Posts Tagged ‘San Francisco’

We Were Talking

August 10, 2017

About you tonight.

Oh you were?

“Yeah, we were saying that you’re doing too much,” my friend said and gave me a hug.

Well.

Of course I’m doing too fucking much.

And I’m ok with it.

I am a busy woman.

But pockets of time present themselves to me and I get stuff done.

I managed to sneak in making a pot of soup in between a phone call, work, and covering my Wednesday night commitment.

I am good like that.

I also, wait for it, dropped off my paperwork to the school practicum office!

Killed two birds with one stone.

I had the mom ask me to take the oldest boy out on a solo adventure with me.

We went to the Exploratorium today down on the Embarcadero at Pier 15.

On the way, we swung into my school campus, rode, “the slowest elevator in the world,” according to my 7-year-old companion, and dropped off my evaluation to the woman who runs the practicum office.

We chatted a bit and it was nice to down load a little about my experiences and how it feels to be running with clients.

I have seven now.

My charge was as patient as a 7-year-old could be and after three minutes of chat I corralled him and we made our merry way to the FMarket trolley.

We also stopped in at the Peets Coffee across the street from my campus and I got a large nonfat latte and he got a steamed milk with whipped cream.

He was so cute.

It was adorable hanging out with him all afternoon.

When it’s just he and we have the best times.

We played all over the Exploratorium, the museum of science, art and human perception and had marvelous experiments and adventure and looked at all the things and played with all sorts of miraculous contraptions.

It really was great.

We ate lunch there and he ate most of my lunch because it was tastier and I happily shared and he cuddled with me hard and fell into a bit of a food coma and collapsed on my lap and hugged me and said, “scratch my back,” and I did and it was fabulous.

There’s nothing like a seven-year old boy snuggling on my lap to make me happy, he just loves me so much and it makes my heart super full.

He can be a total handful when he’s around his siblings, but one on one, oh my god, melt my heart.

He literally sat in my lap the entire way back.

We took the FMarket all the way into the Castro then hopped on the 24 bus and rode it to Church and 30th.

He’s a big fan of the Beatles and walking up the hill we sang Beatles songs and held hands.

Mostly “I Say Hello and You Say Goodbye,” over and over again.

I’m not much of a vocalist, I mean, I can sing, everyone can sing, but my little guy can really sing.

I was happy to hold my own and actually harmonize a bit with him.

And when I couldn’t hit the high notes, well, he did.

I feel pretty in love with the little guy and it was so nice to have the day with him.

We got back to the house a tiny bit before mom and his siblings and I got dinner going while he played Legos.

Dinner was pretty simple, I made his favorite dish, organic ground beef pan sautéed in good olive oil with garlic and onion, sea salt, rosemary, black pepper, and a bechamel sauce that I make right as the beef has browned up and then I put it over brown rice fusilli or whatever non-gluten pasta I wrangle up out of the pantry.

The boy loves it.

It’s amazing to watch him inhale it.

I love cooking.

It’s a nice perk to my job.

I know some nannies who would be horrified to have to cook, but I do really like it.

I love my family and I love making them dinner.

In fact, the mom told me that they, the kids, were excited to come back from their big trip and eat my food.

That was nice to hear.

The mom let me go a few minutes early and since I had dropped off the paperwork to my school I was able to slip home, do some practical stuff, eat a quick dinner, make a pot of soup and take a phone call before heading back out the door to my next gig.

I know I am busy and it was sweet to hear my friend and I looked at him and said, I get it, I do, I am busy and it’s a lot and yeah, I’m probably doing too much, but I don’t feel like I have much of a choice.

Although, that’s not necessarily true.

I could quit school and have oodles of free time.

But.

I would just be a nanny.

And I want more.

I am too smart and too driven to just stop here.

I want this.

I have been groomed for it, or so it feels.

And yeah.

This last year of school is probably going to be full tilt boogie.

But.

I know.

I know without any doubt.

That I will get through it.

I haven’t felt anxious at all about my schedule and the things I need to do.

It feels like it’s all falling right into place.

I can’t fuck it up.

I can’t manipulate it into happening.

If it’s supposed to happen it will.

I just get to show up today in the best way I know how and do whatever work is in front of me.

And yes.

When I can.

Well, yes, a girl will like to play.

And I shall.

No worries.

It’s all happening.

All the things.

All the.

Wonderful.

Amazing.

Awesome.

Things.

Oh, yes, they are.

Thank God.

 

Turn It Around

August 9, 2017

It took almost all day.

But.

My day was completely and totally turned around.

I didn’t have a bad day per se, just a tender and emotional one.

It started off with a phone call that I took this morning, one I almost let ring through to voicemail, but a soft little voice said pick up the phone and check in, get accountable.

Get recovery.

Do it.

So.

Of course, I picked up.

And I hashed out somethings that have been on my mind and in my heart and I got some really good suggestions about those things.

I also was read a mild riot act about not taking on more in my schedule.

Last Friday I said yes to working with a woman who deeply touched me with what she was going through and it resonated so much with me that I said I could work with her.

And.

Of course.

That is in direct opposition to what I had been told to do, no more working with others.

I have two women I work with and I have two people who work me and I have two commitments twice a week that get me involved and maintained in my recovery.

The rest is work and internship and so very soon.

School.

It was foolhardy to take her on, so after a mild dressing down I agreed completely and immediately felt some relief.

The rest of the check in had to do with setting boundaries, and dealing with my anxiety around school.

Which.

Oh therapeutic irony, as soon as I had decided to set that boundary I started to feel less anxious around school.

I got off the phone having already had a good cry and it wasn’t even 9 a.m.

I washed my breakfast dishes, brushed my teeth, put on some makeup and hopped on my scooter, heading over to Noe Valley in a thick, cold fog.

A fog that never lifted, not all day, not in the Mission, not in Glen Park, nowhere, it was cold, foggy, dreary, all day long.

I got to Noe, my helmet awash in moisture, I might as well have been riding in rain, and made the phone call to the woman I said I would work with.

I explained why I couldn’t, I apologized, and I wished her the very best and if she needed support she could reach out.

Then.

Phew.

I felt a lot better.

One more little bit of time for me.

One less thing to schedule.

Ha.

In fact, I just toggled over to my calendar and took her off.

That felt good as well.

And.

Therapy was great, I missed my therapist last week, she was out-of-town on vacation and it felt really good to see her and get into the work.

Of course.

It takes a minute to get there, but I leapt in with the anxiety, the recognition of how it relates to school.

And how it relates to my relationship with my mother and my desire to be above and beyond, to be perfect, to excel, and the level of pressure and stress I put on myself to be the good school girl and what will happen if I don’t and the annihilation of all things good should I not perform.

There are reasons for this, and I’ll let you read between the lines.

I have written about them before, I don’t need to rehash it all right now.

Suffice to say.

I got a lot of crying in today.

It was a relief too, let me be clear, to finally connect a few dots and to see where things were messy and still needed untangling.

And where I needed to set boundaries in my life and what those looked like and how to walk through the school anxiety, and it was just really good to hash it all out.

I had a fantastic session.

Granted I had to go to work right thereafter, so there was a bit of tenderness and sensitivity in my body all day long.

But no.

Wait for it.

No.

Anxiety.

Hallelujah.

Well.

Almost none.

I got tossed a client at the last-minute, a consult add-on and I teared up, I had thought I was going to get away with only seeing one client tonight and then zipping over to school, dropping off my paperwork and getting home “early.”

Nope.

I didn’t burst into tears.

I just sort of melted into them.

Then.

I had a little chat with myself, you normally see two clients on Tuesday, this is just how it is, you’re going to be ok.

I also called the practicum office and found out that I can drop my paperwork after hours to the head of the office and she gave me a very specific spot to put the paperwork and I can go do that tomorrow.

I’m fine.

Everything is fine.

And.

Holy Toledo!

My sessions!

My clients!

Wow.

Two whole fucking hours of actively listening to someone else, not a thought in my head of my own crap, just showing up in the room, in the field, being there, being empathetic, being of service.

Mind blowing.

I left my internship walking on air.

Or fog as the case may be.

But really.

Lifted, elevated, and completely turned around.

Ah.

Therapy you devilish thing.

So good to know you.

Grateful that my day ended on such a high note.

Relieved really.

And having some nice clarity around what I need for myself and how to get it.

That helps too.

Getting through the week.

And grateful so grateful that I am on the path I am on.

I feel graced with so many gifts, its astounding when I stop and enumerated them.

My life is full of this grace and joy and beauty.

Strength and resilience.

Hope.

And.

The most amazing.

Bountiful.

Infinite.

And

Ever expanding.

Love.

Evaluation

August 8, 2017

Of Trainee.

That would be me.

Psychotherapist in training.

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

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

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

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

But.

Ha.

Well.

Of course I did.

Oh my gosh you guys.

It was really nice.

I mean.

Really good.

I got the best marks.

I mean seriously.

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

I got fives and fives and more fives.

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

Holy cats.

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

I am blown away.

Feels pretty motherfucking good, I have to say.

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

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

Exceptional.

God damn that is so nice to see in print.

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

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

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

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

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

Where am I today?

Speaking of.

I need some tech support.

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

I haven’t figured it out yet.

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

I mean.

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

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

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

Add to list of things to figure out.

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

I mean.

Ugh.

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

Hmm.

I wonder.

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

Oh.

That works.

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

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

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

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

Obviously there is a conflict.

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

I now have five clients this week.

I will have six clients next week.

And seven the week following.

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

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

And.

Now.

I have openings starting in September for Saturdays.

Yes.

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

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

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

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

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

Of course.

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

So.

Yeah.

Saturdays.

By Spring semester I am supposed to have 13.

Ugh.

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

Spring semester will also be much lighter.

I will be taking five classes this semester.

In spring it will be three.

So there will be more space and less homework.

I get so way far ahead of myself.

I keep reminding myself.

Pull back ladybug.

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

So.

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

It already is.

And.

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

So grateful for my job.

And my life and love and all of it.

Life is full.

Busy.

Yes.

All the things.

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

I have no complaints.

NONE AT ALL.

Luckiest girl in the world.

Never doubt it.

Hello My Old Friend

August 7, 2017

So nice to get re-acquainted.

Not.

Fuck me man.

I got anxious today.

Now.

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

But.

Shit.

I’d sort of forgotten.

Good grief.

It snuck up on me today.

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

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

I did loads of writing.

I did loads of laundry.

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

I did yoga.

I had lots of lovely phone conversations today.

I went grocery shopping.

I cooked food for dinner.

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

Man.

It has been foggy.

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

I went and got right with God.

I did some meditation.

Life is great!

And.

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

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

Oh.

Hello.

I had forgotten you.

And.

Oh.

Hello.

Fuck off.

I don’t need you around.

I mean.

I really don’t.

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

And it’s always a bad future.

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

Nope.

It’s a.

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

Kind of future.

And I still might fail.

And that’s ok.

I mean.

It is at least familiar.

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

And I didn’t have a panic attack.

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

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

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

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

Yay!

Anxiety.

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

I stopped right around my five years of sobriety.

I came off them real easy.

I had been on the lowest dosage anyway.

But.

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

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

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

The anxiety dissipated.

And.

The depression fell away.

I lost lots of weight.

I got happy.

Sure.

Shit happened.

Life happened.

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

Nothing.

Until.

I started grad school.

Anxiety nightmares.

Stress dreams.

Mild depression each winter semester.

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

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

Now.

Today.

Not so much.

But.

It was there.

And truth be told.

It annoyed me.

It pissed me off.

I was like.

No.

NO.

I am not doing this again.

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

AND.

It never has been that bad.

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

Not once.

Not.

Never.

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

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

Oh.

Sure.

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

But I was pretty steady through it all.

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

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

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

Made a phone call to my person.

Wrote out a gratitude list.

And went about my day.

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

Not a psycho.

Haha.

Sorry.

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

Or is it?

Anyway.

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

But.

Overall.

I got this.

I got my books ordered.

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

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

I worked through the anxiety.

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

All in all.

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

Haven’t they all been?

But.

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

Plus.

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

I’m going to be just fine.

Because.

I already am.

Today.

Right now.

In this beautiful moment.

There is nothing wrong, and my life.

Well.

Let me just say.

It’s fucking fabulous.

Amazing really.

Luckiest girl in the world.

Seriously.

Calendar This

August 6, 2017

Bitches.

I updated my Google calendar today.

Just my personal one, not the one for my internship which feels like I am on it looking at it, figuring it out, all the time.

My personal one not so much.

But.

As days are getting filled I realized that it would be a smart idea to plug-in all my dates and look at my school weekends and get those all listed.

My last year of my Masters program.

Hard to fucking fathom it.

But.

It is.

I started my reading today for my Jungian Dream Work class.

I had a full day, it felt, just working on my calendar, I might have put in an hour on it.

I mean.

I really did do it up, putting in dates all the way up until the Aids LifeCycle ride in June of next year, June 3rd-9th.

I don’t know when graduation will be for school, that will be in May, I know that, but not necessarily when.

I won’t have to do summer school or summer practicum, since I did it this summer, so I’ll be able to walk free and clear and at the rate I’m collecting hours I will have more than double, perhaps triple the hours I need to graduate my program.

They will be just a drop in the bucket of what I have to accomplish overall, but I’ll be able to graduate with no sweat at the rate I am going.

I got to have my first experience with a couple today.

Which is awesome.

And.

Terrifying.

And amazing.

And.

A lot to hold.

I mean, it’s two people and I’m just one, staying in tune with everything that is in the room and it’s not to one person or the other that I need to attend, although I feel like I did a pretty decent job being balanced in my session.

Ultimately, though, the client is the relationship.

That means doing therapy in a different manner and it didn’t feel like there was enough time to get to everything that was happening, but then again, it was an initial consult and I may not be assigned this particular couple.

It was, however, a great learning experience, and as it was a couple the hour counts as two hours for the BBS (Behavioral Board of Sciences) who require at least 500 hours of Couples, Children, or Family Therapy.

It doesn’t matter if I want to be a therapist who works one on one with clients, the BBS requires me to do some hours of work with a family unit.

A couple is a great way to get those kinds of hours.

From what I can tell at my internship there are not a lot of Family hours available.

Nor child hours, but they do both and I have been assigned a child client, same client I did an intake with a few weeks ago, so there is that opportunity to pick up hours there.

Still.

500 hours.

That’s a lot.

Fuck.

3,000 hours ultimately is what I must have.

I’ve got 107.50 currently.

A drop in the bucket.

I know, though, I know it so well, that these things add up.

I just need to keep trudging the road and I’ll get there.

And there is plenty to keep me busy in the mean time.

It looks pretty damn good that I will not be going back to 35 hours a week at my nanny gig when school starts.

The mom and I had a very brief discussion about that, that the family wants me to stay at my current iteration of hours.

Which is 42 hours a week.

Sigh.

I can do it.

I know I can.

I can squeeze in the homework.

The baby will nap and I will read.

There may be times when that doesn’t happen, but I will get used to carrying my textbooks and reader with me and I will adjust to it.

School will be what school is.

Technically it should be easier than the first two years since part of my schedule is practicum, and well, I’m in it.

In fact.

I need to remember to pull my file on Monday when I go in and see my client.

I have a review and grade report from my supervisor waiting for me in the office.

I have to turn it into the school, which is basically turning in what ever grade my supervisor has given me and acknowledging that I am doing the work necessary for the school to pass me.

I don’t know if I get a letter grade for this or not.

I do know that it was more than just a page, more like three or possibly four pages of questions that the school needed my supervisor to weigh in on.

I currently have a 4.0.

I sure as shit hope I got an “A” if there is an assigned letter grade.

I can’t imagine that I would get less than that.

Which is not to be cocky, it’s just that I do show up, I do the work, I participate in my group supervision, I have clients who have rebooked with me.  I have clients that have requested to work with me after doing an initial consult.  I even received a very sweet thank you from one of my clients for the work we have been doing.

Unexpected and lovely that.

Anyway.

There are lots of things to juggle.

But I can do it.

And I am sure that I will still have time to do the pleasurable things that I need to do in my life and fingers crossed I’ll still be able to keep my blog practice happening.

I say that every semester and every semester I have managed to keep putting my paws on my keyboard and click clacking away.

It’s also one day at a time.

All I have to do today is what is in front of me.

I have to live in 24 hour increments or I will lose my mind.

And well.

That might suck for my burgeoning career as a psychotherapist.

Ha.

I can do it one little day at a time.

There is time for it all.

There really is.

And knowing that.

Well.

That’s a power I can’t quite fathom.

But I know without a single doubt.

I am being taken care of.

Completely.

Every single day.

With great love and compassion.

Which is more than I ever hoped for.

Life is full.

And.

Amazing.

Beyond my wildest dreams.

Happy.

Joyous.

Free.

All The Books

August 4, 2017

I got rid of almost all of my books today.

Parting was sweet and not too sorrowful.

Although I am always astounded by how little I get back, get back something I did.

I got back enough for lunch.

And.

A mani/pedi.

Plus.

I made room for more books.

I received my first textbook for school in the mail today.

Which is great.

Since I want to have as much read for school as soon as I can.

Because.

Well.

Fuck.

I roll like that.

I like to be prepared I like to take the time to do my readings and though I have been told by quite a few people who have done the grad school grind before, nobody reads everything, I do try to read it all.

I don’t always succeed.

Especially in my first year and my first semester.

I was caught off guard by having to have so much reading done before the first weekend of classes.

Now.

Well.

I get it.

The classes are so condensed, we cover so much information, we only have so much time and the weekend cohort has to do in one weekend what the regular cohort covers in one month.

That’s a lot.

So.

I have to do the readings sooner.

And.

It helps me.

It helps me because I have a way of writing and doing my papers that depends on me having done the reading.

I get it all done and I live a full life, I have my recovery, my personal life, my work life, my internship, and soon.

I will have this next semester of school.

Three of my syllabi are now up.

I found out that I have a conflict with one of my days at the internship and an evening class on Fridays.

I either will only be able to do consults on Fridays during the fall semester or once a month my clients won’t get to see me.

I can offer them three meetings a month.

And of course that will change as each semester unfolds.

I am officially a third year student.

I will graduate with my Masters in Integral Counseling Psychology in May of 2018.

I will have a Master’s degree!

It is not the Master’s degree I had always thought I would get.

That one is an MFA.

A Master of Fine Art.

I always thought I would get a Masters for Creative Writing.

Nope.

As it turns out.

I am supposed to be a therapist and that means a Masters in Psychology.

Which is great and by no means negates my undergraduate degree in English Literature.

I used to think that it would, but language is so important in therapy.

What is said.

What is not said.

The psychology of words of body language, or what and how things are said and being able to articulate and name things and be aware of what is happening for a client.

This is huge.

I have a tremendous vocabulary and a way with words.

And yes.

Sometimes I am.

Well.

Ha.

Wayward.

There is a difference though, and also that is beneficial too.

I mean.

I have lived a full life with many, many experiences.

Good and bad and all varieties of the spectrum.

I have a wealth of life experiences to draw on and that makes me a better therapist too.

It is a gift.

I never knew how much my experiences would play out into what I am doing now and it is extraordinary when I let myself see it.

Language.

Narrative.

Story.

Words.

Writing.

Poetry.

All of it plays into the therapeutic field.

I mean.

Before I was in school I didn’t even know that there was such a thing as narrative therapy.

Fuck.

I can do that.

I probably do that every damn time I sit down to write this blog.

I am telling a story.

It may only be the story of my day.

It may only be about me selling books to Dog Eared Books on Valencia Street.

But.

It may also be something else.

There are layers here.

Dog Eared Books was the first bookstore in San Francisco that I went into.

It was the first place I bought a book.

It was also the first place I sold books to.

It was and is a store that I can spend a lot of time wandering around and just smelling the books and looking at the tables resplendent with words, the magazine rack can enthrall me for great gobs of time, I can get lost in the stacks.

Dog Ear also has a great free box.

I mean.

After hauling the books clear across town, the nearest book store to me Green Apple on the Park, doesn’t buy back at that location, I didn’t much feel like hauling away the books that Dog Eared didn’t buy.

However.

I had an inkling that I could still sell a few.

I left nothing in the free box.

I took the $45 I got for the books they accepted and was happy to know that I had earned a lunch out and would be able to pay for my mani/pedi.

A total treat and a splurge.

I like being girly you know.

I scootered over to Aardvark at Church and Market and they took nothing!

But.

I also was by Jade Chinese, so I treated myself to yummy Chinese food and then took my scooter to the Castro and sold up there to the new Dog Eared on Castro Street.

They didn’t buy anything.

But.

When I said, well, I’ll just put them in the free box, the buyer looked at me and said, “how about I give you some store credit and throw these in the sale bin, I bet we will sell a few.”

It was such a sweet gesture.

I took him up on it and now I have a little credit at the store.

Good for when I buy postcards for sending to my friends and loved ones when I go to Burning Man.

That is one thing I always do, send a postcard with a Black Rock City postmark on it.

A girlfriend whose birthday always falls the weekend of the event, my mom, me, I know, I like sending myself postcards, hush, it’s my joy.

I got to let go of the books.

I got to come home to a clean, tidy house, with fewer stacks of livres and!

I got a new book in the mail.

See.

I just needed to make space for what was being sent to me.

I am a very happy girl.

And.

Although I’m not quite ready for all the school reading.

I am a head of the game.

For that I am hella grateful.

Seriously.

Yes.

I used “hella.”

Shut up.

Small Steps

July 28, 2017

Add up.

I keep telling myself that as I slowly start tracking my hours for my MFT license.

I also reiterated that to myself and an old friend that I had the pleasure of catching up with today over coffee and lunch in Hayes Valley.

We hadn’t seen each other in years and it was like old times.

And yes.

We’ve gotten older.

And older is all I’m going to get.

I don’t mind.

I like myself more and more.

I feel like I am entering my prime, not exiting it.

I have so very much to live for and I am so grateful that I have carved out this life here in San Francisco.

I don’t have to think about how long it will take to get my hours, I will get my hours, it will happen, the time will pass and one day it will be a story that I tell someone else who is beginning the process.

Things take time.

Sometimes things happen quickly, they fall into place, and there is a beauty and grace to it.

I am often reminded of what a very wise woman said to me years ago, “if it’s meant to be you can’t fuck it up and if it’s not meant to be, you can’t manipulate it into happening.”

My career path is like that.

For the longest time I tried this and that and the other to make it as a creative.

A writer.

A poet.

Maybe a screen writer, I certainly had and do have some interesting ideas for movies, but nothing panned out.

Oh.

Sure.

I have this, my blog, and it’s panned out fantastically, I throw my stuff at the screen in front of me, I process my day, I get things out, I figure it out mostly by not figuring it out, but by taking the creative action of just showing the fuck up here consistently.

But.

I have never really made it as a writer.

Not that I’m not a writer.

I’m fucking writing right now.

I’m good.

I’m not great.

But I would hazard that I am better than plenty of folks that do get published.

Perhaps it’s that I don’t understand how to submit, or that I don’t submit the right stuff or that I am not as good as I believe, it’s beyond me is what I’m saying.

One day it may not be.

Today it is and suffice to say.

I don’t give a flying fuck.

I love writing.

I love poetry.

I love expressing myself.

And this is my medium.

I don’t write for an audience.

Oh.

Sure.

Sometimes I may be addressing you, sometimes things sneak in and there’s a message between the lines, I won’t say that there’s not.

But I do really do the writing for myself.

But it’s not a career.

The dividends that have paid off are vast and varied, the people who I have met because of my blog, the things I have done, the experiences I have had, especially when my blog was a little more public, were and have been astounding.

Too many to list here.

However.

Most of the time the pay off has not been cash money.

In some round about ways, though, it has paid off more than handsomely.

I expressed to my friend today that I am often a bit ridiculed, or teased, ridiculed seems a harsher word than the poking fun I get from my cohort, for how fast I can write papers for class.

It really hasn’t been too much to sit down and knock out a big paper in one sitting, in a few hours.

If I have an idea of what I am writing, if I have done my research, taken good notes and done my reading for the class, I can crank it out.

I can do that because I do this, consistently, my rate of typing is fast.

I haven’t timed it in a long time, but it does seem that my thoughts fly from my brain and to my fingers quite quickly.

I will publish, I know that.

I will publish poems.

I will publish essays.

I will publish my memoir, although it needs severe re-writing.

It may not be the book I originally wrote.

But it will have the skeleton of the manuscript, I am sure of that.

My writing goals have not been met, but they will be, I am sure of that.

When isn’t important.

And I will publish psychology papers.

In some odd sort of twist that may be where I find my first publications, I don’t know exactly, but I do think that I will find that as an avenue for my work.

I have had great reviews of my school papers and I think with some tweaking I could probably submit some of those papers to psychology publications.

Who knows.

I just know that it will happen.

And I’m fine with the process being what it is.

I don’t have to manipulate it into happening and I can’t fuck it up.

Unless I stop.

Which right now seems impossible.

I have stories and stories and stories.

All the words.

There are so many.

So beautiful, like birds on a wire, like the scattershot of sunshine sparkling from the froth of waves, like the way love endears itself further into my heart when I am least expecting it.

My friend and I parted ways and I reflected as I got on my scooter and headed over to my job, my day job, that I have it pretty motherfucking good.

I do.

I have discovered many things about myself in the dozen or so years my friend and I have known each other and they all seem to have played beautiful and rich into the hand that I have been dealt.

I am on the path and in the place I am meant to be.

“You look amazing,” he said.

And you know what?

I feel amazing.

I think that shows.

Happy.

Joyous.

Motherfucking.

Free.

 

Maybe I’ll Sleep In

July 27, 2017

Probably not.

My brain will wake me up.

Thoughts will come a cruising through my head and I’ll get up.

I was just thinking about sleeping in as the yoga class tomorrow that I was going to go to was cancelled.

Ugh.

I have plenty to do.

Don’t I always.

So.

I’m not super frustrated, and it’s not typical for me to be able to go to yoga class on a Thursday morning anyhow.

I am usually going to work.

But my family is still away and I’ve only got my internship to be accountable to tomorrow.

Ok.

Not true.

I was asked by the family to go to the house and open it up and collect the mail and water the plants and stuff of that nature.

So I’ll be making a little venture over to Glen Park in the late afternoon.

Prior to that I will be reconnecting with an old friend in Hayes Valley.

Do some catch up and see what’s going on in his life.

It’s been years.

Sometimes it amazes me.

That these years they pass.

They go so quick and I want to make sure that I impress upon myself as many experiences as I can.

The sun on my face.

For instance.

I made it out of the fog for a little while today and the sun on my face was exquisite.

The wind in my hair, my eyes closed, the smell of creosote and the sounds of hummingbirds flitting about.

Hummingbirds do make sound.

The whir of their wings close to my ears as they darted about in the flowers.

A high pressure thrum of air and the stirring of molecules by my face and off they go.

I had one of those days that felt like such a dream.

Sweet and sunny and soft.

I even napped.

I know.

I never nap.

I fell asleep listening to the Chopin station on Spotify.

Also something that I do not do.

Fall asleep listening to music.

I generally need it to be dark and quiet.

Music catches at my mind and I can find it distracting, but this today, soft, dreamy, sweet, warm, late afternoon nap, which was not in my plans, and was so good, to feel so held in my sleep.

The best.

Such a gift.

And all the little reveries I had drifting in and out between the piano notes floating through the air in my room.

Exquisite.

I wore a new dress today.

Maybe that was it.

I like getting dressed up and not having to wear my nanny clothes or shoes is a nice change of pace for me.

I have a closet full of dresses that I don’t often wear as they are not suited for nannying.

Shit.

I should wear one tomorrow that I have been itching to wear.

I totally forgot I had gotten it in the mail last week, but I was annoyed that they hadn’t sent both the dresses I had ordered and I didn’t pull it out as I wasn’t sure what or if the company was going to refund my order or deny that they hadn’t sent the dress.

I sent them an e-mail and I think there was a part of me that was all stubborn, like, I wanted the other dress more, damn it.

Turns out that they had sold out and they happily refunded the dress to my bank account.

So.

I took the other dress out of its packaging.

And oh.

It’s pretty.

Sort of old-fashioned retro styling with a sweetheart bodice and a bit of a flared skirt, white with small black polka dots and navy and royal blue roses.

It’s very fetching.

I could wear that tomorrow.

Although, it doesn’t strike me as a therapy dress and I have a client tomorrow night.

Ah.

I don’t need to figure it out right now.

It was just nice to be in my dress today, out in the sun, the wind fluttering the long hem around my ankles.

I felt ethereal at times.

The way the sky looked between the tree leaves.

I was in awe.

I have such a good life.

I am really happy.

Oh.

Sure.

My brain likes to sneak attack me when I’m least expecting it.

But it passes and usually I can take a moment in those places of vulnerability and say, hey, “thanks for sharing, but I got this,” or better, “God’s got this.”

Which is true.

I’m human.

I’m going to fall on my face no matter how hard I try.

The point is to try.

If I’m falling down that means that I am trying and I am living.

I want so to have a full rich experienced life.

I want to see things and experience things and feel.

I definitely have the feelings thing down.

Ha.

I have a friend who sent me a check in the mail today.

We share a MOMA membership and I just renewed it.

He used to say “you wear your heart on you sleeve,” to me all the time.

I didn’t quite understand what he meant, but I believe he was referring to me being emotionally transparent in my blogs.

Which, strange though this may seem, has changed a bit for me.

Not being emotionally transparent, per se.

I think that I am pretty damn transparent here in my writing.

But.

That my writing has changed since he made that comment.

I don’t share as much content as I used to.

Oh.

Sure.

There is stuff that happens and I will report back factually, with much acuity, I will paint a picture of rolling hills, the grass drying and cream yellow, the smell of sage in a garden, the look of tiny green tomatoes just beginning to bud on the vine, the surprise kiss of beauty planted on me in the garden, the roses, the old garden ones that proliferated in all gardens on the edges with the fallen soft pink petals crumpled on the ground, the sound of hawk flying over head screeching for its lunch to show itself in the grass.

I can show you these things.

But my content used to be a lot more focused on who and what and when.

I find that I am leaving out that more and more.

Then it’s just the feelings and the susuration of wind in my heart.

The way love feels in my body.

How I want to be and more and yes when I stumble, getting back up and trying again.

All the things.

All the lovely things.

All the beauty that I took photographs in my mind today.

The bluest blue.

The soaring in my heart.

The glad song on my lips.

The dreams and revery.

All of it.

Wonderous and magic.

Sometimes

July 26, 2017

I’m smiling and you may not know the reason, but I’m smiling and damn it feels good.

I am happy.

I had a great day.

Lots of scootering all over the city.

Lots of errands run.

Amazing what I can do when I’m not working.

Ha.

I mean, I did go to my internship and I saw two clients today.

One who is new and the other who is returning, in fact, my first client, which feels pretty damn good, getting to know this client and seeing how the therapy is working for the client is an amazing experience.

I am growing more and more and finding out more about how I am a therapist.

I model myself a little on my own therapist.

She was fucking fabulous today.

We had an amazing session.

I sat down and said one name.

I want to talk about _____________.

And we dove in.

There was so much there.

I gave a history of the relationship and why it is relevant to me today.

I talked about conflict resolution and how in my past I wasn’t allowed to have conflict.

Conflict was not rewarded with resolution.

It was generally smashed and violently so.

Conflict for me was dangerous and scary and so I just learned at a very, very young age to avoid it at all costs.

Thank you to my school program and working towards getting my Masters in Counseling Psychology, (one more year!) that, oh, what?! Relationships have conflict and that’s ok.

Shit.

Who the fuck knew?

So.

I had some conflict that I needed my therapist to weigh in on.

It was astounding to hear her perspective and when I was stuck she helped me figure out where I was stuck and what it was.

We got to the bottom of it.

I was so freaking happy.

I am still not excited for conflict and when it happened, the conflict I am alluding to, it was years ago but it has become very relevant in present time,  I did not know that resolution could happen, that repair could happen.

I am much better at it now then I used to be.

Some practice, some stepping up and being a woman and an adult.

I remember when I really stepped out of my comfort zone with a former employer and let her know how I felt about an interaction we had and how I was really hurt by it.

I am certain that my past employer had no idea how her words had landed, but man, they had landed so hard on such a tender part of me that I knew I had to address it.

It would mean changing patterns of behavior I had been using for years, survival skills if you will.

And I did.

It was hard.

Man, it was so fucking hard.

But.

It opened a door that I didn’t know was there and an opportunity to exit that work environment a few months later with a kind of grace and dignity that I would not have thought I could have done.

Except that I let the repair happen.

I had the conflict, I said this doesn’t sit well with me, this is how it felt when you said what you did and I want you to know I can’t be treated like this.

It was one of the most powerful experiences I have ever had.

Scary too.

So freaking scary.

I mean.

It was my job, my everything, and I loved my charges so very much I was devastated by the thought that I might lose my livelihood, one, and two, that I would alienate myself from the boys.

Those children meant so much to me it was excruciating to confront their mom.

Yet.

When I did, as I mentioned before, the conflict though hard was not as hard as I had thought it would be and it led to an unexpected resolution and repair of the relationship.

I mean, the last time I saw her we hugged and we both expressed how good it was to see the other person.

Oh there were lots of other things to work through, in that relationship before we got to that point, but the point is that I got to and I grew so much it astonished me.

There is always an edge to push always an experiencing for me to have.

For which I am grateful beyond words.

I have had so many life experiences that I can really be of service and value to my clients.

That is a huge gift and one that I don’t take lightly.

I have to say.

I really like therapy.

I like being a therapist.

I like being smart, I like using my brain, but more importantly I like making intuitive moves and letting things unfold in the field as my clients and I work together.

It is powerful.

It can be really hard too.

But for the most part.

Man.

I am happy getting to be a therapist.

I have so much to learn but that I am actively using the skills that I have learned over the past few years, in school, and the decades of experience I have had over the span of my life and the challenges met, my God, I have had some challenges and I have a lot to share.

And having the tools and language of therapy is a huge gift.

It’s like having done the readings and the trainings and the dyads and all the paper writing and all the books and articles and internet Ted Talks, the podcasts and the lectures that I have sat through, the work I have done on myself, the inventories and the taking suggestions and trying different things, my God, I can see how important all of it is.

And that none of it is wasted.

None!

My therapist has remarked a number of times to me how “alive” I am.

And I am.

I am happy.

I am free.

I am joyous.

I am of service.

I have purpose.

I am love.

I know.

That last one sounds full of myself.

But you know.

I think I am.

Or better.

That.

I am a conduit for love.

That feels more apt.

A channel.

And to know that I have been given that and that I get to grow more into that shape of love excites me.

Even when it feels overwhelming.

It is an amazing revelation.

And I am here.

Open to all of it.

Grateful.

And.

So relieved to no longer be in my own damn way.

It is extraordinary.

And now.

Please.

Pardon me.

I have some happy dance to do.

Sweet.

Sweet.

Sweetest.

Dreams.

See you on the flip.

 

Baby, Oh Baby

July 25, 2017

I got some good snuggles today from my friends twins.

Oof.

The gorgeousness of them is devastating.

The heft and weight of a baby sleeping upon my shoulder has to be one of the most beautiful feelings I have gotten to experience.

I’ve held a few of them.

The smell of baby, too, such amazingness.

Makes me feel very human.

I joked with my friend that it was a good thing I was on my period or I would spontaneously conceive holding the babies.

I’m 44 years old though.

I am pretty much at the point where if it was going to happen it would have by now.

I wonder if I had things different, if I had gotten better faster, had a better childhood, yada, yada, yada, if I would have had children.

I certainly could have gotten pregnant in the past.

I was not always the most on top of it lady in regards to my sexual interactions.

I.E.

I was not using protection.

I guess I just got lucky.

Or unlucky.

Depends on your perspective.

“You are going to make such a great mom,” is something that I have heard more times than I can count.

It is always such a compliment.

“I see you with children, I can imagine you with twins,” said a woman I used to work with years ago.

I was a twin.

Maybe there’s something there, but twins tend to skip a generation in my family, it’s doubtful I would have twins from that perspective.

I have done a lot of nanny shares, so juggling two babies is not outside my realm of experience.

Being with my friend and her twins reminded me of that, doing the nanny shares I have gotten to do.

Huge gifts those experiences.

I have been a nanny for over ten years now.

I have had so many children, from that perspective.

I have raised many children.

Sure.

None of them have been mine.

But.

Oh.

They have all been mine.

I have gotten to experience a depth of love that is vast and profound and I am always, ALWAYS, surprised that I have this deep capacity, this well, of love that seems to be infinite.

I have thought.

“I can never love another child as much as I love this child, this baby, this little one, right now in my arms, fallen asleep on me,” all the heavy, sweet, luscious love that has been in my arms, there is no way I could have more of that.

But.

Every child.

EVERY child I have picked up I have felt that love, vast and universal and profound.

It astounds me.

The profundity of it.

The gift of it.

I think.

See.

You have gotten to have all the experiences of unconditional love that you didn’t get when you were little, you got to see all these children being loved and taken care of, you have witnessed so many first smiles and laughs and the sweet dreams and yes, all the other milestones that are not as much fun but help shape the vast enormous and extraordinary experience of watching a child grow.

I have borne witness to miracles.

Again and again.

Each child a mystery and opportunity to again learn the face of God, the rosebud mouth that purses for milk from the bottle, the drowsy scent that arises from the warm body, like some sort of baking bread smell that intoxicates me and lures me back for another long inhale of sweet baking baby.

I must have smelled the twins every other minute.

Fresh baby.

So delicious.

I don’t know if I am sad that I haven’t had my own children, for I have had a wealth of children.

I do know and I can acknowledge that for many, many years I would not even entertain the idea of having children.

I knew my sister wanted babies.

And she had two.

But I always thought, nope, no children for me.

And.

I have not had a one.

Nor a pregnancy.

Not once.

Not even really a scare.

Knock on wood.

But yeah, since I’m currently on my cycle, I don’t think there’s anything happening there.

Ha.

I know so many women who have agenda, must get partner, must get pregnant, must, must, must.

I have heard it from contemporaries, community, women in my fellowship, desperate and straining against their own body clocks.

I feel it.

I have felt the clock tick tocking in the corner of my uterus, and there were times when my hormones had me clocking any man who gave me a spare glance, but nothing ever took.

I used to think, after I got sober, you know, give it a year and I’ll be in a relationship and then you know, a great job, and you know, a book contract, and a movie adaptation and then a house, and you know, a couple of kids.

That was a drawing I did in therapy.

I might have had about two years of sobriety at the time.

Shit.

I forgot about that picture.

It was an assignment my therapist asked me to do.

Draw my home, draw my goals.

I feel I might have that drawing stashed somewhere in my piles and stacks of notebooks, but I can describe it pretty well.

I am standing, pregnant, with a girl, I think I somehow indicate that it was a girl in my belly, with a little boy holding my hand, blue eyes, dark hair, and there was a man next to me holding my hand and we were all smiling, the house was three stories, I mean I went for it, and had a back yard and garden and a brick patio, it had a swing set and slide and a tire swing, I mean, come one, everyone needs a tire swing, it might have had an apple tree.

The inside of the house that I can remember having colored in was a library, with a fireplace and a big deep leather couch and a cat curled up on the hearth in front of the fireplace and bookshelves so full of books.

I had a study on the third floor, my own office.

I also drew things in the a small circle around a globe.

I wanted to be a world traveler.

I drew an airplane circling the globe and a tiny Eiffel tower and I think islands somewhere.

So.

Yeah.

At two years of sobriety I figured, won’t be too long now, I’ll have a husband and a little boy and a little girl, a house and office and books and I’ll be a writer and we’ll all travel together and it will be perfect.

I was 34.

Now.

I am 44.

None of those things happened.

Well.

That’s not true.

The travel did.

I have gotten to do a lot of traveling since I drew that picture.

The house I modeled it on was an Italianate red brick Victorian in the Mission that has a back carriage house and I could envision there being a garden back there and a swing set.

The man.

Well, he was a mystery.

Life hasn’t given me what I expected.

Fact is.

I have been given more than I could have dreamed of.

I have been given an astounding amount of love and so many opportunities to grow and so many times have I gotten to experience the unconditional love of a child that I don’t feel that I have lost out on some important life experience.

If anything I have heard from many people that they envy the life I have created for myself.

It hasn’t always looked pretty and I’ve fallen down and had to start over and I am now in the process of becoming something entirely different from what I set out to be.

But ultimately.

What I really wanted.

The thing that I wanted the most, the most, the MOST.

Was love.

And I have been showered with love.

Washed in love.

I have been given so much love I can’t breathe sometimes when I see it.

My heart is so full and I get to love right back.

The extraordinary experience of letting myself be loved.

Love in all its forms and sweetness.

And there is no end to it.

There really isn’t.

And I feel that is the key.

That I am not searching for something I think I am missing.

I know what I have.

And it is invaluable.

There is no price tag on it.

And it worth everything.

This love.

Well.

Not only is it worth everything.

It is everything.

And so.

I wish you the same.

That you be so graced and so touched with love.

You must know.

Deep in your heart.

How much you are loved.

So much.

I haven’t the alphabet for the words to spell it out.

But you.

Love.

Well.

You are poetry.

 


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