Posts Tagged ‘humanity’

Bye Bye

October 17, 2017

Faceplant.

I took Facebook off my phone today.

It gave me a great big scary warning about losing content and I was like, what the fuck ever.

Let me lose political arguments.

Terror.

Sniping.

Ugliness.

Trauma.

Policy intrigue.

And frankly a great big suck of my time.

I was on Facebook a bit more than I typically am via my phone today as the baby was sick and the only way to nap was to get him in the carrier and rock him until he could sleep.

It took a while and the screaming was tremendous, mostly just because the poor little guy was exhausted, he has croup.

In fact.

All my little monkeys have it.

Thanks to some kids who came to school sick last week and it spread like wildfire.

So today I had two boys, both who were sick and not so happy.

I did get to have them out in the world today as I helped the mom with some errands and for a very sweet hour I had the baby napping in the stroller and my big guy curled up on my lap telling me stories while he nibbled a pastry from Arizmendi bakery.

I got sunshine on my face, good snuggles, and sweet connection.

So.

When we got back to the house and I had the baby again I ended up being on my phone a bit, but the more I was on it, the more annoyed I got.

I have been contemplating taking myself off Facebook entirely, since the current administration and even a bit before it, I was beginning to have a lot of negative feelings about the forum.

First of all.

It’s extraordinarily challenging, I find, to see horror story after horror story, the fires in Sonoma and Napa, the mass gun shooting in Vegas, the hurricane in Puerto Rico, to name just a few, all the celebrity and musician deaths, deaths in my community and fellowship, the suicide at Burning Man, Jesus fuck, all of it and more, and then see Facebook selling me shit.

I am at once terrorized by the horror show of the world and then I am being sold some period panties, or a dress or high heels or what the fuck?

I can’t take in both information.

I can’t want to look at a pair of shoes and then feel extraordinary guilt that I can buy a pair of shoes when people in Puerto Rico haven’t had electricity for a month.

I can’t see story after story after story of women who have been raped and sexually assaulted and then see an ad for a dating site.

Fuck off.

It’s too much.

So.

When I found myself being disturbed, I put down my phone and I focused on what was happening right there in the moment.

I looked at the room I was in.

I felt the weight of the baby on my chest, his warmth and heaviness.

And then I closed my eyes.

Oh.

Why.

This is lovely!

I meditated and then.

Yes.

It happened.

I fell asleep!

I had what I like to call “naptation.”

It’s the best ever.

I couldn’t have slept more than ten minutes, a nap snack if you will, but wow, I felt so much better and refreshed and not irate at the world and upset.

I was present.

It was pretty damn nice.

Then.

Later at my office when I went into see my clients I realized that looking at social media tends to destabilize me and there have been more than a few incidents when I will be idly flipping through Facebook and see something disturbing and then I’m lost in la la land and minutes fly by and I’ve been sucked in and I’m upset now.

Well, fuck me, that’s not how I want to hold my therapy frame.

No.

I want to be calm and serene and ready and empathic to whatever my client brings in, not whatever algorithm Facebook has my feed on.

Fuck that.

So.

I deleted it off my phone.

Yes.

I do still have an account.

And I did not delete the messenger app.

I actually use that more often than one would think, especially with my classmates.

And, irony, school is one of the reasons I won’t get rid of it entirely, my cohort has a closed private group where we facilitate conversations about school and I have found the connection really important.

Facebook still has some things that I want to keep and there are friends and family that are out-of-town that I like to keep in touch with.

But.

No more on my phone.

I don’t like it and I don’t like how often I can be pulled out of the moment, out of the present, and away into something else.

I want to be present for what or whom is in front of me.

I remember when I realized that I could turn off the volume on my phone when I went to bed and not be woken up by a beep or ping or tweet.

I haven’t put my phone in night mode, except once accidentally, that was hilarious, yet, but I am close to doing that as well.

No interruptions.

Just pure sweet sleep.

I also try very hard to turn off my phone and put it away when I am with someone, I don’t like how distracting it is.

As I lean in more to being a therapist as I see what works for me and how I can better show up for friends, for those I love, for my fellowship and my clients, I lean further and further away from social media.

It was such a lot of fun, but it stopped being fun a long time ago.

When I stopped posting my blog to social media I noticed a distinct shift in how I use it and I have to say, I really don’t need the validation of people commenting on my blog from Facebook.

I missed it for a little while, but what I realized, what I have always known, is that the process of writing is what is important.

If someone gets something from what I write, well, huzzah, but ultimately, it is for me and I am grateful for that, that I kept it up and that I continue to do so and I can give a fuck about Facebook.

I think it will get along very well without me.

Probably won’t notice at all that I am gone.

And that is fine with me.

I don’t mind living under the radar.

That’s where the interesting stuff happens most of the time anyway.

Seriously.

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That’s Not Mine

September 13, 2017

It’s yours.

Or.

It is mine?

Or is it both?

Turns out yesterday it was both/and.

I hate that.

Both.

And.

I had a client working through some traumatic stuff in session yesterday and I realized later that I had taken some of it with me.

It was hard to shake.

Why was it so hard to shake?

I talked to my therapist today about it.

We isolated it and moved through it and all sorts of stuff came up.

Jesus fucking Christ.

All the stuff.

Fortunately, and I mean this in the sincerest way possible, fortunately, I have been doing self-examination and inventory and work on myself for such a long time that I was able to work through it.

I can’t and won’t divulge what happen in session with my client.

That’s a breach of ethics and I am honor bound to keep those things within the walls of my office.

But.

I can say that what happened had a resounding feel to me of something that had happened to me.

I couldn’t quite pin it.

I know that there was an extraordinary amount of emotion in the room when I worked with my client last night.

I relayed to my therapist things that happened for me in my body, what it felt like, the counter transference that happened and the transference.

And.

That I recognized that some of what I was feeling was my clients and some of what I was feeling was mine.

Thank God for a great therapist.

We isolated it.

Or.

I isolated it.

She did what therapist do, good therapists, she held the field, she let me find my way, she made some connections for me that I didn’t see, she held me with empathy, she validated my experience, she reflected and gave me perspective.

And.

Holy shit.

There it was.

And I broke down and bawled.

Great big ugly tears.

Relieved to get it out.

Although it tried to stick for a second.

It tried really hard.

It did not want to come out.

I was choked with grief.

Stricken.

I got it out though and I named the emotions I was feeling.

Trying to stuff them all into the crumpled ball of tissue in my moist hand.

Guilt.

Shame.

Unendurable guilt.

For getting out, for doing better, for surviving.

For being financially “well off.”

Bwahhahahahaaha.

Have you seen my student loan statement?

I have.

Meh.

Anyway.

Though I may have a fuck ton of student loans, fuck it, I’m worth the investment, I am, I am, I also have a modicum of financial security and I have a nice little home and I have nice little things.

I have a scooter.

I have a bicycle.

I have security.

In so much as I continue working at the pace I am working.

I don’t have much of a security blanket in the savings account.

But hey.

I have a savings account.

When I think about how successful I am in comparison to my mom or my sister and how I have always managed to find a way out, I sometimes, more so than I want to admit, have guilt.

And then.

I belittle my experiences or my own traumas, because, man, they had and have it bad too, and I’ve found a way through.

There is no way through but through.

It’s painful.

But.

Fuck.

It’s so worth it.

And I also see that I am not responsible for my sister, for my mother, for my father, my nieces.

I am, and can only be, responsible for myself.

But the guilt.

It hit me hard.

I was feeling awkward about an upcoming birthday in my family and I was relaying how many times, so many, too many to count, that I have sent gifts trying to foster some sense of connection and love to my family.

And.

Have not received it.

Oh.

I know there’s love.

But I haven’t the emotional connection to my family that I was trying to cultivate, a sort of reciprocation of love and that I need to let go of trying to get it the same way I have been doing so for decades.

We, my therapist and I, talked about how I might be able to establish connection, about what I could do.

I have to say it felt futile.

I was fucking flummoxed.

Then.

As I sat and the grief washed over me and I saw how hard I had tried to do something, taking the same action time and time again, that maybe there was another way.

Maybe.

I don’t know.

But I sussed a few things out and suddenly I had an answer.

It may not be “the” answer.

But.

It felt good to process it all out and find the connections and see how the traumatic experience that I bore witness to when I was with my client last night led me to work through and settle out something that has been nagging me for decades in my relationship to my sister and my nieces.

I don’t have a lot of close family.

Just my sister.

I have almost no relationship whatsoever with either of my nieces.

Although I helped significantly in the first years of my oldest niece’s life.

And I love her so much.

After I moved away from Wisconsin our relationship grew very thin.

My sister had troubles of her own and many challenges that I could not face for her.

Fuck.

I had to deal with my own shit.

The last time I saw my oldest niece was over fifteen years ago.

She was nine.

In a few days she will be 25.

I was nineteen when she was born.

I was the first person to hold her.

I saw her crowning.

I saw my sister endure the most excruciating pain.

I rocked that baby to sleep so many nights, I sang her songs, I can feel the heaviness of her carrier in my arms now.

I loved her beyond any previously known capacity to love.

And that is enough.

I gave what I could when I could and when the paths of my family and mine diverged, it was right to go the way I did.

To allow others the dignity of their own experiences.

To allow others to feel the weight of their choices, the consequences, good, bad, indifferent, to their actions, and not interfere.

I can still love my sister, my mother, my father, my nieces.

I can still love my cousins and aunts, uncles, my remaining grandparent.

But.

I don’t have to do so at the expense of myself.

I don’t have to lose myself in care taking.

I mean.

hahahaha.

Who the fuck am I kidding?

I’m a therapist in training, I may very well lose myself in it all over again, the care taking thing, but I also get to have boundaries and frames and I get to help in a way that won’t drain me.

At least that is what I have hope for.

I have a deep capacity for love and my experiences have borne this out.

I have and will always love my family.

I just won’t put their needs before mine any longer.

I deserve better.

And.

Well.

Fuck.

So do they.

Who the hell am I to decide how they should live their lives.

They have their own God.

As do I.

Thank God.

Grace.

Over.

Drama.

For the most part.

I was a hot mess yesterday and today in therapy but it got worked out and it got worked out fast.  So grateful for that.

Beyond words.

And though it may not seem cause for celebration.

It is.

And.

I am.

Yes.

The luckiest girl in the world.

Seriously.

I am.

Maintenance

September 11, 2017

And slow movement  forward.

I have to give myself some credit here.

Even though I did not leave the environs of the Outer Sunset.

Oh mama, did I do a lot of stuff.

Sometimes my brain will give me grief, you’re moving too slow, you’re not going fast enough, there is stuff that needs to be done.

And sometimes I can let that old harangue take a back seat to all the spectacular, albeit small things, that I did do in my day.

All I have to do is look at my sumptious bed.

I made it.

That’s a big deal.

I put fresh sheets on my bed and washed all my linens and all the clothes in my laundry basket, I made my bed and all the pillows are lined up and it looks comfy and cozy and beckoning.

I’ll get to slide in between soft, clean, fresh, sweet smelling sheets at the end of my day.

Which is not too far off.

I love my bed.

I have a nice mattress.

I have a bed frame.

I have five fucking pillows.

Who the hell am I?

Remember?

I do.

Remember being a kid and having one flat, stained, squashed pillow?

Or.

When I upgraded to two pillows when I was a junior or senior in highschool.

I forget which, but I remember how I would double up those pillows and prop them just so underneath my head so that I could read late into the night whatever novel I was busy seeking refuge in.

I escaped in reading a lot.

Reading was my way out and the feel of those pillows, each folded in half, to prop up my head is a memory that I won’t forget soon.

Then.

There were the times when I didn’t have a pillow of mine own at all.

Or a bed, for that matter.

Sleeping on couches, in the back seats of cars, or the passenger side.

Being homeless on again and off again for years, squashing myself onto a friends love seat with broken springs, sleeping in a tent, “but I was camping,” I told her and she laughed, “we call that being homeless.”

Sleeping on a sheet of plywood on the ground.

Or.

When I moved up a little in that world, on a sheet of plywood that was being held up by a couple of plastic milk crates and there was a sleeping bag.

Homeless, on the abandoned airforce base in Homestead, Florida, just outside of Miami, in the early 90s after Hurricane Andrew had devastated the city, living in a hooch.

Good times.

How I got there is a story in and of itself.

But a bed.

Just seeing my bed, that it’s not a mattress on the floor, but a real live bed, is something that I don’t take for granted and when I think I’m not doing enough, well, just look at my amazing bed, so pretty with its duvet and big fluffy pillows.

So pretty.

So yeah, digress much, I made my bed today.

I went to yoga.

I took a shower.

I washed my hair and deep conditioned it and ate a lovely breakfast and drank a nice latte and wrote morning pages.

This takes time and sometimes I wish my morning routine were not quite so long, but I do savor having some time to look over e-mails and do my writing and I did my morning prayers and readings too, important stuff, small stuff, in its own manner but really necessary.

I feel better for having the routine.

I also went grocery shopping.

And that does take up some time.

Especially that I had to go to three different stores.

I didn’t mind though, just got to it and picked up all the things to make all the things.

I made a pork and ginger, garlic, onion stir fry with baby portabella mushrooms and julienned sugar snap peas.  I had it with brown rice and half an avocado for lunch.

So good.

Then I put up the rest of it, some in the fridge and some in the freezer, as I like to have back up food for when I’m in class and often times my weekend before the weekend of class will be taken up with writing papers.

I have two to do next week.

They’re not horrible and shouldn’t take too long.

I figure I’ll kick them both out Sunday afternoon.

After the lunch cooking and weekly food prep I got down and dirty with my school books.

I flipped through all my syllabi and noted what I needed to read and I toggled about in my Cognitive Behavior class syllabi and saw when I needed to be online for a class webinar.

I just got out of it about 45 minutes ago.

So.

I pretty much read and did homework for four hours.

I feel like that’s getting some stuff taken care of.

I also roasted a chicken, for dinner and meals throughout the week and made up some more brown rice.

I like having my stuff stocked up for the week.

It’s maintenance.

It helps me with a certain level of comfort that I feel allows me to go about my busy week and still maintain a semblance of being a human being.

I love that I cook.

I love that I have good food to sustain me, that I went to yoga, damn my thighs are sore, that I stretched, that I wrote, and yes.

That it was sunny.

And instead of being rueful that I was not able to go out and play in the sun, I took advantage of it and threw a pillow on a patio chair out back and sat in the sun for a good two and a half hours doing my school reading.

There is something rather nice about being propped up in the sun and reading a book, even if it is for school.

I had some sweet phone calls.

I wrote a little poetry.

I managed my calendar for the next couple of weeks.

And now.

I’m just about done with my blog, I’m listening to Coleman Hawkins and thinking very sweet thoughts about the week to come.

It’s going to be a grand one.

I just know it.

Huge Relief

September 10, 2017

To change my mind.

To see where I was taking on too much.

To apologize and make an amends to a friend.

To get honest with my person and with myself.

To see where my priorities lie.

To let go.

To surrender.

Such relief.

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

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

Let me clarify.

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

But.

I realized.

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

I like to believe that I am superhuman.

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

Fuck me.

I forget that all the time.

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

And.

Good fucking grief.

I am enough.

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

NONE.

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

Fuck that.

I deserve to let myself have a little down time.

To love and be loved.

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

I mean.

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

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

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

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

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

How the hell was I going to fit it in?

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

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

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

Maybe.

Just maybe.

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

Maybe.

I might want to actually have a vacation.

Like.

Lay on a beach.

Or.

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

I mean.

Maybe I want a real vacation.

And.

Then.

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

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

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

OH my god.

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

I’m not doing the Aids ride.

And I am ok with it.

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

I also talked about doing a trip for my graduation.

What that might look like.

Barcelona.

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

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

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

In fact.

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

Not “going to Burning Man” again next year.

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

NOPE.

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

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

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

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

It’s ok.

Sigh.

Fuck.

Thank you.

I apologized again and hugged him and that was that.

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

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

And.

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

At least for this semester.

I feel a lot better.

Much clearer.

Much cleaner.

And so relieved to be just regular old Carmen.

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

Thank God.

It needs a dry cleaning anyhow.

Ha.

And It’s Here

August 25, 2017

Holy shit.

Tomorrow.

Tomorrow is my first day of classes in my third, and last, year of my Masters in Counseling Psychology program.

Fuck.

How did it get to be time already.

It feels hyper surreal.

On one hand I feel like I was just in class last weekend.

On the other it feels like years and ages.

I also have a better sense of what I’m walking into with my schedule as I have spent some time tonight doing more reading for class and looking over my syllabi for the classes I have tomorrow.

I only have two.

Which is a change from previous years when I had three classes a day on Fridays.

Of course.

I have practicum, which is the difference.

And beginning in September, basically after I get back from Burning Man, I will be seeing clients on Fridays.

And.

Sigh.

Saturdays too.

I have a few clients scheduled for my first weekend back from playa.

Mostly to make up for the sessions I will have missed by being out-of-town.

I was pleased and flattered when two of my clients asked me to make up sessions with them, they didn’t want to go two weeks without seeing me.

That was nice to hear.

I am doing a good job.

Not the best, I am far from the best, but I’m doing a decent job and I know that I am making headway with my clients and that they are getting something out of the relationship, enough so that they want to continue seeing me and wanting to make up for the lost sessions.

I am grateful for the work.

It is work.

Don’t get me wrong, but it is also such rewarding work.

And I am also happy that I am continuing to learn and make connections and see things, that the work generates constant learning is amazing.

I am not in a cookie cutter job, I am getting to constantly and consistently learn.

No better thing that.

I shall spend my whole life learning and still feel that there is so much more to know and learn and so much growth yet to be had.

Perhaps on this plane.

Perhaps in another.

I don’t know what or where any of this is going.

I just know that I want, with sincerest passion and longing, to be true to this moment, the one I am in, that in this moment there is constant love, consistency and self-awareness.

I am the best person I know how to be.

In this moment.

It will change.

I will have my failings.

I will freak out.

I will get scared.

I did today when I inadvertently flipped open Facebook, which I am less and less on, I just don’t have the time or bandwidth for it, to see a response to a post I had put up about having found a ride to Burning Man and how I was happy for it.

The response was from the woman I am going with.

And it should have been a direct message to me.

But.

Nope.

Of course it wasn’t, it was a post displayed for the entire forum to see, hundreds of folks.

I didn’t respond because it wasn’t the right thing to do and I felt instant, I mean, instant resentment.

Don’t fucking change things up on me now!

I am inflexible when I am in fear.

I want what I want and I want it the way that I want it.

Got that?

Good.

So, basically, do it my way.

Damn it.

But no.

My ride has some ideas, some thoughts, some desires to do it her way.

And as such.

Wanted to know if I would be open to renting a mini van.

Oh.

Well.

Fuck my life.

I had a fucking reservation made on my own to rent a god damn vehicle, a reservation I cancelled after securing the ride with the woman whom I am going with.

If I wanted to pay for a fucking rental I would have gone up on my god damn own.

This is my thinking walking down the hill on Chenery, on the way to go get my charge some snacks at the Glen Canyon Market and then go to the park at the rec center.

I almost said it out loud.

And no four-year old needs to hear my profanity.

I was, when I am in resentment it usually stems from fear–I’m not getting what I want or I am afraid I’m going to lose something–full of angry profanity and resentment.

I took a deep breath.

I did not respond on Facebook.

I paused.

I breathed some more.

I swore in my head some more.

Then I just got into, this is what’s happening and this is what is going on and I can accept the situation or I can rant like a maniac.

Do I want to be happy?

Or.

Right.

Right!

Just kidding.

Sigh.

I wish.

No.

I want to be happy.

And if my elderly lady stateswoman wants to rent a mini van, well so be it.

I let a lot of time go and I said some prayers and I did some spot check inventory in my mind and I realized a bunch of stuff.

I have a job to attend to.

I am with my charge and I have to go get my other charge across town.

I am in a pretty park with a sparkling water in my hand, I am outside, the grass is green, the pollinating plants smell intoxicating, the clover especially, and I am alive to have all these feelings.

I have the opportunity to accept what is going on and I prayed for guidance to take the next action in front of me.

So when the text came in from my ride I was able to respond, not react, and take a phone call.

Oh.

I still got flustered on the phone.

I had an idea of what I was going to spend on getting to the damn event and now I was facing having to pay more and I felt a bit in a bind, a bit out of control, like, I don’t have any other way at this time to get myself out there and I have a three-day weekend of school and the rest of the work day to get through.

I can’t fathom trying figure out other means of transport.

I told her I was willing to consider it.

I asked what she wanted by way of compensation.

She gave me, what I considered a vague, cop-out response, but, ultimately, the freedom to decide what I felt comfortable contributing.

I had a number in my head.

I paused for a while after getting off the phone.

I know I can afford it.

I am willing to pay more.

I don’t want to think about it.

I have other things happening before it.

I want to show up alive and present and enjoy every beautiful moment of my weekend.

So.

Whatever vehicle shows up for me on Sunday.

Well.

That’s the one I’m going in.

And whatever the cost.

Well.

That’s what I will be paying.

I’m just surrendering to what’s happening and letting God have it.

God always does in the end anyway.

I get to have this experience.

And like so many others.

I am sure there will be spiritual growth.

And.

Love.

I am certain of that.

There will be love.

There always is.

A Little Here

August 23, 2017

A little there.

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

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

I mean.

A little.

Sort of.

But mostly.

Fuck no.

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

Oh sure.

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

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

That being said.

School seems to hold less gravitas for me.

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

Third year!

I am a third year.

This is the big push.

One more year of this program and then.

Well.

Probably more school.

Although I’m not 100% sure.

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

Give or take.

I might as well go for my PhD.

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

Although.

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

38 hours a week from 41.

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

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

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

I can get a lot read in three hours.

I can.

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

If only they would’ve coordinated!

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

I finished the reading for another one of my classes.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And.

Well.

Yes.

She’s right.

I am a horrid perfectionist.

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

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

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

But.

Heh.

Um.

It’s a Transpersonal Psychology class.

So.

Spirituality and spiritual practices.

Yeah.

I think I might have that one bagged.

We have to keep a journal.

Pardon me while I laugh into my sleeve.

That shouldn’t be hard.

Ahem.

And talk about our spiritual experiences.

That will be interesting.

Like.

I put a prayer in my God box today.

God box?

Yes.

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

I believe in prayer.

And I have a God of my understanding.

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

It’s the action that counts.

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

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

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

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

I am not built like that.

Oh.

Fuck.

I have so tried.

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

But.

Then.

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

I isolate.

I am alone.

And lonely.

That is never a good place for me to be.

So, yeah.

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

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

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

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

Which I am not always.

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

But.

To circle back.

I can forgive myself.

I haven’t finished the reading.

I won’t finish it.

It’s ok.

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

Participate.

And be myself.

The rest will follow.

It always.

Always.

Always.

Does.

Waiting

August 16, 2017

For more to be revealed.

I am waiting.

And.

Yes!

It’s happening.

Oh my God.

I have a ride to Burning Man.

Holy shit.

And the best part?

She’s a 74-year-old first time burner.

I want to have that much spunk when I’m in my 70s, let me tell you.

She and I were connected via some mutual friends who suggested to her that she contact me as someone who has experience going to Burning Man.

I said, sure, I’ll let her pick my brain, happy to share about food prep, how to get there, how to get back, how much water to bring, etc.

I had seen a post in a community forum for my camp that I will be staying with and it appeared that she was also looking for a ride to the event.

So.

Imagine my surprise when I get a message from her saying that she’s decided to not only drive to the event, but she wants to give me a ride.

What?!

I was not, in any way shape or form expecting to go to Burning Man with a 74-year-old woman virgin burner from Santa Cruz.

The playa hath provided.

Or.

God.

As the case may be.

I will not have to rent a car!

I will share drive cost, split the vehicle parking pass with her, and give her all the Burning Man tips she can possibly handle.

I can’t believe I have a ride!

I am so relieved.

And that she’s willing to go on my time frame, which allows me to go to class on Sunday.

The weekend the event opens, next weekend, holy shit, is the same weekend as my first weekend of school.

I have to go.

I’ll be in class Friday 9a.m.-4p.m.

Saturday 9a.m.-8p.m.

And.

Sunday 9a.m.-12p.m.

I’ll hop on my scooter, get home and throw myself together.

I will have to be packed and ready by 1p.m.

I’m sure there will be a little wiggle room, but the fact is we’ll want to get on the road as  soon as possible, it’s an 8-9 hour drive depending on the traffic.

Which on a Sunday really shouldn’t be too bad.

We will stop in Reno at the 24 hours SafeWay and buy ice, dry ice, water and anything that may have been forgotten in the melee to get out-of-town.

I am pretty seasoned at going, like I said, this is year eleven, and I pretty much have all my stuff ready, it’s just not all in the same spot.

And considering that I don’t live in a big space it won’t take me real long to compile everything and have it ready to go.

Really.

The packing shouldn’t take me more than an hour.

I figure I’ll suss that out this Saturday.

Get all my bins out, shake off the dust, so to speak, the dust never seems to quite go away, and get it all organized in one spot in the garage.

Depending on how much room she has in the car, which doesn’t sound like a ton, I may only take my one big cooler.

I have a large cooler and a medium size cooler.

The large one is the one I invested in for this year, it’s on wheels and holds a lot more than my medium size one, plus, it’s a much better insulated cooler than the one I’ve taken the last few years.

I have a ride!!

I am over the moon.

Aside from the fact that I get to be of service, I mean, she is an elder states(wo)man and it’s an honor and a privilege, I believe, to take someone who means a great deal to her community, to her first Burning Man.

At the age of 74.

How freaking radical is that?!

I love it.

I get to be of service and she’s really happy to have the company.

I think it is a total win/win scenario.

I also feel like she’s not going to have any issue leaving a little early from the event, I’m pretty much hoping to leave as early as possible Sunday morning and get out an on the road.

I want as much time Monday to recuperate and take 18 different super hot showers and time to wash all my clothes and get the dust out of my hair.

Wow.

I am over the moon.

I have a ride.

Such a relief.

And yes, the thought of driving my own car was a lovely thought, but not the possibility of losing a big deposit on a rental from Burning Man dust.

One day.

Perhaps sooner than later.

I will have my own car.

And I will offer someone else a ride out to that thing in the desert.

Until then.

I am happy as a clam.

A dusty one, mind you.

To have this opportunity.

Luckiest girl in the world.

Or at Burning Man.

Seriously!

Sneaky Work

August 15, 2017

It’s Monday.

The alarm goes off at 6:30 a.m.

I bounce out of bed, turn on the lights, run to the loo.

Brush teeth, wash face, wander naked to the kitchen, I sleep in the nude, yes, indeed the first ten minutes of my morning are bare ass, drink a glass of water, take three vitamin supplements–iron, glucosamine chondrotin, Flax seed oil, then I go make my bed.

After that I get dressed, put on my shoes, watch, and pull out the layers I plan on wearing.

Hello.

It’s August in San Francisco.

Best to have at least three layers.

Cardigan, sweatshirt, scooter riding jacket.

I lay them out on the bed and then go do my morning reading and say some prayers and ask for some direction and then.

Breakfast!

Today was oatmeal with banana and figs, cinnamon, nutmeg, raw cocoa and unsweetened coconut/almond milk; 1 hard-boiled egg and an unsweetened almond milk latte.

While said food items are busy boiling, cooking, and frothing, I pack my lunch for work and whatever homework and internship paperwork, texts, and syllabi I need for the day.

Today it was solo supervision, so definitely needed my pink glitter notebook.

Who says grad school has to be all seriousness.

Glitter makes it better.

Trust me.

I also packed my Jungian dream book, even though my brain said, what’s the point?

There’s not a spare minute to do reading today.

But, from experience, this is not true.

Times when I think I am going to have hours of reading, I don’t and days when I think, I couldn’t possibly spare thirty seconds to look at a paragraph, I suddenly have unexpected time.

Life happens.

All the time.

That’s what life does.

But.

I find these weird, sweet, odd pockets of time and that’s when I use Stephen King’s advice.

And if you don’t think reading Stephen King is a highly psychological endeavor you’re not reading his works very well.

Anyway.

He wrote this awesome little book a while back, non-fiction, called “On Writing” and it gives his basic formula for what he does and his routine.

First.

He reads.

A lot.

And not his stuff, but everyone else.

His biggest suggestion and one that I took very much to heart, especially after starting grad school, is, carry a book with you at all times.

You never know when you may get stuck in a line or your appointment gets pushed back, or you’re riding the train or the bus or the subway.

I notice most folks these days are looking at their phones.

I read my homework for school if I have down time.

And like I said, I often have a snatch of it when I least expect it.

Today it happened at supervision.

My supervisor lost his keys and had to run home to get the replacement set.

So, my session was cut a little short but, hey!

I have my Jungian Dream Work class text-book.

Whip it out!

I knocked out another couple of pages.

And very glad for it.

I got another text-book in the mail today and I have it already packed in my travel bag for tomorrow, along with the Jungian book, I doubt very much I’ll actually have time to read the two chapters for the class I still need to kick through and have time to get into the next text I have assigned myself.

But.

Well.

You never know.

I just don’t anyway.

Another thing King recommends is that you write everyday.

Yup.

I do that too.

Before I head out.

And when I get home in the evening.

Sometimes I am still not sure how that all happens.

I do the morning writing in one of my Claire Fontaine notebooks from Paris, or whatever notebook I have handy.  I of course have a preference, but I will write on anything.

Although I hate recycled notebooks, the quality of the paper is ass.

I write three pages long hand.

I write about what I’m doing, the things that happened the day before that I don’t write about in my blog

Oh.

Haha.

There’s a few things that I do not write about here.

That all gets covered and rehashed and processed in the morning writing.

The evening, this, my blog, I am also pretty damn consistent.

I used to be super anal about it and I couldn’t not write every day.

That’s eased up a little in recent years.

Years, I say, I have been writing this blog for so long.

Seven, eight years.

I have over 2,200 blogs posted.

And that’s after two different scrubbing sessions where I probably deleted a couple hundred blogs just to make sure I wasn’t leaving a thumbprint or, yes, I had said something unkind about someone in my life.

Typically a boss.

Occasionally a bad date.

Ooh, man I had some bad date blogs.

Which I stopped doing when a blind date stumbled on a blog I wrote, I’m thinking he probably stalked me a bit, let’s be real, and sent me a text which said, “I read your blog.”

Ack.

I had to delete it and make an amends.

I swallowed that pride, deleted the blog, called him, he answered, and apologized.

That was an uncomfortable conversation.

But.

Better than the alternative.

It still was an awful date, but I had said some pretty not so nice things.

I learned my lesson, words can cut deep and it’s not my business to malign.

I stopped writing anything about other people and really tried from that point forward to keep the focus on myself.

I have plenty of flaws I can poke fun at, I don’t need to point out anyone else’s.

So.

That’s the writing routine for the day.

The rest of today looked like work, cooking for the family, doing the baby’s laundry, lots of bouncing around with the baby–he’s teething horribly–playing race cars with the oldest boy and letting the little lady watch Frozen, since she wasn’t feeling well.

I was supposed to go to my internship today and see a client.

But.

She cancelled.

So.

After work I zoomed to the grocery store and picked up some staples and then zipped over the hill to 7th and Irving and hit up the spot, got right with God and got home.

Garbage, recycling, compost out to the curb as a favor to the landlady who is traveling, check the mail, another text-book from school!

I know, it’s exciting, right?

Reviewed my calendar, personal, work, and internship, printed off some forms–I have a new client consult at the internship tomorrow, and ate some dinner.

Checked e-mails, popped over to my “Track My Hours” my BBS (Behavioral Board of Science) approved MFT hours tracker, and added in my hour of supervision from the morning.

And um.

That’s the day.

Not exactly exciting.

But really full.

Hell I even snuck in a trip to the bank and the post office to return a package in between supervision and work, and a run to Walgreens for some more school supplies–two packs of my favorite pens and a new pink folder.

Because.

Pink.

It’s a lot.

But.

It’s a gift.

This life, my life, getting to be this person who is busy and of service, getting to learn how to be a better therapist, advocating for my self-care, taking time to do my own writing, eating well, being kind, just living.

Life is going to happen and I can choose to look at it as a grind.

Or.

Fuck.

I can say, look at my amazing life!

I live in San Francisco for fuck sake.

I have such a bounty of gratitude for what I have.

It awes me every day.

I am.

Yes.

The luckiest girl in the world.

Really.

I am.

Turn It Around

August 9, 2017

It took almost all day.

But.

My day was completely and totally turned around.

I didn’t have a bad day per se, just a tender and emotional one.

It started off with a phone call that I took this morning, one I almost let ring through to voicemail, but a soft little voice said pick up the phone and check in, get accountable.

Get recovery.

Do it.

So.

Of course, I picked up.

And I hashed out somethings that have been on my mind and in my heart and I got some really good suggestions about those things.

I also was read a mild riot act about not taking on more in my schedule.

Last Friday I said yes to working with a woman who deeply touched me with what she was going through and it resonated so much with me that I said I could work with her.

And.

Of course.

That is in direct opposition to what I had been told to do, no more working with others.

I have two women I work with and I have two people who work me and I have two commitments twice a week that get me involved and maintained in my recovery.

The rest is work and internship and so very soon.

School.

It was foolhardy to take her on, so after a mild dressing down I agreed completely and immediately felt some relief.

The rest of the check in had to do with setting boundaries, and dealing with my anxiety around school.

Which.

Oh therapeutic irony, as soon as I had decided to set that boundary I started to feel less anxious around school.

I got off the phone having already had a good cry and it wasn’t even 9 a.m.

I washed my breakfast dishes, brushed my teeth, put on some makeup and hopped on my scooter, heading over to Noe Valley in a thick, cold fog.

A fog that never lifted, not all day, not in the Mission, not in Glen Park, nowhere, it was cold, foggy, dreary, all day long.

I got to Noe, my helmet awash in moisture, I might as well have been riding in rain, and made the phone call to the woman I said I would work with.

I explained why I couldn’t, I apologized, and I wished her the very best and if she needed support she could reach out.

Then.

Phew.

I felt a lot better.

One more little bit of time for me.

One less thing to schedule.

Ha.

In fact, I just toggled over to my calendar and took her off.

That felt good as well.

And.

Therapy was great, I missed my therapist last week, she was out-of-town on vacation and it felt really good to see her and get into the work.

Of course.

It takes a minute to get there, but I leapt in with the anxiety, the recognition of how it relates to school.

And how it relates to my relationship with my mother and my desire to be above and beyond, to be perfect, to excel, and the level of pressure and stress I put on myself to be the good school girl and what will happen if I don’t and the annihilation of all things good should I not perform.

There are reasons for this, and I’ll let you read between the lines.

I have written about them before, I don’t need to rehash it all right now.

Suffice to say.

I got a lot of crying in today.

It was a relief too, let me be clear, to finally connect a few dots and to see where things were messy and still needed untangling.

And where I needed to set boundaries in my life and what those looked like and how to walk through the school anxiety, and it was just really good to hash it all out.

I had a fantastic session.

Granted I had to go to work right thereafter, so there was a bit of tenderness and sensitivity in my body all day long.

But no.

Wait for it.

No.

Anxiety.

Hallelujah.

Well.

Almost none.

I got tossed a client at the last-minute, a consult add-on and I teared up, I had thought I was going to get away with only seeing one client tonight and then zipping over to school, dropping off my paperwork and getting home “early.”

Nope.

I didn’t burst into tears.

I just sort of melted into them.

Then.

I had a little chat with myself, you normally see two clients on Tuesday, this is just how it is, you’re going to be ok.

I also called the practicum office and found out that I can drop my paperwork after hours to the head of the office and she gave me a very specific spot to put the paperwork and I can go do that tomorrow.

I’m fine.

Everything is fine.

And.

Holy Toledo!

My sessions!

My clients!

Wow.

Two whole fucking hours of actively listening to someone else, not a thought in my head of my own crap, just showing up in the room, in the field, being there, being empathetic, being of service.

Mind blowing.

I left my internship walking on air.

Or fog as the case may be.

But really.

Lifted, elevated, and completely turned around.

Ah.

Therapy you devilish thing.

So good to know you.

Grateful that my day ended on such a high note.

Relieved really.

And having some nice clarity around what I need for myself and how to get it.

That helps too.

Getting through the week.

And grateful so grateful that I am on the path I am on.

I feel graced with so many gifts, its astounding when I stop and enumerated them.

My life is full of this grace and joy and beauty.

Strength and resilience.

Hope.

And.

The most amazing.

Bountiful.

Infinite.

And

Ever expanding.

Love.

Calendar This

August 6, 2017

Bitches.

I updated my Google calendar today.

Just my personal one, not the one for my internship which feels like I am on it looking at it, figuring it out, all the time.

My personal one not so much.

But.

As days are getting filled I realized that it would be a smart idea to plug-in all my dates and look at my school weekends and get those all listed.

My last year of my Masters program.

Hard to fucking fathom it.

But.

It is.

I started my reading today for my Jungian Dream Work class.

I had a full day, it felt, just working on my calendar, I might have put in an hour on it.

I mean.

I really did do it up, putting in dates all the way up until the Aids LifeCycle ride in June of next year, June 3rd-9th.

I don’t know when graduation will be for school, that will be in May, I know that, but not necessarily when.

I won’t have to do summer school or summer practicum, since I did it this summer, so I’ll be able to walk free and clear and at the rate I’m collecting hours I will have more than double, perhaps triple the hours I need to graduate my program.

They will be just a drop in the bucket of what I have to accomplish overall, but I’ll be able to graduate with no sweat at the rate I am going.

I got to have my first experience with a couple today.

Which is awesome.

And.

Terrifying.

And amazing.

And.

A lot to hold.

I mean, it’s two people and I’m just one, staying in tune with everything that is in the room and it’s not to one person or the other that I need to attend, although I feel like I did a pretty decent job being balanced in my session.

Ultimately, though, the client is the relationship.

That means doing therapy in a different manner and it didn’t feel like there was enough time to get to everything that was happening, but then again, it was an initial consult and I may not be assigned this particular couple.

It was, however, a great learning experience, and as it was a couple the hour counts as two hours for the BBS (Behavioral Board of Sciences) who require at least 500 hours of Couples, Children, or Family Therapy.

It doesn’t matter if I want to be a therapist who works one on one with clients, the BBS requires me to do some hours of work with a family unit.

A couple is a great way to get those kinds of hours.

From what I can tell at my internship there are not a lot of Family hours available.

Nor child hours, but they do both and I have been assigned a child client, same client I did an intake with a few weeks ago, so there is that opportunity to pick up hours there.

Still.

500 hours.

That’s a lot.

Fuck.

3,000 hours ultimately is what I must have.

I’ve got 107.50 currently.

A drop in the bucket.

I know, though, I know it so well, that these things add up.

I just need to keep trudging the road and I’ll get there.

And there is plenty to keep me busy in the mean time.

It looks pretty damn good that I will not be going back to 35 hours a week at my nanny gig when school starts.

The mom and I had a very brief discussion about that, that the family wants me to stay at my current iteration of hours.

Which is 42 hours a week.

Sigh.

I can do it.

I know I can.

I can squeeze in the homework.

The baby will nap and I will read.

There may be times when that doesn’t happen, but I will get used to carrying my textbooks and reader with me and I will adjust to it.

School will be what school is.

Technically it should be easier than the first two years since part of my schedule is practicum, and well, I’m in it.

In fact.

I need to remember to pull my file on Monday when I go in and see my client.

I have a review and grade report from my supervisor waiting for me in the office.

I have to turn it into the school, which is basically turning in what ever grade my supervisor has given me and acknowledging that I am doing the work necessary for the school to pass me.

I don’t know if I get a letter grade for this or not.

I do know that it was more than just a page, more like three or possibly four pages of questions that the school needed my supervisor to weigh in on.

I currently have a 4.0.

I sure as shit hope I got an “A” if there is an assigned letter grade.

I can’t imagine that I would get less than that.

Which is not to be cocky, it’s just that I do show up, I do the work, I participate in my group supervision, I have clients who have rebooked with me.  I have clients that have requested to work with me after doing an initial consult.  I even received a very sweet thank you from one of my clients for the work we have been doing.

Unexpected and lovely that.

Anyway.

There are lots of things to juggle.

But I can do it.

And I am sure that I will still have time to do the pleasurable things that I need to do in my life and fingers crossed I’ll still be able to keep my blog practice happening.

I say that every semester and every semester I have managed to keep putting my paws on my keyboard and click clacking away.

It’s also one day at a time.

All I have to do today is what is in front of me.

I have to live in 24 hour increments or I will lose my mind.

And well.

That might suck for my burgeoning career as a psychotherapist.

Ha.

I can do it one little day at a time.

There is time for it all.

There really is.

And knowing that.

Well.

That’s a power I can’t quite fathom.

But I know without a single doubt.

I am being taken care of.

Completely.

Every single day.

With great love and compassion.

Which is more than I ever hoped for.

Life is full.

And.

Amazing.

Beyond my wildest dreams.

Happy.

Joyous.

Free.


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