Posts Tagged ‘self-forgiveness’

A Little Here

August 23, 2017

A little there.

I got some more reading done today for school, which I find funny as it was the opening salvo in my therapy session this morning.

I’m behind on my reading, and school hasn’t started yet, and for the first time in the history of my grad school career I don’t give any of the fucks.

I mean.

A little.

Sort of.

But mostly.

Fuck no.

I have spent so much time now seeing clients and getting into the mix and showing up to be a therapist that school stuff seems to have lost a lot of its luster.

Oh sure.

I know I have so much to learn, there is always going to be learning, I will and have years of it to go.

Getting done with my third year of my Masters program is sort of the tip on the iceberg, I will still have to intern for years before I have enough hours accrued to get licensed.

That being said.

School seems to hold less gravitas for me.

I am excited to see my cohort, I have had a lot of them reach out to me in the last few days and it feels good to be getting reconnected.

Third year!

I am a third year.

This is the big push.

One more year of this program and then.


Probably more school.

Although I’m not 100% sure.

I have, at least it seems very likely, unless I win the lottery which would allow me to not work, about two and a half years of work to do before I have all my hours.

Give or take.

I might as well go for my PhD.

I will still have to work full time or damn close.


I’ll be dropping down my hours when I get back from Burning Man.

38 hours a week from 41.

This doesn’t count my supervision, therapy, or client hours.

Just plain work hours will go down three hours a week.

Which doesn’t seem like much, but will be a great big help.

I can get a lot read in three hours.

I can.

I ended up getting in four chapters of reading this evening, as a matter of fact, at the internship when my first client cancelled.

If only they would’ve coordinated!

My clients that is, so that I didn’t have to sit for an hour in the office waiting for my end of day client, but hey, I read for school and that was great.

I finished the reading for another one of my classes.

I don’t know that I have much more time to get anything else read.

Especially since most of it is online material and I’m loathe to bring my laptop with me to work to read.

On the off-chance that I might have some down time.

It’s generally not worth the risk of me taking it.

I’ll still bring one of my textbooks with me, get a little further ahead in the reading as the case may be, if there’s time.

Like I said, at this point in the game, there’s not much and my life priorities being what they are, I am completely fine with this.

“I’m sure you have much more read than most of your cohort,” my therapist said to me as I explained my school stuff, “I suspect, you have always been a bit more prepared than most of your cohort,” she concluded.




She’s right.

I am a horrid perfectionist.

But that has eased as I have gotten used to the program and having seen the few times when I wasn’t completely caught up with my reading that I still held my own.

I am smart, I know how to listen, and I know how to contribute.

The one class that I haven’t really touched into yet for the reading was the last class to post its syllabus.




It’s a Transpersonal Psychology class.


Spirituality and spiritual practices.


I think I might have that one bagged.

We have to keep a journal.

Pardon me while I laugh into my sleeve.

That shouldn’t be hard.


And talk about our spiritual experiences.

That will be interesting.


I put a prayer in my God box today.

God box?


I have this hot pink, magenta really, pylon bunny rabbit from Paris that is a piggy bank, and I use it as a “God Box” a sort of repository for “problems” or things that I need to let go of and that I want God to have, I write down what I need to give to God, on a post it note, this one was pink, and then I fold it up, and say a few prayers.

I believe in prayer.

And I have a God of my understanding.

It doesn’t much matter to me what you think of me writing that God notes to help alleviate my issues, whatever they may be.

It’s the action that counts.

I don’t have to know the end results, in fact, it’s generally better if I don’t, I just have to take actions and something happens.

The writing it down and giving it up is an action of humility.

I don’t know how to deal with this, I am not God, I need help, I asking for guidance.

I can’t really do anything alone or in isolation.

I am not built like that.



I have so tried.

I so want to figure it out on my own, I don’t want help, or so I say, I want to be strong and mighty and fierce and get it done without your help.



When I don’t ask for help or I eschew what is being offered out of a false sense of pride, I ultimately lose.

I isolate.

I am alone.

And lonely.

That is never a good place for me to be.

So, yeah.

Just taking the time to write a little note and pop it in the God box, it does wonders.

I suppose my practice may seem strange or funny and I don’t really care.

I also pray in the morning, on my knees, another act of humility, a supplication, please help me, help me be of service, help me be kind, compassionate, tolerant, loving and forgiving.

Help me forgive myself, love myself, be the best possible version of me I can be.

Which I am not always.

I can get caught up in all sorts of scattered thinking or being maudlin, or distracted.


To circle back.

I can forgive myself.

I haven’t finished the reading.

I won’t finish it.

It’s ok.

All I really have to do is show up on time.


And be myself.

The rest will follow.

It always.





April 9, 2017



That’s what the message said.

I forgive you.

I hope you had joy while you ate my chicken soup.

I roasted that chicken last Sunday then used the bones to create a stock, it has garlic, onions, corn, cauliflower, broccoli, and carrots, and brown rice.

I hope it fed you.

I hope it nourished you.

I wish you well.

I forgive you for taking my soup.

I forgive you for taking my gift, the one I was going to give to my friend in the cohort who is getting married.

I hope it brings you love and light and joy.

I do.

I forgive you.

And more than that.

I forgive myself.

I was not to blame, I didn’t do anything wrong.

I will, however, remember the feeling of what it was like to mystify myself.

Because I didn’t believe you could do this to me.

Take from me.

Take my things.

Take my little piece of home in a Mason jar.

My warmth and succor after a long day of class.

I was not expecting to have that happen in a space where I practice so much vulnerability.

Please God.

Have me see what you want me to see and help me to let go of what I can.

I forgive you because I have to forgive me.

Some things are valuable.

And some things are ,well, just things.

“It’s just stuff,” he said and looked into my eyes and held my gaze, “you get to grieve the loss of it, don’t shove off the feelings, but don’t hold onto it, let it go, they’re just things, and as crazy as this sounds, the Universe has something better for you.”

I did not think that sounded crazy at all.

I believed every word of it.

I also took what he said to heart and let myself feel the sorrow of the loss.

I cried my tears.

I also know that the soup and the gift were symbols of other things that I had taken away from me, a sense of safety, a sense that the world is not a scary place, an inner equilibrium, home.


I find solace and safety within myself.

That I am enough and that I can take care of myself.

I was able to source another gift for my friend.

I was able to go to The Market and get dinner with one of my favorite people.

I was able to accept hugs and shoulders to lean into and validation that what I was feeling was appropriate.

I took some action too.

I reported it to the school, if someone is rifling through the student lounge and stealing it should be shared with the students at the campus.

Food is a sacred thing.

We all need to eat.


I forgive you.

I hope my soup warmed you, fed you, nourished you, gives you sustenance.

For that is what it has done for me.

I am proud of myself for taking care of myself, for having the good cry, for letting my T.A. approach me in the cafe and actually have a conversation about it that was both sweet and intimate, but affirming of me and my abilities.

“You are amazing, you have so much light,” he said and gave me such a hug.

I felt seen, validated, and empathized with.

I am grateful for that.

It was an unexpected gift in the wake of the loss.

He was right too.

It’s just stuff.

I have unshakeable faith that God took something from me that needed to be elsewhere, those things, all things really, are for God to appropriate, I had them for a little while, they are needed elsewhere.

I now have open hands to accept the things that God wants for me.

One of the biggest gifts were all the interactions I had with my cohort, my friends, and my T.A.

I was smitten with the love and affection that I was showered with.

I still am.

I had some wounds open.


It felt that I my home dumped out and stolen.

It felt like Goldilocks and the Three Bears.

I could almost see the person searching through the refrigerator and going, “Ooh, this looks yummy, and then seeing the gift and thinking, “Ooh, I must have that.”

I understand.

There is a thrill in theft.

I have stolen.

I know.

It has been a long time, but I have.

There is entitlement in stealing.

There is adrenalin.

It can be addicting to swipe something.

To gain vicarious thrill from a source that is unwitting.

But this is just a story.

There is a narrative, an arc of action.

Perhaps there is guilt and shame.

I don’t know the persons story.

I do wish for them the ability to get what it is they need.

That is unconditional love.

I do not like what happened, I don’t care, not one fucking bit, but I do hope there is relief for the person, I wish them the best.

Because you can’t steal what I have in my heart.

In my strength of person.

You only took some stuff.

Stuff does not make the world go round.

You can’t take my sense of value, self-worth, or safety.

You can’t take away my experiences, pains, joys, loves, laughter, growth or healing.

Those things are nonnegotiable.

They are mine and you are not going to ever take that from me.

No one puts Baby in a corner.

I am my own woman and I am grateful for this, already, I grow stronger.

Something got moved around today, an opening was made for some unexpected healing, perception, awareness, and growth.


I should be thanking you, Soup Thief, you unwittingly gave me an absolute firm sense of my core and my abilities.

I learned how to use my resources and how to accept help.

I learned it is ok to grieve for something, whether a thing, or a concept.

I softened and I grew.

Pretty amazing day when it all comes down to it.

I will say, I am freaking tired though, it was a draining afternoon to evening.


Another cup of tea.

My apple and some blueberries.

A comfy pillow behind my back.

Half an episode of Billions.

And a good nights rest.



Waiting By The Mailbox

July 18, 2015

Oh Mr Postman
Give me a sign
Tell me you’ve a letter to make me feel fine
Oh don’t you know I am waiting here for you
Tell me it will be here tonight

It’s funny now.

But man, I was kicking myself, hard, hard, hard, when I got off the phone today with the woman in the financial aid department at CIIS (California Institute for Integral Studies).

I mean.

I was fucked up.

I felt bereft.

I felt idiotic.

I felt stupid.

You may be sensing a thematic here.

I had, once again, tried to figure it out on my own.

Coming into work this morning I had asked my employers if I could use their printer to print off the deferment application for my student loan, undergraduate student loans, so that I could begin the process of not having to pay on them while enrolled in school.

They were super helpful, got me all set up, and I got the forms.

And cool.


But not done.



I have to take them into the financial aid office and get them signed?


When the hell am I going to do that.


The office has office hours, check the website and, oh, damn, exact same hours that I’m working.


I call the office, I speak to the woman on the phone, I’m not even sure how to phrase what I’m trying to do, but I ask if I can mail it in or if I really have to come down in person, hand over the paperwork and do the deal that way.

“Oh no, you just down load the file to pdf, and e-mail it to us, we’ll sign it and send it back, then you print it off and send it in.”



What’s a pdf?


I sort of know what a pdf is, but sometimes, most times, my brain is just not hard-wired that way, things that make sense to everybody else are totally foreign to me.

I parroted back everything she said and she said, “yes, that’s correct.”

Then I asked the big time question.

“When will I receive my financial aid awards letter?”

Pause on the line.

“I was awarded a scholarship and I am wondering when the funds will be disbursed, I found out a few weeks ago about the award and was told by the head of the department that an awards letter would be sent out and I just needed to sign and accept the award, but, uh, I haven’t received the letter in the mail yet.”

She did not laugh.

Let me give credit where credit is due.

She did not laugh or sigh or berate me, I did that all on my own quite handily.

“You don’t get a letter in the mail, it’s in your financial aid account online.”


OH well, fuck me, I haven’t been able to access that account and every time I try it gives me a wrong password message and contact the school and I am ready to bash my head against the wall.

Except that I can’t.

Because the five-year old is done with quiet time and is hollering a the monitor, “CARMEN! CARMEN! CARMEN!”

Oh jumping Jesus on a fucking pogo stick.

I speak into the monitor and tell my charge I’ll be right up.

But I have to clear this up.

I tell the woman on the phone about my inability to access my financial aid account online.

“What browser are you using?” She asks.

“Um, I’m sorry, I don’t follow,” I reply, turning off the monitor so I don’t have to hear the five-year old becoming apoplectic.

“On your computer, what browser are you using, some of them don’t support the website, have you tried switching browsers?”

Something in my head goes, “click.”

“I use Safari,” I say.

“Yeah,” the woman replies, “the site doesn’t work so well with that, try Chrome.”

I thank her and get off the phone, I can feel the fear choking me, I can feel the panic, and I can feel how inadequate I feel for doing all this stuff.

How in the world am I going to navigate doing graduate school if I can’t figure out to switch browsers.

Never in a million years would that have been a solution I would have thought up.

Most of my solutions take an enormous amount of work and effort and then, they don’t pan out.

Keep it simple.

I drop the stupid.

Especially after I got on the phone, after having retrieved both my charges from quiet time and was feeding them cut up organic strawberries from the farmers market I bought yesterday.

As I express to my friend that I am an “idiot” I hear the oldest boy pipe up from the floor, “Carmen, you’re an idiot.”

I paused on the phone call, “that’s not nice.”

Then I realize, he’s only repeating what I have said and imitation is the sincerest form of flattery and in his own little way he was commiserating with me.

Now I know better.

And it was actually good for me to hear it from the mouth of a babe, don’t talk to yourself that way.

My friend concurred.

I told her about the interaction with the woman in the financial aid department and how I’ve been literally, I mean LITERALLY, waiting by the mailbox, I checked it yesterday and every day since I received the e-mail telling me that I won the awards, waiting for that letter.

“That is adorable!” My friend exclaims, “cutest thing I have heard all day.”

And then.

I burst out into laughter.

The boys dance around me smelling of strawberries and the sun shines down on me again.

I get off the phone with my friend and attend to the matters at hand, finishing up the day with the boys and vowing that when I got home I would switch the browsers, now currently using Chrome, thank you very much, and get my god damn awards letter.

And yes.

I just accepted everything a few minutes before starting this blog.

It still boggles my mind that it was there all along.

Apparently one can teach an old dog new tricks.

I still checked my mail box when I got home, though.

Old habits die hard.


Start Smaller

December 6, 2013

“Maybe it’s time to forgive yourself for that student loan.”



Who do you think you’re talking to?

Forgive my loan too.

First, it’s forgive myself for being single, which, truth be told seems to be working pretty god damn well, so what if I don’t feel like extrapolating that to another aspect of my life.

I like to beat myself up.

There’s some spooky ass comfort in it.

Creepy that I enjoy the self-pity, but it’s a party I have always RSVP’d to.

What if I said, not today, or, try me later.

Or what if I did forgive myself for that student loan?

What then?

Then, I suppose, if it falls out like other things in my life have, maybe I can make space for what is supposed to come next instead of focusing on that big gigantic number that I owe the student loan sharks and I could see what else there is to see.

I spin out-and-out and spend the time being spun not even realizing what I am doing, but man, it feels busy.

However, it’s not.

It’s just distraction from the real issue.

See, when I was seventeen years old, yes, we’re going back into the Wisconsin time machine, hop in, welcome to growing up in a unicorporated small town 25 minutes north-east of Madison (that’s the capital if you are wondering.  I was trying to explain where I grew up to someone in Paris and the closest I could get was “Chicago” north of Chicago), I received a huge gift.

A gift I was sort of expecting and a gift I really did not know what to do with.

I got a full ride to school.

I have friends that escaped home life by drinking or doing drugs, staying out late, running away from home, stealing, getting pregnant really young, or having promiscuous unsafe sex.

I on the other hand, escaped into school.

It was safer.

And I was smart.

“I’m the type of person that always did well in school,” I told her, “I would, well, I would write my fifteen page term paper on Henry the V the night before and get an A.”

School was not hard.

I repeat I am an intelligent person.

But I tell you what, there are some things I just never did learn and despite having some really solid book knowledge, I was bereft in a lot of other areas that have taken me decades to work out.

I have not worked through them all, but.

I have walked through a lot.

Done lots of work.


But there are still obstacles to move through and work to be done.

“Aren’t you grateful for that?!” She said, all excited, “that you have stuff to keep working on?”



I mean, yes.

I keep coming back and practising and doing the work and getting the results and that whole, “more will be revealed” bit, well, more got revealed.

It was so simple.

Forgive yourself for the student loan.

I haven’t.

Every time I make that payment I hate it.

I hate myself more, secretly, quietly, in the depths of my soul, I ultimately am not angry with anyone else but myself.

I fucked it up and boy howdy, apparently I am still going to beat myself down for the mistakes an 18-year-old girl made.

Damn it.

So, back in Wisconsin, back in the early bits of senior year when I was applying to schools (I started getting solicited by schools when I was  a junior in high school and the amount of mail that I got by the summer just before senior year was stupid) I made the decision that I was only going to apply to one school.

The one I knew I could get into and the one I thought I would get the most financial aid for, though I am not certain that my rationale was that exactly.

It was more like this.

I think I can get into Harvard, I am pretty sure I can get into Berkeley, but I don’t think I can get money together to move there.

That’s what stopped me from applying to any school that was out-of-state, basically any school that was out of the god damn county, I was afraid that I wouldn’t have the money to move out-of-state.

The family unit, me, mom, my sister, was barely making it as it was.

I was working full-time in the summers, full-time on the weekends, and going to school, well, in high school its “full time”.

I was pretty busy.

And the money just would not stay.

It was rapidly taken out of my hands just as fast as I could bring it in.

Which is another blog, another time, and well covered elsewhere.

Suffice to say, the family unit, which was barely intact, was not making it any easier for me to save money to move out West or out East.

I was going to have to stay put.

That meant UW Madison.

Here is the truth that I have never written about before, I have lied all my life about getting accepted into bigger name schools because I wanted so bad to get out but was ashamed that I didn’t even try.

I didn’t even try.

I was too busy making fear based decisions.

And I have never forgiven myself for that.

I have never forgiven the fact that I also blew my ride.

Here’s the correlation that I see now with clarity and perspective:

First time getting drunk: one month after starting college at the age of 18.

First time dropping out of school which led to me flunking all my classes except one, and that’s also another story that is funny, but not applicable here, and being put on academic probation which lead to me having my entire ride for four years revoked?

Two months later after my first drunk.

I fell the fuck apart that fast.

I should have gotten sober at fucking 19.

But I was tumbling fast, soon a drop out, supporting my younger pregnant sister and her older boyfriend as well as a plethora of other unsavory companions on bounced checks, started ironically with the first installments of said financial aid compensation.

I graduated highschool with honors, had a full ride to college, yeah it wasn’t my first pick, but it was a great school, and by the time I was 19, less than a year after I graduate highschool I was smoking crack homeless in southern Florida.

Fuck me.

Through a lot of odd twists and turns and circumstances (which if I ever get my head out of my ass around the story will comprise the full series of memoirs I have written in rough draft) I found myself back in Wisconsin, back in Madison, back in school.

I re-applied to the University of Wisconsin Madison when I was 25.

I had to take out student loans because they wouldn’t touch me with a ten foot pole.

I had no full ride.

I had no scholarships or grants.

I had me and a job running a brewing company.

I took out loans.

I made it work.

I got on deans list.

I was still drinking, but I was managing.

I was smart, remember.

I am smart.

I got my degree, I got my diploma, even in the end I won some awards and got some cash and “prizes” some acclaim for some writing and some of the nicest things said about me and my abilities by some of the most talented and smartest people I have ever had the honor of studying with.

But I also had $43,500 in student loans by the end of it all.

Today, 11 years after I graduated I still have $32,345 in outstanding student loans.

“Can you forgive yourself for that,” she said, “that’s where the work has to start.”

I think I am going to have to.

Because I am tired of living under the shadow of that mistake.

I am damn proud I went back and I got my degree and I did well.

I could have done better, the drinking was starting to take off by the time I was getting close to graduating, the cocaine use was only a few months past that and then less than two years later I was crawling around on the floor hoping to die.

I didn’t.

I am graced.

There are no mistakes.

I am not a mistake.

I am enough.

And I forgive myself for taking out those student loans.

I was doing the best I could with what I had.

Fuck, I still am.

Better than that, I live a life that I find full of integrity and that has no price tag.

So, yeah, time to forgive.

Not forget, I have no doubt that my experience will be of benefit to someone else, but definitely to forgive.

Because, well, see, I might want to go back to school.

If I can’t forgive that debt to myself then I won’t be able to get past this roadblock.

That’s how I see it.

And man, do I want to move past this block.

It’s time.

I am too smart to not be doing better.

It’s time.

One small step.

Today I forgive myself for my student loan debt.

One very small step toward something bigger.



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