Posts Tagged ‘friends’

We Were Talking

August 10, 2017

About you tonight.

Oh you were?

“Yeah, we were saying that you’re doing too much,” my friend said and gave me a hug.

Well.

Of course I’m doing too fucking much.

And I’m ok with it.

I am a busy woman.

But pockets of time present themselves to me and I get stuff done.

I managed to sneak in making a pot of soup in between a phone call, work, and covering my Wednesday night commitment.

I am good like that.

I also, wait for it, dropped off my paperwork to the school practicum office!

Killed two birds with one stone.

I had the mom ask me to take the oldest boy out on a solo adventure with me.

We went to the Exploratorium today down on the Embarcadero at Pier 15.

On the way, we swung into my school campus, rode, “the slowest elevator in the world,” according to my 7-year-old companion, and dropped off my evaluation to the woman who runs the practicum office.

We chatted a bit and it was nice to down load a little about my experiences and how it feels to be running with clients.

I have seven now.

My charge was as patient as a 7-year-old could be and after three minutes of chat I corralled him and we made our merry way to the FMarket trolley.

We also stopped in at the Peets Coffee across the street from my campus and I got a large nonfat latte and he got a steamed milk with whipped cream.

He was so cute.

It was adorable hanging out with him all afternoon.

When it’s just he and we have the best times.

We played all over the Exploratorium, the museum of science, art and human perception and had marvelous experiments and adventure and looked at all the things and played with all sorts of miraculous contraptions.

It really was great.

We ate lunch there and he ate most of my lunch because it was tastier and I happily shared and he cuddled with me hard and fell into a bit of a food coma and collapsed on my lap and hugged me and said, “scratch my back,” and I did and it was fabulous.

There’s nothing like a seven-year old boy snuggling on my lap to make me happy, he just loves me so much and it makes my heart super full.

He can be a total handful when he’s around his siblings, but one on one, oh my god, melt my heart.

He literally sat in my lap the entire way back.

We took the FMarket all the way into the Castro then hopped on the 24 bus and rode it to Church and 30th.

He’s a big fan of the Beatles and walking up the hill we sang Beatles songs and held hands.

Mostly “I Say Hello and You Say Goodbye,” over and over again.

I’m not much of a vocalist, I mean, I can sing, everyone can sing, but my little guy can really sing.

I was happy to hold my own and actually harmonize a bit with him.

And when I couldn’t hit the high notes, well, he did.

I feel pretty in love with the little guy and it was so nice to have the day with him.

We got back to the house a tiny bit before mom and his siblings and I got dinner going while he played Legos.

Dinner was pretty simple, I made his favorite dish, organic ground beef pan sautéed in good olive oil with garlic and onion, sea salt, rosemary, black pepper, and a bechamel sauce that I make right as the beef has browned up and then I put it over brown rice fusilli or whatever non-gluten pasta I wrangle up out of the pantry.

The boy loves it.

It’s amazing to watch him inhale it.

I love cooking.

It’s a nice perk to my job.

I know some nannies who would be horrified to have to cook, but I do really like it.

I love my family and I love making them dinner.

In fact, the mom told me that they, the kids, were excited to come back from their big trip and eat my food.

That was nice to hear.

The mom let me go a few minutes early and since I had dropped off the paperwork to my school I was able to slip home, do some practical stuff, eat a quick dinner, make a pot of soup and take a phone call before heading back out the door to my next gig.

I know I am busy and it was sweet to hear my friend and I looked at him and said, I get it, I do, I am busy and it’s a lot and yeah, I’m probably doing too much, but I don’t feel like I have much of a choice.

Although, that’s not necessarily true.

I could quit school and have oodles of free time.

But.

I would just be a nanny.

And I want more.

I am too smart and too driven to just stop here.

I want this.

I have been groomed for it, or so it feels.

And yeah.

This last year of school is probably going to be full tilt boogie.

But.

I know.

I know without any doubt.

That I will get through it.

I haven’t felt anxious at all about my schedule and the things I need to do.

It feels like it’s all falling right into place.

I can’t fuck it up.

I can’t manipulate it into happening.

If it’s supposed to happen it will.

I just get to show up today in the best way I know how and do whatever work is in front of me.

And yes.

When I can.

Well, yes, a girl will like to play.

And I shall.

No worries.

It’s all happening.

All the things.

All the.

Wonderful.

Amazing.

Awesome.

Things.

Oh, yes, they are.

Thank God.

 

Small Steps

July 28, 2017

Add up.

I keep telling myself that as I slowly start tracking my hours for my MFT license.

I also reiterated that to myself and an old friend that I had the pleasure of catching up with today over coffee and lunch in Hayes Valley.

We hadn’t seen each other in years and it was like old times.

And yes.

We’ve gotten older.

And older is all I’m going to get.

I don’t mind.

I like myself more and more.

I feel like I am entering my prime, not exiting it.

I have so very much to live for and I am so grateful that I have carved out this life here in San Francisco.

I don’t have to think about how long it will take to get my hours, I will get my hours, it will happen, the time will pass and one day it will be a story that I tell someone else who is beginning the process.

Things take time.

Sometimes things happen quickly, they fall into place, and there is a beauty and grace to it.

I am often reminded of what a very wise woman said to me years ago, “if it’s meant to be you can’t fuck it up and if it’s not meant to be, you can’t manipulate it into happening.”

My career path is like that.

For the longest time I tried this and that and the other to make it as a creative.

A writer.

A poet.

Maybe a screen writer, I certainly had and do have some interesting ideas for movies, but nothing panned out.

Oh.

Sure.

I have this, my blog, and it’s panned out fantastically, I throw my stuff at the screen in front of me, I process my day, I get things out, I figure it out mostly by not figuring it out, but by taking the creative action of just showing the fuck up here consistently.

But.

I have never really made it as a writer.

Not that I’m not a writer.

I’m fucking writing right now.

I’m good.

I’m not great.

But I would hazard that I am better than plenty of folks that do get published.

Perhaps it’s that I don’t understand how to submit, or that I don’t submit the right stuff or that I am not as good as I believe, it’s beyond me is what I’m saying.

One day it may not be.

Today it is and suffice to say.

I don’t give a flying fuck.

I love writing.

I love poetry.

I love expressing myself.

And this is my medium.

I don’t write for an audience.

Oh.

Sure.

Sometimes I may be addressing you, sometimes things sneak in and there’s a message between the lines, I won’t say that there’s not.

But I do really do the writing for myself.

But it’s not a career.

The dividends that have paid off are vast and varied, the people who I have met because of my blog, the things I have done, the experiences I have had, especially when my blog was a little more public, were and have been astounding.

Too many to list here.

However.

Most of the time the pay off has not been cash money.

In some round about ways, though, it has paid off more than handsomely.

I expressed to my friend today that I am often a bit ridiculed, or teased, ridiculed seems a harsher word than the poking fun I get from my cohort, for how fast I can write papers for class.

It really hasn’t been too much to sit down and knock out a big paper in one sitting, in a few hours.

If I have an idea of what I am writing, if I have done my research, taken good notes and done my reading for the class, I can crank it out.

I can do that because I do this, consistently, my rate of typing is fast.

I haven’t timed it in a long time, but it does seem that my thoughts fly from my brain and to my fingers quite quickly.

I will publish, I know that.

I will publish poems.

I will publish essays.

I will publish my memoir, although it needs severe re-writing.

It may not be the book I originally wrote.

But it will have the skeleton of the manuscript, I am sure of that.

My writing goals have not been met, but they will be, I am sure of that.

When isn’t important.

And I will publish psychology papers.

In some odd sort of twist that may be where I find my first publications, I don’t know exactly, but I do think that I will find that as an avenue for my work.

I have had great reviews of my school papers and I think with some tweaking I could probably submit some of those papers to psychology publications.

Who knows.

I just know that it will happen.

And I’m fine with the process being what it is.

I don’t have to manipulate it into happening and I can’t fuck it up.

Unless I stop.

Which right now seems impossible.

I have stories and stories and stories.

All the words.

There are so many.

So beautiful, like birds on a wire, like the scattershot of sunshine sparkling from the froth of waves, like the way love endears itself further into my heart when I am least expecting it.

My friend and I parted ways and I reflected as I got on my scooter and headed over to my job, my day job, that I have it pretty motherfucking good.

I do.

I have discovered many things about myself in the dozen or so years my friend and I have known each other and they all seem to have played beautiful and rich into the hand that I have been dealt.

I am on the path and in the place I am meant to be.

“You look amazing,” he said.

And you know what?

I feel amazing.

I think that shows.

Happy.

Joyous.

Motherfucking.

Free.

 

Maybe I’ll Sleep In

July 27, 2017

Probably not.

My brain will wake me up.

Thoughts will come a cruising through my head and I’ll get up.

I was just thinking about sleeping in as the yoga class tomorrow that I was going to go to was cancelled.

Ugh.

I have plenty to do.

Don’t I always.

So.

I’m not super frustrated, and it’s not typical for me to be able to go to yoga class on a Thursday morning anyhow.

I am usually going to work.

But my family is still away and I’ve only got my internship to be accountable to tomorrow.

Ok.

Not true.

I was asked by the family to go to the house and open it up and collect the mail and water the plants and stuff of that nature.

So I’ll be making a little venture over to Glen Park in the late afternoon.

Prior to that I will be reconnecting with an old friend in Hayes Valley.

Do some catch up and see what’s going on in his life.

It’s been years.

Sometimes it amazes me.

That these years they pass.

They go so quick and I want to make sure that I impress upon myself as many experiences as I can.

The sun on my face.

For instance.

I made it out of the fog for a little while today and the sun on my face was exquisite.

The wind in my hair, my eyes closed, the smell of creosote and the sounds of hummingbirds flitting about.

Hummingbirds do make sound.

The whir of their wings close to my ears as they darted about in the flowers.

A high pressure thrum of air and the stirring of molecules by my face and off they go.

I had one of those days that felt like such a dream.

Sweet and sunny and soft.

I even napped.

I know.

I never nap.

I fell asleep listening to the Chopin station on Spotify.

Also something that I do not do.

Fall asleep listening to music.

I generally need it to be dark and quiet.

Music catches at my mind and I can find it distracting, but this today, soft, dreamy, sweet, warm, late afternoon nap, which was not in my plans, and was so good, to feel so held in my sleep.

The best.

Such a gift.

And all the little reveries I had drifting in and out between the piano notes floating through the air in my room.

Exquisite.

I wore a new dress today.

Maybe that was it.

I like getting dressed up and not having to wear my nanny clothes or shoes is a nice change of pace for me.

I have a closet full of dresses that I don’t often wear as they are not suited for nannying.

Shit.

I should wear one tomorrow that I have been itching to wear.

I totally forgot I had gotten it in the mail last week, but I was annoyed that they hadn’t sent both the dresses I had ordered and I didn’t pull it out as I wasn’t sure what or if the company was going to refund my order or deny that they hadn’t sent the dress.

I sent them an e-mail and I think there was a part of me that was all stubborn, like, I wanted the other dress more, damn it.

Turns out that they had sold out and they happily refunded the dress to my bank account.

So.

I took the other dress out of its packaging.

And oh.

It’s pretty.

Sort of old-fashioned retro styling with a sweetheart bodice and a bit of a flared skirt, white with small black polka dots and navy and royal blue roses.

It’s very fetching.

I could wear that tomorrow.

Although, it doesn’t strike me as a therapy dress and I have a client tomorrow night.

Ah.

I don’t need to figure it out right now.

It was just nice to be in my dress today, out in the sun, the wind fluttering the long hem around my ankles.

I felt ethereal at times.

The way the sky looked between the tree leaves.

I was in awe.

I have such a good life.

I am really happy.

Oh.

Sure.

My brain likes to sneak attack me when I’m least expecting it.

But it passes and usually I can take a moment in those places of vulnerability and say, hey, “thanks for sharing, but I got this,” or better, “God’s got this.”

Which is true.

I’m human.

I’m going to fall on my face no matter how hard I try.

The point is to try.

If I’m falling down that means that I am trying and I am living.

I want so to have a full rich experienced life.

I want to see things and experience things and feel.

I definitely have the feelings thing down.

Ha.

I have a friend who sent me a check in the mail today.

We share a MOMA membership and I just renewed it.

He used to say “you wear your heart on you sleeve,” to me all the time.

I didn’t quite understand what he meant, but I believe he was referring to me being emotionally transparent in my blogs.

Which, strange though this may seem, has changed a bit for me.

Not being emotionally transparent, per se.

I think that I am pretty damn transparent here in my writing.

But.

That my writing has changed since he made that comment.

I don’t share as much content as I used to.

Oh.

Sure.

There is stuff that happens and I will report back factually, with much acuity, I will paint a picture of rolling hills, the grass drying and cream yellow, the smell of sage in a garden, the look of tiny green tomatoes just beginning to bud on the vine, the surprise kiss of beauty planted on me in the garden, the roses, the old garden ones that proliferated in all gardens on the edges with the fallen soft pink petals crumpled on the ground, the sound of hawk flying over head screeching for its lunch to show itself in the grass.

I can show you these things.

But my content used to be a lot more focused on who and what and when.

I find that I am leaving out that more and more.

Then it’s just the feelings and the susuration of wind in my heart.

The way love feels in my body.

How I want to be and more and yes when I stumble, getting back up and trying again.

All the things.

All the lovely things.

All the beauty that I took photographs in my mind today.

The bluest blue.

The soaring in my heart.

The glad song on my lips.

The dreams and revery.

All of it.

Wonderous and magic.

Sometimes

July 26, 2017

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

I am happy.

I had a great day.

Lots of scootering all over the city.

Lots of errands run.

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

Ha.

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

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

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

I model myself a little on my own therapist.

She was fucking fabulous today.

We had an amazing session.

I sat down and said one name.

I want to talk about _____________.

And we dove in.

There was so much there.

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

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

Conflict was not rewarded with resolution.

It was generally smashed and violently so.

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

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

Shit.

Who the fuck knew?

So.

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

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

We got to the bottom of it.

I was so freaking happy.

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

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

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

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

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

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

And I did.

It was hard.

Man, it was so fucking hard.

But.

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

Except that I let the repair happen.

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

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

Scary too.

So freaking scary.

I mean.

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

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

Yet.

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

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

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

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

For which I am grateful beyond words.

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

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

I have to say.

I really like therapy.

I like being a therapist.

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

It is powerful.

It can be really hard too.

But for the most part.

Man.

I am happy getting to be a therapist.

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

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

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

And that none of it is wasted.

None!

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

And I am.

I am happy.

I am free.

I am joyous.

I am of service.

I have purpose.

I am love.

I know.

That last one sounds full of myself.

But you know.

I think I am.

Or better.

That.

I am a conduit for love.

That feels more apt.

A channel.

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

Even when it feels overwhelming.

It is an amazing revelation.

And I am here.

Open to all of it.

Grateful.

And.

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

It is extraordinary.

And now.

Please.

Pardon me.

I have some happy dance to do.

Sweet.

Sweet.

Sweetest.

Dreams.

See you on the flip.

 

Baby, Oh Baby

July 25, 2017

I got some good snuggles today from my friends twins.

Oof.

The gorgeousness of them is devastating.

The heft and weight of a baby sleeping upon my shoulder has to be one of the most beautiful feelings I have gotten to experience.

I’ve held a few of them.

The smell of baby, too, such amazingness.

Makes me feel very human.

I joked with my friend that it was a good thing I was on my period or I would spontaneously conceive holding the babies.

I’m 44 years old though.

I am pretty much at the point where if it was going to happen it would have by now.

I wonder if I had things different, if I had gotten better faster, had a better childhood, yada, yada, yada, if I would have had children.

I certainly could have gotten pregnant in the past.

I was not always the most on top of it lady in regards to my sexual interactions.

I.E.

I was not using protection.

I guess I just got lucky.

Or unlucky.

Depends on your perspective.

“You are going to make such a great mom,” is something that I have heard more times than I can count.

It is always such a compliment.

“I see you with children, I can imagine you with twins,” said a woman I used to work with years ago.

I was a twin.

Maybe there’s something there, but twins tend to skip a generation in my family, it’s doubtful I would have twins from that perspective.

I have done a lot of nanny shares, so juggling two babies is not outside my realm of experience.

Being with my friend and her twins reminded me of that, doing the nanny shares I have gotten to do.

Huge gifts those experiences.

I have been a nanny for over ten years now.

I have had so many children, from that perspective.

I have raised many children.

Sure.

None of them have been mine.

But.

Oh.

They have all been mine.

I have gotten to experience a depth of love that is vast and profound and I am always, ALWAYS, surprised that I have this deep capacity, this well, of love that seems to be infinite.

I have thought.

“I can never love another child as much as I love this child, this baby, this little one, right now in my arms, fallen asleep on me,” all the heavy, sweet, luscious love that has been in my arms, there is no way I could have more of that.

But.

Every child.

EVERY child I have picked up I have felt that love, vast and universal and profound.

It astounds me.

The profundity of it.

The gift of it.

I think.

See.

You have gotten to have all the experiences of unconditional love that you didn’t get when you were little, you got to see all these children being loved and taken care of, you have witnessed so many first smiles and laughs and the sweet dreams and yes, all the other milestones that are not as much fun but help shape the vast enormous and extraordinary experience of watching a child grow.

I have borne witness to miracles.

Again and again.

Each child a mystery and opportunity to again learn the face of God, the rosebud mouth that purses for milk from the bottle, the drowsy scent that arises from the warm body, like some sort of baking bread smell that intoxicates me and lures me back for another long inhale of sweet baking baby.

I must have smelled the twins every other minute.

Fresh baby.

So delicious.

I don’t know if I am sad that I haven’t had my own children, for I have had a wealth of children.

I do know and I can acknowledge that for many, many years I would not even entertain the idea of having children.

I knew my sister wanted babies.

And she had two.

But I always thought, nope, no children for me.

And.

I have not had a one.

Nor a pregnancy.

Not once.

Not even really a scare.

Knock on wood.

But yeah, since I’m currently on my cycle, I don’t think there’s anything happening there.

Ha.

I know so many women who have agenda, must get partner, must get pregnant, must, must, must.

I have heard it from contemporaries, community, women in my fellowship, desperate and straining against their own body clocks.

I feel it.

I have felt the clock tick tocking in the corner of my uterus, and there were times when my hormones had me clocking any man who gave me a spare glance, but nothing ever took.

I used to think, after I got sober, you know, give it a year and I’ll be in a relationship and then you know, a great job, and you know, a book contract, and a movie adaptation and then a house, and you know, a couple of kids.

That was a drawing I did in therapy.

I might have had about two years of sobriety at the time.

Shit.

I forgot about that picture.

It was an assignment my therapist asked me to do.

Draw my home, draw my goals.

I feel I might have that drawing stashed somewhere in my piles and stacks of notebooks, but I can describe it pretty well.

I am standing, pregnant, with a girl, I think I somehow indicate that it was a girl in my belly, with a little boy holding my hand, blue eyes, dark hair, and there was a man next to me holding my hand and we were all smiling, the house was three stories, I mean I went for it, and had a back yard and garden and a brick patio, it had a swing set and slide and a tire swing, I mean, come one, everyone needs a tire swing, it might have had an apple tree.

The inside of the house that I can remember having colored in was a library, with a fireplace and a big deep leather couch and a cat curled up on the hearth in front of the fireplace and bookshelves so full of books.

I had a study on the third floor, my own office.

I also drew things in the a small circle around a globe.

I wanted to be a world traveler.

I drew an airplane circling the globe and a tiny Eiffel tower and I think islands somewhere.

So.

Yeah.

At two years of sobriety I figured, won’t be too long now, I’ll have a husband and a little boy and a little girl, a house and office and books and I’ll be a writer and we’ll all travel together and it will be perfect.

I was 34.

Now.

I am 44.

None of those things happened.

Well.

That’s not true.

The travel did.

I have gotten to do a lot of traveling since I drew that picture.

The house I modeled it on was an Italianate red brick Victorian in the Mission that has a back carriage house and I could envision there being a garden back there and a swing set.

The man.

Well, he was a mystery.

Life hasn’t given me what I expected.

Fact is.

I have been given more than I could have dreamed of.

I have been given an astounding amount of love and so many opportunities to grow and so many times have I gotten to experience the unconditional love of a child that I don’t feel that I have lost out on some important life experience.

If anything I have heard from many people that they envy the life I have created for myself.

It hasn’t always looked pretty and I’ve fallen down and had to start over and I am now in the process of becoming something entirely different from what I set out to be.

But ultimately.

What I really wanted.

The thing that I wanted the most, the most, the MOST.

Was love.

And I have been showered with love.

Washed in love.

I have been given so much love I can’t breathe sometimes when I see it.

My heart is so full and I get to love right back.

The extraordinary experience of letting myself be loved.

Love in all its forms and sweetness.

And there is no end to it.

There really isn’t.

And I feel that is the key.

That I am not searching for something I think I am missing.

I know what I have.

And it is invaluable.

There is no price tag on it.

And it worth everything.

This love.

Well.

Not only is it worth everything.

It is everything.

And so.

I wish you the same.

That you be so graced and so touched with love.

You must know.

Deep in your heart.

How much you are loved.

So much.

I haven’t the alphabet for the words to spell it out.

But you.

Love.

Well.

You are poetry.

 

It’s Not Time

July 16, 2017

To write this blog yet.

But.

Well.

It wants to be written.

Even though I opened up my WordPress site and sat and stared at the blank screen and thought, I don’t have a thing to write about.

Denial.

I should fold my laundry and put it away.

I will wash my dinner dishes.

So instead of starting to write I got up and put my laundry away and I did the dishes.

I even pre-emptively filled the kettle for a cup of tea after I finish writing.

I know, hot tea, sounds excruciating to think about in July, but it’s July in San Francisco, I’m in bunny slippers and thought for a minute about turning on the heat.

It’s chilly here in July, unlike anywhere else.

Although there was some warmth in the city today after the fog lifted and I got out of the Outer Sunset, I even put on a little sunblock just in case.

Anyway.

I digress.

It was when I was filling my kettle that I realized that I was avoiding the elephant in the room.

Or the plum, as the case may be.

I bought a plum today.

A beautiful, gorgeous, fat black plum.

I’m not a big fan of plums.

I mean, they’re nice and all, but I wouldn’t typically choose to buy a plum, not really my thing.

A persimmon?

Get the fuck out of my way, I’m buying them all.

But a plum?

Nope.

But.

Ugh.

I usually buy one around this time of year.

And it’s not because it’s stone fruit time.

I want stone fruit I eat cherries.

I love cherries.

Or.

Yellow nectarines.

So good.

Not the white ones, only the yellow, and not peaches.

I know, what kind of monster am I?

I don’t like the texture of skin on a peach and the fruit is typically too soft for me, I know friends who would kill for a perfect peach.

Me?

Not so much.

But.

There I was at Gus’s Community Market on Harrison and 17th in front of the plums and I saw it and just reached for it.

My heart in my throat.

Tears prickling my eyes.

I picked out the biggest, prettiest plum in the pile.

I thought about him.

I wrote a story about it once upon a time, a children’s story, about sharing.

I called it “Shadrach and The Plum.”

It was about a little boy and how he shared his most precious treat, a big juicy sweet plum (insert some ee cummings here and an icebox please) with a little girl at school who had forgotten her lunch.

He sat down next to her with his brown paper bag and saw that she had nothing in front of her, her parents had sent her to school with no lunch, he thought to himself as he took the food out of his paper sack, “I’ll share my lunch but not the plum, plums are my favorite, she’s can’t have my plum.”

He asked her, “do you want some of my lunch?”

She nodded eagerly and pointed to what she wanted, “I want the plum.”

He didn’t say a word, he just handed it to her and ate his peanut butter sandwich and drank his milk.

I heard about her later when I read the story I had written to his family.

In hindsight I don’t know if it was the best idea, they were still grieving, it was their first Christmas without him and here I was some girl from San Francisco wearing flowers in her hair and her heart on her sleeve reading a story about lessons we learn from our friends.

Because.

Well.

Shadrach was like that.

He would give you what you needed without question.

I might get teased about it later, I might be razzed, but he always saw me so much clearer than I saw myself.

His death anniversary is coming up.

Sigh.

Ten years now.

And sometimes it still feels like I’m in that ICU at General holding his hand, or in my room on in that crazy old Victorian on Capp and 23rd, sobbing my heart out into a pillow as I prayed and prayed and prayed to God.

I knew better than to ask God to save Shadrach, I pretty much knew he was gone, I never said boo about it, I never tried to change anyone’s mind about their hopes and I certainly did not express any of my doubts about him waking up from the coma to his family, I just kept showing up and asking them what they needed, put I kept asking God to help me through it and the only way I knew how was to not focus on myself.

How can I be of service?

I was brought up that way, in my recovery community.

“How do I do this?”  I called a friend who had just lost a mentor, a man who had 43 years of recovery and who I also knew quite well, the past week.

“You show up and help his family and you ask ‘how may I be of service?’ and you help them that way, and that’s how you get through.  And through you will get.”

He told me how brave I was and how much he loved me and that I could hang in there.

I did.

And I do.

I still hang in there.

I still show up.

I saw that damn plum and almost cried, but as a reminder that I get to live today I bought it.

I did what I needed to do today and I went where I was supposed to go and when I saw someone in my community who was losing it over the recent loss of our young mutual friend tonight, well, I held her hand and I didn’t let her run out of the room.

I just held her and hugged her and hugged her more until she got all the sobs out.

“You don’t do this alone,” I told her, “don’t run out.”

“I can’t handle all this death, it’s too much,” she said and tried to break away again.

I hugged her some more and then I told her some stories.

I told her about losing my best friend to a scooter accident, my best friend who was sober, who was committed, who was about to run the SF Marathon.

The same marathon that is about to be run here on the 23rd of this month.

The signs just went up by the park and I thought of Shadrach, I thought of how beautiful he was when he was running and how strong and graceful.

I thought of the last thing that I said to him, the best gift the moment, that moment when you realize you have to say something or regret it for the rest of your life.

Although, of course, how could I know?

“Shadrach, I just have to tell you, if I never see you again you have to know how beautiful you are right now, you are just glowing,” I touched his arm.

He raised an eyebrow at me and was about to say something witty and cryptic and instead he smiled at me and hugged me to him.

That was the last thing I said to him.

Well.

It was the last thing that I said to him when he was still coherent and not brain-dead in a hospital bed for a week before his family pulled the plug.

I shared my story.

And.

I told her about another woman we both know and how she lost her best friend on the day of his one year sobriety birthday, how he was hit by a bus coming home from his anniversary party.

I mean.

Fuck.

I told her she didn’t have to do it alone and that she was strong enough to shoulder it and that she was lucky, lucky that she got to feel the depth of love she felt for this person who just died a few days ago, that she could be grateful for the time she got to know him.

I hugged her again.

I’m a hugger.

And.

Told her to call me and lean in.

It’s not easy grieving and sometimes I felt like the sadness of Shadrach’s passing would never leave me, but it did.

Well.

That’s also not true, but it lessened, or I got used to it I suppose.

Although seeing that big purple plum sitting on top of a Mason jar on my kitchen counter brought it all home.

I still miss my friend.

He taught me so much.

Not just how to love.

But.

More importantly, that I was lovable and worthy of love.

A lesson that took many years to sink in.

But in it did.

So.

Tonight.

I will raise my plum to my lips and taste the sweetness and let my fingers be sticky with gratitude and love and memory and honor my friend and all the gifts he gave me, so many years ago now.

All the love he planted in my heart that has grown and flourished and bloomed.

All the things.

All the love.

And.

Always.

The best.

The sweetest, coldest, juiciest plums for you.

Always.

 

 

A Good Cry

July 12, 2017

And then back to living.

I saw my therapist today.

Yes.

A psychotherapist has a therapist.

Especially since I am a therapist in training, although, let me tell you, I felt like a therapist today, seeing clients, filing paperwork, checking all the boxes, circling all the things that needed to be circled and doing the work.

I can get super caught up in how much longer this road is and how the hell am I ever, I mean, ever, going to get 3,000 hours, but I can’t, I just can’t focus on that.

One hour at a time.

Fortunately I have some practice living a day at a time and when I reflect on how those days add up and all my accomplishments have come in small increments, but come they have, then I don’t have to get too caught up in the numbers.

It’s just a numbers game and I’m doing it the best I can as fast as I can without killing myself in the process.

I mean.

I still have to process all my own stuff, plus carrying around my clients in my head.

I do that now.

I have them in my head and sometimes I will think about them and once in a while I have a momentary flash, a connection, a thought or feeling and a little aha moment, that feels pretty special.

But.

Yes.

I do have to process my own stuff too, I have to look at my own emotional life sift through the chafe and dander and see what is needing to seen and what is needing to be let go.

I knew.

For instance.

I needed to titrate my social media intake today.

I woke up a bit emotionally hung over.

I cried a lot yesterday.

On and off all day, with one really big cry in the evening when I was talking with my person on the phone and going over the shock of what had happened and how the death of my friend had not just hit me, but many others, the numbers of people who showed up to be present for each other and for the family of the deceased was extraordinary.

Not to mention all the people in so many other places he had affected, who’s lives he had touched–Portland, Seattle, Memphis, New York, Los Angeles, Austin, Oakland.

Gah.

I can hear him saying “West Oakland” in my head and such joy at his goofiness suffuses me.

For he was joyful.

Oh sure, sad and fucked up and scared and young and insecure, who hasn’t been those things, but also bright and kind and funny and so there for you and warm and sweet and musically talented.

Oh the music the world has lost.

So.

Seeing all the pictures, all the photographs, all the expressions of heartbreak, my social media feed was just awash in tears and sadness.

I really had to not look after a while.

And I knew when I woke up having felt puffy eyed and sluggish and a bit off kilter that I wasn’t going to allow myself to wallow in the emotionalism of social media.

I needed coffee, some ibuprofen, and a good breakfast.

Sounds like a hangover, right?

Except instead of booze or blow it was emotion.

And as I expressed to my therapist today after plopping down on her couch and telling her I was going to cry and then immediately doing so, I also realized that some, a lot of the emotion I had in my body, on my heart, in my head, was not mine.

It was the communities.

And I’m grateful.

Really grateful.

I got to feel it and touch into it.

But.

I could not continue swimming in it any longer.

So I talked it out, processed it, linked it to other things, made traverses, expressed emotions, cried a lot in the beginning, but by the middle of my session I was going other places.

Oh.

It was all interconnected.

I am good at making connections.

And it was honest and insightful.

I am pretty good at those things too.

Not always.

I am a work in progress, people, don’t expect perfection, I am far, far, far from perfect.

But.

I am loving and kind and sweet, I would hazard.

I am compassionate and more importantly, I am empathetic.

Sometimes too much and I get overextended and I give too much, I have been trained well in that way of life, being my mom’s caretaker, taking care of my sister, my oldest niece, an ex-boyfriend of five years who might as well have been my mother for all the caretaking he required, but I have grown a lot.

Oh, so fucking much.

And I know when I need to caretake and when the other person needs to do the job their own damn self.

And there’s no irony that I am in the care taking profession.

A. I am a nanny, I care take all day long.

B. I am a psychotherapist.

But it’s not my job to care take as a therapist and that’s a really intriguing thing for me.

I am also not there to make my client feel better, to sugar coat, or to shoo away uncomfortable feelings.

Uncomfortable feelings need to happen.

There’s nothing wrong with them.

I like to look at them as signposts, directions, “hey this thing you do, it doesn’t work for you.”

For instance.

There’s nothing wrong with anxiety or depression.

They are signs that the way things are going, the tools being used for living, well they might not be working so well.

I mean.

Booze was one hell of an amazing solution for me.

Until.

It was not.

So was cocaine.

My God.

I remember the first time I did a line of good blow.

It was like I had all the answers.

ALL of them.

And I was fine with the way those answers were conveyed and I rather scoffed at a friends warning that perhaps I like that drug a little more than was perhaps healthy.

Um.

Yeah.

But when those solutions failed I had to find a better way, a different way and there was depression there and there was anxiety and all sorts of other juicy psychological terms and conditions.

And slowly.

One step at a time.

I got to change what I did.

What I ingested.

What I thought and felt.

For something else.

I was given a significant solution to my problem.

Of course.

I won’t tell that to a client, they have to find their own way, I think that I am a mirror, an attachment figure, a person who can and will have to withstand the disappointments and anger and discomfort of others so that they can learn how to use that information and devise their own solution.

Therapy is not for symptom relief.

Just like alcohol, ultimately, and every other drug I took, weren’t for symptom relief.

I had to find a different way.

And I did.

And today when I walked out of my therapist office I felt a lightness and a joy.

I am alive.

I am not guilty for being alive

I have so much joy and passion in my life, such happiness, I felt light and though there is still sadness for the loss of this beautiful person, I have also a deeper connection to how alive I want to be and how alive I am allowed to be.

To be alive, in this moment, sober, and free.

It is amazing.

Happy.

Joyous.

Moved beyond words for my experiences and this amazing place I have been lead to.

Grateful.

So very grateful.

Thank you for being a part of my journey.

May it bless you too.

Seasons Of Grief

July 11, 2017

“I know we’ve never been very close,” she said to me, touching my arm, “but how you are walking through this, I just wanted to let you know, it is brave and beautiful and there are a lot of people sending you love.”

I gasped.

I wasn’t expecting that sentiment.

She continued, “and I know it’s probably really hard to understand, but sometimes,” she paused, “sometimes God breaks our hearts so that they can hold more love.”

I burst into tears.

She hugged me and went her own way.

I see her now and again.

Here and there, in rooms of churches, on a folding chair, with a group of acquaintances, a smile, a wave, but not much else.

I saw her tonight.

I touched her arm.

She hugged me, we both cried.

Our community lost someone today.

Someone very dear.

Someone who shined very hard when he was with us.

He was taken far too young.

I have known him for eleven years, I met him early on in my days of recovery.

I kept seeing him in my mind’s eye tonight, when he was so new, so fresh, such a kid, such a little fucking punk, with this huge heart and pretty face, and dirty skinny black jeans and his punk rock attitude and dangling cigarette sneer on his mouth.

All hiding a very scared frightened kid.

All that bravado and machismo hiding vast reservoirs of tenderness.

I was thinking about a particular afternoon.

It was sunny, we were all in the courtyard of this church at 15th and Julien in the Mission.

He was in Giants regalia and so was Silas and so was another fellow and they all had their arms wrapped around each other, and the smiles, the grins, the love radiating off them was glorious to behold.

I kept seeing that in my mind today and the tears would just start and how I got through the day without telling my boss I don’t know, but I just couldn’t bring myself to do it, and the kids wanted to play with me and I wasn’t the most present.  I kept getting texts and messages and phone calls and reaching out to people in the community.

I had to stay the fuck off social media after a while, it was just a constant stream of his face in photographs, so many of his goofy, stupid, grinning face.

The last time I saw him I smacked him.

“Stay, why don’t you,” followed by a hug, and a “knock it off our you’re going to die.”

He laughed.

I laughed.

We hugged again.

He died.

He died last night.

He over dosed.

I cried.

This morning, literally in my oatmeal.

I got the news and I was shocked.

Perhaps not surprised, I mean, I wish I could say that it was more of a surprise, but I knew what he did, I had heard his story so many times.

“Oh, yeah, gah, shooting up with a dirty rig and piss water from a public toilet down by the Civic Center, sticking the needle in my groin cuz I couldn’t find a vein.”

I countered with, “doing so much blow I throw up after snorting a line, all over my blow, so I let it dry out and I cut it, chopped it, and snorted it.”

High fives all around.

There is a kind a levity and humor, gallows humor, that comes with sobriety sometimes.

And joy.

So much joy.

His face when he smiled, when he played music.

So much fucking talent blown.

Ugh.

I remember loaning him some money, I can’t even remember when or for what and I just told him to not bother paying me back, “keep it and when you’re fucking famous and world touring you give me a backstage pass.”

“Deal!”  He said, “I love you, I would have given you a backstage pass anyway.”

I hope he’s got the best backstage pass right now.

I hope he’s playing up there with Hendrix and Jeff Buckley, with Lemmy from Motorhead, with all his favorites, just fucking jamming the fuck out.

Happy and smoking a cigarette and woo’ing the ladies.

He was a pretty boy, he was.

It hit home today.

And I was reminded of another thing that a friend said to me when my best friend died, almost ten years now, his anniversary fast approaches, at the end of this month, that “grief is not linear.”

It does not have a time frame.

It does not have a schedule.

It does not have an end or a beginning.

It will come in waves.

I saw a man tonight who used to work with my best friend and we both just sobbed on each other, it was too damn familiar, all the faces, all the people pressed together, all the tears.

I looked at him and said, “you better stick around, you just better.”

“I’m not going anywhere,” he replied.  “I heard the news and I thought of _______________ and I heard your voice and I just couldn’t not be here, I’m so glad you’re here.”

So many hugs tonight.

So many tears.

So many friends from my early days in recovery and all the memories and joys of seeing them.

And.

A reunion.

An old friend who let me go a long time ago was there.

We’d had a falling out of sorts, I don’t even know exactly all the details anymore, but we’d been best friends after my best friend died, she walked me through so much of that process and grief and we were super tight for two or three years after that and then a misunderstanding, a communication that misfires, conflict that we tried to resolve and just couldn’t.

She saw me.

I almost didn’t recognize her.

She stood up, we hugged and we both burst into tears.

There were a lot of “I’m sorry’s” and a lot of “so good to see you.”

We exchanged numbers.

She just friend’ed me again on Facebook.

Desmond.

You little fucker.

I really did not need you to die to reunite with my old friend, but I’ll take it as a parting gift, my sweet boy, that your passing brought so many people together tonight.

There were moments today when the tears wouldn’t stop falling and then.

Then.

Oh.

There were moments, so very many, when I was exquisitely alive, so alive I almost felt guilty.

Almost.

This life is so precious.

I will not waste it.

I will cram as much as I can in.

I will live.

I promise you.

I will live.

And I will love.

With all my heart.

So fucking hard.

So.

Hard.

I promise you.

All the life you did not live.

I will live for you.

And then some.

Promise.

One Foot in Front

July 2, 2017

Of the other.

And moving forward and go.

Go.

Go.

It was quite a packed day, but a lovely day, a day of many smiles and laughs and appreciation for my life.

I got up and did a yoga class.

It was mediocre.

The teacher is just not a good teacher.

But I went anyway.

I always have a moment, or fifteen, when I want to email the studio and just be like, get a new instructor!  This guy sucks!

He doesn’t suck, he’s just young and not a good teacher.

He’s a great yogi.

I am I have seen him do amazing things with his body, he obviously has an incredible practice, but it doesn’t translate to being a good teacher.

So I sort of muddle through and just pat myself on the back for showing up and taking what I like and leaving the rest.

My previous teacher, God I miss him, was amazing, so I feel like there’s some disparity there, and I acknowledge that I was gifted with an extraordinary teacher for a while and thank God for that, if I had the teacher that I have now when I started I would have quit.

When his classes have been on other days I have just avoided them.

But.

My schedule is not really too flexible now in regards to when I can get into the studio, 9 a.m. on Saturday and 9 a.m. on Sunday are the two classes I know I can make and have been really rigorous about making.

So.

I’ll put up with the mediocre for now.

It will change, either he will no longer teach that time slot, other people’s schedules change, not just mine, or when I can I will take another class and opt out of the ones he teaches.

Until then, I literally suck it up and just go.

Better a mediocre yoga class then no yoga class.

Tomorrow, however, is a great teacher, and her class kicks my ass, but I get a lot more out of it and though I still have a preference for my very first teacher, he really was astounding, I like this teacher and she’s good.

And this week I’ll get to go to a morning yoga class on Tuesday.

Yes.

I will be doing yoga to celebrate the 4th of July.

I have the day off and when I have a day off I want to go to yoga.

And a friend of mine I haven’t seen in a while is going to come to class with me and then we’re going to go to Trouble Coffee and get caffeinated and catch the fuck up.

Super happy I get to see him.

He just got back from doing the Aids LifeCycle ride and he was my mentor when I rode it in 2010.

I still aspire to ride again, just now is not a good time to do it.

Perhaps after I graduate or I get my intern number and can start charging for my sessions.

Anyway, it was good to see him tonight and get in some good hugs and also to let him know I’ll have some weeks off in July and can do lunch.

I’ll probably head down to his job place and hang out with him on his lunch break.

I have that plan with another friend of mine who is also super busy in her life and we connected this past week and I told her the same thing, I will come to you, I will meet you for lunch, let’s hang out.

Whenever and wherever I can I will be seeking out social contact.

I put in 8 hours at the internship today, two of them today and the rest was seeing my supervisor on Monday and then seeing 5 clients.

Ultimately I will be seeing 8 clients.

I could possibly do 10 but I think that would be too much.

I will, however, pick up consultation hours when I have that time off from work with my family.

I will suck up as many of those as I can.

But I will also try to not work too much.

Catch up with friends, hang out, go to coffee, see my dear French friend and her little brood before they head back to France at the end of July.

There is a lot for me to do and see and be allowing myself to be seen.

Happy that is all happening.

Happy I also took care of a bunch of errands today, picking up packages at the post office and dropping off a package to return at UPS.

And I got a big grocery shopping trip in.

And I did the deal.

Which was great and picked up a commitment for Saturdays to keep me connected and not drift off into my internship land too far.

I’m trying to keep it all balanced out.

Sometimes I do better than others.

But I am getting decent sleep.

Eating really well.

In fact.

Yesterday, woo hoo, was my four-year anniversary marking my abstinence from sugar and flour.

That was nice to note.

Getting in the yoga when I can.

Doing a good job at work.

Doing a good job, I feel, at my internship.

Tomorrow I will do yoga in the am, have a nice breakfast and a latte, do some writing and then zip over to Cheap Petes and grab my prints.

I’ll be meeting with a lady at 1pm to do some work and reading and connecting.

Then a quick-lunch here.

And.

Yes.

Some pampering.

I’m getting my mani/pedi/waxing the fuck on.

So looking forward to that.

And.

After that.

A zip downtown to do some clothes shopping.

And like that.

The weekend.

Loving my life so very much.

Busiest girl in the world?

Maybe, but probably not.

Luckiest girl in the world?

Absofuckinglutely.


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