Posts Tagged ‘practicum’

And It’s Done!

February 27, 2018

I did it.

I got my PhD application in before the deadline–which is the end of this month.

I finished all my writing yesterday and sent the rest of the needed application materials into the admissions department at CIIS.

California Institute for Integral Studies.

Where I am currently in the end stage of my Master’s in Integral Counseling Psychology.

I graduate in May!

And fingers crossed I’ll be back in school in September.

Yesterday I had a lot of things cooking, but I was able to get everything done, well, haha, except for the cooking.

I mean, I roasted a standard Sunday chicken while I was meeting with a couple of ladies and doing the deal, but I didn’t get to make the soup I had planned on making, I was too busy finishing up the application.

Saturday I got back from being out and about and sat down and figured out how to get into my transcripts for UW Madison and once that happened, it was as though a little magic wand had been waved and I just kept taking the next step in front of me, and the next and the next.

I got the transcripts ordered-rush delivery.

I received notification from UW Madison yesterday early evening that my transcripts were in the mail, which means they will be at CIIS by tomorrow–I did a two-day rush.

Then.

I looked up my resume and tweaked it to reflect what has happened since I had last used it to apply to my practicum/internship site.

It was nice to update it and fingers crossed, it will be the last time I have to put together an academic resume.

Polished it up, submitted it.

And.

Then.

Yes.

I worked on finding the paper that I was going to submit as my example of my academic writing.

I ended up using a paper from my Transpersonal Spirituality class and I did a good clean edit on it, fluffed it out a little, and made it shine.

Then.

Yup.

I submitted that too.

Which only left me the goal statement and the autobiographical statement to do yesterday.

That was still some substantial work, nine pages in toto, but it was such a relief to have done what I’d done to do the back-end work on the application that I wasn’t so worried.

Still.

It did take up all the time I had left between meeting with the ladies and then going up to the Castro to do the deal with my person and to cover my new Sunday night commitment.

I was literally flying out the door to make my 5:30p.m. appointment.

But.

I was flying out the door walking on air, as I had wrapped up the writing and submitted the final two pieces of work.

All summed up: electronic application, 3 pages, resume, 1 page, goal statement, 3 pages, autobiographical statement, 6 pages,  two letters of recommendation, and one sample of my academic writing–10 pages.

That was a full weekend of work and I still went to group supervision, did the deal and got in yoga sessions.

I am pretty fucking proud of myself.

Albeit tired.

Today, though, when I woke up I knew that there were still a few loose ends to wrap up.

First I was concerned that the application never prompted me to pay the $65 processing fee.

Second, I was also worried about my CIIS transcripts getting to CIIS in time.

Funny, but true.

So I sent the dean of the program an e-mail this morning, as well as the admissions office to get clarity and see if there were any other actions I needed to take to process my application before the deadline.

And.

There’s nothing else to do!

Turns out that as I’m an alum.

(Oh my God!  I’m an alum!  I really am fucking graduating with my Master’s degree!)

I am not being charged the processing fee.

It’s waived!

Fuck yeah.

That rather took the sting out of the money I had dropped to get the transcripts.

Second.

The director of the program and the dean both said the same thing, your transcripts will get to us on time, do not worry about it, that the processing agency will get them to the school before the deadline.

Further.

Yes!

That all my application materials were received and noted.

And.

Yay!

That they had everything they needed, the letters of recommendation, and all my materials had all successfully gotten through and it was noted that my application was complete.

I am over the moon.

What I was told by the dean of the program is that they will take a few weeks to go through the applications but that they generally will start interviews by mid March and have made decisions by the end of March.

I’ll pretty much know whether or not I got in within this next month!

I told my supervisor today that I had the sense that I was going to get in.

He agreed with me.

We spend a lot of time talking about what the next few months looks like for me as I will be wrapping up my supervision with him when I graduate.

He asked me about what was next, whether I was looking towards private practice internships and how was I going to get my child and family hours.

I will admit I got a little overwhelmed.

But we were able to have a good conversation about it once I was able to talk about what was coming up for me.

So much of it has to do with the fact of continuing to keep my job so that I have income to live in San Francisco.

My job covers cost of living in the city and though I have a modest life I have a very nice little life.

I couldn’t afford to take on an internship, even a paid one, unless it was as much as I make as a nanny.

I make substantially more than most interns fresh out of their Master’s programs make.

And a lot of the internships aren’t paid.

There’s a great one with Kaiser I was considering, although I am sure the paperwork would be horrendous, until I saw that it only pays $18.45/hour.

No fucking way I can live on that.

I’ll be staying in my job unless something shifts.

Which means that I will probably stay at my practicum site, continue on as an associate there, get as many hours as I can, and then pick up an internship somewhere in the school system, hopefully doing work before class, so I can go to work right thereafter.

I’m not going to get to far ahead of myself.

I did plenty of that this morning.

Rather.

I am just going to take this moment and really let myself enjoy the fact that I have officially applied for a Doctoral program.

I fucking did it!

I applied for a Doctorate!

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Big, Full Week

February 4, 2018

But then again, when is it not?

I was just going over my Google calendar and putting in all the things that I have happening this upcoming week.

I swear, I might need to not look at it for a while, there’s a lot going on.

But, I usually do have a lot going on.

I’m feeling the need to organize it as I wanted to see where I had little pockets of time to address things.

Like clothes shopping for D.C.

It was 75 degrees in San Francisco today.

It was glorious.

I wore a sundress.

I loved it.

February always has a run of nice days in San Francisco, it’s like a little mini-summer break, in the middle of what should be winter.

D.C. however is not that warm.

Nope.

Today the high was 41 degrees.

Granted I’m not going to D.C. to participate in outdoor activities, I mean cozy hotel, cozy restaurants and cafes, cozy museums, maybe a brisk walk around Dupont Circle and Georgetown but aside from that I won’t be outside that much.

Yet.

I still have a yearning for some cold travel appropriate clothes.

Plus I will have one nice meal out if not two and I want something appropriate for where I’ll be dining that’s not, well, a summer dress.

So.

Anyway.

Just spent a lot of time combing over my schedule and seeing where I can do things.

Tomorrow is pretty jam-packed.

Coffee in the morning and walk on the beach with my best friend.

9a.m. yoga class.

Shower and breakfast and more coffee after that.

My morning writing routine.

Food prep for the week.

And then.

I have a ten page paper I have to knock out.

I also have a lady coming over to do work at 2p.m. and I will be leaving to do very much the same kind of work cross town with my person at 5:30 p.m. then over to the Castro to get right with God and that is it.

My Sunday.

I won’t have time to do any shopping or the like.

Nor did I have time today.

I did, however, do some nice self-care things for me.

I did go to yoga, my head always says, just sleep in, but my feet were smart, I’d signed up for the class the night before, and I went, and as it is always, I was quite happy after I had done the class.

I had super hot shower, washed my hair, ate a great breakfast, worked on some client emails, did a bunch of writing, and went off to my internship for group supervision.

I was supposed to see a consultation today.

They no showed.

So I took the extra time, went to the bank, deposited a check, went to the car wash and got my car washed and then actually found brilliant parking just off Divisadero a block from a nail salon that I have been frequenting more often.

I got a mani/pedi and the eyebrows waxed.

It felt super nice to have an hour and a half of not moving, just relaxing, getting a little pampered, and then I was off to the spot for the doing of the deal and after, home.

A bite to eat for dinner, confirmation about meeting my friend for coffee, I can’t believe I’m getting up at 6:30 a.m. to meet my friend for coffee.

I obviously love my friend.

I hope there’s a lot of coffee.

Heh.

And that about wraps up my night.

It wasn’t a huge eventful day, but it was sweet and there were good moments of self-care and I had a few phone check ins with the new lady I’m working with and that felt really good.

I’m not going to make it a late night tonight, since I’m getting up early, just a little snack, some hot tea, and a bit of Peaky Blinders.

I’m quite taken with the show.

Just started season 4.

And a good nights sleep.

I’m not really upset about getting up early on my day off, it’s actually a good way to start the week, being up as early as my earliest day, which is Monday.

I’ll have a lot of 6:30 a.m. starts this week.

Monday for supervision before work.

Tuesday, fingers crossed there will be a fucking yoga class to go to before therapy.

Wednesday, a chiropractor appointment before work.

Thursday I can “sleep” in until 7a.m.

But Friday, Saturday, and Sunday I’m back in school for the second weekend of classes for the semester, and that means a 6:30 a.m. start for each of those days as well.

So an early start tomorrow will just prime the pump.

And I’m super happy to see my best friend, our schedules are full and busy and it can be really hard to see each other.

I’m sure the company will be fantastic and I won’t be at all upset about getting out of bed early on a Sunday.

Fuck.

It will probably put me in such a good mood that I will get all the work done I need to do.

Fingers crossed.

Because I don’t have space or time during the week to work on my paper, I have to do it tomorrow.

I’m sure it will get done.

I always get them done.

I just have to sit down and show up.

And.

Well.

Write.

I think I can do that.

And with that I bid you adieu.

Snack, tea, Peaky Blinders, bed time.

Sweet dreams lovey.

Sweet dreams.

Saturday, May 19, 2018

February 3, 2018

The Nourse Theater in Hayes Valley.

COMMENCEMENT!

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

My God.

It is actually going to happen.

I am going to graduate in May!

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

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

It feels right somehow.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Then again, my own perception is probably skewed.

Anyway.

Therapy.

My therapist.

So fucking glad to work with her.

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

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

Frankly such a relief to have that as an outlet.

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

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

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

At least I think I’m good.

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

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

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

Painful growth and glorious growth and heartbreaking growth.

I can’t wait to graduate.

The ritual is important for me.

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

I need that ceremony.

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

And I want to have a party.

I really, really do.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Heh.

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

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

There’s also a grill I could use.

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

Oh, so many things to plan.

But not right yet.

Not right now.

Now is time for sleep.

It’s been a long week.

Grateful that I made it through.

Grateful for all the love in my life.

So.

Deeply.

Deeply.

Grateful.

For all the love.

 

Just A Tiny Bit

January 13, 2018

Surreal.

I turn 13 in an hour and a half.

I have already received a few congratulations and warm sweet gifts, my god, the thoughtfulness of some people astounds me, though my anniversary is not until tomorrow.

I am grateful that I have this time to reflect and think and be in a place of gratitude and warmth and all wrapped up for the week.

It’s been a week.

I’ve plenty to do tomorrow, but I suspect that it will be done with much joy and laughter and hopefully, no little grace.

My morning will be a typical Saturday morning, yoga and shower and breakfast and coffee and writing.

Then I’m hoping to squeeze in a manicure before I have to go to group supervision at 2 p.m.

Something snazzy and flashy and definitely glittery.

Giggle.

I treated myself to a dress from Modcloth that’s super fun,

It’s also super simple and a bit basic, which is good, I wanted a comfy dress to dance in.

It’s pretty much a little black dress with a scoop neck and a skater skirt.

And.

Glitter.

Heh.

I also allowed myself to pick up some glitter fishnets, because, sparkle.

And thirteen years, thirteen years of working it out and doing the deal and showing up and being of service, well, that deserves some fucking glitter, at least so I think.

I had wanted to wear some fabulous shoes but I also want to dance, so my pink velvet Tretorns will have to do, I think they will go perfectly with a glittery dress and fishnets.

Sexy, but hella comfy.

I’ll wear some heels when I go meet my person in the Castro for dinner on Sunday.

Fancy shoes are great for sit down meals, maybe not the best for hours of dancing.

I mean.

I used to do that, a long, long time ago, when my knees were younger and I had a lot of extra chemicals coursing through my veins to keep me going and ignore the painful, numbed out feet I was mashing into the floor as I stomped along to the music long into the night.

Or.

The next morning.

It’s funny.

I’ll be up much past my bedtime, the party goes until 1 a.m. and as one of the hosts I know I will feel responsible to make sure it all goes off well.

I’m not super excited about coming back from Oakland at bar time, but it looks like that will be happening.

At least I got my FasTrak in the mail and I won’t have to pay cash at the toll bridge.

It should be a pretty quick commute back.

Sunday I do have plans, but they’re all spaced out and I should be able to take naps intermittently throughout the day if so needed.

I don’t care in the end.

A girl only turns thirteen once.

Knock on wood.

I don’t have any reservations made for future drinking or using, but I am quite humbly aware that I have been given a gift and that I need to keep passing it along.

I have seen people drift away and they usually don’t drift into wonderful waters.

I have never had a relapse in my recovery and I certainly don’t want one.

I feel really fortunate to have what I have, the community I am in, the resiliency I have been gifted with, the fellowship, my friends, the love that surrounds me.

So.

Yeah.

I’ll be up a little late tomorrow night, but it’s so well worth it.

It’s been an amazing year when I look back.

New relationships.

Vast amounts of love.

Entering my third and final year of my Master’s program.

Starting at my practicum site and seeing clients.

A new job.

A new car.

Travel to Burning Man and Paris.

Therapy.

Internal growth.

So much of that.

Holy mother of God.

So much spiritual work.

All gifts.

I could never have suspected thirteen years ago when I reached out for help the life I would get to have.

It doesn’t even make sense.

I couldn’t imagine the places I would go or the adventures I would have.

So many adventures.

So much travel.

More travel please.

Friends, art, writing.

Oh. My. God.

The amount of writing, I mean I talked about writing before I got sober and I wrote some poetry and I tried my hand a few things, but I never had a real writing practice, I just talked about it a lot.

A LOT.

The book I was going to write, the poetry, the essays, la, la, la, la, la.

All vacuous words spouted from the vapid drunk girl at the end of the bar.

Now.

Well, I can surely tell a story, and I might hold you hostage to it, but I don’t talk about things I’m going to do for hours on end.

I actually do them.

I show up.

I suit up.

And I’m thrilled beyond words that I have a baker’s dozen of years to substantiate that.

Luckiest girl in the world?

Fuck yeah I am.

Doing This Thing

January 10, 2018

I have officially made the decision to go after my PhD in the Transformative Psychology program at CIIS.

I talked to the dean of the school this morning and she gave me some lovely insights into the program and what I need to do to apply for the program.

I basically have it all covered except for the personal statement.

I need two letters of recommendation, one of which has to come from my academic advisor in my program–he’s confirmed that he will write me a letter and we are meeting at lunch on the first Friday of the school weekend, basically a week from this Friday.

The other letter will come from my supervisor at my practicum site, who actually offered to write me a letter before I had asked him.

I need to e-mail him and say, yes, please do write that letter for me!

In fact.

Hang on a minute, I’m going to go draft that e-mail now.

Yes.

One more thing out-of-the-way.

I was also very grateful to discover that I had been correct in the reading of the PhD application demands–the scholarly paper the admissions department requires can be one I have already written for my current program!

That is super nice.

It’s an 8-10 page paper written in APA format (American Psychological Association).

The dean expressed that they want to see an example of my writing abilities and that I could absolutely use a paper I had already written, it did not have to be an original work.

Whew.

That is such a nice relief.

I really didn’t want to have to write a paper on top of getting my stuff together for this last semester of my Master’s program.

I’ll still need to provide plenty of other things besides the sample of my academic writing and the two letters of recommendation.

There’s also the application fee, $65, so worth it, frankly.

And a resume with pertinent and relevant experience listed.

My transcripts.

I will be very happy to provide those, especially with my current 4.0 grade point average, thank you very much.

A goal statement outlining what I plan to do with the degree once it is conferred.

And.

A four to five-page personal statement.

I mean, that’s a fair good amount of stuff.

But.

Doable.

So doable.

And, as I mentioned, the not having to write a fresh academic paper for the admissions team feels really nice.

The dean told me the deadline was end of February.

Once the application is sent in the admissions team goes through the applicants and decides who they want to call in for an interview.

At which time I would need to give some ideas about what I want to pursue, although said ideas do not have to be concrete, I can change what I decide to do the dissertation on if over the course of the program I find something really amazing and compelling.

But.

I do think I have been narrowing it down and although my idea is big and there’s a lot to explore, I’m super excited by the prospect of exploring it.

I feel like it will help me heal some trauma and in turn, I hope that I will be better equipped to help others walk through their traumas as well.

I’m super happy that I have made this decision.

I felt so freaking good when I got off the phone with the dean, I knew, I just knew it is what I am supposed to be doing.

I’m supposed to get my doctorate.

I am supposed to be of service.

I get to keep learning and growing.

It is fucking exciting.

A little scary too, but I don’t feel it will be that much harder than the work that I have done to get my Masters.

In fact, in some ways I think it will be easier.

The classes are self-directed and timed, I won’t be going into a classroom, I’ll be doing the work on my own, I’ll have my own agency to move at my own pace.

I suspect that I will want to move faster rather than slower.

The dissertation could take longer, the program is designed to be done in two years, but I sense that more than a few folks take longer to get to the dissertation.

I don’t want to do that.

Not to be worried about at this point.

I have taken as much action today as I possibly could in regards to the next steps.

I went to therapy this morning before work.

I went grocery shopping after therapy and managed to have the call with the dean of students from my car before I went into work.

I worked a full day.

Then.

I went and saw two clients this evening.

I e-mailed my supervisor at my practicum site for the letter of recommendation.

And.

I filled in a few more things on the doctoral application.

My god.

I’m really going to do this.

I am going to get my PhD.

Fuck.

My life is amazing.

AMAZING.

Reading The Fine Print

January 9, 2018

I just went through the handbook for my Master’s program with a fine tooth comb.

The one thing that I have found challenging in my program is the apparent lack of information as well as the over abundance of information.

I feel like there is so much information that just is not applicable to my experience or the learning and then there’s information that I really need, but it’s buried on page 41 of the 50 page handbook.

I’m glad I found it though.

I have gotten a mixed bag of mis-information from fellows in my cohort as well as interns in my group supervision about how many hours I need to have accrued in practicum to graduate.

I need 225 to graduate.

Of those hours I must have 150 direct client hours–sessions with my clients, not phone sessions or e-mails or paperwork or progress work–face to face sessions.

I had thought that I needed 250 direct hours and I was beginning to get a little nervous.

I should not have any problems getting the hours.

Or so I thought.

I have eight clients that I see on a weekly basis.

But.

They cancel.

Or.

They no-show.

And it’s rare, I’m seeing quite clearly now as I just got home early because a client no-showed, that I actually see all eight clients during the week.

So when I was thinking I needed 250 direct face to face hours by May, I started to get concerned.

I won’t make it, it won’t happen, how is that possible?

How is it possible that I am heading into my third semester of practicum and don’t have enough hours?

How?

As of right now I have 240 hours.

But only 130 of them are direct face to face hours.

I felt flummoxed and upset and annoyed and then I begin to berate myself.

Why did I post that stupid thing about graduating in May and filling out my graduation application?

I’m not going to graduate!

Whoa.

Slow down there.

I don’t have enough information.

I realized that I cannot just go on the information drifting about through the hallways at school or in the office where I do my group supervision.

I have to take responsibility and find out that myself.

So I went to the academics page on the school’s website, signed into my account, found my program.

And.

Voila!

There on page 46 of the 49 page hand book:

Students must complete a minimum of 225 hours [at least 150 direct client contact hours plus 75 Client-Centered Advocacy (CCA) hours] while enrolled in practicum prior to graduation.

Sweet Jesus.

I am fucking fine.

I am only twenty hours shy of having the direct client contact hours.

As for client centered advocacy I don’t have nearly that much, I have six hours.

But I do know this much, it doesn’t matter if I don’t get all the client centered advocacy hours, if I have more direct client hours, I can count those towards graduation.

Ultimately it is the face to face sessions that mean the most and I have to acquire the majority of my hours there.

And I also recognize that I could be actively going after more CCA hours as well.

Client centered advocacy could be doing research on a client and their family lineage, it could be watching a movie about alcoholics, it could be reading a CAMFT (California Assoication of Marriage Family Therapists) magazine or a psychology magazine.

Today I actually had some down time at work, and while the baby napped I read a number of articles in a psychology magazine on workaholism and chuckled to myself, multi-tasking, working and also accruing hours, sounds like I’m the workaholic in this instance.

But I’m happy I did the reading as I had that no-show and I was able to mark down another hour.

I think that I will try to acquire two hours of CCA per week as I move forward, more if I can.

I can also read outside articles, books, and go to seminars and do trainings.

But just knowing that I actually have enough moving forward is a bit of a relief.

I was getting a little worried.

I also realize that I am probably going to have to let one client go with whom I have been doing pre-dominantly phone sessions.

I am not allowed to count Telemedicine through my school.

I can towards my license, but not towards my graduation needs.

I want to be safe and make sure that I’m not squandering my time.

I am excited and relieved to have reckoned all of that out and grateful for a really good talk with my solo supervisor today.

Who happened to be quite intrigued with my dissertation idea and to my surprise, completely supports me going for the PhD.

I told him I had actually had hesitation to even mention that I was going to apply for the PhD because I thought he might disapprove of my decision.

But he did not.

And it was amazing to sit and talk to him about my ideas and to also get some really interesting feedback from him and some areas where I will be honing in more.

I made a call to the Dean of the Transformative department after I got out of supervision.

I wasn’t able to talk to her, she was stuck in a budget meeting, but I left a message and I will follow-up tomorrow.

My advisor got back to me and said he would support my efforts and write me a letter of recommendation and we made an appointment to meet the first weekend of classes.

It’s all falling together.

Even when my brain tells me it’s not.

It really is.

So nice.

So.

Very.

Very.

Very.

Nice.

Unfortunately

January 7, 2018

That’s not covered by your insurance.

My dentist told me this morning.

Ugh.

I sat in the chair and thought to myself, maybe I misheard him, maybe I didn’t hear that right, I mean, he speaks mostly Chinese, which I find oddly comforting, I don’t need to know what he is talking about to his assistant, but I’m pretty sure I had heard what I had heard.

Fingers crossed, please, tell me I didn’t hear what I heard.

Sigh.

But.

I had.

“Crack,” he’d said to the assistant in between poking and prodding and checking my teeth.

I was just in for a routine cleaning this morning.

I had all intents on going to the 10:30 a.m. yoga at the studio on my block and then meandering into my group supervision at 2p.m.

The supervision happened.

Yoga, well, yoga did not.

Nope.

Instead I was under the drill all morning.

My dentist took a picture of my tooth and showed me the crack.

I was surprised by how big it was and also that I hadn’t had any pain to indicate that there was a crack in my tooth.

Which was a really good thing.

No pain meant that it was probably fairly recent.

It had to have happened within the last three months, it wasn’t there the last time I went to the dentist, and it probably had occurred more recently than that.

Certainly nothing came to mind.

Nothing that I remember eating and doing any damage to my teeth.

“It’s not grinding your teeth while you sleep,” he said, answering a question I was just about to pose, “there’s not indication from any of your other teeth that you grind them while you sleep.”

Well, that’s good news.

“You eat anything crunchy?” He asked.

“Nuts?” I said, I do like raw almonds with my apple as a snack.

“Nuts, no good, nuts bad for teeth, you no more eat nuts unless you want to pay me big bucks and keep me in my mortgage,” he chuckled.

“Um no, I do not want to come back for another cracked tooth, I’ll lay off the nuts,” I replied.

Irony.

I kept thinking about my night-time snack, a couple of end of season super ripe and delicious persimmons and some raw walnuts.

Sigh.

No snack tonight.

I’ll still have my tea though.

I was really surprised by the photo and super glad that my dentist had caught it and he explained that I was lucky if there was no pain it meant the damage was manageable and that I would not have to have a root canal.

Fuck yes.

But.

I would have to get a crown.

And thus ensued the “your insurance doesn’t cover this,” discussion I had with my dentist.

Like I said, not really the conversation anyone wants to have on a Saturday morning, but I also knew when he started telling me about the differences between what my insurance would cover, it wasn’t going to cover the full amount, it would have still be $825 out-of-pocket, versus the better quality crown that the dentist was recommending, at $1200, I just sucked it up, made the decision to take good care of myself and signed the paperwork for the better product.

I was asked if I could start the work today and of course I said yes, bye, bye yoga class, and I went out and plugged the meter for parking another two hours and went back into the office, used the bathroom, prayed a bunch, came out signed off the paperwork and got ready to get injected with Novocaine.

He gave me a local, but I still felt the prick of the needle.

Ugh.

I hate needles.

I hate shots, hate, hate, hate.

The second injection was horrible, the local anesthesia hadn’t quite numbed me out in the second location, that one just plain good and hurt.

I sucked it up though, what was I going to do?

And then the dentist went to fucking town.

My god.

I will just say that smell of my tooth being ground down was overwhelming.

Not a pleasant smell, the drill, not a pleasant sound.

The taste of blood in mouth, horrifying.

I just breathed and prayed and breathed and prayed.

I had my mouth wedged open with some sort of device, that also sucks, frankly, it hurt my jaw keeping it open so long and my face felt tender for hours.

As of right now, I am happy to report, that the pain is really ok.

It’s there, sensitive now and again, a dull throb, but it’s doable.

And I have been able to eat.

They did a bunch of molds to get the fit right and then they did the temporary crown.

The permanent one takes two weeks to be ready.

I have to be cautious with the temporary one, nothing crunchy, and no gum.

I can handle that.

And two weeks from today I’ll go in and my dentist will give me the permanent crown.

I am assuming it will mean more Novocaine, but I’ve got two weeks until it happens.

I’m a baby around dental stuff, but at least I showed up and I did do the work and I paid for it all in full at the end of the session, I could have put it off until the permanent crown gets put in, but I figured I had the money in my account, just pay the damn thing.

And for that I am grateful.

I had the money.

I didn’t always have the money.

A little while ago a dental bill for $1285 would have floored me.  It was not pleasant, I will say that, and I did go through a spurt of brief financial anxiety, but I’m ok, I really am.

And so grateful I chose well and chose to take care of myself and my mouth.

There was a homeless man on the sidewalk sleeping when I came out to climb into my new car and go home and make myself a fancy espresso drink with expensive organic coffee beans.

I have it really fucking good.

I have no money problems.

Fuck.

I don’t have problems.

I just have opportunities to learn.

And.

To be stupid grateful at how good my life is.

It really is.

You Look Much

December 31, 2017

“Better than when you came in!”

And.

“I remember you from 19th and Dolores, I mean it, you look amazing.”

He said to me with a big grin.

It’s nice to run into folks who remember me from when I first got sober.

I have changed quite a bit.

I mean.

So much.

It’s extraordinary.

Hell, I feel like I’ve changed a bunch in these last four years and certainly since I’ve been in my graduate program with school.

My life really blows my mind at times.

My great job.

My relationships.

My new car.

Um, hello.

I got her washed today.

First of all, fuck, it’s pricey in the city, but oh, man, she looks so pretty when she’s clean and I just know it will keep the life of the car up to take care of it.  I’m pretty sure I’m going to go check out the place on Bayshore that you can get a membership to and get unlimited car washes for $29.99 a month.

I paid $33 today at the one on Divisadero.

I got a wash a few weeks back, my last weekend of classes, at the place on Van Ness and that was $30.

The one on Divisadero did a much better job.

However, $33 is a bunch of money.

If I can get unlimited washes at the place on Bayshore for $29.99 a month, I go once and it’s pretty much paid for itself.

It’s a place called Shine-N-Seal.

It’s a bit out of my way, but I was thinking today when I left my group supervision that it’s worth checking out on a day when I’m getting out of group since I’m in the Mission and the Bayshore is not so far away, maybe a ten minute drive.

And after dropping the $33 at the place on Divisadero I’m ready for something a little more economical, especially since I’m realizing how much I really like having my car and I like having her clean.

Like.

A lot.

It’s super nice.

Plus.

Grocery shopping today, being warm, being able to bring more back than when I’m on my scooter, listening to music in the car, I really dig on that.

Anyway.

I have reflected a lot today how good I have it and I’m super grateful for that perspective.

I also got hella sleep today.

I was up for a little while this morning but then decided screw it, back to bed.

I didn’t go to yoga, I have a hard time committing to the instructor for the class I could have gone today, I just do not like his classes and when the option to crawl back into bed was happening, well, I just rolled with it.

I mean.

Fuck.

I felt like a million bucks today.

Super rested.

I got lots of laundry done, all fresh linens on the bed, all my towels done, and a run to the grocery store before I left for supervision.

Which was so chill.

There were only two of us so I got to go over a load of my clients and also check in about some school stuff, intern stuff, applying for my intern number, which will happen after I graduate in May.

Some talk about the PhD program I’m considering going into.

Yeah.

I said that.

I am getting pretty serious about it.

My supervisor at my practicum site told me he would support me through the process, he did the same thing I’m considering, like almost to a “t.”

“Carmen I worked full-time, I ran this place, and I got my PhD at the same time, you can totally do it and I’ll write you a letter of recommendation for the program.”

He went to the same graduate school program that I am in.

He also remembers me from 19th and Dolores.

And basically I got, “baby you’ve come a long way,” in no uncertain terms.

I have done a hell of a lot since getting sober, it is incredible when I think about.

Super grateful.

Over the moon grateful.

Blessed.

Crazy graced.

Lucky as fuck.

I don’t know how else to express it, but that I want to keep doing the deal and staying in the boat and doing the work, man I want to live this life and keep getting to do all sorts of amazing things.

Like get my doctorate in psychology.

Because.

Why the fuck not?

I’m only going to get older.

Plus, I can put off my student loans for a while yet, I have a place to accrue my internship hours, I will go for my MFT license and I will be a licensed MFT with a PhD.

Yes, please.

Today I had a few moments before showing up for group supervision, I went to Gus’s Market and got a salad from the salad bar and some stupid expensive blackberries, but gosh they tasted so nice, and a bottle of bubbly water, because I roll like that, and when I was walking down the hall on the fifth floor to supervision there it was.

“Take a Peek!”

A sign on one of the offices.

Oh yes, yes please.

Let me take a peek.

Look at that.

It was a big office, bigger by far than most of the offices I work in out the building.

I totally took a moment today dream my private office.

The space smelled of fresh paint and had a big window, double the size of most of the offices I am in, and it got sunshine.

I envisioned book shelves and file cabinets and a couch and a therapist chair and a place to have a tea-pot and a little mini fridge and oh, I could put down a nice cozy rug and hang art on the walls.

I just got into it.

It’s years away yet, but it’s not that far down the road.

My own private office, my own private practice.

I’ll be Dr. Martines licensed MFT and psychotherapist.

I’ll set my own hours, so that I can go to yoga in the morning and do the deal whenever I fucking want, I’ll make good money, I will have great health insurance and I will take nice vacations, I’ll have parking in the private garage in the building and live in a home that’s not next to the garage and below a barky dog, oh, man, I can see it.

It’s really not that far off.

It was super sweet to just have that moment in the office and I know that I might not be in that office space, but I will be in one, and I’ll be taken care of as long as I keep doing the things that I need to do to stay in recovery.

My life is fucking amazing.

REALLY.

Luckiest girl in the world.

And Just Like That

November 29, 2017

I have registered for my last semester of class!

I can hardly believe it.

It feels very surreal.

And.

Fucking amazing.

I will have three classes next semester.

Once a month I will be in class.

Five weekends.

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

January.

February.

March.

April.

May.

I will graduate Saturday, May 19th.

Holy fuck.

It’s really happening.

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

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

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

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

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

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

I have taken Group Dynamics.

Therapeutic Communication.

Human Development

Integral Philosophy

Psychodynamics I and II.

The Clinical Relationship.

Professional Ethics and Family Law I and II.

Multicultural Counseling and the Family.

Applied Spirituality.

Gestalt Therapy.

Family Dynamics and Therapy.

Psychopathology and Psychological Assessment.

Child Therapy.

Trauma.

Couple Counseling.

Community Mental Heal & The Recovery Model.

Special Topics in Psychotherapy.

Transpersonal Psychotherapy.

Alcohol & Chemical Dependency Counseling.

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy.

Jungian Dream Work.

Psychopharmacology and Human Sexuality.

Elder, Spousal, & Child Abuse.

And practicum which includes Individual Supervision and Group Supervision.

Whew.

That’s a lot of reading.

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

Really?

Amazing.

And I just have to do three more classes.

Sure.

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

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

Today marked 26 weeks.

Half way there.

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

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

The therapy is good for me.

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

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

A lot.

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

I do a lot.

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

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

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

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

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

Very dangerous and very rarely expressed.

Almost never.

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

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

Most often for me, it’s fear.

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

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

I just cried a lot and it moved.

It’s probably still moving.

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

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

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

I have burdened myself for so long with false ideas.

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

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

A.  Who am I to say I’m God?

I’m just not that powerful.

B. I was a child.

I was a child doing an adults job.

Granted.

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

A poverty-stricken, neglected, abused child.

Smart as fuck.

But a baby.

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

I was shocked when that popped out of my mouth.

My God.

Oh, sweet, sweet, baby girl.

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

And you got out.

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

Jesus Christ.

I’m still in awe of my session today.

That so much got sorted out.

Really astounds me.

Therapy.

Wow.

It fucking works.

It so damn does.

Thank God.

Thank fucking God.

Taking Care of Business

September 26, 2017

I just responded to my advisor and the head of my Masters program at my school.

I was expecting to get a financial aid disbursement from my school on September 19th.

I didn’t get a thing.

In fact.

When I checked in to see what was going on I discovered that not only was there no money to disburse to my account, well, fuck me, I owed money!

How the hell was that possible?

I mean.

I was counting on getting some money.

I certainly got the heads up from my student loan processor that I was getting the money, and they will be happy when I’m finally out of school and start repaying them, but here you go kid, take on some more debt, it’s good for the economy.

So.

I start to scour the tuition bill and there it is, a charge for $1087.

For a retreat (remember those insanely not relaxing weeks I did at the beginning of my first and second year.  Nothing says retreat like being in class for 8 days in a row from 9a.m. to 9p.m.) I did not attend.

Third years don’t get to go to a retreat, we are in practicum so there’s no room in our schedule for it, and really, there’s no point, we’re three-quarters of the way through.

I wouldn’t have minded it, actually, the place is pretty, at Ions Institute outside of Petaluma, and the weather is great and it’s nice, but I didn’t go.

And as such.

Don’t freaking bill me!

I’ve made phone calls.

Left messages.

Gone to the office in person.

I was told to send an e-mail.

Did that.

Then I cc’d my advisor and I got great support from him, but the business office hasn’t refunded the charge yet and of course, my scholarship monies got released and they, the system, kept the $1087.

I haven’t had the rest of the scholarship money land in my bank account yet, but I will and I hope it doesn’t take to long to get the rest of the money.

I have things to buy.

Like a car!

I really have decided to do it.

I have had a lot of talks about it, done research, done more talking, prayed, ran my numbers and I think I can swing it.

Yes.

I will be buying the car with some of my financial aid money.

But I will be using it for school, certainly to get to and from my internship and work of course.

This will be the first time in my life that I have bought a brand new car.

I have owned a couple of cars, but never a new one.

Here’s the one I’m looking at.

I can swing the $150 a month payment.

Plus I’ll have to have car insurance, which I figure will be another $100 a month and then gas.

Gas is going to be a lot more than the $1.50 I put in my scooter to fill up the tank today.

I still will use my scooter, but when the weather is bad, or super foggy, rainy, cold, or nasty, well, I will drive my car.

I like saying that, “I will drive my car.”

I have owned cars before, but it’s been a long while.

I ran into my person today very serendipitously, at the Whole Foods salad bar on Market and Dolores.

I had gotten out of my internship an hour early, client cancelled, and I decided to do a little grocery shopping.

I was going to SafeWay and then I felt like, no, I’m going to Whole Foods.

Glad I trusted my gut!

I got my groceries and then we joined a mutual friend and chatted and talked and got caught up.

He’s very behind me getting a car and I’ve been ruminating on my money for weeks now.

I have six thousand in savings.

I have a credit card with a limit of $5,000.

I could, technically, buy the car outright.

I don’t know that I want to do that, I would rather have a buffer for myself.

I don’t want to touch my prudent reserve at all, I’ll be keeping back $2,000 in my savings to make sure I’m ok if something happens and I’m suddenly without income.

But I could put $4,000 if my own money down right away, and maybe run $3,000 on my credit card.

I don’t want to max that out either.

Then I can pay off the rest of the car when I get my scholarship money in spring.

I’ll do the $150/month payment and come spring, I’ll pay it off.

That’s the idea.

I think it’s pretty sound.

I’m going to take a few more weeks, but I feel pretty ready to make a move on it.

Plus, I don’t want to get caught in the rain.

“Doll, I know you’re independent, but let me state the obvious, you’re a woman, go to the dealership with a man, don’t go on your own,” my person said before I left to come home.

And I agree with him.

I will need a side kick to help me out, some one to hold my hand.

I’m pretty confident I won’t be bamboozled, but having never bought a car before I want assistance, I don’t want to do it alone, and I’m pretty sure I can find someone to go over to Berkeley with me and do that part.

I think that’s about the only thing.

That and getting my refund back from the overcharge on my tuition bill.

I feel pretty awesome about the whole thing though, I didn’t react to the tuition bill, I responded, and I have been combing my finances and seeing where I can nip and tuck and get the car.

And I really do feel like I can do it.

Fun.

A car.

It’s only been fifteen years!

I think it’s time.

 


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