Posts Tagged ‘neglect’

Saturday, May 19, 2018

February 3, 2018

The Nourse Theater in Hayes Valley.


The date is set, the place has been set, now I just need to get through the next four months of school.

My God.

It is actually going to happen.

I am going to graduate in May!

I’ve never been to the Nourse Theater, but it looks lovely.

I had, for some reason, thought it would be at the Palace of Fine Arts, I seemed to recall having seen photos from a previous cohort’s graduation, but it’s not there and though I love the Palace, I’m happy the commencement ceremonies will be held close to my school.

It feels right somehow.

I’ve a few ideas for what I want to do to celebrate, definitely toss the hat up into the air.

Which reminds me I think I’m going to have to purchase a cap and gown.

An expense I really don’t fucking want to deal with since well I’ll only be wearing it once, but I don’t believe the school rents them.

What I have heard from a few people in my group supervision at my internship, is that folks from previous cohorts may lend them out.

Unfortunately both the people in my group supervision who graduated last year from my same program are a lot shorter than me.

Like, a lot, I wouldn’t be able to fit in a cap and gown that either of them wore.

I’ll suck it up, just one more expense that I wasn’t counting on when I applied to the program.

Like the $5,000 I will have spent on a licenced therapist while I’m in the program.

I love my therapist though, she’s great, also a graduate from the same program that I am in, and I do get her sliding scale fee, $120 an hour, since she knows I’m a student and my school requires that I see a licenced MFT while I’m in practicum.

At first it was really hard to think about spending that kind of money once a week, but having been with her now for 33 sessions, I track them on my Track My Hours BBS app, I can say with not one doubt in my head that it’s been so worth it.

Having an outlet, having support, having a place to explore whatever I’ve been going through while I’ve been in practicum has been such a huge help.

I have worked around a lot of family of origin trauma’s, incest, neglect, physical abuse, emotional abuse, violence in my family system, with my father, with my step-father, a five-year relationship that went sour and led to being a statistic on domestic violence, my alcohol and drug use, and abuse and subsequent journey into recovery.

It still amazes me that I am sober, that I didn’t do a rehab or a recovery house.

The thought of having to do that scares the living shit out of me, I see a lot of folks in and out of recovery houses and there doesn’t seem to be an answer there.

Perhaps an introduction to a solution, definitely a clean and safe place off the streets, but so often the folks I see from those places don’t seem to have much hope.

Then again, my own perception is probably skewed.



My therapist.

So fucking glad to work with her.

I have worked on self-esteem issues, self-advocacy, self-care, setting boundaries.

I have worked through transference and counter transferences with my clients.

Frankly such a relief to have that as an outlet.

I had a couple of back to back days of intense client sessions.

Really good, don’t get me wrong, but super intense.

Grateful that I get to show up for my clients and be a good therapist.

At least I think I’m good.

The feedback has been good, both from my supervisors and from my clients, but my God, there’s always so much more to learn.

And then there’s all the learning that I have done.

All the work that I have done over the last two and a half years, so much work, so much processing, so much learning, so many articles and books and videos, so, so, so many fucking papers, so much practice, so much showing up, being vulnerable, leaning into the vulnerability and growing.

Painful growth and glorious growth and heartbreaking growth.

I can’t wait to graduate.

The ritual is important for me.

I know it will probably be boring as hell, but there is something here that needs to be done for me, an enactment, the crossing of the stage, the flipping the tassel on my cap from one side to the other, to signify that I have graduated.

I need that ceremony.

It feels very important to me to acknowledge the rite of passage.

And I want to have a party.

I really, really do.

I really have thought quite a bit about having it at Ocean Beach, a bonfire, blankets in the sand, some snacks, I don’t really care about food, but some cold bevvies in a cooler, all non-alcoholic thank you.

I think it would be easier for me to facilitate than making reservations for a big dinner party somewhere.

It’s not so much the food that’s important, it’s the people.

I see a big bundle of balloons on the beach, a bonfire, and a bunch of folks standing around and hanging out, simple, easy, sweet.

The only drawback to Ocean Beach is that the beach doesn’t really have bathrooms, there are port-a-potties, but that’s it.

Then again, like I can’t handle that, how many times have I gone to Burning Man?


I did have it suggested that I have it at my house, and there’s some appeal there and also not, I can’t decide.  I could have a fire in the back yard, there’s a fire pit, there are tables and chairs and the yard is big enough to accommodate plenty of folks, and there’s a bathroom.

I’d probably need to clear it with the landlady, but I can’t think that she would say no.

There’s also a grill I could use.

I just get a little edgy about having people come in and out of my house, but then again, it could be sweet.

Oh, so many things to plan.

But not right yet.

Not right now.

Now is time for sleep.

It’s been a long week.

Grateful that I made it through.

Grateful for all the love in my life.





For all the love.


And Just Like That

November 29, 2017

I have registered for my last semester of class!

I can hardly believe it.

It feels very surreal.


Fucking amazing.

I will have three classes next semester.

Once a month I will be in class.

Five weekends.

I will be in class from 9 a.m. until 4p.m. Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.






I will graduate Saturday, May 19th.

Holy fuck.

It’s really happening.

I have to take Integrative Seminar, I really don’t know what that is, and Research Methods, which sounds boring as fuck and like a class that is a box to check off.

The other “class” is my practicum, or what I often refer to as my internship.

I’ll still be seeing the same amount of clients, but I may move some of them around, I’m not quite sure yet.

And that’s ok, that can be figured out later.

I was just looking over the piece of paper that I have been making little check marks on for the last three years.

Here’s a list of the classes I have taken and passed, passed pretty well, you could say, I’ve got a 4.0 thank you very much.

I have taken Group Dynamics.

Therapeutic Communication.

Human Development

Integral Philosophy

Psychodynamics I and II.

The Clinical Relationship.

Professional Ethics and Family Law I and II.

Multicultural Counseling and the Family.

Applied Spirituality.

Gestalt Therapy.

Family Dynamics and Therapy.

Psychopathology and Psychological Assessment.

Child Therapy.


Couple Counseling.

Community Mental Heal & The Recovery Model.

Special Topics in Psychotherapy.

Transpersonal Psychotherapy.

Alcohol & Chemical Dependency Counseling.

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy.

Jungian Dream Work.

Psychopharmacology and Human Sexuality.

Elder, Spousal, & Child Abuse.

And practicum which includes Individual Supervision and Group Supervision.


That’s a lot of reading.

Just reading the list made me shake my head, I did all of those?



And I just have to do three more classes.


I have to finish this semester first, but I will, I will.

OH, and although its a not a “class” I am also required by my program to attend 52 weeks of personal therapy with a licensed MFT.

Today marked 26 weeks.

Half way there.

I’m not actually worried about getting in all the therapy, which is one little thing that I don’t have to stress about, thankfully, my therapist went through my program and she told me that she would sign my paper even if I didn’t get the full 52 weeks.

I get the sense though that I will get the requisite amount of hours.

The therapy is good for me.

I have been getting to work through a lot of things that I never even knew I had to delve into, some of which I probably have been needing to address for years without even realizing I did.

I like my therapist a lot and she really has a good perspective on me and who I am and sometimes there is a lightness and a friendliness and almost a sense of talking to not just a contemporary, but a friend, a friend with a lot of perception.

A lot.

And a really helpful way of reframing my experience and also validating all the work I do.

I do a lot.

In some sense I’m a fucking therapists wet dream.

I do the work, I don’t make her work, I process the fuck out of my shit.

I do a lot of grieving, I let go of a lot and then I jump right back in.

Today’s session left me pretty wrung out and sad.

It was mainly expressed first through anger, which has always been a very dangerous emotion for me, I don’t think it was ever safe for me to express anger in my family and I didn’t often even realize I had it unless I was enraged and that feeling, rage, scared me to death.

Very dangerous and very rarely expressed.

Almost never.

I can remember a few times touching into it and frightened me badly.

I know better now, there isn’t really anything wrong with anger, it’s a sign, and it’s a primary emotion, it’s a top emotion, but there’s generally secondary emotions underneath it and that’s where I need to look, under the covers of anger and see what’s underneath.

Most often for me, it’s fear.

Fear of losing something I think I have or fear of not getting what I want.

I had a lot of fear come up today and it was hard to slog through, but I knew the anger I felt was about fear and eventually it all came out and I felt sick with it, on fire with it, I felt like I wanted to vomit it all out, retch it into the wastebasket, scream it into a pillow on the couch.

I just cried a lot and it moved.

It’s probably still moving.

Ah, all the things I get to work on, so very many.

I have discovered so much about myself from doing my course work and now, in the therapy, getting out the secrets and the sadness and the trauma and all the stuff I carry around like it’s a special knapsack full of rocks.

I just want to let them all go, put them back into the stream and let myself float away.

I have burdened myself for so long with false ideas.

“I failed,” I crumpled into my hands, I buried my face in my palms and just sobbed.

I won’t get into the specifics, they’re not relevant, but I can say in a general sense that I have been carrying around the idea that I failed at something and that I had not even realized I believed about myself, that I failed so badly at something that I ruined another’s life.

A.  Who am I to say I’m God?

I’m just not that powerful.

B. I was a child.

I was a child doing an adults job.


A super precocious child who might have given off the impression that she knew what she was doing, but ultimately, at the end of the story, I was doing an adult’s job with the resources of a child.

A poverty-stricken, neglected, abused child.

Smart as fuck.

But a baby.

I was just a little girl trying to hold it all together and I couldn’t, I couldn’t make it work and I have been, for years, decades, even, carrying around this idea that I failed.

I was shocked when that popped out of my mouth.

My God.

Oh, sweet, sweet, baby girl.

You tried so hard, you didn’t fail, you did the best you could.

And you got out.

I could barely carry the burden of taking care of myself.

Jesus Christ.

I’m still in awe of my session today.

That so much got sorted out.

Really astounds me.



It fucking works.

It so damn does.

Thank God.

Thank fucking God.

Some Times You Have To Walk Away

June 11, 2013

She was crying and her small cocoa face crumbled up in tears and her mouth opened wide and I could see her little two-year molars cutting through her gums.

The tears flew out of her eyes and she held her small arms out to me pleading.

Mean while my little blonde elfin waif child clung to me and pinched my arm, “home, home, home, home, home,” she demanded.

She had been fine with her new friend until said new friend had clambered up me and I suddenly had two little girls, just a few weeks apart in age clinging to my arms.

I have been here before it is not such a bad thing to have two cuddle bunnies in my arms, but I had to put the other little girl down and she did not want me too.

Her grandmother was not helping, “she like you.”  She said pointedly and watched her grand-daughter wail away as I gathered all of our things together.

“I like her too,” I said with a smile, “she is a sweet little girl”.

The grandmother extended the child back to me, “no, I am sorry, I can’t hold her any longer, I have to take care of this one.”

Some times you want to take care of them all.

Some times you have to walk away.

It broke my heart and I could see every ounce of neglect etched into her small body, every solid meal denied, every bit of purple flavor popsicle shoved into her hand to get her to go away.

“You shouldn’t her hold upside down too long,” the grandmother had said a few minutes earlier as I tossed her gently in my arms, “I only got the one diaper on her and it’s gettin’ full.”

Oh fuck me.

I thought about handing her a diaper.

I thought about handing her the entire diaper bag.

Not my property to part with.

Then on the other spectrum there were the two little girls that rolled up in their miniature G-LS Class Mercedes-Benz black SUVs–motorized.  The pulled up just ahead of their daddy into the playground and led a cluster of children like the Pied Piper to surround them throng like in worship.

“Whoa,” one little boy said, “look at them rims.”



Drug dealers got kids too.

Or parents want themselves to look like they are drug dealers?

I don’t know.

It was just such a surreal moment to be nestled in, the Hispanic/German/Polynesian nanny with her white as white can be little girl charge.  And I don’t look like a traditional nanny either, “wow, look at her tattoos,” a little girl said to me earlier.

There were so many clichés happening I just about forgot to count them all.

Then the blind black man in the corner came tap, tap, tapping with his cane and his cadre of older heavy-set, but still lithe black women came into the park.

Every Monday there is some sort of mixed martial arts class that is taught.

One of the students rolls by in her car, turns up the stereo and Motown floods the playground.  I danced my little girl around and took her up and down the swirly slide until she wanted to go investigated the SUVs which had been parked by the dinosaur slide to be abandoned by their drivers, watched over by the dad who let the line up of little kids stare at the cars and gently touch the hoods, but did not let them get into them.

Show pieces indeed.

The class of four women, one blind black mane instructor, and a homeless dude that just decided to join up, stretched and starting to ki-ai in the back ground.

The elementary.




That was a gunshot.

Where was I?

Elementary school next to the play ground let out and the entire yard was flooded with kids.

It was neat.

Neat is the word.

The mixture of kids in the playground, black, Hispanic, Asian, white kids, mulatto kids, all sorts of mixtures and ethnicities, the hipster white mid-twenties male teacher/monitor with Ray Bans on telling the kids the rules to the kick ball game, all hodge podge and tossed together in the bowl of the park.

I loved it.

I did not like walking away from the crying child, but I am not responsible for all the little ones in the world.  I just can’t be.  I am barely responsible to myself.

Today as I watched a rail thin mother so eradicated by crack jitter across the street in front of my bicycle as I came home on International Avenue, I thought to myself, “thank God I am not smoking crack.”

And as I flew by I saw the crown of a baby in the back seat carrier of the car.

“Thank God I don’t have any children of my own today,” flew out of my mouth.

I can’t imagine, despite having lived through some horror and neglect, the patina of time has tarnished the images and softened the impact, having children in East Oakland and having to turn tricks with them in the car to score crack.


I got to say I am going to take a pass on that experience.

Grateful that I do get to walk away, or ride away, as the case was, to admire instead the purple sky frosted with lavender and edged with ripe peach pink clouds sunset dusted palm trees hazing into the twilight.

So much beauty.

You just have to open your eyes to it.

Perhaps it was the stark contrast that made my heart open wider to accept in the gifts of the light or perhaps it was the long, fulfilling (I worked two different kinds of job today) day at work, something about the sky made me forget the crack and the crack babies, the potholes in the road and the jacked up El Camino that kept circling me, it was glorious.

I felt like I was indeed riding off into the sunset.

In East Oakland.

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