Posts Tagged ‘self-care’

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.

 

 

A Girl

February 25, 2019

And her books.

I just looked at the gigantic stack of books on my desk/kitchen table and laughed.

Hands up.

You are surrounded.

I should give up the idea of my table really being at all for dining.

Although I do eat breakfast at it every morning, it really is a repository for my books and notebooks and handbooks and readers and pens and my new white board with all its definitions that I am trying to make myself read as often as possible.

I really am in PhD land.

I mean.

You, dear, gentle reader, most likely already know that.

I went from a daily blogger to a weekly blogger, at best.

I actually am uncertain when the last time I wrote a blog was.

Maybe when I was headed out to DC for the weekend last week?

There is so much work that my schooling demands right now that I hardly have time for anything else.

Which, I guess, is good.

It’s something I get to be grateful for.

As.

Ugh.

I broke up with my boyfriend today.

It’s not the first time we have broken up, first time was last January and man, that might have been the worst pain I have felt in sobriety.

Including the time my best friend died.

It was so painful that when I wrote about it I had people reach out to me to see if I was ok.

I know that the language I was using was liken to someone dying and it certainly felt like I was dying.

It’s a kind of pain I’m not about to wish upon anyone.

We reconciled, after a few hits and misses sometime in February or March.

Then we tried it again, with variations, trying to figure out the best way forward.

We had success, we had setbacks, we tried not seeing each other, we tried just hanging out, we would spontaneously erupt into passionate embrace if we were any place semi alone.

We stopped again.

We started again.

We tried being just friends.

We cried.

A LOT.

Fuck did we both cry.

We went to New York in July and had a marvelous, terrifyingly amazing, soul rending romantic and heartbreaking time.

We decided to give it a break and let each other gently go.

I to Paris, he to his other pursuits and work and stuff and things.

He had things to work on.

I had things to do.

Through all the tumult we have loved each other.

We are the loves of each others life, soul mates, the ONE.

And.

We haven’t been able to be completely together.

For reasons I just cannot articulate right now.

I just can’t.

Maybe one day.

Just not this day.

When we left each other in New York it was amidst many a tear and then I headed off to Paris.

We “practiced” not being in contact with each other.

It was excruciating.

My best girlfriend in Paris convinced me I had to stop, I wasn’t happy, I wasn’t helping him by standing by waiting for him to do the work necessary for us to really have a go at being in a relationship to each other.

I decided in Paris that she was right and it was over.

And it was.

For a little while.

We decided again on no contact, except sending each other mail.

I have a heart-shaped box full of mail, including the Valentines Day card he gave me last week with the most adorable pair of silver unicorn earrings anyone has every seen.

I’m his special unicorn.

And you can just fuck off if you snorted through your nose at that.

We’ve always believed the other person is magic.

Our love has felt like that.

Today he told me that after being with me he finally understands all love songs.  That he has a secret decoder ring, me and our experience being together (and apart and together and apart), that all love songs make sense now.

God.

I might start crying.

I have been on and off all day.

Makes it challenging to read the stack of reading for school, but I also am proud to say I muddled through more than one might expect considering the circumstances.

I just want to put my head down, have a good cry, and write a lot of painful poetry.

But.

I soldiered on, met with ladies, did readings, did the deal, did my laundry, roasted a chicken, read for hours, wrote discussion posts for school, responded to discussion posts from school and took down all the photographs of us together that I had up in the house.

Sigh.

So.

Yeah.

We mailed each other love letters and cards and kept in contact that way, romantic, sad, sweet, painful, loving, all the things.

It certainly made shopping for stationary fun and stamps and I can’t tell you how often my heart skipped a beat when I saw mail in my mailbox.

We had agreed after I came back from Paris in July that he had things to work on and that it would be best to not connect until February.

But things happened.

Deaths.

Not really my place to talk about, but I reached out and we reconnected and well, fuck, one things leads to another doesn’t it?

Back in it again for December, my birthday, Christmas, oh the pretty, pretty gifts we gave each other and the love oh, god damn it the love.

I got more tattoos.

He got more tattoos.

We talked.

A lot.

We started texting again, making plans to see each other.

I tried to internally change my point of view of what I needed in the relationship.

We took off the holidays from discussing the relationship and where it was going or not going and just loved on each other as much as school/work/travel/business demands could be met.

We decided to go on a trip.

We went to DC last week.

It was lovely and sad and sweet and hard.

And.

We started the process again of saying goodbye.

We did.

Then we didn’t.

Then we came back.

And this Tuesday.

Insert therapy here.

Mine, my own therapy, not me being a therapist, and I shared about it all, my therapist has been in on everything since the beginning, and she said simply, “your needs are not being met.”

I broke down into tears.

It was true.

They were not.

“It’s not working,” I said and sobbed.

Though there is no lack of love.

My God.

The love.

I just cannot express how much love we have for each other.

We can’t be together right now the way things are.

So.

We made plans to see each other and cleared a lot of time and talked and cried and listened to Bach cello sonatas and held each other and made love one last time and looked into each others eyes and said goodbye.

It was the most kind, gentle, sweet, tender, sad, SAD, break up.

Full of spiritual principles and honesty.

It was excruciating.

Heartbreaking.

But.

Oh.

So.

Beautiful.

And there.

Cue the tears.

Oh my fucking God this hurts.

Not as bad as the first time.

But still.

Awful bad.

I know I am a going to be ok, but right now, I just want to curl up in bed and not do another thing.

I will grieve, I will be sad.

I will let myself have the experience of the loss and I will let go.

Gracefully and grateful.

I have never had love like this before.

All else was a facade.

I don’t know that I ever will again.

I just know I am beyond grateful for the experience, despite the pain.

The pain lets me know how meaningful it was.

REALLY.

Meaningful.

I gave him my copy of The Princess Bride as he left.

I had bought it last February on a trip we took together and over the course of a couple of months I read it to him, on that trip–his head in my lap, and then I recorded myself in the subsequent weeks reading the chapters so he could listen to it on business trips.

His favorite character was Fezzik.

No wonder he’s the love of my life.

Now.

Forgive me.

I must go and cry for a little while.

Sweet dreams my love, know that I will always love you.

Always.

Always.

Always.

Your, baby girl.

Ready to Fly

February 15, 2019

I’m at work.

The baby is sleeping.

The rain is falling.

The dad is home sick.

It’s Friday.

I have one client after work tonight then…

Three day weekend!

I’m so ready to be done.

I’m flying out tonight on a red-eye to D.C. to spend time with my best friend in Georgetown.

I do find it rather funny actually that I’m going to be there over President’s Day weekend.

Just sort of how it worked out.

Originally I was supposed to go before school started, but our schedules just did not sync up.

So.

Here I am officially into the month of February getting ready to jettison off for a much-needed mini-holiday.

And!

I’m done with my homework.

In fact, I am a touch a head of it.

I have been assiduously reading, writing, posting discussion posts, responding to discussion posts, et al.

I’ve actually finished the reader completely for one of my classes.

This is not to say that there isn’t work to do.

I’m in a fucking PhD program, there is always going to be work to do.

In fact, I’m sure my guilty student self-will arise any moment now and say something like, “you could pre-read for your other two classes too.”

But the fact is.

I need a break.

And sometimes that is just as important to acknowledge as it is to budget time to do the homework.

It’s been, well, stressful isn’t the right word exactly, but challenging at work this week.

The dad has been home sick every day.

EVERY DAY.

The whole family has gotten sick, and I as well, although not to the extent or severity of the baby or the papa.

For this I am so lucky.

Very happy.

Very grateful.

I caught it last week Thursday, tried to pretend I didn’t have it, had it land pretty solid Friday, spiked a fever while at my office seeing clients on Saturday.

Fortunate for me I had some clients cancel and no-show and I was able to chill out in my office after seeing two clients.

That actually helped me a lot in my advancement through my homework this week.

I wrote a paper and did a bunch of reading.

I wrote another paper on Sunday.

And then have read and posted discussions all week.

I’m just about past the point of feeling awkward with the dad around.

But, yes challenging.

I find I do as much work as I possibly can, but you know, I’m extremely efficient and Fridays the family traditionally orders in food, so I have no food prep or dinner planning to do.

The house is spotless.

I can’t access laundry since it’s next to the sleeping baby.

So I’ve done my homework and then realized, good lord, I still have another half hour or so of not having anything to do.

Somehow sitting on the couch trolling Instagram seems like a bad idea.

I figured if I was writing, it would at least look like I’m working on something.

Dad doesn’t need to know I’m writing my blog.

Plus.

Since I’m flying a red-eye tonight I am going to try to sleep on the plane rather than do homework.

Maybe, ooh, I could even watch a movie.

Ah.

That would be nice.

I do know that I will be happy to hit DC running, my friend will pick me up at the airport, drive me into town and then we’re going to do breakfast, coffee, and doing that infamous deal at a clubhouse near DuPont Circle.

After that I am checking into an Air BnB in Georgetown.

That I was happily given access to for early check in.

Super grateful for that.

Originally the check in was listed for 3p.m.

But I asked if it was possible to get in early and I got a sweet affirmative response last night.

So.

Napping.

And.

Napping in front of a working fireplace.

Yes.

I won’t nap too long, there’s only so much time I get with my friend.

I think we might do a fancy pants dinner out somewhere that evening and then Sunday really just hang out and walk around Georgetown, hit some cafes, grab lunch somewhere, maybe do some shopping.

You know, girl stuff.

And I fly back super early on Monday.

So early that I actually will have most of Monday available to me for life stuff that needs to be done.

I have to drop my car off for some maintenance and I’m hoping to get all my laundry done.

So.

Here’s to there only being two and a half hours left of my work day, one client, and a quick drive home to pick up my suitcase and travel bag.

I’m already packed.

All I have to do is remembered to bring my power cords for my computer and my phone.

God only knows l will likely check into my school work at least once.

Maybe twice.

I’m too paranoid about falling behind to not do that.

But really.

I do hope to take it easy and let myself gently off the hook.

I feel really good at where I am currently in this semester of work.

Sure.

That could change the next week.

But for now.

Well.

Here’s to a three-day weekend!

 


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