Posts Tagged ‘humanity’

An Unexpected Gift.

May 16, 2018

Time.

It wasn’t a lot.

But.

It felt tremendous.

The mom today at work expressed that should I not want to come in tomorrow early to take the baby to music class I was off the hook.

She’s very aware of the stress of the next few days for me and stated that if I wanted to rest or work on my party or just take a slow start that I should.

I thanked her.

And.

I didn’t take her up on it right away.

I decided to think about it.

I left work and headed into my internship.

I received a very sweet text from her reiterating how she really wanted to let me know that should I need anything that I was family and that she is my friend.

Not my boss.

I mean.

She still is my boss, but she’s become a friend.

And an ally.

I am very grateful that I work for her, yet there is still a part of me that was hesitant to take the offer and I think she knew that I wanted to and thus the follow-up text after I had left.

I decided to do it, but I had clients to attend to and that came first, I would respond after my client sessions and see how I felt.

Then!

My second client told me that they would need to leave early, by a half hour, we basically only did a half session, the client paid for the full, and I got to count the full hour of client time.

And I got an extra half hour in my evening!

It felt so luxurious.

I immediately responded to the text from my boss and said, thank you for the sweet sentiments that they really meant something to me (they really do) and that after some consideration I was going to take her up on the offer.

It felt so good.

Especially after the therapy session I had today.

Buckets of tears.

1/2 box of Kleenex, I swear, the ball of tissue I tossed at the end of the session was huge.

I was crying before I got there.

I spilled the beans and got constant, continuous, kind support.

I got resourced.

I felt a lot better.

I made some connections that have never quite made with the help of my therapist and I shared some information with her that only a few people now, and that I had actually thought I had told her before.

Child hood trauma stuff that has gotten poked by recent chains of events.

It felt really good, and hard, awful, painful, to talk about anger and how it has been hard to forgive and when I had the kind of reactions I did today in session I wondered out loud whether I had really ever forgiven the acts or the people involved at all.

My person also reflected to me that I had a lot of rage.

I have rage?

I was shook for a moment.

Then I realized.

Yeah.

I do.

I have some motherfucking rage.

I expressed some of that in therapy today, that I have so much self-awareness after having done a three-year intensive Master’s of Psychology program that I get infuriated at times thinking of all the things I had to overcome to just get by.

I was livid.

I cried heaps.

I also noted that I thought the things I dealt with were normal for so long.

Not necessarily that other people were experiencing the same things as I, nor did I want anyone to, but that this was just how it was in my life.

Spending three years reading how trauma affects the brain the parasympathetic nervous system, flight, fight, or freeze, anyone?  How abuse and neglect stunt children, how harder it is, so much harder, for those kids to get ahead, to succeed, to live happily ever after.

There is no happily ever after.

And.

Life is not fair.

But there is happiness and joy and freedom and grace and love.

Thank God for love.

And thank God I didn’t give up on finding my way towards loving myself.

I had to have it modeled to me in my adulthood and it’s taken years for me to implement things.

I still have a horrendous time asking for help, but I am getting better.

Or.

That my needs are valid.

Or that I’m allowed to have needs.

Eye roll.

It took as long as it took and I’m ok with that.

I’m in acceptance that my past was what it was.

That doesn’t mean approval.

Fuck that.

No.

It just means that I can acknowledge that it happened and that allows me to move on.

Granted.

Sometimes the pot gets stirred and I’m using boxes of tissues up and crying my heart out.

But I got to cry my heart out and I got tremendous support.

My therapist is out of office next week and has mentioned several times that since this is such a big transition for me, graduation, getting a private practice internship, my mom coming to visit, the endoscopy on Thursday, that she would be fine staying in contact while she’s away.

Meaning I can reach out and call or email her.

After today’s session, she stopped and said, I’m going to contact you over the weekend and check in.

I was blown away.

And grateful.

I don’t even care if she does or not.

Just that the offer is there.

And like the offer my boss made me, it felt like being seen and loved and held exactly where I am with exactly what I need.

Getting an extra hour of sleep in time for tomorrow!

 

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Did You Get Your Ticket

March 8, 2018

To Burning Man?

My friend asked me tonight.

“My what?” I asked.

“Your ticket to Burning Man, aren’t you going?” He replied, “I saw they went on sale today everybody was posting about it.”

“Oh, I don’t know if I’m going this year, I probably won’t be, if I get into the PhD program I applied to I won’t be able to, I hadn’t even really thought about it,” I said.

“But, I did get my ticket to Paris!”

Burnign Man, what’s that?

Heh.

But oh.

Paris.

Yes, Paris.

 

I bought my ticket last night after confirming times and dates with my dear friend who I’ll be staying with.

In the Marais.

The Marais!

My favorite part of Paris.

I am so lucky I get to stay with her.

She’ll be busy, I was told I’ll be pretty much on my own as she’s studying for her exams for school, and I, well, I have no problem with that at all.

I can entertain myself just fine in Paris.

I have before I certainly can again.

Long walks.

Window shopping.

Sitting outside at cafes and writing.

People watching.

Wandering through the museums.

Going to the markets.

Sitting on benches in parks and getting sun on my face.

It will be warm.

Sun dresses and sandals!

I booked my ticket to fly out Sunday July 15th.

It’s a direct flight, which is awesome sauce, and with the time change I will arrive in Paris around 4:30 pm in the afternoon.

I’ll hop the train from Charles de Gaulle and transfer onto a Metro Line, and take it all the way to the Temple Metro station and then walk with my luggage to my friend’s house.

Oh my fucking God.

I’m going back to Paris.

I am so excited.

I do love it so.

I will also be taking a three-day weekend with my friend to her family’s summer-house on L’il de Re (I haven’t yet figured out how to get the French accent marks over the words) which means swimming pool lounging and beaches and sunshine and my friend.

And a road trip!

In France.

It’s not a long road trip but it’s five hours.

I think that it will be a blast to drive outside of the periphery of Paris into the country side and then to the coast.

I’m so happy I got the ticket.

And I got a good, I mean, damn good price on it, I found a ticket for $788.

I was over the moon.

A round trip ticket from San Francisco to Paris for under $800 is fucking amazing.

I’m quite pleased to say the least.

It will be my graduation present to myself.

And.

Heh.

Speaking of graduation.

I also ordered my cap and gown.

Things are really coming together.

It’s been a busy time, though, I can assure you.

Today felt like a really big push and I was a bit beat by the end of it, but I accomplished quite a lot.

I had a hard time falling asleep last night, my heart was beating so loudly in my ears it took a while to drift off.

Although, drift I finally did, despite the loud sound of my blood in my ears and the ruminations in my head, I did sleep.

I also got up pretty early and was at work by 7:45 a.m. and spent the majority of the day with the baby and doing a lot of laundry.

A five person family makes for a lot of laundry.

A lot.

The baby was also super fussy, he’s teething pretty bad, so much carrying and snuggling was had.

It was not a bad thing, but I was a little worried that I wasn’t going to be able to get to the work that I had brought with me.

Specifically getting the annotated bibliography written that I needed to do.

Fortunately for the second nap of the day facilitated me being able to do some work.

The only thing was the baby was in a carrier.

So.

Yes.

I did in fact write three-quarters of my paper with a baby strapped to my chest.

I felt a little like Wonder Woman to tell the truth.

Or something of that kind.

Super Nanny maybe.

Super Nanny also made a fucking fabulous meal–slow roasted ham that I studded with cloves and rubbed down with brown sugar, garlic smashed potatoes with butter, cream, sour cream, garlic, salt, pepper, and yes, I did, cream cheese; asparagus in a Meyer lemon brown butter sauce with shaved pecorino, and two salads: tomato and red bell pepper in olive oil and balsamic with parmesan and a fresh kale salad with chopped apples, carrots, red onions, cherry tomatoes, feta cheese and an olive oil and apple cider vinegar dressing.

Plus, three loads of laundry washed and folded and put away and all the general tidying and straightening up I tend to do anyhow.

In hindsight it’s obvious I had to do the homework, the paper writing, I was attending to so many other things, of course, I should note I was at work, and I like to do a good job.

I like my job stability and it was nice to have the baby, albeit a slight inconvenience to have him swaddled upon my chest, while I was doing my homework.

I also read an article.

Then I got home and cooked myself a quick simple dinner and finished my paper and read two more articles before heading out to do the deal.

Burning Man.

Well.

I’d forgotten clean about it.

But the truth is.

I wasn’t planning on going this year.

Too many other things to do.

Oh.

All the things.

All the things I get to do.

I am so very lucky.

Really.

Luckiest girl in the world.

Although sometimes I think I should just put busiest girl in the world.

I am, truly, lucky to get to do the things I do.

Or graced.

Probably that more so than luck.

Yes.

That.

Grace.

 

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.

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.

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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.


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