Posts Tagged ‘happy’

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.

All The Beautiful Things

May 24, 2019

The sound of the robins in the trees.

The slant of early evening sun bathing the tall grass along Fulton Ave, park side.

The sound of you voice in my ear.

I love you.

Missing you all over again.

And again.

And again.

I’m not supposed to be holding a torch.

And I am.

And that’s ok.

It’s all ok.

The glory of you, the poetry in my blood, the fresh tattoo that I kissed with my lips on the inside of your arm.

I can feel the fever still on my mouth.

You were here.

Then gone.

The time went so fast.

In your arms again at last.

The longest 88 days of my life.

I suppose there are still long days ahead.

The long days of summer.

The long moments of wistful memories that enfold me.

How you look etched into my mind.

“You have my heart, be careful with it,” you said with tears in your throat.

So careful.

Baby.

So careful.

I wrote you a card the day before yesterday.

I hope you still check your mailbox once in a while for missives from me.

I don’t know how many to send.

I want to flood you with love letters.

You are my love letter.

I hope I am your love song.

I don’t know when I will see you again.

I know I will see you again.

I know the moon will keep you.

I know God will carry you.

I know you will be ok.

And one day you will be back and the window will be open.

You promised I would be the first person you would call.

I am holding you to that.

Don’t be too long my love.

My bones ache for you.

Boy turns to girl and says, “I love you so”

Boy turns to girl and says, “I love you so”

Boy turns to girl and says, “I love you so”

I love you too.

So much.

You laugh, you eyes, the song of you on my lips.

Gone once again for you.

Not caring who knows.

Fine with however it goes.

As long as you get your happiness my love.

Please.

Do.

Get happy.

I have never known anyone who deserves it more than you.

Love.

That is.

All the love in the world for you.

To the moon and back.

1,000 times infinity plus 2.

I adore you.

I love you.

Come for me my love.

Please do.

I wait with bated breath.

I always have.

I always will.

I Love My Job!

February 3, 2019

This was the thought that popped into my head as my last client left my office today.

Yes.

I do see clients on Saturdays.

It’s one of the days I have access to the office and I can use it all day long, so I’m trying to build in more clients, but not too many.

I do need to figure out when I will give myself a break to stretch, use the bathroom, grab a bite to eat if I need one.

I have four clients currently on Saturdays.

Which brings my case load up to nine clients.

I can squeeze in one more client and bring myself up to ten clients with my current supervision.

Once I go over ten client hours I have to add in more supervision.

I want to get to 25 full fee clients by next January.

Which means I basically want to be a full-time therapist and not a full time nanny.

Not that I don’t love my nanny job, I love that job too, which was why it was so satisfying for me to feel the way I did when my last client left.

I love both my jobs.

Oh.

Don’t get me wrong, there are lots of challenges with both of them.

There’s the fact that last week one of my charges was home from school sick with pink eye.

Can you guess how many times I washed my hands?

Good grief.

And the poor lady had to constantly wash too and really couldn’t play with her siblings that much, it sucked for her.  We did a ton of art work and made valentines and cut up cardboard boxes and paper bags and drew and used probably 3/4s of a big bottle of Elmer’s glow in the dark glitter glue.

Where was this stuff when I was a kid?

Then again, my family was so poor, I barely got to have a 12 pack of Crayola crayons.

I cannot tell you how much I coveted the Crayola Markers that many of my classmates had, or the colored pencils.

Oh.

I wanted them bad.

Bad.

Bad.

The amount of art supplies the kids I nanny for have boggles my mind.

Clay, play doh, different kinds of colored paper, a huge box of stickers (be still my beating heart, I am often compelled to take them all with me.  I don’t, but I won’t lie, I’ve thought about it), paint box after paint box, and not just water colors but acrylics too, models and glue, and tape and coloring books and origami paper, funny pens with feathers or in the shape of flamingoes or cacti, ink pens, gel pens, highlighters, colored pencils, cray pas, pastels, face paint, a huge box of that, I mean there’s so much.

There’s literally a huge drawer full of stuff and then a cupboard packed with more.

It’s a treasure trove.

I found myself more into the art this week than my charge might have been, but that may have been coming off my Arts and Creative Leadership class, I did some drawings in that class, used markers and crayons and colored pencils and got down.

It was a party.

I’ve actually loaded up a few things in my Amazon cart to buy, but I haven’t pulled the trigger yet.

Part of me could just go nuts with it so I want to be careful about that, I don’t need to dump too much money into it.

I could also just hit an art store, but I suspect I will get a better deal on stuff online plus, I won’t have to squeeze another thing into my busy schedule.

I am busy.

The client work is great and I’m happy for it, the nanny job is great, and its full time and now school is on.

I mean.

It’s on.

I need to get my school hat on tight.

I didn’t get a chance to really do much homework with the little lady home from school.

I did a little on Wednesday, but nothing Thursday and Friday.

Monday and Tuesday I was still at the intensive.

And I will commend myself for doing a lot of work there too, so I’m not behind, but I only really have Sundays as my day off.

Fuck the Super Bowl.

Which I didn’t even know was tomorrow, but was informed by one of my ladies that I normally meet with on Sundays who asked to have the day off from our work.

I totally didn’t have a problem.

More time for me to study and I will have to write my first paper of the semester.

It’s not due until Tuesday, but as I saw from last semester, I really do have to do a lot of the work for the classes on Sunday.

I tried to get it together today to do some reading.

But I had too many errands to run after I finished with clients.

I ran around and took myself out to lunch and squeezed in a manicure and tried to not get too caught up in the constant notifications on my phone from the Canvas app I have on it that the school uses as a technology platform to teach the online classes.

I am getting much more used to how the classes are set up, but it still takes me a bit of navigating to get through them.

I also sat down and had a Canvas tutorial at the intensive too that I found super helpful.

But yeah.

Tomorrow is a school work day and then I’ll be smack dab back into the busy week.

Sigh.

I also realized, just a few minutes ago, that I haven’t had a day off in thirteen days because of the intensive.

Tomorrow is my first day off in two weeks.

No wonder I am a tired kitty cat.

But a happy one.

I really did have a  great day and I am happy and I feel really useful and I did do a lot of good self-care today.

Heck.

All things considered.

Life is fucking amazing.

It really is.

Little Gold Star

January 20, 2019

Today I got my 14th star tattoo.

14 stars.

14 years of being sober.

I decided I need to give myself a gold star.

It’s been that kind of year.

When I reflected on all the things that I went through and all the places I’ve been, I think that I definitely earned it.

This past year I traveled to DC, New York, Paris, and Marseilles.

I graduated with a Master’s degree in Psychology.

I went through a buy out and moved.

That was some serious stress let me tell you.

I also started a private practice therapy business.

And.

A PhD program.

I also got my grades back from said program.

All “A”s.

ALL.

I was a little surprised to tell you the truth, I had an issue with a final paper I turned in for one of my classes and I didn’t think it was going to fly, the paper, that is–I digressed from the specific instructions the professor gave and did rather what I wanted to do.  It was the only paper for the class, although there were so many discussion posts that I feel like I actually wrote seven papers for the class, and I ran a huge risk doing it.

The risk paid off.

So, yeah, a gold star felt really appropriate.

2019-01-19 20.54.20-2

Yes.

It did hurt.

And it felt really right and I was, obviously, very happy with it.

Not only was I pleased with it, but it filled out the space perfect.  I am very satisfied with the way all my tattoos look and really have little desire to put anything else in that area.

Not sure where I’ll put the 15th, but let’s just let me focus on the 14th star.

It really was quite a year.

I walked through some really challenging things and came out the other side.

I reflected on a lot of that today as I went about my day.

I saw clients at my office, did lots of writing, read for one of my upcoming classes for this next semester (school starts next Thursday!), went to Let it Bleed on Polk Street, got an iced coffee for a treat, walked around the Tenderloin and took graffiti photographs, caught up with my friend DannyBoy at the shop, took myself out to lunch in Hayes Valley, had a coffee with a friend in the Mission at Maxfield’s House of Caffeine, went to Divisadero and got my nails done, and then hit my Saturday night commitment and did the deal.

It was a day.

I’m really happy with my life right now.

Oh, sure, romantically it’s strange, but you know, that will work itself out.

Or not.

I have ceased (fighting anyone or anything) trying to figure it out.

I’m just showing up every day and taking care of myself and I feel really good about what I did today for myself and my own care.

I also thought a lot about what I want to bring forward for this next year.

Get through the next semester of classes, add clients into my private practice, travel.

I also want to get through the Below Market Housing Homeowners workshop.

I really am going to go after buying a house in San Francisco.

My friend whom I met for coffee happens to be a realtor and we spent an hour going over what I need to do to get myself in line to actually do that.

She gave me a good idea of how much money I will need to have saved up, which will take some time (or not, who knows, money may fall out of the sky) to save, but I can do it.

Plus that I should get a credit card.

Which I’m not super stoked on the idea.

I had one that I’d gotten last year and then never used as it made me uncomfortable.

But.

My friend insisted I was really going to need a credit history that showed me paying off a card.

She said get one, pay it off every month and always pay more than the minimum payment.

If I do get another card, and that’s an if, I will definitely not let a balance roll over.

I just do not like the idea of having any credit card debt.

I do, however, like the idea of having a good credit score and something that shows I am a good risk for a home loan.

I shall take it under advisement.

I actually tried to re-open the credit card I had closed but I could not figure out how to do it and just sort of set it aside tonight when I got home.

I feel like I did a lot today just by sitting down and talking about it.

I will manifest a house in San Francisco.

See if I don’t.

In the mean time there is plenty of other things for me to do.

I do want to keep a soft focus on it though, always have it in my mind and see where I can expand my awareness of abundance.

I am continuing to practice that opening up to the universe, to the flow, to God, to abundance, I have continued to give away a little more than I typically do.

More tip in the tip jar, more money in the basket, continuing to pay my bills within 24 hours of getting them.

And!

Oh my gosh, this is definitely part of the gold star, I got approved to become an employee at my internship.

Which means that I will start bringing in more money.

I am so psyched about that.

I’m excited for this year.

I feel like all sorts of incredible things are going to happen.

I really do.

Faith.

I like that.

Faith, abundance, joy, honesty, integrity, serenity.

Words to live by.

Principles to underpin my gold star.

And!

Love.

Let me not forget that one.

Never forget that.

Seriously.

 

Get Paid

January 5, 2019

It’s not going to be a lot.

But it’s going to be something.

Two things.

First I got a raise at the beginning of the year, 5%, which is lovely, and will go into effect my next paycheck.

The amount that will show up on my actual paycheck is pretty small.

Still, anything is helpful.

And.

I applied to become an employee with Grateful Heart last night.

Currently I am what is called a “volunteer.”

I don’t get paid anything.

My clients pay me and I deposit that money into a one way account.

Grateful Heart administration is the only entity that can withdraw anything from it.

I can’t touch it.

I recently turned in my hours, client hours, and how much I took in, to the administrative team, which keeps tabs on all the therapists in the community and double checks the accounts against the reporting that is being done.

I am scrupulous with the money coming in and I have documented everything correctly.

The fastest a new Associate Marriage Family Therapist can become an employee with Grateful Heart is three months.

January 1st marked three months for me with the agency.

I applied on January 3rd after reporting my client hours and income for the month of December.  I have to do it once a month and as I noted, it gets matched against the bank account.

Their policy is that once a $1,000 prudent reserve is met and three months of income have been established a volunteer can apply to become an employee.

I should get approved pretty quick.

Fingers crossed, we have had some administrative changes recently, new hires, etc, I can’t believe it would take a lot of effort to look over my accounts and verify that I have what it takes to become an employee.

I am not bringing in heaps of money.

But.

I am bringing it in.

In fact.

Applying for the position actually showed me how much I have been doing in regards to establishing myself as a new therapist in the community.

In my first month I brought in $700.

In my second month, $1700.

Last month, $2400.

My rent gets taken out and a hefty ($350) administrative fee, the rest is left in my account, which has begun to actually accrue some funds.

I have more than met the prudent reserve and I have money that I could actually be collecting.

For myself.

Like real income.

They have a formula to help you figure out what you can take out without dipping below the reserve and also that I have to be paid the minimum wage for the hours I claim.

Minimum wage in San Francisco is $15 an hour.

So basically I will get paid slightly less than half my nanny wage.

Ugh.

But.

I will be able to increase that fairly quickly, I believe, and I will, once I become an employee, be able to get compensated for office costs.

I will also get reimbursed for my own therapy.

And that money will not be taxed or charged the 12.5% fee that Grateful Heart will also start taking as soon as I become an employee.

So, rent, administrative costs, and 12.5% goes to them and I get the rest.

It is not enough to live on by any means.

However.

It is more coming in and since my rent is a $1,000 more a month than it used to be.

(ugh)

It really will help.

Especially getting the money back from my own personal therapy.

It made me sort of chuckle when I thought about it.

I’m doing therapy to get therapy.

Heh.

I was required by my Master’s program to work with a licensed MFT and I could have dropped her and the therapy once my program ended, I worked with her for a year.

But.

It’s been helpful and I sense that it’s better for me to stay with it for a while yet.

It’s been very supportive of my transition with school, the PhD program, moving, old childhood trauma, family of origin issues, etc.

So, I’ll keep doing it and getting some money back to pay for it will feel really nice.

I’m feeling a lot of relief knowing that some more income will be coming in and it’s also a nice way to see that all these years of work is actually beginning to pay off.

Not a lot of pay off.

Yet.

But it will happen.

I had set an intention on my birthday last month that this would be my last year as a nanny.

I will have 25 full fee, weekly, seriously committed, wonderful clients who I get to help and empower by the end of this upcoming year.

25 is the number of clients most therapists aim for.

One could do more, but you court burn out.

It’s a lot of work to show up and be present for people and listen and reflect and use theory and trainings and bear witness to trauma.

Horrible trauma.

And it’s a great gift too.

I am a good therapist.

I really am and I am proud of the work I have done to get where I am.

I’m excited to help more people.

I’m happy that I have a career.

Not that having been a nanny hasn’t been a beautiful career, it just has an end and I feel it coming close.

I’ve been doing it for 12 years.

Amongst some other things, but mostly nannying.

Which is its own kind of therapy, when it’s done well, I believe.

I have been out to the parks a lot lately and I’ve been finding myself really judgmental.

I draw kids to me like flies, I literally had my little girl charge today (alone most of the day, three parks, Souvla for lunch, two toy stores for stickers, balloons, ice cream from BiRite Creamery with rainbow sprinkles) up at Dolores Park and at one point found myself surrounded by five little monkeys demanding snacks.

Friends of hers from her private school.

It was adorable and also intense.

Good thing I had packed extra snacks.

Kids love me and I them, but sometimes it becomes quite obvious when  a child isn’t getting their needs filled–emotional, physical, intellectual–and like a heat seeking missile they will go to someone who does.

That was me a lot today.

I just wanted to shout out, put down your Iphones and pay attention to your children!

But.

I didn’t.

And I’m glad I didn’t, it would have looked rather untoward.

If I’m honest too, my current family hired me because the mom remembered seeing me at the playground with a former set of charges and something similar happened.

She told me later that she realized I was a treasure and that she had been ecstatic when she found out I was going to be available.

Anyway.

Here’s to drawing clients to me like I drew children to me today.

I also have to say, when I really let myself acknowledge it, children are honest and if they like you it says a lot and if they trust you it says a lot too.

I was trusted a lot today at the parks, I got to be surrounded by much happy love.

Which is beautiful and I hope that I will in turn pass that along to the clients I get to see tomorrow, and all my days thereafter.

 

Rendered Speechless

December 27, 2018

I don’t often look at old photographs.

I just did.

Work photos from over sixteen years ago.

Longer, perhaps, though not much more than eighteen years, I’ve been in San Francisco for sixteen, so they have to be at least that old.

There’s a private Facebook page with photographs of a place I used to run for six years.

1996-2002 I was the Floor Manager at the Angelic Brewing Company in Madison, Wisconsin.

A lot of the photographs are ones that I took myself.

Although I don’t have the album that they are located in.

I used to take a lot of staff photos.

Before Facebook and camera phones.

I kept a photo album in the office and I would put it out during big staff events.

Most usually the annual holiday party that I was in charge of organizing and running.

We got silly.

I remember one year I bought a bunch of disposable cameras.

Oh the pictures on those cameras.

Many stories.

I was rendered speechless though when I saw a photograph of myself that may have been at my heaviest weight when I was working there.

I don’t actually know what I weighed.

I didn’t like to use the scale.

But I do know that the shirt I was wearing was a size 26.

I now wear a size eleven.

So much has changed.

I just sat on my couch before logging onto my computer and I had an abstinent meal.

Abstinent for me means no flour (of any kind–almond, oat, coconut, corn, wheat, etc) and no sugar.

I do eat fruit, so I get sugar that way, though I tend to not eat fruit with my dinner.

I will.

Just not always.

Fruit is a sort of desert for me.

For dinner tonight I had about a 1/2 c of sautéed broccoli with a cup of brown rice and a roasted chicken leg and thigh.

I had some bubbly water and I listened to jazz.

When I think about the way I ate when I ran the Angelic.

Oh my God.

Freaks me out a little.

Sort of like how the picture did.

I almost want to post it here but I’m not actually sure how to do that and I am also not really sure I want to post it anyway.

I am grateful though for the changes I have gone through and for the good reminder that although my body doesn’t look the exact way I want it to, it looks a hell of a lot better than it did.

I mean.

I used to have a double chin.

I haven’t had a double chin in a long ass time and I am hella grateful for that.

The amazing thing about the photo is that I’m doing the splits on the bar.

I was a lot more limber then than I am now.

I was also studying to get my black belt in Kung Fu.

That also blows my mind, that I got a black belt at the weight I was.

I wonder sometime what it would have been like if I had lost the weight sooner.

But really that doesn’t do me much good to think about that, it’s just fantasy and speculation.

I also had to have some recovery under my belt before I could get abstinent, recovery, therapy, self-care.

A lot of that.

Self-love.

I am really quite proud of myself when I see how very far I have come.

All things considered.

I shouldn’t be where I am at today.

I am very, very, very grateful.

I’m also grateful to have gotten through Christmas.

Three gay boys, two movies, and one sushi dinner.

It was an official San Francisco Christmas.

Matinee at the Kabuki, hanging out in the Castro, then the Metreon in the evening.

I am grateful too for the people I spent time with.

I am grateful for San Francisco being my home.

I am grateful for all the lovely gifts I was given.

The biggest one, always does seem to be perspective.

That’s why the photo hit me so hard.

Just how far I have come.

I’m 46 now.

I look so much better at 46 than I did at 26.

I may have been a little older in the photo, but my weight would have been about the same.

It got bad there for a bit.

But then I think, I needed to be the way I was, to feel safe.  I ate to feel safe in a body that was not a safe place to inhabit.

I ate because I had been hurt.

I did not want to hurt anymore.

I also ate because it was a compulsion.

There were times when I would find myself in the dark raiding the desert fridge at work– shoving an entire piece of Irish Cream pie into my mouth, one, two, three pieces in under five minutes.

I hated it and I couldn’t stop it.

I also didn’t realize that once I put sugar into my body it was sort of on.

Sugar is just as addictive as many narcotics.

Sugar activates the same place in the brain that cocaine does.

I loved cocaine.

And before I had cocaine.

I had sugar.

I had a lot of it.

God.

Just thinking about how much soda I drank too.

Ugh.

I mean.

I worked in the service industry for two decades.

I did not drink diet soda ever, I scoffed at it.

I drank straight up Coca Cola.

I drank vats of it.

When you work in the service industry you usually get free soda.

And because I was in management, I got free meals.

French fries dipped in sour cream.

Fried fish sandwiches with buckets of tartar sauce.

Pasta with chicken and mushrooms and cream sauce and parmesan and bread sticks.

OH bread sticks.

Idaho nachos–cottage fries instead of corn chips–with heaps of cheese and chicken and black beans and guacamole and sour cream.

Pizza.

Pizza.

Pizza.

Beer cheese soup.

And it was a brewery, so yes, lots of beer too, many, many, many pints.

Ex-employees used to joke about how they would lose the “Angelic 20” when they stopped working there since they weren’t always drinking the beer.

Which was not light in any sense of the word.

Oh.

How things have changed.

For the better.

I might have a nostalgic moment once in a great while for something.

But not ever looking like that picture again?

That will kill any craving I might have.

Fact is.

I don’t crave food, when you don’t have it in your system, the urge goes away.

Hella grateful for that too.

So here’s to not having to make New Years resolutions.

I am resolved every day.

I am happy.

Joyous.

Abstinent.

And.

Motherfucking.

Free.

 

Speak To Me

September 26, 2018

In the language of trees.

Specifically.

In the whisperings of God dropping through the boughs of the giant avocado tree.

Said tree that I stand next to at times, times of the day when I am alone at work, out on the balcony to the world staring down at the bowl of San Francisco from my perch.

A  perch just on the cusp of Glen Park.

Borderlands to Noe Valley.

A perch of privilege, a deck of wonders.

Who knew there was such a view?

Or that God would choose the avocado tree to teach me of my love for you.

For a moment I could not even remember if you liked avocados.

Then.

The memory of the first time I cooked you breakfast.

(You requested, something simple, like avocado toast, which you got, as well as prosciutto and asparagus fritatta with pecorino and grueyere and fruit, all organic and curated, and granola parfait, said toast dusted with sea salt collected by the soft milk white hands of virgins under the new moon–at least that is what I told you,  as it cost $58 a lb)

How I wanted to please you.

How I wanted to make you happy.

How I wanted to impress you.

And yes.

How I wanted to show you how much I loved you.

Although the words had not been uttered out loud.

They were there.

Lingering in the cast iron skillet I sautéed the asparagus in.

Late spring asparagus I had culled with much discernment at the market.

Everything needed to be just so for you.

You may see how mad I was to impress you.

See.

Here.

Here are my list of skills.

Cooking, obviously.

Did I tell you that I know how to make pie crust from scratch?

I know I must have enraptured you at some point with tales of apple pie and vanilla custard ice cream in the house in Windsor, in Wisconsin, with apples that I picked myself from the Cortland tree.

Apples that to this day I can taste faint, sweet, crisp, with a wicked whisper of tartness that reminds me of you.

You flavor my ways and days and the memory of you wicks through me some times with terrifying speed.

I digress.

Apples.

Apple pie.

Apple tart kisses, my bonny boy, my blue-eyed one, my love, my love, my ardent heart.

I digress.

Where was I?

Oh.

Yes.

Skills.

Cooking, cleaning, pie crust making, massage, poetry, recitations, love-making.

We were oh so good at that last, weren’t we lover?

Digressing again.

I shivered, it felt like withdrawal, in the car tonight, on my long drive home, waiting in line on Lincoln Avenue for the light to finally turn green so that I could turn on to 19th and head to Crossover Drive, to float down the hills, rolling and soft, like a asphalt veld, to the sea.

To 48th and Balboa, my new digs.

You were the first person to see it.

Just the bones, you know.

Just the bare walls and the wood floors and the oh so, oh my God, is it really all mine, deck.

I almost kissed you there, in the shadow of the house, I wanted you to kiss me there, in the corner of my heart, in my new home and cement yourself even further into my heart, is that possible?

It is I think.

You managed somehow.

And though I did not kiss you, I stopped, startled, stunned that I wasn’t allowed to kiss you anymore, momentarily forgetful of this whole grown up thing we are doing, the no contact thing that we keep breaking, like my heart, trying to find our way through the morass and the mire to that high road of love, I wanted to.

I wanted to kiss you.

And I did.

Later.

But I am not at later yet.

For.

I digress.

The digression too becomes a part and parcel to the piece.

Does it not?

Where was I?

Oh yes.

I was shivering.

Shaking with need, a good addict response, what had triggered me?

Aside, not digression, I hate that word, trigger, so banal, so trite, so overused and misunderstood, excuses to act out on desires, I was triggered, I could not help myself, what was it that pulled my focus, that made me shiver.

The damn car wash.

Remember that one?

You know the one, when we were on holiday, what a horrid way to misuse that word, from our sexual appetites, trying yet again to figure out how to be and not be with each other.

We’re just “friends” now.

I knew then, but did not say it, there is no going backwards.

So when we were just supposed to be going for a ride, just supposed to be talking, how we ended up at the gas station with the discount gas if you should happen to buy a car wash.

No overheated teenager ever made out more furious with passion than did we.

I do not know how long the water pelted down but it was not long enough.

It was never long enough with you and I.

And then I’m turning, the light is green, it is time to go, and I let the yellow and orange and white lights of the gas station melt away in the rear view mirror, but the song is still there and I still feel you in the air inside my car, some sort of ghost in the machine.

Deux ex machina.

And I feel you seeping under that layer of skin between muscle and sinew and I cry, out loud, your name in the darkened shell of my car, the dashboard lights the only witness to my pain.

I half expected you to text me immediately.

You do always know when I am almost there on the ledge of love waiting to leap and always wanting you to catch me when I fall.

But you didn’t.

Text me, that is.

No matter how much I may want you to.

You’re not allowed.

I am not allowed.

We are not in that place.

Yet.

And.

I do not know the place exactly that we are in now.

So.

I talk to the avocado tree at work.

I pace the back balcony, the view of the city spilled out before me like a sumptuous private banquet that only I shall eat at.

The clouds, high, and tight in the sky, flick past, but are not big enough to blot out all that wide open blue.

That sky that does me in.

You had to have eyes the color of the sky, didn’t you?

Eyes so blue, so deep, flecked with green and gold and burnished with love.

Like the leaves of the avocado tree.

Leaves that when ruffled against the blue of the sky remind me of when I fell, headlong, heedless, and in absolute knowing, that I was irreconcilable in my love, into the blue of your blue eyes, straight through to the sea of your soul.

I launched out upon that sea and I have never looked back.

And though I am so far from shore.

I know, I really do believe.

That if I can just decipher the secrets that the avocado tree is whispering to me I will unlock the key and bring you back.

Back.

Back.

Down to the sea.

Where the driftwood bonfires burn brightly on the edge of the ocean and the mermaids sing each to each.

Do not make me wait to be old, a Prufrock figure, with trousers rolled, feet bare to the sea-foam, pushed about by incoming waves of salt sadness and sea bream.

Come back to me my love.

Come back.

At least please see me in my dreams.

Where once again I will fall for you with nary a regret.

Never a regret.

Over.

And over.

And.

Over.

Again.

Always.

Will.

I fall.

For.

You.

 

So Very Pleased

September 23, 2018

I got a lot done today.

I hung all my artwork in my new home.

I got my new couch delivered and my new chair and they were quickly assembled and they got here ahead of schedule, which was so awesome as it made it possible for me to not only attend a Zoom session for school, but also get to my group supervision on time.

Effectively making it possible for me to even take enough time to do some much-needed personal grooming and pampering, I went and got a mani/pedi and my eyebrows waxed.

And no, I didn’t glaze out with some trash magazines but actually did homework reading.

My books go where ever I go.

That has become mandatory.

Even if I don’t think I will have time, I’m bringing them along.

One at a time I will get through the reading.

There is so very much.

And though a part of me really wanted to do more homework tonight when I got home from doing the deal, I realized that I needed to finish as much of my unpacking as I could.

I just needed to feel settled completely in my home.

I am pretty damn close.

Hanging all my artwork really felt good.

So too blasting some French House music.

My place is sound proofed, plus the landlord is away camping this weekend.

So I didn’t have any compunctions about using a hammer at 9p.m. at night and hanging up my art.

It feels so nice to look at my space.

My couch is freaking perfect, so to the chair and the pillows I got really work nicely, I almost didn’t get them when I was at the store and I even had a moment when I packed them up and I was going to return them, but something made me stop and I am so glad I did, they work really well and look hella cool.

I’m very happy with my couch.

And tomorrow I will get my coffee table, end tables, and bedside tables set up.

I actually hired a woman from Task Rabbit to do it.

I figured it was worth it to not frustrate myself for hours.

I will instead spend a great deal of time tomorrow studying and doing homework.

I have to.

My work week will be full on again as the mom is back from her work travels and I will have the baby full-time again, I may have some time to do readings, but I won’t have time to do writing, which is what I was doing a lot of in the early afternoons before I headed out to pick up the big kids from school.

So tomorrow is definitely a full day of study.

I have one ladybug coming over to do work for an hour and I’ll get out and do the deal, but other than that, I can’t do anything but the work.

Well.

Probably some laundry.

I will want to do that, but I’ll bring homework with me for sure.

It will be my first time going to a laundry mat in years and though I am not excited about that, I am quite happy with how my home has come together and it feels very good to be here.

There are still some things that need to happen for me to entirely settle in, I haven’t gotten a dresser yet and I still have some clothes in a big garment box, but for the most part the space is nicely curated and it feels like me and it feels fun and polished and warm and sweet.

Once it’s all set up I’ll post a few photos.

I really do love the fact that I got myself a pink velvet couch.

Pink is not my favorite color, but I do like it and the couch is just so very me.

A sort of vintage 1970s Paris couch.

It’s the best.

Yeah.

I am very happy in my new home.

It’s also quite a space of reflection for me, to see how far I have come in the last few years.

When I think about how I moved back from Paris with $10 and what I have now, it’s really astounding how much can change in five years.

I got my Master’s degree, I’m working on my PhD,  I went through a buyout (a San Francisco rite of passage now it seems), I found a wonderful new place to live, I have had the most intense romantic love of my life happen, I have traveled back to Paris three times since I moved back, as well as going to New York three times, New Orleans, Burning Man five times, D.C., Atlanta, and L.A.  I bought a scooter, sold the scooter, bought a new car.

I never thought I would actually buy a new car, and holy shit, I did.

I’m starting a private practice internship.

I am fucking living life.

And yeah.

It does get overwhelming at times, but I have a primary purpose and I’m sticking to that.

The PhD is an amazing gift to get to do, but ultimately, it is not the endpoint for my life, although I know it’s going to consume a good bit of my life for a while, it is not my omega point.

Love is.

Deep love.

Loving myself to the best of my abilities and spreading that love as far out into the world as I can.

And now that my home base is almost secure and safe and settled.

I feel that I will be able to do so with even more veracity and courage.

I am in a good place.

It is a challenge.

There are challenges.

No lie.

But I am in a good place.

And I vow to love as hard as I can from this place as I can.

I promise.

Really.

I do.

Whirlwind

September 12, 2018

It has been a busy couple of days and it’s just Tuesday.

I’ve been running around and cramming the extra stuff in.

Today it was therapy before work and a long day at work juggling new school schedules and dentist appointments, followed by seeing a couple of clients.

And last night it was a late night as I was busy….

SIGNING A LEASE ON MY NEW APARTMENT!

Oh my God.

I have a home.

I am so fucking happy.

I cannot even begin to express it.

I went over to my new home after seeing clients last night, so I was literally signing my lease at 9:30 p.m. at night, I hadn’t even gone home yet, but it was the time we could connect, so it was the time to sign.

I have a home.

God.

I love saying that.

And it really feels like it’s mine.

I mean.

The moment I saw the ad it felt like where I was supposed to be.

And it all fell into place so nicely.

It was like knocking over dominoes.

I am very happy to report that I will still be by the beach, even closer than I am here and I’m pretty close here.

My new home is at 48th and Balboa.

So, just on the other side of Golden Gate Park.

The ocean is literally a block and a half away, from my place now its three blocks.

And the commute is only one minute longer than my commute now.

I am very, very, very happy.

So happy.

That when I got home I packed a box.

I have packed three boxes now.

I’m actually not sure I can muster the energy to pack more tonight.

I am pretty pooped.

I was also so giddy about getting to be in my new home that I ordered a new couch and a new chair online.

The same couch that I had found the night I saw the ad and began decorating in my head.

I have gotten a few more things for the house as well.

My house is not exactly a house, per se, but it is my home and I am so over the moon at how lovely it is.

All brand new appliances.

Gorgeous hard wood floors.

500ft.

Which is quite big for a studio in-law.

My current in-law, though I don’t know the footage exactly, is 12 x 15.

My new in-law is 19×20!

Much bigger.

Oh yeah.

And loads of windows.

Seven to be exact and a sliding glass door out to my deck.

My deck.

Oh my god.

I have a deck.

Adirondack chairs here I come.

Bring on the hammock.

Bring on the studying in the sun.

Oh, I know, not always, it will get just as damn foggy on the other side of the park as it does here, but when it is pretty, like it has been the last couple of days, it is glorious.

And I honored what I said.

I paid the damage deposit and six months of rent in advance.

I don’t think I have ever written a check for that large of an amount before.

I don’t have to pay rent until March of 2019.

Yay!

I will also get the other half of the buyout monies when I turn in the key, so I have some extra dosh to throw at furnishing the place.

I literally have nothing.

Aside from my bed.

I have a nice bed.

But everything in my studio was staging stuff from my landlady, I basically have been living in a furnished studio for the past five years.

I am starting from scratch.

And don’t get me wrong, the furnishings here have been sweet, but they’ve never been quite 100% me.

I get to pick what I want.

Like, heh. I ordered a pink couch.

I know!

PINK.

But its gorgeous, it was $1000 less if I ordered on-line versus trying to find something comparable in San Francisco that I could just walk into a furniture store and buy.

It made sense to get it and I got a matching chair.

The line is called the Matrix and it’s by Article.

It’s done in a soft velvet rose and its circa 1970 Paris.

Mid Century Modern.

The chair matches.

I was in heaven when I ordered it, a tiny bit anxious about pulling the trigger, but really excited when I did.

I want to create a beautiful home for myself.

I plan on being there for a while.

I mean, I don’t want to have to move again while I am working on this PhD.

I signed a year lease which will go to a month to month after a year.

The landlord was looking for a long-term tenant and I assured him that I am such a person, that I really could see myself there for five years, as long as it took to do the PhD and that I didn’t want the stress of having to move during my program again.

I want to hunker down in a pretty little, heh, not so little, space and surround myself with nice things.

Not crazy nice, but you know, sweet things.

I deserve them.

I work so fucking hard.

And I’m not home that much, I want my home to be pretty and sweet, accommodating and warm, welcoming, nourishing, safe.

I have my own separate entrance, no more going in through the garage, and I decided today that I am not going to wait until next weekend to move.

I am doing it this weekend.

I had thought I would push it off, but I realized as soon as I packed on box that it was on.

I cancelled the few plans I could cancel, I still have to go to my orientation for my new internship on Sunday but I cleared everything after that and I managed to clear one commitment off on Saturday, although I still have to go to group supervision as well.

I am hopeful that I can pack the majority of my stuff on Saturday and then move it all on Sunday.

I sent my notice into the lawyer, haven’t heard back yet, but gave myself until the 23rd of the month.

I figure I’ll move this weekend and whatever I can’t get to I will wrap up with next weekend and then clean the studio.

I have changed my address for the post office, updated my address for my bank, and I have ordered a couple of things for the house to be delivered to my new address–laundry hamper and a compost bin.

I will try to get some furniture Saturday if I can.

I don’t want to order a kitchen table on-line, I want to get something sooner and I figure that I can pop into Stuff on Valencia Street or Harrington’s and get a good used table and chairs and maybe a few other odds and ends.

I can’t wait to get out of here.

I’m grateful for what the last five years has been.

But.

I’m more grateful to get to move into something better.

Much.

Much.

Much.

Better.


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