Posts Tagged ‘grad school’

I’m Not Dead Yet

October 11, 2019

I’m still here.

Still hanging on by the skin of my teeth.

It’s been a tough, long few weeks, so much school work.

So much.

I really even shouldn’t be here.

But.

I am and there’s that and I don’t have much capacity to do much more homework today, so I’m letting myself off the hook and enjoying blogging because I like blogging and it’s hella nice to not think about homework.

I think about it all day long.

ALL DAY.

I know it’s just part of the territory.

I thought a bit about the trials and tribulations of graduate school, of getting my PhD, of how long it takes and how much work it is.

I thought.

Why the fuck am I doing this?

And.

I can’t stop now.

I mean.

I know why I’m doing this and everyone I talk to is onboard with what I’m working on, it’s just, well, fuck, it’s so much work.

I wondered yesterday what it would be to just, just, work a full time job.

How novel would that be?

Pretty fucking novel.

I am not there yet.

And it feels like it’s a little further away than I would like, but I know at some point I will get there.

I will finish my PhD.

I will just be a therapist.

I will not nanny any longer.

The nannying is sweet and challenging right now.

The big kids really miss me and it’s been hard on them, this transition of not seeing as much of me as they used to.

I miss them too.

I had a huge cuddle session with the oldest boy today when he got home from school, he’s nine and just a pie.

I love all of them in all their different ways.

Each one I love the best.

Each one is my favorite.

Each one is special.

And I’m also so ready to not be nannying any more.

I don’t want to be cleaning someone’s house in my down time, or getting another’s dry cleaning or taking out someone else’s trash or folding some one else’s laundry.

I just want to do that for myself.

Sometimes I don’t really mind, it’s a bit meditative to sweep the floor or wash the dishes, or put away laundry.

Most times I don’t mind at all.

But I am ready to transition out.

It’s been thirteen years.

It’s time for something new.

I don’t know when it’s going to be and I had some high hopes that it would be by my birthday in December.

I will fly out to Paris on December 17th and a big part of me was hoping I would be able to fly off to France being done with the family.

I’m not so sure now.

Yes.

I did start with a new client this week.

And I had a client move, two other clients transition to twice a month, and another tell me they are moving next month.

Ugh.

I need to go in the opposite way and bring in more clients.

Add to that a lot of cancellations this week and the next and I am questioning whether I will have enough set aside to make that leap in December and then go off on a ten day vacation.

I know it will all work out and I know the nannying will end in due time.

I realized this week that I may just have to hold that end date gently and if I have to work a little longer as a nanny it’s ok.

I also recognize that I cannot predict when I get clients.

It has been slowly building and I am sure it will continue to build.

I have been handing out business cards and talking to people and I’m sure I can take some other actions too, but I truly don’t know what actions lead to what results.

That being said.

I did take some actions to make sure that I am taking care of myself.

Yesterday I got a massage for the first time in two years.

There’s a small place up the road from me on Balboa Street and it’s spare and bare bones, but the table was heated and it was women’s day and I got $5 off and the massage only cost $50!

I tipped $10 and was quite happy with my one hour Shiatsu massage.

I want to do that about once a month.

I hold a lot of trauma in my private practice and I don’t want to carry around other people’s trauma, I have enough of my own thanks, I don’t need to hold vicarious trauma along with it.

So massages are good and so is exercise.

And.

Finally.

Finally.

I pulled the trigger and signed up for the local yoga studio Purusha

They are running an unlimited monthly student special for $90.

That’s a pretty fucking good deal for San Francisco studios.

I had a really nice conversation with the woman at the front desk and talked about being a therapist and a PhD student and the need to get the anxiety out of my body.

And.

That I haven’t done yoga in like a year and a half and that I feel super rusty and nervous.

I found a good class to ease back into and I start tomorrow.

I have mornings off from nannying on Wednesdays and Fridays, so I figure two days a week to start, really aiming for three to four once I’m back into the flow.

I also tell myself, don’t try to figure out your calendar quite yet.

Just show up each day you can.

So tomorrow I will get up early instead of sleeping in and go to yoga before I have supervision.

Then homework and clients in the evening.

I have had anxiety about getting something else to fit in my schedule, but I realized yesterday as I was getting the massage, the only way to maintain what I am doing is to do really extensive self-care and exercising has not been a priority.

I feel like it is now.

And all I have to do is get up, put on my yoga clothes and show up.

Showing up is 3/4s of the battle anyway.

Keep showing up for my homework.

Keep showing up for my clients.

Keep showing up for my cohort.

Keep showing up for my nanny family.

But most importantly.

Keep showing up for myself with as much love and kindness as I can muster.

I’m pretty sure I can do that.

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Here It Comes

August 20, 2019

I have two days left before I head down to Pacifica and step back into my PhD life.

Not that I haven’t already been in it.

Yesterday was a shit storm of homework, talking about the work, thinking about the work, reading, writing, posting to Canvas, the platform my online work is on, and feeling way too fucking anxious for my own good.

Seriously.

I had forgotten that ever present, low lying level of anxiety that being in school and working full time gives me.

I had a phone call with a friend in my cohort to talk about some collaborative processes regarding school and a proposal that we have to have done to present at the intensive and I just got bonkers.

I realized, yet again, that I was already behind the ball.

Thanks brain, nothing like making yourself feel bad after a really extraordinary Saturday.

More on that in a moment.

I tried to talk myself in from the ledge and I did ok, but reading and re-reading the syllabi made my stomach flip.

As once again I face the prospect of having to be in zoom meetings on days and times that I cannot as I will be working or seeing a therapy client.

And why?

WHY!?!

Are my electives more fucking work than my required course work?

Shit.

I was totally taken aback at my electives coursework.

Ugh.

I am not complaining, well, a little.

I just get the overwhelms.

And I know this feeling.

I have had it every semester.

I have had it every semester of my Master’s program and yes, for both the semesters in my first year of my PhD coursework.

And inevitably I find the time, it appears, like magic, a sloop on the sea back lit with moon light, and there is the path and I don’t really know how, but it all gets done.

It always does.

So.

I tried to reason a tiny bit with myself that this would be the same thing too and like every semester some weirdo shit happens with my financial aid, this year was no different, but things get worked out, as they did this year as well.

Everything gets worked out.

And.

If I don’t get A’s I’ll be alright.

I mean.

I’m going to fucking get A’s because that’s what I do and because I am a damn good writer.

Not that one can always tell from the writing in my blogs, but I do believe I am a good writer.

Not great, I won’t call what I do that, but good.

I am solid.

I am fluid.

I have good ideas.

I have poetic turns.

I have way with words, have I.

And I have a sense that I will have more time this semester than I did last year.

My work is transitioning.

Boy fucking howdy is it transitioning.

I had a pricking in my thumbs all last week that there was a conversation that needed to happen with the mom at work and I finally had the opportunity to address it and yes, my schedule is changing.

CHANGING.

I’m going to go down to three days a week come the third week in September, basically in a month, I will only be nannying three days a week.

And.

I will continue to transition down every time I pick up a client.

Which I did yesterday.

I am now at 18 clients.

I need two more to cover the costs of losing the nanny hours, but I suspect that I will secure them by the time I go down to three days a week.

And I need five more clients after that, I think, if I have done the math right, to be fully self-sustaining as a therapist.

That would be 25.

I want 30 though and possibly a few more.

As.

Well.

Clients cancel.

Things happen, stuff comes up at work, vacations, sick days, etc.

I need to have a buffer and account for that.

But even then.

When I think about it, when I let myself dream and drift a little, 30-35 clients, why, shit, that’s 10 hours a week less then I was working first semester of my PhD program last year.

I went into the program working 42-45 hours a week–as a nanny, I’m not including hours that I was seeing clients or doing group supervision and training with my agency.

At one point right at the beginning of the second semester I was working about 60 hours of work between the two and doing my PhD work, no wonder I felt crazed by the end of the semester.

And thankfully.

Second semester saw me drop down to 40 towards the end of the semester and then around the beginning of the summer 35 and then two weeks ago 30 and I’m staring down 20 hours when the transition happens.  The two older kids will be back in school and the family secured a daycare spot for the littlest guy.

20 hours of nanny work.

Actually that’s not even true, more like 18 since I picked up a client yesterday.

18 hours of nannying.

I mean.

I cannot even believe that.

I have been nannying for 12 1/2 years.

Thirteen maybe.

I am never quite sure about the number.

A long fucking time, how about that.

I really thought at one point that I would never not be a nanny and there was some self-esteem stuff tied up with that.

I had judgements about what I did as a profession.

I mean.

Who takes a nanny seriously?

Despite the enormous amount of work it takes to be a nanny, it is not seen as a credible career in Western society.

I have worked my ass off, however, as a nanny, and I can ascertain that most nannies do.

Not all of them.

I have seen some pretty lax shit happen in the parks, but it’s a damn lot of work.

It can also have the appearance of being fun and games all the time, going out to ice cream, going to parks, taking the monkeys to an arcade–got to do that today, me and the eldest hit up Free Gold Watch in the Haight, singing, taking long walks, being outside, playtime, nap time.

But it is work.

Work to stay present and balanced and even keeled when there’s crazy happening, when there’s screaming tantrums, when there’s diapers and vomit and sick kids or crazed sugar mania happening.

Work.

A lot of work.

And love.

Don’t get me wrong, there is so much love.

And.

I am done with it.

I have done it long enough.

I have paid my dues.

I can see the light at the end of the nanny tunnel and though I am a little afraid to go into the light.

(Don’t go into the light Carol Anne!)

Go I shall.

We strength and grace and assuredness that I will be held financially and be full self-supporting as a therapist.

I know I will.

I have extended office hours, I have rented extra office space, I have built it.

They will come.

Oh yes they will.

And the faster they come, the sooner I am done nannying.

Ooh la la.

Now.

Just to get through the anxiety of starting up school again.

Life.

It just keeps going.

It really does.

One More Week

August 12, 2019

Of freedom.

From school.

Which is fucking hilarious as I carted around two gigantic text books today on the off chance of being somewhere I was going to read.

I learned to always carry my books with me, because inevitably the day will come when I don’t, (this past Saturday) when a client no shows and I have down time to read.

Or I’m at work and unexpectedly get time to read.

I probably won’t at all be able to do that at work tomorrow, I just don’t see it happening, but sometimes it does and as my time is super precious I use whatever I can get.

I have finished one of my text books for the fall semester and started in on another one and I am simultaneously reviewing a few articles for the class I will be guest lecturing on the 21st of September and reading a book for that class as well.

I did question myself a little about that today as I sat in a training in Berkeley for my agency, what am I doing teaching a class too this semester?!

But, I feel it’s good for me to do and I’m excited for the topic and the few people, outside of school, I have run it by, really like listening to me talk about it.

I find that encouraging, if someone who doesn’t have a background in psychology finds it fascinating, those who are pursuing the Master’s degree should like it too.

Or so I hope.

Regardless of whether they do or not,  I am learning as I prepare to teach.

Which is always how it goes.

Want to learn something on a deeper level?

Teach it.

I have had that experience over and over and over again.

And I’m grateful to get to go before an incoming Master’s cohort who are just beginning their journey and say here I am, in my second year of a PhD program, as a licensed Associate Marriage and Family Therapist with a burgeoning private practice.

I get to model what they can become and that’s really a sweet gift to give back.

I didn’t know how much work it was going to be and I’m pretty glad I didn’t, I did know I was right where I was supposed to be and I want to share all the things that I have gotten to learn over the past few years.

An hour and a half lecture will not encapsulate that, but it should be enough time to lecture on Reverie, which I find totally fascinating.

Reverie is something that happens in sessions where daydreams, wayward thoughts, fantasies, visions, intuitions, come to the therapist.

The first time it happened to me in a session, a dyad at school with a classmate, I got spooked.

I thought I had drifted off.

But there was something so potent about it, the image that came to mind, that I mentioned it to my professor who then told me that I had experienced  reverie and that it was clinically significant.

We discussed what I saw, how it was clinically relevant, and how to make an intervention around it.

It was fascinating.

It still is and there’s lots to talk about, and I won’t bore you with it at this time, since I don’t know that you’re really here to listen to me practice my lecture in Psychodynamics.

Heh.

Who knows why you’re here anyway.

I don’t.

I mean.

This blog has been dark for almost two years now, maybe actually it has been a little more than two years.

I don’t link it to social media.

I don’t post it anywhere.

This is just me noodling away at my keyboard.

There are perhaps of handful of folks that still follow me out there who know me, but most of the people that read this have no idea who I am.

Once in a while it gets read a whole bunch and I’ll be curious who has discovered it and why is it so fascinating.

Recently it was getting a ton of reads in, of all places, Hong Kong.

No idea why.

But for a few days, on and off for the last couple of months, literally hundreds of my blogs were being read in Hong Kong.

That was kind of cool to see.

I don’t know how many blogs I’m going to get out before the semester starts, I’ll be starting with some new clients this week and trying to get some homework done before the intensive.

One of my classes doesn’t have the syllabus up yet, which always makes me nervous, but the other two do and there is going to be some major work and a lot of reading to do this semester just for these two classes.

But.

I am not going to stop blogging.

Especially since I am going to actually try to incorporate my blog into a “Work In Progress” assignment for my class in Arts Based Research.

I know that I won’t be able to do a blog a day like I still managed to do with my Master’s degree.

That became really evident I am sure when my blogs took a total nose dive once I began my PhD and started building up my private practice.

The blog took such a hit.

But.

I have never stopped writing and I’m going to keep sending out these little missives to the Universe whenever I can.

It helps me to keep my writing chops and it helps me process all the things.

Like not speaking or being in contact with my ex and what that feels like.

Good and super hard all at the same time and scary and sad.

Or thinking about the time I was in Cuba, just recently and had an overwhelming spiritual experience at a Catholic church where Santoria is practiced.

Floods of tears, praying on my knees, and asking for forgiveness in front of a black Madonna.

Or when I was walking the cobblestone streets of Old Havana with my hair up, a long white dress on, a bright turquoise parasol protecting me from the sun and the feeling of awe in wonder at who I get to be in this life and where I get to go.

And.

Where I get to go home to.

San Francisco.

I am still here.

Hanging on at the edge of the city.

The ledge of the Western seaboard.

Two blocks from the Ocean.

The moon rise and the the dark breach of universe turning above me.

I am so fucking grateful to be alive.

It’s ok that I got my heart broke.

It’s ok that my rent’s ridiculous.

It’s ok that I’m still a nanny.

I get to do all these miraculous things.

It’s ok that I’m busy with my PhD and nervous to teach the class.

I get to do all these things.

Because.

I am graced.

Happy.

Joyous.

And so very.

Very.

Very.

Free.

Take One Step Towards

August 9, 2019

The Universe and the Universe throws hella new clients at you!

Holy crow.

Last Thursday I took a, for me, leap and connected with a woman who has an office in the same building I have my therapy office in.

She had tagged me in a post on social media about having office hours available.

I was really interested in one of the days, but, also, well, nervous, can I take on more rent?

I brought it up last week in Group Supervision and my supervisor interrupted me and said, “Who here thinks that Carmen should rent the office?”

Everyone raised their hands.

EVERYONE.

Ok then.

One of the members in my group succinctly pointed out that I have been steadily adding new clients and building my practice.

At the time of the conversation I had 15 clients.

I had 16 but one client moved.

And.

My group member was right, I have steadily increased my client load and I had the sense of “if you build it they will come.”

So  reached out that day and sent a direct text and inquired.

I got a response that it was available, but/and two other people had expressed interest.

Shit.

But they hadn’t confirmed.  I was adamant that I wanted the office, especially when I found out what the rent was and it was much less than I thought it would  be.

She said to be fair she would re-contact the interested parties and see where they stood and then let me know.

I thanked her and realized that I was ok no matter what happened.

Sure.

I wanted the office space, but really, having taken the action of just reaching out really felt good and positive.

Take action and let go of the results.

She got back the next afternoon.

I got the office!

Apparently my vigorous yes to taking the space swayed her and that I was ready to take on the space this month.

The lease is all drafted and dealt with–connected her to my agency and I get the key tomorrow!

I start with a client in the space next Monday.

I am using it for a client that had to cancel a standing session.

It was so nice to be able to offer the alternative space.

Then it gets crazy.

After the phone call with my new landlord I have my individual supervision and I excitedly share with my supervisor about the new office.

She is surprised and happy for me and adds that she knew I was interested in extra office hours but she didn’t realize how serious I was about it and would I also like to have Thursdays in the office?

HOLY SHIT.

My individual supervisor is also my landlord whom I sublet my office from, we share the office space.  She recently became core faculty at CIIS, my alma mater (my current “mater” for that matter, my PhD intensive is two and a half weeks away!) and has cut back her office hours.

Whoa.

I knew that was happening and I had soft ball pitched wanting extra office hours about a month ago but it didn’t seem like it was going to happen.

Until it did.

She told me to think about it and let her know.

I clapped my hands in glee like a small child in front of birthday cupcakes and said “yes!”

And like that.

I have office hours now Monday-Saturday!

My hope is that once I fill up on clients I will actually be able to stop seeing clients on Saturdays.  I need to right now, I see four clients and that’s a good chunk of change.  But if I can fill up the weekdays I can transition out of working Saturdays.

I haven’t had a full weekend off in years.

Literally.

I have been working six days a week and going to school full time for the last three and a half years.

I am so ready to have my weekends back!

Granted.

I will likely be working on my PhD, but who cares!

Weekends.

And!

I have a potential new client for next Thursday.

That part about saying yes to the office and yes to the Universe, well apparently the Universe heard and I got four referrals yesterday from Psychology Today as well as a referral from my individual supervisor.

I made contact with three of them, leaving the others messages but not hearing back.

I did two phone consultations yesterday, immediately landing one new client.

I also did a phone consult tonight and again, landed the client!

I have another phone consult tomorrow early evening in between clients and feel very positive about it having already made good e-mail connection.

I am over the moon.

I now have 17 clients!

My goal is 30 and then I can stop nannying.

I am so close.

I can almost taste it.

My charges can too, the little lady tonight asked me when I was leaving and I knew it wasn’t about when I was leaving at the end of my shift.

I told her not for a while yet, she was probably going to get me for another five or six months and I was planning on always being in her life and that rest assured she was my favorite client.

She gets very jealous when  leave to go see my clients, let me tell you.

My goal is six months tops.

I would love to be done by the end of the year, that has always been my original goal, but I figure I will just say six months from the first day I am in my additional office.

So by February 12th of 2020 I will be done being a nanny.

Fingers crossed and the river don’t rise.

Bring on the clients.

I am ready.

Happy.

Joyous.

Free.

To not be a nanny anymore.

First Book Ordered

July 26, 2019

And summer is done.

Well.

Not quite.

I still have a few weeks before school starts, but I am already doing just a little reading for this upcoming semester.

I said I wouldn’t touch school books until after my trip to Cuba.

I got back Tuesday night at 7a.m.

My god.

My bed was so nice to get into.

I love to travel, I really do, but there is nothing quite like your own bed.

Especially after sleeping 8 nights on a really hard mattress.  I have to admit I was a little let down when I saw my room, but after doing a walking tour of old Havana with a local architect, I got over that shit.

My casa, in comparison to much around me, was really quite nice.

It is one thing to know about the Cuban embargo.

It is another thing entirely to experience it.

The country is poor.

I mean.

Really poor.

And dirty, the streets are disastrous, the cars are all old and there is no smog control, so much exhaust.

So much.

And not actually that many cars, lots of classics, yes, which was fun, I won’t lie, and super cool to see, but there were lots of horses and carts too.

Horses and carts people.

Traveling from Havana to Vinales one day for a trip to visit a tobacco and coffee farm, I counted more horses and carts than actual cars on the freeway.

ON THE FREAKING HIGHWAY.

More horses then cars.

I am not kidding.

These were some of the cars I got to see and go for rides in.  I actually went for more rides in classic cars than regular cars, I didn’t actually take photos of them all.

Sometimes I don’t want to act like a tourist.

Even though I am totally a tourist, I just couldn’t really bring myself to pose on the cars, it didn’t feel like me.

I did, however, quite enjoy cruising around in them, especially when they had A/C.

It was fucking hot.

It was humid.

So humid.

My hair did some batshit crazy things.

And I was constantly sweating.

Er.

Glowing.

I was glowing.

A lot.

 

As you can see, I was “glowing” quite a bit.

I also learned to wear my hair up real fast.

Real fast.

And I was hella grateful that I had brought a travel umbrella.

I actually didn’t use it that much for rain.

There were some showers and one big storm, with hail!

But mostly, I used the umbrella for sun shade.

I was reminded a lot of Burning Man in that regard.  I usually  bring a parasol for the hot days out on playa.

In fact.

Havana reminded me a lot of Burning Man and in some ways having had the experience of going to the event was actually very handy.

I had to bring everything that I wanted or needed.

There were no stores to buy sunblock or extra toothpaste.

I had to use my water filter bottle or buy bottled water, there is no drinking water from the faucets.

Everyone buys bottled water.

Everyone.

It was really dirty, Old Havana is all cobblestone and dirt roads.

I mean.

500 year old cobblestones ain’t clean.

Plus add dogs, cats, and chickens to the mix, garbage, and potholes everywhere.

I’m super glad my friend who had been before cautioned me to wear really sturdy shoes and to bring anything that I might want because I was not going to be able to purchase it there.

I cannot tell you what it was like to see people queuing up for chicken, or to buy one bread roll.

The black market is a real thing there and I found out that I had participated without even knowing it by eating beef one night.

All beef is allocated to the government, restaurants are allowed to have it.

I had it and that means that it was bought on the black market.

Most of the time though I did stick with Cuban classics and I was quite happy with that.

My casa had breakfast every morning, fruit–usually a slice  of watermelon, some papaya, 1/2 a banana and slices of mango with coffee followed by one egg and one slice of avocado.

No bread for me, which my host couldn’t quite understand, but I’m sure she was happy to have the extra roll I sent back each morning.

I dined in a lot of private restaurants, basically in people’s homes.

And I found a couple of cafes that became my haunts, Cafe Bohemia and Papa Ernesto.

Aside, Che Guevero’s given name is Ernesto.

 

This is Cafe Bohemia.

I was so happy to have Pellegrino and mango blended with ice, which they called frappes.  I had a lot of mango.

A lot.

My poop turned orange.

I know.

But it did!

I have never had orange poo before.

Anyway.

The cafe was a life saver as too was Mas Habana.

A restaurant I never would have stumbled upon on my own as it was down a super dirty street with a lot of construction on it.

But I had made a reservation to do a tour of the houses in Old Havana and my host wanted to meet there.

It was a fucking oasis.

An air conditioned oasis.

I went back every day from that point on, either for lunch or for dinner.

On my last day I went there for both lunch and dinner.

I was the queen of beverages at every meal.

San Pellegrino.

Mango frappe.

Cafe con leche.

I had the same amazing appetizer each time, sometimes it was just my meal since I filled up on all the bevvies, tostones rellenos–stuffed fried plantains.

OOOOOH.

So damn good.

Mashed plantains made into patty’s, fried, and then topped with smashed avocado and a shrimp.

I was in heaven.

 

Mas Habana was my little haven.

And on my last night, I splurged and had lobster.

Also black market.

But, fuck it, it was my last night and I knew it was going to be good.

It was in fact, amazing, bathed in a beautiful garlic broth and shelled for me.

All I had to do was scoop it up in a spoon and sigh with delight.

The staff was great and my last night discounted my bill, “for being such a nice customer.”

I am a good tipper.

Once a waitress.

Always a waitress.

I had many more adventures, but I’ve got to get up early tomorrow.

So more pictures to come.

And more tales to tell.

I have a few more days before I need to knuckle back down for school, I promise I’ll show and tell a bit more before I get buried in the reading.

Promise.

Heart Broken

March 5, 2019

Here I am trying to hit my once a week mark for my blog.

So sad.

I remember when it was every day and the streak was a long one.

I am happy to have a few spare minutes today though and I had an experience over the weekend that I thought I’d like to post about.

It does pertain to my recent heartbreak and break up and my love and my loss.

I am still grieving, I suppose I will for a little while yet.

I’m trying to just be nice to myself about it and when the sad comes let it.

I have stayed very busy through the weekend, although yes, I did actually sleep in on Sunday.

I woke up at my normal time, 6:30a.m. and then again at 7:30a.m. and I almost got up at 7:30a.m. but I was having a rather lovely dream of being with him and I literally thought I heard his voice in my room, so I buried myself in my pillows and said, I’ll just sleep another half hour.

Was I surprised when I woke up at 9!

I think I needed the sleep though and I definitely felt tender about my situation, but also some space and some gratitude for the experience seemed to be working on my heart and I was happy that was happening.

If tender.

Very tender.

Sometimes I completely forget.

Then I see something and it’s all there, the last 22 months, the first six months, the laugher, all the conversations, all the sweet nothings (which meant everything) whispered in my ear.

All the amazing sex.

Fuck the sex was good.

But if it was just all about the sex it wouldn’t hurt the way it has and does.

He and I both acknowledged that many times over the last year when we were really trying to figure things it.

It was that we were also best friends and that is a huge loss.

My person I talk to every day I haven’t spoken to in eight days.

Eight.

It feels like a lifetime.

I can’t imagine going another eight.

Yet.

I figure that is just what is going to happen.

Day after day will go by and one day I won’t miss him.

And one day I will be with the person who fully wants to be with me, can meet my needs and doesn’t have anything holding him back.

I don’t know when that day is, I’m not looking forward to it, I just know it will come.

The day I forget to miss him.

That is really not now.

I get broken up watching crows right now.

There was a joke he told me once, it was rather dark and a bit grim and funny as fuck and he said something about “like a crow laughing at a funeral,” and I just got it stuck in my head.

Thing is.

I like crows.

They’re smart, clever, live in social groups (appropriately called “murders”) and they mate for life.

I was fond of us being crows symbolically.

And of course two freaking crows nest in the neighbor’s house at work.

I see them all the time.

I tell them to send him my love and let him know I miss him.

Desperately.

I’ll see two crows playing and swooping through the air and sort of lose it.

I have a little pile of love cards and notes that I was planning on sending him in the mail, that’s been a part of our courtship, letter writing, and now they just sit desolate and sad on my desk.

There is no one else I can send them to.

I thought about it, but he said no contact by mail too when we ended it.

There really is no contact.

I haven’t blocked him on my phone (I suppose I’m wanting a miracle of change to happen) but social media and internet we’ve had no contact and haven’t been in each other’s social stuff for a while.

I was thinking about him a lot on Friday and missing him and also feeling a little lost thinking about a new client I have.

A couple.

And how I was going to see them the next day and some things I wanted to bring into the session and then I had the voice of doom pipe up in my head.

“How can you be a good couples therapist if you can’t even stay in a relationship?”

Cue some deep sighs and teary eyes, although I didn’t shed any tears.

Instead I directed my attention to the assignment I needed to do for my Creative Arts in Leadership class.

Which was about making a mask of my inner leader after having listened to a guided meditation.

I won’t get into all the details but to say I was instructed to have a question for my inner leader and I decided to go for that one, being a couples therapist who had failed at love.

It took me a while to get into the meditation, partially because it required me to be still and I know me, when I am still the feelings come and sure enough there they were, all marshaled up ready to let me know how much I missed him and how sad I was.

Sigh.

But I got through it.

To sum up the mediation we walked through a woods and came to a clearing and there was a structure there (for me a cottage in the middle of a big wildflower meadow, with a round door and a chimney jutting from the roof and lead paned windows) that we had to approach–our inner leader was there.

Mine opened the door before I could knock.

A beautiful older woman in her mid-sixties, with long silver-grey hair in braids wearing a simple sleeveless cotton shift, her arms and torso covered in blue woad tattoos.

I crossed the threshold and handed her my heart, I didn’t know until that moment I had been carrying it through the woods in my hands.

It was blackened and ravaged by crows.

I asked her how could I possibly be a good couples therapist if I had lost my love?

She didn’t say anything, simply took my heart and held it up to her face with a gentle smile and kissed it.

At once it turned into a beautiful shining apple.

She handed me back the apple and indicated that I should eat it.

I did and instead of going into my stomach the apple went into the empty space where my heart had been.

It took root at once and an apple tree immediately sprang forth loaded with shimmering apples in the golden sun.

I realized that the gift of the pain was a gift of experience I could give back to others.

It was sublime.

It was surprising and I came out of it with a grace and softness that I had not had going in.

I sat down at my desk listened to some Johan Sebastian Bach Cello Sonatas and made my mask.

Then, as per my assignment instructions, I wrote in my journal about the experience.

As I was wrapping it up, the voice of my inner leader spoke up, “who wants a couples therapist who’s never had their heart-broken?”

I scrawled that down in my journal and I knew it was true.

My life experiences are gifts that I get to give to my clients.

They may not accept them, that is not for me to decide, but I can offer them my experience and I believe it is valuable beyond words.

I’m still sad.

I miss my love so much.

But I also know the value of my experience.

Deeply.

I’ve never had my heart-broken before.

He was my first true heart-break.

Now I know.

Now I really know.

How bad it hurts.

Baby.

It hurts so bad.

 

 

Fifteen Minute Blog

March 1, 2019

That’s about all I got tonight.

Fifteen minutes.

I almost decided to not write, but then I thought, when am I going to have the opportunity again?

I mean.

PhD full tilt boogie.

38 hours a week at my day job.

I’ve also clocked 13 hours at my internship so far this week and I have a client tomorrow as well as three on Saturday.

This is it.

Take the moment.

I could, sure, do some homework.

But.

Well.

I’m pretty on top of it right now.

I wrote a paper over the last two days at work as I was left pretty much alone during the afternoons at work with the baby (who’s really not a baby anymore, 26 months tomorrow) who has been taking these great big fat three-hour naps.

I can knock out a lot of work in three hours.

It’s been a huge gift.

When people ask me how I’m doing it, that’s really the key right now, homework while the baby naps.

Of course I do homework at other times, but the three hours really gives me a way into staying abreast of the work.

I have plenty to do the next couple of days as well with school work, new module’s opened in one of my classes, which means obligations to post discussions and respond to others.

I have done the readings so it shouldn’t be too bad and if the baby naps well tomorrow and the mom’s out of the house, I’ll get it done.

I’m staying busy.

Maybe, sort of, on purpose.

I will say I was a little surprised today to not be as upset and sad as I thought I would.

Then again, when I have slowed down from school, work, clients, dealing with my car being in the shop for six days, OHMYGOD do I love having my car back, I have broken down pretty quick.

I’ve been very careful since the break up to not listen to certain music.

I’ve gotten caught once or twice when I was in a ride share on my way to work and the driver had something come on the stereo that knocked me for a loop.

Cue wearing my ear pods on all drives to and from where ever I was going.

As well as making sure to listen to music at work that’s very upbeat.

I’m sure there’s more grief to grieve.

I lost my best friend and we have a no contact agreement.

I have felt lonely  and lost and sad.

I have also felt some freedom I wasn’t expecting and some relief that it’s done.

Walking around last week for five and a half days knowing that I was about to break up was harrowing.

Just the relief of not having to do that is tremendous.

I haven’t looked at photos either.

And I’ve not gone looking through texts or emails.

Maybe I’m packing too much swaddling around myself.

I don’t know.

I just know that the first time we went through a break up it was so horrendously sad I walked around for days, weeks, feeling like I had been beaten.

And I couldn’t stop crying.

I have had a few moments of unbearable crying jags, but just not to the extent of last time.

I was also not practiced at the breakup.

He and I have gone through it two times officially from my side and once, in a sort of conditional way on his side.

Third times the charm I guess.

Oh.

I do sort of still hope that something miraculous will happen.

That he will decide to alter the things I asked him to alter and we’ll be together.

And I know I can’t wait around for that, it probably won’t happen, and I can’t live my life hoping.

I have to live my life in faith, I know that.

The situation I was in was untenable and I went on in for almost two years.

I’m lucky to have known the depth of love that I had but I also went through a lot of pain.

A lot.

Things were just never quite what I wanted.

Fuck.

Now I’m teary.

Shit.

I thought I’d make it through.

Oh well.

My person reminded me that it wasn’t that there was a lack of love if anything that was what made it so terrible to do, we were so in love with each other.

We’d frequently call the other the One, or soul mate, or magic, or love of my life.

So, it’s rather heartbreaking that we couldn’t get around the issues that broke us apart.

I could wish it different, but I couldn’t make it happen.

And man.

Did I try.

I really tried to be super flexible and not look at things with black and white thinking but in the end I wasn’t getting my needs met and he and I both knew it and he was guilty and sad for it and I was upset over it and it wasn’t working.

God I wish it had.

Ugh.

Now I know why I wasn’t wanting to blog.

I knew that I was going to process emotions doing this and now I’m typing and crying and the heart ache is there and it doesn’t matter what I’m playing on the stereo, it’s all love songs about him anyways.

Well, that was fun.

I just precipitated a crying jag with my head on my table.

Ugh.

I can’t really avoid myself and my emotions when I’m writing, they just naturally come up.

Sigh.

And I can have some compassion for the part of me that doesn’t want to feel and has kept mighty, mighty, mighty busy not thinking about it.

I am sad.

I am tender.

I miss him so much.

Fuck.

I miss you darling.

I miss you so bad.

Ready to Fly

February 15, 2019

I’m at work.

The baby is sleeping.

The rain is falling.

The dad is home sick.

It’s Friday.

I have one client after work tonight then…

Three day weekend!

I’m so ready to be done.

I’m flying out tonight on a red-eye to D.C. to spend time with my best friend in Georgetown.

I do find it rather funny actually that I’m going to be there over President’s Day weekend.

Just sort of how it worked out.

Originally I was supposed to go before school started, but our schedules just did not sync up.

So.

Here I am officially into the month of February getting ready to jettison off for a much-needed mini-holiday.

And!

I’m done with my homework.

In fact, I am a touch a head of it.

I have been assiduously reading, writing, posting discussion posts, responding to discussion posts, et al.

I’ve actually finished the reader completely for one of my classes.

This is not to say that there isn’t work to do.

I’m in a fucking PhD program, there is always going to be work to do.

In fact, I’m sure my guilty student self-will arise any moment now and say something like, “you could pre-read for your other two classes too.”

But the fact is.

I need a break.

And sometimes that is just as important to acknowledge as it is to budget time to do the homework.

It’s been, well, stressful isn’t the right word exactly, but challenging at work this week.

The dad has been home sick every day.

EVERY DAY.

The whole family has gotten sick, and I as well, although not to the extent or severity of the baby or the papa.

For this I am so lucky.

Very happy.

Very grateful.

I caught it last week Thursday, tried to pretend I didn’t have it, had it land pretty solid Friday, spiked a fever while at my office seeing clients on Saturday.

Fortunate for me I had some clients cancel and no-show and I was able to chill out in my office after seeing two clients.

That actually helped me a lot in my advancement through my homework this week.

I wrote a paper and did a bunch of reading.

I wrote another paper on Sunday.

And then have read and posted discussions all week.

I’m just about past the point of feeling awkward with the dad around.

But, yes challenging.

I find I do as much work as I possibly can, but you know, I’m extremely efficient and Fridays the family traditionally orders in food, so I have no food prep or dinner planning to do.

The house is spotless.

I can’t access laundry since it’s next to the sleeping baby.

So I’ve done my homework and then realized, good lord, I still have another half hour or so of not having anything to do.

Somehow sitting on the couch trolling Instagram seems like a bad idea.

I figured if I was writing, it would at least look like I’m working on something.

Dad doesn’t need to know I’m writing my blog.

Plus.

Since I’m flying a red-eye tonight I am going to try to sleep on the plane rather than do homework.

Maybe, ooh, I could even watch a movie.

Ah.

That would be nice.

I do know that I will be happy to hit DC running, my friend will pick me up at the airport, drive me into town and then we’re going to do breakfast, coffee, and doing that infamous deal at a clubhouse near DuPont Circle.

After that I am checking into an Air BnB in Georgetown.

That I was happily given access to for early check in.

Super grateful for that.

Originally the check in was listed for 3p.m.

But I asked if it was possible to get in early and I got a sweet affirmative response last night.

So.

Napping.

And.

Napping in front of a working fireplace.

Yes.

I won’t nap too long, there’s only so much time I get with my friend.

I think we might do a fancy pants dinner out somewhere that evening and then Sunday really just hang out and walk around Georgetown, hit some cafes, grab lunch somewhere, maybe do some shopping.

You know, girl stuff.

And I fly back super early on Monday.

So early that I actually will have most of Monday available to me for life stuff that needs to be done.

I have to drop my car off for some maintenance and I’m hoping to get all my laundry done.

So.

Here’s to there only being two and a half hours left of my work day, one client, and a quick drive home to pick up my suitcase and travel bag.

I’m already packed.

All I have to do is remembered to bring my power cords for my computer and my phone.

God only knows l will likely check into my school work at least once.

Maybe twice.

I’m too paranoid about falling behind to not do that.

But really.

I do hope to take it easy and let myself gently off the hook.

I feel really good at where I am currently in this semester of work.

Sure.

That could change the next week.

But for now.

Well.

Here’s to a three-day weekend!

 

Sneaky Blog

February 12, 2019

I really should probably look at my homework.

But.

Fuck.

I have done a lot in the last couple of days and I also really should let myself off the hook once in a while.

I wrote a paper yesterday as well as attended a three-hour training in Berkeley for my internship.

Day off, what day off?

I also did laundry and roasted a chicken for food prep and packed up my carry-on for a trip this weekend.

I am going to do a quick zoom in and out of D.C.

A friend gave me some miles and I’ve booked an Air BnB with a fireplace in Georgetown.

We’re going to hang out, go to coffee shops and eat nice food.

I might not even go out all that much.

Sit in front of the fire-place and toast my toes.

I am going to do as much homework as possible this week so that I can actually enjoy my time there.

The trip was originally supposed to be before I started up school again but my friends schedule got wonky and we had to push it out.

So.

I will have a quick two and a half days and I’ll be right back in it.

Next weekend will be my weekend off.

Of course it does mean staying on top of things and as of such I did read 65 pages of an article today.

No fucking article should be that long.

Just saying.

Thank goodness the baby took a long nap today.

Poor little guy.

He’s been sick.

Went with the mom to the pediatrician today and it turns out he’s got an eye infection, a sinus infection and an ear infection in both ears!

He’s going to get a whopping big dose of antibiotics in the next couple of days and hopefully it will all get knocked out.

And yes.

I do actually have his cold.

I suspected I was coming down with it on Friday.

Sure as shit, Saturday I was running a fever.

But there was really nothing to do about that.

I got up, I did my morning routine, I went and saw my clients.

Fortunately it never really got anywhere as bad as the little guy’s had.

I’m a tiny bit sick, more like a light runny nose and some yuck congestion in my nose and throat when I wake up in the morning.

It’s like I got the diet version of his cold.

It’s enough to be a little annoying, but not enough to knock me down.

I will admit I was in bed pretty early last night, just to make sure that I was getting enough sleep.

That is the thing I constantly have to do for myself, get enough sleep.

Other things are getting dropped.

Socializing.

Blogging.

My blogging has been slight and I’m not excited about that, but I have to address homework pretty much every day and there is just so much to read.

My God.

The reading is heavy.

I am so very grateful I knocked out three books before the semester started.

I’m also 3/4s of the way through one of my class readers, which is going to be really helpful as I move forward.

But there is just always something else to read.

And I am constantly being sent stuff to read as well.

I can’t do it all

And I can’t blog as much as I would like, but I feel like I’m in a good place right now, turned in that paper yesterday and today did a substantive post to one of my classes.

I need to check into the other two and see what’s on the agenda, but I don’t have to do anything quite yet.

Aha.

I actually did.

And I just did it.

Hopefully I didn’t screw with the flow of the blog, but yeah, I had an inkling there was something I needed to attend to in my Arts and Creativity in Leadership class.

And there was.

So.

That’s done and now I can say I checked in and took care of it and between that, the discussion posts, the responses to others I made today and all the reading, I’m pretty good with my efforts today.

Really.

As long as I stay sober today, ultimately nothing else matters.

But I do want to do the work to get this PhD.

It does feel really important.

I have had some people in and out of my cohort as well exhort me to do a book about what I am writing on and to have it full of photographs of my tattoos.

I am actually thinking about that quite a lot.

I do know some photographers.

I should start asking around.

Of course the two that pop up in my head first are professionals and would probably be a lot to use, but it may be worth it to start engaging in looking.

I would like to document my tattoos anyway and since I’ll be writing about them and my experiences I am also leaning very heavily towards adding them into my dissertation as well.

Which is something I can do with the methodology I’m using.

Things to think about.

I also have to remember I’m meeting with one of my professors next Friday, pop that on my calendar.

My online program piece uses a lot of Zoom meetings, but I can’t make most of them wtih my schedule.

I actually had one this Saturday, client cancelled, and I checked in with one of my professors who lives on the East Coast.

We had a great talk and he gave me some of the best compliments.

I mean.

I was really blown away.

He said, “Well, Carmen, I just think you’re brilliant, I really do.”

And.

He added a little later that he had something else to admit to, “I save your papers until the last to read, that way I have something to look forward to.”

OMG.

Best compliment.

I was so very flattered.

I really want to let myself enjoy this compliment too.

In the not so recent past I have used compliments like this to stress myself out, I better perform even better, I can’t disappoint now!

So for the last couple of days I have really held that for myself.

Of course.

The paper that was due yesterday was for his class and the first of the semester (for this class, not for the semester, I’ve already turned in two other papers thank you very much).

So.

Yeah, I had some anxiety writing it.

But overall, I think it was a good paper and he’ll like it and it’s ok if he doesn’t either.

I know that I have skills.

Maybe not mad skills, but I do think I have some writing chops.

Grateful as hell for that.

And with that.

I bid you adieu.

It’s time to attend to a few more school things before winding it down for the night.

Sweet dreams.

Sleep tight.

Don’t let the bedbugs bite.

(I have always wondered how one does that?)

Heh.

I Need Off Canvas

February 5, 2019

And its only just begun.

I made myself take a break today (I was at work and the baby took a long nap) after two solid hours of writing, engaging and interacting the three different classes I have on Canvas with CIIS.

Canvas is the tech platform the classes are set up on and why yes, not a single one of my professors uses it the same as the others.

Every single one of them does it slightly differently.

And once again I had the feeling of being on top of things to only realize that I hadn’t checked into one of my classes in a few days since I was so busy posting up to the other two.

Sure as shit.

I needed to post and post pretty immediately.

I wasn’t exactly annoyed, but I was tired and I don’t know that I put up the most relevant post, but what I came to understand from last semester is that it almost doesn’t matter.

I just have to constantly be posting something.

Either a substantive post on an assignment or reading, or responding to one of my classmates.

Pretty much every week I need to be in Canvas posting and replying.

I almost didn’t want to write my blog tonight, I just wanted to come home, warm up, eat a hot dinner and crawl into bed.

But if I’m not going to do school work, and I still might do a little more tonight, I am also not going to get into bed and watch hours of Netflix, as tempting as that may be.

I will watch some.

Just not a marathon.

I need to keep that and social media to a dull roar.

The blogging is going to be helter skelter.

I have no clue when I will have time, but I figure, it’s good to stay as close to it as I can.

It’s good for my brain to unload the day and it’s good for me to have something that is not academic writing.

Besides, I’ve said it many times.

The process of writing the blog really keeps me sharp for when I need to write papers.

And boy howdy, the papers are already coming.

I have two due by next Monday.

I also have a training for my internship in Berkeley on Sunday.

I will need to be careful with my time so that I can do all the things that need to be done and all my life stuff as well too.

When I go on trainings I’m gone for half the day, 45 minutes to get to Berkeley, three-hour long training, and then on average the traffic back has been an hour and a half.

By the time I get home I need to eat lunch, which is late as it’s around three p.m. and I need to go to the laundry mat.

I am still not happy about having to go to the laundry mat.

But I am making the best of it.

For instance, this Sunday while the majority of the country was watching the Super Bowl, I was doing laundry and read 46 pages of material in my Varieties of Scholarly Expression reader.

I also did a paper on Sunday as well.

First one of the semester.

And cooked and organized things and went birthday shopping for my oldest boy charge who turns nine tomorrow.

And.

Oh yes.

I took myself on an Artist Date to Cliff’s Variety in the Castro and I bought art supplies for my Arts and Creativity in Leadership class.

I had a lot of fun.

I probably also spent more than I needed to, but honestly, I really think I needed to do it.

It felt good to say yes to myself and to splurge a little.

I mean, it’s art supplies, not crack.

Although when I was checking out I couldn’t help but giggle at all the glittering supplies I had gotten.

Glitter glue.

Glitter markers.

Glitter colored pencils.

Glitter stickers.

Plus some fancy origami paper (I won’t be doing origami with it, I just liked the paper), watercolor markers, pastel markers, and tiny colorful clothes pin holders.

No idea what I’ll do with the latter, but they were so fucking cute I had to buy them.

It was a nice splurge.

I also yesterday, had a Zoom session with one of my TA’s.

This was good, clarifying, and really just sunk it home, I’m in a PhD program.

I really have a lot of work to do and keep doing.

This is a long haul program.

But.

I am hoping to follow my TA’s cue and do some work the summer after I finish my course work so that I can get a head start into that next semester of work where I will be independent.

She told me what she did and it was basically to not take the summer off and work on her proposal for her dissertation so that as soon as the first day of fall semester hit she turned it in to her dissertation chair and was off and running.

She will likely be done in three and a half years as opposed to four and a half.

I’m all for doing it that way.

Get it done.

I am excited, more and more, as the process becomes clearer to me.

Yes, so much work, but rather fascinating work and I’ll be writing about something I am very interested in.

So, yeah, Canvas.

I have gotten three notifications while I have been writing this blog that something new has been posted in my classes, so I will likely hit it up for a few more minutes before calling it a day.

It’s how I managed to get through last semester without falling behind.

The horror stories of people in my cohort who fell behind is enough to keep me active.

Or.

The people who just dropped out completely or disappeared.

I think we lost five people?

I don’t want to drop out and I do want to get my dissertation through, I want to have a PhD.

I want to be Dr. Carmen.

I really.

Really.

Really.

Do.


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