Posts Tagged ‘self-care’

Back at it!

November 23, 2021

After nearly four weeks off, I went back to work today.

I started out this morning by guest lecturing (remotely via Zoom) at CIIS in the Clinical Relationship class on erotic countertransference in the clinical dyad.

That was fun.

I did that for about an hour then transitioned to my first client of the day.

Fortunately for me, a phone session.

Followed by another phone session.

Followed by a video session.

Then a break.

Phew.

Break much needed and yes, yes I did, I took my first unaccompanied walk!

It was just a block, don’t freak out.

And I went super duper slow.

Like.

Ridiculously slow.

I walked to the mailbox and mailed my rent check for December.

It felt great to be outside.

Though intense, and I walked back much slower than I had walked to the mailbox.

Then I had lunch in bed.

Now.

I will say that was my only meal in bed and for that I feel pretty happy.

I had breakfast at my “desk”, aka, my kitchen table and tonight I had dinner in my living room sitting in my reading chair.

Normally I like to sit on my pink velvet couch and enjoy the view of the night sky out the window framed in soft yellow string bulb lights.

However.

My couch is too low to sit on comfortably and get back up from.

By the end of my sessions tonight I was definitely feeling stiff and I had gotten a bit swollen up, but I really didn’t want to eat dinner in bed.

Although, I will say that I did not force myself to write this blog at my desk.

I’m writing from bed, propped up on pillows, three behind my back, two underneath my knees.

I can push myself a little, but I’m not a masochist.

And I know that going too hard back into things is not good for my healing.

Gratefully I am in a profession that is not too active.

Granted prior to my surgery I have a times found this challenging–being so sedentary.

Before becoming a psychotherapist I was a nanny, in fact, I nannied a good way into being a therapist–nothing says good times like juggling full time work with full time school and getting my hours to become a therapist.

In a sense, until very, very, very recently, I was working six to seven days a week.

So this down time I’ve had recovering from the surgery has also been surreal.

Lying in bed watching a lot of videos.

I did some reading too, but mostly I think I just slept and watched videos and tried to not be in self-pity when the weather was screaming gorgeous out.

I literally missed the best weather of the year indoors for three and a half weeks recuperating.

That being said.

Once I am fully healed up I will be outside and moving and doing all the things.

My next post-op appointment is December 10th.

At which point my surgeon will let me know when I can start exercising again–more than just walking.

I sense it will still be a slow journey towards being as active again as I was prior.

I cannot wait to get back into the swimming pool.

Or!

To go out dancing.

My, oh my.

I have missed dancing.

I mean, pandemic quashed that in a major way, though I definitely had a lot of private dance parties by myself in my kitchen.

Then I had a burst appendix in February, followed by my first surgery, the brachioplasty, followed by the belt lipectomy.

My dance moves have been severely restrained.

I have a friend who is all about the dancing and keeps sending me invites and I’ve had to turn them all down.

I had a teensy narrow window of opportunity when I was feeling better resourced after the brachioplasty and able to move my arms without feeling like they were going to rip apart, and I had just defended my dissertation, that I could have possibly gone out.

But.

My friend was out of town and I spent that weekend getting my household prepped for the next surgery.

Considering how slow the healing process takes, it will likely be March, April, May of next year before I’m really able to hit a dance floor again.

But it’s there, just on the horizon.

And today gave me just a tiny glimpse of hope for that.

In a sense, I had a full eight hour work day.

I lectured for an hour, then had three sessions, had a break and then did four more sessions.

That was a pretty big day to start back in.

I’m tired.

And also.

Just a smidgeon exhilerated.

It was so good to see my clients again!

I missed them.

And I missed my morning routine.

It felt really nice to make my breakfast this morning, make a coffee, sit at my desk, read my emails, eat, drink my latte, write my morning pages in my journal. Rather than get up, make breakfast, bring it back to bed and crawl back into bed for the majority of the day.

Sure.

I was stiff sitting at my desk and had to keep my core still, but fuck, it felt so damn good to be back to a semblance of my normal routine.

I am also grateful that I have a late start tomorrow morning.

I will let myself sleep in and I will take it very slow in the morning.

I also normally have a late session on Mondays, but not today, and that helped.

I checked in with my person at lunch too and let him know how my day was going and said out loud that if I felt like it was too much I would cancel on my evening sessions.

I did not have to do that.

I did have to be careful to sit still and be really gentle getting up and out of my chair in between sessions and taking bathroom breaks.

And I did it.

Such a relief!

I got through my first day back.

Such simple joy in getting back to my routine.

Grateful.

Seriously fucking grateful.

I’m back in the saddle again.

I’m Ready

November 14, 2021

To date again.

Well.

I mean.

Theoretically.

I am in no shape to actually go on a date.

I’m still pretty much tied to my bed.

Although I do feel increments of change, small shifts in my body signaling to me of my healing.

My dear friend was over yesterday and she said I looked “sooooo much better,” which is nice since I feel like I look like ass.

But she insisted.

It might have been the shower I had.

I was cleared to shower this past Tuesday.

It might have been one of the greatest showers of all time.

Rivaled many a Burning Man fresh back from the playa shower.

And if the after care hadn’t been so damn hard, it would have been the top shower of all time.

I mean.

I didn’t shower for two weeks.

Sure, I did a whore’s bath.

You know, baby wipes and deodorant and perfume.

Very 1800s French of me.

heh.

But really, I like a good shower.

In fact, I have often said that God is a good shower.

I mean, think about it, it feels so good to have hot water sluicing down ones back.

The sigh of relief when I get underneath a good hot shower with great water pressure.

Oh, so good.

So to go two weeks was pretty hard.

But I had to, the drains didn’t all get removed until two weeks after the surgery.

I had three drains, two of which were removed one week after, and the last 13 days later.

I cannot tell you how obnoxious they were.

Granted that first week I was on heavy painkillers so though annoying, I didn’t find them that uncomfortable.

Sans Percocet, they were infruriating.

Always this slight annoyance, not quite pain, although if I jostled myself too hard or took down my sweat pants too fast.

Egad.

Aside.

One of my friend’s calls sweat pants “my give up” pants.

For the record.

I have never owned sweat pants until this surgery.

I bought two sweat suits prior to the surgery.

I was told, loose pants and zip up fronts.

So sweatsuits seemed appropos.

And on the shelves they were cute, but on me, eek, I do not care for them.

Maybe that’s why I’m feeling better today too, not wearing a sweat suit and I put on a bra.

It’s the small things.

I did contemplate taking another shower today, but I’ll hold off one more day.

Three days is still a bit to go for me, but like I said, despite how fucking phenomenal the shower feels, the after shower routine is really hard.

I feel pretty tired just getting out of the shower and drying off.

Making sure I’m not vigorously drying myself, putting on Neosporin on the stitches, re-bandaging myself, and the skin tightens when it dries so I feel like I’m getting pulled apart and my range of motion gets much smaller. I end up feeling like a hunched over little old lady.

And don’t talk to me about drying my hair.

Holy shit.

Just getting to my blow dryer and doing a quick pass through is really hard.

I did manage it yesterday, but I was super shaky after just a few minutes of it.

Although like I said, I rallied and I put on leggings, a bra, a t-shirt and a button down shirt instead of the zip hoodie and sweat pants over the binder that I am wearing over the bandages, over the stitches.

I might burn the sweat pants in effigy when I’m done.

There’s also a psychological fatigue that happens.

I told myself both times that I showered not to look at the belt lipectomy, which by the way, if you don’t know, is not a tummy tuck, which would just be a midline scar across the front of the belly.

A belt lipectomy is like the name, think of a belt encircling your waist.

It is a full 365 degrees around.

Removing excess skin and tissue from around the entire trunk.

So, it’s a lot.

I know when it’s healed I’ll be ecstatic, but looking at it right now makes me a bit nauseated.

But yeah, I looked, and I think that makes it hard too, it’s not pretty to look at and I’m still bruised and swollen.

In fact, the post-op paperwork does say that many folks go through a regret phase and some slip into depression.

Now.

I won’t lie.

I have had some depressed mood, I mean, aside from two post-op trips to see my surgeon, I haven’t been outside since October 25th.

I am grateful, truly, that I live in a beautiful apartment and it is very sweet, but it is not outside.

Outside where it’s been sunny and late fall gorgeous and 70!

Sigh.

Just a walk to Patricia’s Green is all I really want, but I’m not quite there yet.

So, why do I think I’m ready to date?

It’s mental.

Not physical.

I think I’m finally over my ex, or pretty damn close to it.

I haven’t seen him since January and I think the grief of it all is finally passing.

It’s certainly lightened substantially.

Especially with all the work I put into my dissertation and also the work of transforming with the surgery.

I am the same.

Yet.

I am different.

And too, the new therapist I started working with has been a God send.

I’m ready for someone who is available, physically and emotionally.

I’m ready for some requited love.

I think I’m done with the unrequited kind, thanks.

I’m healing physically and emotionally.

I also, yes, yes I did, I also, booked myself a trip to New York in spring!

I’m going to go for the last weekend in May.

I got a ridiculous fare, $304 roundtrip!

And I scored a room at the Jane Hotel in the Meatpacking District.

I’ve only ever stayed in Brooklyn when I’ve gone to New York before.

Once staying with a friend on Myrtle Ave.

Once an Air BnB in Green Point.

Once an Air Bnb in Bedstuy.

This time I’m staying in Manhattan.

I am super excited.

I’m taking a red eye out after my last client on a Thursday, landing at 6:15a.m. at JFK on Friday.

I will stay at the Jane Hotel Friday night and Saturday night and check out Sunday morning, catching the noon back to SFO Sunday, and due to the time difference, get in Sunday afternoon and have a little time to recalibrate before going back to work on Monday.

I am super excited.

Yeah.

I know I already said that, but seriously.

It will be late spring, warm, but not too hot.

I will walk around in my new (ish) body, in sundresses and skirts and sandals enjoying the warm.

I will go to the Highline.

I will walk the Hudson River Greenway from the hotel to the Beekman for breakfast Saturday morning, it’s about 45 minutes.

I flirted with staying at the Beekman, but fuck paying that much money, I’ll just go have a breakfast there, I had lunch there with my ex when we were in New York summer of 2018 I think, and my God it was beautiful, the dining room is just ridiculous, the atrium, the velvet couches, the leather club chairs.

Then I will just walk the city.

Go to Central Park.

Go to book stores.

Go dress shopping.

Go to the Whitney.

I will likely hit the Whitney my first day in, on Friday, it’s literally a five, ten minute walk from my hotel.

Lunch somewhere in the neighborhood, walk over to Perry Street, a ten minute walk, to do the deal, meander around Greenwich Village, or Bleeker Street.

Buy a new dress.

Go out to a fancy dinner…maybe Catch in the Meatpacking District or Strip House, steak people, it’s a steak house, in Greenwich Village.

Though I do love Peter Luger’s Steak House, I’m not going to go to Williamsburg to get it.

I want to stay on the island and just meander.

And I’ll end my nights at the roof top bar, sans alcohol, just some bubbly water and me sitting underneath the night sky looking out over the city.

A romantic weekend away with myself.

And I have the feeling that sometime around then I’ll be ready to really date.

It’s going to take a few months for me to really feel able to get out.

The recovery from the surgery literally takes months, and can take up to a full year.

But I can see it coming.

All this work I have done on myself.

The emotional, mental, spiritual, and physical transformation, of me.

I mean.

I’m still me.

But.

I’m becoming, have become, something greater than the sum of me.

Even though, technically, there is less of me around.

I take up less space.

And yet I have more space, I am more spacious.

I have grown the space in my heart.

It is a grand thing this.

My metamorphosis.

Though not complete.

It is well underway.

Back in the Saddle

June 22, 2020

I could mean this literally and figuratively.

The figurative part comes down to being back here, on my blog, writing again.

Man, it feels nice to write.

I have had one hell of a busy summer.

There’s been this pandemic thing.

Social distancing.

Working.

Working some more.

Working on my dissertation proposal–turned in my third draft this week.

Oh yeah.

And moving.

I don’t believe I have written about that at all.

You know, that little thing, moving during a pandemic.

Or maybe I did and I already forgot because it’s been a minute since I have done a blog.

(at least on this platform, I’ve been posting to my therapy website, but that’s a different kind of blog)

And it’s been a minute since…

I have been on my bike!

Today, however, I got back in the saddle.

I cannot tell you how good that felt.

And, heh, it was just like riding a bike.

I won’t lie, I was a little nervous, it’s been over a year and a half since I had ridden.

I didn’t ride once living in my previous place.

My bike simply hung on a hook on the wall in the hallway entrance to my studio in-law.

Once in a while it would beseechingly call out to me and I would feel some guilt and I would say, yeah, this weekend, go do a ride.

But it was windy or raining or foggy or miserable, as it can be in the Outer Richmond.

And I live on a gigantic hill and it’s a one speed.

And.

And.

And.

Cue not riding at all.

It just never happened.

Until today.

I have been in my new home officially now two weeks.

It’s been a big two weeks.

Getting all the things set up.

Aside.

Today I got my Ihome pod set up.

Soooooo happy.

I got my music speaker back.

I have an old one, like a really old one that docks a first generation Ipod music player and it’s cute as shit and it glows and I can play all the music I loaded on it years and years and years ago.

But.

It doesn’t run off my phone (unless I want to get a cord that will connect it to the speaker and whatever not being a tech kid I will probably not do that, although I suspect the actual accessory is probably pretty cheap, anyway) and I can’t play my music apps–Spotify or Bon Entendeur.

Mostly I want to hear Bon Entendeur, which is a French house music app that I just fucking adore.

My Ihome pod was a gift from the family I used to nanny for when I graduated from my Master’s program in 2018.

I didn’t take it out of the box until I moved into my previous place, so I had it for six months before I actually turned it on.

Game changer.

I really love it.

Great sound.

Great speaker.

Connects right to the internet.

I never use the Siri part of it, just connect my music apps on my phone to it and voila, dance party.

Except I couldn’t figure out how to get it connected here.

A friend tried to walk me through it, but it didn’t take.

So today, after my bike ride, I’ll get to that, I sat down on the kitchen floor and googled all the things.

And.

I got it to work!

I am so proud of myself.

I know, a small accomplishment, but it felt really good and I’m happily listening to my music right now.

I’m also feeling very happy in my body, which got to go on a bike ride.

I moved to Hayes Valley in San Francisco.

It’s pretty damn flat.

I’m at the foot of some hills, but I don’t have to ride up them, I can just head out towards Market street and ride my sweet one speed through one of the flattest parts of the city.

And.

Yes, there are people out (and I was horrified to see people lined up to get into Ross Dress for Less.  Really?!) but not nearly as much as there would be, see previous note about pandemic, and there were very few cars and buses.

It was a glorious ride.

I rode all the way down Market and then along the Embarcadero until my legs got a little sore.

I knew better than to push it.

I don’t want to be sore tomorrow and it’s been a while since I had ridden.

Easy does it.

And easy does it again.

For I will be riding a lot more.

I am going to get my parking permit for my neighborhood this week and then I don’t plan on driving my car anywhere for a while.

I won’t be going into my office for a while yet, so no need to drive there.

My office is small, even if I wanted to socially distance I couldn’t.

I will continue to be doing telehealth for the near future.

Which means, aside from once a week when I need to drive to Daly City to work at the youth health clinic, I don’t need to move my car.

And now that I got back in the saddle, I will definitely be using my bike.

It was dreamy.

I pumped up the deflated tires and I got my messenger bag out of the closet, grabbed my Ulock and my Palmy lock, my wallet, hooked my keys on my belt loop, grabbed a Sigg bottle of water out of the fridge, put on my bandana mask, a pair of sunglasses and hit the road.

Like I mentioned.

Little traffic, either car or foot, some, but not a lot.

It was surreal, I have not been downtown since shelter in place went into affect and it was surreal to see it, and there are people out, like I said, line for Ross, but not that many, certainly nothing like what I would normally see on a Sunday in downtown San Francisco.

I felt really good biking again.

And on my return from the trip I swung into the Farmer’s Market at the Civic Center plaza and grabbed some stone fruit from a vendor as the market was closing down.

I cannot tell you how happy I am to be so close to a farmer’s market again.

I got yellow nectarines, which tasted like how I imagine sunshine should taste like, sweet, and thick, and full of light and golden tones, and I got apricots.

So good.

Came back to my place, stashed the bike in my bathroom–which is huge and my bicycle fits without any trouble, and prepped fruit for the week and stashed it in the fridge.

I’m home.

My bicycle is home.

My Ihome pod is set up.

My home is set up.

My pink couch is hella cute in my living room.

I got up privacy shields on the bottoms of my windows in my bedroom and living room.

I got cute little coffee tables to flank my couch.

All that’s left is to set up my bike stand so that I can store my bike standing up in the closet (I have a walk in closet in the living room) and to get my book shelf delivered and set up.

I feel happy.

I am very grateful and very lucky and very aware at how good my life is right now.

Even without being able to really engage with and connect with my friends and fellowship.

I am in a good place.

And I am.

Very.

Very.

Very.

Much.

At.

Home.

You Know You Love Some One

March 28, 2020

When you record yourself reading “All The Hippos Go Berserk” by Sandra Boynton.

At top volume and with much expression.

I got some of the sweetest little voice messages from the littles I used to take care of.

The family and I did a FaceTime session early in the week and I have been getting all sorts of pictures of them and their adventures during shelter in place.

I miss them a lot and I miss the snuggles.

Tonight, while I was in session with my last client of the day, the mom sent me voice recordings of the kids saying “I love you.”

Oh my God.

I just about died.

I have been thinking about sending the littlest guy a recording of the “hippo book” as he calls it.

“You read me the hippo book!”

I bought the book and “Belly Button Beach”, also by the same author, as birthday gifts for him when he was two.

Listening to him repeat back the words to me still makes my heart melt.

I often would read them to him at nap time.

“I’ll read the hippos once and then nap time,” I would tell him.

The last time I did that was the last time I worked for the family, my last time putting him down for a nap.

My last time reading him the hippo book.

When I finished he said, “sing me song.”

That undid me.

I sang him my standard lullaby, “Hush little baby,” and choked back the tears.

Might have been the hardest lullaby ever to sing.

He fell asleep holding my hand.

Oh, my heart.

Such a sweet guy.

So, after receiving the sweet voice messages I knew I had to record the book.

I have the damn thing memorized, so it wasn’t too hard, and I threw in a little commentary for the little guy too.

We would have our own little conversations about the story and what all the silly hippos were doing.

Then I sent it to the mom and asked that she play it while he looked at the book.

They sent me back video of him looking at the book while my voice was reading it to him and he talked back at the phone like I was there.

“I love you Carmen,” he said again and again.

That was the best part of my day.

It was a pretty good day too.

Only cried three or four times.

Mostly during supervision with my supervisor talking about my clients and all the fear and anxiety and terror that so many of them are going through.

I have had 21 therapy sessions this week, I have one left for tomorrow, then Sunday off before I dive back in.

I am doing pretty well holding it all, but it does leak out at times.

It is right there at the top of my heart and I can’t always contain it and the tears spill out of my eyes and roll down my face.

I am so grateful for my individual supervisor, she really held my stuff today and let me process all the stuff and work my way through the muck.

Most of the time I am really good at shaking myself out when I finish with clients and I have little routines and rituals at my office that help me do that.

But right now.

My office is my desk, which is also where I study and work on my homework–which frankly has suffered this week, I will not lie.

My office is my desk, my laptop, my phone, the video camera in my Macbook Air, all of which are located in my house.

My one room studio.

Thank God it’s a big studio, but it’s still a challenge.

I am also aware of how lucky, really, really, really lucky, it is that I can work from home.

Despite how much I love and adore the family I used to nanny for, I would not be able to nanny right now for them even if I was still employed.

The timing of the situation coinciding with me making the full transition over to being a psychotherapist still astounds me.

I am beyond grateful.

And I am working my ass off to stay stable and grounded, to eat good food, to cook nice meals, to take walks when I can, to wear nice clothes, put on my makeup, do my hair.

The only concession I have to the fact that I am doing my therapy practice out of my home right now is that I wear my Tretorn sneakers instead of my Fluevog heels.

I had a fleeting, and I do mean fleeting, moment when I giggled to myself, I could do my therapy sessions in my bunny slippers.

Um.

NO.

Bad idea.

Not just because I couldn’t take myself seriously as a psychotherapist if I was doing sessions in my slippers, but I love that at the end of the day I can slide off my shoes and put on my slippers and that indicates to me that my day is done.

That was what I used to do when I was coming home from the office and my day out in the world–get home, kick off my shoes and put on my bunny slippers.

Yeah.

I know.

I am a 47 year old woman who wears bunny slippers.

I once had a lover tell me he couldn’t take me seriously when I was wearing them.

Of course that just made me want to wear them more.

In fact, it is almost slipper time.

I have had a good day.

It’s ok that I cried and it’s ok that sometimes it’s hard and it’s ok that I’m not keeping up with my my homework.

Actually we are on “Spring Break” so I don’t have any thing due, but I have a lot of work to do for two big up coming papers and a class that I am going to be teaching.

But over all.

I am ok.

I am making it through and staying grounded.

It definitely helped to get silly and record myself reciting the story, helped remind me of how loved I am and how lucky I was to have the nanny job with the family for the three years and three months I worked with them.

And.

Really.

Bunny slippers do make things a lot better.

Seriously.

Today I Got Pissed

March 22, 2020

It started out a little off kilter as I missed a calendar alert to be in on a Zoom meeting with some of my cohort and my committee chair and the TA to my Methods class.

Thankfully I was up and puttering around and making breakfast when I noticed the incoming email from the TA as a reminder to get the call.

Shit!

Fortunately I was only two minutes late.

I have had homework on the back burner this week.

It’s time to move it up front.

I have a draft of a large, very important paper due in tomorrow for this class.

I am so grateful that last week, before all the crazy shelter in place hit, I worked a lot on the paper and really turned in a polished draft to my peer reviewers.

Who did not really review it.

Guys!

Ugh.

Granted both my reviewers said it looked great and they both said, “Wow!” so that was nice, but no comments, no questions, no observations about how to make it stronger.

I know my TA, she is going to find something and kick my ass and make me do a bunch of rewriting.

Which is fine, but I also don’t want to send in a draft that I have not laid eyes on in a week.

Tomorrow I throw myself back into school mode.

I have to.

I actually will have a fairly busy week this week.

I have 22 client sessions, meetings (FaceTime) with three sponsees, and homework due for all three of my classes.

I’m not super stoked for shelter in place, but I am not going to have any issues filling the time.

I’m actually a bit happy to be back here blogging on the daily again.

It feels real nice.

Really, really nice.

I have missed it.

The processing my day at the end of the day while I listen to music.

I have definitely been listening to lots of music and taking dance breaks to move my body around.

Which I needed to today after making my way out into the world.

I helped a friend out who doesn’t have a car and ran her to get groceries and supplies.

On my way I drove past Ocean Beach.

And that was when I got pissed.

There were so many people at the beach!

What the fuck people.

SERIOUSLY.

This is not a fucking tornado drill.

Get your dumb asses off the beach.

Get your GROUPS OF PEOPLE the fuck home.

I LIVE HERE!

This is my neighborhood.

A few days ago I was making my way to the beach and thought there were going to be days of long, quiet walks around the neighborhood.

Then yesterday I noticed a really big up tick in the number of people there and today, fuck.

It actually freaked me out.

I live in a quiet residential neighborhood, but when it’s nice in the city the beach gets packed.

Today was nice.

Yeah.

It wasn’t as packed as say a regular Saturday with nice weather, but it really was overcrowded considering the situation.

I wanted to yell out my window, “go the fuck home.”

My friend in Spain told me that she can only go outside to walk to the grocery store, no where else.

And.

That all the beaches are closed.

All of them.

I sort of want that now.

I really thought to myself, I should call the fucking cops.

I should tip off the news.

I should mind my own business.

I cannot afford to get worked up over this.

And I can be the change I want to see.

I can avoid the beach.

There are other places I can walk to be outside.

I can also sit out on my deck and get outside time that way.

So.

That’s what I did today.

And a lot of dancing, which felt really good.

Tomorrow I need to stay on schedule, get up, shower, be mindful and do my morning routine, do some writing, go to the laundry mat (ugh, my one thing about my current situation that I just do not like, I have no laundry here that I can access, I have to go to a laundry mat, but I won’t sit inside the mat, I will walk while my laundry is washing and drying), Facetime sessions with lady bugs, then work on that paper.

And walks away from the beach for a little while.

It’s not worth getting angry about.

I need to stay calm, cool, collected

I have, and I am lucky to have it, a busy week ahead.

Be in good health and take gentle care.

And.

Avoid the beach.

Seriously.

Ground Hog’s Day

March 21, 2020

I’m beginning to not know what day of the week it is.

That is a little surreal for me.

I am still sticking to a type of scheduled and since I have had group supervision and individual supervision the last two mornings, I’ve actually been setting alarms to get up.

Which reminds me, I need to do that for tomorrow since I have a video session in the morning with a client.

I sense tomorrow and Sunday are going to be the weird days for me.

I had supervision, an online meeting, and two clients today.

Plus a long phone call with a dear friend from my Master’s program and a long walk through the park.

I was actually a little upset today on my walk.

The beach was busy!

I mean, I sort of get it when it’s a nice day and the surf is good, but people, we got a shelter in place happening and further admonishment from the governor to hunker down.

I was surprised to see so many people and so many groups!

I had to take my judgmental self away from the beach.

It was too busy with people and the parking lot at the Balboa side of Ocean Beach was packed!

I headed instead to Golden Gate and hit the horse paths.

There’s horseback riding paths that criss cross the park and they are not nearly as trod as the regular walking paths.

I didn’t see a person and when I did pop out of the park on the Fulton Street side to head back to my house, I graciously gave everyone a wide berth or crossed the street to not make contact.

And.

Even with that decent amount of activity I felt it begin to creep in, the malaise of being confined to my own space.

And I really love my space.

So.

I had a mid-afternoon dance party and I did some meditation afterward.

That felt better.

But it is beginning to all blur together.

I had zero, and I mean like none at all, motivation to do school work.

I know I will have to this weekend and it will help break things up to focus on papers and drafts and getting work in.

Which also reminds me, where the hell is the draft I turned in last week?  I need to get it back so I can make revisions and implement changes that the professor wants.

Tomorrow all I have is one client.

I did make plans to meet a friend on the other side of the park to go walk her dog on the beach.

Her side of Ocean Beach on the Outer Sunset side, won’t be as busy as my side on the Outer Richmond side as my side has parking and a lot of surfers hit the break out here.

No break on the Judah Street side in the Outer Sunset the next nearest break is Noriega, so there won’t be cars and surfers and big families playing soccer (that’s what got me, a big group of I’m assuming family, playing soccer, there were just too many folks too close) and she and I can walk apart and let her dog frolic in the waves.

I have connected so much to the neighborhood this week, I am grateful for that.

I have taken long walks every day in the afternoon either before or after lunch and I have seen things and walked parts of the park that I have only driven past.

That has been lovely.

I also know that I am very lucky to be so close to such a large park too.  It is big enough to give wide space to others when I come across them.

I am also going through parts that aren’t often used, like the backside of the archery field or the horse paths.

I figure I will also do a longer hike at some point and really explore Sutro Baths and Land’s End.

If we are not under martial law at that point.

I keep hearing rumors about that, but I’m trying to stay out of the rumor mill, it does not help me keep my equilibrium and that has to stay in place.  I have clients to support and therapy to do.

I have also given up the office I just started subletting a few months ago.

I only use it one day a week and the woman who is my individual supervisor and my landlord has given me more access to the main office I am in.

I now have access to it in a full time capacity.

So I called the woman I sublet from and told her I had to give it up and I gave notice.

I will still have to pay rent on it for this month and I think also next month and possibly the month after.

If we are able to go back to work in our offices I may use it a touch more, but I doubt that is going to happen.

My agency is preparing for three to six months of this strangeness.

Most of us have the feeling that we won’t be going back on April 7th when the three weeks of shelter in place is up.

I’m preparing myself mentally for a longer haul.

Of course I am hoping that doesn’t happen, but I am preparing myself for the possibility.

So, yeah, gave up my Monday office.

And it’s all going to be ok.

I have food, I have shelter, sunlight, access to my deck, places to walk still (hoping that will hold out a little longer), friends to have long conversations on the phone

Oh yeah.

And.

Homework.

Sigh.

I still have lots of that.

I’m Not Dead Yet

October 11, 2019

I’m still here.

Still hanging on by the skin of my teeth.

It’s been a tough, long few weeks, so much school work.

So much.

I really even shouldn’t be here.

But.

I am and there’s that and I don’t have much capacity to do much more homework today, so I’m letting myself off the hook and enjoying blogging because I like blogging and it’s hella nice to not think about homework.

I think about it all day long.

ALL DAY.

I know it’s just part of the territory.

I thought a bit about the trials and tribulations of graduate school, of getting my PhD, of how long it takes and how much work it is.

I thought.

Why the fuck am I doing this?

And.

I can’t stop now.

I mean.

I know why I’m doing this and everyone I talk to is onboard with what I’m working on, it’s just, well, fuck, it’s so much work.

I wondered yesterday what it would be to just, just, work a full time job.

How novel would that be?

Pretty fucking novel.

I am not there yet.

And it feels like it’s a little further away than I would like, but I know at some point I will get there.

I will finish my PhD.

I will just be a therapist.

I will not nanny any longer.

The nannying is sweet and challenging right now.

The big kids really miss me and it’s been hard on them, this transition of not seeing as much of me as they used to.

I miss them too.

I had a huge cuddle session with the oldest boy today when he got home from school, he’s nine and just a pie.

I love all of them in all their different ways.

Each one I love the best.

Each one is my favorite.

Each one is special.

And I’m also so ready to not be nannying any more.

I don’t want to be cleaning someone’s house in my down time, or getting another’s dry cleaning or taking out someone else’s trash or folding some one else’s laundry.

I just want to do that for myself.

Sometimes I don’t really mind, it’s a bit meditative to sweep the floor or wash the dishes, or put away laundry.

Most times I don’t mind at all.

But I am ready to transition out.

It’s been thirteen years.

It’s time for something new.

I don’t know when it’s going to be and I had some high hopes that it would be by my birthday in December.

I will fly out to Paris on December 17th and a big part of me was hoping I would be able to fly off to France being done with the family.

I’m not so sure now.

Yes.

I did start with a new client this week.

And I had a client move, two other clients transition to twice a month, and another tell me they are moving next month.

Ugh.

I need to go in the opposite way and bring in more clients.

Add to that a lot of cancellations this week and the next and I am questioning whether I will have enough set aside to make that leap in December and then go off on a ten day vacation.

I know it will all work out and I know the nannying will end in due time.

I realized this week that I may just have to hold that end date gently and if I have to work a little longer as a nanny it’s ok.

I also recognize that I cannot predict when I get clients.

It has been slowly building and I am sure it will continue to build.

I have been handing out business cards and talking to people and I’m sure I can take some other actions too, but I truly don’t know what actions lead to what results.

That being said.

I did take some actions to make sure that I am taking care of myself.

Yesterday I got a massage for the first time in two years.

There’s a small place up the road from me on Balboa Street and it’s spare and bare bones, but the table was heated and it was women’s day and I got $5 off and the massage only cost $50!

I tipped $10 and was quite happy with my one hour Shiatsu massage.

I want to do that about once a month.

I hold a lot of trauma in my private practice and I don’t want to carry around other people’s trauma, I have enough of my own thanks, I don’t need to hold vicarious trauma along with it.

So massages are good and so is exercise.

And.

Finally.

Finally.

I pulled the trigger and signed up for the local yoga studio Purusha

They are running an unlimited monthly student special for $90.

That’s a pretty fucking good deal for San Francisco studios.

I had a really nice conversation with the woman at the front desk and talked about being a therapist and a PhD student and the need to get the anxiety out of my body.

And.

That I haven’t done yoga in like a year and a half and that I feel super rusty and nervous.

I found a good class to ease back into and I start tomorrow.

I have mornings off from nannying on Wednesdays and Fridays, so I figure two days a week to start, really aiming for three to four once I’m back into the flow.

I also tell myself, don’t try to figure out your calendar quite yet.

Just show up each day you can.

So tomorrow I will get up early instead of sleeping in and go to yoga before I have supervision.

Then homework and clients in the evening.

I have had anxiety about getting something else to fit in my schedule, but I realized yesterday as I was getting the massage, the only way to maintain what I am doing is to do really extensive self-care and exercising has not been a priority.

I feel like it is now.

And all I have to do is get up, put on my yoga clothes and show up.

Showing up is 3/4s of the battle anyway.

Keep showing up for my homework.

Keep showing up for my clients.

Keep showing up for my cohort.

Keep showing up for my nanny family.

But most importantly.

Keep showing up for myself with as much love and kindness as I can muster.

I’m pretty sure I can do that.

No Bandwidth

September 14, 2019

I mean.

Ok.

Maybe a tiny bit.

There is some.

But it is small and slight and I chose to write a blog instead of using it for homework.

Don’t worry.

Shh.

Anxiety be gone.

I will work the homework is a serious manner tomorrow.

I promise.

I had one client cancellation, there will be homework done then.

And after I finish with my last client at 2p.m., aside from lunch, I have no plans except to bury myself in the work.

My fucking god.

There is a lot of work.

And I have been doing some over the week, don’t get me wrong, I have attended to it.

JESUS FUCK.

I am so grateful I just caught that, I had an assignment due.

I actually don’t know if I would have caught that if I hadn’t been writing this.

I stopped and popped into my online classroom and saw correctly that I had something due.

Good grief.

I am so glad I caught that!

I already had done the work, I just hadn’t formatted it to turn in.

Whew.

It’s turned in and now I can go back to whining about how much work this all is and when the fuck and am I going to have the time to do all the reading.

All the reading.

So much reading.

So much.

I have seven, seven, new books that have arrived in the mail this week.

I’m going to say that again.

SEVEN.

Ugh.

I keep reminding myself that I just have to do what’s in front of me today.

It really becomes impossible if I look at that stack of books, like maybe if I just sleep at my desk and never leave it and never move I might, might, get through the stack by the end of the semester.

But.

I have a life.

A big life.

A full life.

I also have a private practice I am trying to fill since, well, that’s like my income.

Not fully.

But soon.

Today, yes, today.

Today was my last Friday as a nanny.

I am still nannying, but I am reducing my hours down to three days a week as opposed to the five days a week I’ve been working for like, forever.

Thirteen years, give or take a few other odd jobs here and there, I have been nannying for thirteen years.

There is an end in sight.

And maybe that’s why I needed to write tonight.

To mark this.

It’s a big step.

Next week I work two days less a week as a nanny.

And soon, by the end of the year, by February at the latest, I am hopeful that I will be done completely as a nanny and be fully self-supporting as a therapist.

It’s a big freaking deal.

I have been working so long and so hard to get here.

I remember when I turned ten years sober how I was putting the finishing touches on my application to my Master’s in Psychology program.

That was four and a half years ago.

It’s been a long road, but I have been on it, working and working and working and the working, well, it does seem to be paying off.

I reflected this morning while I was doing my morning pages (I still do that, I may not be blogging every day like I used to, but I am still committed to that practice, I can’t not write, I would die) that I have really come far since last year.

I moved into my new place September 15th of last year, I started my first year of a PhD program, I was hired in August to work for Grateful Heart as an Associate MFT to establish my practice.

I left my other internship where I was not paid to transition to Grateful Heart in October.

I had four clients.

Now.

I have eighteen.

That’s a pretty damn big deal.

To make it through a year of a PhD program, work full time and set up a private practice therapy business.

I don’t know that I held down the fort in all areas all that well.

Oh.

And yeah.

I broke up with my soul mate, the love of my life, the one.

The fucking one.

I have been grieving that a lot lately.

It’s been a lot of sadness and tough at times and I don’t write much about it here.

Aside from the odd poetry post that I happen to throw up.

Tonight’s full harvest moon is also not helping.

It’s been excruciating when I think about the language of love that we spoke to each other through the moon.

How many text messages and phone calls looking at the moon wishing for him?

So many.

Crying for the moon in the sky, crying for him.

Crying all the time.

I still cry.

It catches me off-guard sometimes.

I think this last time it’s been different, more final, more ending.

Hopeless and heartbroken.

And still thriving.

Still alive.

My therapist reflected that to me this week after I shared some things about the current issues I have around the ending of the relationship and how I am still affected by it.

She said, “you can be heartbroken and thrive too.”

Heartbroken.

And.

Thriving.

And overwhelmed by the work, but up to it and ready for it and grateful for the lessening of nanny hours so that I can work more on my dissertation and my course work.

So that I may cultivate more clients for my therapy practice so that I may, sooner, oh please, rather than later, stop nannying altogether.

I don’t know how it will look or when it will happen, but I sense it is out there just around the corner.

Just there.

Under the shadow of the moon.

Like my love for you, my love.

Always just there.

Lit by the moon.

 

Take One Step Towards

August 9, 2019

The Universe and the Universe throws hella new clients at you!

Holy crow.

Last Thursday I took a, for me, leap and connected with a woman who has an office in the same building I have my therapy office in.

She had tagged me in a post on social media about having office hours available.

I was really interested in one of the days, but, also, well, nervous, can I take on more rent?

I brought it up last week in Group Supervision and my supervisor interrupted me and said, “Who here thinks that Carmen should rent the office?”

Everyone raised their hands.

EVERYONE.

Ok then.

One of the members in my group succinctly pointed out that I have been steadily adding new clients and building my practice.

At the time of the conversation I had 15 clients.

I had 16 but one client moved.

And.

My group member was right, I have steadily increased my client load and I had the sense of “if you build it they will come.”

So  reached out that day and sent a direct text and inquired.

I got a response that it was available, but/and two other people had expressed interest.

Shit.

But they hadn’t confirmed.  I was adamant that I wanted the office, especially when I found out what the rent was and it was much less than I thought it would  be.

She said to be fair she would re-contact the interested parties and see where they stood and then let me know.

I thanked her and realized that I was ok no matter what happened.

Sure.

I wanted the office space, but really, having taken the action of just reaching out really felt good and positive.

Take action and let go of the results.

She got back the next afternoon.

I got the office!

Apparently my vigorous yes to taking the space swayed her and that I was ready to take on the space this month.

The lease is all drafted and dealt with–connected her to my agency and I get the key tomorrow!

I start with a client in the space next Monday.

I am using it for a client that had to cancel a standing session.

It was so nice to be able to offer the alternative space.

Then it gets crazy.

After the phone call with my new landlord I have my individual supervision and I excitedly share with my supervisor about the new office.

She is surprised and happy for me and adds that she knew I was interested in extra office hours but she didn’t realize how serious I was about it and would I also like to have Thursdays in the office?

HOLY SHIT.

My individual supervisor is also my landlord whom I sublet my office from, we share the office space.  She recently became core faculty at CIIS, my alma mater (my current “mater” for that matter, my PhD intensive is two and a half weeks away!) and has cut back her office hours.

Whoa.

I knew that was happening and I had soft ball pitched wanting extra office hours about a month ago but it didn’t seem like it was going to happen.

Until it did.

She told me to think about it and let her know.

I clapped my hands in glee like a small child in front of birthday cupcakes and said “yes!”

And like that.

I have office hours now Monday-Saturday!

My hope is that once I fill up on clients I will actually be able to stop seeing clients on Saturdays.  I need to right now, I see four clients and that’s a good chunk of change.  But if I can fill up the weekdays I can transition out of working Saturdays.

I haven’t had a full weekend off in years.

Literally.

I have been working six days a week and going to school full time for the last three and a half years.

I am so ready to have my weekends back!

Granted.

I will likely be working on my PhD, but who cares!

Weekends.

And!

I have a potential new client for next Thursday.

That part about saying yes to the office and yes to the Universe, well apparently the Universe heard and I got four referrals yesterday from Psychology Today as well as a referral from my individual supervisor.

I made contact with three of them, leaving the others messages but not hearing back.

I did two phone consultations yesterday, immediately landing one new client.

I also did a phone consult tonight and again, landed the client!

I have another phone consult tomorrow early evening in between clients and feel very positive about it having already made good e-mail connection.

I am over the moon.

I now have 17 clients!

My goal is 30 and then I can stop nannying.

I am so close.

I can almost taste it.

My charges can too, the little lady tonight asked me when I was leaving and I knew it wasn’t about when I was leaving at the end of my shift.

I told her not for a while yet, she was probably going to get me for another five or six months and I was planning on always being in her life and that rest assured she was my favorite client.

She gets very jealous when  leave to go see my clients, let me tell you.

My goal is six months tops.

I would love to be done by the end of the year, that has always been my original goal, but I figure I will just say six months from the first day I am in my additional office.

So by February 12th of 2020 I will be done being a nanny.

Fingers crossed and the river don’t rise.

Bring on the clients.

I am ready.

Happy.

Joyous.

Free.

To not be a nanny anymore.

Heart Broken

March 5, 2019

Here I am trying to hit my once a week mark for my blog.

So sad.

I remember when it was every day and the streak was a long one.

I am happy to have a few spare minutes today though and I had an experience over the weekend that I thought I’d like to post about.

It does pertain to my recent heartbreak and break up and my love and my loss.

I am still grieving, I suppose I will for a little while yet.

I’m trying to just be nice to myself about it and when the sad comes let it.

I have stayed very busy through the weekend, although yes, I did actually sleep in on Sunday.

I woke up at my normal time, 6:30a.m. and then again at 7:30a.m. and I almost got up at 7:30a.m. but I was having a rather lovely dream of being with him and I literally thought I heard his voice in my room, so I buried myself in my pillows and said, I’ll just sleep another half hour.

Was I surprised when I woke up at 9!

I think I needed the sleep though and I definitely felt tender about my situation, but also some space and some gratitude for the experience seemed to be working on my heart and I was happy that was happening.

If tender.

Very tender.

Sometimes I completely forget.

Then I see something and it’s all there, the last 22 months, the first six months, the laugher, all the conversations, all the sweet nothings (which meant everything) whispered in my ear.

All the amazing sex.

Fuck the sex was good.

But if it was just all about the sex it wouldn’t hurt the way it has and does.

He and I both acknowledged that many times over the last year when we were really trying to figure things it.

It was that we were also best friends and that is a huge loss.

My person I talk to every day I haven’t spoken to in eight days.

Eight.

It feels like a lifetime.

I can’t imagine going another eight.

Yet.

I figure that is just what is going to happen.

Day after day will go by and one day I won’t miss him.

And one day I will be with the person who fully wants to be with me, can meet my needs and doesn’t have anything holding him back.

I don’t know when that day is, I’m not looking forward to it, I just know it will come.

The day I forget to miss him.

That is really not now.

I get broken up watching crows right now.

There was a joke he told me once, it was rather dark and a bit grim and funny as fuck and he said something about “like a crow laughing at a funeral,” and I just got it stuck in my head.

Thing is.

I like crows.

They’re smart, clever, live in social groups (appropriately called “murders”) and they mate for life.

I was fond of us being crows symbolically.

And of course two freaking crows nest in the neighbor’s house at work.

I see them all the time.

I tell them to send him my love and let him know I miss him.

Desperately.

I’ll see two crows playing and swooping through the air and sort of lose it.

I have a little pile of love cards and notes that I was planning on sending him in the mail, that’s been a part of our courtship, letter writing, and now they just sit desolate and sad on my desk.

There is no one else I can send them to.

I thought about it, but he said no contact by mail too when we ended it.

There really is no contact.

I haven’t blocked him on my phone (I suppose I’m wanting a miracle of change to happen) but social media and internet we’ve had no contact and haven’t been in each other’s social stuff for a while.

I was thinking about him a lot on Friday and missing him and also feeling a little lost thinking about a new client I have.

A couple.

And how I was going to see them the next day and some things I wanted to bring into the session and then I had the voice of doom pipe up in my head.

“How can you be a good couples therapist if you can’t even stay in a relationship?”

Cue some deep sighs and teary eyes, although I didn’t shed any tears.

Instead I directed my attention to the assignment I needed to do for my Creative Arts in Leadership class.

Which was about making a mask of my inner leader after having listened to a guided meditation.

I won’t get into all the details but to say I was instructed to have a question for my inner leader and I decided to go for that one, being a couples therapist who had failed at love.

It took me a while to get into the meditation, partially because it required me to be still and I know me, when I am still the feelings come and sure enough there they were, all marshaled up ready to let me know how much I missed him and how sad I was.

Sigh.

But I got through it.

To sum up the mediation we walked through a woods and came to a clearing and there was a structure there (for me a cottage in the middle of a big wildflower meadow, with a round door and a chimney jutting from the roof and lead paned windows) that we had to approach–our inner leader was there.

Mine opened the door before I could knock.

A beautiful older woman in her mid-sixties, with long silver-grey hair in braids wearing a simple sleeveless cotton shift, her arms and torso covered in blue woad tattoos.

I crossed the threshold and handed her my heart, I didn’t know until that moment I had been carrying it through the woods in my hands.

It was blackened and ravaged by crows.

I asked her how could I possibly be a good couples therapist if I had lost my love?

She didn’t say anything, simply took my heart and held it up to her face with a gentle smile and kissed it.

At once it turned into a beautiful shining apple.

She handed me back the apple and indicated that I should eat it.

I did and instead of going into my stomach the apple went into the empty space where my heart had been.

It took root at once and an apple tree immediately sprang forth loaded with shimmering apples in the golden sun.

I realized that the gift of the pain was a gift of experience I could give back to others.

It was sublime.

It was surprising and I came out of it with a grace and softness that I had not had going in.

I sat down at my desk listened to some Johan Sebastian Bach Cello Sonatas and made my mask.

Then, as per my assignment instructions, I wrote in my journal about the experience.

As I was wrapping it up, the voice of my inner leader spoke up, “who wants a couples therapist who’s never had their heart-broken?”

I scrawled that down in my journal and I knew it was true.

My life experiences are gifts that I get to give to my clients.

They may not accept them, that is not for me to decide, but I can offer them my experience and I believe it is valuable beyond words.

I’m still sad.

I miss my love so much.

But I also know the value of my experience.

Deeply.

I’ve never had my heart-broken before.

He was my first true heart-break.

Now I know.

Now I really know.

How bad it hurts.

Baby.

It hurts so bad.

 

 


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