Posts Tagged ‘forgiveness’

Huge Relief

September 10, 2017

To change my mind.

To see where I was taking on too much.

To apologize and make an amends to a friend.

To get honest with my person and with myself.

To see where my priorities lie.

To let go.

To surrender.

Such relief.

I have been grappling with something for a few weeks now and I suspect that recent events in my life, like letting go of the idea that I have to go to Burning Man every year for the rest of my life and that I always have to be working toward something, coalesced this afternoon as I rode my scooter into my internship.

I don’t want to do the Aids Life Cycle Ride.

Let me clarify.

If I wasn’t working 40 hours a week, interning 15 hours, and going to graduate school full-time I would be totally down with doing the ride.

But.

I realized.

I am working so hard already and to commit to another commitment seems fool hardy, prideful, and unrealistic.

I like to believe that I am superhuman.

“You don’t have to be Super Carmen,” my person told me, “Carmen is good enough.”

Fuck me.

I forget that all the time.

As if I am not constantly trying to self-improve, do better, live harder, go bigger, I am not enough.

And.

Good fucking grief.

I am enough.

I also realized that I had self-sabotaged myself by committing to do something that would make me re-arrange my already super full schedule and in effect make it so I would not have any days off.

NONE.

Yes, that’s right, I would be working full-time, seven days a week, for the next 10 months.

Fuck that.

I deserve to let myself have a little down time.

To love and be loved.

To not go crazy in my last year of my Masters program.

I mean.

I’m still working six days a week, I’m not slacking.

I rode my scooter to my internship and thought, it’s ok to change my mind, it’s ok to see where I bit off too much and it’s alright to acknowledge that maybe I knew this all along.

That maybe I didn’t buy the road bike when I had the chance because I really knew I didn’t want to do the ride.

I think I was setting myself up to give myself an out.

I had run into my friend who convinced me to ride again a week before I went to Burning Man and his talks about doing training rides made me feel nauseous.

How the hell was I going to fit it in?

I started to consciously let myself know that maybe, just maybe, it would be ok if I changed my mind.

I actually think going to Burning Man really helped me with that.

I realized there, at the event, on a very deep level, that I work really hard to work really hard on my vacations.

Maybe.

Just maybe.

Instead of busting my ass, granted for an amazing cause, and I don’t regret the $95 I dropped to register, it’s a gift that I wouldn’t ask back if I could have it back, to bust my ass on my vacation.

Maybe.

I might want to actually have a vacation.

Like.

Lay on a beach.

Or.

Sit in a fucking cafe and read a book, people watch, drink coffee at ridiculous hours and not worry about getting up at the crack of dawn to ride 100+ miles and then come back from a seven-day ride, for which I would be using my vacation time, to go right back to work.

I mean.

Maybe I want a real vacation.

And.

Then.

When I said it out loud, when I got on the phone with my person, I got to my internship a little early simply so I could have time to talk with my person, I felt the biggest most amazing relief.

I knew in that instant that it was the right decision for me.

“Honestly, doll, I’m relieved to hear you say this, I was wondering when you were going to come to this realization.”

OH my god.

I love that he doesn’t judge me, that he didn’t tell me to not do it, that he let me have my process, and then to have it reflected back to me with honesty, well, that was that.

I’m not doing the Aids ride.

And I am ok with it.

We talked a lot about things happening in my life and I shared about a great deal of joyful things and it was so good to catch up.

I also talked about doing a trip for my graduation.

What that might look like.

Barcelona.

Paris, maybe L’Ile de Re, where my friend has a family home, off the West Coast of France, especially since she was such an important part of my first two years in the program.

That it might be really nice to see her and celebrate the accomplishment.

She was also the person who has said time and again how much I would like Barcelona.

In fact.

My savings account, I have two, one is my prudent reserve, and the second, my travel savings, is called Barcelona.

Not “going to Burning Man” again next year.

Not “doing the Aids LifeCycle ride and spending over three thousand dollars on a bicycle, gear, and who knows how many countless hours on the training.”

NOPE.

It’s named, “Barcelona,” because when my friend mentioned how I should go I thought, that would make a great graduation trip.

So maybe instead of sabotaging my dream with stuffing in more than I can handle, it’s ok to admit I made a mistake.

I told my friend tonight face to face and sat down and talked to him.

He totally got it, and then he added, “I totally honey potted you into agreeing, you know I did, don’t feel bad that you can’t, it’s ok.”

It’s ok.

Sigh.

Fuck.

Thank you.

I apologized again and hugged him and that was that.

I need to apologize to the three people who donated and then I think I’m clear.

I’ll also contact my ride representative and rescind the ride number, the ride will fill up and someone else will get to ride in my stead.

And.

I also contacted my assistant director, who is in charge of scheduling my clients and said, I need to not take clients on Saturdays.  I can do a consult now and then, but no clients.

At least for this semester.

I feel a lot better.

Much clearer.

Much cleaner.

And so relieved to be just regular old Carmen.

Super Carmen gets to put her cape back in the closet for at least today.

Thank God.

It needs a dry cleaning anyhow.

Ha.

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A Little Here

August 23, 2017

A little there.

I got some more reading done today for school, which I find funny as it was the opening salvo in my therapy session this morning.

I’m behind on my reading, and school hasn’t started yet, and for the first time in the history of my grad school career I don’t give any of the fucks.

I mean.

A little.

Sort of.

But mostly.

Fuck no.

I have spent so much time now seeing clients and getting into the mix and showing up to be a therapist that school stuff seems to have lost a lot of its luster.

Oh sure.

I know I have so much to learn, there is always going to be learning, I will and have years of it to go.

Getting done with my third year of my Masters program is sort of the tip on the iceberg, I will still have to intern for years before I have enough hours accrued to get licensed.

That being said.

School seems to hold less gravitas for me.

I am excited to see my cohort, I have had a lot of them reach out to me in the last few days and it feels good to be getting reconnected.

Third year!

I am a third year.

This is the big push.

One more year of this program and then.

Well.

Probably more school.

Although I’m not 100% sure.

I have, at least it seems very likely, unless I win the lottery which would allow me to not work, about two and a half years of work to do before I have all my hours.

Give or take.

I might as well go for my PhD.

I will still have to work full time or damn close.

Although.

I’ll be dropping down my hours when I get back from Burning Man.

38 hours a week from 41.

This doesn’t count my supervision, therapy, or client hours.

Just plain work hours will go down three hours a week.

Which doesn’t seem like much, but will be a great big help.

I can get a lot read in three hours.

I can.

I ended up getting in four chapters of reading this evening, as a matter of fact, at the internship when my first client cancelled.

If only they would’ve coordinated!

My clients that is, so that I didn’t have to sit for an hour in the office waiting for my end of day client, but hey, I read for school and that was great.

I finished the reading for another one of my classes.

I don’t know that I have much more time to get anything else read.

Especially since most of it is online material and I’m loathe to bring my laptop with me to work to read.

On the off-chance that I might have some down time.

It’s generally not worth the risk of me taking it.

I’ll still bring one of my textbooks with me, get a little further ahead in the reading as the case may be, if there’s time.

Like I said, at this point in the game, there’s not much and my life priorities being what they are, I am completely fine with this.

“I’m sure you have much more read than most of your cohort,” my therapist said to me as I explained my school stuff, “I suspect, you have always been a bit more prepared than most of your cohort,” she concluded.

And.

Well.

Yes.

She’s right.

I am a horrid perfectionist.

But that has eased as I have gotten used to the program and having seen the few times when I wasn’t completely caught up with my reading that I still held my own.

I am smart, I know how to listen, and I know how to contribute.

The one class that I haven’t really touched into yet for the reading was the last class to post its syllabus.

But.

Heh.

Um.

It’s a Transpersonal Psychology class.

So.

Spirituality and spiritual practices.

Yeah.

I think I might have that one bagged.

We have to keep a journal.

Pardon me while I laugh into my sleeve.

That shouldn’t be hard.

Ahem.

And talk about our spiritual experiences.

That will be interesting.

Like.

I put a prayer in my God box today.

God box?

Yes.

I have this hot pink, magenta really, pylon bunny rabbit from Paris that is a piggy bank, and I use it as a “God Box” a sort of repository for “problems” or things that I need to let go of and that I want God to have, I write down what I need to give to God, on a post it note, this one was pink, and then I fold it up, and say a few prayers.

I believe in prayer.

And I have a God of my understanding.

It doesn’t much matter to me what you think of me writing that God notes to help alleviate my issues, whatever they may be.

It’s the action that counts.

I don’t have to know the end results, in fact, it’s generally better if I don’t, I just have to take actions and something happens.

The writing it down and giving it up is an action of humility.

I don’t know how to deal with this, I am not God, I need help, I asking for guidance.

I can’t really do anything alone or in isolation.

I am not built like that.

Oh.

Fuck.

I have so tried.

I so want to figure it out on my own, I don’t want help, or so I say, I want to be strong and mighty and fierce and get it done without your help.

But.

Then.

When I don’t ask for help or I eschew what is being offered out of a false sense of pride, I ultimately lose.

I isolate.

I am alone.

And lonely.

That is never a good place for me to be.

So, yeah.

Just taking the time to write a little note and pop it in the God box, it does wonders.

I suppose my practice may seem strange or funny and I don’t really care.

I also pray in the morning, on my knees, another act of humility, a supplication, please help me, help me be of service, help me be kind, compassionate, tolerant, loving and forgiving.

Help me forgive myself, love myself, be the best possible version of me I can be.

Which I am not always.

I can get caught up in all sorts of scattered thinking or being maudlin, or distracted.

But.

To circle back.

I can forgive myself.

I haven’t finished the reading.

I won’t finish it.

It’s ok.

All I really have to do is show up on time.

Participate.

And be myself.

The rest will follow.

It always.

Always.

Always.

Does.

Happy Thanksgiving!

June 1, 2017

Yes.

I am aware that tomorrow is June 1st and not November.

It has been one hell of a month.

So much happening.

Amazing things truly.

I love my life, I’m lucky, I’m graced, I’m blessed.

And.

I might just being going to Hawaii for Thanksgiving!

Yup.

It will be my first time, unless something unusual pops up and I find myself in the islands, which I am not opposed to, but to tell you the truth, I hadn’t expected to hear the news today that I might be in the islands for the holiday.

My family I work for brought it up today.

I will have off that weekend from school and work, well, since it is work, will let me have the time.

It’s not a real vacation for me, I’ll be working, but, oh, the location does not suck.

Not at all.

And like I said, I’ve never been to Hawaii.

I really should go, I am part Polynesian after all.

Puerto Rican and Polynesian on my father’s side.

German and Scot on my mom’s side.

I had someone tell me once that I was a Polynesian princess mixed with white trash.

Heh.

I might have a little trashy in me.

I definitely have some princess in me, that’s for sure.

Nevertheless, I am thrilled at the idea.

I love that the family really wants me to be included in their lives and I really love working for them.

Tomorrow marks five months of work and it’s been such a great job for me and the parents really appreciate me and the kids love me.

I love my charges.

LOVE.

Both of the older kids were under the weather today and one of them stayed home from school.

Work was huge amounts of snuggling, singing every song I know from my years of being a nanny, and an almost endless repetition of a lullaby that I usually sing to the baby, and all the babies I have ever worked with and a lot of my toddlers too, to the oldest boy while rubbing his back and petting him and just sitting and crooning to him.

He is the sweetest boy and super smart and vulnerable and the request to keep repeating the lullaby and stroking his soft blonde hair, oh, my heart, I just wanted to curl him up in my arms and kiss away the fever.

He got lots of love and I got to be the Queen of Snuggles.

I also got to do some cooking while he was watching a movie, sick days get movies, and I revelled in the cooking.

It feels good to cook, I miss it sometimes, cooking for a partner or my family.

I used to cook all the big holiday meals for my family and oh, the baking, and the stews, the jams and cheesecakes and pies, the cookies and pork chops.

Midwestern much.

Aside.

I said “bubbler” today and the woman looked at me like I was an alien.

Bubbler is water fountain in Wisconsineese.

I made up that last word, rhymes with cheese, bubbler is a total Wisconsin word, there are a few more, but that one slips once in a while into the conversation, or “pop” instead of “soda.”

Once and a while my roots show.

I am, however, not so connected to my Hawaiian and Puerto Rican roots.

My father wasn’t much around growing up and though I always kept in touch with my grandmother, I didn’t have much idea about Hawaii.

I had things from Hawaii that my grandmother would send and I remember boxes of chocolate covered macadamia nuts and once a grass skirt, coming in the mail from my grandmother.

I think we had placemats too and a few books about the islands and where the family was from.

It wasn’t until I moved back to California as an adult that I met my father’s side of the family in a more concrete way.

I remember meeting some cousins for the first time and being blown away by how much I looked like them, how they looked like my sister, and how I was actually lighter skinned than the majority of the family.

“They look like me!”

It was a relief and in a way an almost instantaneous connection that I had not always felt with my mothers Germanic roots and Scottish ancestry.

I was neither pale skin nor blue-eyed, or green-eyed as my mother.

I did not have blond hair.

Nope.

I got tan.

I didn’t really burn.

Well, once in a while, after long ass days detassling corn in the fields around Waunakee during the summers when I was working the crews, I might get a shoulder burn or a heavy crop dusting of freckles.

My mom though, my God, she could burn so easily, such creamy white fair skin.

Yeah.

So coming to California and starting to get those connections to my father’s family was a revelation.

I’m still not as close as I suppose I can be, social media does most of the work for me and there’s still stuff with my father that I have reservations broaching my family about.

I ceded his care when I was in Alaska in the hospital to the head of the administrative at the hospital.

I love my father.

I have exquisite and amazing child hood memories of him.

I also have some pretty awful ones too.

But.

He wasn’t around and when he had the accident that lead to the coma that led me to Anchorage, I went almost more to settle my own heart, then for anything else.

I sat by that hospital bed in the ICU for four night and five days.

He was in a coma the entire time I was there.

I held his hand and talked to him.

I forgave him.

And.

I asked for him to forgive me.

I made friends in Anchorage and the fellowship there carried me when I wanted to collapse into the snowbanks and the cold air and just cry my heart out.

I managed to not get stuck in any snowbanks but I won’t ever forget the dark night sky outside the window of the room the hospital hospitality house put me up in, for families of critical care patients at the facility, and the roughness of the sheets on the bed and how alone I was.

No.

That’s not true.

I wasn’t alone, I had God, I was carried, but I was by myself.

I was grateful, beyond grateful, to be there for my family and to relay messages out to the world and to let my grandmother be in contact with me and my uncle and my cousins and the love seed that was planted there.

I have never talked to any of them about letting go of my father’s care, but I did visit my grandmother that next summer and it meant everything to me to say “I love you,” and in that moment, as I was leaving to get on a plane from San Diego, in my grandmothers arms, I could feel how much she loved me too.

I will always have that moment.

And I look forward to getting to go to Hawaii.

Even if it’s not with my employers, which is sounds like it might actually be, I will go.

I have some more healing to do in that corner of my heart history.

I will swim in the ocean and walk on the beaches and turn my face to the sun.

I will go home again.

Although it has never left me.

Impressed as it is on the cheekbones in my face, the wide plush smile on my face, the curls in my hair, the freckles on the crest of my nose, the wilderness of my hips, the sway in my walk.

I have not forgotten.

I always have had the islands in me.

Always.

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.

End Days

December 15, 2016

I had my last day with the family up in Noe Valley today.

My key ring is just a little bit lighter.

And my heart a little bit softer and sad.

But a sweet kind of sad.

A grateful kind of melting in my heart, all the brood wrapped up in a blanket on the couch, even the dog cuddled under my arm, the oldest boy reading his own book, the middle boy and I counting meerkats in the find the meerkat book, and the littlest girl on my lap intermittently reading Pete the Cat with me.

It was pretty awesome.

We even had a special bubble bath, heaps of bubbles and finger painting soap.

It was hilarious.

I was a little remiss to discover that I had the full afternoon to myself and the baby and the boys were getting picked up by grandma to do cookie baking.

I had thought I would have all three the whole day.

I had plans.

Oh well.

But.

I still got to have some time alone with all of them and it was good.

I also kicked myself a little for not bringing my Psychopathology with me to work on, I could have knocked out another couple of hours.

But this morning I decided I wasn’t going to lug around all the books and notebooks, I have never had a Wednesday when I was able to get time alone to do homework.

Let alone breathe, most of the time juggling three is a new level of nannying for me.

It was good practice though and the experience will not be lost on me as I transition to the next family and their soon to be three children–mom is due on December 30th.

I start on January 2nd.

That’s not so far away and yet feels like years away.

So much in between here and there.

Just knocking them out day by day.

Doing yoga.

Got up again today and went.

It was hard.

Super fucking hard.

There are some poses that my body just can’t get to, I’m too tight, too stiff, have had too much damage done, bad ankles, bad knees.

I leaked tears.

I have a really hard time doing any of the squatting poses and I tried, I really did, but between the shoulder that’s been a pester and my ankles being awful (I mean I may have sustained that ankle injury two years ago, but that bitch flairs up all the time, ALL the time) I ended up seizing up.

My legs cramped.

I got a Charley horse.

And my foot began to cramp.

I fell out of the pose and tried to catch my breath in child’s pose while the rest of the class blithely went about doing it as if it were nothing.

I cried, but it was not an angry kind of cry.

It was sort of surrendering to the moment cry and the tears were yes because I was in pain, but also, there was some emotional baggage there that I just didn’t even realize until a little more time had pass and the class was winding down.

As I lay there on the mat, eyes closed, tears sliding down my face, I made an amends to myself.

Out of nowhere, this part of me just sobbed, inside, “I’m sorry, I’m so sorry.”

And then.

I forgave myself.

I beat my body up.

I used my body as a shield.

I over ate to protect my too tender heat not realizing how harmful it was going to be later down the line.

I took relief and succor where I could find it.

It did not serve.

My brain perhaps, it alleviated the pain of being in my body, in this world, with all the suffering contingent therein.

I didn’t know any better.

And I did the best I could.

I wore shitty shoes and didn’t exercise and ate crap for decades.

Until I didn’t.

But it took awhile and instead of going to that place I do sometimes in my brain when I want to explain to everyone around me why I can’t do something, why my body, older by far than the whippet lithe bodies of twenty year olds around me, wasn’t capable of doing what everyone else could do, I stopped.

I don’t need to tell anyone my story, I don’t need to justify my experience, I don’t have to explain.

I don’t owe anyone an explanation.

All that matters is that I showed up.

And when I think about all the abuse I have been through and all the abuse I have heaped upon myself and all the things I put into my body, well, fuck, thank  God I still have a body to walk around in, to do yoga in, to make love in, to sleep in, to enjoy eating food in.

Because if life were fair.

I’d be dead.

Seriously.

So as I lay on that mat, softly tearing up, welling with emotions, I forgave myself, I forgave myself for it all and I made a promise, to my body, from my heart, I will do the best I can to take care of you, body, I will love you and nourish you and treat you kindly and exercise and keep showing up for yoga and it will be a life long amends.

I felt soothed and relieved and wiped out and it wasn’t even time to go to work yet.

A hot shower.

A hot cup of coffee.

Some oatmeal.

And work.

And love.

And yeah, so I didn’t get to that paper today, it would have been interrupted anyway, I did have a wonderful day with the baby and the boys and I took a long walk and I wrote the last of my Christmas cards and I sent out little reminders to friends about Sunday and brunch on my birthday.

My birthday feels so far away.

Until I finish the last paper, it all feels very far away.

Anyway.

Right here.

Right now.

I’m tired.

I’m going to make some more tea and snuggle into my cozy bed, watch my Christmas tree, revel in my body, grateful for all the places it has carried me today.

So grateful to be in this body.

Especially.

As I sit quietly waiting for the ibuprofen to kick in.

Seriously.

Doing The Work

October 13, 2016

And doing the homework while doing the work.

I did both today.

I did a lot today.

It was a day.

Tomorrow will be a day too.

All the days.

All the work.

Letting out slow, long breath and waiting for the tea pot to boil.

It was a good day at work.

It was a good day to do a lot of work.

I’m done with it for the moment and need a reprieve, which will look an awful lot like watching Project Runway and chilling out with an apple after I finish this blog.

I have done enough.

And.

I remind myself that I am enough.

That I am resilient and strong and I have come through so much to be where I am at and I am grateful that I have been carried to a place where I can see that.

It stops with me.

I thought today, a couple of times.

Then.

I thought.

What if that’s just another way of me trying to protect me?

How about I change instead.

How about I look at the trans-generational traumas in my family on my father’s side and on my mother’s side as the things that have made me the diamond that I am.

“Sometimes God uses a heavy hand to create a beautiful thing,” she told me as I sobbed my way through my first real inventory over a decade ago now.

The pressure it takes to create a diamond from the black morass of sadness I was created.

The crucible that holds me I cannot even begin to list all the ways and hows of it.

The secrets and shame and the wildness and the wrong.

The places I have tried to hide and not be found.

I always was.

I always knew.

I know now and it is a deep sadness, but also a formidable strength.

I sometimes can get tired trying to process it all.

“You had this conversation while you were at work?” He asked me aghast on the phone.

I did.

I had a very deep, but not totally deep, there were layers of things left unsaid and things that I still have questions about, but I got what I needed and I could trace the wellsprings of it farther back than I had first suspected.

High temperatures, high drama, high pressures.

I had some clue, but then I had no clue.

And yet, I knew all along.

In fact.

I had avoided making this particular call as I wasn’t sure I really wanted to open the can of worms.

“Sometimes going to far into a genogram can be hard for a client to deal with,” my advisor said to me as I showed him some of the work I had done.

Um.

Yeah.

And there’s so much more.

It’s like a legacy of pain that just rolls through my family.

It is astounding and deep and yet.

I feel that somehow or other I have gotten out, gotten over to the other side and I am looking at it from a distance.

Yet.

There are these ways that I react to the world and there are these defenses I have that I would like to let go of, to open myself up to more life, to not be fearful that I will be shattered again and need to begin again.

The things that worked for me, the safety defenses, they don’t work so much anymore.

And “it stops with me,” in the way that I have used it is not working.

No partner, no relationship, no children.

Because that way I wouldn’t pass it down.

It would really stop with me.

Ultimately that kind of isolation hurts me too.

It’s a solution and a defense that needs to change.

Grateful for the awareness.

Now to wade through the acceptance part and the forgiveness part and get to the action part.

Not sure exactly what action to take, except that right in front of me and to take the suggestions that others have to give me and to not carry the secret or the shame of it that curdles inward and hurts worse than shining the light on it.

Oh.

There are nooks and crannies I’m not too compelled to go spelunking in, at least not right yet, not right now.

I don’t need to stare at my past, I can just look, take it in, and accept it.

And remind myself that acceptance is not approval.

Fuck no

I fucking hella disapprove of the shit that went down.

I do not, I do not, I do not.

That being said, I can’t change it at all.

Although having a different perspective and hearing about some of the things in my family history definitely cast a different light on things.

So much compassion for the human experience.

And that I’m not dead.

For fucks sake.

Or in some straight jacket or in a gutter with a needle in my arm.

The noise of it all.

The machinery of the monsters that clanks down the hall to stumble upon me hiding in the shadows.

I will not have it.

I will not live underneath that banner of fright.

So.

I heal.

Soft and slow.

Gently I go.

It’s the only way.

Compassion and gentleness for myself and awareness that this does take time, perhaps my whole damn life, and that’s ok too, I shall always be seeking and that, that I do believe, is what will make my life that much fuller and richer and deeper and more experiential.

I am not numb.

Granted I am a little tired.

Granted I would like to make a phone call and say.

Come over, hold me, make it all better.

But there is no one to call that can make it all better.

All better is between me and my God.

And so far.

Well.

Things are going ok.

Really.

They are.

And when they are not, I know where to turn and I know that my feelings are fleeting, they pass, the sadness will be followed by joy or awe or discomfort or all of hundreds of other feeling states.

Feelings are not facts and they won’t kill me.

What I hope is that I can lose a little more of my rigidity and become more flexible while not losing myself or my self care.

Find me in the rooms with art.

Find me with flowers in my hair.

Find me with children stew across my lap, warm, and a sweet and wearing footie pajamas and listening to me read stories.

Find me with love in my heart.

Find me with my heart on my sleeve.

Find me loving, lovable and worthy of love.

Yes.

Love.

Find me there.

In that field of fallen stars, like fireflies in the grass, at the dusk of this purpled twilight of pain and gray sadness a silent reprieve of pearl light and luminous joy, a flower blooming, a remonstrance of family and a flying laugh, a wallop of joy, a holler of thunder in this church of pain.

The doors flung open.

My heart to big to be contained.

Or.

Restrained.

No more.

My.

Love.

Restrain me no more.

Stood Up

July 17, 2016

But not angry about it.

In fact.

I was rather relieved.

I sort of expected the guy to stand me up.

And since.

I had spent the previous half hour slowly sobbing into a puddle at Tart to Tart with my person and doing some inventory.

I was indeed relieved.

I was a hot mess.

Fact is, I still am.

Which happens, I forget, despite my exhortations to the universe to have a magical and amazing Saturday.

Instead it was just tender and raw, or it wasn’t, I was, I am.

I just have to change some stuff and I don’t feel comfortable with it.

Fear.

Fuck everything and run.

Or.

Face everything and recover.

I got some big prideful pants on right now and they are not serving me at all.

I have been having some issues with work, not being able to set a boundary, hoping that instead it will magically happen.

That somehow my employer will read my mind and know that I need a break.

But.

Nobody’s a fucking mind reader and people are too busy thinking about themselves, hey, look at me, I’m thinking about myself right now, and nobody knows what I need, except.

Well.

Fuck.

Me.

So.

I’m not getting the kind of break I need at work.

And I feel appalled to admit it, that I’m not some fucking super hero who can do it all.

I can’t.

I’ve been trying.

I know that I am owed a break and I don’t know how to ask for it or to express that I need a break from the whole family, not just the kids.

It’s something I keep going back to and feeling this horrid shame that I need something from my job other than the paycheck.

That to do my job well I have to get more of a break.

That being in the house with any kind of responsibility to it is not a break, it doesn’t matter that I have done it in the past, rolled along, taken my break when the kid is sleeping and sometimes the nap is long and it is lovely and sometimes the nap is short and hey, as a nanny I just roll with it.

But the family I work for, work’s from home and I feel like I have to be on at all times, that I am always being observed and it’s fucking exhausting.

And I keep saying.

Everything is fine, fine, fine.

But.

It’s not.

See, I know my job’s hard, and the people I work with, not my employers, but the people I do do the deal with, know it’s hard, a lot of friends and my school cohort know it’s a hard job. But the parents, they don’t see it that way.

Or maybe they do, I mean, I can’t read their mind either.

I just know that being in an environment in which the parents are always there is like being constantly supervised and scrutinized and I’m just not in a good spot with it at the moment.

I didn’t get out at all from the house this past week, except once to the farmer’s market with they boys, I didn’t go for a walk, I didn’t get to take them to the playground, I didn’t have respite or the relief that I find when I am out of the house and not under the eye of the parents or the monitors and camera’s.

I also know, acutely, that so much of this is also of my own making, that I need to speak up.

I have once.

It was really hard and the parents had a hard time hearing what I said and I got what I asked for, but it went away, slow and sure, and now I’m back at that point where I wonder if it’s just not time to go back to working with babies again.  Or have the conversation once again, I need a break, that I’m not getting enough structure to allow myself the flexibility to the job as well as I could be.

“There are so many jobs out there,” she said to me today, “so many.”

I have to do some more writing.

She suggested I write out exactly what I want and then just say it, regardless of consequence.

Fear says, oh conflict, oh confrontation, oh shit, you’ll lose your job and wind up being abandoned and alone and homeless in the park with a cat.

Fuck off.

I am so sick of that fear and I am so tired of doing this same fucking work.

So.

Change.

I have to change.

My employers don’t have to change.

I have to change.

I also have to lay off the beating myself up about it.

It doesn’t help.

I hate feeling tender and vulnerable and asking for what I need leads to those feelings.

I suspect because I had a lot of denial around my needs during times when I needed to have things met.

The basic things, shelter, food, clothes, love, nurturing, unconditional support.

I got what I got and it was good enough.

I am good enough and I don’t have to look to my job to be my joy or my identity.

I also get to practice in this relationship whatever it is that God needs me to be working on.

There is stuff here.

Obviously.

I’m in the job until I learn what I need to learn.

I am in the job until I fail to be of service to it.

Ironic that I can’t be of good service if I’m not taking care of myself, so the uncomfortable task of self-searching and being open for something new, whether it’s a new attitude and approach to this job or it’s looking for a job that will fit my needs better.

I need to know what my needs are.

I can surmise that the discomfort of not asking for a break is rapidly becoming harder to bear than the discomfort of not taking said break.

I am not a super hero.

I can’t be a super nanny.

I don’t want to burn out and I can’t be the best nanny if I’m nursing resentments.

All of them pretty much aimed at myself.

I’m a sitting duck.

I’m tired of shooting at myself.

I give up God.

Got some guidance?

I’ll take it.

Thanks man, I’m tired of learning this lesson.

I surrender.

Which.

In some circles is considered going over to the winning side.

I rather like the way that sounds.

The winning side is where it’s at.

Seriously.

 

And A Razor Of Love

April 29, 2016

You have been unfriended.

I let you go.

“Let him go,” my person said to me tonight, eyes warm, soft, gentle, holding me every step of the way.

I have.

I have let so much go.

So much it is unreal.

I have walked through an unwieldy mess of emotions and feelings, grief, sorrow, joy, reprise, replete, repeat, let go, surrender.

And breathe.

There were many tears tonight when I met my person.

That happens.

Especially when I feel safe, I can be vulnerable and express my feelings and though there were many tears, they were great big tears of relief.

“This is a huge forgiveness piece for you around your mother,” my person said.

Yes.

Oh yes.

I could have easily called this blog, “If it’s not you, it’s my mother.”

I laughed out loud when I heard that.

But it’s the truth.

There has been a seismic shift in my relationship with my mother, my memory, my life, my childhood, all the things and place and sorrows whereof.

An easing.

A, yes, a deep forgiveness.

“You still need to bring up all this with a therapist,” my person said, “that’s going to be a part of your program, isn’t it?”

A yup.

The therapist in training, moi, will be doing therapy as a part of my Masters in Psychology program.

It doesn’t happen for a little while yet, but I have already experienced some of it in the work that I have done with my cohort and to be honest, it has been the school work that has helped lead me to this opening in my heart and this re-organizing of my emotions around my mom.

I used to joke, I guess used to is not exactly on point, since i said it on Sunday to an acquaintance at the cafe, “I was raised by wolves, well meaning wolves, but wolves nonetheless.”

Then.

Yesterday I had this very insightful conversation with my mom about some family origin stuff, I found out some things about my mom, about my dad, about my beginnings, and it was like so many puzzle pieces connecting.

I saw blue skies.

I saw joy.

I saw so much sorrow and grief and I saw a way out and through.

I have been on this way out and through for a very long time.

I have done so much work.

SO MUCH.

I suppose the gift is that I will continue to get to do this work, there are new places to delve, new revelations to be had, new angles, there will be more of this path to walk down.

I had this strange moment while I was out at the park with my charges and it just ran through me, call your mom.

And I did.

And we talked.

Suffice to say it was pretty private and personal and because so much of what was revealed was not actually about me, although it affected me greatly and a times very gravely, it is not my place to reveal what was revealed to me.

At least not in this forum.

I have already decided that I will be writing a paper on it, the experience and the exchange of information, it was very relevant to a final paper project that I have to work on for school.

I’ll be hitting that bad boy out of the park come Sunday.

I’m not ready for Sunday yet, let me stay here in today for a little while yet.

However.

I can say, quite unequivocally that I am no longer going to carry around grief that is not mine.

I am not a repository for my mother’s grief any longer.

I did not say that to her, that shift in perspective did not happen until today, this morning, when, yes, ugh, I was at yoga and I was in a bind.

LITERALLY!

I did a binding pose that I have not hit once since starting yoga two months ago, but today, I reached for it and my heart lifted and I felt this burst of joy, a great wave of it, a tidal pool of it, a tsunami of emotions.

I almost laughed out loud with the happy.

Then, yes.

Of course.

I cried.

I bawled.

Well.

Maybe not bawled, that sounds like it was loud, it was not loud, although it felt deafening at one point to be so sluiced in feelings.

I’m not going to carry her sorrow any more, I told myself.

It was washed away, my mother’s grief and pain and sorrow, her losses and misfortunes these are not my burdens, I don’t have to carry them.

I don’t know that I was ever properly asked and the tragedy of that is that I am only realizing this now.

And.

The amazing, awesome, hot damn news.

Is that I am realizing it at all.

I love my mom.

She did the best she could and if you had said that to me at certain points in my life I would have told you to go hit the crack pipe again and get back to me.

I always felt like that was an excuse, sorry it was so rough kiddo, I was just doing the best I could.

But in between the spaces, the lines of telephone wires looping through the history of our shared and divergent paths, there was a shift and I got it.

I got it.

I got it!

And it’s not mine to carry, never was, I don’t own it, I can let it go, I can be washed away, the names and places, the stories and traumas and dramas, all just crenellated peaks in the dunes at Ocean Beach, the stars wink back to me over the storm dark seas and I was washed clean.

Gasping for breath, yet, so in my body, so present, tears leaking down my face, but also a joy and gratitude.

A happiness that was solace to my soul.

A lifting up.

A, yes, heart opening.

And I walk through.

Flew through.

Drifted into the happy, joyous, free of the deep blue sky.

The sky of my childhood, bright blue, like his eyes when I was a young girl, face pressed to the window of the long yellow school bus as it rolled in between the cornfields on the way to school in Wisconsin.

The woman burgeoning with promise, escaping still, for many year yet to go, but she is there in my heart, and she is free to move on.

Let him go.

Let her go.

Let myself go.

Fly so high into the promise of those bright blue skies.

Above this world, the cusp of the soul of God calling to me.

The smile of heaven above me.

And all the world below me.

Love.

Love.

It’s all love.

That’s all the feeling I need now from my mother.

Just the love and letting go of anything other than that.

Awareness.

Acceptance.

Action.

I act on my own.

As my own woman.

Here.

Now.

Always.

I am free.

Free to move about my world carrying only those things and feelings that serve me in joy.

And.

That.

Well.

Not only is that all.

It is.

Everything.

It Took Almost

January 8, 2016

Eleven years.

But holy shit.

It happened.

I finally felt comfortable in the room.

There’s a room I found myself in about eleven years and 10 days ago.

I was profoundly uncomfortable.

I am not sure how the hell I stayed the whole hour.

I did, though.

And I kept coming back.

Even when my ass was falling off.

Even when I looked like hell.

Even when my best friend was dying in a hospital just down the road.

I laughed there.

I smoked a lot of cigarettes there, at least for a few months, the smoking ceased, the going there did not.

I felt not enough too often to recount.

I felt less then just about as often.

I was never a cool kid, I was never going to be a cool kid.

I don’t know that I was a cool kid tonight.

I’m too old to be a cool kid, but I tell you what, I felt fine.

I felt good.

I felt even and at peace and nothing was lacking or wrong in my life.

I was finally comfortable in that folding chair, underneath those ceiling fans.

I saw men I had crushes on.

Men who I had asked out on dates and was told no, thanks, or worse.

No response at all.

I saw a man  I had made out with the night the Giants won the last world series.

I saw women I hadn’t seen in years.

I got hugs and gave hugs.

I felt good to be the exact person I am today, strong, happy, secure, loved.

I laughed with a friend on the way home.

And marveled at my life.

I mean, I truly marveled.

I have come so far, so fucking far, it constantly blows my mind and when I think, “think,” things are not going my way or it could, should, or ought to be better, when I think, “I’ll be happy when…”

I know I am on the wrong track, off on the wrong foot, going in the wrong direction on the one way street.

I was riding my bicycle earlier today, heading into work, swooping along the paths on the Pan Handle and I was thinking about New York.

I was thinking about Paris.

I was thinking about what I want.

I was thinking about me.

I was telling God how it should be.

I was telling God how I wanted it to go down next.

Then I laughed the fuck out loud.

Who the hell was I to tell God what to do?

Who was I to complain that I wasn’t being loved the way that I thought I should be?

Hahahahaha.

Oh my God.

What a fool I am.

I made the decision right then and there to love and not be loved, as it says in this nice little prayer I read every morning, that I say, that I try to carry out the door with me into the wide world.

Although.

As it can be seen as evidenced above, I only made it a few miles down the road before I was telling God specifically what kind of love I deserved.

“Carmen, I love you, will you marry me,” my little five year old charge said to me tonight.

“You’re a little young for me,” I said and smiled.

“What if I was 51?” He said, dipping his buttered toast into a bowl of warm broccoli soup I had made.

“Can I have another bowl of soup?” He asked, mopping up the last of the bowl with the crust of bread.

“Of course,” I said and swooped in, picking up his bowl, kissing his head, ruffling the hair there.

“Well?  What if I was 51?” He asked me again as I set a fresh bowl of soup in front of him.

I already had the next piece of bread toasting in the oven.

“51 might be a little too old,” I said with a smile, and sipped my tea.

“What if I was your age!” He said, bright eyed, then, he smiled, “and a little taller?”

I laughed out loud.

“Why then of course! Yes, love, I would marry you.”

“Will we have kids?”

Oh my.

Ha.

I am loved.

Over and above and beyond what I deserve.

Love.

Everywhere.

A friend texting me to give me a lift home.

A friend texting to ask me out to a movie.

A hug.

A kiss.

A three year old, “Carmen, CARMEN, CARMEN!”

“Yes?”

“I love you!” Sotto voce.

Oh, my darling, I love you too.

I have so much love.

I prayed from my knees the other night.

(every night, every morning)

By my bedside and thanked my God for knowing the depth of love that I have gotten to know.

To find beauty and grace and above, gratitude, for a difficult situation and to realize that the experience has lead me to a greater depth of love, to know more love, to have a bigger bandwidth for love, that it does not matter that it was hard to go through, look at the amount of love I got to know by going through it.

Astounding.

And I don’t know if I loved as hard as I could today.

(I love pretty hard)

And I don’t know if I could have done it better or differently.

I feel like I did a pretty good job.

And I don’t know if I would have done any of it any other way but the way that I did it today.

I do know this.

I feel good.

I feel centered.

I feel enough.

I am loved.

I am lovable.

I am worthy of love.

The hubris of having humility is that I cannot say I have humility, I don’t, let’s be real, but I can recognize that I did not feel less than tonight.

I felt equal.

I felt apart of.

I felt like I belonged and.

Best of all.

I didn’t feel like I needed to change to make anyone happy.

I was.

I am.

Perfectly content.

To be the exact version of Carmen I am today.

I rock.

Let’s be frank.

Haha.

Nah.

I am not a rock star.

But I am a star in my own little way, a bit of old light from a source so far outside myself that I cannot fathom the power of it, a reflection of a love so big and grand and in-exhaustive that I know, without a doubt, that I am just exactly where I am supposed to be.

Raw.

Vulnerable.

Open.

And when I think I need it some other way, I just get to remind myself.

“Love, rather than be loved.”

Love.

Love.

Just.

Love.

Be Gentle

October 25, 2015

To yourself.

He said to me on phone as I sobbed into the receiver.

The receiver.

Please.

As though my little phone has a mouth piece and an ear piece.

As though I am in a corner of the house in Windsor, the kitchen nook, on the old yellow rotary, oh yeah, that’s right, I had a rotary phone, out dated even for then, but completely functional, with a long curled cord that would get tangled up in itself.

“Have you eaten yet?” He asked, discerning the most important thing, “girl, you’re totally in HALT.”

Hungry.

Angry.

Lonely.

Tired.

I might add sad to that.

Halts.

But it doesn’t sound as good and crisp as HALT.

“Of course I have,” I said into the phone, “I know better than to call you without having first put some sustenance in myself.”

I had eaten the bowl of soup, Tom Kha from Thai House (Vietnamese coconut milk soup with thinly sliced onions, lemon grass, carrots, and chicken) with some brown rice, standing up in my kitchen trying to catch my breath and focus on what was in front of me.

Damn it man.

This is the second time I have done this to myself.

I am acutely aware of my part.

My feelings, though, they were hurt.

Hurt.

And so it goes.

I had my feelings hurt.

Things happen.

How do I recover?

How do I take care of myself?

Shakily spooning soup into my mouth like an idiot who had waited too long to eat, tears snaking down my face co-mingled with eye liner and snot.

Sexy.

I tell ya, I got sexy all locked up, don’t try to get anything by me.

I fell down this hole and I should have known better, in fact, I had an intuition to eat my dinner, call, text, and say you can’t wait until after school to eat.  But I got caught up in a conversation with a professor.

And.

Then I thought, no, just soldier through.

Gird your loins and get it.

It’s not so bad.

And.

The thing is.

It’s not too bad, my feelings, my tender heart, tender, but was I going to die?

No.

Did it feel like it?

Yes.

That is the nature of a panic attack.

Welcome to graduate school, land of panic attacks.

Someone in my cohort admitted to having had one yesterday, maybe they are in the air, catching, like a cough, a soul sickness, a salty sadness, bereft in the elevator shaft of my soul, the cars rumbling up and down, but only stopping mid-floor, caught up in the sinews and entanglements of my heart.

Second panic attack since I have been in graduate school.

Good times.

At least I know what to do, but it was hard to facilitate that where I was.

I closed my eyes and prayed.

I asked to have it lifted.

I slowed my breathing.

I got into my body.

It was hard.

My body was a bit depleted.

I am going to take a moment here, now, and breathe.

“Don’t tell someone who is in a panic to breath,” my professor said today during lecture, “why?”

“The client will feel judged,” I said.

I felt judged.

Scared.

Vulnerable.

Then abandoned.

On the doorstep.

The front gate.

The wrought iron rails dipped in safety orange paint.

I held a crumpled brown paper bag of take out soup in my hand.

My ride pulled away after declining to come in.

I was a mess.

I felt like I showed my most vulnerable self and was dropped like a sack of kittens outside of the car and as I sobbed inside, I shut the door to the car and walked away.

My feelings were hurt.

Yup.

Give it time, give it time, give it time.

“You have every right to feel like that,” he said to me sweet as pie in my ear, “girl, maybe what you have to do is just submerge yourself in your school weekends, nothing but that, stop trying to fit other things in when you are in school, a dinner date after class all day is too much.”

He paused, “and pack some more snacks.”

He was soft, but firm.

Then he told me about falling in a hole.

And climbing out.

And walking down the same street and saying, “oh, there’s that hole again, better skirt it,” but walking right into it again.

Pulling myself out again.

Then.

Going down the same street and saying, “oops, there’s that hole again, maybe I should give it more room, but still skirting too close to the edge, which crumbles and I fall in.”

I laughed, yes, I have done this.

Then.

“Then, one day you walk down the street and cross over to the other side,” he continued.

And.

“Finally, you just don’t turn down that street anymore.”

“Be gentle to yourself,” he admonished me again, “maybe go for a walk, get some fresh air, or do whatever you need to do to take care of yourself.”

“Now, I got to go and eat some food myself,” he said.

“I love you.”

“I love you too.”

We hung up.

I drank some tea.

I put Coleman Hawkins on the stereo.

I decided to pause on writing my blog and sent off some poems to a friend in my cohort who asked for a copy of the sonnets I recently wrote.

Then.

I realized I wanted a really, really, really hot shower.

So.

I did that too.

Washed the hair, shaved the legs, dried the hair, lotion, put on some yoga pants and a cozy sleep shirt.

I looked at my phone.

I couldn’t help it.

Then.

I knew it was all ok.

Because it always is.

When I focus on all the abundance I have.

When I know that emotions they come and go and I can write it out and let it go and pray and ask for direction, love, guidance.

So leave your things by the sea.

And when the thieves come in.

Just let them take what they need.

And wash it out.

Wash it out.

Wash it out.

Just wash it out.

I put on The Mynabirds and sang and breathed soft in my heart.

I am taken care of.

I am alright.

I am taken care of.

I am loved.

I love myself.

I forgive myself.

Regret doesn’t undo a single thing.

I hope you’re happy today.

If we could go back to the beginning.

We might not have had any wall between us.

I hope you’re happy at the end of the day.

I hope you’re happy today.

So very happy.

I hope you’re happy today.


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