Posts Tagged ‘first semester’

I Did It!

December 20, 2015

It is done.

This, my first semester of graduate school, is hereby finished.


I sent in two papers today.

One this morning before heading out the door to do the deal with my person up at Tart to Tart in the Inner Sunset.

The other.

About an hour ago.

I cannot believe it.

I am finished with the semester.


Free to move about the country.


The world.

As the case may be.

And the case, my suitcase, is packed.

All is good.

All is ready.

My passport in my wallet, my bags packed, my toiletries in the little clear plastic flight bag–the same one I bought at Sephora a little over three years ago when I decided to move to Paris.

I am a little incredulous how much stuff I got into my carry on.

My friend reports that he is a clothes horse, ah, yeah, and has to check a bag.



I don’t travel like that.

In fact.

I was feeling that my second carry on was too big and bulky and I said, fuck it, I’m just going to carry my suitcase and my purse.

I figure that’s enough.

I have enough.

I am enough.

I reiterated to myself as I went about my day getting ready to do all the things that needed to be done.

Methodical, with a little bit of anxiety about getting it all in, but a surety that it would be done.

That no matter what I would have it done.

Maybe I wouldn’t get as much sleep as I wanted.


My brain, the inflater of all things bad, never the good, always the bad, which should be a tip off, told me quite bold and loud that I would not have enough time to do my final psychodynamics paper and I should just put it off until I got back from Paris.

I was like.

Are you serious.



You are!


That’s an option.

I told my brain and then just started doing all the things that needed to be done.

I had some housekeeping, some emails, and some laundry to do this morning, plus the general housekeeping of my brain and the sweeping out of my heart any cobwebs from the night before.

I put fresh sheets and pillowcases on the bed.

I love to come home to a freshly made bed.

Such a small kindness to do for myself.

I am always grateful for my fresh made bed after a bit of travel.

Then, the breakfast, the coffee, the writing.

I gathered up my things and got my scooter ready.

Grateful for a break in the rain so that I could ride to 7th and Irving.

I parked and went to Tart to Tart.

I did some reading, some checking in, some inventory, some down loading of my previous week.

I got a lovely birthday card from my person and loads of perspective.

We talked about attraction rather than promotion.



She lived there once as well.

It was grand to compare notes.

Then she went her way and I made a few phone calls and posted a travel alert on my ATM card so that there would be no holds on it when I travel.

I went to the hardware store and bought a small padlock for my scooter basket.

I went to do the deal at 1p.m.


A late lunch at La Honda Mexican grill.

Just because I don’t eat flour doesn’t mean I can’t get my Mexican food on–a nice plate of carnitas, beans and rice, and a very happy and full lady went off to the nail salon.

A mani/pedi and eyebrow wax later.

I left the Inner Sunset after a brief freak out where I thought I had lost the keys to my scooter.

A totally odd.

(Is it odd or is it God?)

And very surreal experience that I will share with you privately should you really want to know, but suffice to say, it was beyond bizarre where my keys showed up.

I did find them.

I figured that twenty minutes was a moment of total surrender and that they would show up when I was supposed to be on my scooter riding it home.

Which is what happened.


I have to say it was such a spooky little experience that I decided to take the park home instead of Lincoln–it’s a much slower speed limit and much less traffic–and just get off the scooter and park it and lock it and cover it up.

I won’t be riding it for a week.

At least.

I got home and talked to my crazy brain about how to tackle the rest of the day.

I did a little grocery shopping.

I pulled out my carry on.

I made dinner.

And I put up a bunch of food into the freezer so I won’t have to cook when I get back from the trip.  I will have food prepped and ready to just pull out of the freezer and take to work.

Then I took out the notebook and the reader and I opened my laptop.

My brain clamored pretty loud.

Just put off the damn paper, you don’t know what you’re going to write about.


I didn’t.

Even though.

It turns out.

I did know.

I somehow always do.

That’s the miracle of it.

The words are there.

It’s the sitting down and the opening up of myself to what is happening.

And voila!

Less than an hour and a half later I had the paper written.

And may I say.

It was a good paper.

A really good paper.

I was happily surprise.

I wrote well, I understood what I was writing on and I am also aware that I learned while I was writing the paper, which is always the main deal for me.

In the experience of doing the final paper, I learned more.

This is a mark of a good teacher for me and also that I am a good student.

“You are an amazing student,” she said to me, after I had described a paper I had written for another class and the response to it.

“You are an academic, you may really want to think about going for the PhD.”

This has come up a few times.

And yes.

It is an ego feeding proposition.


It may also be something that I pursue.


Right now?


Right now.

I am fucking done!

I did it!

My first semester of graduate school finished.

I am over the moon and ready to land on the other side of the world.

Paris, France to be exact.

I will be seeing you soon, ma cherie.

My sweet City of Lights.

I bid you adieu and bonne nuit.

For tomorrow I fly to you once again.

I am.

The luckiest girl.

In the world.

I really am.

Almost There!

December 10, 2015

I said to her tonight and gave her a big hug.

She looked a little glassy eyed with sleep deprivation.

She, the woman with whom I was commiserating, is a third year graduate school student at the same school I am in.

This is her last push.

She finishes this weekend and she will have her Master’s degree.

Granted we are in different programs.

And different years.

But the feelings were the same.

Come on you can do it!

I actually got a little sick to my stomach when she described what she had to do to finish with her program.

Then I thought.

Not my program, my program may be very different when I get to my third year.


And yeah, haha, I’m still in my first and I’m doing ok.

In fact.

I am doing fucking awesome!

I got back my fourth reflection paper grade from my Human Development class.

Here are some of the comments:

Amazing and brave. It is so life-affirming to read your journey.

Beautifully descriptive narrative imagery, Carmen.

Grade: A

Great essay!

There was more, but, um, haha, no need to toot my own horn.


What I am more thrilled about is that I am off the hook for writing the third optional paper.

Unless I fall flat on my fucking face in class with my final presentation project, I will get an “A” in the course.

Small happy dance of joy.

And back to the blog.

The other thing, that I just acknowledged in a phone call with my person, I have done the work.

I mean.

For the first time all semester, I am completely up on all my reading.

I did it all.

I finished it all.

I read it all.


I am that person.

I am even re-reading a little of it before class on Friday because I can and I will need to have a better grasp of my Psychoanalytic readings to be able to write the last paper for the class.


I liked typing that.

The last paper for the class.

I have tentative dinner plans to celebrate with a friend on Sunday.

I’m going to give my friend the biggest hug ever.

Ever, ever?


I remember the warmth of congratulations given to me when he heard about my getting into the program and also when I shared about my scholarship news.

I feel like I have had this friend in my pocket, like an ace up my sleeve, helping me, giving me rides to class, grabbing me coffees before class, helping me grocery shop, so many things.

Probably too many to recount here.

But I wrote them all out this morning in my journal, my morning pages, my morning routine.

It just poured out, this river of gratitude for the gifts I have received.

There are so many.


I have also received unexpected gifts from the school program.

The first being the simple acknowledgement that I belong where I am, that I am on the right path, even if I’m not certain exactly where it is going, that I am talented and smart and capable and can do the work.

The next is the surprising friendships I have struck up with women who I never would have met otherwise, and who I cannot imagine moving forward without in my life.

So very graced.

So blessed.

I have school “girl” friends!

I mean.


I almost just blushed with that.

I am so pleased.



I feel loved.

I know that sounds silly, but I have new girl friends and that makes my heart happy and I know that I will have them always in my life.

Maybe not under the exact same circumstances, we won’t always be in school, but I know, they will always be in my life.

Such gifts.

A wealth.

An abundance.


I was thinking of a group of girlfriends.

Sort of my first group of solid out in the real world girl friends.

How they got out and ahead and I somehow faltered and fell behind.

It’s not much of a secret what happened.

I fell down into the selfish hell hole of my addiction and the narrow parameters of living a lie coupled with a complete inability to be a friend to anyone, not myself, not another human being, in any true manner of the word, and of course, my friends left me.

Out paced me.

Out grew me.

Said, hey, “I love you, but I can’t be a part of this anymore.”

“I’m done.”

That hurt.

But it hurt in a way that it sunk home.

Of course, it didn’t stop me.

I still kept on.

Not for much longer though.

Of those three girlfriends I am in touch with just one.


Public Relations maven.



Which one of these is not like the other?

I realize today, as I was getting ready for work and did a quick scroll on facecrack and saw one of those ladies post a life event (we are still all connected on social media) that I have finally, almost, not quite, but kind of getting there, catching up to them.

They all have Masters degrees, law degrees, nursing degrees.

They are smart capable women, all with children and husbands and careers.

I’m the weirdo.

Single, tattooed, artist, Burning Man attendee, bicycle commuting, pink hair, sometimes in a faux hawk or studded with fake flowers, odd duck who lives in San Francisco.

Or I can flip it and say I am a powerful, realized, self-acknowledged, hard working, graduate school student, who works full time as a professional nanny (a job that I would not have gotten without my undergrad degree, fyi, not for the money I’m making as a nanny), who has overcome what on the outside looked like insurmountable poverty, neglect, trauma, physical abuse, abandonment, stress, PTSD, clinical depression, rape, incest, being stalked–to getting sober, writing a book, no not just a book, but three manuscripts about those aforementioned “misadventures,” being published in Paris, blogging for five plus years, being a world traveler, having love and friends and community in abundance around me.

I am more actualized and realized than I ever was.

More authentically me.


It took me a little longer to get here.

“I wish you a long, slow recovery,” she said wisely.

What the hell does that mean?  I thought, but hugged her back.

I know now.

And I am so utterly.




Beyond words.

So grateful.

I ache with it.


But in a very good way.

The kind of way that tells me I am exactly where I am supposed to be.




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