Posts Tagged ‘resilience’

Gold From Dross

January 8, 2018

I keep hearing my person talking to me about my life and what’s been happening over the last few months and school, and work, and relationships and how she managed to give me the most amazing compliment and also an admonition all at the same time.

She said that of all the people who she’s met in her life I am the best person at making gold come out of a poor situation.

She was giving me a really big compliment.

And.

She was also pointing out that I am used to not getting to work with much, so I manage to make the best out of whatever situation that I am in.

That I also, it was noted, have a tendency to take whatever I can get and spin it into something beautiful because I was never really allowed to have wants or needs.

And as it turns out, those wants and needs are not being met.

In a way.

My needs are being met and wants are desires that have a pretty name attached to them.

I have everything I need and then some.

But she had an interesting point, that just because I have the ability to make due with less does not mean that I must have less, that I’m allowed more, and that I can acknowledge those wants even if they are not met.

It’s a poverty thing, growing up so poor, take what you can get and be happy that you got anything.

It’s a kind of scarcity thinking that I have to often work around.

Like yesterday when I was getting the crown for my cracked tooth and there was a part of me that was loud and vehement, go with the cheaper option!

Fortunately.

I have done so much work that I knew that what I needed to do was go for what was best for me and my health and have complete faith that I was being taken care of.

And I was.

I paid for it, it’s done.

Today was actually quite nice, no pain whatsoever.

Well, once, once I bit down on my dinner a little too hard and there was a snatch of pain, but other than that, nothing worth noting.

I’ll be gentle with my teeth for the next couple of weeks and head back in on the 20th to have my permanent crown put in.

What has stuck with me about the comment was partially what I did yesterday and also acknowledging that there are parts of me that I just don’t let out, I don’t acknowledge that I have wants and desires that are very human and pretty typical.

Again.

She noted in the sweetest, kindest ways, nothing judgmental about me, or my situation or my life, just that she wanted me to see the parts of myself that I was perhaps pushing away as I made gold from my situation.

It struck me deeply.

And when I got off the phone with her I hopped onto the website for my yoga studio and signed up for the 4:30 p.m. class.

I was going to skip it today having been plenty active this morning and then going back to bed and sleeping until 10 a.m.

Which is the last time I will be sleeping in for a while.

Supervision starts back up tomorrow morning.

I will be up at 6:30 a.m.

I’ll be taking my car, rain in the forecast, and I will need to leave home earlier than normal to get to my supervision in Hayes Valley, during morning rush commuting hours.

Blech.

But.

Hey.

Not riding my scooter in the rain!

Supervision for an hour, then a phone call with the dean of the Transformative Psychology PhD program, then work, then two clients, then home.

It’s a long day.

So yeah, letting myself have that kiss of extra sleep was nice, plus I went to bed late last night, I was restless and had a head full of thoughts, dreamy thoughts, but thoughts that kept me up a little later than I would have wanted.

I don’t think I fell asleep until 1 a.m.

So morning yoga was out.

I flirted with the idea of doing either the 4:30 p.m. class or the 6:15 pm restorative yoga class.

But after my phone call, I knew, I had to get into my body and exercise.

It was super good.

So good.

Great instructor and I got super sweaty and just worked.

My head was quiet, except at the very end right before the final pose and it got a little too chatty, but it was emotional chatter that needed an outlet, and I was able to cry a little and let it go.

Sweat, tears, all the same thing, pain leaving the body.

I floated home and when I got there a message came in from a woman in my neighborhood about what I was doing this evening and where I might be going and did I want to head over to Quintara and 20th?

Um.

Yes, please!

Super good, caught up with my fellows, did the deal, got right with God, connected and feel really positive about moving forward into this week.

As I come up on my sober anniversary and see all the amazing insights that I get to have and all the growth that I have gotten to do this past year, it blows my freaking mind.

Like.

Just for instance.

Right before my friend picked me up to go do the deal I sent off my graduation application to my school program.

I paid the $90 fee and I filled out the four pages.

I noted my 4.0 grade point.

I expressed what name I want on my diploma, my full name, middle and all, thank you very much.

It asked if I wanted to speak at my commencement and I said I would be honored if so chosen.

I said I was going to attend the commencement and that I would walk in the procession and yes.

Yes.

Yes.

I said I wanted to pick up my diploma in person.

I want that baby in my hands as I cross the stage.

My god.

What a day.

Started with love and gratitude.

Ended with love and gratitude.

So much love.

So much gratitude.

Luckiest girl in the world.

People Who Don’t Usually Lecture

November 1, 2017

Holy crow.

They picked me!

I am so blown away and honored.

And nervous, fuck, if I think about it too long I might get myself in trouble, but overall, wow, wow, wow, just amazed.

People Who Don’t Usually Lecture is a lecture series that is a kind of anti-TEd Talk where the focus is on people’s personal stories and journeys.  They were given my name by my mentor and friend who commissioned some sonnets from me after a chance (chance, my ass, that was grace, God, the universe if you will) encounter at Burning Man.

They have been doing the series in Tel Aviv for the last four years or so and have gone global this year.

There will be shows in New York, Buenos Aries and, yes, here in San Francisco.

I interviewed with them today before I went into work.

I wasn’t even sure what the hell I was going to talk about, and if I think on it real hard I know that I told a good bit of my personal story, my journey, how I got from here to there and back again, but I didn’t choose my word so much as just let them come out, I just asked to be a channel and let what needed to come out come out.

I’m not sure how I got to be so lucky to be a story-teller, but I did.

I do think it has something to do with remembering to say yes to things.

When my friend had first mentioned it I was intrigued, but really had no clue what was being talked about and I sort of forgot.

Then we had lunch this past Sunday in North Beach and I got a bit more of the back story.

It sounded fascinating.

So, yes I was nervous taking my scooter up into the hills over Dolores Park to meet with the people who run the show.

But, well, you know me, half the battle, three-quarters, 7/8’s haha, of the whole deal is just showing up.

Take the action.

Let go of the results.

The results are God’s anyway.

They really seemed to like my story and I saw one of them was moved to tears, more than once and it was amazing to watch their reactions and then to hear them say they could listen longer and wanted to know more and that they didn’t usually offer a spot the day of the interview to a lecturer.

But.

Well.

They did to me.

Oh my God.

I’m going to do a lecture!

It will be short, ten minutes, and I will be speaking with others in the community, I believe my friend will be one of the lecturers as well.

And when I had mentioned our poetry project and creativity and my experiences I actually got a soft, but firm, no, that’s not what we want, we want your story.

They talked to me about what they had heard and themes that came up in my telling my personal journey, I think I talked for about twenty minutes or so, straight before they started asking questions and collaborating with me about what they would like me to focus on in my story.

I will be covering the thematic of resilience and gratitude.

Two things I have in spades.

Oh.

Do I ever.

I have to write-up my narrative for them to go over by Monday morning.

I will go in and speak with them again and they will go over my story and give me pointers on what they want me to focus on.

I have to write-up the piece and get it to them by Monday a.m.

I will go in at noon next Monday and see them again.

I have the rest of the week to think about it and then to write it out.

They asked me to give them a ten minute piece.

It will be off book as well, so even though I will have a narrative to hand into them so that they can help me polish and pull out the tasty bits, I will be on my own up on that stage.

Just me, myself, and I telling a little story about how I got where I am today.

I am so honored and a bit in awe.

A bit in wonder.

I’m grateful, so grateful I get to do stuff like this.

It will just be ten minutes of my life, but I suspect it will be a lot more, it will be a gift to my community, without whom I wouldn’t be where I am today and certainly not fucking asked to give a lecture before hundreds of people.

The lecture series will be held at The Chapel on Valencia Street in the Mission, Tuesday, December 5th.

I’m not sure of the time yet, but in the evening.

I’ll have a dress rehearsal there on December 3rd and then do the deal on the 5th.

I’m really over the moon.

And though I, of course, it is my story after all, know what I’m going to write about, I don’t know exactly what I am going to write about.

Which is fine.

I’m ok with extemporaneous speaking I did it through high school as well as debate, as well as doing French forensics and poetry.

I’ve spoken in front of loads of people, I will be able to do this too.

It’s a little scary, it’s on stage and I know there will be a lot people there.

But.

Really.

I just need to show up and open my mouth, just show up and ask to carry the message, my journey, my story, my resiliency, and not the mess.

I’m good at the mess, I want to carry the message.

Which is often that, if I can make it through the terrors and traumas of my life, then so can you.

And.

Not only that, I can share how, I can share my experience, I can share my hope, and that I did it and how I’m happy now, have been happy now for some years, and I’m loved and my life is fulfilling, rewarding, and full of service.

Life is not a vale of tears and when it is, well, it is gold, a kind of coin I can spend helping another in their struggle by sharing how I got through.

Which is the greatest gift, after all, isn’t it?

Having experiences to share with others.

Love and gratitude tonight.

So very much.

I’ll keep you posted.

Night all.

Sweetest dreams.

 

 

Bach Cello Sonata No.1

October 11, 2017

In G.

And 5 and 6 as well.

Yo Yo Ma.

That is what I am listening to.

It was an intense day and I feel it slowly easing out of my body and sliding to the floor in a big puddle.

I could slide to the floor in a big puddle.

When I need to calm down and unwind I like to listen to this in particular.

It is sweet and I find it wistful, God I miss playing the cello.

There’s a spot about 1:50 into the first sonata and I can feel the bow in my hand, I can see my fingers striding over the neck of the cello and I can feel it between my legs.

I can get weepy thinking about it.

One would suppose that I would be past it, this yearning, but somethings stay with me a long time.

I don’t know that I ever really got over the loss of playing cello.

And I have had it suggested too many times to count that maybe I pick it up again.

I think.

Yes!

Let me do that.

In what fucking time?

I could give up writing in the morning.

I could play music for my morning spiritual fix.

I could not buy a car and buy a cello.

I could go over to Roland Feller and blow my heart out on a cello.

Roland Feller is the luthier for the San Francisco Symphony.

I went once, with a friend who worked out of the Burning Man offices when I was nannying there many years ago now.

He is a professional cello player and gigs about and plays with the San Jose Orchestra.

He gave me lessons for a while and one day took me to Roland Feller.

I would have never known that there was a luthier there.

It is an extraordinary nondescript house next to the Popeye’s Chicken on Divisadero Street.

There is no signage.

You have to make an appointment.

There is a gate and a call box and it looks like some cheap apartment, well, it’s in San Francisco so it’s probably not cheap, but the door opens into this gold mine of classical music instruments.

Violins.

Violas.

Stand up Bass.

Cellos.

Oh and the cellos.

I played a few different ones and I remember one in particular, it was luscious, the sound so rich, so vibrant, it made me quiver with delight.

My friend teased me a little that I was passionate and looked as though I might be having the sexy thoughts.

I had never had a cello quite that caliber ever before in my hands.

It was exquisite.

And one day.

Well.

I have written on this topic before, I will have another cello.

I’m not there yet.

But one day.

And in the mean time.

Well.

I have my Yo Yo Ma and I have Bach.

And Debussy.

And Chopin.

Oh the Chopin Cello Sonata in G Minor.

Oof.

So good.

The Bach is my favorite, but that Chopin is glorious too, passionate and brash and stupendous.

I love that I love classical music.

I don’t look the type.

Except, well, maybe that’s not true.

I feel like I might look the type, that there’s a brazen woman cellist in my heart.

Maybe she smashes herself on her music like I smash myself with my poetry.

Maybe one day the two will get back together again.

I don’t expect that I will ever be great, I never was great, but I had heart, yes, I had great big heart and I knew it and so did my most ardent supporter–my orchestra conductor, Mister Ziegler.

Where ever you are, you meant something to me that few teachers do.

He supported me, he was honest with me, he argued for me.

He brought in my mom and my step father, the fuck (egad, maybe I need yet another inventory on the man, christ), and sat them down and tried, oh how hard he tried, to convince them to not let me quit cello.

Quitting cello was not my idea.

It was my stepfathers idea.

We didn’t have enough money and my parents, god I can’t even say that, the man was never a fucking parent to me, he was a violent misogynistic sociopath, but not a parent, had bought a house in Windsor, outside the school system I was in at the time I was playing cello.

There was no thought of a tutor, I had one actually, that my conductor had arranged with the school and I was given said tutoring for free, but to move away from the school system I would lose that.

And the school that was closest to me, the one that I would attend, DeForest, well, they didn’t have an orchestra.

Oh sure.

They had band.

But no orchestra.

They had cut the funding for the orchestra.

You should see the football stadium though, a work of art that.

Anyway.

My conductor tried to argue that my parents continuing my tutoring or that I commute in to Madison for school and still stay with the cello.

Nope.

There were words, there was fire, I could see how hard my conductor was trying to get through to my parents.

My stepfather hated me playing.

He hated me practicing.

I got lost in the cello, I wasn’t there, I was gone, gone, gone, and he wanted me present and not in my fantasy world.

He also did not like that I read as much as I did, I shit you not.

What fucking parent doesn’t want their children to read?

When I was punished some of the worst punishments were being denied those things that I loved most.

Books and my cello.

Cello was first to go.

“Put it away and go clean the bathtub,” he said.

The the books were taken.

I don’t know what I did, I mean, I have absolutely no recollection of what I had done to deserve the grounding to my room one weekend, but he was diabolical.

I had no problem being grounded to my room, fine with me, I won’t have to look at you.

I’ll read, thank you very much.

But.

Oh my fucking god, the man had removed every single book I had in my room, everything was gone, it was stripped.

Thank God I had one underneath the mattress of my bed.

Fucking stashed my back up drugs thank you very much.

So.

It wasn’t much of a surprise, after the cello was taken and my stepfather and my mom left the orchestra room with me sadly in tow, that once we moved to Windsor I was to be denied academic access as well.

“She’s too proud, she needs to be humbled, she’s not allowed to do it,” he told my mom, who had tried in her own way to get him to give his permission to sway him.

I was trailing behind in the snow walking down Windsor Road in the middle of a cold ass night listening to them argue about me and the invitation I had been given to join an advanced English class-accelerated and an accelerated math class.

I didn’t care so much about the math, irony, I was actually able to attend that, I think my mom might have had a hook up or something with the math teacher now that I look back, but the English was resolutely denied.

I can feel rage in my chest when I think about that.

“Too proud, she’s just too fucking proud.”

And maybe I was.

Pride goeth before the fall.

I have been humbled in many ways, but I still like my books and I still love listening to cello.

And I am beyond proud of how I grew and became the woman I am today.

Despite the horrendous odds against me growing up.

I got out.

And you can’t put me down.

Nope.

I will not be ground down.

I will thrive.

I am thriving.

I am alive.

Happy.

Joyous.

Motherfucking.

Free.

And yes.

Proud.

 

 

 

 

Sexy Got Her Homework On

March 27, 2017

And her yoga on.

But not her sex on.

Well.

Not true.

I took care of business after my second yoga class today.

Yes.

I said that, two yoga classes today.

I have never done that before.

It’s not that big a deal and at the same time, it sort of was.

I went to my normal 9 a.m. Sunday morning class and got a very good sweat on and proceeded to watch my entire day change in the span of a few text messages.

When I got back from my yoga class I got a cancellation then after I got out of my shower and was getting my breakfast ready, my coffee date cancelled.

So.

I sent a lover a message.

And.

Nope.

NO response.

That kind of day.

So.

I got to do extraordinary amounts of self-care.

Which was needed and much cleaning and house hold attending.

And.

Cooking and grocery shopping.

This next few weeks is going to be busy.

I will be working two weeks straight for the family, the dad will be leaving Thursday for a business trip out-of-town so I will be working next Saturday and Sunday.

It’s actually going to be three weeks of work and school before I have another weekend off.

It’s going to be intense.

So I’m grateful I had today all to myself.

I was good company.

I took some extra time this morning for my writing and I made myself the most delicious coconut/almond milk latte and decided to just let the day unfold and not worry about anything.

I knew I also had to get a paper written for my Trauma class, my step-father made it into a paper this go around, and do cooking and food prep.

But I didn’t force myself or stress.

I just took each moment as its own little exquisite experience.

I washed all my bedding and did two loads of laundry, even washed the rugs in the bathroom, and swept, vacuumed, washed, polished, and cleaned my whole house.

It looks so nice.

I also went grocery shopping for two weeks of food.

I will probably have to re-up on fresh fruit, but I have enough coffee, eggs, oatmeal, brown rice, almond milk, organic carrots, frozen blueberries, and prepared food to get me through the weeks to come.

I roasted a chicken today and I made jambalaya.

I froze the majority of it and canned the rest of the chicken soup I had leftover from last week.

I have meals for days and I feel happy to have dealt with it.

I didn’t leave the neighborhood.

Although I did take my scooter to the Safeway on Balboa to get my groceries.

I wasn’t going to take it further, I knew there was going to be one more episode of rain and sure enough, there was, but not before I had run all the errands I needed to do and the next week and a half looks like sunshine.

That is going to be super helpful, I have my first therapy session with my new therapist Tuesday before work and I have an appointment to see my advisor at school Thursday before work.

The before work, work begins.

In actuality, I realize, it began already last week, I have been doing things before work for the last couple of weeks since the last school weekend.

Which reminds me, I need to swing by the post office before work in the morning and pick up a package.

I think work is going to be pretty busy, not just with working next weekend, but also, its Spring Break for the kiddos, which means I won’t have reading time for school work.

I feel like I’m ok though, I have done a lot of the Couple’s Therapy reading already, finished all my Trauma reading and I wrote my Trauma paper today.

I had some push back on it.

I realize I have been having some feelings of, “over it,” move along, I’m tired of this stuff.

It can get exhausting looking at the trauma minefields in my life history and how I got through some seemingly unscathed, but the patterns of the things I did to survive stay with me, little bombs of shrapnel on my psyche that explode without warning and leave me tired on the side of the road picking the stuff out of the pockets of my emotions.

“I feel brutalized,” I was telling my person yesterday at Tart to Tart, that place has seen a lot of my tears, about an incident that happen last week and how I felt and why I was angry.

We did a lot of work around it and I got some very good suggestions and I took them, I’m still taking them, I will keep taking them as the days move forward.

I hadn’t realized how much I was carrying until I said out loud that I felt brutalized and that it reminded me, I later saw, of my step-father and my mom and some stuff that happened to me growing up.

All the things that happened growing up.

Glad I start therapy on Tuesday, Jesus fuck.

Of course, under the lens of my graduate school work, of course, a lot of stuff is going to come up, the pot just keeps getting stirred and things pop to the surface, so when I sat down to write my paper I realized just how much I didn’t want to write it and I let myself start out that way.

And.

Five pages and 1,562 words later.

I was finished.

In fact.

I finished it so fast that I realized I could go to the restorative yoga class tonight at my studio.

Yes, I had already practiced today, but the restorative is really meditative and relaxing and it’s not about getting a work out, it’s about being in your body and supporting different parts of it that don’t typically get support or rest.

It was just so what I needed.

I came home, lit some candles, checked my messages, saw nothing from anyone, and said, well, I’ll just take care of me and took care of me.

I am actually a little surprised that I had so much sexual energy today, I just finished my period yesterday, but as I am getting older I can tell that sometimes it comes out in different ways energetically.

I also had some fodder for fantasy running around my head that I just let myself have.

I could say it was counter transference from the work I did today, which is another entire blog and far to clinical for me to delve into here.

Or.

I could just say.

After getting flowers, a home cooked dinner, and a restorative yoga class I was just in a yummy, dreamy space.

And I let myself go there too.

Yes.

Thank you self-care Sunday.

You rocked.

Ready for the next weeks work.

Bring it on.

Affirmation

December 10, 2016

I got some today.

And.

Man.

It feels nice.

Really nice.

Really fucking nice.

I mean.

REALLY.

Especially since I’m heading into the applying to practicum and interning and all that jazz and in my last weekend of classes for the semester.

It feels good.

I mean.

The only thing that I think would feel better is if I was done with my Psychopathology paper, but that’s a ways off yet and I’m not going to focus on something that I can’t do much about at the moment.

Rather.

For just a moment.

I am going to bask in the niceness of being seen.

I got back a paper from my Family Therapist professor and the comments on it really made me happy to see.

The end one especially.

“Carmen!  Thank you for being so brave, you will be a fabulous therapist!”

Yes.

Thank you.

It’s nice to get that kind of reflection back from a teacher, even if I didn’t always see eye to eye with the class, it came around, and it feels good to be seen by my teachers and to be confirmed in my path, in the directions I am going.

I also attended a practicum fair and made some nice connections there and got some good suggestions and some great resources.

There is so much to learn and so many skills to hone.

And also so many skills to acknowledge.

I have a lot of talents and I am going to have to list them and advocate for them and say, hey, look at me, I have what you want, I turned around shit hole of a life and I made something of myself and I’m smart and capable and resilient and strong and I have mad skills with the babies and the little ones.

I need to become my best cheering section.

I’m working on it.

It helps that I am showing up for school and the program and taking suggestions and trying.

The showing up.

All the time.

And grateful to get to do it.

I took the train today and guess what?

It didn’t rain.

haahahahahahaha.

Fuck you weather.

Oh well.

I am glad I took the train in any way, it was slippery and wet and the rain had cleared off but only by a little bit, it would have still been treacherous getting into school during Friday morning rush.

Instead I took the train.

I put in my ear phones and I listened to music.

And I was happy.

Happy to be heading into school.

Happy that I was going to get to see my friends.

Happy to be listening to good music.

Music makes me happy that is for sure.

I bopped a long in my seat during the rush hour commute and I didn’t give two fucks.

I smiled.

I looked at the houses passing by the train windows, the wet grey fog wrapped around the hills, the moisture dripping down the tree leaves.

It was beautiful.

I was grateful and it was nice to sit still and just watch the city float past and listen to happy music on my way to school.

I’m dancing now in my chair.

Well.

I’m swaying along to the music.

And it is a fine, fine, fine thing.

I feel like I carried that buoyancy with me through out the day.

The fair went well and I connected up with one of the women who works at the UCSF Infant/Parent program that is based out of General and I shared my experiences and what I have done and we made a really nice connection.

I got all the information I needed.

And I will need to do a lot of work to get into the program, its prestigious, but, I felt the connection and it felt good and right and strong and my skill set would be very valuable to them.

Advocating for myself.

Seeing what I have to offer and really putting it out there to the world.

I also like that the program is psychodynamically inclined.

As am I.

I love psychodynamics.

It speaks to me.

After the practicum was over I hopped over to Psychopathology and got myself sorted with cup of tea and had a chat with my professor.

She asked how the practicum hunt was going and I expressed that of course I would be applying to the school sites, but that I was also really intrigued with the UCSF Infant/Parent program out of General Hospital.

“Really?  You are?” She asked, her head tilted, a slight smile on her face.

“Yeah,” I said, “I’ve been a nanny for over ten years and it feels very compelling to work with parents and infants and helping new parents work with their kids, and well, it’s psychodynamically inclined and I am very interested in that modality.”

“Yes, it is,” she said and her smiled broadened, she leaned in towards me, “I did my practicum work there.”

What!?

OMfuckingG.

“You did?” I said, my eyes must have gotten as round as saucers.

“I did,” she said and her smile grew larger.

“Um, well, haha, this is where I ask you if you would mind writing me a letter of recommendation,” I said, a little bashful, but shit, fuck, holy moly, my professor did her practicum and interning there?  I had to ask.

“Of course!  I would be honored to write you the letter,” she said, “absolutely.”

Oh yes!

Yes!

Yes!

Awesome sauce.

We talked about their, UCSF’s schedule, and the requirements needed and when I must have the application in, by February 14th.

Valentines Day.

Of course.

What better way to show myself that I am lovable and worthy of love than applying to a prestigious program that will lead to an internship and look hella good moving forward whatever career path I end up going towards.

I was tipped off that it’s better to apply earlier rather than later as they get inundated and they only take four interns.

I would be competing with all the schools–Berkeley, USF, State, and of course, UCSF.

But you know what.

I got this.

I can feel it.

All the little serendipitous things.

All the work aligning and showing up and doing my best and hey, who better than to help new parents connect with their children?

Heh.

Oh.

It just felt so lovely and validating and it just really dropped in my lap.

My professor offered to meet with me off hours, off campus sometime over break, we’ll commit to timing by the end of the weekend and I’ll get to pick her brain about the program and ask her what I need to have prepared and all that.

And of course.

Hahaha.

Ugh.

Just a little added pressure on myself to make sure that my Psychopathology paper is off the charts.

I sort of, kinda of.

REALLY.

Want that letter of recommendation.

I am worth it.

I deserve it.

Excited.

The future is hella bright.

And.

Happy.

Joyous.

Free.

All the motherfucking time.

All the time.

Seriously.

 

 

 

Can’t Figure It Out

October 25, 2016

Because there is nothing to figure out.

I know I have written about this before.

I just struck me hard today when I was doing some reading for school.

Yeah.

I know.

Take a break.

However.

I really wanted to get caught up on the reading that I didn’t have fully done from this past weekend; I have a couple of whopper big papers due the next round of classes and I want to have the reading done and organized in my head.

I got up early today.

Earlier than the last three days, four days, I’m a little lost as far as what day it is, they are all bleeding together.

All I know is that Friday will be an amazing thing to get to.

Next Saturday will be my first day off in two weeks.

Two weeks.

My employers asked me if I had a good weekend.

Sure.

I went to school for 29 hours after working a full week of work and then turned around to do a nine-hour shift today.

And it was a short shift.

It usually goes 9.5 hours on Mondays.

I had a great weekend!

Bwahahahaha.

No.

Really.

It was actually a lot of work, but it was so good to see some of the people in my cohort, I just have made some extraordinary friends there.

I have, I have.

And though I didn’t want to be at work, Mondays are my longest day, they are also, in some ways my most relaxed.

I only have one charge.

Her parents are gone the entire day.

And.

She naps.

Heavenly baby naps.

So I actually did do homework.

I wasn’t going to bring my Psychopathology books with me.

I really wasn’t.

I was going to give myself some down time.

But then I thought, you’ll be pissed when you get a fat baby nap and you don’t have some homework to kick through, it’ll feel like wasted time.

You know me.

I hate wasting time.

I need to learn how to though, I do know that.

Anyway.

I had a sweet, lovely morning with her, we danced, we read books, we went for a walk around the block on her little push tricycle.

It was adorable.

Then I put her down for naps, had lunch, made some tea and got into the reading.

I kicked through two chapters of Psychoanalytic Case Formulation.

Don’t be jealous.

Hella sexy read.

Then.

I started reading my Psychodynamic Psychiatry in Clinical Practice book.

I know.

I know you want to read them.

It’s ok.

You can borrow them when I’m done.

Heh.

I was struck as I sat on the couch fiddling around with my hair how I have changed so much and grown so much and then I was thinking about a condition that we were studying in class over the weekend.

Trichotillomania.

Huh.

Obsessive hair pulling.

Some people can’t stop pulling out their eyebrows or eyelashes.

Some can’t stop pulling out their hair.

I used to be a hair twirler.

I did not know that until my mom told me, years ago, that when I was little I would obsessively twist my hair until I gave myself bald spots.

I just about burst into tears.

I still do it on occasion.

And it’s a self-soothing response to stress.

It’s also extraordinarily indicative of trauma in the client’s history.

All the things I used to do to deal with the pain of being me.

Pulling out my hair.

Stopped that.

I don’t actually remember when I stopped, but I did.

I also know that during a very stressful point in my sobriety and recovery I was working with someone who pointed out to me that I was twirling my hair and he hadn’t seen me do that before and wondered out loud what that was about.

I didn’t know at the time, but I found it comforting and I will do it once in a while now.

I have noticed that I do it when I am reading for class.

I also notice a few other habits that I didn’t use to correlate to anything at all.

Like.

Oh.

Fuck, this is embarrassing, but whatever.

In the interest of science, er, I mean, my blog.

I used to exhibit pretty bad excoriation.

Excoriation (skin-picking) disorder.

I know.

REALLY SEXY.

I’ll stop soon.

I promise.

Maybe.

It has faded, but it was a slow fade.

I started with my mom doing it to me, she’d pick at my acne when I started going through adolescence, then I picked it up, I am surprised I don’t have acne scars.

I used to have pretty bad acne too.

Still get it on the odd day, but it’s pretty much gone, worked its way out of my system by the time I had two years of sobriety.

I had a horrible habit around it.

I would pick at my fingers too, bite my nails, peel off the cuticle around my nails, oh so many hang nails.

Also.

Yes.

A trauma survivor response.

So much fucking trauma.

And that’s when the reading hit home.

And made my chest tight and also, shit, fuck, motherfucker, holy mother of god, I finally figured it out.

Well.

Hahaha.

I figured out why I am always trying to figure it out.

I have had an inkling of it.

But it all just fell into my lap.

I was reading about trauma, shocker, I am going to be reading a lot about trauma and I need to remind myself that I also get to do a lot of sweet self-care for myself and although I recognize my resilience and it is extraordinary, there are still ways for me to be gentle.

I mean I have had some big time information come into my life regarding my family and family of origin in the last few weeks.

I have seen it ripple out into the world in odd and interesting ways.

Some sweet, some strange, some uncomfortable.

All sorts of information and wilding things falling out of the wood work.

Amazing.

Then.

As I sat reading, twirling my hair, scratching at the back of my neck, why is it so itchy?

I had a huge aha moment.

Oh my god.

The reading is re-traumatizing me.

Great.

Which is to be expected.

It’s just stirring stuff up from the bottom of the pot.

It’s all good though, I realized what was happening because I had read about the ways in which trauma can manifest itself psychodynamically.

Oh.

And all the other ways I have coped in the past popped into my head and that I have stopped doing them.

I stopped!

Do you have any clue how amazing that is?

I do.

I put down cocaine, alcohol, cigarettes, sugar, all forms of processed flour.

I no longer have stage four cystic acne, I don’t pull my hair out, and I don’t pick at my cuticles, I stopped biting my nails years ago and I have to say it is a small and beautiful gift to myself that I go and get them done.

I am proud of my nails.

My hair.

And of course, I have moments, trembling with the need to change and soothe and self-sabotage when I want to cut it all the fuck off.

I know that I won’t.

But it pops up.

All the things that pop up.

The last one, the one that I have been saving, since I figure I lost most of my readership a while back as this is not a sexy, sexy blog, is that “figuring it out” is a psychodynamic symptom of a child that has suffered severe trauma or sexual abuse.

Check.

Not to be tongue in cheek, but to move this along, I realized that I kept having this recurring pattern, all my life I have been trying to figure it out.

Breaking my own heart trying to figure it out, even when I was told again and again, “figure it out is not a slogan,” or good luck with that, or that there was no “figuring it out” to drop that.

That I have been standing banging my head on a wall for years and years trying to figure it out.

Because if I can figure out what is wrong with me, I can fix me.

I can fix what ever it is in me that didn’t know how to stop what was happening to me, that if I figure it out the same thing won’t happen to me again, I won’t get hurt, I have figured out what is wrong with me, why I destroyed so much and then I can get on with the getting on of life and be ok and like.

I don’t know, have a boyfriend or something.

Except.

That I didn’t do anything wrong.

I don’t have to fix something that I didn’t break.

It wasn’t broken because of me.

How can a four-year old be accountable to that?

Childlike, I blamed myself for my grandmother’s divorce, my mothers separation and subsequent divorce from my father, that I was the reason I was being abused.

I was the whistleblower.

But.

It was still my fault.

I brought the house of cards tumbling down.

Like all abused children I believed that there was something wrong with me, and in this believing I persevered with a hope, that if I could figure it out I could change it and the abuse would stop.

A four-year old cannot be held to that.

A four-year old doesn’t know how to cross the street without holding an adults hand.

“Come on baby, we’re running away from home, momma’s mean,” I said to my two-year old sister, taking her by the hand and walking out the door.

We walked around the block.

I had been told to never cross the street without holding an adults hand.

That’s how my mom found me, walking around in circles.

That is how I found me.

In this circular pattern of thinking for so fucking long.

I can’t fix me.

I was never broken.

I didn’t cause it, I can’t cure it, I can’t change it.

I can just accept it.

Which is not approval, by the way.

It was just what happened.

I can, however, be of service and take it in stride and let it go.

I can let my heart fill up with love.

I can say it stops here.

And something new grows forward.

Something amazing.

Me.

More and more fully myself.

I am so excited.

Seriously.

I know this seems implausible.

But I am relieved.

It finally landed.

I finally got it.

I can stop trying to figure it out.

The relief.

Well.

The relief is huge.

And I am blessed.

Graced.

Grateful.

And loved.

So very.

Very.

Loved.

 

Damn You

October 23, 2016

Second wind.

I did not expect to be so jazzed up all the sudden.

I was crashing pretty hard in my last class of the day and just put my forehead down on the shoulder of one of my classmates and said, “make it stop.”

Or something to that effect.

It was a long day.

But hey.

It’s done now.

And of course.

I am wide awake.

I’m listening to music and writing and drinking hot tea and thinking about high-school.

Yeah.

That sounds like good times, right?

Ha.

But.

It was with a certain sweetness and fondness that I was thinking about myself and with a great deal of compassion for the experiences that made me.

I wouldn’t wish to go back.

I wouldn’t wish to change it.

I wouldn’t go and tell that girl child turning woman, do it different, here’s how, no.

I would not.

I am in love with who I am.

I was happy today and light and free and sad and sorrowful and of service and I showed up and yes, I was tired by the end of the day, but that girl, that girl reading books in her room, cuddled up in a worn out chair covered in my grandmothers afghan, that girl made this possible.

She dreamt.

She would listen to music and read and stare out the window.

I don’t remember what I thought about.

Sometimes I would look in a mirror and wonder about the reflection there.

I thought I was pretty.

I thought I might even be beautiful, but I did not get that kind of feedback.

I was curious.

Am I seeing myself?

Or.

Why?

There was that a lot, the asking why.

Sometimes I would fantasize or play with my hair or dress up.

Nothing that I ever reflected by wearing back to school, clothes wise that is, except with one or two exceptions of trying out a new look one week in high school my senior year that I was so nervous to wear that I could hardly enjoy it.

But I rocked it.

I have always liked clothes and fashion.

I was not in a place to wear the clothes I wanted.

But.

Boy did I covet certain things.

I am proud of myself though.

When I look back.

I carved out my own way.

I was my own woman.

I had nothing to really model on, which was on one hand a kind of curse, but I also got to learn, trial and error what I liked and what I don’t.

I’m still discovering.

But.

Some seeds were planted in that room.

From reading all those books.

My God did I read.

I miss that sometimes now.

All the time.

Reading for pleasure.

I don’t get to do it nearly enough.

Reading for school has super ceded that luxury.

Funny that.

Reading, a luxury.

But my God.

When I think about the hours curled up on the couch, or in my room, or in my bed, or under my favorite apple tree in the orchard.

I was moony and dreamy and fanciful and the stories I read reflected that and also, they were my escape.

I was thinking about that as well tonight.

Escape.

All the ways I can check out when it gets to be too much and how I have hidden out, sometimes in plain view, and yet, how very much I want to be seen.

I felt very seen today.

I did a genogram presentation of my family tree.

I traced inter-generational traumas three generations on one side of my family and four generations of it on the other side.

All the pain.

All that hurt.

All the sorrow.

I felt my chest get hot and I realized that what was coming out of my mouth was not what I had planned and that was ok.

I have done enough public speaking, so much, I have spoken in front of crowds big and small, that I don’t really have a problem doing it.

I’m actually really quite good off script.

I typically do need to know what I am talking about.

And my family history, though not as much of a mystery as it was a week ago, was still settling in my system.

I made sure I was pretty today.

I wore flowers in my hair.

I thought of sweetness and resilience.

I thought of grace and service.

I thought how I could show up and heal by sharing.

Therein lies the issue, I feel, I believe, so much of the secrecy, the shame, the conflict and contention that doesn’t get spoken of, gets twisted up in my heart and lays there heavy and sodden like wet leaves mulching into winter on the hoar-frost covered land.

So.

I swept clear some ground.

I laid it bare.

I spoke my truth, to the best of my knowledge and understanding.

I breathed.

I felt my face flush.

I said the words.

I was held the room did not fall apart.

Although after, when I sat I realized how much the class was affected.

Well.

One person.

Her sweet face and red eyes letting me know how my words had landed.

I don’t really recall much of what I spoke of.

Oh.

The bones of it, the narrative, the stories, the lineage of pain handed down the line, mother to child, father to son, grandparent to grandchild.

I do.

However.

Recall pointing out the brightness on the map.

The bright triangles of joy I encapsulated myself and a few members of my family.

The joy of recovery and the strength there.

“Few people realize how the family structure is affected when one member gets into recovery,” my professor had briefly tossed out into a lecture weeks ago.

I hung that star on my paper.

I flashed it bright.

My recovery.

My foundation.

My base.

My place of growth, stellar and bright and resilient.

I have no idea where the resilience comes from, perhaps my grandmother on my fathers’ side, I am named after her.

Maybe.

I don’t know.

I don’t need to know.

I don’t need to change anything.

I don’t approve of it, but I do accept it.

And as I sank down in my pretty dress and felt my heart beat hard in my chest I knew I had succeeded.

If I can do it.

So can you.

If there is a meaning in all of this, it is that I survived.

And that I got better, stronger, more powerful, more loving.

More.

More.

More.

More love.

More magic.

Just fucking more of all the things.

And I’m almost through.

Literally and figuratively.

One more day of class and another weekend down.

One more small step down the road.

One more opening of the door to my heart.

Just a little wider.

Just a little more open.

Just a little.

More

Available.

For.

The sunlight of the spirit.

And.

All.

All of it.

All.

The love that gets to come in when I clear out the wreckage of my past.

Yes.

Please.

More of that.

On Track

August 25, 2016

I’m super stoked right now.

I just finished reading the last bit of my assigned reading for one of my classes.

It’s so nice to have it done, to have understood and digested a lot of it too.

Oh.

I’m sure I will have “forgotten” most of it by the time class rolls around, but there is a lot more going on in my brain than my mind wants me to acknowledge.

Also.

Fuck.

I am so lucky.

How I made it to where I am considering the trauma I underwent from pre-birth on, it’s a fucking miracle.  Just reading about it in my texts books sometimes overwhelms me, but I feel lucky, graced, blessed.

I mean.

I have always secretly believed I was something special, shh, don’t tell, that there was just something intrinsically different in me, yeah, yeah, terminal uniqueness is also a quality that can separate me out and make me unhappy, but I’m talking about more than that, something different.

If life were fair I would be dead.

Hell.

I wouldn’t have been born, I shouldn’t have considering how sick my mom was, how traumatic things were for her when I was born and then the innumerable things that happened as I grew up and I mean, can you just say resilient?

I am so resilient.

So even though I can get through the big things, sometimes the little things, job conflict, will throw me for such a loop I can’t get the hell out of the way to gain any kind of perspective on it.

I mean.

I did have fear and it was not a fun time yesterday after I set my boundary with my boss, but I had to set the boundary and though the response was not what I would have preferred, it wasn’t as bad as all that in the scheme of things I have undergone and gone through.

But my brain blows shit up.

I also am acutely aware of my part.

I people please, I am a perfectionist, I can be over accommodating of the needs of the people for whom I work.

Boundaries were crossed early on in my job and I didn’t address them when they happened.

The past, can’t change it, but I can move forward and not keep doing the same things.

I have been well aware of that too, that I can’t go back and beat myself up for not doing it better, no should’s please, I did what I could in the each situation and have been given time to assess how it works or doesn’t work for me.

I adopted a here and now sort of attitude towards the whole thing.

What can I do right now, right here, to take care of myself?

Pretty fucking basic.

And so, I got a break today, appropriately timed and well delineated and fuck, I got school reading done and I got to rest, not really as I was digesting really big psychology theory, but I got to be out of the way in my space in the house, quiet with a cup of tea and a book.

I returned happy to work and there were no other altercations, issues, or weirdness.

Ok.

That’s not true, I still felt a little on pins and needles, but that again, is my feeling and asserting a need, even though it be a small need, for me, is a very big deal.

I remember well a father of one of my charges told me years ago, seriously, six, years ago, “Carmen, your problem is you can’t ask for what you need, you have to speak up.”

He wasn’t saying it to be mean, he was saying it because he wanted me to ask for what I needed, that he knew that I was not capable of doing it and that it was ok and not just ok, but allowed.

Encouraged even.

It blew me away then, and I don’t think it actually sank in for some time, I was allowed to ask for what I need.

What a gift he gave me, you are allowed to ask for what you need!

Now the difference is, with time and perspective, also knowing that though I ask and it may not be met and in that doing I get to make sure I don’t harbor resentment.

I fail to ask many times because I anticipate not getting the need met, so why bother, and then the resentments flourish and I’m stuck in the bathroom sitting on the toilet “peeing.”

I’m really praying and asking for help and clarity and what is the next action to take.

Lucky for me I have faith and I don’t have to explain that either.

And friends.

Fuck me.

I am so lucky to have the friends I have.

The amount of support I have gotten from my friends is unbelievable to this person who for so very long felt rather alone and not able to cope or ask for help.

I wasn’t allowed to ask for help.

I don’t know when that got hammered into my head, but man, it was from a very young age.

Now I’m like, help, help, help, all the time.

Well.

Perhaps not quite like that, although there are times when I am incapable of asking for help, they have gotten fewer and farther between.

And as I feel this softening in me, this loosening up, this growing, I am more and more and more grateful for these experiences I have.

I can help so many people just be showing up and saying, hey, I went through that too and here’s how you survive, here’s how you are not a victim, here’s how you in fact, are allowed to prosper, to thrive.

Thrive.

That’s what I want.

Therein lies the striving and the living and the having fun and oh!  The fun countdown is on.

Two more days of work, then I am out, out, out.

Out to the dusty dust and the art and the big, wide open skies, and floating across the playa on my bicycle and smiling from ear to ear and wearing big pouffy crinolines and ridiculous amounts of flash and bang in my hair.

Out where my heart sings 24 hours a day and my friends are all around and though there is a lot of work, it really is so much fun.

“Funishment” a friend coined it last year.

Yup.

And god damn, I am ready for it.

So ready.

I really am.

Bring it on!

Bring on the funishment!

This lady needs some.

Yes.

And.

Yes, please.


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