Posts Tagged ‘recovery’

Feeling Better

October 15, 2017

And almost through the weekend of classes.

The air quality improved substantially today.

So much better.

I have still had a low-grade cough, raw throat and tight and sore sinuses, but the air is better and tonight when I rode my scooter home I could take deep breaths and it felt so, so good.

There are still fires burning, but today felt like hope, that maybe there was an end in sight and that as the day passed things felt better and better.

I don’t know, I can’t predict a thing, but it was something to breathe better today.

The small things that I can take for granted, fresh air, good water, my home, it was with great gratitude that I drew those clean breaths of air, such goodness, just a big simple drawing in of air.

Ah.

I can feel my head ache easing and I know that the air quality has substantially improved.

This morning when I got up it was registering at unhealthy and there was ash again all over my scooter and a distinct smell of wood burning in the air, it was hazy and smudgy and smokey and my first class of the day was boxed up in a hot airless room.

But by the afternoon it started to shift and I left campus to grab lunch with a friend at The Market, the chi chi high-end grocery store in the Twitter building, they have a poke bar that I like to eat at if I’m going to blow a wad of money on lunch rather than eat the food that I brought with me.

I was happy to get out of the school building, the air felt fresher and it just continued to improve throughout the day.

So grateful.

So, so, so grateful.

And I’m also grateful that I only have one more class to get through tomorrow and that will put my squarely at the half way point of the semester.

I will have two more weekends of classes and then the winter break.

I’m doing pretty good, I’ve participated,  caught up on all my reading for this weekend, and I turned in the paper that was due for my Jungian Dream Work class.

I have a mid-term paper due on the 24th of the month for my Transpersonal class that I figure I will write the paper next weekend.

Then two more weekends of classes and I will enter the final semester of my Masters in Counseling Psychology.

Fuck.

I am doing this, I’m doing this, it’s really happening.

It’s been so much work and sacrifice.

I don’t always talk about that, the things that I have had to let go of to participate in the program while still working full-time.

I have given up going to birthday parties, out dancing, movies, fellowship, dates, dinner with friends, people and places and stuff that I used to do on a much regular basis.

It’s been hard.

I have felt sad when I have not been able to connect.

And yet.

I have spent so much time figuring out how to connect with people, with grace, with God, with service, with learning what I need to learn to better serve my community.

And.

Yes.

To have a fucking career where in I can make some money.

Oh.

I know, I’m not going to make a grand amount, but I am going to make so much more than what I make as a nanny, unless I get some super cush job, but the fact is, I’m ready to not be a nanny anymore.

I’ve a few more years and I’m fine with that, I still have miles and miles to go, but sure and steady, slow, one day at a time I am doing the work to get to the place.

And when I get there, well, there will be other places to go.

But.

For right now I am just really happy to be in my last year of the Masters program and to let myself be proud of what I have accomplished.

Showing up every weekend.

Turning in every assignment on time.

Straight A’s.

It’s awful nice to have a 4.0 average in grad school, just let me acknowledge that, I have a 4.0.

That’s something.

I have learned a tremendous amount about myself.

I have made dear friends.

I have a cohort, a group of peers, a community where I wasn’t expecting to have one, I have people who see me and regard me as an equal and who I get great feedback and validation from.

And I’m doing something that I don’t think anyone in my family has done.

I’m getting a Master’s Degree.

I could be wrong about that, I may have a cousin somewhere with one, but I can’t think of any off-hand, I don’t believe most of the people in my family have a college degree, let a lone a Master’s degree.

I feel pretty lucky that I have achieved what I have achieved and that I have put in the work.

Sometimes the sacrifices have seemed really hard, I have been lonely, I have missed experiences, but I also know that I am making myself into a woman with great potential to help and heal and that I will be of service for so many years.

I think I’ll have much more longevity as a therapist than a nanny, I’ll be able to practice as a therapist many, many, many years past the time when I would want to be a nanny anymore.

Hell, I’m pretty done with it as it stands.

Oh, not that I hate my job, I love the family  work for and I am so happy to get to do the work with them.

No, what I meant, is that my body is about done with it, my back is sore from carrying the baby in a carrier, my knees hurt, I have spent so many years being on my feet, from all the years, decades really, working in the service industry–started at 12 ended at 32, so that’s twenty years, and now the past eleven years or so as a nanny.

I could use a sit down job, thank you very much.

I once was having some real problems with my knees and I was young, in my mid twenties, and the doctor told me at that time that I needed to get out of the service industry, that I needed a sit down job, “your knees are that bad,” he told me showing me x-rays and explaining what the problems were.

I didn’t really heed that advice.

And I have managed to get by, sometimes a bit painfully slow, and I have seen things that have slipped past me that I wish I could still do.

No more running.

Not that I was a great runner, but I thought once or twice that I would at least do one marathon in my life

And dancing.

Oh.

Man.

I can tell how bad my knees are when I go out dancing, they are just not what they used to be, not that they used to be great anyway, but fuck.

Anyway.

I will go on standing for a little while yet.

I’m not there yet.

But.

Damn.

I am one more step closer.

I’ll take it.

Yes.

Yes, I will.

One little baby step at a time.

I will get there.

You may be assured.

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Almost Over

October 9, 2017

The weekend that is.

But my God.

It was glorious.

Amazing.

Let me tell you.

And it’s not quite over, but at 8:40p.m. on a Sunday, it does have the feeling of being just about put to bed.

Granted.

I will be up a little bit later tonight as I’m going to go to the deal on the other side of town.

I am normally not a late night lady when it comes to that, I used to be, but enough early morning starts and going to do the deal after 8:30p.m. becomes a fantasy more so than any reality if recent memory.

However.

I don’t have supervision tomorrow!

My solo supervisor is on vacation this week and next.

Which means I have to find my supervision elsewhere, but whatever, I’ll figure that out.

I have one session booked for the Saturday after I have school, yeah, I have a school weekend next weekend, right after I attend my group supervision–my group supervisor agreed to stay an hour after and meet with me.

I will probably want to shoot myself in the head because my solo supervisor is amazing and I love working with him and I always leave feeling exhilarated and have pages and pages of notes to review and work through before meeting with my clients.

My group supervisor?

Not so much.

In fact, I realized this weekend that I stopped bringing in my notebook for group supervision.

I get so little out of it that I rarely take any notes.

Granted.

There is something about sitting and processing what is happening for me in the session with my clients and I have gotten some good feedback.

But not much.

I am just going to have to do it though, I am, as I need to carry a certain amount of supervision while I am carrying my client load.

I have eight clients now.

I see clients four times a week, after work, for two hours.

I must have a certain amount of supervision or the BBS won’t approve my hours of client sessions, and that’s fucked, as there are so many hours I have to accrue.

I understand the logistics of it, but it’s still a pain in the ass when my supervisor is gone.

Nevertheless I feel quite happy that I can sleep in tomorrow and thus go out a little later than I normally would on a Sunday to hang out with my fellows and get right with God.

I am also happy to say I had a super productive day so I’m ok going out too.

I have gotten a lot of reading done.

I just finished writing a paper for my CBT class and I turned it in three days early.

Granted.

I had to do the fucker tonight, it doesn’t really matter to me that it wasn’t due until the 11th.

I’m going to be working and seeing clients today and tomorrow.

I will be going to therapy before work on Tuesday.

I will have to do my group supervision this week on Wednesday and I have a commitment after that.

I wouldn’t have had time to do it any other time.

I do have another paper to write, but I’m not quite ready to write it and since I had a client cancel for my Thursday slot at 6:30 p.m. I will probably take that hour in my office to write the paper.

I have to go in Thursday despite the cancellation, I still have a client at 7:30p.m.

So anything that I don’t get done by Thursday I can address in that time.

Yeah, an hour is not much time to write a paper, but I can write a 1500 word blog in less than an hour, I can certainly crank out a paper for my Jungian Dream Work class.

I didn’t attend to that today as I had other reading to do that had to happen and also I haven’t really had any dreams that I have remembered.

I have had some snippets but nothing worth writing about.

I did have one a few nights back that was pretty interesting, but it was happening as I got up to use the bathroom in the middle of the night and I was super tired and fell right back into bed.

I am not going to pick up my dream journal and write down a dream at 4 a.m.

No I am not.

So.

I remember bits of the dream, but not the bulk of it, and I suppose I could have sussed something out that morning after I got up, but I had other stuff happening and I forgot.

I don’t as of yet really have fodder for the paper.

Oh.

I suppose I could use a dream I have had before.

I have a very vivid recollection of many dreams.

But.

I’m waiting for something fresh.

Speaking of fresh.

My house is looking tidy.

Did more laundry.

Did a bit of cooking, I’ve got food all prepped up for the week and for the weekend of classes.

I also met with a ladybug and did some work with her.

I love how I find myself telling the women I work with the exact, and I do mean, exact thing that I need to hear myself do.

So.

After she left I had a phone check in with my person and then I did my accounting for the month of September, which I usually do within a day of the beginning of the month, but um, ha, it’s the 8th and I finally got to it.

And I did my spending plan for October.

Then.

I got my health insurance stuff sussed out.

My coverage through Healthy SF ends on October 16th.

I applied for health insurance through school and it was pulled, the money to cover the plan, from my financial aid.

But I hadn’t really finished setting it all up.

I did that today.

I also called and contacted my new ophthalmology doctor.

Which was fantastic, I have insurance now that will cover my eye doctor appointments, I was paying out-of-pocket and that has gotten pretty expensive over the last few years as my prescription as changed.

Thanks “old age” and reading a fuck load of books and articles for grad school.

I have been wearing “progressives” for a few years now.

Bifocals.

Thank you very much.

And they are not cheap and I suspect my prescription has started to change enough so that I need a new pair of glasses.

I’ll be making an appointment tomorrow.

Very happy I got that taken care of.

Hell.

I even got to yoga today too.

I wasn’t sure I was going to, I was feeling a bit of anxiety about getting enough homework completed, but then as I was reading for my Transpersonal Psychology class I just realized, you know, I’ll feel so much better if I go exercise.

I looked at my watch it was 4:10 p.m. and yes, there, on the schedule at my studio, a 4:30p.m. class.

I got so worked.

But it was worth it and I felt so much better and I was able to focus on the rest of the homework that I needed to do.

Not bad Sunday.

And you’ve still got surprises in mind for me, I can tell.

Thanks for an amazing weekend.

I actually feel really on top of my game right now.

It’s a good fucking feeling.

Really, really good.

Nope

October 5, 2017

My homework is not done.

I have been hoping to have time to read all week at work and I have had the baby non-stop.

Which is great, but no down time.

The baby also really likes napping on me.

Which I love, my God, I love it, but no reading is happening.

Instead.

I find myself sitting and looking at things.

Yes.

Some of those things are social media.

But mostly.

I find myself looking at nature.

Today he napped on me up at Douglas park.

The grounds crew for SF Parks and Rec had just gone through and mowed the grass.

It was a gorgeous high, tight, bright blue sky kind of San Francisco day.

The park is on top of the city way up in the hills towards Diamond Heights on Douglas at Clipper.

It’s flat, but surrounded by a steep cliff and towering trees.

I stood in the open field of grass gently rubbing the baby’s back and humming to him and looking at the grass.

When was the last time I sat, well stood really, and looked at grass?

It was gorgeous.

So green.

And wet.

There was dew and the sunlight sparkled and the sky was blue, blue, blue, and the air smelled so good and I was alone with the baby in a field of grass surrounded by sky and trees.

Who the fuck gives a good god damn about school work.

It will get done when it needs to get done.

Being with the baby is actually the kind of break that I need when I let myself acknowledge it.

He slows me down, I have to be very present and then once he’s asleep, which today took a bit, he’s also teething, so yeah, the bad part of trying to get a baby to sleep who’s teething.

Screaming.

A screaming baby strapped to one’s chest is not the most relaxing thing.

I over heard someone say once, “I’d rather have a bomb strapped to my chest, at least it would be quiet.”

But then.

The exquisite relief when he stops crying, when he lays his heavy warm head on my chest and sighs really big and just drops into the sleep, secure, safe, held.

It is bliss.

And I got to have the experience twice today.

Once at Douglas park and once at the home.

When he naps on me at the house I tend to sequester myself in a corner of the house where the mom won’t be so that she has a moment to be baby free and work on her own work for a while.

Today I was in the play room.

For a while I was on the back porch, next to the gigantic avocado tree, overlooking the city, which still strikes me with its loveliness, which still floors me with its beauty and that I still get to live here.

Such a huge gift.

May I always.

I love to travel.

But having San Francisco as my home is so important to me.

I have created such a life for myself here I cannot imagine making it elsewhere.

And you know.

I did try.

Paris.

But here, San Francisco, is home and I had left my heart here and back I came and the city opened wide its arms and said welcome back, prodigal daughter, now don’t do that again.

And I know its crazy and techy and millienially and weird and there are places where kombucha is on tap and there are lots of Tesla’s on the road and privilege and segregation and racism, covert, and more privilege and holy shit the rent and the cost of anything.

But.

Oh.

The beauty.

The houses, the bay, the bridges, the islands, the restaurants, the smell of delicious things being made everywhere, the farmers markets in all the neighborhoods, the Victorians, the colorful paint, the fog, Ocean Beach, Sea Cliff, The MOMA, The Legion of Honor, The DeYoung.

The smell of eucalyptus.

The sound of fog horns in the morning.

Riding my scooter up and over Laguna Honda and onto Clipper Street today, the view, my god, I live in a literal movie set.

It is magic.

And it is where I feel myself, who I am with no apology, with pink pom poms on my shoes, or a flower in my hair, not that I wear them so much anymore since I have been taking clients, but I still have them, and the art, the street art in particular, I love it, so, so, so much.

And coffee.

Oh coffee.

So much good coffee.

So much.

I am a spoiled brat.

I love my city, I love San Francisco, I love that I go to school here, that I live here, that I chose it as much as it chose me.

I know plenty of people who have had to move away and I have gotten to stay and it boggles the mind sometimes.

I make less than the median income.

Way less.

Like I make half the median income.

But.

I make it work and I don’t feel deprived.

I mean.

I bought prosciutto today at a new butcher shop in Noe Valley.

And duck sausages.

I eat organic foods and I have a scooter.

I have a job, I get to go to graduate school, I have music, a Macbook Air, I have an Iphone.

I have.

Better yet.

Better than stuff and things.

I have happiness.

I have joy.

I have freedom.

I have perspective.

I am of service.

I am loved.

And that.

More than anything.

Means more than anything.

I have love.

Love.

I have you.

It’s Got To Be

October 2, 2017

Good enough.

Because I am about done and my brain is tell me I could have done more, I should have done more.

But really.

Fuck off brain.

I got done what I needed to do and then some.

Yoga.

Meeting with a lady bug and working on inventory for an hour.

Three loads of laundry

Cleaned the house, scoured the bathroom, took all the trash out, swept, vacuumed, swiffer’ed.

I know, swiffer is not a verb, but you know what I mean.

I went grocery shopping.

I cooked two different meals.

I made a spicy andouille and chicken soup with vegetables and corn and brown rice.

I canned up three jars and I froze three other containers of it.

I’m starting to stockpile meals for the next school weekend, every time I can I will freeze a little something to have for my school weekend.

Inevitably I have a lunch out with a friend in the cohort, much more so this semester than any other, I suspect since I’m in my last year with my cohort and making an effort to be connecting with my friends.

So food’s been made.

And I also roasted a chicken while I was doing my CBT webinar class tonight.

Plus a pot of brown rice with peas and corn.

I’ve got food for the week and then some.

And yet, I didn’t get enough done?

What ever.

Read an article for my Jungian Dream Work class and realized that I was pretty much caught up with all the material except for one article, I should be able to knock that out pretty quick, I might, maybe, even go back and read it before I go to bed tonight.

The CBT webinar kind of took it out of me though and I had to recuperate after wrapping it up.

Which meant eating some of said roasted chicken and brown rice with peas and corn.

It was delicious.

Then I put on a mixed tape and got my fucking good time on.

I needed to get a release.

Ahem.

Sometimes a girl has to do what a girl has to do.

Giggle.

Anyway.

I did do plenty today.

Made some phone calls.

Stayed connected with my people.

I did plenty.

Plus.

I mean.

It is my day off.

It’s ok to “slow down” a little.

And I’m feeling better.

Although this morning I was sorely wrong about takin my antibiotic when I did.

I’m supposed to take it four times a day, I still have one more to take tonight, around my meal times–breakfast, lunch, dinner, snack.

But.

I don’t like doing yoga with food in my belly.

And I still felt like I had some food from my little snack last night in my body, I thought, I should take it now, since I won’t actually have breakfast until 11a.m. or so, yoga and then a shower.

WRONG.

Not a fun yoga class, my tummy was super upset the entire time.

I got through the class though and the sweating was good and I’m glad I went, just note to self, take the antibiotics with food please.

I haven’t really had any sharp pain in my tooth today, so I’m hoping that between the ibuprofen I’ve been taking and taking the antibiotic that I’m doing ok.

Which is good as it will be a full week.

Supervision tomorrow, work, two clients.

Therapy Tuesday, work, two clients.

Wednesday is my short day, “just” work, and then seeing some fellows in the hood up at the Sunset Youth Services.

Thursday is work and two clients.

Friday is going into work an hour early to help my boss and two clients.

Saturday is group supervision.

And that’s my week.

I am sure wonderful things will happen during the week, it’s not always grinding and making things happen.

There are moments of sweetness and lightness, laughter, seeing the amazing beauty in my life, being grateful for all the love I have.

I have so much.

It astounds.

And.

It’s October!

How did that happen?

I noticed that the sunset was pretty early tonight.

I did something proactive for myself that I’ve been thinking about for over a year, ever since one of my professors mentioned that she had one.

I got a SAD lamp for my house.

I was diagnosed with Seasonal Affective Disorder in my early twenties.

It wasn’t until my early thirties that I got the Adult Child of an Alcoholic, PTSD, Depression, and clinical Anxiety diagnoses.

Add Alcohol Use disorder.

And.

Cocaine Use Disorder.

Look ’em up, there in the DSM V.

Anyway.

It has been recommended by more than one trained professional that I get a light box.

They’re expensive.

But I said fuck it.

I got one today.

The Northern Light 10,000 Lux Boxlite.

I got it off Amazon, so it was a tiny bit cheaper than the one from the website, but yeah, I dropped a couple hundred.

I don’t get much natural light in my room and I noticed it a lot today since I was inside a lot doing work on the house and homework and meeting with the lady.

I had a bout of low-grade depression last winter, not much, certainly not enough for me to go back on antidepressants, and I almost didn’t realize it until it was just about past.

I also was having a very hard time resolving myself with leaving the boys that I had nannied for two and a half years and transitioning to starting a new job with a new family.

Compound that with some family of origin stress and I was definitely on the depressed end of things.

So.

I am going to be proactive and do good self-care.

If the dentist thing taught me anything I need to really be on my self-care.

It is important.

I am someone a lot of folks depend on and I want to be dependable and I want to be able to be present at work, for my clients, for the people I love in my life.

I’m worth the investment.

As they are.

Just trying to give myself more love so that I may love others as much as I possibly can.

So I choose to replenish myself and make sure I get enough “sunlight” this winter.

I will have more to give.

And there’s so much I want to give.

So much.

 

That’s Not Mine

September 13, 2017

It’s yours.

Or.

It is mine?

Or is it both?

Turns out yesterday it was both/and.

I hate that.

Both.

And.

I had a client working through some traumatic stuff in session yesterday and I realized later that I had taken some of it with me.

It was hard to shake.

Why was it so hard to shake?

I talked to my therapist today about it.

We isolated it and moved through it and all sorts of stuff came up.

Jesus fucking Christ.

All the stuff.

Fortunately, and I mean this in the sincerest way possible, fortunately, I have been doing self-examination and inventory and work on myself for such a long time that I was able to work through it.

I can’t and won’t divulge what happen in session with my client.

That’s a breach of ethics and I am honor bound to keep those things within the walls of my office.

But.

I can say that what happened had a resounding feel to me of something that had happened to me.

I couldn’t quite pin it.

I know that there was an extraordinary amount of emotion in the room when I worked with my client last night.

I relayed to my therapist things that happened for me in my body, what it felt like, the counter transference that happened and the transference.

And.

That I recognized that some of what I was feeling was my clients and some of what I was feeling was mine.

Thank God for a great therapist.

We isolated it.

Or.

I isolated it.

She did what therapist do, good therapists, she held the field, she let me find my way, she made some connections for me that I didn’t see, she held me with empathy, she validated my experience, she reflected and gave me perspective.

And.

Holy shit.

There it was.

And I broke down and bawled.

Great big ugly tears.

Relieved to get it out.

Although it tried to stick for a second.

It tried really hard.

It did not want to come out.

I was choked with grief.

Stricken.

I got it out though and I named the emotions I was feeling.

Trying to stuff them all into the crumpled ball of tissue in my moist hand.

Guilt.

Shame.

Unendurable guilt.

For getting out, for doing better, for surviving.

For being financially “well off.”

Bwahhahahahaaha.

Have you seen my student loan statement?

I have.

Meh.

Anyway.

Though I may have a fuck ton of student loans, fuck it, I’m worth the investment, I am, I am, I also have a modicum of financial security and I have a nice little home and I have nice little things.

I have a scooter.

I have a bicycle.

I have security.

In so much as I continue working at the pace I am working.

I don’t have much of a security blanket in the savings account.

But hey.

I have a savings account.

When I think about how successful I am in comparison to my mom or my sister and how I have always managed to find a way out, I sometimes, more so than I want to admit, have guilt.

And then.

I belittle my experiences or my own traumas, because, man, they had and have it bad too, and I’ve found a way through.

There is no way through but through.

It’s painful.

But.

Fuck.

It’s so worth it.

And I also see that I am not responsible for my sister, for my mother, for my father, my nieces.

I am, and can only be, responsible for myself.

But the guilt.

It hit me hard.

I was feeling awkward about an upcoming birthday in my family and I was relaying how many times, so many, too many to count, that I have sent gifts trying to foster some sense of connection and love to my family.

And.

Have not received it.

Oh.

I know there’s love.

But I haven’t the emotional connection to my family that I was trying to cultivate, a sort of reciprocation of love and that I need to let go of trying to get it the same way I have been doing so for decades.

We, my therapist and I, talked about how I might be able to establish connection, about what I could do.

I have to say it felt futile.

I was fucking flummoxed.

Then.

As I sat and the grief washed over me and I saw how hard I had tried to do something, taking the same action time and time again, that maybe there was another way.

Maybe.

I don’t know.

But I sussed a few things out and suddenly I had an answer.

It may not be “the” answer.

But.

It felt good to process it all out and find the connections and see how the traumatic experience that I bore witness to when I was with my client last night led me to work through and settle out something that has been nagging me for decades in my relationship to my sister and my nieces.

I don’t have a lot of close family.

Just my sister.

I have almost no relationship whatsoever with either of my nieces.

Although I helped significantly in the first years of my oldest niece’s life.

And I love her so much.

After I moved away from Wisconsin our relationship grew very thin.

My sister had troubles of her own and many challenges that I could not face for her.

Fuck.

I had to deal with my own shit.

The last time I saw my oldest niece was over fifteen years ago.

She was nine.

In a few days she will be 25.

I was nineteen when she was born.

I was the first person to hold her.

I saw her crowning.

I saw my sister endure the most excruciating pain.

I rocked that baby to sleep so many nights, I sang her songs, I can feel the heaviness of her carrier in my arms now.

I loved her beyond any previously known capacity to love.

And that is enough.

I gave what I could when I could and when the paths of my family and mine diverged, it was right to go the way I did.

To allow others the dignity of their own experiences.

To allow others to feel the weight of their choices, the consequences, good, bad, indifferent, to their actions, and not interfere.

I can still love my sister, my mother, my father, my nieces.

I can still love my cousins and aunts, uncles, my remaining grandparent.

But.

I don’t have to do so at the expense of myself.

I don’t have to lose myself in care taking.

I mean.

hahahaha.

Who the fuck am I kidding?

I’m a therapist in training, I may very well lose myself in it all over again, the care taking thing, but I also get to have boundaries and frames and I get to help in a way that won’t drain me.

At least that is what I have hope for.

I have a deep capacity for love and my experiences have borne this out.

I have and will always love my family.

I just won’t put their needs before mine any longer.

I deserve better.

And.

Well.

Fuck.

So do they.

Who the hell am I to decide how they should live their lives.

They have their own God.

As do I.

Thank God.

Grace.

Over.

Drama.

For the most part.

I was a hot mess yesterday and today in therapy but it got worked out and it got worked out fast.  So grateful for that.

Beyond words.

And though it may not seem cause for celebration.

It is.

And.

I am.

Yes.

The luckiest girl in the world.

Seriously.

I am.

Huge Relief

September 10, 2017

To change my mind.

To see where I was taking on too much.

To apologize and make an amends to a friend.

To get honest with my person and with myself.

To see where my priorities lie.

To let go.

To surrender.

Such relief.

I have been grappling with something for a few weeks now and I suspect that recent events in my life, like letting go of the idea that I have to go to Burning Man every year for the rest of my life and that I always have to be working toward something, coalesced this afternoon as I rode my scooter into my internship.

I don’t want to do the Aids Life Cycle Ride.

Let me clarify.

If I wasn’t working 40 hours a week, interning 15 hours, and going to graduate school full-time I would be totally down with doing the ride.

But.

I realized.

I am working so hard already and to commit to another commitment seems fool hardy, prideful, and unrealistic.

I like to believe that I am superhuman.

“You don’t have to be Super Carmen,” my person told me, “Carmen is good enough.”

Fuck me.

I forget that all the time.

As if I am not constantly trying to self-improve, do better, live harder, go bigger, I am not enough.

And.

Good fucking grief.

I am enough.

I also realized that I had self-sabotaged myself by committing to do something that would make me re-arrange my already super full schedule and in effect make it so I would not have any days off.

NONE.

Yes, that’s right, I would be working full-time, seven days a week, for the next 10 months.

Fuck that.

I deserve to let myself have a little down time.

To love and be loved.

To not go crazy in my last year of my Masters program.

I mean.

I’m still working six days a week, I’m not slacking.

I rode my scooter to my internship and thought, it’s ok to change my mind, it’s ok to see where I bit off too much and it’s alright to acknowledge that maybe I knew this all along.

That maybe I didn’t buy the road bike when I had the chance because I really knew I didn’t want to do the ride.

I think I was setting myself up to give myself an out.

I had run into my friend who convinced me to ride again a week before I went to Burning Man and his talks about doing training rides made me feel nauseous.

How the hell was I going to fit it in?

I started to consciously let myself know that maybe, just maybe, it would be ok if I changed my mind.

I actually think going to Burning Man really helped me with that.

I realized there, at the event, on a very deep level, that I work really hard to work really hard on my vacations.

Maybe.

Just maybe.

Instead of busting my ass, granted for an amazing cause, and I don’t regret the $95 I dropped to register, it’s a gift that I wouldn’t ask back if I could have it back, to bust my ass on my vacation.

Maybe.

I might want to actually have a vacation.

Like.

Lay on a beach.

Or.

Sit in a fucking cafe and read a book, people watch, drink coffee at ridiculous hours and not worry about getting up at the crack of dawn to ride 100+ miles and then come back from a seven-day ride, for which I would be using my vacation time, to go right back to work.

I mean.

Maybe I want a real vacation.

And.

Then.

When I said it out loud, when I got on the phone with my person, I got to my internship a little early simply so I could have time to talk with my person, I felt the biggest most amazing relief.

I knew in that instant that it was the right decision for me.

“Honestly, doll, I’m relieved to hear you say this, I was wondering when you were going to come to this realization.”

OH my god.

I love that he doesn’t judge me, that he didn’t tell me to not do it, that he let me have my process, and then to have it reflected back to me with honesty, well, that was that.

I’m not doing the Aids ride.

And I am ok with it.

We talked a lot about things happening in my life and I shared about a great deal of joyful things and it was so good to catch up.

I also talked about doing a trip for my graduation.

What that might look like.

Barcelona.

Paris, maybe L’Ile de Re, where my friend has a family home, off the West Coast of France, especially since she was such an important part of my first two years in the program.

That it might be really nice to see her and celebrate the accomplishment.

She was also the person who has said time and again how much I would like Barcelona.

In fact.

My savings account, I have two, one is my prudent reserve, and the second, my travel savings, is called Barcelona.

Not “going to Burning Man” again next year.

Not “doing the Aids LifeCycle ride and spending over three thousand dollars on a bicycle, gear, and who knows how many countless hours on the training.”

NOPE.

It’s named, “Barcelona,” because when my friend mentioned how I should go I thought, that would make a great graduation trip.

So maybe instead of sabotaging my dream with stuffing in more than I can handle, it’s ok to admit I made a mistake.

I told my friend tonight face to face and sat down and talked to him.

He totally got it, and then he added, “I totally honey potted you into agreeing, you know I did, don’t feel bad that you can’t, it’s ok.”

It’s ok.

Sigh.

Fuck.

Thank you.

I apologized again and hugged him and that was that.

I need to apologize to the three people who donated and then I think I’m clear.

I’ll also contact my ride representative and rescind the ride number, the ride will fill up and someone else will get to ride in my stead.

And.

I also contacted my assistant director, who is in charge of scheduling my clients and said, I need to not take clients on Saturdays.  I can do a consult now and then, but no clients.

At least for this semester.

I feel a lot better.

Much clearer.

Much cleaner.

And so relieved to be just regular old Carmen.

Super Carmen gets to put her cape back in the closet for at least today.

Thank God.

It needs a dry cleaning anyhow.

Ha.

Reunion

September 6, 2017

And it was good.

She ran to me with the biggest smile on her face and threw herself into my arms.

Good thing I was ready for her or I would have been bowled over.

I picked her up and snuggled her in for a great big hug.

“I asked _______________ what the best part of school was,” the mom told me today, “and she replied, ‘getting picked up!'”

And so pick her up I did.

She was so happy to see me and I was so happy to see her.

I got to get her early from school and she and I had 45 minutes to kill before her brother got out of his class, so we went to get special treats from Bi-Rite.

Bagels and plums and boxes of milk with straws.

Bubbly water.

She likes it as much as I do so now I always get two bottles or she’ll drink all of mine and then burp at me and laugh.

God I love this child.

I love all the children I have gotten to work with, and I am always surprised to find that there is more love in me to hold and to give.

This family, though, they are special, and I am so blessed to get to work for them.

I got to talk to the mom about Burning Man and show off my photos.

I got to snuggle with my little lady and hold hands, I mean, there was no shortage of holding hands, she was literally on top of me from the first minute I picked her up from school.

I got to have marvelous conversations with the oldest boy and also I made him his favorite dinner.

Roast chicken.

“OOOOOOH,” he said, when he saw that I had a chicken in the pan on the counter, “roasty chicken!!”

I almost had to tell him not to touch it since it wasn’t cooked yet, it was pretty adorable.

And I got the sweetest text later in the day when I was at my internship after work, the dad sent me a message saying welcome back and thank you so much for the roast chicken and cauliflower, it was so good.

There were many “o’s” in the “so” part, it was pretty damn cute.

I made my salt and pepper roast chicken and then topped it with tarragon brown butter and I roasted off cauliflower with coconut oil, garlic, black pepper, and sea salt.

All sorts of yum.

The baby even seemed excited to see me.

It was a warm and sweet and kind welcome back.

I am super lucky to have this family and it feels like they think they are super lucky to have me.

It’s a mutual thing.

And it’s a short week at work, which is a nice thing to.

Helps to get me acclimated to being there again and helps to ease the transition into the next few weeks which will be busy weeks for the family.

I’m grateful for them, the job, the environment, the freedom to be myself.

I realize more and more how important it is to be my authentic self.

In work, in relationships, in my internship, at school.

I also realized that I don’t need Burning Man to do that any more.

That I have fully embraced my authenticity, that I live an out loud, passionate, committed, loving life.

I don’t have to run off to that thing in the desert to find expression for myself and who I am.

And thus.

I feel.

I may be saying goodbye to Burning Man.

I had a sweet burn, I had wonderful talks with many a lady out there and I feel like I deepened some relationships that I didn’t even know I was needing to deepen.

But the fact is I am not searching for anything or anyone and I don’t have to work so hard to work so hard to enjoy a vacation.

Maybe, just maybe, I want to go somewhere with a hot shower.

Maybe I want to lay on the beach.

Maybe I want to be pampered and not have to do a ton of work and organizing and fretting and figuring it out.

My God.

The amount of mental free space I currently have for not trying to figure out how to get to and from the event is mind-blowing.

I have so many other things that I would rather focus my time, attention, energy, and love on.

So.

Yes.

I believe this last burn was my swan song.

Ironic that I saw nothing burn.

I spent my time writing, getting blown up in dust storms, connecting with ladies I love, hanging out at camp and talking with people in my community.

It was perfect and I couldn’t ask for anything more.

I feel that I have been asking Burning Man to give me something for years.

And that expectation only hindered me and my growth.

Having finally seen that.

Well.

It doesn’t feel like I need to go so badly anymore.

Next year I’ve got the Aids Life Cycle ride.

And.

And!

AND!!

Graduation from my Masters in Psychology program.

The school has set a tentative commencement date.

Saturday, May 19th.

I can’t wait.

It’s going to be epic.

You should come.

Seriously!

Because you probably won’t see me at that thing in the desert next year.

Might as well catch me when I let my mortar board sail into the air with joy.

It’s going to be great.

It’s going to be amazing.

Because.

Well.

My life already is.

Luckiest girl in the world.

Luckiest damn girl.

 

Getting Into A Groove

September 5, 2017

It took a minute.

It was slow going at first.

I still felt a bit sluggish and slow.

I slept late.

I went to bed fairly early and slept super hard.

I went to yoga and that helped a great deal.

I was stiff and needed to shake the rest of the dust out of my body.

My nose was still tender and I was a bit congested, but by the time the class ended I had sweat up a storm and my breathing was clear and clean.

It felt great to get into the class and I was super happy to find out that my favorite yoga teacher had moved back, I knew he was going to be visiting from out-of-town some holiday weekends, so I just thought, oh my God, he’s on the schedule, you got to go.

And it turns out he’ll be a permanent fixture again, which I am super grateful for.

His classes are hard, but hard in a really good way.

I have had very emotionally clearing classes with him and today it was just clearing the rest of the Burning Man out of my system.

I got back into my routine, a tiny bit, got some grocery shopping done, small run to the market in my neighborhood, I returned a ton of internship e-mails and did some scheduling stuff with clients.

I did lots of writing.

I had a super sweet engaging phone call with my best friend.

I am so lucky to have the people in my life I do.

So damn lucky.

And then.

Yes.

I did.

I got into my homework for the next school weekend.

I outlined what I need to read.

I did some reading.

I went over my syllabi.

I also wrote out a homework assignment and turned it in.

Super grateful I took the time to open up my school stuff and check in with my syllabi as I discovered the assignment for my Cognitive Behavioral class was due tomorrow.

“Oh fuck!” I said out loud.

Followed by a “damn it!”

Then I just sucked it up and got into it.

I had the time and I let myself dive into it.

I had plans to meet my person up in the Castro and I needed to run a few quick little errands before meeting with him.

So I read and did homework until I had to leave and yes, I got the assignment written and turned in.

Grateful for that.

I also did some writing for my Jungian Dream class that was good to work on.

And I got a tentative date for the commencement ceremony.

May 19th.

I like having a goal to shoot for.

It helps me to see what I am moving toward.

Although I don’t want to live in the future, it’s nice to have a carrot.

Graduation.

Ooh.

Man.

It just sounds really good.

I still have the majority of the year to get through, but it goes fast.

I know from experience.

It does go fast.

The time it whips by.

It does help that I have a full schedule, that makes the time go by.

And that I have things that I look forward to, people I get to see, snippets of sweetness that keep me moving forward.

Before I headed out to Burning Man I sat down with my employer and mapped out the year, well, not quite, we mapped out until my last weekend of school.

The school calendar for my charges was given to her, so we just went through each month and some days I’ll be going in a little early to help out with the brood when there’s a parent/teacher conference, or a bit of vacation for the kids.

I’m going to get out a little early this Friday, for example, as the family is taking a long weekend.

And.

In November, oh yes, I’m getting a ten-day stretch while they are away for a long vacation around Thanksgiving.

They’re European and don’t celebrate Thanksgiving.

I’m super stoked.

I figure I’ll do lots of homework and maybe a kind of staycation.

No need to figure it out now, just something to keep on the back burner.

Things really do seem to be flowing well for me, keeping the personal life balanced with the recovery life and work life and school life.

Yes.

It is a lot.

But not having Burning Man prep on my mind and being done with that chapter seems to have freed up a great deal of mental space for me and now that I have readjusted to being back in San Francisco I feel ready for whatever comes next.

I suspect it will be marvelous.

My life is not boring, let me tell you.

It’s full of passion and dreams and love and it blows my mind how much I have been given and that I can be of service here in the community and my fellowship is simply grace.

The love that I get to experience fills me and I feel expanded and buoyant with it.

Awed.

Amazed.

Astonished

I am wonderstruck with love.

How did I get so lucky?

I don’t need to know the answer, only that I am and grateful and not taking anything in my life for granted.

Alive.

So very alive.

There is so much yet to experience and do and feel and go.

I was chatting with my person tonight over a big salad, salads are very appealing right now after a week in the dusty dust, about moving on from Burning Man, that maybe I don’t go next year.

That maybe there are other places to travel to.

I have been doing a list of places in my affirmations and I think anyone of them may be a better alternative.

They all have showers, that’s for sure.

And though I adore the event and everything that I have gotten from going, maybe it’s time for a new adventure.

11 burns is nothing to sneeze at.

Even with a nose full of dust.

Anyway.

Enough Burning Man.

It’s time to move on.

At least for right now.

I have much more important things to focus on.

It’s going to be a good week.

I can feel it in my bones.

Seriously.

Bring it on.

 

 

Hello Again

September 4, 2017

It’s been a minute, hasn’t it?

I have missed my little blog, I have.

I got back from Burning Man last night.

I am back a day early and I cannot be more grateful for it.

I needed to get back, I was missing my world.

I also wasn’t wanting to sit in any kind of exodus line, the last time I had tried to leave on Sunday morning I ended up being in line for almost four hours.

Four hours on playa.

Four hours to go three miles.

No fucking thank you.

And I had to be back by today to give myself enough time to recuperate and unpack and unwind.

And.

Um.

Shower.

Holy Mary, mother of God.

Fuck me.

That shower was something else.

A spiritual experience for sure.

I knew when I heard that the temperature was going to rise and peak out on Sunday that I wanted to come back Saturday.

I didn’t need to see the Man burn.

I have seen it burn ten times.

I wanted to get home without a shit ton of traffic.

I asked the woman who I had traveled with to the event if she would be amenable to leaving a day early and she was quite down for it.

And in given that there was a death last night at the burn I am extraordinarily grateful that one, I did not witness it.  And two, that I had left before the event turned morbid.

Death happens.

But I am relieved that I did not witness it.

I had a very different burn than I have in the past.

First, of course, because I was not working it.

I had to laugh, even when I tried to pick up a volunteer shift at Artica slinging ice, I got turned down, they had more volunteers than they needed.

Every time that I thought I might have worked, it was pushed down and away.

I spent a lot of time sitting in Center Camp Cafe writing.

I sent lots of cards and post cards off and I did a lot of journaling.

I hung out at my camp with the ladies of the Nest, a sweet group of women that I have known for years and witnessed their growth into extraordinary beings.

It was super sweet to have such a girl centric time.

I wasn’t on the prowl for the playa boyfriend.

I didn’t need to look for anything.

I have everything I want.

I went dancing twice.

Once in camp, an amazing dj came and played at our potluck dinner for the camp.

The music was the best I had experienced in years at the event.

I danced hard for two hours.

Happy in my body and light on my feet.

Although, the knees felt a little rough the next day.

I got to know a few folks in my San Francisco fellowship whom I have known for years but not really connected with.

I went on bike rides with the posse.

I got caught in dust storms unlike anything I have experienced before.

Prior years I was always working very close to my accommodations and they included access to trailers.

A dust storm would spring up and I would be hiding out in a trailer.

A huge dust storm came up and I was obliterated in it.fullsizeoutput_ed1

The “clean” spot on my face was where my dust mask was.

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I mean, you can’t even tell I have tattoos for god’s sake.

I had been caught off guard and though I saw the storm coming, it came up too fast for me to get the fuck out of Dodge.

I spent about an hour of it laying on a bench outside of the Temple.

Completely exposed.

I rested my head on the bench, curled up next to the fencing it was by and held on for what literally felt like dear life.

I kept my eyes closed.

I wasn’t wearing goggles.

My bad.

Stupid too, since I have a pair.

I was, thank god, wearing something, my big aviator sunglasses, but my eyes still got totally coated with dust.

It was an extraordinary experience.

Not exactly pleasant.

But I surrendered to it and rode it out saying prayers inside my head and breathing slow and steady.

There was a break in it and I thought go!

I got my bike, made it five feet and it whipped up again.

I was told later the wind was roaring along at 45 mph.

The dust battered me and I held still straddling my bike for about another hour.

There was a man standing next to me on a trike.

He might have been three feet away, probably less and he was invisible to me.

I could have reached out to him and touched his arm.

I didn’t.

But.

Knowing there was someone else there made it palatable.

The experience was mind-blowing.

No pun intended.

It also lead to an experience that I had never had before.

I got topless at Burning Man.

That has never, ever happened.

I stumbled into camp, with another of my campmates who had gotten blasted by the dust too and we let the women in camp strip us down and clean us up.

She got completely naked.

I couldn’t quite do it and in fact was walking away to wipe myself down solo when I realized what a monumental task it was going to be and I started crying.

I went back and said, “help me.”

And they did.

I dropped all my pretenses, and my clothes, well, I couldn’t step out of my under wear, there really is a limit for me, and just surrendered.

I got sprayed with a vinegar and water mixture and then a baby wipe down.

I got all the dust off my eyes and eyelashes.

I actually left my hair up in the puffs and antlers and let it be the way it was.

I was told it looked pretty spectacular and just let it be.

I had to have help getting dressed and it felt as though I was a priestess being made ready for a ceremony.

We all went out that night in a mutual friend’s, who is staff at the event, car.

I wore a long white dress and fresh makeup.

I had my hair up and added some goggles to the mix, I wasn’t without them the rest of the event.

We rode around the playa, the six of us, sitting regal in the back of the Jaguar convertible, the “Shaguar” which was painted hot pink with black spots on it.

I felt like some sort of playa princess.

And I was happy to be with the women around me.

All of whom I wouldn’t have met outside of recovery.

I am lucky and grateful to have them in my life.

I felt seen and loved.

Really loved and really included.

What more could I ask from Burning Man?

I’m so glad I’m home though.

I missed it more than I had expected.

And my heart is glad to be here.

Despite having a bad tummy today, which happens sometimes after coming back from the event, especially after being smacked so hard by the dust, I am happy to be home.

Happy.

Joyous.

Free.

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So very free.

And It’s Here

August 25, 2017

Holy shit.

Tomorrow.

Tomorrow is my first day of classes in my third, and last, year of my Masters in Counseling Psychology program.

Fuck.

How did it get to be time already.

It feels hyper surreal.

On one hand I feel like I was just in class last weekend.

On the other it feels like years and ages.

I also have a better sense of what I’m walking into with my schedule as I have spent some time tonight doing more reading for class and looking over my syllabi for the classes I have tomorrow.

I only have two.

Which is a change from previous years when I had three classes a day on Fridays.

Of course.

I have practicum, which is the difference.

And beginning in September, basically after I get back from Burning Man, I will be seeing clients on Fridays.

And.

Sigh.

Saturdays too.

I have a few clients scheduled for my first weekend back from playa.

Mostly to make up for the sessions I will have missed by being out-of-town.

I was pleased and flattered when two of my clients asked me to make up sessions with them, they didn’t want to go two weeks without seeing me.

That was nice to hear.

I am doing a good job.

Not the best, I am far from the best, but I’m doing a decent job and I know that I am making headway with my clients and that they are getting something out of the relationship, enough so that they want to continue seeing me and wanting to make up for the lost sessions.

I am grateful for the work.

It is work.

Don’t get me wrong, but it is also such rewarding work.

And I am also happy that I am continuing to learn and make connections and see things, that the work generates constant learning is amazing.

I am not in a cookie cutter job, I am getting to constantly and consistently learn.

No better thing that.

I shall spend my whole life learning and still feel that there is so much more to know and learn and so much growth yet to be had.

Perhaps on this plane.

Perhaps in another.

I don’t know what or where any of this is going.

I just know that I want, with sincerest passion and longing, to be true to this moment, the one I am in, that in this moment there is constant love, consistency and self-awareness.

I am the best person I know how to be.

In this moment.

It will change.

I will have my failings.

I will freak out.

I will get scared.

I did today when I inadvertently flipped open Facebook, which I am less and less on, I just don’t have the time or bandwidth for it, to see a response to a post I had put up about having found a ride to Burning Man and how I was happy for it.

The response was from the woman I am going with.

And it should have been a direct message to me.

But.

Nope.

Of course it wasn’t, it was a post displayed for the entire forum to see, hundreds of folks.

I didn’t respond because it wasn’t the right thing to do and I felt instant, I mean, instant resentment.

Don’t fucking change things up on me now!

I am inflexible when I am in fear.

I want what I want and I want it the way that I want it.

Got that?

Good.

So, basically, do it my way.

Damn it.

But no.

My ride has some ideas, some thoughts, some desires to do it her way.

And as such.

Wanted to know if I would be open to renting a mini van.

Oh.

Well.

Fuck my life.

I had a fucking reservation made on my own to rent a god damn vehicle, a reservation I cancelled after securing the ride with the woman whom I am going with.

If I wanted to pay for a fucking rental I would have gone up on my god damn own.

This is my thinking walking down the hill on Chenery, on the way to go get my charge some snacks at the Glen Canyon Market and then go to the park at the rec center.

I almost said it out loud.

And no four-year old needs to hear my profanity.

I was, when I am in resentment it usually stems from fear–I’m not getting what I want or I am afraid I’m going to lose something–full of angry profanity and resentment.

I took a deep breath.

I did not respond on Facebook.

I paused.

I breathed some more.

I swore in my head some more.

Then I just got into, this is what’s happening and this is what is going on and I can accept the situation or I can rant like a maniac.

Do I want to be happy?

Or.

Right.

Right!

Just kidding.

Sigh.

I wish.

No.

I want to be happy.

And if my elderly lady stateswoman wants to rent a mini van, well so be it.

I let a lot of time go and I said some prayers and I did some spot check inventory in my mind and I realized a bunch of stuff.

I have a job to attend to.

I am with my charge and I have to go get my other charge across town.

I am in a pretty park with a sparkling water in my hand, I am outside, the grass is green, the pollinating plants smell intoxicating, the clover especially, and I am alive to have all these feelings.

I have the opportunity to accept what is going on and I prayed for guidance to take the next action in front of me.

So when the text came in from my ride I was able to respond, not react, and take a phone call.

Oh.

I still got flustered on the phone.

I had an idea of what I was going to spend on getting to the damn event and now I was facing having to pay more and I felt a bit in a bind, a bit out of control, like, I don’t have any other way at this time to get myself out there and I have a three-day weekend of school and the rest of the work day to get through.

I can’t fathom trying figure out other means of transport.

I told her I was willing to consider it.

I asked what she wanted by way of compensation.

She gave me, what I considered a vague, cop-out response, but, ultimately, the freedom to decide what I felt comfortable contributing.

I had a number in my head.

I paused for a while after getting off the phone.

I know I can afford it.

I am willing to pay more.

I don’t want to think about it.

I have other things happening before it.

I want to show up alive and present and enjoy every beautiful moment of my weekend.

So.

Whatever vehicle shows up for me on Sunday.

Well.

That’s the one I’m going in.

And whatever the cost.

Well.

That’s what I will be paying.

I’m just surrendering to what’s happening and letting God have it.

God always does in the end anyway.

I get to have this experience.

And like so many others.

I am sure there will be spiritual growth.

And.

Love.

I am certain of that.

There will be love.

There always is.


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