Posts Tagged ‘positive’

This Long, Strange Journey

July 12, 2022

Is almost at a close.

Guess what?

I have not graduated.

Surprised?

Me too.

I have been excitedly waiting for the diploma in the mail.

Thinking, in the back of my head, when is it a good time to reach out to my university and ask, “hey, when’s that paper gonna drop?”

Mindful of the continuing weirdness that is the pandemic.

Oh.

Yeah.

Hey.

I got COVID.

CONGRATULATIONS!

What a weird ass virus this is.

First, thank fucking God I was vaccinated and boosted.

It was not a fun time.

And it was kind of fun at the same time.

At least the first couple of days.

It started with some ennui, which honestly I thought, oh, this is classic countertransference, exhaustion whilst working with a narcissist.

Look it up, I’m not kidding.

But in hind sight, I think that’s when things were starting to cook.

My brain, that is.

Later that night, last Thursday, my voice was scratchy, but I chalked that up to screaming in my kitchen.

Like, at the top of my lungs, hurt my throat, scare my cats, kind of screaming.

Why?

Well, like I opened with, I haven’t actually graduated.

Let me back pedal a moment here.

Cue June 22nd.

I am in session with a client on video, wrapping up my morning sessions and thinking about a walk and a lunch break, when my dissertation budding sends me a photo of himself holding his PUBLISHED DISSERTATION.

WTF?

I mean, seriously, I felt like I was in a nasty Twilight Zone episode.

My colleague had defended his dissertation in March, I defended last year, mid-October.

I knew that it was too late in the semester to graduate with the fall cohort and that was fine, Spring is a fine time to walk, if you can call the wierdo hybrid video and reception my school had a graduation.

I did it anyway.

I applied to graduate, turned in all my forms, did all my things, or so I thought.

Yeah.

Ha.

It turns out that there was a missing piece.

The writing center, had not received my dissertation.

I did not know this.

I had somehow, don’t get me started on that, I know exactly how I slipped through the cracks, cue a very emotional conversation I had with the Provost this past Friday, yeah, that’s right, when I was on day two of COVID, but hadn’t tested positive yet (albeit enjoying the mildly delightful low grade fever I was running and doing online shopping for Burning Man. Yes! I am going, but that is another blog), my dissertation, had somehow not gotten turned in.

In essence, the last thing that needed to be done, was not done.

I lost my shit when I saw my friend’s photo.

I texted him immediately, how did you do that?

He told me.

He told me information I had never been given despite asking, oh so many times, for information on what are the next steps, please let me know.

Please.

I have a folder of emails, back and forth and back and forth, of weird little lapses that I kept catching and sending back out to the department, hey what next? Hey, did this go through? Hey, what now?

My friend called me and listened to me angry cry and then sent me a bunch of people to contact.

I contacted them all.

I won’t go into detail all the ways I continued to be dropped, but I did, when I met with the Provost last Friday (after reaching out to them whilst continuing to be demeaned, humiliated, and shamed by the administration–amazing how cc’ing the provost finally got me somewhere), who issued me a formal apology and listened with some disgust at what happened, she also congratulated me on graduating and officially pushed through a lot of paperwork to rectify what happened.

Suffice to say.

This morning I received the final step process to get my dissertation published.

Ironically, this morning is when I turned my COVID corner.

I am feeling better.

It was mild and mellow the first two days, but day three, Saturday, it got scary.

It got scary fast.

I was suddenly congested in a way that spooked me.

I realized that I needed some sort of decongestant ASAP and I couldn’t go out, I mean, I tested positive Saturday morning, so quarantining had to continue, and what to do?

I could Instacart, but it wouldn’t get to me until Sunday morning.

And frankly, when my lips started to tingle and I could barely draw a breath, I thought, I ain’t got that kind of time.

I made a couple of phone calls and a dear heart hopped on a scooter and ran over to the Walgreens in the Castro and picked me up some stuff.

I also had a friend, very gently, suggest that if it got worse I go to the ER, and er, that you might be having a panic attack.

I did recognize that.

I was panicked.

And taking big calming deep breaths was out of the question, I was way too stuffed up, and when I panic, I cry, and when I cry I get more stuffed up.

Suffice to say, I did calm down, and it sucked, and it was scary, but I got some strong decongestant in my system, got some scary Mucinex delivered the next day–had to show ID to delivery person, how weird is that? And between Saturday night and Sunday I slept.

I mean.

All I did was sleep.

And sleep.

And sleep.

I had strange dreams.

I drank tons of water.

I would get one nostril slightly clear and breathe through one side of my nose.

My cats cuddled with me, as they are now.

I slept more on than off for 48 hours.

The last couple of days really were dream like and hallucinatory.

I canceled all my clients this week.

I was holding out that maybe, maybe, I could possibly see clients tomorrow and Thursday.

Not like in person, duh, but via video.

But I have little voice quality and I also know better and though it hurt financially, sigh, I have no COVID grant or loan or buffer with the city or state, all those ships sailed long ago, I knew it would be better to take the time off and really heal and rest.

Model for my clients too, give yourself permission to slow down.

Rest is a radical act.

And then this morning, I got back the final email from the Center for Writing and Scholarship.

They blasted through my dissertation (the one they had “never received” even though I have emails in my dissertation file with the addresses of the head of the department, my dean, the registrar, and the head admin with all the forms and things and what have you, and the head of the writing center) and got it back to me with the final check list edits done and the directions to how to upload it to ProQuest.

I am leaving out a huge chunk of what happened.

Mostly, because I don’t have the energy to replay it. It was a nasty, heart wrenching experience and if you want to know about it we can talk in person, suffice to say when this is done I will be distancing myself from the institution for a while.

And that brings me to today.

The dissertation with the email with very detailed instructions on how to proceed.

I read them a bunch.

They don’t make sense, but so much of academia doesn’t make sense.

And sometimes, a lot actually, I have to read and re-read these kinds of academic instructions, they do not come to me intuitively.

Sufficed to say, I’m finally, now, in the final leg of the journey.

And I have COVID.

But, as I mentioned, it has turned and I think I’m through to the other side.

I still sound like Lauren Bacall after a half bottle of whiskey and a pack of cigarettes.

And I don’t have my normal amount of energy, but I haven’t been compelled to just drop everything and nap for four hours.

I read the email a bunch of times and decided, I’ll open it tomorrow.

I texted a friend who has been witnessing this whole thing and he said something interesting and I realized, am I just here at the very end of the longest mile and not pushing through?

Am I scared?

I suppose.

Perhaps it is perfectionism, I was sent a message this morning that stated perfectionism is “fear dressed up in heels and a mink coat,” and, well, I had to laugh; I do love a good dressing up.

So.

I opened it.

I opened the dissertation and I found an error that needs correcting, on page 52 of 267, and I thought, wow, that’s not bad. One little error.

And I tried to correct it and realized I had only opened it in a way that could be read but not edited.

And I paused.

Not because I want to be perfect.

But because I recognized that is enough for today.

I took the whole week off from clients.

Maybe the Universe had plans for me that I didn’t even know I needed to attend to.

I am going to be gentle and mindful, again not perfect, but also, not procrastinating.

Which means that I have done enough today.

I have begun the end.

And I can get one more night’s rest before sitting down at my desk and doing the final steps.

Tomorrow I do the deal.

The damn thing has waited this long.

It can wait one more day.

I’ll keep you posted.

And.

I’m not going to bother to beat myself up about this, I already played that story out, I’m not going to judge myself, I’m just going to be grateful that I have gotten this far and there is not much left to do. I’m not going to have false humility and not talk about what happened and pretend that I graduated with smooth sailing. It’s been a hideous, bumpy, tumultuous experience, and in some way, I am very well aware that I will walk through this so that I can turn around and say to someone going through the same thing, “see I’ve been there, I got you, you can do this too.”

And as the brain fog starts to settle back down and I’m getting a little fuzzy, I’m going to stop here as well.

I have nothing pithy to add.

Just that there might still be time to take a nap.

Really.

There is always time to take a nap.

That is all.

Fuck Me!

June 5, 2016

That was so good.

I mean so, so, so very, very, very.

Yes.

Oh yes.

Good.

And no, sir, it was not my Tinder date.

Who never confirmed.

Dudes.

Strike two.

However.

As they, the infamous they, like to say, “rejection is God’s protection.”

Um yeah.

And apparently I was supposed to be doing something other than have stupid good sex.

That did bum me out for a minute, oh the plans I lay when I want to get laid, like, um, having a weekend of stupid good sex, that was the plan, God, don’t you know?

Ahem.

Anyway.

So.

I was positive, I acted with positive things in mind.

Well, if God doesn’t want me to be on the aforementioned two day date, which as I said, previous like was cancelled at the same time that another sexy offer came floating in, and, well, yeah, no confirmation on that either, which means, something stellar is going to happen.

I believe.

I have faith.

I woke up, let myself sleep in and take the later yoga class.

Which kicked my fucking ass.

Why did I not start doing yoga years and years ago?

Hindsight.

Fucking 20/20.

I had the most intense moment of diseased thinking that I have had for a minute today in class, which surprised me, brought tears to my eyes and I thought to myself as I was collapsed in a heap in child’s pose (can’t even get this one right, Martines, my head whispered to me, as the teacher adjusted my hips in the pose) I was overcome with a deep, intense, overwhelming wave of self-loathing.

Whoa.

Come on.

You showed up.

This is it.

This is the only body that you have and it didn’t drop dead on you all those years that you beat it to shit, beating your soul down, wearing down your heart, selling yourself so short, abusing it all with as much crap as I could shove in my mouth or up my nose.

Why now?

Why?

Because, that’s the story, that’s the narrative, “you are just not good enough, sexy enough, smart enough, blah, blah, blah, and why are you still single, blah, blah, blah.”

Shut the fuck up.

All that being said, I did move through the poses and some were awkward and painful, but I did it, I showed up, chatted with the teacher after, thanked her, gratefully, I am grateful for this beautiful body that God has given me to walk around in.

Even when I can’t do a stupid vinayasa pose.

So what?

I am able bodied.

How many people wish for a body capable of being able to do yoga?

Yeah, so I don’t look as good doing it as Suzy perfect who is, by the way brain, 20 years younger than you.

I forget that I am 43.

I forget it, then, I smile and whoa, hello, smile lines.

But they are sexy.

I am sexy.

Please.

I know.

I am also not real humble, but hey, I know what I am, even if the body is not 20 year old banging, my brain, well, that’s where the real sexy is at and believe me I am better in bed than I was twenty years ago, and frankly, healthier, both emotionally and physically, not to mention spiritually too.

So.

I got back from yoga, took a hot shower, made a late breakfast and got down to do some writing.

As I was about to launch into my morning pages I checked the social media things and saw that some friends of mine had gone to Paul Simon at the Greek Theater last night.

I was jealous.

Damn it.

That would have been such a good show, I wish I had gotten tickets.

Cue.

Scrolling down the page and what?

WHAT?

No fucking way.

One of my friend’s has posted about having a spare ticket to Paul Simon at the Greek, anyone interested?

Oh hells yes.

Me, me, me, me.

I wrote on his page.

“You, you, you, you,” came the response.

Followed by a rapid number of texts, including the set list from last night show.

Cue listening to Paul Simon all day with a smile smashed on my face.

My heart so on my sleeve, I swear there were little drops of heart shaped blood glowing luminescent in my wake, small moons of joy as the music washed over and through me.

Who cares if both my Tinder dates cancelled?

I’m going to Paul Simon!!

See.

God really did have something better planned.

Thanks God.

I sort of needed that.

Not that I don’t think that I’m the bees knees, the cat’s pajamas, and all that jazz, it was just a little disconcerting to get back to back rejections.

But that’s ok.

Rejection is just getting things out of the way so that I am prepared for what is supposed to happen next.

Like.

Um, oh.

Paul Simon.

Playing an amazing, mind blowing, joyful, serious the joy level was off the chain, energetic, passionate, amazing set.

He played from Rhythm of the Saints, which is one of my favorites of his albums, if not my favorite, songs I have never heard performed live before.

I was in tears.

Really.

A whole bunch.

I was washed with the perspective of decades and thought about all the times I had closed down the bar at the Angelic Brewing Company and depending on who I was working with, mostly one particular bartender, I would turn off all the lights, set up a few globe candles on the bar, tap out a couple of pints of bitter and listen to Paul Simon until the very edges of dawn were pushing through the windows of the bar.

All the narratives I told myself, all the stories, all the melancholy and remorse and the unrequited love, the blue cornflower eyes and the sheaf of blonde hair that beguiled my heart, the dancing to Diamonds on the Soles of My shoes, in the dark, with him.

Oh, be still you silly heart.

Maybe these emotions are as close to love as I will ever be.

All the stories I told myself, the stories that I can spin, but choose not to, I saw them all rising in the fog of the open air theater, adrift on the music spinning out into the night and I was so grateful I could burst.

Then.

Mike Doughty friend requested me on facecrack and my brain broke.

I was taking out my phone to take one of three photos I took tonight, I really just wanted to be present with the music instead of stuck in my phone, and there it was.

I punched my friend in his arm, he’s a Doughty fan too, and I was like, “um, so what do you think should add him?”

I could not handle it.

I was so happy.

I am so happy.

These are all just humans.

But something glorious shines through.

Love.

God.

Music.

I am the luckiest girl.

I am a wanton word woman.

I am delirious with art and music and memory and gratitude.

Because really.

Sometimes even music cannot substitute for tears.

What this is, all is.

Is grace.

I am graced.

And a little hoarse from singing along at the Greek Theater with thousands of other very happy people.

It was a beautiful night.

And I accepted Mike’s request.

Only seemed like the polite thing to do.

Heh.

I mean, God forbid he ever find out I have a tiny crush on him.

Please.

My heart is just happy to have all that I have.

I have so very much.

So very much.

Yes.

Love.

Love.

That and always that.

Truly.

Just.

Love.

 

 

Working Out the Residual

April 17, 2016

Sad.

Opening up to the positive Carmen.

Yeah, I’m sad I’m not going to Burning Man this year, but you know what, that means somebody else gets to go instead of me and there is a very good reason for it, the beginning of my second year of grad school.

It’s not like I’m flaking out cuz I want to sleep in.

Or that’s it’s so different now.

It was better when.

I am not going because I made the choice to pursue a career that was actually suggested to me when I was at Burning Man.

And the friends that bore witness to that epiphany were in attendance today and I got to celebrate my friendship with them.

I also got to practice what my person, who I met with today, it was so nice to get back to meeting after the long weekend of school and get down to doing the deal.

I have two ladies tomorrow, it’s a good thing to have and a kind of accountability I really need to have in my life.

Especially when I can automatically go to what’s wrong with my life rather than what’s not right.

So much is good, right, and right on.

And I have a deep seated intuition, deep, that there is a really good reason for me not being on playa this year.

Maybe next year I just, um go, and not try and work.

Maybe I don’t nanny.

Maybe.

I actually still have the job offer for next year on the table if I want it from the family I was going to go with for this burn.  They left it there and said they want me when they can get me.

That’s a lovely bit of confidence from a family I haven’t even truly worked for, it stems from my referrals and from my experience on playa.

So.

For today I got to focus on, well, today.

It was a glorious day, so warm and sunny and delicious.

Perfect day for a baby birthday party in Berkeley.

So many little tiny toes!

So many delectable little elbows.

Sometimes I am sad that I have never had my own, but then I think, I have gotten to enter act and engage with so many children that ultimately I am the better woman for it.

And I also knew that I wanted to spend some time with my friends, two of whom are not in the coupled up with baby part of their lives, we formed a little love knot on the outskirts of the mini-wading pool party with swim diapers and baby bikinis and pool toys and talked about all things not so kosher at a children’s birthday party.

Which was probably why it was so delicious to be ensconced between the two of them and get my salty single adult on.

“I’m so glad you haven’t had any contact,” my friend and I talked dating after leaving the birthday party and heading back to all things San Francisco, tech, Tinder, Hinge, apps, grad school, life in general, you know.

It was a little shocking to realize that it’s been months, three, and some change and I could go down the sad route or.

“I want you to be positive Carmen,” she said to me today across the table from me at Tart To Tart.

She had me write about what it looks like to be entirely ready and I read what I had written and she has me being positive.

“Be positive, so you’re not going to Burning Man, don’t make it a sad thing, make it a positive thing.”

I’m not going to Burning Man and there is something amazing and awesome happening in my life instead.

I’m not seeing the man I was so close to, though nobody knew, everybody knew, who I felt so much love for, fan-fucking-tastic!

Look at how much time I have to do my reading for school and go to yoga and practice dating.

Rejection is God’s protection and that means there’s a better man for me out there.

By far.

Duh.

No date on a Saturday night and you look pretty and have on a dress and you’re hair looks good.

Great!

Go order take out and read your book and take a walk and let the wind play with your hair and when the cute boy, I mean, hello, smiles at you, smile back and although I was momentarily tempted to follow him down to the beach for the bonfire, he was a touch too, hmm, stoned?

But hey, thanks for the invite.

And no baby, I’m not interested in you because you’re smoking a cigarette and headed into Pittsburgh’s bar, but thanks for telling me I’m beautiful and have great tattoos and you really like my hair, really.

It’s nice to get complimented.

It’s nice to leave a tip on a take out order.

It’s nice to let someone else have more room in the grocery store aisle.

It’s nice to walk around my neighborhood in flip flops.

It’s so nice to go to yoga.

I’m not sad at all about what I’m missing out on.

I got some much needed down time and me time and sun time.

I’m positive that it’s all happening exactly how it’s suppose to happen.

My life is glorious.

I have so much.

To long for things I think I should have when I am sitting in the midst of such abundance is a futile waste of precious love and energy.

Be light.

“Lighten up!” She said to me.

Yes.

Go where the water is warm.

The light is clear.

And.

The love is bright.

There is nothing wrong.

I am positive of that.

Seriously.


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