

I sat and listened to an amazing woman today for hours.

I did a lot of reading.

I did some client work.

I got asked to do a speaking engagement and did that too.

It was fantastic.

To get to be my complete self, lit up, on fire, alive, in love, all the things.

I don’t remember what I said, which is good, that means I wasn’t trying to manipulate how people saw me, I was just sharing.

And my God.

The gratitude.

I smiled so hard.

My face actually got a little sore from smiling so much.

And.

Yes, of course, there were some tears, and love was talked about and I got to reflect on how much love I have been given and how much I still get to give back and out into the world.

It’s amazing.

I was also told this, “you sound like a psychologist!” A sweet man told me after.

That was really nice to hear.

I am grateful for so much in my life.

I have a life, I am alive, that is the start, and you know, I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again, it bears repeating, if life were fair, I’d be dead.

Life is not fair, I have more than I can have ever imagined or asked for.

I have extraordinary people in my life.

I have people I love and who love me.

I have a full heart.

I don’t do so many of the things that I used to under the guise of it makes me feel better, but really it just made me feel worse, temporary solutions to the pain I was living with.

Like smoking cigarettes, man, I still forget that, I haven’t smoked in twelve years!

No sugar.

No flour.

No booze.

No cocaine.

Sure.

I still use salt, but please, really, don’t take away my last white powder!

I also do things that I always wanted to do but I would just talk about doing them, I didn’t actually do them.

Like.

Oh.

Writing.

I write every motherfucking day.

How amazing is that?

That I consistently give myself the gift of sitting down to paper and pen and getting honest with my heart.

It is no easy task and it always gives so much back to me.

So too, this little blog.

I do love the writing, I love how my fingers fly over the keyboard, I love how the words pour out of my hands, a direct conduit from the love in my heart.

I have a great job.

I have a site to get all my practicum hours so that I can graduate in May.

Jesus.

I get to go to grad school!

How many people actually get to do that?

Granted I was getting hella frustrated with the FAFSA online tools which kept telling me my passwords were wrong and wouldn’t let me access my student account.

I have to file for the 2018 financial year.

I have not applied to school yet, but I have some fairly serious ambitions to do so, to go for the PhD, I’m thinking that I would get in Transpersonal Studies, which is a two-year program at my school.

I have to flesh some things out, when I would apply, what I might want to dissertate on.

“You should totally do it!” My therapist enjoined me.  “You find so much richness for yourself in the academic world.”

I had not thought of it like that.

I had thought of it, like I want a PhD, ego stuff.

Then.

When a professor I highly respected told me that I could be of more service in my community with a PhD I thought, yeah, I should do that.

Then.

Well.

I know this sounds kind of crazy, but it also sort of makes sense to me, it would mean being in school two more years and that would give me two more years to acquire hours at my internship before I have to start paying back on my student loans.

I am not in a paid internship.

I’m not sure that I could swing paying back student loans on top of getting my hours.

Then again.

I just keep saying, it’s God’s money, it will work out.

I do believe that.

But.

When my therapist reframed the continuation of school by reflecting to me how much I have gotten out of school, just personally, how much I have grown, that I am giving myself an opportunity to learn more and grow more.

I really liked thinking of it.

So grateful for my therapist.

We started in on a hard piece for me last week.

It was something that I have been holding for a while and I knew eventually it was going to have to come out and the work would need to be done on it.

I have done a lot of work, but there is still more to do, still places of pain that need to be touched into, places I need to grieve, things lost that I don’t know I’ve really let myself see that I had lost.

I don’t want to wallow in my past.

I don’t.

It doesn’t really serve.

But I do want to integrate those experiences, grieve what needs to be grieved, and let it go.

My therapists face when I was getting into some of it, how she pulled me back, grounded me, settled me back, ran over time with me to make sure I was calibrated and strong enough to leave the office.

I had tears on my face and many crumpled tissues, but I also felt a kind of inner awareness that this is where the real work is going to happen and I can get through it all the way.

I wasn’t collapsed in, I was strong, I was lightened, I lightened the load a tiny bit and left a good bit of it in a tissue in the wastebasket.

I have the strength to get in there, dig it out, and let it the fuck go.

So grateful for that.

I am resilient.

I have inner love and joy and strength and light.

I have been given so much love in the last few years, so much more than I thought I deserved, so much appreciation for who I am and what I do.

I really am loved.

I really am lovable.

I am enough.

I have enough.

And.

I get to give it all away.

Which.

Oh.

Glorious paradox.

Is.

The only way I can keep it.

The only way.

 

Jazzed

April 29, 2017

Until I look at my financial aid account, motherfucker I have sent you my Master’s Promissory Note three times, why the fuck is it not updated, where is my award?

Jesus school get on the fucking ball.

Ok.

Rant done.

I am in a good place, actually, and I should have known better than to look at my financial aid account.

I noticed yesterday that the school was still waiting on my promissory note, so I forwarded them the confirmation e-mail from the FAFSA people, you know, those good folks in government, ahem, and still, today, this morning, and again tonight, the school is “saying” they have not received it.

Sigh.

At least I am not getting too distracted by the bullshit to not focus on the stuff that really needs to be done, like my papers.

Here it is.

The weekend.

And here it is.

The last big fucking push.

I have to write two papers in the next two days.

I spent my down time, my break time at work, listening to the interview I did for my Community Mental Health class and jotting down notes and flipping through a book and post-it noting things that I am going to write about.

Basically the same process as I took for my Trauma class, but with a little less work, as there was less material to go over.

Still work.

And.

I got it done.

I have a good idea about what I will write for the paper, lots of notes, lots notations, quotes from the interview, and a good idea of what it’s going to take to do the writing.

I am not looking forward to either paper, but I shall do both of them.

I also made sure and did a grocery run today in between work and doing the deal and I have no errands that need to be run or things that need to be bought.

I am all set for the weekend.

Tomorrow I’ll go to yoga in the morning, meet my person at Tart to Tart, meet another lady thereafter, do some reading, get right with God, inventory some shit, make the head stop running for a few minutes, than jam back out here and have a late lunch and launch into my Trauma paper.

I should be able to finish it before I head out to do that thing I do in church basements, then maybe, I’ll do a little fellowship, just so I don’t feel like I’m losing my mind from the school stuff.

Then Sunday will be a somewhat similar gig, yoga in the morning, then back here, breakfast, shower, do my own morning writing and then hit the Community Mental Health paper and crank it out.

I’ll roast a chicken, because Sunday roast chicken dinner is about the way to roll and I hope that I will be done by 5p.m.

5:30 p.m. at the latest.

I have a speaking thing at 6p.m. and I really would like to be done with the papers by the point that I get on my scooter to go to the Inner Sunset.

I’m not sure how it will all work, but it will and I will get the work done.

It’s all there in my head, it’s all there in the notes, in my books, I have it all there, I just have to compile it, write it, pull the pieces together and make it look sexy.

I can’t believe I am so close to the end of my second year.

One more weekend of classes.

I’ll be turning in all projects, I won’t have any papers or things due after the last weekend of classes, which is a first and I’m super grateful for that.

And two weeks from today.

Well, ah, yes, you know, I’ll be in Paris.

Two weeks.

I’m so close.

It feels further away than that and not really real at this point my brain is super focused on the work that is in front of me and all the words that have to march across the page and get my point across.

I am also, although I gripe about what’s the point of showing up for the last couple of my classes when all the assigned work has been turned in, looking forward to a chill weekend with my cohort, it should be pretty stress free for me, I’ll have all my papers done by Sunday and I can just show up for class and be chill.

I am going to hang out with my friends, go to lunches and dinners, I have one friend who is actually going to spend the night with me next Thursday.

Little slumber party.

We’ve done it one other time and its super fun to have a school friend to hang out with.

She’ll get into town late afternoon on Thursday and we’ll meet for dinner and then pop out here to my place, it will be good to have company and bitch about school.

Although, I do want to express my gratitude for doing what I am doing and that the school is doing the best it can too, sometimes it feels like I should be getting more support, or better this, that, or the other, but ultimately, I am getting a lot of what I need and I am excited to be this far into the program and to have met and gotten to know the quality and caliber of my cohort.

They are some damn good people.

I don’t think we’re going to save the world, but I do think we are going to make it a whole lot happier, sweeter, healthier, kinder place to reside.

I’m definitely a better person for the experience of going to this school and for learning what I have learned, I have learned so much, it boggles the mind.

That I have so much more yet to learn and experience is a constant leveling of my pride, a constant learning of humility and a constant surrender.

I hope I have soften some.

That I have let you in a little more, let down the walls a little, or at least directed you to the gate and showed you that though it may be latched, it’s not locked, and I’d like to, no, I’d love to, invite you.

Come in.

Sit down.

Relax.

Get cozy.

Let’s get to each other.

I bet we have a lot to talk about.

So much.

I can’t wait.

Just let me get through this weekend and I’ll be so down to have a cuppa with you.

I can’t think of anything I want more.

Night y’all.

I have to get some rest.

I have miles and miles to go.

I can almost see the light.

Almost.

There.

 

What Happens

August 11, 2016

When I miss a day blogging?

Aside from my reader stats dropping like hotcakes.

I missed you!

I have been busy.

Busy with school, busy with the life of school, the getting up and going to class and eating and going back to class and little mini breaks where I get to walk around for a few minutes and grab a cup of tea and then back to class.

It makes for a long day.

I’m up early and in bed early.

My room mates are both already in bed.

I am in bed, literally, but just not asleep.

I will say,however, out of consideration for my room mates I may not write a very long blog.

I’m a fast writer, though and fingers crossed I can just kick it out.

My head is a little busy.

Gently trying to remind myself that I am pretty much immersed in school and although the world is spinning on outside the grounds of the school retreat, that there is much that I cannot quite get to process, or deal with.

For instance.

The school says they have not received my FAFSA report.

Which is not cool.

As it hinders receiving my financial aid package with which I pay for my very expensive tuition.

But according to the FAFSA website I did it, and it was processed in FEBRUARY.

Which feels about right, but how come the school hasn’t received it?

Nothing I can do at the moment except what I just did, shoot out and e-mail and be patient and continue to show up for class.

In other worlds.

I have a ride to that thing in the desert!

Thank you interwebs and Burning Man ride share board.

I have a ride there, but not back.

I have a back up emergency contact if I can only get to Reno, one of my classmates who lives in Nevada and commutes to school would be able to swing through Reno and get me if necessary.

I’m hoping to line something up for a straight shot back, but it is really nice to know I have a way there.

I’ll be heading up with a virgin burner who has an early arrival pass to help work on one of the art projects and has basically been put in charge of bringing up extra coolers of food for the team.

I’ll be able to swap my vehicle pass for the ride and if the cost of the gas goes over $80 I’ll split the costs with him.

The selling point for him was the vehicle pass and the fact that I can drive a stick shift.

Thanks mom!

He’ll be picking me up from my house around 8p.m. on Friday the 26th and we’re going to drive through the night to get to the playa.

I’ll have all my gear except my bike which will come up with my OG playa family.

Yay!

All the things.

They are working out.

And I’m going to cut this blog short.

My roommates need respite from my clickety clack and as crazy as this sounds, 11p.m. this week is up way past my bed time.

I have a 7a.m. start.

Night my friends.

I’ll try and get you a full report tomorrow.

Suffice to say.

Happy to have snuck in a few words here even if they were a little punch drunk with being tired.

Nighty night.

xo.

Girl Got Busy

June 6, 2015

Hella busy.

Like.

Busier than I so expected, but all good things.

Coffee dates.

Skype dates.

Doing the deal.

Hanging with a friend.

Eating some fancy food.

Shaking and going and doing and whoa.

Wasn’t I just wondering what I was going to be doing this weekend?

Yeah.

Now I’m wondering when I’m going to go grocery shopping and make food for next week.

I don’t have one date this weekend.

I have two.

One off of Facebook and one from Match.com.

Match is, so far, slightly better than OkStupid, I’m seeing some guys that I didn’t see on OkStupid and also that there seems to be an easier way of interacting with the site, but I have to say, it needs an overhaul, a big facelift for sure.

I know it’s been around for something like 20 years, but it’s time for it to get a better interactive feel.

Of course, I am only going to be on it for three months–I got the basic plan and that’s the shortest time you can commit to.

I give it 90 days.

And I have a date.

A good date, well, he looks good on paper (internet) and we have a lot in common, one big important thing that I was happy to confirm today, and we’re going to meet up tomorrow after I see my person in the Inner Sunset and get right with God.

Being girly I am a bit bummed that I won’t have time to do my nails before seeing him, but I just don’t have the time to squeeze that in too.

At least I don’t think so, I could manipulate my schedule a tiny bit in the morning, we shall see.

I have to get up and shower and I have a FaceTime date with the folks I’m heading out to Burning Man with to nanny for before I head out into the world.

Plus.

I’m not going to ride my bike.

Which means navigating MUNI and all that stuff.

Anyway.

I’ve got stuff happening and that is fun.

And I am grateful for it.

I like to be busy, I’m not so good at the down time.

I know there are times when I can get too busy and I know how to balance that.

This weekend is full, but not too busy.

I will have pockets of down time to take care of the things that need to be taken care of and I will have fun gallivanting about the city.

Inner Sunset.

Tendernob.

Possibly Noe Valley.

I may rearrange my morning a teeny tiny bit and have to cover ground in the evening and head up to Noe Valley.

It’s been a hot second since I have been there, so that could be fun.

Fun being the operative word.

I am going to have a fun weekend, I’m going to celebrate my life, I’m also going to celebrate that my FAFSA is now finally complete.

Apparently when I was in Chula Vista and trying to figure it out at my grandma’s place I did not save it properly and I received a notification this afternoon that I had to resign the damn thing and submit the correction correctly or my school wasn’t going to be able to access the information.

Oh.

For Pete’s sake.

Again?

I tried to do it at work on my break, but the screen on my phone is not the screen on my laptop and it was too much magnifying and searching and scrolling and my fingers were too big and fuck this man.

It can wait.

I forget that sometimes.

There are no emergencies.

Well.

Almost none.

There are infrequent times when I have to make a decision quickly and usually I regret how fast I move, if I pause and respond rather than react, it is usually a better outcome for me.

I realized as I was trying again, this time from the side lines at UCSC Mission Bay pool (where, ahem, I felt like a total ass, I had my swim suit, top, but not my swim suit bottom.  I couldn’t get in the pool with the mom and the boys this afternoon.  I was half annoyed with myself, I got up early to shower and shave and wore my hair pulled back just so I could get in the pool and now my hair is fucked up and I’m not getting in and grr, I got to rewash and do my hair tomorrow, but yay, I don’t have to get in the pool and be wet the rest of my Friday), that there really was no emergency.

It’s Friday.

No financial aid decisions were going to be made at 4p.m. on a Friday.

I can get home, calmly open up my FAFSA and submit, correctly, the correction.

Which I did and now it’s done and hopefully I will hear back next week in regards to what my financial aid package will be for school.

And yes.

i admit it.

I have thought about spending the money on not so school type things.

Burning Man supplies.

A new scooter.

A trip to Hawaii, I really want to go knowing a little more about my background and family I am quite eager to visit the islands.

A new mattress for my bed.

What I’ll end up doing is the same thing that I did when I was in school before.

I will pay my tuition, buy my books and any school supplies I need (oh my god!  I have to do back to school shopping!), and then pre-pay my rent.

That’s typically what I did when I was in undergrad.

Then the money that I made from working could be earmarked toward daily living expenses, groceries, transportation, etc.

I think I may have done a little traveling with some of the student loan money I received, I did go to Puerto Rico for a friend’s wedding in Old San Juan, and I went to Boston to see a girlfriend graduate from law school (I don’t remember much of Boston, I drank enough for all the celebrants) and I sunk some money into maintaining my car I had at the time.

I get ahead of myself.

The only thing that is important is done for the day.

And now it’s time to wrap this up.

I still have laundry to do and a few things to attend to this evening before getting up and getting going.

I got dates to go on people!

The weird is about to get real.

I shall keep you posted on all the fun.

Promise.

I won’t get too busy that I don’t blog.

Well, unless I get to busy getting busy.

Ahem.

Sucking Brain Power In One Fell Swoop

May 29, 2015

Gone.

What was I doing?

Sipping tea, looking at photographs on my grandmother’s mantles and walls, hearing stories, trying to not think about the weird e-mail in my in-box about my financial aid for school that puzzled me to the point that I could not read it more than twice without closing the message.

I looked at it again this morning.

They need what?

I already have my FAFSA in.

The school already has my information.

What more do you need?

Some more stuff, some more things.

Oh.

That’s it.

That little button.

That fucking little button there took me changing my password, updating my information, having over five windows open on my screen, toggling back and forth, figuring out new security questions, for almost an hour.

At one point I thought, next they will ask me to stand on my head and and with my right hand point to the true North.

Ugh.

That was obnoxious.

However.

Another thing done in the small but steady range of  actions I am certain I will have to continue to take to get into school, let alone, well, um, school itself.

Actually.

School.

I believe, will be ok.

It’s the minutiae, the small stuff, the obvious stuff, that I don’t always get.

“There, water level, right in front of you,” my cousin pointed out the fountain water-spout.

I was mesmerized by the soda options.

When was the last time I had stood in front of a soda fountain machine?

Coke?

Cherry Coke?

Rootbeer?

Sprite?

All of it please.

In a really big cup with hella crushed ice and a dessert pizza on the side.

Hahahaha.

I had a cup of water and a “pizza salad” without the pizza part–my cousin didn’t realize that I don’t eat flour, or sugar for that matter–and had taken us all to the new popular pizza place down the road.

It smelled divine.

And truthfully, I was too overwhelmed with the sudden abundance of family and how to act and be polite and be me and not melt into the background.

Not that I wouldn’t stand out a little anyway.

Even without the hot pink hair.

“I like your style,” my friend texted, “you got flavor.”

Flavor.

Yup.

I’ll take it.

And I do.

My ex called it “quirky” and I argue, I am not quirky.

Quirky is Zoe Deschanel and kitten sweaters and argyle socks and well, not me.

I rebut quirky with girl has flavor.

“Chicks with visible neck tattoos and pink hair aren’t anything nuts to me,” he replied, “maybe in Iowa.”

Yet.

When I travel outside of San Francisco I do seem to get a little extra attention.

Although not always in a bad way, the TSA agent at the airport was excited by my hair, “awesome hair!”  He enthused and waved me through.

Where I got to find out that I had to sit in SFO for a bit longer than I thought.

My flight was delayed.

Ugh.

Although, as I sat in the terminal linked up to the internet sipping organic, cold pressed iced coffee and having just finished an organic Niman Ranch hamburger (no bun, no onion, no fries, thank you) with a side of, yes organic, mixed greens, I thought, hmm.

SFO.

Worse places to be delayed.

For sure.

The flight was delayed for weather.

That’s right.

Fog.

Carl the Fog was wrapping up the airport tight.

I wasn’t happy to be delayed, but it gave me a moment to look over the e-mail from the FAFSA people.

I still didn’t get it and I decided, not going to boot up my laptop and try to figure it out.

Sit back.

Sip the coffee.

Watch a video.

Then the fog lifted and I was up in the air and before I knew it the plane was descending through the blue skies, clear of fog, lots of sunshine, and low 70 degree weather.

I took off my sweatshirt.

I needed it on the way to the airport and I needed it on the plane, they do always seem so cold, even a short flight.

Sidebar.

Almost one year later.

My ankle hurts when flying.

It swelled up and got tender and I had to stand in the aisle for a while rolling it around and getting the blood flow going.

I really couldn’t believe it.

The last time I flew was December and it was pretty tight after that flight, and still it’s not fully healed.

I really didn’t believe the doctor when he said it would be 6-8 months and possibly a year before it was fully healed.

End aside.

The sun was shining, the fake boobs were on display.

I mean.

Whoa.

I realized as I watched a woman in a low-cut shelf tank top proudly displaying her assets, I am not in San Francisco anymore.

Granted I have not spent a lot of time in Southern California, but I did immediately see things that I have not seen in San Francisco (and I’m sure I have seen fake boobs in SF, I’m sure they exist, they’re probably just hidden under thirteen layers of clothing and a black hoodie and infinity scarf-every woman could have fake tits and I would never know), enhanced cleavage, spray tan or fake tan, blow outs, high platform sandals, skin-tight jeans/jeggings, I still stood out.

I probably always will.

But I have stopped being so concerned with how I look.

As stated previously, I dress for myself and to make myself happy.

And I was happy I got my stuff packed and on my way with no delay this morning.

I also remembered to wear my clogs so that I didn’t have to struggle with going through security.

It wasn’t until I was sitting in the lounge waiting for the flight to board that I began to sense some side looks and stares.

And I realized that I usually do get them when traveling.

I have a moment or two of feeling singled out, then I thought, whatever, I’m a good-looking woman and who cares if I have pink hair and tattoos, they look pretty and I have flavor and so there.

Ah.

My brain is coming back, the FAFSA website has not won.

Now I can bring my mind back to hanging out in San Diego.

I’m ready for some more sunshine.

PS

As I am editing this blog, my grandmother came over and said, “your hair looks so pretty up like that, it looks like a flower.”

#winning

I Don’t Know What To Write

May 19, 2015

I mean.

I do.

I always have something to write about here.

Sex.

Not enough sex.

Dating.

Not dating.

Breaking up.

Being single.

Love.

Work.

Burning Man.

My bicycle.

Rent in San Francisco.

Recovery.

I mean.

I have a lot to write about, not including what ever peccadillo is under my hat at the moment.

“You have a really interesting life!” A friend of mine exclaimed to me tonight, “you do so much.”

I don’t even think about it, is my life all that more interesting than any one else’s or is it that I just write about it well, or is it interesting?

Or perhaps a little mix of both.

I mean I feel like, as another friend in the neighborhood expressed to me once, “you can be all dramatic about buying a loaf of bread at the store….and then the bread, it was AMAZING, and I had this insight and wow, bread.”

I told him to fuck off and punched him in the arm.

But.

He’s right.

I can write a hell of a story about nothing at all, it seems.

So.

The title of my blog has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that I have nothing to write about.

Plenty happened today.

I worked, I played, I got some recovery, I rode my bicycle, I ate some nice food, I went to BiRite and bought some nice food, I made a beef stew for the family I work for, I played with the boys, I went to the park, 826 Valencia (the only independent pirate supply store in San Francisco, thank you very much) and viewed the fish and dug for treasure in sand drum, I saw a friend and caught up and browsed through all the goodies at Paxton Gate, I finished up at work, covered my commitment, rode my bicycle home, took some time to read a message I got in my e-mail, refused to dwell on it–what am I going to write–took care of some business end of things and took a shower.

Now I am here.

Writing my blog and wondering what am I going to write.

Because it means a lot.

I mean.

A LOT.

Like $30,000.

I don’t know that I have ever had so much hinge on an essay.

Congratulations on your acceptance to the ICP Fall 2015 ICP program!

I’d like to invite you to apply for the ICP Diversity Leadership Scholarship that will be awarded to three eligible students in the Fall 2015 ICP program. This scholarship provides recipients with $10,000.00 each year of the program, a total of $30,000.00 awarded over the course of your ICP education.

The scholarship hinges on three things: financial need, person of color (Latino/Hawaiian Islander or Pacific Islander, check and check), and demonstrates leadership within their community.

I have the financial need.

They received my FAFSA although at first it appeared that they, the school had not, I received a previous e-mail prior to this one asking that I send in my FAFSA post-haste as I was being considered for the scholarship.

Huh?

What?

I sent that sucker in months ago!

I messaged back a few times with my advisor who forwarded my information to the financial aid office and they found it.

Thank you Jeebus.

And despite not speaking a lick of Spanish, I am Puerto Rican and despite not speaking a lick of Hawaiian, I am Polynesian.

The name, hello my name is Carmen Regina Martines, you drank my milk, prepare to die, says it all.

So.

The diversity part is covered and it’s helpful that I am a woman, I mean, it’s not always an advantage to be a woman (though I stridently disagree and could imagine nothing better, I truly love being a woman and I think men have it a lot harder, emotionally anyway, than women do in the areas I find most important–you know all the touchy feely things), but in this case it adds to the cache of my name.

What is tripping me up is the last part.

Demonstrates leadership in community and will continue to do so upon graduation. 

I mean.

I know what that contribution is and I have been contributing to my fellowship for over a decade now and I intend to continue to do so after I graduate and while I am in school and I can’t do school, or anything else in my life that is worthwhile unless I continue to keep giving away what I have been so freely given.

But how the hell to write about that?

I think it’s the “leadership” thing.

I am not a leader in so much as a mentor, a teacher, a person who leads by example, share’s her experience, strength, and hope with another woman and I do loads of service.

But.

I do loads of service to stay sober.

Serene.

Happy.

Joyous.

Free.

But I don’t head anything up.

Nobody relies on me that way.

If I did something stupid, God please never no, but if I did, there would be someone else to pass the basket and put the money in an envelope, there would be someone else to unlock the doors to the church or start the coffee urn percolating.

There would be someone to unfold the chairs and put out the literature and hug the new person hiding out in the corner.

I cannot put on the title of leader.

I do, however, know that I am important in my community and that I am loved and I feel needed and seen and I want to continue helping and being of service and a part of that is having experiences, sharing them with others, letting people see that I walk through the fear and get to the other side and it’s gorgeous here and you deserve to be here, so come on, let’s go get rocketed into the fourth dimension.

Let’s trudge that happy road of destiny.

Let’s.

I listened to a message when I got home from the commitment before I hopped into the shower; the e-mail taking a back burner–to bear witness to a ladybug and a big interview she had today and how she let things happen and asked to be of service and to let God speak through her and for her.

And there it was.

My answer.

I don’t know how to write about what I am in my community.

I don’t see myself with clear perspective.

But if I can get out-of-the-way and carry the message, not the mess (myself), and write with being of service in mind.

Well.

I might have something.

And it might very well help me pay for school.

If it’s God’s will.

I just take the action and let go of the results.

Pretty simple.

I don’t know what to write.

But.

I do know.

The words will come.

They always do.

Nailed It!

February 27, 2015

“Yeah you did.”

The text response to my update on my graduate school interview.

I nailed it.

Nailed it.

Nailed it.

Ahem.

I’m feeling pretty good about that.

I won’t know for about another week, but it feels like a done deal, it really does, it didn’t hurt that one of the faculty members came up to me afterward and said, “I want to talk to you about something, stay if you have a few minutes to chat.”

Turns out she feels that I am a perfect candidate for the Diversity Scholarship the school provides.

Hell yes.

Give me the money.

So I can give the school the money.

I don’t care what you call it, just so long as I don’t have to take out more than I need to in financial aid.

I’m ahead of the curve on that one, two of the other candidates, four of us total in the group that interviewed, hadn’t applied yet for financial aid.

The interview was group style, four of us, three of them.

It was approximately an hour-long and I got there well in advance of the start time.

Enough time to grab an iced Americano in the cafe and to sit and chat with one of the other candidates for the program.

Turns out we know each other through friends of friends.

That was a nice discovery.

At first I felt that I was putting my foot in my mouth, but by the end of it, I felt that I had acquitted myself really well and I left floating on a cloud.

The interview also did something for me which I wasn’t expecting, it dispelled for me any doubts I had about the program and whether or not it was a good fit for me.

It’s a little granola, it’s a little crunchy, its experiantial learning, but after doing a couple exercises to show the panel what I would bring to the program and to the cohort, I felt like I would be able to fit in and I felt that it was going to help me grow as well.

In fact, I found myself welling up a little during one of the exercises and the emotional response surprised me, but it was also a good feeling, I think I was afraid that I am a little jaded.

That these crunchy granola, Californian types with their hippie ideology were not going to accept me.

Thing is, I’m a hippy in disguise, so uh, I fit in fine.

Like a really good interview, I left feeling that I was the right fit for the program and that it was the right fit for me.

It reminded me a little of my doubt around working with my current family, I had some reservations about working with children that were already into toddler stage and beyond and what that would look like, would I like it, would I be good at it.

And it turns out I love my job.

And they love me.

I felt pretty at home at my job once I got past my own prejudices about what the job was going to be like.

I believe the same thing happened for me in the interview.

I realized that I needed to be interviewing the school just as much as it needed to interview me.

We both needed to make sure we would be a good fit.

I’m pretty sure I’ve met my match.

I will know in approximately a week, the panel advisor assured us that we would have an answer by next week and she also gave me the dates of the week-long retreat.

August 9th-16th.

How freaking handy is that?

Well, it happens to fall in between Burning Man and the week in August that the family takes to go to Sonoma.

One week of scheduling down!

I will be able to work for the family in Sonoma, and ironic, paradox, is it odd or is it God, the retreat will also be in Marin–Petaluma to be exact.

The center is called The Institute of Noetic Sciences and yup, looks like a hippy hold out, but you know what?

I’m down with it.

Petaluma is gorgeous and the weather will be great and it will be just what I need to have under my belt before heading into a week of nannying for the family in Glen Ellen.

Then Burning Man?

I think it’s possible.

I didn’t get the exact dates for the beginning of the semester, we’ll be e-mailed that, but I was told the last weekend in August.

Burning Man is August 30th through September 7th.

Now if I get into the program, I will, that would mean I wouldn’t be able to go pre-event, I’d have to be in the city to go to school, and I would miss the first day or two of the event.

But.

I could go.

So.

Buy a ticket?

Go as a tourist?

Really do Burning Man instead of doing Working Man?

I dunno?

Maybe.

Yes.

Yes.

I could do that.

I’m going to hold off on making those plans for a moment.

I still have to find out about whether or not I got into the program.

Upon affirmation that I have I will need to pay $300 as a good faith payment to secure my spot in the cohort.

This money will be slotted towards my tuition.

Then I will get together with the financial aid officer at the school and find out what kind of student loans I can get.

The school has received my information from my FAFSA forms and they have a SAR for me–Student Aid Report–which lets them know what I can contribute personally to my tuition and what I will need to receive to go to the program.

I believe, I really do, I have been writing affirmations for months now, that I will receive the money.

I will apply to the Diversity Scholarship at the school and I will do the next steps to do the next steps.

This is only the beginning, but a beginning has been made and I am over the moon that this is moving forward.

It astounds me how smoothly things happen when I get out-of-the-way and let the Universe lead me to better things then I think I want.

I accept the abundance and love and prosperity that God wants for me.

I’m going to need it!

Tuition’s about $30,000 a year.

But the investment, me, well, I’m fucking worth it.

And I think the department thinks so too.

I’ll let you know as soon as I hear.

One more step in my journey of a thousand miles.

 

Rolling Right Along

February 18, 2015

Dear CARMEN,
Congratulations, your FAFSA was processed successfully.

Awesome.

Prepare yourself to go further into student loan debt!

Woohoo!

I actually do not have a problem with this.

Of all the different types of debt I could accrue, furthering my education so that I can have a better life and may be of better service to those about me, seems about the best kind of debt I could have.

I don’t have any other debt outside of my student loans as I prepare to move forward in this next educational endeavor, having more doesn’t really bother me.

That’s just the way it is and I accept it.

I don’t know when I will find out how much I may receive, the application, though, has been processed, my taxes are done, I await further instruction from the school.

Specifically, I await the time and day I will be going in to do an interview with the department for a place on the cohort.

I am getting more and more used to the idea that this is really happening and that I will be pursuing something outside of being a professional nanny.

Today I confirmed that I will be meeting the guy from the Valentine’s Day/night dance for coffee (tea, really, no need to scare the man off with an over caffeinated persona) via a text message while I was at work.

He asked me how my day was going and I replied that I was having a little quite time drawing with one of the boys while his brother napped.

“Oh, you babysit…”

Ah.

No.

That’s what my ego says, no, I’m not a baby sitter, I do ever so much more.

But often times, of late, especially, I don’t care so much, yes, I’m a babysitter.

I’ve been one kind of baby sitter or another since I was young enough to still be needing a baby sitter myself.

I’ve baby sat my sister, my mother, my father, cousins, neighborhood kids, I was a lifeguard–a babysitter with a swimsuit on–a bar manager, a baby sitter with a beer in hand, in one way or another, all of my life, I have watched, with great vigilance, those around me.

I also believe this is what makes me a good writer as well, or at least a writer that has things to write about, I watch, I listen, I observe.

I see.

This will make me a good therapist.

Or so I believe.

There’s more to being a therapist than just that, and often times, especially over the last ten years, I have heard many a person share something with me and seek my counsel.

I have a lot of experience, field work, if you may, to lean back on.

I bristle, but not as much as I used to, when called a baby sitter, but ultimately, it’s just my ego needing to be stroked.

I am just as important as a person who is fluent in C++ or a tradesman or a lawyer or a barista.

We all play our part and I am just playing the role assigned.

I used to struggle against it.

I am supposed to be someone else, something else, doing something more important.

Though, really, I could argue, what exactly is more important than providing for the health, safety, and well-being of a child?

Besides, I know that I am not my job title.

I am what I do.

Really, I am paid to love and I got to do a lot of that today.

The boys obviously missed me and it was really fun to have a moment this morning before we went out to the park where they were both lying across me, snuggled up.

“Let’s just stay here a little while longer,” the oldest boy whispered up into my pony tail, he had wrapped his small paw in it and was spinning a curl around a finger.

“A little while longer, but not too long,” I said, and kissed his head.

“I love you, I missed you,” I told him.

In fact, yesterday, at 3 p.m. I was suddenly confused as to where I was and what I was supposed to be doing.

Usually I am with the boys heading into the pool at La Petite Bailene for swimming lessons.

I literally patted my bag and thought to myself, did I bring my swimsuit?

Not that I needed one where I was at.

I was off yesterday with the holiday.

But, there it was, that moment of longing to have the youngest one in the pool while the eldest got ready to see his swim instructor and I thought, I am really quite lucky to have this job.

Even when there is extra work, like there is this week, the oldest has a school vacation week, I am amply compensated with nice little perks.

Like fruit from BiRite and lunch out at the CrepeHouse.

The mom put extra money in the diaper bag and said take them out to lunch and get what ever you want.

Excellent.

It’s a really nice perk to get fed.

I have had jobs where it was expressly stated that I was not to touch the family’s food.

Most times I am encouraged to help myself, and I have, but this job, I really have taken it to heart, to eat there and let myself have nice snacks and tea and coffee when the mood strikes.

I do so much of the marketing and food prep it seems a part of the deal.

Today was homemade turkey and black bean chili with red and yellow bell peppers, tomatoes, mild chilis, and onions; and I also made homemade corn bread muffins (and oatmeal and brown rice for the week to have in the fridge).

Chop up a little fresh avocado and top the chili, cut up some strawberries, and a kishu mandarin from BiRite, and voila!

Dinner for the monkeys.

These “babysitting” experiences are just bringing me one step closer to what I am supposed to do next.

I never expected to be a professional nanny.

I never thought I would be applying to go to graduate school to be a therapist.

Don’t you know who I am?

I’m famous in my own mind.

The reality of it though, is that I am heading down a path I do not know where it will lead, only that it seems the next step to take is always indicated right before I take it.

The money for graduate school will be there.

And I can’t fuck it up if it’s meant to be.

I also can’t manipulate it into happening.

I just walk forward, into the blue room of unknown.

Knowing that I am taken care of.

Just as I have taken care of so many others.

So shall I be received.

With love.

My only debt then.

Really.

Is one of gratitude.

Ten Years After

February 16, 2015

I was given the amazing perspective of being asked to reflect on the last ten years of my life and where I was and where I am now.

It was intense.

It has been an intense day.

“I love reading your blog, it’s so dramatic!” A friend of mine said yesterday at the going away party I attended.

“I bought a loaf of bread at the store, it was good bread, I have an insight, it’s a big one, wow, life, amazing, that was some tasty bread.”

I punched him in the arm.

“I know I’m dramatic, I can’t help it, it’s just how I am,” I said, blushing red-hot, I could indeed see myself waxing poetic about buying a loaf of bread.

I mean, have you ever walked past Tartine in the Mission and smelled the butter scented air?

The only corner in the city that never fails to remind me of Paris, as the bread and pastry there is very French informed.

I mean, I could really write a full on 1,000 word blog on the smell of baking bread and my insights there of.

My friend was spot on.

I punched him in the arm again.

“Fuck you.”

“No, I love it, it’s so you, it’s good, don’t stop,” he gave me a bear hug.

Sometimes the little things are the most dramatic, the flight of a pigeon startled up from a palm tree on Dolores Street as my old friend leaves the coffee shop, a friend I said goodbye to.

I surrendered a friendship.

I have surrendered a romantic relationship and didn’t write much about it, or him, as it wasn’t my place.

I will do the same here.

I am sad.

I watched the light shift, I listened to the incoming whistles from my phone and let the tears well in my eyes.

I felt my heart and breathed through the process.

Things end.

Things begin.

The light, buttery, soft, warm, awash in the rich scent of jasmine and of blooming magnolia, the sky clear, high, blue, swathed in light airy clouds, the palm trees against the robins egg blue and the rattle of ice in my coffee cup.

It was a comfort to be in that window space and sit there and look at those palms and remember so many times, over the last ten years, that I have sat in that same window seat watching those same trees.

Sometimes laughing.

Often times crying.

Always living.

Always walking through the next thing in front of me.

Speaking of which.

I did it.

I filled out and filed my FAFSA form before starting my blog tonight.

Federal student loan application for graduate school is now complete.

I have yet to hear back about what specific day I will be going in to do my interview for the program, but I do not doubt that I will get it.

It all feels right.

If I am supposed to go to this school and do this program and get the Masters in Integral Counseling Psychology, then the money will be there.

I have always been taken care of.

I don’t foresee being dropped now.

And if I’m not supposed to go, well, something else will happen.

I just take that little action, whatever it is, when my hands are cold and I am breaking out into a cold sweat and my flight or fight is high, I breath and take the next action in front of me.

Some times that is to pause and not respond.

I did some of that today.

The not responding.

That was a challenge.

Then there is the time to stand up and speak my experience and share what it’s been like and how I go forward from here.

Which is that I see and hear and rely on those that have gone before me, how they walk through, how I may do the same thing.

I am not the first person in the history of graduate school to be nervous about paying tuition.

Well, excepting those in European nations that pay for their citizens to attend school, but despite wanting to be French, I was not born there to take advantage of their school system.

Or Germany’s.

Someone suggested I move to Berlin for the free schooling they are now offering.

I don’t speak German though.

And I don’t want to move a way from San Francisco again.

This is home.

“I am so glad you moved back from Paris,” she said to me tonight before I stepped out into the hallway, “it’s really good having you here.”

It’s really good being here.

Home.

My little corner of the planet, which happens to exist in one of the most beautiful places on earth.

Not that I am biased or anything.

But San Francisco, she sure is pretty.

Especially when there are days like today when the entire city is outside enjoying 70 degree weather and sunshine.

The beach was packed.

The Mission was packed.

Dolores Park looked like a movie set.

I don’t know that there could have been one more person shoved into the green space on the hill, it was a carpet of people.

I laughed when I saw the park.

I was in the car with a friend whose surf board I had returned.

It was suggested to me I get it back to him.

I was on my way to say goodbye to a friend at Maxfield’s Cafe.

It was suggested I give him some space to have his process.

I amend my life the best way I know how, take the suggestions I am given, and try to live my life in a spiritually principled way.

How that comes across is none of my business.

I looked out over the faces in the room, full of light, full of unspeakable radiance and shine and perhaps that was because my eyes were full of tears with the gratitude I hold for them, or perhaps it was the face of God I was looking into.

All I know is that I am in the heart of love and that these ten years have been a gift I never expected or thought I was good enough to receive.

I hope I was a mirror to the people in front of me.

Love.

I love you.

Love.

Thank you for all you have given me.

Keep On

October 2, 2014

Keeping on.

I am making it through.

For the first time since I started the new job I did not feel exhausted when I got home.

I even made a pit stop for an hour at 7th and Irving and saw some folks I haven’t seen in a while.  That was super nice and relaxing and the ride home down Irving Street was chill too.

Lovely that the construction is done at Sunset and Irving and the dip down towards the sea was smooth sailing with very little traffic in sight.

I felt like I was flying.

My body seems to be getting adjusted to the work, which is harder than the work I had previous, the boys are bigger, and older than the previous little guys I was working with and the picking up and carrying around is making some inroads on my muscles.

The bicycle commute is getting easier too and I realized when I was stopped at a traffic light that I had not thought once about my ankle the entire day.

It seems I am having some acclimation.

Which I knew I would, but until it actually happens, is hard to fathom.

The job is going smooth and I am also starting to find a routine for myself and I have started setting little systems into place to help me stay on top of the ever mounting pile of boy stuff that needs handling every day.

They are such boys.

Rocks.

Dirt.

Sand.

Balls.

More rocks.

Bugs.

One of the boys actually discovered a chrysalis in the park and the butterfly just emerging on the leaf and drying its wings.

We were able to pick it up, careful to not touch the wings themselves, and watch it slowly open and close the wings until it was dry enough to fly.

Aside from the littlest guy when he naps, it was the stillest I have seen the boys.

They are in constant motion.

I can see why the other nanny didn’t want to work more than 40 hours a week, it’s exhausting keeping up with them.

And she’s 29.

I’m 41.

But, I have to say, I’m holding my own and enjoying my time with the family.

They are smart, capable, sweet people, who are really involved with their lives and their children are a reflection of that.

I feel super lucky to have gotten the job and when the mom apologized for the melee of yesterday evening with the double play date, I felt like hugging her, it’s nice to be acknowledged for my efforts and I am being seen for what I do.

I am being seen everywhere by people I have no clue who they are, but they notice too.

I have had a number of moms come up to me and say hello, recognizing either myself or the boys.

So many, in fact, that I am losing track of who I have met and which kids belong to whom.

But, I like that too, there’s a definite community of families in the neighborhood and I like that I am a part of that community.

It certainly makes me cheerful to engage with the people.

I never had that while I was nannying in Cole Valley.

I am not sure why exactly that is, but in the Mission I feel really connected to the neighborhood and the folks around the block where the boys live.

It has a definite neighborhood vibe to it.

Oh.

There’s the hustle and bustle of the Mission as well, and drug users, and derelicts, and pot heads, and homeless, but for what ever reason, not so much on the block they live on, it’s just enough removed from the ruckus that can get ahold of the Mission at times and make it a little rough and tumble around the edges.

All in all.

The job is working out.

I am grateful.

I am also grateful for the little epiphany I had this morning when I was doing my morning routine.

I have been reflecting on finances and financial aid and applying for it and what am I going to do as I don’t have a full year’s income on the books and I realized.

Oh.

I could file my taxes and include the income that I made off the books.

Yes.

I will probably owe money for taxes, but fingers crossed, I’ll have enough taken out for having claimed zero, to cover some of that.

I have records of what I spent and took in for every month in the year and I have saved all my receipts, and I have all my expenses noted that are in conjunction with work.

I know how much I made and I can declare it.

I guess that means I am really serious about going to graduate school.

I want to have a clean tax return to reflect honestly how much money I made, am making for this fiscal year, and to do the right thing and file a proper return.

I want to be able to apply for financial aid.

I won’t be able to do graduate school without taking on financial aid.

But I won’t be able to go forward trying to get in without being honest about my money.

It was revelatory.

Simple.

Honest.

Clean.

I laughed out loud when I realized that the one thing in my head that has been nagging at me was that I wasn’t planning on filing taxes properly for this year, how was I going to pull it over FAFSA’s head and get away with claiming less than I made so that I could get a larger loan package.

How about I just file properly and let what ever happens with financial aid happen.

If I don’t get aid.

Well.

I don’t go.

But if I don’t get aid because I was dishonest about my tax filing, then I am an asshole.

I don’t need to sabotage myself.

Honesty.

Today’s principle.

I still don’t want to claim my income, but that’s not going to stop me from actually doing the work.

When I know the work needs to be done, I can feel it in my gut and I am glad for it.

And things move forward.

And change happens.

Look ma!

I’m changing.

For the better, I might add.


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