Posts Tagged ‘Portland’

A Good Cry

July 12, 2017

And then back to living.

I saw my therapist today.

Yes.

A psychotherapist has a therapist.

Especially since I am a therapist in training, although, let me tell you, I felt like a therapist today, seeing clients, filing paperwork, checking all the boxes, circling all the things that needed to be circled and doing the work.

I can get super caught up in how much longer this road is and how the hell am I ever, I mean, ever, going to get 3,000 hours, but I can’t, I just can’t focus on that.

One hour at a time.

Fortunately I have some practice living a day at a time and when I reflect on how those days add up and all my accomplishments have come in small increments, but come they have, then I don’t have to get too caught up in the numbers.

It’s just a numbers game and I’m doing it the best I can as fast as I can without killing myself in the process.

I mean.

I still have to process all my own stuff, plus carrying around my clients in my head.

I do that now.

I have them in my head and sometimes I will think about them and once in a while I have a momentary flash, a connection, a thought or feeling and a little aha moment, that feels pretty special.

But.

Yes.

I do have to process my own stuff too, I have to look at my own emotional life sift through the chafe and dander and see what is needing to seen and what is needing to be let go.

I knew.

For instance.

I needed to titrate my social media intake today.

I woke up a bit emotionally hung over.

I cried a lot yesterday.

On and off all day, with one really big cry in the evening when I was talking with my person on the phone and going over the shock of what had happened and how the death of my friend had not just hit me, but many others, the numbers of people who showed up to be present for each other and for the family of the deceased was extraordinary.

Not to mention all the people in so many other places he had affected, who’s lives he had touched–Portland, Seattle, Memphis, New York, Los Angeles, Austin, Oakland.

Gah.

I can hear him saying “West Oakland” in my head and such joy at his goofiness suffuses me.

For he was joyful.

Oh sure, sad and fucked up and scared and young and insecure, who hasn’t been those things, but also bright and kind and funny and so there for you and warm and sweet and musically talented.

Oh the music the world has lost.

So.

Seeing all the pictures, all the photographs, all the expressions of heartbreak, my social media feed was just awash in tears and sadness.

I really had to not look after a while.

And I knew when I woke up having felt puffy eyed and sluggish and a bit off kilter that I wasn’t going to allow myself to wallow in the emotionalism of social media.

I needed coffee, some ibuprofen, and a good breakfast.

Sounds like a hangover, right?

Except instead of booze or blow it was emotion.

And as I expressed to my therapist today after plopping down on her couch and telling her I was going to cry and then immediately doing so, I also realized that some, a lot of the emotion I had in my body, on my heart, in my head, was not mine.

It was the communities.

And I’m grateful.

Really grateful.

I got to feel it and touch into it.

But.

I could not continue swimming in it any longer.

So I talked it out, processed it, linked it to other things, made traverses, expressed emotions, cried a lot in the beginning, but by the middle of my session I was going other places.

Oh.

It was all interconnected.

I am good at making connections.

And it was honest and insightful.

I am pretty good at those things too.

Not always.

I am a work in progress, people, don’t expect perfection, I am far, far, far from perfect.

But.

I am loving and kind and sweet, I would hazard.

I am compassionate and more importantly, I am empathetic.

Sometimes too much and I get overextended and I give too much, I have been trained well in that way of life, being my mom’s caretaker, taking care of my sister, my oldest niece, an ex-boyfriend of five years who might as well have been my mother for all the caretaking he required, but I have grown a lot.

Oh, so fucking much.

And I know when I need to caretake and when the other person needs to do the job their own damn self.

And there’s no irony that I am in the care taking profession.

A. I am a nanny, I care take all day long.

B. I am a psychotherapist.

But it’s not my job to care take as a therapist and that’s a really intriguing thing for me.

I am also not there to make my client feel better, to sugar coat, or to shoo away uncomfortable feelings.

Uncomfortable feelings need to happen.

There’s nothing wrong with them.

I like to look at them as signposts, directions, “hey this thing you do, it doesn’t work for you.”

For instance.

There’s nothing wrong with anxiety or depression.

They are signs that the way things are going, the tools being used for living, well they might not be working so well.

I mean.

Booze was one hell of an amazing solution for me.

Until.

It was not.

So was cocaine.

My God.

I remember the first time I did a line of good blow.

It was like I had all the answers.

ALL of them.

And I was fine with the way those answers were conveyed and I rather scoffed at a friends warning that perhaps I like that drug a little more than was perhaps healthy.

Um.

Yeah.

But when those solutions failed I had to find a better way, a different way and there was depression there and there was anxiety and all sorts of other juicy psychological terms and conditions.

And slowly.

One step at a time.

I got to change what I did.

What I ingested.

What I thought and felt.

For something else.

I was given a significant solution to my problem.

Of course.

I won’t tell that to a client, they have to find their own way, I think that I am a mirror, an attachment figure, a person who can and will have to withstand the disappointments and anger and discomfort of others so that they can learn how to use that information and devise their own solution.

Therapy is not for symptom relief.

Just like alcohol, ultimately, and every other drug I took, weren’t for symptom relief.

I had to find a different way.

And I did.

And today when I walked out of my therapist office I felt a lightness and a joy.

I am alive.

I am not guilty for being alive

I have so much joy and passion in my life, such happiness, I felt light and though there is still sadness for the loss of this beautiful person, I have also a deeper connection to how alive I want to be and how alive I am allowed to be.

To be alive, in this moment, sober, and free.

It is amazing.

Happy.

Joyous.

Moved beyond words for my experiences and this amazing place I have been lead to.

Grateful.

So very grateful.

Thank you for being a part of my journey.

May it bless you too.

Advertisements

Give It To Me!

March 3, 2017

I was just having a moment with my lip balm container.

I love it.

It’s the best that I have found since my favorite brand stopped making my lip balm about ten years ago.

It’s by Tokyo Milk.

And it is so good.

But damn it man, the packaging is so hard to open.

I was like.

My face is cracking, open up.

Ok.

Maybe not that dramatically.

But.

I can tell some things about me are changing.

My lips get chapped faster, my hands are dry (I mean, I’m a nanny, I do wash my hands a lot, especially when handling a new born, but still, I’m definetly getting the old lady hands, age spots and all), I have laugh lines around my eyes, even though I wear sunblock every day.

I’m getting older.

As though the gum disease and the having to wear bifocals, um, excuse me, let me get politically correct, my “progressives” glasses, weren’t enough, the grey hair at the roots of my crown, the aging, it is happening.

But.

I still wear them damn flowers in my hair and I still feel often oddly childish and silly and light-hearted, I may be getting older, but I still have a wonder about the world and a curiosity and a wish to see more things and have more experiences.

Once in a while my brain tries to launch an attack, oh my God, you’re 44, what’s next?

Death.

I suppose.

A cold, hard, lonely death, boohoo.

Can you hear the tiny violin playing.

It’s in concert with Jim Croce.

That’s not the way it feels.

I didn’t bother to watch that horror show though, today.

I just rather enjoyed the red rose in my hair and the lip gloss on my lips.

I had a nice day.

I even had a half hour by myself, sort of, my charge was napping, in which I was able to make a check in phone call with my person and confirm meeting with her on Saturday at Tart to Tart, look over some defects of character and get right with God.

And.

I got to sit outside on the back porch and enjoy the sun and a hot mug of tea.

It was pretty fucking spectacular.

Shit.

I even put my phone down for a while, got off the social media and just connected with the blue skies, the warm sun, the flowers blooming in the garden, the paper whites, narcissus, in a pot, the tiny buds of jasmine just turning pink, the whir and buzz of hummingbirds in the plum blossoms.

It was exquisite.

It is Spring and it is a little warmer.

Not a lot, but enough and yes, there’s more freaking rain this weekend, but the last couple of days the sunshine on my face makes all the wrinkles fine and acceptable, what am I going to do anyway, erase my life, rub away the laughs and the adventures and the experiences.

I like how I am, most of the time I’m in acceptance about my body, my health, my age, I’m pretty fucking lucky to have gotten to this age and have the health that I have.

Ridiculous the gratitude I have for that.

I have plans for these old bones, I’m not ready to roll over any time soon.

I was talking to my boss about going to Venice at some point and I think about all the places I write about in my morning pages.

I want to go to Burning Man.

Duh.

I have the time off but haven’t found out about the ticket yet.

I will be going to Paris, so that doesn’t count, I have already gotten the ticket and I have a place to stay.

All I have to do is show up with some money for food and museum entrances, and oh a couple of Claire Fontaine notebooks and maybe a tattoo and a flea market score or three, a souvenir or two from the Marais.

Paris is a done deal.

Other places I’m contemplating are Anchorage to see my dad, Portland to see my sister and Puerto Rico to see my roots, and because I have a friend that has contract work there, he’s invited me and I’m just waiting to find out when the family will be out and off to Europe for three weeks in July.

I don’t know what their dates are yet, so I’ve been holding off on getting any forward motion on buying a plane ticket.

I still have the voucher from this past Christmas too for an air plane ticket.

I am planning on using that for Puerto Rico and then buying a one way to Anchorage and doing three days there and then a one way to Portland, get a room in some hipster hotel and drink a lot of coffee and walk around and see what the scene is like, hang out with my sister, see what the deal is like.

I’m thinking one week in Puerto Rico, then one week split between Anchorage and Portland.

Then the third week the family is gone, just chill here in the city, do some yoga, hang out.

I get ahead of myself, but it is fun to contemplate.

Better travel plan contemplation then my brain trying to play some late night B movie horror show about being single and alone.

Frankly brain.

I’d rather watch Dirty Dancing again.

Go away.

I mean, for real.

I got better things to do.

Dear God help me see what you want me to see and help me to let go of what I can.

Thanks.

I mean it.

I need all the help I can get.

The weekend is nigh and I want to have fun.

Please show me the way.

I’m open to suggestions.

Bring it on.

I’m all ears.

Seriously.

 

Growing Up

February 8, 2017

Moving on.

Letting go of the things that don’t serve me.

Letting go of ways and means of being that I have been.

Shedding.

Fuck.

It feels really good.

I had to have a little hand holding tonight as I took some suggestions regarding my personal life and relationships.

“No body treats you like that,” he said to me, “and I will not stand here and let you be treated like that, now unfriend.”

BAM.

I sent a message and let go of the results.

I changed.

Like that.

It has taken years to get to this point and to let go, of this old idea that I somehow need to give you more than me, that I am not enough, that I have to buy your love, respect, or that I need to give you something for you to be my friend, lover, partner.

Nope.

I am enough and I deserve to be treated well.

I stood up for myself.

Not by myself, though, I had to have some hand holding.

I had gotten the suggestion this evening and it matched up with how I was feeling, even though I was afraid to take the action required, I knew, deep within me, that it was the thing to do.

And.

I realized that I can’t do it alone.

I needed his help.

“Wait, can I just do this now, with you here, I don’t know if I can do it when I get home,” I said.  I mean.  I knew I would, but I knew it would be easier for me to do it with my person there sitting across the table, warm, supporting, holding me through the process of letting go and moving on.

There is no there there.

“I expect to get blow back from this,” I said as I sent out the message and then took the next suggestion and cleaned some house.

“Doesn’t matter, you did your part, you cleaned your side of the street, how the other person responds doesn’t matter,” he said.

He took my hands and held them as I shed a few tears, took a deep breath and did the next action in front of me.

The relief of standing up for myself, asking for what I want, and really I do not have any expectations that the want will be met at all, none, nada, in fact, and that somehow made it easier and harder at the same time.

But let go I did.

And I realized I just made a huge amount of room for what will work in my life, for friendships, relationships, jobs, school, for letting in the love and going where the love is and being happier in my person and with myself.

Such stunning relief.

Let go.

Move on.

With love.

With unconditional regard for others and what they need to do to grow and be.

It’s not my business.

 

My business.

Is.

Me.

 

What works best, how will I grow, how may I serve, what does that look like.

I left my person with such deep gratitude and love.

I have grown so much since working with him and I have such respect for the work.

It awes me.

And I change.

It is good.

It is so good.

I am so excited for what this year is going to bring.

The travel I get to do.

I’m planning a trip to Puerto Rico.

Another to Anchorage.

One to Portland.

And.

Of course.

Burning Man.

Yes.

I know.

I am working full-time and going to school full time and I will be interning.

How the hell am I going to pull it off?

I don’t know.

But get pulled off it will.

I am thinking that I may camp somewhere new this year, my dear friend from my first camp that split off and started his own invited me to camp with them this year.

Go where the love is.

Go where I am wanted and appreciated.

And.

Don’t go to work.

I have worked every year.

I have paid my dues.

Maybe.

Just maybe go this year and don’t work, oh, I know, I’ll help out, wherever I am camped, that is what I do, but on my terms and not tied to anyone, not tied to a scheduled, not leashed to a job.

Just a camp.

Just a spot to put up my tent and be.

Just me.

Just the playa.

Just Burning Man.

That’s such a lovely thought.

A goal.

My year is already so littered with love and goodness, travel, art, school, friends, getting to be in San Francisco, getting my practicum placement, getting to be an intern, getting to start helping clients and accruing the hours toward my license.

And it’s just the beginning of February.

And.

It is just the beginning.

This thirteenth year of being in recovery is going to blow the top off.

I can feel it.

I am expanding.

My heart growing.

I am shedding old skin and stepping out new.

It feels extraordinary and freeing and magical.

Alive.

And let me not forget.

I am also going to Paris in May.

I mean.

My life is extraordinary.

I am so grateful I keep showing up, suiting up, doing the damn deal, living by spiritual principles.

I’m not a saint.

I’m going to fuck up.

But that too is a gift and an opportunity to grow more.

All this growth.

I am graced to get to do it.

It can be a struggle.

Or it can be a surrender.

Today.

It was melting surrender, a washing away, a saying goodbye, a letting go, with the rain sluicing down the gutters and the fog prowling on soft cat feet, as I listened to Bon Entendeur streaming from my headphones as the N-Judah barreled its way down towards Ocean Beach, I looked at my reflection across the way in the mirrored window of the train.

I smiled.

So much joy.

Such simple shifts.

And boom.

A giant leap forward in my life and in my recovery.

I can’t wait to see what happens next.

Seriously.

It’s going to be fucking amazing.

AMAZING.

Don’t Mind Me

February 2, 2017

Singing French music slightly off-key at the top of my lungs.

I felt like singing and well.

There you go.

And French music makes me happy, especially when I am listening to a play list that my best French friend made for my on my Spotify.

It’s pretty awesome, a. a friend who makes a play list for you and b. that it’s mostly French music.

Although there’s some English music in there, it feels very apropos as I have been thinking a lot about travel today.

Paris in May.

Ten days.

Ten days.

Oh, let me say it again, ten days in Paris in May.

Paris in Spring.

My heart sings.

My feet tap dance a little, I just did a twirl about my room to the guitars and the vocals of Je t’aime Paris before I sat down to type.

I’m also making some other travel plans.

Puerto Rico.

In, wait for it.

July.

I know.

That sounds nuts.

And it’s actually funny, the only other time I have been to Puerto Rico was actually in July, a friend that I worked with at the Angelic Brewing Company got married there, she and her husband were both from Puerto Rico, what the hell they were doing in Wisconsin, I’m still not sure about.

But.

They wanted to get married in the oldest cathedral in Old San Juan.

Where, apparently, everyone who is Puerto Rican wants to get married.

The wait list was years long.

Unless you got married in the off-season.

Like, um, ha, July.

I think they still had to wait a damn long time for the date they did get, but yeah, it was hot.

But you know where it’s not hot in July?

Yeah.

San Francisco.

The coldest winter I ever spent was summer in San Francisco.

Mark Twain had it pretty spot on.

Last July was colder than last February.

In fact, I remember making out with a guy last February on the beach, barefoot and it was warm, surprisingly warm, one of the few nights where it was warm enough to be down at the beach and bare foot.

I remember him kissing me and the moon was sinking slow behind me, it was the day after Valentines Day and for whatever reason, I think it might have been ski week for the private school kids I was nannying, I had off that week.

I had school that weekend and then I had gotten dressed up on Valentines Day, passed out Valentines Day cards to my classmates and after class let out, I went up to the Castro and did the deal and spoke a big gay men’s gathering.

I met my Puerto Rican fairy godfather at dinner that night before the meeting.

We hit it the fuck off.

Fast forward to my birthday this past year, he brings me a bag of coffee from Puerto Rico, a jar of Adobo spice, and a guidebook to the 100 best places to go to in Puerto Rico.

He had just gotten back from a business trip there and it turns out is there currently and will be back mid-February.

He will be making a few more trips back for business and one of those trips, yes, in July, I will be going with him.

I wasn’t originally planning July, but July just happened to happen for me.

I found out from my family that they will be going on a big family vacation for three weeks.

I will have three weeks off in July.

THREE.

So.

Definitely Puerto Rico.

I have the airline ticket voucher from when I cancelled my trip to Wisconsin at Christmas.

The airline happens to fly to Puerto Rico.

I am thinking a week there.

Then fly back.

And.

Then.

Alaska.

Yeah.

I know.

Big fucking mood swing travel.

But.

I have always wanted to go up to Alaska during the summer and I have friends that live there and the fellowship is great.

And.

Um.

My dad is there.

I haven’t spoken to him since I left him in a coma in Anchorage two years ago.

I do not know where or why the thought popped into my head, but pop it did and it felt so right it gave me shivers.

“Go see your dad.”

That was not my thought.

It was planted there.

And I realized as soon as I had it that yes, I need to do that.

I’ve got his phone number and I figure I’ll contact the recovery center he’s been staying in and just feel it out.

I certainly don’t want to make a huge deal out of it.

Although, it is a huge deal.

I just felt very compelled to go and see him and do it soon, I don’t need to question it and though I had some trepidation about it, it feels very much like what I need to be doing.

It’s more for me than it is for my dad, I think, I need to heal a bit more around the relationship and I feel that a face to face, eye to eye, would do me some good.

Oh.

I’m sure it will be painful too.

But through that, growth, and I long for growth.

I want to heal those spaces and holes in my heart and be fully capable of saying I did everything I could to rectify my relationships with my parents while I can.

I also, really have wanted to go to Alaska during the summer and I have a couple of friends up there who just got married and it would be great to see them and maybe get out into the wilderness a little and take my camera and explore.

Then.

I had another thought.

Well heck.

Why don’t I go to Portland too?

My sister just moved there with my youngest niece and it’s been a couple of years since I have seen them.

I could fly back from Anchorage to Portland, hang out for a long weekend, then fly to San Francisco.

I looked up flights with the estimated dates of travel and I could do one way tickets, SFO->Anchorage->Portland->SFO.

Total cost.

$361.

I can freaking swing that.

I’m not planning anything yet, I have yet to get confirmed dates from my employers, but I did agree to take some of those days as paid vacation time and they agreed to pay me for my time for the other two weeks.

I had already bought my ticket to Paris when I had interviewed for the job, that vacation and those days off are part of my vacation pay.

Which means, that I will actually get another three weeks paid off.

Mind blowing.

And the right thing to do.

I’m contracted to work for them and I get paid a minimum of 35 hours per week.

They don’t use me for those hours, they pay me regardless.

When I find out dates I will go from there.

I know Puerto Rico is happening.

I will sit on Anchorage and Portland, talk to my people, make sure I’m making a spiritual decision and not an ego centric driven one, but rather be coming from a place of humility.

It’s family and I have challenges navigating family.

I’m doing better than I have ever in my life.

There is that.

But it is still vulnerable for me.

And who knows.

I may be in practicum and be tied to the city, so who knows.

No plans yet.

Just slow cooking some travel on the back burner.

And hopefully.

In the back woods, the G.reat O.ut D.oors, sounds damn good.

And a coffee shop or three in Portland.

I could get behind that.

I like coffee

Just a little bit.

Heh.

 

 

 


%d bloggers like this: