Posts Tagged ‘Let It Bleed’

Little Gold Star

January 20, 2019

Today I got my 14th star tattoo.

14 stars.

14 years of being sober.

I decided I need to give myself a gold star.

It’s been that kind of year.

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

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

I graduated with a Master’s degree in Psychology.

I went through a buy out and moved.

That was some serious stress let me tell you.

I also started a private practice therapy business.

And.

A PhD program.

I also got my grades back from said program.

All “A”s.

ALL.

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

The risk paid off.

So, yeah, a gold star felt really appropriate.

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Yes.

It did hurt.

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

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

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

It really was quite a year.

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

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

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

It was a day.

I’m really happy with my life right now.

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

Or not.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Plus that I should get a credit card.

Which I’m not super stoked on the idea.

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

But.

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

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

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

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

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

I shall take it under advisement.

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

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

I will manifest a house in San Francisco.

See if I don’t.

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

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

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

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

And!

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

Which means that I will start bringing in more money.

I am so psyched about that.

I’m excited for this year.

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

I really do.

Faith.

I like that.

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

Words to live by.

Principles to underpin my gold star.

And!

Love.

Let me not forget that one.

Never forget that.

Seriously.

 

Open Heart

January 28, 2018

I have felt pretty fucking raw this past week.

I have gone through a lot and I have not walked it alone.

Today.

Ah.

Today.

I finally had a day without crying.

I got emotional, I had moments where I thought I would.

I had some strong longings, really fucking strong, to reach out and engage, but I remember that I don’t do this alone and that I have been given a lot of suggestions about how to navigate through my experience.

It doesn’t make it easier, in fact, it seems to make it harder.

But.

I suspect that the pain will be worth it.

That I will be left with something magic and special and worth it.

As I was told today, “the only way through is through.”

I am definitely going the fuck through it.

And.

Yes.

I did go and get myself some tattoos.

And yes.

They did ameliorate the pain a little bit, focused it in one location, shut my fucking brain off for a little while.

I got lost in the pain, floated around in it, distracted by the sound of the needle and the threading pain on my breast bone.

But it helped too.

And I love my new tattoos.

I got my lucky thirteen star.

For my thirteen years of sobriety.

I have a star for each year I have been sober.

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I had my artist, Danny Boy Smith, at Let it Bleed Tattoo on Polk Street, make the placement.

I had thought of doing it a little lower, but when he put it underneath my ear I was quite taken with it.

Of course.

Holy shit.

That was distracting.

Having the needle so close to my ear, very distracting, it seemed to intensify the pain, the noise did, and I was very grateful that it wasn’t that big of a tattoo, he handled it pretty quick.

I had already gotten my other tattoo and was pretty pumped up on adrenaline by that, so the star didn’t hurt that much, it was just the sound of the needle and the vibration in my ear that was a little more intense than I had expected.

My first tattoo.

Well.

Fuck.

It hurt.

Yes.

It did.

I love when people ask if getting a tattoo hurt.

Duh, motherfucker.

Of course it hurts, come on.

Needles being driven into your skin, no really, it’s like getting a warm massage.

However.

I will say, my adrenalin kicked in super fast.

In fact.

I noticed it before I was in the chair, I was getting nervous and my body temperature went up, my fingers got cold and I got a little sweaty upper lip.

Fight or flight response.

Jittery stomach.

Despite making sure that I had a good lunch and I had it later in the day so that my stomach would be full while I got tattooed.

I can’t imagine anything worse than being hungry while being tattooed.

No thank you.

Anyway.

Yeah.

The adrenalin got up there right away.

The placement was on my breast-plate.

It’s beautiful.

I love the piece.

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I feel like it really tied all the pieces together and it just feels like I got the right placement and I really love the design.

It was based on a very special Tiffany pendant I was gifted.

One of my favorite things that I have been given this past year.

God.

When I think of the gifts I have been given.

I am amazed.

Even this pain that I have been walking through.

It’s a gift.

I get to feel it.

I get to feel the depth and breadth of my feeling.

I got to see how much I love.

I love a lot.

I love hard.

I love with reckless abandon and passion.

And.

Well, fuck, that makes me proud.

I’m alive and I wasn’t afraid to be sorry, I don’t have regrets.

Not a fucking one.

Rather.

I am grateful for all these experiences.

I have been given so much love.

The fact that I was hit so very hard with my circumstances shows to me the amount of love I have.

It is enormous.

It boggles my mind.

I used to pine for a love like this and then I got it.

And I was amazed.

I am amazed, at what I have gotten to experience.

And though I don’t believe that I am done grieving yet, I don’t feel like it’s a loss any longer.

Ok, that’s not true, it does still feel like a loss, but I know that it’s becoming more than that.

It is an opportunity to love more, to allow myself to step out into the light and shine forward and be strong and generous and kind and compassionate.

With myself.

With others.

I don’t know what my love path looks like, but I do not have any doubt that I won’t get to travel further along it.

Darling, reach out, and take my hand.

I will walk this path with my hand open, waiting for you to take it into yours.

I have faith.

Love.

I have so much faith.

And I know how strong I am.

For having walked as far as I have already.

I will be able to do this.

Grateful and alight for the experience of love that I have gotten.

In complete faith, utter and complete faith, that this love is not done.

It is infinite.

It is grand.

It is eternal.

All encompassing.

A shining beacon.

A brightly lit heart.

Just like the inspiration for my new tattoo.

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Graduation Application

January 5, 2018

Holy fuck.

It’s happening.

I mean.

It’s been happening for years now, when I think about it, the getting to graduation bit.

But.

Whoa.

It’s really happening now.

I got a notification from my cohort’s student representative with the program that the deadline for the application to graduate is February 1st.

I have two more weeks before I’m heading back into the first weekend of classes for my last semester and I have to be on this shit in a major way.

There are quite a few hoops to jump through,

I am a tiny bit surprised that there is so much paperwork that has to be done, and at the same time, not at all surprised, the school is small and there often times seems to be a lot of unnecessary hoop jumping on the part of the students.

This is not something new.

So good information to have as I navigate the next couple of weeks before the semester begins, because I will also have another application due in February.

The application to the PhD program through the Transformative Psychology program.

That application is due at the end of the month.

The application to graduate from my Masters in Counseling Psychology will be due the 1st of the month.

Nicely bookending my weekend of classes and all the other things that I need to take care of to get through the month.

Plus.

I am going on a trip in February to the East Coast.

Holy bats.

February is going to be a big fucking month.

And although it’s only January 4th I can feel that this month is going to fly by.

This week certainly has, I was like, wait, what, tomorrow’s Friday?

How the hell did that happen so quick?

Back to clients, back to work, holidays over, get yourself busy.

Gratefully this week really was an easing in.

I didn’t have my solo supervision, that revs back up on Monday, just my therapy this week, and I also did not carry my full load of clients.

I’ve had three this week so far, two of those session were tonight, and I will have a phone session tomorrow at 6:30 p.m.

My last client of the week cancelled.

So I will actually get out in time to do the deal.

Maybe I’ll pop over to Our Lady of Safeway and get right with God.

It’s been a hot second since I’ve been in that neck of the woods.

I’ve a full day Saturday, dentist appointment at 9 a.m., hoping to get out with just a quick cleaning and get back to my neighborhood in time to go to yoga, then a shower, some late breakfast, and getting over to group supervision in the afternoon from 2-4p.m.

I’ll have a lull in between, maybe time to get a manicure.

I’ll hit my spot at 7pm in the NOPA and call it a Saturday.

Sunday I do have a ladybug coming over to do some work and I’m looking forward to that for sure.

Of course, I’ll want to get in a yoga class, and perhaps another bike ride, I really enjoyed doing that.

If the weather holds.

It’s been raining a fuck of a lot the last couple days and it looks like there’s still some more in the upcoming days.

So grateful for my car.

Really, so much.

Especially coming home tonight when the sky just sort of opened up out of nowhere, to not be on my scooter in the rain, such a blessing.

Anyway.

Sunday may be the day to kick out the graduation application.

I do want to get it out-of-the-way fairly quickly.

I don’t want it looming over me during the school weekend, especially as I will be occupied getting into my class routine.

Plus.

I will want to have the rest of the time to work on my application for the PhD program.

Which reminds me.

I need to talk to my advisor, who just so happens to be the head of my department, about getting a letter of recommendation from him.

The PhD program requires that one of my letters come from my academic advisor.

I don’t believe it will be too hard to get a good letter from him, he was one of my first teachers in the program, I had him my first semester, he admires me, he has asked me to help advise others regarding writing academically and he’s asked after my experience with teachers in the program and some interesting internal conflicts my cohort has gone through.

I really like him and he likes me and he’s been a great advocate of mine.

I have to make an appointment to meet with him ASAP.

I’m going to be talking to the Dean from the Transformative Psychology department on Monday, I want to line up my advisor for the following week when I’ll be heading into my first weekend of the semester.

But.

First.

A little fun.

And.

Oh.

A tiny bit of pain too.

I have my anniversary in 9 days and a dance party to go to–the fun.

And.

Yes.

A thirteenth star tattoo to get–the pain.

I’ll be heading into see Danny Boy at Let it Bleed on Polk Street on the afternoon of my anniversary after I get out of my group supervision.

Danny Boy’s done the last three stars for me.

I’m planning a pink one this go around, a small’ish one, on the right side of my neck, above the big black star that I got, my 11th year, which also happened to fall right after David Bowie’s death–Bowie was sober and his last album was Black Star–seemed quite apropos.

I’m excited.

There’s some big stuff happening.

Anniversary, graduation application, PhD application, life, love, doing the deal, work, clients.

All the things.

All of them.

No More Tattoos

February 20, 2017

There.

I mean.

I don’t know that I can say no more tattoos, tattoos I think will continue to happen, but.

No more tattoos there.

Specifically on my collar-bone.

Whoooee getting my touch up today was not intolerable, but I had some dread going back in, which is fairly unusual for me in getting work done.

Especially with something so small, but the location and the thinness of the skin over the collar-bone, really was, well not excruciating, but challenging for sure.

I have an idea for a tattoo I’d like to get next year but aside from that I have no other tattoo plans in sight.

In fact.

I was thinking that the one I get next year may be it for a good while.

Then again.

A lady can change her mind.

It’s just that I am not feeling the need for more ink.

Granted.

I’ll probably get to Paris in May and go to Abraxas and want a tattoo.

I do like me a tattoo as a souvenir of my travels.

I have two from Paris and one I got in New York.

The rest of my work has been gotten here in San Francisco.

I have had one primary artist.

Barnaby Williams.

He is currently at Tiger’s Blood in Alameda.

I first went to Barnaby when he was the owner of Mom’s in the Haight.

I had made an appointment to get a dragon tattoo from Barnaby.

I walked into the shop into a huge bear hug from the man and big mournful eyes.

“Hey,” he said quietly, “how ya doin’?”

I teared up.

“I’m ok, but um, I don’t want to do the dragon tattoo anymore,” I said, eyes blurred and starting to sniffle, “I want to get a memorial instead.”

He nodded.

Sat down and drew out the tattoo for me.

Two white French Tulips.

(Shadrach’s favorite flowers)

And the last line of the elegy that Dylan Thomas wrote for his father.

Until I die/He will not leave my side.

It was written in beautiful calligraphic script.

The flowers he outlined and used white ink on, white does not traditionally stick very well, but it seems to have weathered the test of time.

I have had the tattoo for 9.5 years and it still looks bright and fresh.

It was the biggest piece I had gotten up until that point.

The other two were small, a cover up on my left shoulder of my name in flames, a cover up that Barnaby later covered  up with a dragon, classic little known tattoo–the cover up of the cover up.

In the end, so far.

Barnaby has done two dragons on me, both left arm and right arm, and a beautiful pink Jackalope surrounded by French Marguerite daisies, my favorite flowers.

I have had work done as well.

By Ross K. Jones out of Idle Hand on Haight Street.

Although when I got tattooed by Ross he was out of a warehouse space in the SOMA before warehouse spaces in the SOMA were at a premium.

Ross tattooed my first set of stars.

Seven stars for seven years of sobriety.

To this day I can say that Ross has one of the gentlest approaches and best bedside manner of any tattoo artist I have had.

I have one tattoo from a guest Chinese tattoo artist at Abraxas in Paris when I was there last year at Christmas, his name was Bin and we “talked” via Google translator.

He did the Reve (pop a circumflex over the “e” in reve and you get “dream” in French) piece on my chest plate.

Despite the area being a thinner place of skin, he was fast, smooth, efficient, gentle, it was quite a bit less painful than I thought it was going to be.

Barnaby has done one star as well–he did number 10, which was a bit bigger than my other ones and I had him do an homage to Van Gough’s Starry Night painting, but I asked him to use yellow and pink in the tattoo (thereby balancing the pink of the other stars that I had and complementing the sky blue ones I have as well).

Danny Boy Smith, at Let it Bleed on Polk Street, has done two of my stars.

Number 11, which I had him do as a black star to homage David Bowie’s passing last year and also my 11th year in recovery.

And.

This current new star, star number 12.

Which is a soft pastel blue with black outline.

I like my tattoos.

They tell me a story.

They are beautiful art pieces.

I am connected to each in memorable ways and each has meaning to me.

They needn’t tell anyone’s story but my own.

I often forget I have them and will be startled occasionally when someone references them.

In Paris it was challenging, albeit not so much the last time I was there since it was winter, when I have shown off a lot of tattoos.

There are plenty of shops and plenty of people with tattoos in Paris, it’s become quite a bit more acceptable, but I have gotten some stares, tell you what.

Especially at the swimming pool or just walking the streets or going through the Metro stations.

I forget about them too, living in San Francisco.

It seems like everyone has one.

But some, well, some are better than others and I can tell the jail tats from the gang tats from the home-made gun tats and the sleeves of suddenly wealthy dot-com kids who made it big in the 90s to the hipster tattoos and throw back retro vintage Sailor Jerry tattoo art that is so popular today with the Millennials.

I was getting tattooed and pierced long before it was popular.

I don’t care about the time line on it, it’s just an observation.

I am grateful though, that I have had such great artists in my tattoo history.

I am proud of my ink.

Sometimes it is a mask to hide behind.

Sometimes it is a shield.

You cannot hurt me I have done the hurting already.

Sometimes it is art.

It is beauty.

The narrative of my recovery and the sheltering sky storms brewed up in my psyche.

Just another indelible way I wear my heart on my sleeve.

I’m serious.

Courtesy of Mat Moreno out of Three Kings Tattoo in Brooklyn.

I have a heart tattoo with cherry blossoms on my left inner arm.

Heh.

 

 

Poetry In Translation

February 6, 2017

Is like taking a shower in a raincoat.

Yes.

I went and saw a movie today.

That was a line between two of the characters.

It was lyric and sweet and the sweep of it was soft and gorgeous.

I was unexpectedly free this afternoon.

I had some things come up and I had to change my plans.

I had managed to get up and go to yoga, even though I really didn’t think I was going to after the late night I had last night.

I had turned off my alarm and just planned to let myself sleep in, but I was up in time to make the late morning yoga class and I went.

I really didn’t think I was going to, even after I had gotten out of bed.

I went and washed my face and brushed my teeth, drank a glass of water, took my iron supplement and flax-seed oil and went to get dressed.

I opened the door to the closet and pulled off my yoga pants from the rack and put them on.

I almost laughed out loud.

It was just so automated, my body telling my brain what it wanted to do and just doing it regardless of the brain that was like, no, you’re not going, my body was like, sorry Charlie, as my hands pulled up my yoga pants and then my sports bra and top, I actually chuckled at myself, I was that surprised.

Sometimes I have smart feet and they just carried me along despite my brains weak protestations that I could just go at another time.

Yeah.

Sure brain.

You get me into some hot spots you know, why don’t you just take a back seat today.

The yoga was good, but hard, I mean, it was a super challenging class, but I found myself letting it be hard and doing what I could to keep up and just being there was more than good enough.

I came back home, changed and made breakfast.

I did some inventory and decided that I needed to change-up my plans for the day, but I was till going to head down to Let It Bleed and see my tattoo artist.

I need some touching up on the star tattoo I got two weeks ago.

But.

Shoot.

It’s not fully healed.

“Nope, I’m not going to touch it, the skin’s too tight, it’ll end up tearing, you’ll scar, we need to wait a little longer,” he told me.

So.

No tattoo for me today.

Suddenly having time, I called a friend in the Mission, let’s hang out, I said on the message.

I started to walk towards the Mission and decided to go see a movie before I headed over to my friend’s house.

I ducked into Opera Plaza and saw Paterson.

It was just the perfect reprieve and the perfect place to watch a matinée on a rainy Sunday in San Francisco.

The theater was actually quite a bit fuller than I had expected and it was cozy, smelling of warm buttered popcorn and the soft warmth lulled me and the movie with its fluidity of images and poetic moments, its small details and artistry drew me in.

I left happy and content and meandered a nice mellow walk to my friend’s house.

We chatted, had tea, he fed me an apple and a thick slice of brie, we caught up, compared notes about this and that, school, mutual friends, life.

It was just right.

Then I headed over to Firewood Cafe up in the Castro and had a big heart to heart with my person about the events of my day and got some suggestions and afterwards we went over to Diamond and 18th and hung out with a big group of fellows and I got to be held and it felt so good to sit next to someone who loves me and gives me perspective and also doesn’t sugar coat anything and yet advocates for me in a way I am not sure anyone has ever done before.

And now home.

Some Jeff Buckley on the stereo, I was just talking about the show that I saw him in when he was on tour with his album Grace last night with my friend in Oakland.

I love you.

But.

I am afraid to love you.

How I heard the news when he died, drowning in a river, the Mississippi to be exact.

I was setting up the Angelic Brewing Company for that night’s dinner service and had cued up Grace to play on the sound system and one of the waitresses walked past and stopped and said, “God, weren’t you devastated when you heard he’d died?  I haven’t been able to listen to this yet, thanks for playing it now.”

I gasped.

I had remembered only that day wondering when he was going to be on tour again, impatiently waiting for his long over due album My Sweetheart, The Drunk.

I ended up giving him a eulogy in my speech class that semester and crying shamelessly during it.

Music moves me.

When he sang Leonard Cohen’s version of Hallelujah during the encore at the Barrymore Theater in Madison I just about collapsed with the joy and the exquisite pain of the music.

But you don’t really care for music.

Do you?

Things change.

But somethings are indelible on my soul and that song, those words, landed and stuck.

I have a great deal of perspective since then and have grown, moved, changed, evolved, but poetry is poetry is poetry.

And when I walked through the streets of San Francisco in the overcast grey and threatening rain I was glad for the light and the rain and the soft forlorn grey and the sweet surreal beauty of the sky over the Opera House, in the alleys of the Mission, the graffiti murals washed clean and bright in the tepid grey of the day, my heart shifted and the bloom of the umbrella over my head sheltered me and led me forward into the heart of the city that I am so-called to be a part of and belong to.

I am.

Even when the day was different then what I expected.

The open window lets the rain in.

The open heart lets the love in.

Thank you San Francisco.

I do so love you.

I do.

Thank you for loving me back.

It has not gone unnoticed.

No.

It has not.

 

Eleven

January 18, 2016

For eleven.

I got my eleventh star this eveningIMG_8287

I think she’s pretty.

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Courtesy of Danny Boy Smith @ Let it Bleed.

Deep in the heart of the Tenderloin.

Wow.

Not much has changed and so much has changed.

I am beyond grateful that the reason I was in the Tenderloin was to score a new tattoo.

Not to score.

I haven’t been over to Polk Street in quite sometime.

I used to live up at Washington and Taylor and would frequently ride my bicycle up Polk and then up further, up, up, up California Street, then onto Washington, ending at Taylor.

High.

Up above the crack smoke filled streets and the dirty self-medicating junkies and the cross dressing prostitutes.

I was surprised to see a couple of girls working the streets.

I mean.

I should not have been.

It is the Tenderloin.

Maybe it was just that I haven’t seen a working girl where I live in some time.

Not much action going on in the Outer Sunset.

Although I’m sure things are shaking and moving in and out of the 7-11 parking lot just down the street from my house.

I was glad to walk the streets and not be a street walker, to be coming from my last hour of classes at my first weekend back to my second semester of my graduate school program, to be heading to get a tattoo to celebrate my eleventh anniversary without picking up.

Rather than picking through the garbage strewn gutters or standing under an awning smoking a cigarette and wondering how the hell it all went wrong.

Instead.

I find myself wondering how the hell it all went so wonderfully right.

Graduate school reinforces that premise every time I walk the halls of the university.

Every time I sit in class and raise my hand.

Every time I have a positive interaction with a professor, a student, a fellow in my cohort.

I am full, constantly, of wonder and awe.

Not withstanding I am also a little tired, it was a big weekend, but I did it, I’m through, and I don’t know if it’s an actual lighter reading load then last semester or that I am used to doing the work, but it feels easier.

Perhaps I am just easing into it.

Gratefully so with much surrender.

And.

Really.

Just a stunning amount of perpetual incredulousness that I have made it this far.

I really should not be here.

If life were fair.

I would be dead.

I also have been recognizing, noticing, and in great awareness around the myriad of strikes that have just been against me for so long.

Poverty.

Drug abuse.

Alcohol abuse.

Sexual abuse.

Neglect.

Trauma, trauma, trauma.

I don’t think about it often, I don’t need to ponder the mysterious ways of the Universe, it was just brought home today in my first class of the morning.

I shared about not having real health insurance.

I have Healthy SF, in case you were wondering, but though it provides a lot of the things that having health insurance covers, it’s not the real deal.

And as I explained to my class over a discussion about what it is like to live with the constant, chronic, high level of poverty and what it was like to grow up–though I did not see it at the time–in that dire place of not enough, I realized it was a miracle, a fucking huge ass miracle, that I got out.

The cycle got broken.

I emerged.

A phoenix from the ashes of a crack pipe.

I mean.

Let me not put to fine a point on it.

But the affects still linger and I don’t always realize them.

The shame that comes from being poor, the hot lunch program at school, the American cheese in a box, being the scholarship kid, the kid in need, or the homeless teenager, who despite having a full ride to her first year at university, couldn’t keep it together to keep food in her dorm fridge.

The constant stress of not having the money to afford health insurance, with a few exceptions here and there, worrying about if I would get sick or hurt.

I related how when I did get hurt, my ankle injury, and how I was out of work for six weeks I was blessed with amazing friends who came out of the woodwork to help me.

The GoFund me that someone started so I could pay my rent that month.

The anonymous twenty dollar bill I found in my messenger bag one night.

The rides to and from places.

The gift card for the grocery store.

I have a community of love and friendship that I leaned into really hard.

But the affects of being raised with the absence of so much, I never really contemplated until, irony, no?

I got into graduate school.

Which is a privileged place to be.

Granted.

I am.

Again.

A scholarship kid.

No shame in that.

Although, yes, I admit,  I am loathe to share it with my cohort, I somehow, still think that I don’t quite deserve it and somebody will take it away from me.

In class today the lecture covered what happens to people who live under that kind of stress, who live with PTSD, poverty, drug abuse, alcoholism, for those that self-medicate in the streets, for the homelessness and the racism that we inflict on each other.

And I just felt like gasping for air.

My palms got hot, I got hot, my flight or fight or freeze got activated.

I was alive and charged up and saddened to hear what was being said and then reacting too, to some pretty naive comments made by some well meaning, but hyper privileged classmates.

So.

I shared.

I shared what it was like, what it is still like–do you know that I will get penalized by the government when I go to file my taxes for not having “real” health insurance–to be a person without.

The thing is.

I don’t believe I am a person without anymore.

I have so much.

Love.

Abundance.

Joy.

Stars–like eleven!

I have a good job, I am in graduate school, I live in San Francisco (still, haven’t gotten priced out yet!), I eat organic food and drink expensive coffee.

What I found fascinating, though, in class, from a very astute and experienced PhD professor, is that the affects of poverty don’t dissipate for about three generations.

A lot of the stress that I carry with me, even when I am flush, may well continue to be with me, to be in my body, to just be there.

I have felt it.

I have put name to it.

I have done inventory.

I remember once writing the fear a letter, saying, “dear fear, I hear you, you may be right, but I promise, I will take care of paying rent, you wont’ be homeless this month.”

I had it taped up to my wall by my writing desk for months.

It was when I was living up in Nob Hill.

I don’t know if those affects will always be there, as so much as been lifted, so much space has been made in my heart, in my body, so much psychic change has happened for me, that I believe these intergenerational traumas will end with me.

That is my belief.

And not only that.

The experiences, the wealth of knowledge, the how I got through, the how it works, the passing it on, they are the true measure of my abundance and ability.

These things mark me, but they are not me.

I am more than the sum of my parts.

I am the light that shines around the edges of those black stars.

I go forth.

Into this furthering light.

Into this ever expanding place of being held.

Always.

Further.

Into.

This deepening love.

 

 

All The Love

January 14, 2016

I have been feeling it all day long.

It’s pretty fantastic.

Today is a special anniversary and I was reminded all day long how graced I am, how much God is in my life, how amazing and just plain fucking awesome it is to be alive.

I had a great day with the boys at work.

I even agreed to work a holiday, which I did not realize I had off-Monday.

In return, one of the days I’m in New York is now not being accounted for.

So my little jaunt to the Big Apple in May will only eat two of my vacation days rather than three.

Plus I’ll get a little over time next week and a few more bucks in my pocket.

Which will be nice as I am going to get a tattoo after all.

Not a big one, but I do really like getting a tattoo on my anniversary or there about.

I’ll be hopping over to see a friend at Let It Bleed in the good old Tenderloin on Sunday after I get out of class to add a star to my neck.

Eleven years.

Eleven stars.

Natch.

It was funny too, I was thinking about it, a bunch of friends got black star tattoos today at Body Manipulations for a David Bowie tribute and I thought, yeah, I’d love that, but um, can’t bring the kids I nanny to the tattoo parlor, you know.

My artist I normally work with is in Alameda and yeah, I know, it’s not that far, but my schedule is pretty tight and I just want one star.

So.

I thought, to myself last night as I was tossing and turning, sleepless, it took forever to fall asleep, I had so many thoughts running through my head, maybe I’ll just hop over to Castro Tattoo where my guy used to work.

Then I thought about my friend at Let It Bleed.

And who do you think I ran, or should I say “biked” into on the way to work.

DannyBoy.

Sweet.

He was crossing Masonic on his bike one way while I was crossing Masonic on my bike the other way.

We hollered at each other and it was like.

You know.

A sign from God.

Which I promptly forgot about until he tagged my social media post about the anniversary and we got to chatting and then to texting and the next thing you know.

5p.m.

This Sunday.

I’ll be getting another star.

Thank you very much.

And yes.

It will be a black star.

And it will look hella hot.

It will also go smashing with the new hair happening next weekend.

I have a lot of stuff on my plate, but man, it’s all such good stuff.

When I think about where I was last year and all the things that I have done and gone through since I turned ten, well, fuck, it’s been an incredible year.

I hadn’t applied to graduate school yet.

And here I am about to start my second semester in my first year of grad school.

I was freshly broken up with.

I was pretty raw about my dad.

I was in the dark hallway.

I’ve been happy, joyous, and free, most of the year, really, most of the time in the last eleven years, but sometimes, some years, some days, some weeks, they have been more challenging than others.

I don’t expect the work to get easier, but I do know that the results keep getting better.

And my happiness, my faith, deepens exponentially.

As long as I stay close.

As long as I do the work.

I get the results.

And it’s really good.

Life beyond my wildest dreams.

Even when it doesn’t go my way.

And often times it does, but just not in ways I was expecting.

Take for instance, I’m a tiny bit bummed, a lot really, that my friend in New York won’t be in New York when I am visiting–he sent me a birthday message today and I threw my travel dates at him–I was hoping for a hang out.

However, he’s in the Alps.

Doing an art project.

Because life if amazing.

And he offered me his place in Brooklyn while he’s away.

I have a place to stay in New York.

Free!

I am over the moon.

It is going to be so nice to have a spot to be.

I won’t have to dick around with getting in late, which I am, 10:30p.m. at night on a Thursday to JFK, by the time I roll into the city close to midnight, which might have been a challenge to check into a place.

Now.

I can just show up, be at my friends, not have to navigate an unknown place, and be settled.

I am so excited.

Plus, he’s in a good neighborhood in Brooklyn, so I’ll be hanging in the cool kids spots while I am there.

So psyched.

My whole life just has me so psyched.

It doesn’t often go the way I think it should, but it does go marvelously well, and sweet, and tender, with much love and grace and gifts that I don’t expect to receive.

I only hope I can give back a fraction of what has been given to me.

For I have been given so very much.

So much it makes my heart ache with joy to know the amount of love I have gotten to experience.

I am grateful.

I think you get that.

Full of gratitude.

Full of lightness.

Graced.

Blessed.

Loved.

Thank you.

Thank you so much for the best eleven years of my life.

I couldn’t have done it without you.


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