Posts Tagged ‘practicum’

Nothing’s Sunk In

May 8, 2018

I have not yet felt the reality of being done with my Master’s program.

It has not sunk in at all.

I bumped into, and invited, a former employer who I ran into today in Noe Valley to my party, who replied after giving me a huge hug, how much the boys would love to see me and that they would of course come.

It was very sweet.

She and her partner are both psychiatrists, so it was really nice and quite validating to get some of the recognition from them when I worked for them regarding my abilities.

The last time I bumped into them I had just begun practicum.

Now I’ve completed the program.

It was a touch surreal.

The time has gone by fast, even though it was such a slog too.

So much work.

She insisted that I needed to stop and take it in and take a moment.

But I don’t have any moments.

Not right now.

Not right yet.

To appreciate and reflect and give myself a pat on the back.

I just jumped right back into work today and before work I had to go to Hayes Valley and drop of my paperwork that needed to be signed.

And of course.

I fucked it up.

OHMYFUCKINGGOD.

What is my problem?

Tired.

You are tired and overwhelmed and want everything to be completed and you just finished a Herculean task and haven’t really sat with the reality of what it all means.

And.

I didn’t fuck it up that bad.

But for a minute there.

I was so mad at myself I could have screamed on the corner of Gough and Hayes.

In fact.

I did say a couple of profanities out loud in frustration.

I was so set on getting the paperwork to the right place, to the right mailbox on to the next thing that had to be done, so über focused, that I didn’t realize the door code to the building I was using was the wrong one.

I made the presumption (as it has happened in the past when I met with my supervisor that I would occasionally get to the office before it was open and I would have to wait until he arrived to turn the dead bolt) that when the code didn’t work it was because there was no one in the office and the dead bolt was still in place.

I was so mad.

Why wasn’t there someone there?

There’s always someone there by this time.

What the fuck is going on.

I was so frustrated, thinking that I had come all the way down and there was no way of getting my paperwork to my supervisor and shit, I’m going to have to come down again and damn it all to hell.

I sighed.

I turned around.

Then.

I noticed the mail slot.

I could put the envelope through the mail slot.

I hemmed and hawed, the post it note with my supervisor’s name and suite number  could come off, then how would anyone know where it was supposed to go.

But.

I figured if he didn’t get it I would just print off another form and run it back down.

I slid it through the mail slot.

I decided I had enough time to mail out my Mother’s Day gift and I headed off to get into my car and wait a second.

The code.

Did I use the wrong code?

What code did I use?

Shit.

I think I used my therapists code.

My therapist in Noe Valley.

Hallelujah!

I ran back, I looked up my supervisor’s code, I let myself into the building, I went to the mail slot and looked at the floor.

There was nothing there!

Where’d the hell it go?

I dashed upstairs.

The door to my supervisor’s office was closed, I know better than to knock, he could have been in session, but I hoped fervently that he was there and had gotten the envelope.

There was nothing left to do but go and send and e-mail and feel a bit chagrined and not beat myself up too much, I still did a little, and get on to the next thing.

Mailing said package.

Which I did.

Then ran into the former employer.

And yes.

I did acknowledge she was right, I need to stop.

To sit.

To savor it.

But honestly.

All I feel like doing is crying.

I’m in a lot of pain again with the reflux and I haven’t enjoyed the ending of the program partially because I haven’t had the time to do so but also because I’m in gnarly ass pain again.

Fortunately.

The GI’s office got back to me today and booked the three procedures with me the doctor wants to do.

I will go in on May 17th and see what is going on.

I have taken that whole day off from work, I’ll be doing a ph test and wearing a wire that will be inserted through my nose into my esophagus and into my stomach, for 24 hours.

I had already asked off for the 18th, figuring that I would be socializing with my mom who’s coming for my graduation.

I really don’t want to deal with a parent visit and the wire test, but what the fuck can I do?

I can’t take being in pain like this much longer and I’ll deal with the visit the best I can.

The doctor will also do an endoscopy.

The procedure will be done at 1p.m and I can’t eat 6 hours prior or drink fluids 4 hours prior.

My mom called today, she’s back from her trip and wants to discuss her trip.

I don’t even know what to say right now.

I feel like I’m just hanging on, I’m not sure I can manage more.

I’m just in pain.

I know it will pass.

I won’t die.

I mean.

I hope not.

I want to wear my cap and gown.

I want to walk the stage.

I want to celebrate on the beach with the people I love.

I really do.

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Locked Out

May 5, 2018

But not for long.

I was just trying to get onto the student loan site.

I need to apply for a Grad Plus Loan.

I have done this once before, last summer when I was in practicum and realized that it was a two credit course, aka, about $2200 that I needed to come up with in order to pay for the supervision that I needed to begin seeing clients.

The school told me what to do and I did it.

I barely remembered doing it, but today when I went and checked in with the financial aid department they gave me the same instructions.

And yes.

My package that I was granted is $3,000 shy.

So.

Off to http://www.studentloans.gov to get me some more money.

Except, I swear, that they need like the name of my first-born child, a lock of hair from a unicorn mane, a sprinkle of fairy dust, me to click my heels three times in precision and spin around in my kitchen, to get into the damn system.

It’s happened every single time that I have tried to utilize it that it won’t accept the password that I have for it and then it freezes up.

So.

First.

I have to reset the password for the umpteenth time.

Then.

I am told that I have to wait 30 minutes.

What the fuck.

Come on.

You have my social security, my birthdate, my three, THREE, challenge questions, my mother’s maiden name, and my phone number.

Isn’t that fucking enough?

Meh.

Anyway.

Glad to know that I can apply for some more debt, hahaha, sigh, but that it is a resource is a comfort.

Plus.

In my visit I found out that I don’t have to worry about my exit interview to graduate with my Master’s Degree as I have registered for my PhD program as well as having accepted the financial aid package that the school put together for me.

That was good news.

The not so good news.

UGH.

Another motherfucking piece of paperwork has surfaced that I have to get signed.

I do not understand why the hell the school doesn’t give each fucking student a packet of the papers that need to be filled out to each cohort as they come in.

Then I could just pull it out, get it signed and turn it back in.

This whole trying to figure out what I need to get to them is frustrating as fuck.

Listen people.

I have gotten straight A’s and am on track to continue that with the papers I turned in and the presentations I have done, plus I have given you a fuck ton of money.

Stop it already.

Seriously.

So.

I got the two pieces of paperwork from the office and I have them in my folder and one I will get filled out next Saturday when I go to Group Supervision and the other I will have to wait and see until I get a reply from my supervisor that I no longer meet with.

I am going to be hella bummed if he asked me to come in early on Monday.

I am looking forward, in a really dreamy sort of way, to actually sleeping in on Monday.

But.

If I have to go in on Monday morning to get the paperwork signed I will.

I’m sorting of hoping that I’ll be able to do it at another time.

We shall see.

I may not even hear back from him until Monday, his work week is Monday-Thursday, he always takes a three-day weekend.

Private practice goals!

Speaking of.

It felt so good to share with the cohort that I had gotten a private practice internship, it was such a nice way to start the weekend.

As well as reflecting to them how much I have grown and grown up.

I compared it to starting the program riding my bicycle to school.

Then I got a scooter.

And today, well, I drove to school in my car.

And found parking!

So nice.

I reflected how far I have come and how much work I have done and I’m pretty fucking amazed.

Of course.

There are a lot of folks who helped me a long the way, some in small ways, some in grand ways.

I am reflecting on my best friend and the support I have gotten and the love for doing the work I am doing and the reflection that I am good at what I do and that I should absolutely go for my PhD.

It means so much that love and support.

I am so grateful for it all.

And grateful that this is it!

This is the last weekend of the program.

Today was the first day, I have two left.

And already a slight change in plans.

A friend of mine in the cohort and I have chosen to skip the closing ceremony and just go out to dinner the two of us.

She’s such a dear friend that I would rather spend the time with her then saying good-bye to people, though I do like them, do not measure up to the friendship we have created these past years.

She lives out-of-state too, so yeah, dinner at Schmidt’s with her tomorrow night instead of the closing ceremony.

I was ambivalent about it anyway.

My closing ceremony will be commencement and my graduation beach bonfire party.

That’s where it’s at for me.

And.

Hopefully I have given the Student Loans Government site enough time to reset.

Fingers crossed I get my new password correct.

Heh.

One More Thing

April 25, 2018

Gotten.

I picked up my third practicum review from the supervisor at my site.

All fives, the best one could score, and two “fours.”

To tell you the truth I wasn’t expecting anything less.

My supervisor has pretty much given me the same score from the beginning.

I’ve not had any interactions with him, he’s not discussed my progress, and this time I had even fewer notes about my abilities than before.

It’s not a problem.

And it is.

I’m not getting the kind of training I feel that I need to really become the kind of therapist I want to be.

I am a good therapist.

I can say that without qualms and I will become better with the more clients I see and the more experience I get.

But.

I’m not being trained at this site, there’s really no theory being used except take what you like and leave the rest, which is good, up until a point.

I was talking with my therapist about this today and what it was like to work with my other supervisor who was amazing and taught me so much that I am still in awe of the experience and I realize, already missing him.

He was hard to show up for because I had expectations about myself and wanted to show him that I was capable and smart and good.

He got all that and he reflected back honestly where I needed work, where I needed boundaries, where I was doing well, where I could grow and how I could do that.

My current supervisor does not do that and I had the feeling today when I picked up my evaluation that I won’t be there all that much longer.

Oh.

For a little while yet.

Or maybe with fewer clients.

I just sense that I need to be getting more and I’m going with that gut feeling and I’m going to start actively looking for a private practice internship.

There are somethings I need to do, get on the list serve at CIIS and look for supervisors taking on interns.

Reach out to people I am interested in working with.

The professor I reached out to last night got back to me and let me know that she was not taking any interns at the moment, but were she I would be at the top of her list.

She also said that she would forward my name on as an intern to any supervisors she thought would be a good fit.

She encouraged me to look into private practice internship and gave me the impression that I was indeed on the right track doing so.

My therapist said the same thing, she felt that it wold best serve me and gave me some resources.

I am excited.

I am in a place of transition and I am completely ok with the clients I have now and the schedule I have, but I realize I could be better served, learn more and have better guidance elsewhere.

I am so grateful for my practicum site for all the flexibility it has and for the wide range of clients I have gotten to see, the diversity of cases has been awesome.

I also appreciate that I don’t have to do a lot of paper work, that’s been pretty big, I just am recognizing that there is more and that I feel confident at this point exploring my options when I am well situated where I am.

I don’t have to leave, I can explore and take my time and find a good fit.

I just need to look about and ask questions and see who may be available.

I have two other former professors I would love to work with and I think  I will reach out to both of them.

There.

Just reached out to one.

Excuse me while I draft another quick e-mail to the other.

And done.

That felt good.

Very proactive.

And that’s what I have to do.

Take little actions and see what happens.

What my therapist remarked on today is that I don’t sound anxious.

And I’m not!

I’m excited.

I feel like I am moving forward in a positive way and although I don’t know the exact direction I’m going or what door to go through next, I feel like things are unfolding.

And really.

All I have to focus on is what I need to do next to get all my paperwork into school.

This Saturday I will have my group supervisor sign my paperwork.

I will be taking all those signatures and the evaluation to school with me the next weekend of classes.

I will hand them over and find out what I have to do next.

I will need to get my therapist to sign off on my year of therapy, which we discussed today as well, and she’s all set to go.

In fact, now that I think of it, I might as well bring that paperwork into our next session.

Then I can have the last evaluation, the signed forms from each supervisor, and my therapy sessions covered and done.

I’m sure there’s some little bit of paperwork that will still need to get sussed out, but I feel very confident that it will.

Very confident.

 

You’re An Incredible Therapist

April 24, 2018

Aw!

Thanks man.

I had my last session today with my practicum supervisor.

Which means that as on this Friday I am no longer a trainee.

I am an intern.

I know.

I’ve been calling it an internship forever, but it’s always been “practicum” which is basically a trainee.

Now I become an intern and what that means is that I don’t have to do as much supervision.

Which means I will go in once a week to group supervision and that will cover 10 clients of direct face to face time.

As a trainee I was only allowed five clients face to face per supervision session, so I had to go twice a week.

Truth be told.

I wish that I didn’t have to continue with group and that I could continue with my, now former, supervisor.

I just got so much out of working with him.

I also got some strong admonishment from him about where I am interning and how I need to hold boundaries and about what clients I want to cultivate and what clients I need to let go of.

He also suggested that I look into private practice internship.

And I think he’s right.

He recommended someone who I had as a professor and I am going to ask her ASAP.

I feel like I should actually be drafting an e-mail right now.

There.

Did it.

Not letting any moss grow on that stone.

Onward and upward.

What it means to be a private practice intern is that I would take clients and use the license of the therapist who I work under, said person would also supervise me and my clients.

I would also get paid, though not that much, the majority, usually half, sometimes more, goes to the therapist with the client.

It helps though, and it is certainly more than what I am getting now, which is nothing.

I could also stay at my internship and see clients.

There are options.

But  won’t know what they will look like unless I start exploring them.

I will say I almost asked Bruce if I could intern for him, but I got the impression that he didn’t have the space, though he did express that he was going to miss working with me.

I was very flattered by that.

I also teared up a bit at the end.

And!

He broke the therapeutic frame and hugged me.

It was so sweet.

It was  really nice way to end.

He also encouraged me to stay in contact with him, he’d like to know where I am going to end up.

I told him I would of course be inviting him to the office warming party when I open up my own private practice.

I can’t wait.

Oh.

Yes.

If only just to decorate.

That’s a ways off.

But.

Getting slowly closer.

I got a few other things done today to advance me down that path as well.

I zipped over to CIIS after supervision, found parking after circling for a minute, right in front, jumped out, hopped up to the 4th floor and registered for my fall semester of my PhD program!

And.

I was just proactive and logged into my student account to see if my financial aid package was ready.

It was.

I accepted.

I’m a little nervous though.

I’m not quite sure, but it looks like tuition for the year is $24,500 and my financial aid package tallied up to $21,500.

That means I’m shy three grand.

Which is not good.

I wasn’t expecting to pay anything out-of-pocket.

In fact, I was hoping to get a little extra to help cover cost of living expenses.

There’s still a chance that I could get some scholarship monies, and who knows, maybe I can take out a grad plus loan too.

It’s all a lot to juggle and I need to remind myself that I have done a fucking lot today.

As I also turned in my Letter of Agreement paperwork to the practicum office and updated my student id at the registrar’s office then returned my library book and flew down the stairs, hopped into my car, and zoomed over to work.

Work was good.

Pretty chill.

I had a little headache, I think I was a bit stressed about getting everything in today that I needed, I also had my supervisor sign off all the paperwork from the last year and a half, so yeah, juggling a lot of moving parts today.

And of course.

Seeing a client.

My early client cancelled.

So just one today.

I used the time in between work and the second client to go to SafeWay and get some groceries, that felt good to do and it was nice to have the extra time to take care of that.

I was too busy writing my Research Methods paper yesterday to get to the grocery store.

All in all it was a good day, definitely busy, but so grateful to have gotten the things done that I needed to accomplish.

Slowly building up momentum towards graduation!

Tomorrow I’ll pick up my practicum site evaluation and I’ll need to take that in as well to CIIS and drop it off.

Last time I mailed it and it got lost in the mail room for weeks, this time I’m not going to risk it, I’m just going to drop it off in person.

All the things.

All of them.

Coming together.

Almost there.

So, so, so close.

Dot An “i”

April 9, 2018

Cross a “t.”

One more small bit of paperwork in the works.

I have had this gnawing feeling for weeks now that I was missing some paperwork for my school.

My God.

The amount of paperwork that is required to prove I have been doing the deal for the last three semesters is horrendous.

I have had four supervisors.

Two that I primarily work with.

Two that I accrued a couple of hours with.

Hours that no matter how small, matter quite a lot, little by little those hours are going to add up to me being licenced and every single fucking one of them is important.

So I have four separate pieces of paper with all their relevant information on them for the BBS.

And then I must have another set of papers, not the original signed ones, but facsimiles or copies thereof to show my school.

Plus.

Every hour.

EVERY SINGLE HOUR.

Has to be signed off by a supervisor.

I have had one main supervisor.

I will, in fact, be seeing him tomorrow.

And he’s the one that will be doing the majority of the signing.

I have had another, my group supervisor, who will also be needing to sign a fair amount of paperwork.

What I did not know is that there needed to be a Letter Of Agreement between my site supervisor and my school, CIIS, supervisor.

I had no clue.

No one ever told me.

It just slipped through the cracks.

So that nagging feeling of there’s something missing was not wrong, I just didn’t know what it was that I needed.

I found out yesterday and today when I got done with school I zoomed over to my internship and left the paperwork on my internship supervisor’s desk with a big fat note saying please sign this ASAP, and oh yeah, pre-date it.

Thankfully he got my email and I just now received a response and all is good.

I will still have to pick up the paperwork and take it to my other supervisor who is not affiliated with my organization, and have him sign it, then return all that paperwork to the school.

That will all happen next Monday.

Tomorrow I will just go meet with my supervisor and we will start my review.

I received it today while I was in class and it was something else to read while I was on my lunch break.

Carmen continues to demonstrate an amazing work ethic.

Aw.  Thanks man!

Carmen has done extremely well at Liberation Institute and is currently seeing about eight regular patients. She is on track to complete her hours for graduation.

I have completed them!!

I needed 225 to graduate and as of the last time I checked I have 244.

I actually have more hours than that, 385.75, but some of those hours while counting for the BBS requirements, do not count for CIIS’s graduation requirements.

The school’s requirements though, have been met!  I have enough hours, I will graduate.

Pending signing of a fuck load of paperwork, but my hours have been met!

Regarding supervision, Carmen attends every session on time, is eager and prepared to
speak about many patients, and appreciates the time together. She is a quick learner and
leans on her supervisor to help interpret difficult situations and seems increasingly
comfortable with handling her treatments.  Carmen is demonstrating an aptitude to manage the amount of psychic space and time that she allows her patients to consume and is making mature decisions.
Carmen is ending her last semester of practicum and seems ready for the next challenge.

You bet your ass I’m ready for the next challenge, bring on graduation.

I am also ready for a break, truth be told, but that will have to wait for a little while yet.

Carmen’s treatments have been diverse. She sees both men and women. She sees both
straight and gay patients. She has a culturally diverse practice. Carmen is able to manage
cultural diversity well.

That was nice to hear, I do see a great range of people and I am quite grateful that I can hold more than one type of client.

Carmen has met her goals for practicum. She shown that she can do intakes (consults),
get patients interested in a treatment, and retain them. She can build alliances. Her
patients come regularly and seem to enjoy their relationship with her. Carmen is able to
be herself in session, manage her anxiety, negotiate boundaries and the frame, and deal
with the rudiments of transference (i.e., idealization / devaluation).
Carmen enjoys her case work and is progressing beyond what is expected.

I am enjoying my work!

I really like my clients, and I feel like I am a good therapist.

Carmen shows an aptitude for intuiting transference and countertransference issues.

I am very proud of this.

It may not mean much to a lay person reading that, but I remember how confused I was just defining those terms when I first started my program.  I still need a lot of work around theory, but as my supervisor writes I will have years to work on theory and that my beginnings have aptitude.

That makes me happy to hear.

And then there was this:

Carmen has done extremely well in her practicum. She establishes a solid frame, sets
good boundaries, builds trusted alliances and is increasingly comfortable conducting
treatments with her patients. Carmen is an extremely hardworking and reliable therapist for her patients, listens well, empathizes and provides support. By listening to her countertransference, Carmen intuits patients’ motives and conflicts. She has the capacity to progress her treatments in deep and generative ways. Carmen’s patients are extremely lucky to have such a gifted and committed therapist.

That last sentence.

Oh wow.

That was so nice to read.

To be told by someone who I respect, and perhaps revere a touch, the man is a fucking genius, that I am a gifted therapist, that my clients are lucky to have me, my God, that just amazed me.

I am so, so, so grateful for this opportunity to get to be of service and to get to use what I know to help others, it means so much.

And it doesn’t hurt that I have a real career that I am investing myself in, a chance to become more and do more than I have done before.

To help others and also, truly, myself.

I am so blessed.

Luckiest girl in the world.

Dorked Out!

March 21, 2018

I am totally all geeked out.

I literally just cooked dinner in my cap and gown for graduation.

Hehehehee.

They came in the mail today!

It’s really really real.

I’m graduating.

It still feels surreal.

I also put the hood on backwards, and then laughed my ass off at myself as I stood in the hallway to my studio admiring myself.

In my bunny slippers.

I will probably wear different shoes to the ceremony.

Probably.

Heh.

My slippers are cute.

But who the hell would take me seriously in my slippers?

They are cozy little things, but perhaps not to walk the stage as I receive my diploma for my Master’s Degree in Integral Counseling Psychology.

I’m so excited to graduate.

It has been such a journey.

I still can’t quite believe it’s happening.

Like that horrible nightmare I used to have every once in a while that I hadn’t actually graduated from high school and I have to go back and take some test or turn in some assignment still.

No fucking thank you.

I received the official invitation to graduate from the school yesterday.

That was nice.

Really nice.

I still have hoops to jump through and forms that will need to be signed, but academically, everything is set, I’ve been cleared to graduate.

I will have to turn in my therapy form–my program requires that I do a year of therapy with a licensed MFT while I am in practicum.

A requirement that I was upset with for a little while, not the therapy part so much, but that I would have to be with a licensed MFT which costs quite a bit more than working with a trainee.

Then again.

I really like my therapist.

She’s great.

And.

Man.

We did some work today.

I sat down and said and today we’re going to talk about ______________.

And we did and it was good and I got some perspective and a different frame then what I had expected and I was super grateful for that.

Sometimes I just need someone else’s perspective.

My perspective is not always true.

And often misleading or anxiety inducing.

My therapist gave me a very different way of seeing things and for that I am so very grateful.

And.

I was able to forward that experience onto a client tonight.

I didn’t disclose my therapy session to my client, rather, I just helped my client see things different.

And the response was great.

I am always so happy when I get to be of service and help someone see something that they couldn’t on their own.

Therapy is work and anyone who tells you different is lying.

It’s hard work.

But.

Fuck.

It so pays off.

Frankly, everyone could use therapy.

I mean, who couldn’t use a person to sit and empathetically listen to them for an hour once a week?

It’s so nice to be able to talk about all the crap in my head and get it sorted and processed and let it go and not stuff emotions and have feelings and see what they are and how I want to move through the world.

Therapy has such great value for me and I am so pleased that I get to be a therapist and I get to help my clients and it really moves me when they get something from the work I do with them.

It’s work on both ends.

Which is exciting.

And I get to constantly learn things.

I had a huge amount of stuff come up around a client yesterday in my supervision then I met with the client in the evening and just sitting there and being with them and using all the work I had done earlier in the day was so gratifying.

It was amazing.

It can be hard.

I won’t lie.

Sometimes I think wow, this is some hard work, but it is so good to be helpful to others.

I am happy that I have found a career that lets me do that.

Of course, I have that too with my nanny career, but this feels bigger and feels like I will have more impact.

Although I do not, by any means, disparage the work I do with children, nor how important it is.

It is really fucking important.

My little monkeys mean so much to me.

And that I get paid to love, well, that is super special.

And I will get paid to love too, as a therapist, that’s one of my biggest goals, to provide my clients with love, empathy, kindness, to help, it’s a different kind of loving relationship than a romantic union or a friendship, it is a special relationship because of confidentiality and knowing that there will be times, many times, when the client needs to work out something and that something is going to be hard to hold.

But I get to try to and in the trying I learn and in the learning I grow.

It’s really a lovely relationship full of reciprocity and though, no, I wouldn’t call it altruistic, there is something of that flavor to it as well.

I never thought this would really happen.

Me, graduating from a Master’s degree program.

Although it was something I always knew I wanted, I never quite knew how it wold happen.

But you know.

I had faith.

And

It’s actually happening.

Really.

REALLY.

Happening.

Monday

March 20, 2018

You’re a busy lady, you are.

Got up early.

Showered, did the deal, dressed, made bed, ate breakfast, drank coffee, stretched, did hair and makeup.

Had fucking boss day with the hair.

Mostly wasted on nannying, but felt good to have a good big hair day.

“What is that?” Asked my little lady charge today as we stood on the platform for the J-Church train to Glen Park.

“Hair, and don’t touch it,” I replied.

It was a giant patch of a weave just chilling on the street.

Looked like the after effects of a bad cat fight.

“But it looks so soft, I want to touch it, is it yours?” She asked bending down to take a closer look.

“Do not touch it, and no, I promise, it’s not mine,” I added, gave her a squeeze and asked her if she wanted a snack.

Snacks are always the best distraction.

Hair weaves.

Sometimes it’s really obvious that I live in the city.

Today, many times.

There was a man just outside the door to my office space tonight, laying on the ground, belly down, sprawled out, pants off kilter, just chilling, talking to the pavement and having a nice little conversation.

I couldn’t tell if it was booze or heroin and I wasn’t going to investigate.

8:30p.m. on a Monday night, I just wanted to get the fuck out of there and get home and have my dinner.

Monday’s are a long day.

And that’s ok.

I have six weeks left of supervision.

Six weeks until I won’t have to get up extra early to get out of the house and beat morning rush hour traffic downtown to see my supervisor.

I am ready for that.

Granted.

I will miss working with my supervisor, I have learned such a tremendous amount from him.

I just won’t miss getting up early.

I decided on my way to my clients today, after a longish day with the family, the dad’s been out-of-town for work and doesn’t get back until tomorrow, for a good bit and the mom’s definitely been feeling the strain of doing the parenting for three children.

It’s a lot of work.

Especially when one of them is a baby.

I took the baby off her hands for the first part of the day, then we swapped at school pick up and I had my little girl charge all for myself while her mom took the older brother to piano lessons.

It was a nice day and we went to Dolores Park.

I am always so grateful to get to the park.

It’s a good balance, I think, with my studies and my internship and being a psychotherapist in training, to have a part of the day when I get to be outside and in a park.

It felt really good to get some sun on my face.

Really good.

Especially since the next three days call for rain and it’s been a really rainy past few weeks.

I was ready for that sunshine.

I am always ready for sunshine.

I think about Paris in July and I’m all agog to get sundresses and sandals and breezy clothes and be warm.

I like being warm.

The irony of living in the foggiest place in the city is not lost on me.

The Outer Sunset was never my first choice, but as I have been here now for four and a half years, it has become my home.

And.

Honestly.

I don’t know that I could have handled having a car anywhere else in the city.

I generally find parking on my block or within a block of my house.

I easily find parking at work and so too at my internship.

It’s really perfect.

And it’s always so nice to have the car when the weather is not great and also when I get done late at the internship, to get in my car and listen to some music.

So freaking good.

I have really been getting into having music when I drive, it’s the bomb.

I also feel safer and though the gas is expensive, it’s worth it.

I am really so happy that I got the car.

I’ve grown so much these past few years.

Walking through this school program and showing up for the work consistently, working with clients, getting back into my own therapy, my job with my current family, all the recovery work I have done and still do, it’s been such a tremendous amount of growth.

My best friend reminded me that I graduate in two months.

I will fucking walk the stage at the Norse Theater two months from today on May 19th.

That also put into perspective the work that I need to do before I graduate.

There’s still a good bit.

I got one more thing out-of-the-way today though, got another signature for paperwork that needed to be signed.

Slowly.

But steadily.

And I will get it all done.

I will.

I admitted to my person yesterday that I was having some anxiety about getting it all organized and put together and that I felt a bit stupid and was beating myself up a little.

He right sized that shit pretty quick, confirming how organized I am and that my brain was cooking up some “manufactured misery” to wallow in.

I realized he was right, I had to say some things out loud to see how silly it all sounded, and it sounded damn silly as soon as the words left my mouth.

My brain can do that, get all caught up in the thinking and not realize how asinine it is until I say it out loud to someone.

Thank God for another’s perspective.

I mean.

Really.

Thank fucking God.

Anyway.

Me and my rambles are going to wrap it up.

I want to wind down a little.

I’ve got a big day tomorrow.

As per usual.

 

I Got Asked

March 13, 2018

I answered a phone call today, a phone call with a number that I did not recognize.

I knew immediately it was a number I should answer, it was not an odd ball number from Indiana or Wisconsin asking me if I wanted to renew my health care or a telemarketing scheme from some small town in Florida.

No.

It was an Oakland number.

Therefor local.

Therefore, necessary to answer.

I am a well-trained monkey, as part of my recovery I stay connected to people in my community by phone.

I often give out my phone number to complete strangers.

Women!

Only the ladies, thank you.

So that’s what I thought the number was.

A support call from someone, someone who I gave out my number to, some one who I may have recently met.

Happens quite frequently and when I am able, I answer those numbers.

It was not who I was expecting.

It was, in fact a woman, and it was also a stranger, but not from my fellowship.

From my school!

I got the call!

I got the call!

I got the call back to go in to interview for the PhD program.

I have made it through to the next round.

I mean.

I am going to sound a little cocky, but I am fairly certain I’m getting in.

Nonetheless.

It was thrilling to talk to her on the phone and to set up a time to go in and interview.

I will be interviewing with the department on Wednesday, March 28th at 10 a.m.

I have already cleared it with the mom to go into work late that day.

And.

Yes.

Yes, I just did.

I finished it before I started to write this blog.

I sent in the Diversity Scholarship application.

I got my financials together to show proof of need.

Hello.

I could just say I’m a nanny and I live in San Francisco, doesn’t that prove need?

But I sent in my tax forms to be transparent.

And the application itself as well as the personal essay explaining a little bit about me and what I am going to do to further diversity in my community.

I think I wrote a pretty good essay and I just let it flow.

Here’s what I wrote:

Diversity Scholarship Application

My name alone should alert one to the applicable nature of the scholarship, Carmen Regina Martines. I am Hispanic, Puerto Rican, Polynesian as well as Caucasian. I am a melting pot, I am a mix, I am the person who straddles the line between. And in that space I have an important role to play. I have dealt with the internal racism of my family, the white part as well as the non-white part, apparently neither side of my family wanted a “half-breed” a moniker one set of grandparents gave, while the other referred to me under their breath as Hapa Haole, a prettier way to say half-breed.

I am neither and I am both. I have found myself often wondering to which side I truly fall, not realizing that all along I fell along with the Puerto Rican and Polynesian parts of me—at least physically, if not spiritually (your  great, great-grandmother was a witch, my mother told me, on the islands she was well-known and revered). My great, great-grandmother was a midwife and a medicine woman, in other words, a witch. I have brown skin, brown eyes, curly brown hair, wide flat Polynesian feet, a wide Puerto Rican nose, full lips, I have been called a “wet back” I have been told I should go back to Mexico (I am neither Mexican, nor have I ever been to Mexico). I have had my name constantly and continuously mispronounced and misspelled. An Aunt, my favorite aunt on my mother’s side of the family recently spelled it wrong on social media, an aunt who lived with my immediate family for years.

If my own family cannot spell my name, then who can? I can. I lead by my example, I lead by strength and resilience, and I spell my name out to the world and I keep correcting the world until it sits up and listens, I am not here to be quiet any more. I am here to meet the two worlds halfway and instead of being somehow lessened by who I am, I become more. I have advocated for myself to get into the ICPW program at CIIS despite extreme financial hardship when I applied, I won the Diversity in Leadership award and that helped greatly, and then I won something else, I won self-advocacy, I won my voice, the full strength of it and I have every intention on using it, growing it and advocating for others, especially women, especially now, to step into their power and find their voice.

I began that journey by getting sober and abstinent from drugs and alcohol, and though I never felt different __________________, I will say I have felt different in school where I found myself to be the “only” quite often in my cohort. I grew strong first in _____ and then in school and I believe that between the two I have created a kind of crucible for change that I do not believe many have the capacity to manifest. I plan on carrying forth this deep identity and passion, my voice, my person, my experience, forward in my studies to help others embody their own power and story, and also to create new narratives, while not letting the old stories die, but rather to have them inform the new. I do not wish to stare at my past, but rather to acknowledge where I have come from—extreme poverty, neglect, violence, abuse, racism, classism, and sexism, and show how those defects, thrust upon me by others to create the worlds they needed to move through, are in actuality, assets by which I have grown, and grown through.

I have a roster of multi-cultural clients at my practicum (soon to be internship!), some full; some half, some mixed ethnicities, all with their own traumas around diversity. I am so situated to hold those stories and help reframe them in meaningful strength based ways. I believe that the continued furthering of my education will only help me to continue as a strong voice in my community, in recovery, in San Francisco, in California, and yes, I do believe, that it does ripple out, one person to the next, throughout the world, landing where it is most needed and welcomed. That is what I believe.

 

Ta da.

Hopefully that works.

And though, it’s not the essay I was planning on writing, it was what came out and I am happy with it.

And now.

I am happy to wrap this up.

I have done enough work for today.

Supervision, before work, work with a screaming baby (poor little guy has a UTI!), two clients, and all the work on the application.

I am done.

I am good.

I am so happy it’s all in.

And.

I go the interview!

Yes.

Just Do The Next Thing

March 10, 2018

In front of you.

I was talking to a friend of mine in the cohort at school about a particularly challenging classroom situation today.

It was the first class of the day, the first day of class, third weekend, last semester.

Many of the folks in my class described having a feeling of “senioritis” and not wanting to do the work.

I was like.

Shut the fuck up bitches.

I did the fucking work.

You can do the god damn work too.

Alas.

I did not share that.

I took my judgmental ass and sat on the floor for a student led guided meditation for the class.

Guided meditation my ass.

I laughed inside, someone, me, has some contempt about this.

I sat quietly while the person leading the meditation walked around the classroom and beat on a drum.

Are you fucking kidding me?

I could not follow.

I instead choose to ignore the spiritual bypassing schlock and said the serenity prayer in my head on a loop and slowly relaxed.

Until the drumming got intense and insistent and intruded into my nice quite brain.

And that was sort of how class was.

Insistent, annoying, intrusive.

My issued with my cohort or certain members of the cohort is that when they haven’t done the work, many of us who have, bear the brunt of them having to be informed again and again about the nature of the work and their responsibilities thereof.

It’s a waste of fucking time.

My time is precious.

I’m paying a fuck load of money to be in school, I have made constant self-sacrifice to be there, I have taken on tens of thousands of dollars in student loan debt, I have had little social life over the last two and three-quarters years, and less sleep, I have missed fellowshipping opportunities to do school, have worked and worked and worked and read and studied and, and, and.

SHUT THE FUCK UP WITH YOUR WHINY ASS BITCHING.

Ugh.

There.

Sorry.

I don’t mean to yell.

I just got overwhelmed with it today.

There is a kind of refusal to take accountability for ones actions that rubs my fur the wrong way.

I was rubbed the wrong way a bit.

I felt like a frazzled cat that had fallen in the bathtub.

I did manage to self-soothe and breathe and pay attention to the information the professor was giving us.

And man.

There is a lot of information.

There was a two page  hand out with fine print and websites and dates and timelines and schedules and paper work in triplicate and my God, I don’t know, the encryption codes to the lottery is what it felt like.

There are a lot of hoops to get licensed and today I sat through a three-hour long class on what hoops I have to jump.

There were some folks who had no idea the number of hoops and were bogged down in the why didn’t anyone tell me all this information before and why am I now learning it and fuck, I didn’t do that thing that you’re telling me I need to do, what am I going to do?

Well.

I don’t know.

But you can get your whiny ass self to shut up and listen and perhaps instead of interrupting and wanting to change things to fit your agenda better you could just go with what’s happening, read the material, write the papers, and pay attention.

Works for me.

Anyway.

I am obviously taking someone’s inventory here.

And you know what?

I don’t want to make that persons amends.

That person has their own path and if truth were to be told, which is what this blog is about, trying to get as close to the truth as my skewed vision can get, I don’t want to be on that persons path.

I like mine just fine.

I have my challenges, obviously, low tolerance for bullshit being one of them, who doesn’t, but I don’t have to allow myself to be affected by another’s.

So I just sat and let the drama unfold and when I needed to take a break I texted with my best friend and connected to the outside world for brief moments.

I am so grateful I did.

Good juicy little reminders of my life outside of the classroom.

Which is sort of the whole point of being in the classroom, to learn the things that I need to know so that I may carry them out into the world and be a better person and for damn sure, a better therapist.

My own personal issues lead me down great paths of discovery and learning and I am not blind to this knowledge.

My biggest challenges over the past year have shown me the depth of love I have, great huge reservoirs of it, and where I really need to grow and allow more in.

There’s always the growth.

And today I got to grow by acknowledging that I’m not doing it perfect either.

I got anxious in class.

I got nervous about all the requirements and the “t’s”to cross, the “i’s” to dot.

But I also gotten to deepen my faith a little more and just focus on the next thing in front of me, having faith that the things that need to get done, will, in fact, get done.

I do have to do some more paperwork for graduation and I do need to get some signatures from my supervisors, my therapist (my Master’s program requires that I am in therapy with a licensed MFT while I am in practicum, therefore I have to get a piece of paper signed by my therapist that says I have done 50 sessions with her–I will actually hit session 50 four days before I graduate) and there are a few other odds and ends I want to make sure that I do.

But overall.

I got this.

Oh.

I know there will be moments of panic, or anxiety or fear that I am doing it wrong but I think of the people who I know who have graduated the program and I know more than a handful, and I relax.

They did it.

So too can I.

I know I can.

I know it.

So all I have to do tonight is pack my bag for classes in the morning and have a nice hot cup of tea.

I have done all that I possibly could have.

And then some.

Halfway There

March 9, 2018

Tomorrow marks the mid-point to the semester.

I’ll be halfway through the last semester of my Masters degree!

I’m so excited.

And.

Yes.

I am completely done with all my homework.

Everything is turned in.

I did all my reading assignments.

And I worked on my dyad partner’s paper today at work, so that I have comments and responses to her paper, that’s part of the work for this big final paper, we work in groups and read our group mates paper and make comments and help them with their work.

So I did that today at the Upper Noe Valley Rec Center.

I just had the baby out for a walk and he fell asleep in the stroller, so I grabbed a cafe au lait from Xo Cafe on Church and Day Street, walked over to the Rec Center and did the paper and then I did the evaluations for school that I have to turn in as well for the class.

I got it all done.

I’m not sure how I wrote that damn annotated bibliography yesterday and did all the reading and that I saw a licensed MFT this week, after seeing clients, and worked a lot, I put in four hours of overtime at work, paid in cash when I left today, thank you very much, and still got to do the deal.

I mean.

Whew.

It’s a week.

Plus I terminated with a client tonight.

It was a good termination and the client and I parted ways very amicably and it was a mutual termination.

It was nice to reflect on the work that happened over the course of the treatment and to see how my client has changed and how, too, I have.

The client was one of my first clients and it was good for me to see how much I have grown since I started doing my practicum.

I only have about seven more weeks of being in practicum and then it turns into an associateship.

The California Association of Marriage Family Therapist has changed the title from MFTi (intern) to associate.

Once I graduate, I become an associate.

I will be an Associate MFT.

I will have a registered number.

And I will be fully on my way to getting my license.

The next hurdle will be filling out all the paperwork and getting all the signatures.

I first, though, have to graduate.

I need to continue showing up for classes, participating, and doing the work.

But It feels really god, and I want to acknowledge that, to be halfway through the homestretch semester.

I think ordering my cap and gown really put a big explanation point on it.

I’ve been thinking about what I want to do for my graduation party.

I need to celebrate.

This Master’s degree is a huge deal for me.

Finding out what I am supposed to be doing and finding my way through school to get me to the point where I can become a licenced therapist is such a huge thing for me.

I felt like I was floundering for years not knowing exactly what I was supposed to be doing, nanny, go to Burning Man, yearn to be a published writer, never get published, nanny, think about applying to a Creative Writing Masters program, not get into it, nanny, go to Burning Man, maybe try living in Paris for a little while, come back to San Francisco, nanny some more, go to Burning Man.

Have huge epiphany at Burning Man.

Quit crappy nanny job.

Get better nanny job.

Apply to grad school.

Get in!

And suddenly I am going to be a therapist when I grow up.

When I reflect back on the journey of getting to where I am now I am absolutely flabbergasted.

How did I make it through?

And I’m still working through it, but it feels so tangible now, the hard work is paying off and I’m almost there.

I can see the diploma.

I will be framing that post-haste.

In a really nice frame.

Really nice.

Just saying.

Anyway.

So, yeah, a party.

But I’m not sure how to do it.

The commencement ceremony is from 3-5p.m. in Hayes Valley.

Do I grab an early dinner with the folks coming to my graduation and then bomb out to the beach?

I want to do a beach bonfire at Ocean Beach.

Or.

Do I skip it and head straight back to the house and get shit over to Ocean Beach and get things set up.

I feel like I need to enlist some friends to get things set up but then I’m responsible for this and I want it to be nice and I want to appreciate the friends in my life who have been so generous with me during my time in grad school.

I think I may skip trying to make dinner plans.

Maybe instead, I can do a nice brunch before hand and then go to the commencement and after ward head to the beach.

That way I can be there by 6p.m. and set things up.

Not that I’m planning anything hard or fancy.

Fire wood in a box, couple of blankets, a folding chair or two, a cooler with some sparkling water.

That’s it.

Folks want more than that, they can bring it.

Mostly I just want a reason to have a bonfire at the beach and I can’t imagine a better excuse than I am graduating with a Master’s Degree.

I want to invite lots of folks, and acknowledge all the people who helped me a long the way, past employers who wrote me letters of recommendation to get into the program, to my current employers who put up with me not working one Friday a month so I can go to classes, to friends and visiting family, and families I used to nanny for, everyone who gave me one single word of encouragement, I want them there.

Or at least to extend the invitation to be there.

And when the sunsets I will have tears on my face and joy in my heart being surrounded by friends, family, loved ones, and my community.

I cannot fucking wait.

Bring on this weekend of classes.

Let’s go!


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