Posts Tagged ‘psychotherapist’

You Look Good!

August 20, 2017

He said to me after giving me a great big hug, “where you been, I’ve missed you?”

Interning, working, getting ready for school, prepping for Burning Man.

Oh the list of stuff.

“You like?” I said, and stepped back to let him admire my look, “I therapized today, so I was dressing for the occasion.”

“I love,” he said, then continued, “you were what?”

I told him I had clients today, I had group supervision, I wanted to dress the part, the therapist part that is, I want to look like a professional.

“You look good! It’s totally working for you,” he finished, “glad you made it tonight.”

And so was I.

And I was happy that I made an impression.

Maybe it’s just me, but I really want to give an air of being a professional, I want to be respected  and I want to set a tone for my clients, I’m not super serious and I’m not uptight, I am warm and friendly and empathetic, but I also want to send a clear message.

I am an authority and I am going to dress like one.

On the other hand.

Holy fucking shit.

Some of the people who work with me are not as concerned with their appearance.

Or their body smells.

Fuck my mother.

It was a shock today to walk into my office and be overwhelmed and I mean, overwhelmed, with the smell of rotting socks and foul shoes.

The intern before me had done a session with his client in his socks.

Granted.

I sort of understand, it was a child client, I will happily get down on the floor with a child, I will, getting on a child’s level is crucial, I would and have done sessions sitting on the floor with a kid.

I have never taken off my shoes for a session with a kid, but hey, sure I could, if I felt that it was of service to the session.

But.

Fuck.

Not if my feet smell like bad molding cheese.

God damn.

I am not over exaggerating, even if I have a tendency toward the dramatic, I am not being dramatic, it was bad.

So bad that an hour later when my group supervisor and the rest of the interns coming in for our 2p.m. session, noticed it, complained and opened the windows wider.

I shared with one of the interns about why it smelled that way and that the room also had not been vacated on time, the therapist had gone over with his client.

I was livid.

I had the room assigned to me and I had a consult waiting in the hallway.

I understand that I am working in a community mental health facility, but fuck, people, professionalism.

PLEASE.

There is something therapeutic about what I am modeling for my clients by showing up on time, by presenting a clean persona, by having a nice outfit on.

I don’t have to be dressed to the nines, but I present nicely.

I mean, I am a professional nanny during the day, I run around with a four-year old and a seven-year old and I am constantly juggling a baby–which is great, I joke often that I am emitting baby smell which has to be a therapeutic smell if there ever was one–who sometimes burps up milk or mashed carrot on me.

But.

I have back up clothes at work.

I have nanny shoes.

I have therapy shoes.

I bring in my nice clothes, I change, I put on my therapy shoes, I tidy my hair, I make sure that there’s no burp residue on me, I refresh my lipstick before I hop on my scooter and zip to my internship after my day job has ended.

I pull it together.

Ugh.

I am done ranting.

I guess I have just been taken by surprise a few times by the lackadaisical attitude of some of the interns.

I take what I am doing so fucking seriously, I want to be good.

I mean.

Really good.

I am proud of what I have accomplished and it feels good to give it acknowledgement.

I had hot pink hair when I started my Masters of Psychology program.

I have a lot of tattoos.

A lot.

And.

I dressed flamboyantly, glittery makeup, big flowers in my hair.

A little faux queen if you will.

Big hair.

Big personality.

And I love that about myself, that I can pull out a fabulous costume from my closet and do it up, but I remember quite distinctly when I began the process of interviewing for practicum that I wanted to present a bit more polished.

I went and got a good hair cut.

I went back to my natural color.

I hadn’t been my “natural” hair color in god only knows how many years.

Purple, magenta, green, blue, yellow, hot pink, cotton candy pink, rainbow sherbert, name a color I had it.

I stopped painting my nails super dark colors.

Oh.

I still do now and again, but I tend towards a neutral manicure now.

I toned down my clothes, I got some good clean, easy dresses from the Gap and a couple from Asos, that I could layer with a classic black cardigan.

I softened my makeup.

I almost never wear winged eyeliner anymore and I don’t wear glitter.

Well.

Maybe a tiny bit of sparkle, but it’s so subtle now, you might not notice it at all.

I stopped wearing flowers in my hair.

I still have them.

I will wear them at Burning Man.

I will have a wild hair parade everyday out there, I will wear flowers and ribbons and hats and fascinators and I will have fabulous makeup and flamboyant dresses.

I will wear fucking antlers on my head.

See if I won’t.

But.

Not when I have a session with a client.

I like this refined me.

It feels adult.

I like wearing heels and nice button down shirts and expensive jeans and soft, clean makeup, I still wear hoops, but not the super gigantic ones anymore.

Oh.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m an attractive woman and I have unique features and my hair is always going to be wild, but it’s just wild brown curls now not hot pink curls, and well, the tattoos, they will always be there and there will probably be another one or two add to the mix.

I am never not going to be noticeable.

But fuck me.

I will be professional.

And that’s my business.

I don’t have to judge how others do it, even though, shit, half this blog was all about judging mister stinky feet and the sloppy ass interns in t-shirts and dirty jeans, but I do get to process it out here.

So that when I interact with them.

I can be professional.

Because.

I am.

I am a psychotherapist.

And I will dress like it because it pleases me to do so.

So there.

Ha.

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Evaluation

August 8, 2017

Of Trainee.

That would be me.

Psychotherapist in training.

I picked up my evaluation from my supervisor today from the office at my internship.

I zipped up to the office before seeing my client at 6:30p.m.

I have two new client folders that I needed to look at, but not too long, I needed mostly to grab my evaluation and scoot on out.

I almost didn’t want to read it before I saw my client.

But.

Ha.

Well.

Of course I did.

Oh my gosh you guys.

It was really nice.

I mean.

Really good.

I got the best marks.

I mean seriously.

Of the four pages of the evaluation I scored the top score in all categories.

I got fives and fives and more fives.

  1. Serious difficulty with performance
  2.  Needs improvement
  3. Performs as expected
  4. Performs above expectations
  5. Performs far above expectations

Holy cats.

I got fives on everything but for three categories, and for those I still got 4s.

I am blown away.

Feels pretty motherfucking good, I have to say.

And the written comments, swoon, wowzers, you can say I’m pretty happy having read them:

“_________________ is an exceptional trainee, performing far above expectations for a first semester as a trainee.  Her level of enthusiasm, and compassion combine with a natural intuitive therapeutic ability give her a positive edge in helping her clients.  ____________ will continue to grow as a therapist as she gets more experience.”

Exceptional.

God damn that is so nice to see in print.

I need to remember that when I get bogged down in the details and the scheduling and the figuring it out.

You should have heard me as I was putting on my therapy shoes before I left work today to go to my internship, “pick up files and paperwork in room 533, meet with __________  in room 352.”

I must have repeated that five times like a little mantra before I had my shoes on, my scooter jacket zipped up and my purse and scooter basket bag in my hands.

Every day that I go into my internship–five days a week, thank you very much, I am in a different room.

I have it just about down as to where I am going to be on any given day, but I have to say I end up repeating them or double checking or looking at my calendar.

Where am I today?

Speaking of.

I need some tech support.

There has to be a way for me to access my Google calendar from my Iphone.

I haven’t figured it out yet.

I keep looking at my Gmail and trying to find where the calendar is hiding.

I mean.

I have a calendar on the phone, but I also have a personal calendar through my own Gmail account and another through my internship.

I got assigned another client today and I knew what spot to offer her and when I got the confirmation e-mail that she wanted the spot I sent my assistant director, who is in charge of the calendar, a message, but I really want to be able to access my calendar immediately.

I am at my house in the morning on my laptop and in the evening, but I am out all day long for great swaths of time, there has to be a way for me to access the calendar on my Iphone.

Add to list of things to figure out.

Like, oh, getting my paperwork to school by Friday.

I mean.

Ugh.

Either I get up early and go before therapy tomorrow or I go before work Wednesday or Thursday.

Hmm.

I wonder.

I bet I could just go after my client tomorrow or after work on Wednesday.

Oh.

That works.

I usually have something going on right away after work on Wednesdays, but not this week.  I’ll get done with work Wednesday and zoom over to school and drop of the evaluation to the practicum office team.

I also got some things ironed out with my practicum schedule and group supervision and my school schedule.

Once a month, for five months, August-December, I am in school for three days, Friday 9a.m.-8p.m. Saturday 9a.m.-4p.m. and Sunday 9a.m.-12p.m.

I have group supervision on Saturdays from 2p.m.-4p.m.

Obviously there is a conflict.

And I can’t simply get away with not having supervision for that week.

I now have five clients this week.

I will have six clients next week.

And seven the week following.

For every five client hours I have I have to have one hour of supervision.

Having more than five clients I have to go to supervision twice a week.

And.

Now.

I have openings starting in September for Saturdays.

Yes.

I will be taking clients on Saturdays after I get back from Burning Man.

I will see clients from 4:30-6:30p.m.

That leaves me a half hour afterward to zip over to my commitment on Divasadero and Eddy by 7p.m.

I will have group supervision first from 2-4p.m. then clients until 6:30p.m.

If it’s a school weekend I’ll have school until 4p.m. and then zip over to my internship and see clients.

Of course.

Nothing is booked yet, but for the fall semester they want me to run with 10 clients.

So.

Yeah.

Saturdays.

By Spring semester I am supposed to have 13.

Ugh.

I don’t know how that’s going to happen and I don’t need to figure it out right now.

Spring semester will also be much lighter.

I will be taking five classes this semester.

In spring it will be three.

So there will be more space and less homework.

I get so way far ahead of myself.

I keep reminding myself.

Pull back ladybug.

My worst fears about my internship and not being able to handle it have all been conflagrated beyond any sort of reality.  I can look back and see I was anxious for absolutely no good reason.  I was able to handle what was handed to me.

So.

I will be fine and my classes will be good, my work will be good, life will be good.

It already is.

And.

My boss agreed to let me go an hour early on Wednesdays once a month to offset my group supervision and was very sweet about it.

So grateful for my job.

And my life and love and all of it.

Life is full.

Busy.

Yes.

All the things.

But ultimately, I am alive for it all, exquisite and sometimes painful, but so bright and moving and wonderful.

I have no complaints.

NONE AT ALL.

Luckiest girl in the world.

Never doubt it.

Hello My Old Friend

August 7, 2017

So nice to get re-acquainted.

Not.

Fuck me man.

I got anxious today.

Now.

That should go without saying, having been diagnosed with clinical anxiety and clinical depression about a decade ago, that I would have anxiety now and then in my life.

But.

Shit.

I’d sort of forgotten.

Good grief.

It snuck up on me today.

Perhaps because I had suddenly some unexpected down time and that can make me a little tight in my chest, a little thread of something is wrong running down my spine, unscheduled down time, what the fuck will I do?

And I had plenty to do, I always have something going on.

I did loads of writing.

I did loads of laundry.

So happy the landlady replaced the washing machine, the gift of not having to go to the laundry mat next to the 7-11 on the corner of Judah and 46th is no joke.

I did yoga.

I had lots of lovely phone conversations today.

I went grocery shopping.

I cooked food for dinner.

I had a scrumptious salad for lunch on the back porch during the half hour of sun that came out in the Outer Sunset.

Man.

It has been foggy.

I’m about ready for that to be over weather wise.

I went and got right with God.

I did some meditation.

Life is great!

And.

I ordered books for school and looked over another syllabus that got published for my fall semester.

That’s when I noticed it, the corroding of my nerves, the odd feeling in my body, the small shivers of panic.

Oh.

Hello.

I had forgotten you.

And.

Oh.

Hello.

Fuck off.

I don’t need you around.

I mean.

I really don’t.

Anxiety pulls me out of the moment, catapults me into the future, where there is not god, there is nothing, there is only fear and terror and pain.

And it’s always a bad future.

It’s not a sweet, kind, gentle, loving future.

Nope.

It’s a.

YOU’RE GOING TO FUCKING FAIL SO YOU BETTER MOVE YOUR ASS NOW.

Kind of future.

And I still might fail.

And that’s ok.

I mean.

It is at least familiar.

I know this feeling, I have had it before, and I can live through it.

And I didn’t have a panic attack.

I had the scattering of one at the beginning of the last semester when I was super uptight about practicum and getting my internship nailed down.

Fortunately I was having a work day where the mom and baby were at her office and I was going to pick up the monkeys from school.

I had some down time at work to do cleaning and fold laundry and prep stuff for dinner and I got an e-mail regarding some financial aid thing and then another about registering for practicum and something in me just popped.

I got super wound up and it felt like a cement bucket of fear was riding on my chest and creeping up my throat.

Yay!

Anxiety.

For two and a half years I took antidepressants to deal with the depression and anxiety.

I stopped right around my five years of sobriety.

I came off them real easy.

I had been on the lowest dosage anyway.

But.

I felt like I didn’t need them anymore and I was riding my bicycle a lot and nannying some pretty energetic kids and I was doing ok.

I was also began eating a diet abstinent from processed flour and all sugars (except those occurring naturally in fruit, bring on the apples!) and that was a big thing too.

My diet got really clean, I got daily biking exercise, and I was out in the sun a lot pushing a stroller to and from multiple playgrounds.

The anxiety dissipated.

And.

The depression fell away.

I lost lots of weight.

I got happy.

Sure.

Shit happened.

Life happened.

When it was a dark and rainy winter the depression would slide back in a little, but for the most part.

Nothing.

Until.

I started grad school.

Anxiety nightmares.

Stress dreams.

Mild depression each winter semester.

Nothing that I couldn’t titrate with a touch more sleep or with a little more exercise and then I added some flax oil into my diet and rode it out.

The anxiety was easily the worst my first semester of school.

Now.

Today.

Not so much.

But.

It was there.

And truth be told.

It annoyed me.

It pissed me off.

I was like.

No.

NO.

I am not doing this again.

I know what this looks like and I know how to handle it and.

AND.

It never has been that bad.

It never has been the nightmare of not having enough time to do all the things and read all the things and write all the papers that my over active imagination likes to tell me it’s going to be.

Not once.

Not.

Never.

I never stopped blogging, which I told myself I would drop if it got bad.

I never stopped doing morning pages, ditto, I’ll stop if I can’t handle the writing load.

Oh.

Sure.

There were days here and there when I didn’t.

But I was pretty steady through it all.

I also know from experience, this for me is the most basic form of faith, that I always get things done.

And that there really is no need to be anxious about things.

I sent out a few messages, got some sweet responses.

Made a phone call to my person.

Wrote out a gratitude list.

And went about my day.

There are things I am going to have to do and my fall semester this year will look different from my last two as I am in practicum and I am seeing clients and I’m basically a practicing psychotherapist.

Not a psycho.

Haha.

Sorry.

Gallows humor is probably not the most attractive thing in a therapist.

Or is it?

Anyway.

I reached out to my supervisor about my schedule and I saw some openings and some things that I may have to adjust to and change-up.

But.

Overall.

I got this.

I got my books ordered.

I am still waiting for the release of one more syllabus though, I may still have to purchase a few books, but that’s fine.

I got my first text-book in the mail and I started reading it yesterday and yes, it will start traveling with me as I go about my week.

I worked through the anxiety.

I had a nice quiet talk with myself, assuaged my worries, gave myself the you can do it pep talk and basically really breathed into it.

All in all.

I can handle this and I was told that this would be a challenging year.

Haven’t they all been?

But.

That I have seen others walk through it and I know if they can do it so can I.

Plus.

I have a pretty amazing support system, fellowship and community.

I’m going to be just fine.

Because.

I already am.

Today.

Right now.

In this beautiful moment.

There is nothing wrong, and my life.

Well.

Let me just say.

It’s fucking fabulous.

Amazing really.

Luckiest girl in the world.

Seriously.

A Good Cry

July 12, 2017

And then back to living.

I saw my therapist today.

Yes.

A psychotherapist has a therapist.

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

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

One hour at a time.

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

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

I mean.

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

I do that now.

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

But.

Yes.

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

I knew.

For instance.

I needed to titrate my social media intake today.

I woke up a bit emotionally hung over.

I cried a lot yesterday.

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

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

Gah.

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

For he was joyful.

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

Oh the music the world has lost.

So.

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

I really had to not look after a while.

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

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

Sounds like a hangover, right?

Except instead of booze or blow it was emotion.

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

It was the communities.

And I’m grateful.

Really grateful.

I got to feel it and touch into it.

But.

I could not continue swimming in it any longer.

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

Oh.

It was all interconnected.

I am good at making connections.

And it was honest and insightful.

I am pretty good at those things too.

Not always.

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

But.

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

I am compassionate and more importantly, I am empathetic.

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

Oh, so fucking much.

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

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

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

B. I am a psychotherapist.

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

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

Uncomfortable feelings need to happen.

There’s nothing wrong with them.

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

For instance.

There’s nothing wrong with anxiety or depression.

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

I mean.

Booze was one hell of an amazing solution for me.

Until.

It was not.

So was cocaine.

My God.

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

It was like I had all the answers.

ALL of them.

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

Um.

Yeah.

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

And slowly.

One step at a time.

I got to change what I did.

What I ingested.

What I thought and felt.

For something else.

I was given a significant solution to my problem.

Of course.

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

Therapy is not for symptom relief.

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

I had to find a different way.

And I did.

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

I am alive.

I am not guilty for being alive

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

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

It is amazing.

Happy.

Joyous.

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

Grateful.

So very grateful.

Thank you for being a part of my journey.

May it bless you too.

Tired

June 23, 2017

And wide awake all at the same time.

There was a moment today when I just thought to myself, I am not going to make it through the day.

Not enough sleep.

Too many hours at work.

Client that needs to be seen after work.

Party for a friends studio opening.

And I was asked to come in earlier tomorrow to work.

I thought I was just going to pass out.

The little lady was close to taking a nap and I hazarded a distinct longing to put her down for a nap and cuddle with her and sneak in a nap myself.

But.

No such luck.

I also didn’t want to super caffeinate.

Although I came daringly close I did not succumb to the temptation and powered through the day.

My thoughts kept me company and I kept myself moving around the house a lot and kept telling myself that it was almost Friday.

It still was a long day.

But I made it through work and I got to my internship and I had a really good second session with a new client.

Two clients this week and I’ll be adding another client next week.

Slowly it builds.

I felt really good doing the session and decided that I could rally afterward and go sneak over to my friend’s open house studio opening.

I really wanted to have a grown up moment that was a social, even if it was just for a little snick of time.

I hadn’t any dinner so I knew that it would be short-lived and watching the fog roll in over Twin Peaks I was pretty assured that it would be a quick visit.

But it was good and I got to see an amazing work space and reconnect with Burning Man friends and talk a little about the event and when folks are going.

I haven’t found a ride yet and there was a moment when I thought, fuck it, wouldn’t it be nice to not stress and give up the ticket and spend the time here in the city with people I love and then I was like.

Um, no.

Hahahaha.

Sure, there are people who I want to see here, but the fact is if I don’t go to Burning Man I’d just be working anyhow, it’s not like vacation, although it completely is, but it’s outside of my time frame of paid vacation and I wouldn’t just take the week off without going.

Plus.

It’s the ten-year anniversary of my best friend’s death and he’s the reason why I went in the first place.

My heart, tender, feeling that loss, but not so achy as it’s been in the past, just tender, just there and I know there will be feelings that come up.

And there will be a conversation with him, somewhere in deep playa, out past the Temple where I am sure between the Temple and the mountain range my friend still resides, just a little part of him, I didn’t take all his ashes, but enough, enough to know he’s there and there are many places that I connect with the memory of him and also with the aliveness of him, the way I live my life a reflection of the gusto he went after life with.

I am sure he would be proud of me.

OH.

Hello.

There are the tears.

I knew you were around.

I watched the fog roll in over the top of Twin Peaks from the deck of my friends studio in the Mission and it was the same height and approximate distance from the hospital ICU, General, where my friend spent a week in a coma before the family pulled the plug and harvested his organs for donation.

There is always one strong memory for me, pressing my face against that window, my fevered brow, the hotness of my heart, the tears always on and off, more so off when I was at the hospital–it was only in the privacy of my own room in the dark as I prayed to God on my knees to get me through the experience that I would allow myself to cry–the coolness of the window and the dark, heaviness of the fog rolling in over Twin Peaks.

A blanket of sorrow and felted love thrown over the entirety of the city as though we all grieved the loss of my friend.

So.

Yeah.

I might be a little tired, but I’m not bailing on Burning Man.

Nope.

Sure.

I haven’t gotten a ride together yet, but that will happen and hopefully it won’t be as crazy as the ride up was last time.

I have gotten a couple of nibbles from my post on the ride share board, but nothing solid, it always comes together, I’m not too worried.

It’s more a matter, at this point, of getting a playa bike and finding time in between the comings and goings of my life to do some preparation.

I have people I am responsible to, my own recovery to attend to, and God damn it would be nice to get in a yoga class this weekend, but yeah,  a new playa bike and some sourcing of other items that are always nice to have and I’ll make some time, find some time, create some time, and do a little shopping when I can.

Side bar.

The mom just sent me a message about my work performance and told me that I really was “Mary Poppins sister!”

I’ll take it.

Anyway, this Mary Fucking Poppins, will be riding again under her parasol out on playa again this year and enjoying the hell out of not being a therapist in training, a student, or a nanny.

Just a girl.

Out on her bike.

Riding towards the painted calico mountains with secrets and love to share with an old friend.

“I finally was the ball, Shadrach, you’d be so fucking proud of me.”

Cherry Popped

June 14, 2017

I had my first client.

It went well.

That’s all I’m going to say.

That and holy shit.

I had my first client!

I did my first session of therapy with a client.

The client has rebooked for another session.

So it really begins.

As though it’s not been beginning for a very long time, all the time training and studying and reading and writing papers and working with my cohort.

All that.

Plus.

Years of other kinds of service, sitting and listening to another person check in, being honest, being accountable, showing up, doing the deal.

I mean.

Fuck.

I have been working hard for a god damn long time to get here.

I had my first client session.

I know I won’t ever forget it.

And I am grateful for it.

It was a good day.

A sunny day.

A lovely day.

I did a lot.

Showered and wrote and coffee and reading and making sure I had a back up outfit for work, just in case I get nannied in the line of duty.

Last week the baby spit up on both my arms.

Nothing says “let’s create a therapeutic alliance” more than smelling like regurgitated breast milk.

Ha.

So.

I have a back up outfit at work.

I actually have two.

I have one just for work, if I need to I can do a quick change out and being able to work the rest of whatever hours I have work and run my stuff through the wash.

And now.

I have a second outfit that is more appropriate to looking like a professional.

Oh.

I’m still pretty casual in my attire.

But.

I today I was was also softly polished.

Black leggings, long drop waist charcoal grey dress, baby blue cardigan, and my new Fluevogs.

I wanted to look nice, warm, inviting.

I also liked dressing for the part.

I love dress up.

I love clothes and shoes and I have secretly waited to arrive at the day when I can start to be a little more polished and professional.

It was really nice to transition from my nanny clogs to my therapist shoes.

It felt like I was putting on my superhero cloak.

Nanny by day, psychotherapist by night.

I’ll be seeing all my clients in the evenings after I get done with work.

I was talking to my own therapist this morning, I see her on Tuesdays before work, so it’s like my day is completely bookended with therapy, about how lucky I am that I have the job that I do and how much it fills me up.

My therapist and I talked a lot about how strong I am and how I don’t always know how to let myself recognize that, that I do the work.

I can logically see it, but sometimes when I have felt like I have had no other option, no one else to rely on, just me doing it on my own, how devastatingly lonely that can be and how hard.

It has taken getting pretty beaten down by a few accidents during the last twelve and a half years to help me see that asking for help is a valuable experience for me and when I am more vulnerable.

Well.

I am stronger.

There is such strength in vulnerability.

The more I can allow myself to be seen, to be vulnerable, the more I learn and the more I am able to use my own inner resources without having to feel like I’m justing working hard to work hard.

I am so grateful that wall has dropped.

It goes back up at times, but I find the more I can let it down the happier I am and the fuller my life become.

I am incorrigible in my aliveness and lust for living.

Absolutely defiant with my need to feel more happiness and joy and see more and go further and have as many experiences and have as much growth as I can.

Yeah.

I know that might be courting some painful things too, but there is growth where there is pain.

I do hope to reach a point in my life when I can make changes before I have to experience pain, a place of simple humility about what I can and can’t do, rather than a forced feeding of excoriation because I am simply unwilling to let go of some characteristic of myself that I think still serves me.

Not acknowledging my strength today in my therapy session would have been akin to that.

I acknowledged it.

And.

I also had to hold the fact that there’s an inner critic who still holds a lot of sway and likes to smack talk me quite a bit.

Not enough.

Not smart enough.

Not pretty enough.

Not lovable.

Not good enough.

But.

Those things are simply not true and they taste older and more and more faded and dusty and the cloth binding is falling apart.

Let me drop it to the floor, sweep it out the door and find something fresh and new and lovely.

There is so much loveliness for me.

I am sure of it.

“Your capacity for love is enormous,” my therapist said, “you have the biggest heart.”

Hearing a basic stranger, I mean, we’ve had, like what, eight sessions, tell me that my capacity for love was not just big, but enormous, I was floored.

I was validated.

That is what I hope to do for my clients.

To see them.

Honest in who they are with whatever they bring.

I know that I can do it and I am honored that I got to do that today.

And yes.

Log my first freaking hour of individual therapy.

It feels amazing to be logging hours.

I have a long way to go.

But I am on the path and that is all I need to be present for.

I don’t have to know where it ends.

I just need to continue moving forward.

One baby step at a time.

 

A journey of a thousand miles begins with one step

–Lao Tzu

Get It

May 31, 2017

Up early.

Out the door.

Off to meet with the supervisor.

Tired.

Caffeinated.

But still a bit tired.

Although by the time I left my supervisor I was jazzed up.

I’ll soon be seeing my first client.

We talked a lot about the frame and how it is held and how it is broken and all the communications, both verbal and physical, that are spoken in a session.

I’m nervous, I’d be stupid if I wasn’t, but I’m also excited and ultimately.

I’m ready.

I am at the “let’s get this party started” phase.

Tomorrow morning I have phone interview/orientation to do with the assistant director of my internship, go over all the paperwork and make sure all the ‘t’s are crossed and all the ‘i’s dotted.

I am a little over how it’s eating into my schedule, but that’s only going to get bigger, the schedule that is.

I’ll be going up to 41 hours a week at my job once school lets out.

I sat down today and figured out my schedule with the mom for the summer.

11-6 p.m. Mondays and Tuesdays.

9-6p.m. Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays.

The extra hours I will get paid in cash.

Which I hella appreciate.

And it will be a struggle and I will be tired and I will lean on the coffee and I’ll be ok.

I will have days off and time to play and get my ya ya’s out.

I have to.

I can’t be a therapist and always be grinding.

There has to be fun in the mix.

I am balancing things alright at the moment and not living in the future.

There is no God there, only fear and anxiety and a loud voice telling me in doomed tones that it will all go to shit and how dare you strive like this.

But fuck that.

I am showing up.

Right here.

Right now.

For whatever shows up.

As long as I treat myself well and I am accountable, transparent and honest with all the people in my life than I’m ok, I have to continue practicing spiritual principles at all times.

Now is not the time to let up on my practice.

It’s time to lean into it.

I have a new lady I get to work with starting tomorrow, I’m re-committing to a Saturday meeting I haven’t been to in a month–school and travel–and making sure my foundation is firm as fuck.

That’s the way to do it, throw myself into the deep end and swim.

I’ve always been a good swimmer and if I just remember to take the next stroke instead of worrying about swimming the last leg of the Medley 500 I’ll be fine.

Not that I ever swam the last leg, I was always the butterflyer.

I miss swimming a bit.

I have been gently wondering about getting back into the pool.

How much more can I smash into my schedule?

And perhaps it’s not smashing another thing in, but seeing if I can make room for another activity.

I seem to find out as the moments unfurl, bright and clean and shining like sun light flashing off the waves at noon.

Not that the sun has been much out.

Hello San Francisco summer.

Cold and foggy and having me consider buying another sweatshirt.

I really don’t need another, but I feel like I need a more professional coat.

I got some great new shoes yesterday.

I neglected to mention that in last nights blog.

I decided to really girl up my solo artist girl date by hitting the John Fluevog store on Grant Avenue and blowing my entire wardrobe allowance for the month of June on a pair of shoes.

But damn.

They are both sexy and fucking comfortable.

And.

Not too sexy.

Funky.

Cool.

Good therapist shoes, you know for a therapist who might be throwing some I’ve got tattoos action.

It’s a platform Mary Jane.

It’s superb.

I wore them yesterday out of the shop.

They are perfect and I’m happy to use my new career as an excuse to buy myself some shoes.

Hell.

I will use just about anything as an excuse to buy some shoes.

If they fit and look sexy I usually buy them, even if it means that they sit and languish in my closet for months, if not years.

I have a pair of leopard print platforms, Michael Kors, that I bought right after my ex-boyfriend broke up with me.

I was in Macy’s and there they were and they were on sale and they looked hella sexy and well, shit.

I had to.

I have never worn them out of the house.

Ha.

But they are in my closet and I have hopes to wear them.

I do.

I love me some shoes.

I love dressing up.

I haven’t always had the money to dress the way I want, but I am hella creative and I have some really nice compliments on my style, which can be very street, but I have been trying to tone it down a little as I approach having clients in therapy and what that looks like.

To be my fully authentic self, but also not too out there that I can’t be related to.

I believe being myself is important, but I have many sides to myself and not all of them need to be on display for my clients.

That being said.

I do have aspirations to upscale the wardrobe over some time.

I like to be a little edgy, a little funky, but I want to be refined and classy too.

I am not stupid or blind and I know I can pull sexy off quite easily, its my body shape, I’m curvy, it’s my hair, I have a lot it’s big and curly, maybe it’s my mouth.

“Carmen, you know, you’re mouth just screams blowjob,” my best friend in Wisconsin told me one night after having a few pints after hours at work.

I smacked her.

But she wasn’t wrong.

I want to tamp that down a touch and have some nice refined pieces in my closet.

I’ll find my way.

I am not worried.

And.

I suspect.

I will have a lot of fun doing it.

Oh yeah.

I Need A Carmen

April 14, 2017

Don’t we all lady.

I mean.

On one hand.

I was flattered, it was a compliment, and she quickly followed up with, “not that everyone can do what you do, or that you aren’t valuable and have your own skill set, not that you’re replaceable….”

She trailed off.

I smiled.

I than quietly got to witness an entire business transaction that I was not at all at part of, an assumption that if I was available I would work for the woman.

As though I don’t have my own life, my own plans, my own things happening.

Graduate school.

Interning.

My own fucking life.

Maybe my own time off.

She asked when the family I work for was going on their summer vacation, the family was having a play date at the home where I work and I know them from play dates with the family I work prior to my current situation.

They are nice people.

The kids are great, a bit untethered and rambunctious, but I think that happens a lot with play dates, the kids get wound up and kooky and into things and it can me melee.

Nonetheless I was rather stunned to stand in front of the woman while I was holding my bosses baby and listen to her logic of how I would be great for them, but too bad their summer plans were not coinciding with my family’s plan, that since there was no over lap that I would not be available to her as a nanny.

I stood there and smiled and jogged the baby on my hip and did not say a word about school or my internship or my plans for summer or any of it.

It wasn’t her business and by the time she got to her realization that the timing was off I didn’t have to inform her of my own personal stuff was more important that a temporary nanny gig to help out another family.

I don’t even know if she realized what an assumption it was, how it felt demeaning, that I am just open to be swapped around family to family, to not even be asked if it was something I would want to do or be available to do.

I mean.

I have any down time those weeks the family is away I will be helping my friend who is about to have twins.

I made the mom’s tea and snacks and corralled the littles and the play date was good and I know the mom meant no harm, it’s just a privileged assumption that I am going to jump at the chance to work for them.

I had another mother at the school recently praise me for “getting in good with ____________, “you’ll always have employment!”

Wow lady.

Fuck you very much.

As though my life aspiration is to be the private nanny to successions of children through their private school.

Although, I have thought that I might work with the families of the school, it did not occur to me to be in the context of being a nanny, but as a psychotherapist for families at the school.

Ahem.

It’s a kind of unconscious privilege that I have not always seen as privilege.

Or.

I will say instead, I had always felt uncomfortable with assumptions such as these, but did not understand they came from a state of privilege.

I’m able to name it better and understand how it feels and the way it lands.

I read this super intriguing article in my Multi Cultural class a year ago in regards to how “the help” is often more in the know because they straddle to very different worlds.

The people who come in to clean your house or cook your food or take care of your children may actually be more worldly and sophisticated because they have a broader spectrum of experience.

And I also am a cultured person, well read, traveled, studious, intelligent.

I got the connection and the correlation very fast.

Grateful that I also have a strong spiritual program, that I let it wash over me and past me and that it, in the end, didn’t matter, water off a duck’s back, I didn’t need to show my indignation, I don’t have to share my opinion.

It was not asked for.

Nothing worse than someone who wants to give advice or their opinions when they weren’t asked for.

I didn’t need to be a teaching moment.

I am just very happy that my employers have consistently modeled to me how valuable and important to them that I am.

I had a great day with the oldest boy today and a lot of solo time with him that felt really special and sweet.

We made a music video of him singing to the Beatles song “Here Comes the Sun.”

I made him grilled cheese for lunch.

We sat and read from his amazing Smithsonian encyclopedia.

We played games, drew, and snuggled.

We played goofy imaginary games and built satellite models.

I even sang him a lullaby.

It was the best bonding moment and I just felt his little vulnerable self melt and I got to have a connection with him that doesn’t always occur as his siblings are needing attention too.

I think that all couples therapist should nanny a couple of siblings.

The things we all could learn from our interactions with the closest people we love.

The inability of language to express what we need or want from a partner writ large in the negotiations of playing children.

Reasoning with an upset child who’s sibling won’t give them space because they love the other so much that they have to kick over the model or hide the stuffed dog, or hit the other on the head with a toy, can’t you see how much I want to be with you, thunk, then tears.

I have actually used a few Couples Therapy interventions with the siblings to navigate fights that happen.

And space apart.

They both got that today.

And they will tomorrow too.

Field trip!

I feel a carousel might be happening.

Or the Children’s Creativity Museum.

The little girl was sobbing on her mom as her brother had said something mean, which translated to I need space, and her mom was consoling her and telling her that she, the little lady, and I, the nanny, were going to get to go on our own solo field trip tomorrow.

She stopped crying.

Looked up at me.

Smiled.

And asked.

“Will there be snacks?”

Oh my God.

Of course.

Yes, darling.

There will be snacks.

I promise.

Hell.

It’s Friday.

You might even get an ice cream cone.

With sprinkles.

 


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