Posts Tagged ‘gratitude’

Another Sunday in Quarantine

May 25, 2020

I didn’t go outside today.

I wanted to.

I didn’t.

Well.

That’s not exactly true.

I did go out on my deck.

I am so grateful for my deck I cannot even begin to tell you.

It has saved my life.

I went on a long walk yesterday, I am grateful for long walks, and it was not the best walk ever.

Too many people

So many people.

Go the fuck home people.

Sigh.

I love the area that I live in (although I don’t love where I live exactly, deck excluded, the landlord and his wife are not sustaining very well right now and they fight a lot.  A LOT).  It is beautiful. I’m within a five minute walking distance to Golden Gate Park or to Sutro Heights Park.

I can make Land’s End in fifteen minutes.

I’m a three minute walk to Ocean Beach.

Except.

Well.

Dodging the people not wearing masks or walking in clumps makes the time a bit longer.

I know to avoid the beach.

I know it makes me upset to see so many people out having their sunny beach day.

I want to holler, “it’s my fucking neighborhood, go home!”

But.

Well.

I don’t.

I just stay home instead.

Yesterday’s walk was focused primarily on walking the steep hills around my house so I didn’t run into as many people as I would have if I had gone down hill.

I took one look at down hill and headed right up.

I got pissed and then I thought, just stay on the hills, walk away from the beach.

It’s a constant conversation I have with myself.

I know people are getting squirrely.

I know that folks are tired of shelter in place.

Me too.

Me too.

Me too.

And.

It’s not over yet and there are still new cases getting reported and people are still getting sick and I cannot be one of them.

I only have myself to rely on and so I walk wearing a mask.

I walk six feet plus away from people.

I walk out into the street to avoid contact.

I don’t go out much on the weekends.

I didn’t go out today.

I don’t know about tomorrow.

It is the holiday after all and the weather is going to be nice.

That’s a part of the problem.

The beach doesn’t get beach weather.

Most of the time it’s cold and foggy and windy.

But when it’s sunny, over sixty degrees, and there’s little to no wind.

Packed.

I know if there wasn’t a pandemic, it would have been bonkers yesterday.

Or today.

And what I saw was bad enough.

Also.

Since the city closed down the parking lots along the beach.

Everyone parks in my neighborhood.

Or at the SafeWay grocery store on Fulton.

Last Sunday I tried to go for a walk and I got so overwhelmed I headed home, it was nice last Sunday too.

One too many groups of young adults wearing masks on their foreheads, elbows, and knees, but not over their mouths and noses, drinking Boba tea and taking up the entire sidewalk, for me to cope.

I walked past the SafeWay on my way home and the lot was full.

FULL.

But.

There was no line to get into the grocery store.

The parking lot was being used by all the beach go’ers.

I wanted, as I have wanted on a few occasions to call the cops.

And.

Fuck.

I cannot do that.

Waste of money.

Waste of time.

But what I can do is stay home, take care of myself, and let people do what they’re going to do.

I cannot control anyone.

I can only control my own actions.

And those not all the time.

Although, aside, I did not reach out to my ex today, which is miraculous, I felt the pull of him in my blood like the sunshine on my skin.

Oof.

Hard.

Anyway.

I decided today to just forego outside and walks for the rest of the weekend.

I made phone calls.

I had FaceTime.

I wrote a lot.

I printed off the dissertation proposal.

Four pages of instructions.

I worked on my CV.

Very proud of that actually.

I sat outside and ate my lunch on the deck and got my sun that way.

I kept the sliding glass door to my deck open all day.

I heard how busy the neighborhood was.

I kept to myself.

I felt much better.

Even though I missed taking a long walk, I did not miss getting agitated.

I have a big Monday.

I have seven clients.

No Memorial Day off for me.

I’m ok with that.

I am beyond grateful that I can work.

I will go for a long walk on Tuesday and Wednesday and Thursday and maybe Friday, depending, I’ve a lot of clients Friday too.

I will keep hitting up the Zoom meetings.

I will stay positive.

I will eat well.

I have not eaten any take out since shelter in place.

I don’t really when there’s not a pandemic.

But I did like going out to eat.

Saving some money cooking all my own food that is for sure.

I will work on my dissertation proposal.

I met with my dissertation chair yesterday morning for an hour and mapped out a plan for the summer.

I want to be defending my dissertation proposal the weekend of August 27th, 28th, 29th.

There will not be an intensive.

It will be via Zoom.

And that’s ok too.

I have a plan.

I will stay busy with that, my clients, and the new position with the Daily City Youth Health Clinic–I started on Friday.

I scheduled my first client yesterday.

I will get through this.

And one day.

Hopefully, not too far in the future.

I will take a walk outside without a mask on either.

This too shall pass.

You Know You Love Some One

March 28, 2020

When you record yourself reading “All The Hippos Go Berserk” by Sandra Boynton.

At top volume and with much expression.

I got some of the sweetest little voice messages from the littles I used to take care of.

The family and I did a FaceTime session early in the week and I have been getting all sorts of pictures of them and their adventures during shelter in place.

I miss them a lot and I miss the snuggles.

Tonight, while I was in session with my last client of the day, the mom sent me voice recordings of the kids saying “I love you.”

Oh my God.

I just about died.

I have been thinking about sending the littlest guy a recording of the “hippo book” as he calls it.

“You read me the hippo book!”

I bought the book and “Belly Button Beach”, also by the same author, as birthday gifts for him when he was two.

Listening to him repeat back the words to me still makes my heart melt.

I often would read them to him at nap time.

“I’ll read the hippos once and then nap time,” I would tell him.

The last time I did that was the last time I worked for the family, my last time putting him down for a nap.

My last time reading him the hippo book.

When I finished he said, “sing me song.”

That undid me.

I sang him my standard lullaby, “Hush little baby,” and choked back the tears.

Might have been the hardest lullaby ever to sing.

He fell asleep holding my hand.

Oh, my heart.

Such a sweet guy.

So, after receiving the sweet voice messages I knew I had to record the book.

I have the damn thing memorized, so it wasn’t too hard, and I threw in a little commentary for the little guy too.

We would have our own little conversations about the story and what all the silly hippos were doing.

Then I sent it to the mom and asked that she play it while he looked at the book.

They sent me back video of him looking at the book while my voice was reading it to him and he talked back at the phone like I was there.

“I love you Carmen,” he said again and again.

That was the best part of my day.

It was a pretty good day too.

Only cried three or four times.

Mostly during supervision with my supervisor talking about my clients and all the fear and anxiety and terror that so many of them are going through.

I have had 21 therapy sessions this week, I have one left for tomorrow, then Sunday off before I dive back in.

I am doing pretty well holding it all, but it does leak out at times.

It is right there at the top of my heart and I can’t always contain it and the tears spill out of my eyes and roll down my face.

I am so grateful for my individual supervisor, she really held my stuff today and let me process all the stuff and work my way through the muck.

Most of the time I am really good at shaking myself out when I finish with clients and I have little routines and rituals at my office that help me do that.

But right now.

My office is my desk, which is also where I study and work on my homework–which frankly has suffered this week, I will not lie.

My office is my desk, my laptop, my phone, the video camera in my Macbook Air, all of which are located in my house.

My one room studio.

Thank God it’s a big studio, but it’s still a challenge.

I am also aware of how lucky, really, really, really lucky, it is that I can work from home.

Despite how much I love and adore the family I used to nanny for, I would not be able to nanny right now for them even if I was still employed.

The timing of the situation coinciding with me making the full transition over to being a psychotherapist still astounds me.

I am beyond grateful.

And I am working my ass off to stay stable and grounded, to eat good food, to cook nice meals, to take walks when I can, to wear nice clothes, put on my makeup, do my hair.

The only concession I have to the fact that I am doing my therapy practice out of my home right now is that I wear my Tretorn sneakers instead of my Fluevog heels.

I had a fleeting, and I do mean fleeting, moment when I giggled to myself, I could do my therapy sessions in my bunny slippers.

Um.

NO.

Bad idea.

Not just because I couldn’t take myself seriously as a psychotherapist if I was doing sessions in my slippers, but I love that at the end of the day I can slide off my shoes and put on my slippers and that indicates to me that my day is done.

That was what I used to do when I was coming home from the office and my day out in the world–get home, kick off my shoes and put on my bunny slippers.

Yeah.

I know.

I am a 47 year old woman who wears bunny slippers.

I once had a lover tell me he couldn’t take me seriously when I was wearing them.

Of course that just made me want to wear them more.

In fact, it is almost slipper time.

I have had a good day.

It’s ok that I cried and it’s ok that sometimes it’s hard and it’s ok that I’m not keeping up with my my homework.

Actually we are on “Spring Break” so I don’t have any thing due, but I have a lot of work to do for two big up coming papers and a class that I am going to be teaching.

But over all.

I am ok.

I am making it through and staying grounded.

It definitely helped to get silly and record myself reciting the story, helped remind me of how loved I am and how lucky I was to have the nanny job with the family for the three years and three months I worked with them.

And.

Really.

Bunny slippers do make things a lot better.

Seriously.

Dance Party

March 20, 2020

Because ain’t nobody watching and I need to move my body.

And why the hell not?

I’m officially on day, what, three of shelter in place, and it’s getting goofy in here.

I live in a one room studio.

Thank God I have a deck.

My own deck, not my landlords, no access to anyone else, a good distance away from the neighbors, on the second floor, above the backyard that is never used (it’s a tangled jungle of over grown weeds and bushes), my deck floats, a little tiny haven.

A tiny piece of heaven.

With two white Adirondack chairs and flowers in pots from Sloat Garden Center that I bought a few months ago when only the faintest of faint whispers of the corona virus where in the air.

I do have to say, though, it felt like something was coming.

I didn’t think it was a virus.

I thought maybe the tech bubble was going to burst in San Francisco again.

I moved to SF a little while after the bubble burst and I was also here during the crash, it had the same feeling, something was looming.

But this?

I had not predicted this.

Shut in, shut down, shut away.

So yeah, I got my dance party on for a little while tonight, I still have the music going nice and loud.

I am alive.

I am in good health.

I am sheltered.

I am really grateful.

I am extraordinarily grateful.

I can still work.

I am still “seeing” clients.

Not in person anymore, I was the last woman standing in the building where my office is on Monday, I had thought I was going to have a full week of connecting one last time with my clients and I had just literally sent out emails to all my clients saying I could meet until March 23rd.

I was actually upset the first time I got that date from my agency, I was petulant, don’t tell me when I have to stop seeing clients in person, but I also recognized that this was not about me and that I needed to follow along, especially since I work for an agency and they are the ones signing my paycheck.

The money from my clients does not go into my pocket.

It goes into my bank account that my agency controls–I can put money in, but I can’t take money out.

So.

Yeah.

Need to comply, even if I felt really secure in my health and the protocols I was taking at my office to make sure that it was clean and sanitary and safe.

Sigh.

Therefor I was a bit bereft to get the email saying wrap it up and switch over to telehealth by the 23rd.

I stomped my foot a little, but I did draft all the emails and I did comply.

And then.

Ha.

Shelter in place was announced.

Literally twenty minutes after sending out the last client email saying, hey (much more formal, thank you, I’m not a complete heathen) there, happy to continue seeing you at my office, unless you don’t feel comfortable, then we can do video or telehealth, but yeah, I’m here all week.

Nope.

I am not in fact.

I get the email from my agency saying shelter in place is going into affect and I have to the end of day to see clients.

Well.

Fuck.

I craft a new email and start sending them out, while also fielding emails from clients who were coming in that day who didn’t want to anymore because, mother fuck, got to run to the grocery store and secure more toilet paper and beans and rice.

More sighs.

Of the five client sessions I had scheduled, one showed up in person, two did a video session, one rescheduled for later in the week and the other said, hey, we’ll get back to you once we figure out our lives.

More sighs.

I didn’t charge any cancellations fees, I sent out copious telehealth consent forms, I got myself together and I went into my office to see my last face to face client for who knows how long.

The shelter in place is at least until April 7th.

I have to say, I think it may go longer than that.

So I also did some pro-active things on my end.

Because even though I can work from home, I knew I was going to lose clients.

Lost one today.

And client sessions, either due to cancellations, clients running out of money who aren’t working, parents homeschooling kids, panic, fear of financial insecurity, etc.

That I knew I had to take care of myself.

I paid April rent early.

I reworked my spending plan and I cut out $700.

I might even be able to trim a little more.

I’m obviously not going anywhere.

I canceled, ugh, my trip to San Luis Obispo and my weekend at the Madonna Inn.

Bless their hearts, they gave me a full refund on my room.

Which I promptly spent stocking up on food and toiletries at Rainbow Co-op.

I have actually never spent as much as I did on one grocery shopping trip.

Mostly because I bought coffee in bulk (y’all worried about toilet paper, I’m making sure I can sustain my caffeine needs) and toiletries in triplicate.

I did buy plenty of food too.

My fridge has more in it than I think I ever have seen.

I shop two to three times a week since I don’t eat sugar and flour, I cook a lot and I eat fresh foods.

I managed to secure a lot o fresh stuff, but I also did get food to prepare and freeze and can.

And back up of my favorite breakfast foods and some nice sugar free chocolate, because I’m going to need a damn treat once in a while.

And though I cannot see where this all leads, I can see that I am really lucky that I live in my own beautiful space.

It may be a studio, but I don’t have room mates.

And.

Oh thank God.

I live two blocks from the beach.

So every day I have gone outside and walked to the ocean and watched the surfers still paddling out and felt the wind on my face and walk through Golden Gate Park and breathed in deeply the fresh air.

There are people out, but we give each other wide berth and there is much kindness when doing so.

There may come a time when I can’t go out and walk, but fingers crossed that won’t happen.

I do know, though, I cannot peer into the future and I can’t live in the anxiety of not knowing.

I have to stay present and presented minded and strong.

I have therapy clients to help.

I have service to do.

I need to stay focused and clear.

Which is why dance party.

I had to shake the ya ya’s out.

Big love to you and yours.

Be gentle and stay in good health.

And.

When the mood strikes.

Dance.

Really.

No one is looking.

On The Eve

January 13, 2020

Of my fifteenth year of sobriety.

I had to stop and ponder and wonder in awe at the scope of my life in these last fourteen years and 364 days.

I have come so far.

So fucking far.

It leaves me breathless with awe.

I’m a psychotherapist.

I live by myself in the most expensive city in the United States.

Although.

I still cringe at my rent, I can afford to live alone and I understand what a precious gift that is.

I work a lot, it’s true.

I’m still working six days a week and two jobs.

But!

Soon.

I will be done nannying.

I have been a nanny for thirteen years.

That’s a lot of time to be in any career, let alone one in which I have gotten to have so much unconditional love poured into my heart.

Nannying has been a tough job and the most incredible gift too.

I have never had children.

Shit.

I have never even had a pregnancy scare.

I have occasionally thought of what it would be like to have my own child, but really, I have gotten to raise so many beautiful, sweet, amazing children.

I have had so many children tell me they love me.

I have had so many babies fall asleep on my breast and in my arms.

I have felt the soft sweet breath of a child on my neck so many times as I lay them to sleep that I cannot count them.

I have sung a lot of lullabies.

I feel replete.

I do not feel grief stricken for not having had a child of my own.

I have had children.

I have also gotten to give them back at the end of the day and go my own way.

I will be hanging up my nanny clogs soon, my last day with my current family is February 24th.

So by the end of February I will just be working full time as a psychotherapist and a full time PhD student.

Just.

Hahahahahhahahaha.

Oh.

I also got my grades back for this past semester.

Straight “A’s.”

Not like anyone has every question someone with a PhD, “hey how were your grades during your course work?”

Most folks don’t give a fuck, you got a doctorate, you are doing great kid.

I had a 4.0 all through my Masters and I am looking to repeat that with my PhD.

I have also received the news that I have been granted the first person I requested to be my PhD committee chair.

Over the moon.

I found out from a fellow in my cohort that my pick only chose two of us to work with.

I am thrilled and honored that he took me on, it’s going to be some work, the work is nowhere near done yet, but it’s still a great big wonderful thing to be entering the last semester of my course work.

And I’m doing it in two years.

Most of my cohort is doing it in three and some in four years.

I know one other person who is doing the course work at the same pace as I am and we made a pact to get through the whole damn program in 3.5 years.

I am still on track with that.

I am also really on track with getting my hours for my MFT license.

I am 737 hours away from being able to be on my own without supervision, without having to pay extra for supervision and fees and stuff and things.

I will get my hours before the year ends and I am fucking thrilled by that.

My life is pretty amazing.

I looked at my things today, I looked at the art on my walls and the pictures and the beauty that I have surrounded myself with.

I am not rich.

But I am awash in beauty and prosperity and abundance.

I am so grateful.

I have slept on cardboard.

No more of that.

I have been homeless.

I have had to go to food pantries and be on food stamps.

I have worked some pretty grimy jobs.

I have struggled and worked and struggled some more.

I own a car.

What the hell?

A new car, my own car, the first new car I have ever bought.

I go to yoga.

I still can’t always get over that.

Who is this person hopping into her cute little marshmallow colored Fiat and heading up Balboa Street to do yoga?

I have nice clothes.

I bought in Paris. 

I used to wear hand me downs from my youngest aunts.

I used to have only one pair of shoes.

I have a lot of shoes.

I mean.

A girl likes her shoes.

I have framed art that I have bought in Paris too.

I remember having posters pinned up to my walls, when I had walls, I didn’t always.

Or magazine photos taped to my walls.

I always have liked to look at things.

I have gone to so many museums.

I have traveled the world.

Not a lot, but a good amount you know.

Paris, New York, London, LA, Miami, Chicago, Anchorage, Marseilles, Rome, Aix-en-Provence, Austin, Havana, Cuba, Burning Man.

Not bad for a girl raised in an unincorporated town in rural Wisconsin.

I have some pretty amazing tattoos.

I have gotten to meet and hang out with one of my musical hero’s–more than once.

I have extraordinary friends.

I have a way of life that is full of purpose and meaning and service.

I have love.

I have had terrible heart ache and I have survived it.

I have resiliency.

I have lost dear friends to death far too soon.

I have danced under the stars until dawn, in underground clubs in Paris, on top of speakers in dancehalls in San Francisco, arts cars out in deep playa at Burning Man.

I have narrated my story and performed  in front of 100s.

I have recited poetry to audiences small and grand.

I am in the world and I am alive and I am so grateful for that.

For this wonderful, sometimes painful, but always so full, so amazing, so extraordinary, beyond my wildest dreams, life.

Here’s to (almost) fifteen years of sobriety.

And many, many, many more years to come.

So many.

 

Back it Up

October 22, 2019

I mean.

Seriously.

Back that shit up.

I had the most uncomfortable experience today.

Like the fucking worst, I thought I was going to vomit, I definitely burst into tears, and I cried for about a half hour after the event happened.

Slow.

Steady.

Leaky tears.

Which doesn’t bode well for having to see therapy clients when I finished my nanny job.

I cried off most of my eye makeup, and I didn’t wear the waterproof mascara today.

Not that I think my clients ever notice the state or disarray of my makeup, but I felt pretty raw today heading out to see clients.

I deleted my paper.

I deleted a work in progress paper that I have been working on since the beginning of the semester, meaning, I have been on and off writing this paper for seven or eight weeks.

50 pages.

86 references.

Fully formatted bibliography.

Poof.

Fucking gone.

I deleted it.

It was a total accident.

I can’t get into the specifics of it exactly, it would mean trying to explain APA formatting and the technology platform that I use to help me format my papers and that said technology has definitely not been doing so well holding this gigantic thing and it sort of just disappeared.

There were warnings that something like this would happen.

I had a near panic attack at work about three weeks ago when I couldn’t open the paper and I had to send the bibliography into my professor to show the progress on the work.

It’s actually a journal, not a formally written paper, it’s rather like an annotated bibliography where I have a running list of all the references, books, articles, websites, etc, that I have been collecting to help me write my dissertation.

By the end of the semester I need to have 250-300 references.

The one that got deleted today has 86.

So I still have a ways to go, but hey, 86 ain’t bad.

There’s an upcoming assignment that’s due on November 4th where I will have to provide 25-50 pages of the journal to the professor along with the full bibliography and a bunch of other stuff I won’t bore you with.

I have been diligent about doing the work, but the app has been pretty slow, but I’m used to it and I sort of just look the other way and let the damn thing do it’s thing.

Which is what I was doing, I had just formatted another reference and had another queued up to go and I wanted to look at the paper that I was citing and I toggled out of the paper and into Chrome and I was typing something and the app popped me from Chrome back into the paper and I hit backspace and deleted the whole thing, but I also typed the letter e and that replaced the paper.  So when I hit undo, all it did was undo the letter e and leave me with a blank paper.

I couldn’t undo the undo.

I literally just about vomited.

And it was such horrid timing.

The monkey woke up form his nap and both mom and dad were working from home.

I didn’t say anything.

I went to get the monkey.

The mom saw my face though and asked if something was wrong and I started crying and said “no, well, um, yeah, I think I just deleted a 50 page paper with 86 references that I have been working on for weeks and excuse me a second.”

I ran to the bathroom and sobbed for a few moments.

Then.

I washed my face,

Dried my hands.

And.

Walked back out and started to try and get a semblance of normality back together.

All I could think about though was the gigantic stack of books on my desk and how I was going to have to go back through all of them to find the quotes I had pulled, plus all the articles and how long it had taken me to just accrue what I had.

And fuck, would I even be able to get enough together to turn in the upcoming assignment and what the fuck was I going to do about the other two classes I have work in.

I mean I felt fucking floored.

I texted a friend in my cohort who immediately called, but I couldn’t pick up, I had the monkey in my lap and mom and dad doing their work and shit.

My friend texted me a bunch of helpful stuff and I thought, I do know one super tech savvy guy, maybe I can reach out to him.

Then the dad stepped in.

He asked me to show him the app and I showed him what happened and how the paper came up just as 1 page and the letter “e.”

He did the same undo thing and it just went blank.

Then he quit the app and toggled around and found a back up in Word and saved it, cut and pasted the entirety to an email and sent it to me.

HOLY MOTHER OF GOD.

I have my paper back.

This is not an experience I ever want to have again.

I have another app that I bought and paid for at the beginning of the semester, but being a little tech phobic I never even opened it up to use it, relying on the comfortable and known to do the work for this semester.

No more of that shit.

I will be opening up Scrivener and not using Perrla any more.

I actually couldn’t bear to look at it tonight when I got home.

It’s safe.

It’s not going anywhere.

I have a file.

I have it backed up.

I am taking a break.

I need to do that.

I’m going to post my little blog.

How nice it is to be here again, sweet, sweet blog, I don’t get around to you so much anymore.

This PhD semester is kicking my ass.

And.

I am seriously grateful that I get to be pursuing a PhD and that, thank every freaking God, deity, Goddess, Universe, Spirit et al, that my paper is still amongst the living.

Because if it weren’t I’d be seriously screwed and if you think you don’t see much of me now, there would be none of me the rest of the semester.

Thank god my paper was saved.

Thank freaking god.

And now.

Netflix.

I’m taking the rest of the night off.

I have earned a god damn study break.

Seriously.

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.

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.

A Girl

February 25, 2019

And her books.

I just looked at the gigantic stack of books on my desk/kitchen table and laughed.

Hands up.

You are surrounded.

I should give up the idea of my table really being at all for dining.

Although I do eat breakfast at it every morning, it really is a repository for my books and notebooks and handbooks and readers and pens and my new white board with all its definitions that I am trying to make myself read as often as possible.

I really am in PhD land.

I mean.

You, dear, gentle reader, most likely already know that.

I went from a daily blogger to a weekly blogger, at best.

I actually am uncertain when the last time I wrote a blog was.

Maybe when I was headed out to DC for the weekend last week?

There is so much work that my schooling demands right now that I hardly have time for anything else.

Which, I guess, is good.

It’s something I get to be grateful for.

As.

Ugh.

I broke up with my boyfriend today.

It’s not the first time we have broken up, first time was last January and man, that might have been the worst pain I have felt in sobriety.

Including the time my best friend died.

It was so painful that when I wrote about it I had people reach out to me to see if I was ok.

I know that the language I was using was liken to someone dying and it certainly felt like I was dying.

It’s a kind of pain I’m not about to wish upon anyone.

We reconciled, after a few hits and misses sometime in February or March.

Then we tried it again, with variations, trying to figure out the best way forward.

We had success, we had setbacks, we tried not seeing each other, we tried just hanging out, we would spontaneously erupt into passionate embrace if we were any place semi alone.

We stopped again.

We started again.

We tried being just friends.

We cried.

A LOT.

Fuck did we both cry.

We went to New York in July and had a marvelous, terrifyingly amazing, soul rending romantic and heartbreaking time.

We decided to give it a break and let each other gently go.

I to Paris, he to his other pursuits and work and stuff and things.

He had things to work on.

I had things to do.

Through all the tumult we have loved each other.

We are the loves of each others life, soul mates, the ONE.

And.

We haven’t been able to be completely together.

For reasons I just cannot articulate right now.

I just can’t.

Maybe one day.

Just not this day.

When we left each other in New York it was amidst many a tear and then I headed off to Paris.

We “practiced” not being in contact with each other.

It was excruciating.

My best girlfriend in Paris convinced me I had to stop, I wasn’t happy, I wasn’t helping him by standing by waiting for him to do the work necessary for us to really have a go at being in a relationship to each other.

I decided in Paris that she was right and it was over.

And it was.

For a little while.

We decided again on no contact, except sending each other mail.

I have a heart-shaped box full of mail, including the Valentines Day card he gave me last week with the most adorable pair of silver unicorn earrings anyone has every seen.

I’m his special unicorn.

And you can just fuck off if you snorted through your nose at that.

We’ve always believed the other person is magic.

Our love has felt like that.

Today he told me that after being with me he finally understands all love songs.  That he has a secret decoder ring, me and our experience being together (and apart and together and apart), that all love songs make sense now.

God.

I might start crying.

I have been on and off all day.

Makes it challenging to read the stack of reading for school, but I also am proud to say I muddled through more than one might expect considering the circumstances.

I just want to put my head down, have a good cry, and write a lot of painful poetry.

But.

I soldiered on, met with ladies, did readings, did the deal, did my laundry, roasted a chicken, read for hours, wrote discussion posts for school, responded to discussion posts from school and took down all the photographs of us together that I had up in the house.

Sigh.

So.

Yeah.

We mailed each other love letters and cards and kept in contact that way, romantic, sad, sweet, painful, loving, all the things.

It certainly made shopping for stationary fun and stamps and I can’t tell you how often my heart skipped a beat when I saw mail in my mailbox.

We had agreed after I came back from Paris in July that he had things to work on and that it would be best to not connect until February.

But things happened.

Deaths.

Not really my place to talk about, but I reached out and we reconnected and well, fuck, one things leads to another doesn’t it?

Back in it again for December, my birthday, Christmas, oh the pretty, pretty gifts we gave each other and the love oh, god damn it the love.

I got more tattoos.

He got more tattoos.

We talked.

A lot.

We started texting again, making plans to see each other.

I tried to internally change my point of view of what I needed in the relationship.

We took off the holidays from discussing the relationship and where it was going or not going and just loved on each other as much as school/work/travel/business demands could be met.

We decided to go on a trip.

We went to DC last week.

It was lovely and sad and sweet and hard.

And.

We started the process again of saying goodbye.

We did.

Then we didn’t.

Then we came back.

And this Tuesday.

Insert therapy here.

Mine, my own therapy, not me being a therapist, and I shared about it all, my therapist has been in on everything since the beginning, and she said simply, “your needs are not being met.”

I broke down into tears.

It was true.

They were not.

“It’s not working,” I said and sobbed.

Though there is no lack of love.

My God.

The love.

I just cannot express how much love we have for each other.

We can’t be together right now the way things are.

So.

We made plans to see each other and cleared a lot of time and talked and cried and listened to Bach cello sonatas and held each other and made love one last time and looked into each others eyes and said goodbye.

It was the most kind, gentle, sweet, tender, sad, SAD, break up.

Full of spiritual principles and honesty.

It was excruciating.

Heartbreaking.

But.

Oh.

So.

Beautiful.

And there.

Cue the tears.

Oh my fucking God this hurts.

Not as bad as the first time.

But still.

Awful bad.

I know I am a going to be ok, but right now, I just want to curl up in bed and not do another thing.

I will grieve, I will be sad.

I will let myself have the experience of the loss and I will let go.

Gracefully and grateful.

I have never had love like this before.

All else was a facade.

I don’t know that I ever will again.

I just know I am beyond grateful for the experience, despite the pain.

The pain lets me know how meaningful it was.

REALLY.

Meaningful.

I gave him my copy of The Princess Bride as he left.

I had bought it last February on a trip we took together and over the course of a couple of months I read it to him, on that trip–his head in my lap, and then I recorded myself in the subsequent weeks reading the chapters so he could listen to it on business trips.

His favorite character was Fezzik.

No wonder he’s the love of my life.

Now.

Forgive me.

I must go and cry for a little while.

Sweet dreams my love, know that I will always love you.

Always.

Always.

Always.

Your, baby girl.


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