Posts Tagged ‘humanity’

When Was I Happiest

January 6, 2018

Today?

I just asked myself that.

In a prompting kind of way, hey you, you need to write your blog, get your fingers moving on that keyboard, make some fucking magic happen.

Because all of the seven people who read my blog really want to know what I did today.

Meh.

I recently got an update from WordPress that I have once again celebrated an anniversary.

Eight years of blogging.

Eight.

What the fuck did I write about?

So many things, so many thoughts.

I have published over 2,400 blogs.

My average blog is somewhere between 1100-1300 words.

But for the sake of simplicity, let’s just say 1,000.

That means that I have written over 2,4000,000 words.

Over two million words!

Who the hell knew there were so many words in my head?

I never suspected that I would be where I am in now in my life when I started writing this blog.

I was living on Taylor and Washington in a large studio that was on a cable car line.

I was working as a nanny in China Basin.

I made really good money.

More than I actually make now, if you can believe that, because it was all under the table.

I had a very nice Felt 35 racing bike that I did my commute on.

I was horribly lonely.

I felt like all I did was grind at work, I worked at least 50 hours a week.

Which is funny, as I put in about fifty hours a week now and go to graduate school full-time.

But at that time I was going through a lot of weird stuff.

I was desperately trying to get abstinent with my food, which I did do in that apartment, but it took a hot ass second.

I was trying, oh so very hard, to get some head way on my book, said head way has come to naught in many ways, but you know, I started this blog by publishing each of the chapters one by one in the pages.

If you should want to read some really bad writing, well it’s there.

For sure.

I had a friend read the book in manuscript form about four years ago and he told me with no mincing of words that if he didn’t know better he would have never believed that the person who wrote this blog was the same person who had written that book.

My writing, suffice to say, has gotten much better.

That’s what happens when you practice.

You get better.

I have had eight years of practicing this blog.

Some days I am so inordinately pleased with what I have written that I may actually go back and re-read a blog.

But not very often.

I generally throw it down on the page, I”m just transcribing my thoughts, and really, thank god I have some fast typing skills, I’m just writing what I am thinking.

It’s a little like having a one-sided conversation with me.

Hey how was your day?

Let me tell you about mine, and then I’m unleashed upon you.

Or something like that.

I am reflecting as I did my Morning Pages this morning in the place where Morning Pages originated for me, about ten years ago.

Yeah.

If you thought writing a blog eight years in a row was something, check out my history with writing my Morning Pages.

Ten years, going on eleven.

I realized that this morning as I sat in Muddy Waters on Valencia and 24th.

I had a chiropractor appointment this morning and some time to kill before I had to be into work.

So instead of getting up stupid early, I let myself sleep in, packed my breakfast and brought it with me, planning to eat it at the cafe while having a cafe au lait before going into work.

The cafe is much the same as when I first started hanging out at it.

I had moved to a shared apartment in a rent controlled Victorian on Capp Street and 23rd and Muddy’s was the closest cafe to me and the one where I did a lot, and I do mean a lot, of sitting with another woman and reading out of a big blue book.

So many women in that cafe, before my regular Wednesday haunt, as well as my regular Saturday gig and many other times in between.

And it was also the scene of The Artist Way group that I was a part of for a year and a half.

It was an awesome group.

We met for an hour before rolling up the hill to a spot in Noe Valley on Wednesday nights.

We would grab the big round table towards the back of the cafe and anywhere from 6 to 10 of us would sit down for about an hour and share about the assignments we had done from the book.

We did one chapter a week, followed the instructions regarding the assignments, and talked about our experiences working the projects and doing the morning pages.

The book suggests that every morning you take time to write three pages long hand.

Emphasis on long hand.

No typewrite, keyboard, tablet, computer.

My blog does not count as morning pages and never has.

There is something so captivating about writing on paper with a good pen.

I was writing in one of my Claire Fontaine notebooks that I brought back from Paris this morning and I reflected on how it was in that group that I came to the realization that I wanted to go to Paris.

That I actually wanted to move to Paris.

It would take some years before I moved, but by participating in that group I realized how much I wanted to go to Paris and I took myself on a solo trip for ten days after doing the work in the book.

I took myself on artists dates, I went to museums, I bought myself nice paper, I sat and daydreamed in cafes and watched clouds roll by.

I looked out those same windows today and marveled.

Look how far I have come.

Look where I am now.

My best friend in Paris messaged me today about when I’ll be going back.

I have been to Paris five times since I made that decision, and yes, one of those times was to live there for six months.

I have re-written that book.

Although I still don’t think it’s at a publishable place.

I have written poems.

I have performed with djs in nightclubs reciting my poems.

One of them became a recording.

I have lectured on stage.

I have traveled.

I went to Burning Man, a lot.

I traveled to New York by myself as well as New Orleans to go see art.

I have taken 1,000s and 1,000s of photographs.

I have written millions of words.

I think I have a few million more.

I have done morning pages in Paris, London, Rome, New York, L.A., New Orleans, Madison, Wisconsin, Anchorage, Alaska, Burning Man, Reno, San Diego, Las Vegas, and probably a bunch of other places I can’t remember now.

But they all started one night in a Muddy Waters coffee shop on Valencia and 24th.

Opening a door that has led me down this meandering path of creation and love.

How lucky am I?

Luckiest girl in the world.

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Officially Astounded

December 4, 2017

And just a tiny bit exhausted.

Just a tiny bit.

I did it!

I got all the things done today that I needed to do.

I did not think that was going to happen and I started to resign myself to the idea that maybe I was going to have to write my Drugs and Alcohol paper sometime over the week.

But.

Fuck yeah.

I did it.

I just printed off the paper a few minutes ago.

About twenty-five minutes ago to be exact.

I sat through my last CBT Webinar (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) and when it was done I made the executive decision to just crank out the paper.

I had done some reviewing of the material before the webinar and I felt like I had a really good idea of what I was going to write about.

In fact, I was sort of, sort of, haahahaha, fuck this online webinar class, annoyed with the CBT webinar, I really did not like the format, and wished that I did not have to sit through it as I had the Drugs and Alcohol paper so in my mind I wanted to get right on it.

But sit through it I did and when it was finished I flipped once more through my notes and got it done.

I’m done with it!

So much fucking relief.

It’s printed off and in my folder.

I still have a couple of small things to do to be prepared for the final weekend of classes, but the two big papers I needed to do are now done.

The relief is real.

I have a worksheet that I need to spec up for my final group project presentation, but I’m not going to go in with an actual paper script, I know so well what I am doing that I will be able to speak extemporaneously.

Thank God for extemporaneous speaking.

I did a bit of that today as well.

I had the final dress rehearsal for People Who Usually Don’t Lecture.

I got to hear all the talks and I was pretty engaged.

The project is really going to go off well and I’m very grateful to get to be a part of it.

Mostly to get to be in the same group of people doing big things in community.

It is really a nice feeling to be a part of something human and getting to connect with yet another group of folks that I might never have met except for having been invited to participate in the  project.

It is a blessing.

And I’m beyond grateful that I get to do it.

Granted.

Still nervous.

I get pretty nervous before speaking and this will be in front of 150 people as well as being on stage, lit and video recorded.

In fact, I was video taped today.

Which I was not expecting.

I wore a flannel and jeans.

Sigh.

Oh well.

I think I’ll be wearing a dress for Tuesday’s performance.

I want to look pretty and I have a feeling that I will be more confident dressed up.

I also just want to give a good talk.

The person going after me references me in his talk and it’s an honor to get to be on the same stage.

I leaked tears the entire time he was speaking and it was really just such a nice moment to hear how he was affected by me and also that he got to know, via my blog and various other ways, how much he affected me.

I am still mystified how that works, but human connection is something so powerful.

I am a creature who needs companionship and people and I am just so grateful for all the people in my life that I have gotten to know and be around.

It’s amazing.

It’s amazing too that I’m almost done with this semester.

By this time next week I will be done.

Well.

I might still have one last paper to write, might, that’s funny, I do have one last paper to write, it’s due the 15th of the month.

My last class is the 10th and it ends at noon.

So.

I’m going to go out to sushi with a girlfriend from school to Domo in Hayes Valley to celebrate, and then, yes, I will go home and write my last paper.

I’m not really looking forward to doing more work on that day, but it really makes the most sense, especially as the paper is due on a Friday.

I won’t really have a good block of time to work on it except that Sunday.

What I’m hoping is to enjoy a good lunch with my girlfriend and hang out and spend quality time with her and then get back here to the house and kill my last paper.

I want to get my Christmas tree next Sunday.

That’s the goal.

Finish my Jungian Dream Work paper and then go celebrate by getting myself a Christmas tree.

That’s how I like to roll.

I still can’t believe that I got all the two papers done this weekend that I needed to do.

Considering how overwhelmed I felt yesterday heading into my group supervision it really is something else to be on the other side of it.

Now I just have to get through the performance Tuesday and I’ll be golden.

I’ll be able to roll up on my last weekend of the semester very mellow and relaxed.

So, so, so grateful it’s almost done.

So very grateful.

Now.

Tea and climbing into my bed.

I’ve got a big week ahead of me.

Seriously.

Taking the Damn Day Off

November 28, 2017

Well.

I’m not sure if I’m going to take the entire day off.

But.

I’m considering it.

My birthday is three weeks from today.

It’s a Monday, so it’s not a night I’d be out swinging a big stick and having a huge party.

But after some discussion with my solo supervisor today, I realized, which I had been feeling in the back of my head and in my heart, that I don’t want to see clients on my birthday.

In fact.

It sounds just atrocious.

Nothing sounds like a bigger bowl of self-pity to me.

I just don’t want to go there, self-pity it’s just not for dessert any more.

I told one of my clients tonight that I would be unavailable and she took it just fine, and I did not disclose it was my birthday, just simply stated I would be out of office.

No freaking big deal.

My other client cancelled tonight.

Because.

Hahahaha.

It’s her birthday.

So.

I will take her cue and not see clients on my special day either.

I’m tempted to take the whole day off, but I’ve not any vacation time left and I think it might actually be sweet to work with my charges that day, my little lady bug turned five yesterday and I got to have a sweet afternoon with her at school pick up and beyond and giving her the birthday present I had gotten her.

She loved it.

We had a tea party and wore princess crowns.

Although she looked at me when and said out of nowhere, “you’re not really a princess,” she cocked her head and paused, then added, “you’re really a queen.”

Oh my god little girl, make my heart just melt.

I must know how to carry a crown!

In fact, ha, I am remembering now what my best friend back in Wisconsin told me once, “You have a really regal way of carrying your face.”

Royalty.

I’ll take it.

Anyway.

I just know that it will better for me to not take clients that night and who knows, maybe take myself out to dinner and a movie or just dinner, it is a Monday night after all, or to the Imperial Day Spa or Kabuki.

Just not to my internship.

I have supervision in the morning, I can’t get out of that, work I’m 50/50 on taking off the day, but the night, damn straight, I’m going to do it.

Nothing about it feels wrong.

What, I realize, was feeling wrong was the idea of seeing clients on my birthday, I’m in an unpaid internship seeing 8 clients a week, it’s ok to take my fucking birthday off.

My clients will live.

And.

I won’t be pissy and sad and in self-pity and be upset with myself.

That might be the best birthday present I can give myself.

Although I could give myself a tattoo.

Heh.

I’m always angling for a little more ink it seems.

I’ll definitely be getting one in January, another birthday, or more of anniversary you could say, I’ll be turning 13 (years sober), so definitely I’ll be adding another star to the entourage I have.

I’ve also been thinking that I would get it as a “Lucky 13” star.

A big star with “Lucky 13” written through it.

Not sure yet, and still plenty of time to figure that out.

But yeah, the birthday in three weeks.

“You’re going to be 45!” She said, to me as she sipped her tea, “I know that because you’re the same age as me except with a four in front of it.”

God I love this little girl.

She is something else.

I’m so lucky to work with this family.

I’ll be renegotiating my contract with them next month as well, signing up for another year with them.

I’m hoping that they will offer me a raise, I’m pretty sure they will, and if not, I’ll negotiate a cost of living wage, which is appropriate for living in San Francisco, that’s for sure.

They are great people to work for and really do appreciate me, I got the nicest text from the mom today after work when I was doing some client advocacy work at my internship.

It’s good to be appreciated.

I do like hearing.

I do not need the validation, I know I do a good job, but it’s still nice to hear, it’s always nice to hear.

It’s like when someone you know loves you says they love you, you know they do, but it feels special anyway, no matter how many times it’s been said before, it’s still sweet to hear.

Oof.

I just got hit witht the tired.

It was a good Monday, especially when I think about how nice it was to celebrate with my charge her birthday, and also to just make it through the beginning of the week.

It’s going to be a big one.

Therapy before work tomorrow, work, two clients in the evening.

Wednesday I just have work, but I’m hoping to get a good chunk  of homework done, I need to finish up the online portion of my Pharmacology and Human Sexuality class done.  I think I can get it done Wednesday between work and my evening commitment.

Thursday is work and two clients in the evening, Friday the same.

Saturday is maybe yoga if my ankle is feeling up to it, and group supervision and homework, I’ve got to start a paper if not get one completely finished.

Because Sunday I’m in dress rehearsal for People Who Usually Don’t Lecture.

The show is one week from tomorrow!

My goodness, it’s sneaking up fast.

Ack.

That reminds me!

I have to ask out of work an hour early next Tuesday so I can be at the show when the producers want us there.

I think I may have figured out what I’m going to wear.

Heh.

Although, damn it, I’m going to have to sneak in a manicure and some eyebrow waxing.

Yikes.

Maybe Sunday in between the dress rehearsal and my last CBT Webinar.

Sigh.

Oh for fuck’s sake, I have a lot to do, not going to think about it anymore tonight.

I did enough for today.

The biggest being the decision to take my birthday night off.

Self-care.

Self-advocacy.

Shit.

I even sound like a therapist.

Ha.

People Who Don’t Usually Lecture

November 1, 2017

Holy crow.

They picked me!

I am so blown away and honored.

And nervous, fuck, if I think about it too long I might get myself in trouble, but overall, wow, wow, wow, just amazed.

People Who Don’t Usually Lecture is a lecture series that is a kind of anti-TEd Talk where the focus is on people’s personal stories and journeys.  They were given my name by my mentor and friend who commissioned some sonnets from me after a chance (chance, my ass, that was grace, God, the universe if you will) encounter at Burning Man.

They have been doing the series in Tel Aviv for the last four years or so and have gone global this year.

There will be shows in New York, Buenos Aries and, yes, here in San Francisco.

I interviewed with them today before I went into work.

I wasn’t even sure what the hell I was going to talk about, and if I think on it real hard I know that I told a good bit of my personal story, my journey, how I got from here to there and back again, but I didn’t choose my word so much as just let them come out, I just asked to be a channel and let what needed to come out come out.

I’m not sure how I got to be so lucky to be a story-teller, but I did.

I do think it has something to do with remembering to say yes to things.

When my friend had first mentioned it I was intrigued, but really had no clue what was being talked about and I sort of forgot.

Then we had lunch this past Sunday in North Beach and I got a bit more of the back story.

It sounded fascinating.

So, yes I was nervous taking my scooter up into the hills over Dolores Park to meet with the people who run the show.

But, well, you know me, half the battle, three-quarters, 7/8’s haha, of the whole deal is just showing up.

Take the action.

Let go of the results.

The results are God’s anyway.

They really seemed to like my story and I saw one of them was moved to tears, more than once and it was amazing to watch their reactions and then to hear them say they could listen longer and wanted to know more and that they didn’t usually offer a spot the day of the interview to a lecturer.

But.

Well.

They did to me.

Oh my God.

I’m going to do a lecture!

It will be short, ten minutes, and I will be speaking with others in the community, I believe my friend will be one of the lecturers as well.

And when I had mentioned our poetry project and creativity and my experiences I actually got a soft, but firm, no, that’s not what we want, we want your story.

They talked to me about what they had heard and themes that came up in my telling my personal journey, I think I talked for about twenty minutes or so, straight before they started asking questions and collaborating with me about what they would like me to focus on in my story.

I will be covering the thematic of resilience and gratitude.

Two things I have in spades.

Oh.

Do I ever.

I have to write-up my narrative for them to go over by Monday morning.

I will go in and speak with them again and they will go over my story and give me pointers on what they want me to focus on.

I have to write-up the piece and get it to them by Monday a.m.

I will go in at noon next Monday and see them again.

I have the rest of the week to think about it and then to write it out.

They asked me to give them a ten minute piece.

It will be off book as well, so even though I will have a narrative to hand into them so that they can help me polish and pull out the tasty bits, I will be on my own up on that stage.

Just me, myself, and I telling a little story about how I got where I am today.

I am so honored and a bit in awe.

A bit in wonder.

I’m grateful, so grateful I get to do stuff like this.

It will just be ten minutes of my life, but I suspect it will be a lot more, it will be a gift to my community, without whom I wouldn’t be where I am today and certainly not fucking asked to give a lecture before hundreds of people.

The lecture series will be held at The Chapel on Valencia Street in the Mission, Tuesday, December 5th.

I’m not sure of the time yet, but in the evening.

I’ll have a dress rehearsal there on December 3rd and then do the deal on the 5th.

I’m really over the moon.

And though I, of course, it is my story after all, know what I’m going to write about, I don’t know exactly what I am going to write about.

Which is fine.

I’m ok with extemporaneous speaking I did it through high school as well as debate, as well as doing French forensics and poetry.

I’ve spoken in front of loads of people, I will be able to do this too.

It’s a little scary, it’s on stage and I know there will be a lot people there.

But.

Really.

I just need to show up and open my mouth, just show up and ask to carry the message, my journey, my story, my resiliency, and not the mess.

I’m good at the mess, I want to carry the message.

Which is often that, if I can make it through the terrors and traumas of my life, then so can you.

And.

Not only that, I can share how, I can share my experience, I can share my hope, and that I did it and how I’m happy now, have been happy now for some years, and I’m loved and my life is fulfilling, rewarding, and full of service.

Life is not a vale of tears and when it is, well, it is gold, a kind of coin I can spend helping another in their struggle by sharing how I got through.

Which is the greatest gift, after all, isn’t it?

Having experiences to share with others.

Love and gratitude tonight.

So very much.

I’ll keep you posted.

Night all.

Sweetest dreams.

 

 

It’s Late

October 30, 2017

But not really.

It just feels like it is.

I had a half lazy day, half busy day, and a “I was half way out of it day,” at one point from going to bed so late last night.

2:30 a.m.

I cannot remember the last time I went to bed at that hour.

I had gone out dancing with a dear girlfriend.

We met up in the city at Brenda’s Meat and Three where I had wrapped up a delicious dinner with my person, cheese grits with shrimp, bacon and tomato.

My God.

It was so good, I could have licked the bowl.

The server laughed when I said that, and added, “I’ve seen it happen.”

I do not doubt it.

I once licked a plate at a meal out with friends, but I suspect I was a little tipsy when I did it.

The grits were just that good.

I will be having them again.

And I got a lot of compliments on my costume

I went as a sugar skull from Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead).

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It was my first time trying to do the makeup.

I think I did pretty good, all things considered.

The place that I stop at, Ulta Beauty over by the Nordstrom Rack and Trader Joes shopping area, was out of Halloween face paint.

I was like.

Seriously?

You guys are a freaking makeup store!

It’s three days before Halloween and you’re already sold out?

What the heck!

But.

I’m a clever girl.

First I asked what the lightest foundation that they had in the store was.

I’m brown-skinned enough that a very light foundation is going to look close to white on my skin.

Then I got a finishing powder that was tinted with green to pull any redness from my face and then another that was a translucent white powder.

Then I pillage the NYX cheap makeup.

Big white eyeliner, big black eyeliner, a pink one, a turquoise one, and a liquid eyeliner in lilac with glitter.

And I found a really cool blue lip gloss that was matte and had glitter in it.

I have no idea when I’m ever going to use this make up again.

But the end result, though not professional caliber, well, I thought, was pretty damn good.

fullsizeoutput_f50

I actually got a lot of compliments last night, both at Brenda’s and at the dance.

My friend also had a great costume, she was a Hip Hop Zombie.

Which was apropos as we were going to the Time Travelers Ball in Oakland.

Great music, lots of old hip hop, lots of funk, so early electronic, old 80s and late 70s movies playing on the wall, great light system, a small fire in the courtyard, in a portable fire pit.

I ran into a few folks, from, yes, of all places, Burning Man.

I didn’t recognize the woman at all who came up and squealed at me, and how she recognized me with all that makeup on, I have no idea, but she did.

It was a good time.

And.

Heh.

Although I did not make the top three prizes in the costume contest, I did win an honorable mention and was given back my entrance fee and an open bar tab.

Which for me was hilarious to contemplate.

I had a La Croix.

It was tasty.

Heh.

And.

I had fun and I danced a lot, so much so that I was afraid I was going to break a sweat and my make up was going to slide off my face.

It stuck though.

It stuck really well, it took a lot of make up removing wipes and washing my face to get it off, in fact, I didn’t get all the white eyeliner off, man I tried, but I gave up the ghost at some point.

I was also up late as it was 9 hours a head in Paris and my best girl friend from school sent me a message on What’s App about having a Face Time session and I just said, fuck it, it is super hard for us to co-ordinate our time, so screw it, yes, I had a Face Time session this morning around 1:45 a.m.

It was so good to see her face and hear her voice.

Oh, how I miss her.

We got caught up and talked about all the things and made some tentative plans to see each other in the new year.

She may be coming back for a training and I’m pretty sure I’ll be in Europe in July and I’m going to make sure I go up to Paris and spend time with her.

I was in tears when I got off the call, it was super hard to hang up.

But man, it was late.

And I had lunch date that I wanted to be ready for.

I was going to sleep 8 hours, I was.

I set my alarm for 10:30 a.m., which is unheard of for me, but I figured, I can skip yoga, I got a workout dancing, and I want a full nights sleep.

of course.

I was up at 8:30 a.m.

Which is why it feels late right now when it’s not really.

I’m glad for it though, I did a ton of writing and I had a leisurely breakfast and a quick phone call with my best friend and plans to connect later.

Which was sweet.

So sweet.

And then off across town to Mario’s on Columbus and Union.

I hadn’t been there before, but it was classic, pure North Beach Italian Cafe and bar.

It was so good to see my friend and we chatted about all things art and kindness and words and poetry and talked about Burning Man, since that’s where we met three years ago, and projects, and life.

I am enthralled with that aspect of my life, that sometimes, out of nowhere, because I am moved to connect with someone, a new relationship happens.

It startles me every time.

It was like that with my best girl in Paris, we were sitting next to each other, an empty seat between us, at the first year retreat for our school.

And we turned to each other and we’ve never turned away.

The loveliness of it still astounds.

The people in my life who I love, who I consider my family, my loves, my friends, I am so, so lucky to know.

Beyond lucky.

Graced.

I am graced.

And tired.

Just saying.

I got a lot of other stuff done today too, grocery shopping, lots of cooking, lots of homework.

But really.

It was the connecting with my friends, with my people, with my loves, that made the most impact on my today.

An hour-long phone conversation sitting on a bench in the sunlight (the only sunlight that I got to see, man was it cold and foggy today) at Washington Square Park.

The confirmation of love.

The power of poetry.

The great gifts of kindness.

The art of being human.

It gets me every time.

Every time.

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.

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.


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