Posts Tagged ‘sobriety’

Bonked But Not Broken

December 17, 2017

Perhaps a touch tender, but for a minute I thought I was going to actually get a shiner.

Fortunately I only cut my brow bone.

How did this happen you ask?

Eagerly going in for the salad at Gus’s Market’s salad bar.

I didn’t see that the glass partition was raised, whomever had restocked the salad bar hadn’t lowered the shield and I didn’t see it.

Not at all.

I smacked right into it.

“OW!”

I said and then I started laughing, what kind of idiot I must have looked like?  I’m glad I could laugh at myself, it really was sort of funny, like someone smacking into a glass window while walking out to the patio.

I chuckled pretty hard and the guy across the way said, also laughing, “that is exactly the kind of stuff that happens to me, I’m glad I’m not alone.”

“Here to be of service,” I laughed again and got my salad.

I actually hurt myself worse than I thought.

I was standing in line to check out when I realized I could feel something dripping down my eye.

Oh my God!  Am I bleeding?

I paid for my salad and La Croix and popped open the camera app on my phone and turned it to selfie mode.

Yup.

Sure as shit, I was bleeding.

I asked one of the cashiers for the manager, who hustled right over.

I took off my glasses, explained what happened and asked for a band-aid.

I in hindsight I was pretty damn calm and I wasn’t upset about it and I wasn’t going to make a fuss, although a tiny petty part of me was like, “buy my salad!” But I was actually just really aware of how I felt internally, that I was happy, joyful, spiritually attuned, and not really ready to pull a class action law suit against the manufacturer of shield glass on salad bar.

I took the band-aid, went to the bathroom, washed the blood off and put the band-aid on.

I actually looked kind of cute.

I had just come from a holiday ladies brunch and holiday party and had dressed up for the occasion.

The band-aid added a certain kind of tough aplomb to my outfit.

The brunch was also the reason why I felt as good as I did.

I had gotten to reconnect with ladies in my fellowship and community that I have sorely missed over the semester of busy.

It felt so good to sit and chat and catch up and see how folks were doing.

I even got a client referral from one of the women there who is a licensed MFT.

That felt really good.

In fact, the whole day felt really good.

I had a great supervision group.

Nobody noticed my eye, the bleeding stopped pretty quick and though I have a tiny bump and an obvious cut, it’s hidden quite well by my glasses frame, and I got to have a merry check in about all my adventures the last two weeks.

Last week I wasn’t in supervision as I was in class so my supervision group wanted to hear all about the lecture and how my semester had finished.

And one of the other interns, who has been there over a year, talked to me about a possible client referral, and he said, “you’re an amazing therapist.”

I just about broke out into a blush.

Later I thanked him for saying it and he added on, “not only are you an amazing therapist, you’re just an amazing person, you really have so much to give.”

I just was so struck by the sweetness of it and we hugged and wished each other happy holidays.

So nice.

Then!

Oh my gosh.

I run into a woman I used to work with at Hawthorne Lane, the fine dining restaurant that was my first job in San Francisco.

It turns out she has an office in the same building that my internship is in!

I was so happy to see her, it felt really good to reconnect and see how well she was doing, she had a big cancer scare a few years back while I was in Paris and to see her healthy and happy and ask after her husband and son felt super sweet.

She told me how great I looked and how happy she was to hear how I was doing, she was in awe that I was heading into my last semester of my Masters program.

Validation galore today.

Then off across town in my pretty little car to do some Christmas shopping.

And may I just say, how nice it is to have a tiny little car.

Aside from the fact that she is so adorable and cute, she’s teeny and I found parking in a spot that no one else could possibly have fit.

As well as when I got home tonight, squeezed right into the tiny spot on my block that almost always is open.

Then some Christmas shopping.

And.

Oh.

Yes.

A little holiday sparkle manicure.

Because.

Glitter.

Then back across town to the NOPA and getting right with God and connecting with my folks there.

So good.

I also found out that two of my friends who I had thought were going to be out-of-town for Christmas are in town.

We made some got to go dancing plans.

That felt really good.

Then the drive home, warm and cozy in my car listening to Music to Slow Dance to, a playlist that I am just in love with, and yup, there was my parking spot waiting for me.

And.

When I got in.

Mail.

Man, I love getting holiday mail.

I have a little garland of stars and green box twine that I hang my Christmas cards to, I got to add two in the last day.

The mail made me very happy.

A birthday card and a Christmas card from my grandmother.

She’s my last grandparent alive.

I was over the moon.

Last year she forgot my birthday and that sort of bummed me out.

But she didn’t this year!

It just felt extra special sweet.

And that was my day.

Sweet.

Funny.

Special in quiet ways.

Tender and in love.

Happy.

And I just signed up for a yoga class tomorrow morning.

Plus.

Yes.

I may let myself go do a little birthday shopping tomorrow.

Because.

Well.

I’m going to be the birthday girl real soon.

And it feels nice to get myself something sweet for my birthday.

Without sounding facetious.

I deserve it.

I work really hard.

But I have no complaints about that.

It is something I get to do.

My life is grand.

Full of love and light and joy.

Happy.

Happy.

Joy.

Joy.

Luckiest girl in the world.

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At The Crack of Dawn

December 15, 2017

I will be up too early.

Yeah.

I know, suck it up baby, have some coffee and shut up.

I hadn’t forgotten that I had an early appointment before work, but man, it did sting a tiny bit setting my alarm clock for 6a.m.

Sigh.

Oh well.

Just because I’m not in school at the moment doesn’t mean that there won’t be days that I need to be up and out early.

Tomorrow is one of those days.

I got into see a chiropractor in the Mission.

At 8 a.m.

She was super sweet to fit me in at that time, normally she doesn’t take clients at that time, but the rest of her schedule was so full and my schedule being also full, she made an exception for me.

She normally doesn’t see clients until 9a.m., but tomorrow she’ll be there at 8 a.m. and sigh, so will I.

The irony of this, which does not escape me at all, is that afterward I will be scootering off to a park in the Upper Noe Valley neighborhood to hang out with the baby while mom gets a work out in with her trainer.

Which means wearing the baby carrier and carrying the baby.

Meh.

One of the reasons my back has been sore and tender for the last few weeks, carrying the baby in the baby carrier.

Grateful as all get out that today he slept in his car seat and had a huge fat nap that I didn’t have to have him strapped to me to get.

Usually he likes to sleep on me.

And don’t get me wrong, I like it too, so much, he’s so sweet and warm and cozy, it’s really nice, but it also hurts my back to carry him around.

So hopefully I get a good adjustment and my hips go back to normal and the small of my back will stop hurting so damn much.

Despite the appointment time being so early I am looking forward to having the adjustment, it really is needed.

It just means going to bed really soon.

I am also contemplating skipping breakfast.

Well.

Not really skipping breakfast, but not eating it at home.

I’m planning on getting up at six am to take a shower and get groomed and dressed and slide out the door by 7:30 a.m.

That doesn’t really give me time to do my morning routine and breakfast, I won’t skip the morning routine and if I want to do breakfast I would have to get up at 5:30 a.m. instead of six a.m.

I’m not ready to sacrifice that half hour of sleep.

I have a feeling it will be much-needed.

So I figure I’ll just grab a couple of persimmons or an apple and some almonds and just eat that at the park when I meet the mom.

And then it’s Friday.

And yes, it will signify my first weekend off in three weeks, my first day off, well, sort of, fuck, haha, I still have to go to group supervision, but it will sort of feel like a day off.

I really could use that feeling.

I’m going to meet some ladies in the Mission Saturday morning for a brunch, then head over to do group supervision and maybe afterward I’ll treat myself to a manicure somewhere before I go do the deal with my peeps.

I am ready for that as well, getting back to some fellowship.

Especially with the holiday sneaking up around the corner.

Sunday will be a little more chill, I’ve got a lady coming over to do some work and then dinner in the Castro with my person who is celebrating a huge anniversary.

That will be really good to be a part of, so much so.

Then one more week of work and a nice three-day weekend.

A weekend I’m still not really sure what I want to do, but I’m taking suggestions and thinking about what would be sweet and nurturing for me.

I think that’s going to be very important over the holiday, good self-care, compassionate actions for myself and those around me, practicing kindness and generosity, getting out to do the deal, go to a movie, fuck, it’s been a while since I was in a movie theater, ages really, go to the museums, get myself a little something.

Last year I gave myself a necklace that I was wearing today, for my birthday, that I had picked up in the Mission at a little art gallery on Valencia Street.

Maybe I do that this weekend, get myself a little birthday present.

I know.

My new car is pretty much the best present ever, but I didn’t really buy that with my birthday in mind.

I think there needs to be some other kind of recognition around it.

And I am so, so, so grateful that I took the night of my birthday off from clients.

That feels really important.

Just as it feels important to give myself a little something.

I rather liked the idea of jewelry, I like wearing it into my client sessions, I’ve been wearing more necklaces than I have in years and I really like that, I’m not sure exactly when the shift happened, but I do have an appreciation for a new accessory in my repertoire for sure.

I will have something to open, my mom’s birthday card, which has been sitting on my table now for a little bit.

And!

I have gotten my licence plates in the mail today.

In fact, I sort of want to open them right now, just to see them.

Ooh!

Ha, that was fun.

I opened them.

I will definitely have to put them on the car.

Maybe Saturday before I head out to the brunch.

I was thinking about riding my scooter since the brunch is in the Mission, but really, I don’t have time constraints except to be at my internship by 2p.m.

So I will allow myself to drive my car.

I really love having her, it’s been such a special experience.

I do feel like that is going to be the thing I do,  a mini road trip.

Just not yet sure where.

But I feel the road calling with its siren song.

Anyway.

Time to call it and get my butt to bed.

It’s going to be a long day tomorrow.

But that’s ok.

It’s the last day in the week and my evening plans look stellar.

Like.

Really stellar.

Taking the Damn Day Off

November 28, 2017

Well.

I’m not sure if I’m going to take the entire day off.

But.

I’m considering it.

My birthday is three weeks from today.

It’s a Monday, so it’s not a night I’d be out swinging a big stick and having a huge party.

But after some discussion with my solo supervisor today, I realized, which I had been feeling in the back of my head and in my heart, that I don’t want to see clients on my birthday.

In fact.

It sounds just atrocious.

Nothing sounds like a bigger bowl of self-pity to me.

I just don’t want to go there, self-pity it’s just not for dessert any more.

I told one of my clients tonight that I would be unavailable and she took it just fine, and I did not disclose it was my birthday, just simply stated I would be out of office.

No freaking big deal.

My other client cancelled tonight.

Because.

Hahahaha.

It’s her birthday.

So.

I will take her cue and not see clients on my special day either.

I’m tempted to take the whole day off, but I’ve not any vacation time left and I think it might actually be sweet to work with my charges that day, my little lady bug turned five yesterday and I got to have a sweet afternoon with her at school pick up and beyond and giving her the birthday present I had gotten her.

She loved it.

We had a tea party and wore princess crowns.

Although she looked at me when and said out of nowhere, “you’re not really a princess,” she cocked her head and paused, then added, “you’re really a queen.”

Oh my god little girl, make my heart just melt.

I must know how to carry a crown!

In fact, ha, I am remembering now what my best friend back in Wisconsin told me once, “You have a really regal way of carrying your face.”

Royalty.

I’ll take it.

Anyway.

I just know that it will better for me to not take clients that night and who knows, maybe take myself out to dinner and a movie or just dinner, it is a Monday night after all, or to the Imperial Day Spa or Kabuki.

Just not to my internship.

I have supervision in the morning, I can’t get out of that, work I’m 50/50 on taking off the day, but the night, damn straight, I’m going to do it.

Nothing about it feels wrong.

What, I realize, was feeling wrong was the idea of seeing clients on my birthday, I’m in an unpaid internship seeing 8 clients a week, it’s ok to take my fucking birthday off.

My clients will live.

And.

I won’t be pissy and sad and in self-pity and be upset with myself.

That might be the best birthday present I can give myself.

Although I could give myself a tattoo.

Heh.

I’m always angling for a little more ink it seems.

I’ll definitely be getting one in January, another birthday, or more of anniversary you could say, I’ll be turning 13 (years sober), so definitely I’ll be adding another star to the entourage I have.

I’ve also been thinking that I would get it as a “Lucky 13” star.

A big star with “Lucky 13” written through it.

Not sure yet, and still plenty of time to figure that out.

But yeah, the birthday in three weeks.

“You’re going to be 45!” She said, to me as she sipped her tea, “I know that because you’re the same age as me except with a four in front of it.”

God I love this little girl.

She is something else.

I’m so lucky to work with this family.

I’ll be renegotiating my contract with them next month as well, signing up for another year with them.

I’m hoping that they will offer me a raise, I’m pretty sure they will, and if not, I’ll negotiate a cost of living wage, which is appropriate for living in San Francisco, that’s for sure.

They are great people to work for and really do appreciate me, I got the nicest text from the mom today after work when I was doing some client advocacy work at my internship.

It’s good to be appreciated.

I do like hearing.

I do not need the validation, I know I do a good job, but it’s still nice to hear, it’s always nice to hear.

It’s like when someone you know loves you says they love you, you know they do, but it feels special anyway, no matter how many times it’s been said before, it’s still sweet to hear.

Oof.

I just got hit witht the tired.

It was a good Monday, especially when I think about how nice it was to celebrate with my charge her birthday, and also to just make it through the beginning of the week.

It’s going to be a big one.

Therapy before work tomorrow, work, two clients in the evening.

Wednesday I just have work, but I’m hoping to get a good chunk  of homework done, I need to finish up the online portion of my Pharmacology and Human Sexuality class done.  I think I can get it done Wednesday between work and my evening commitment.

Thursday is work and two clients in the evening, Friday the same.

Saturday is maybe yoga if my ankle is feeling up to it, and group supervision and homework, I’ve got to start a paper if not get one completely finished.

Because Sunday I’m in dress rehearsal for People Who Usually Don’t Lecture.

The show is one week from tomorrow!

My goodness, it’s sneaking up fast.

Ack.

That reminds me!

I have to ask out of work an hour early next Tuesday so I can be at the show when the producers want us there.

I think I may have figured out what I’m going to wear.

Heh.

Although, damn it, I’m going to have to sneak in a manicure and some eyebrow waxing.

Yikes.

Maybe Sunday in between the dress rehearsal and my last CBT Webinar.

Sigh.

Oh for fuck’s sake, I have a lot to do, not going to think about it anymore tonight.

I did enough for today.

The biggest being the decision to take my birthday night off.

Self-care.

Self-advocacy.

Shit.

I even sound like a therapist.

Ha.

Thanksgiving

November 23, 2017

Is just a few hours a way and I keep forgetting its Thanksgiving.

It’s a holiday so all about the food.

And.

Well.

I’m not really in that place anymore.

For me Thanksgiving is a time to reflect on what I’m thankful for.

I have so, so, so much.

Love.

A home.

A bed.

A closet full of clothes.

I have food in the refrigerator.

I have a laptop.

An Iphone.

Recovery.

Sobriety.

Abstinence.

Shit.

I have THREE vehicles.

I ran into a neighborhood friend out walking his dog this afternoon as I was headed into a job in the Mission and he saw me getting on my scooter, “not taking the car?!”

And I told him that since I was going to the Mission for a five-hour job and it’s only two-hour parking it was easier and cheaper to ride my scooter.

Five hours of metered parking for a scooter in the Mission is $1.55.

I don’t know what five hours of parking at a meter in the Mission would be, but I know it’s triple if not quadruple that.

Fuck.

Probably more.

“Nice to have choices!”  My neighbor said and strolled off with his dog and a “happy holiday!” over his shoulder.

Damn.

He’s right.

It is nice to have choices.

I used to not have any choice but my feet.

I was so broke for so long, especially in the early part of my recovery, even taking a bus sometimes was out of the question.

It took me a long time to get financially stable.

A fucking real long time.

It feels surreal to know that I have a car on the street, add that to the list of things to be thankful for, I own a fucking car.

I really never expected that to happen this early into my therapy career path, I figured it was in the hazy future, not like, this past Monday!

I have choices.

I have a bicycle.

I have a scooter.

I repeat, but, it still is amazing to me.

That.

I have a car!

Wow.

Yeah.

I have a lot to be thankful for.

I have a job.

I am in graduate school.

I have wonderful friends.

I have better relationships with my family than I have ever had.

I have perspective.

I have faith for the future and a deep abiding belief that I am being taken care of.

I don’t have great big plans for the holiday.

Like I said, the food part paled for me many, many, many years ago.

Tomorrow I will be with my person and some other friends in the Upper Castro/Twin Peaks area, I think I still am waiting on the address and details, for “pizza and Netflix.”

I obviously won’t be eating the pizza.

But I will be enjoying the company, that is a given.

And that’s all I really need to do.

I will sleep in and rise without an alarm.

No yoga at the studio.

I got a good work out today and frankly my body could use a rest.

Not sure how, but I once again sprained my fucking right ankle.

I am currently icing it.

Same ankle that I sprained right before I left for Paris in May.

Not as bad as that sprain, but still it’s gotten tight and swollen, so I took some ibuprofen and I have it elevated and I’ve got a bag of frozen peas on it.

I’m sure it will be fine after a couple of days of chilling out.

God’s way of saying, slow down.

I’ll do homework.

I might even knock out a bit tomorrow, depending.

Then Friday I’ve got the massage in Pacific Heights and I’ll do a tiny bit of Christmas shopping.

I’m not really a Black Friday kind of gal, but there are a couple of stores on Fillmore Street that I want to pop into, mainly Nest, I got a very sweet Christmas ornament there last year.

And the rest of Friday and I suspect all day Saturday, will be homework.

I’ll finish up a CBT assignment, do all of my Child an Elder Abuse homework assignments and finish up the readings for my other classes.

If there’s motivation to do so Sunday, I may write a paper, or work on my final project presentation for my Transpersonal Psychology class.

All the things.

They will get done.

The big push towards the end of the semester.

One more weekend of classes!

Whatever I don’t get done this weekend will be attended to next weekend, then, yes, one more weekend of class!

Very excited for that.

And I’m going to call it a night.

My ankle feels pretty numbed out.

Time for some tea and some rest.

Happy Thanksgiving!

May it bring you many blessings.

And.

Much.

Much joy.

 

What Are You Doing

November 5, 2017

For self-care?

My group supervisor asked me after I checked in around a client that I have to do a lot of outside resourcing for.

I blurted out, “baking!”

And it’s true.

Last night I made cookies for a dearest ones anniversary.

It was the first time that I have made cookies in my little home here by the sea.

You could say this person is extraordinarily important to me.

So.

Important.

And I knew that I wanted to make cookies for them.

Peanut butter chocolate chip.

Oversized.

Soft and warm.

Full of love.

I was fluffing the butter and creaming the sugar and adding all the super extraordinary rich smelling ingredients together in the bowl and reflecting upon how much I love this person.

I was thinking of Isabella Allende’s book “Like Water For Chocolate,” and how the main character cooks her emotions into her meals.

How the other characters in the book respond to the emotions in the book, bursting into flames with love and passion and feeling.

Cooking and baking for me are a kind of meditation and they are soothing and full of self-care.

Granted.

I didn’t eat any of the cookies.

I didn’t taste them.

I don’t eat sugar or flour so to make them was sort of a big deal.

It was the first time I had sugar in my pantry in four years.

I found it was fine.

I wasn’t tempted, I wasn’t at all.

Not even to lick my fingers.

And I sense that was the lynch pin for me, that I didn’t have a motive for the cookies except to show this person how much I love them.

Not.

Ooh.

“I’m being secret and baking cookies in my house and all the goodies are going to get eaten.”

There was purpose there and in the purpose, such pleasure.

In fact.

I forgot how much I enjoy baking.

I have been baking a lot at work too, a pear tart, an apple tart, banana bread, plus I make a ton of food, pastas mainly, for the family that I would never touch.

“You’re the best cooker ever!” And, “these are better than granny’s,” are compliments I have gotten from my charges.

I have to take their word for it.

I almost never taste the food I make for them.

But.

I can smell it and sense what works with what and I think about the woman who owns and runs Tartine Manufacturing and how she is known to make the most extraordinary bread.

And.

Oh, the Universe is sly and funny.

She doesn’t ever eat any of it.

She’s gluten intolerant.

But like, me, I presume, there is a great satisfaction in the baking.

I know I felt super happy baking my cookies last night.

Really good and sweet and loving and I planned it so the cookies would be warm when I handed them over.

I love little details like that.

I like giving.

I am remembering when I used to make sugar cookies at Christmas time and bring them into work.

Or candy.

I made a lot of Christmas candy, back in Wisconsin mainly, after I moved to San Francisco I still did a bit of baking but not the candy making and after a few years, 2009, I stopped baking, when I began to get abstinent around my food.

I occasionally made something for someone.

A pie here or there.

But it’s really been years since I have had all the ingredients in my home to bake.

Heck.

I had to buy a cookie sheet last week.

I didn’t mind though.

I had such a good time doing the baking.

And.

I also did a lot of cooking over the last two days.

I roasted a chicken too, yesterday.

I figured I would be using the oven and if I could get some food prep out-of-the-way it would be super helpful as next weekend I’m in classes and I like to have my meals made up before the weekend of class.

I just grab something out of the freeze and a piece of fruit and I’m set.

And today.

Well.

I was up late last night and decided I was going to let myself just sleep today.

Skip yoga, coddle myself, be sweet to myself and just sleep.

Of course.

I forgot I had set an alarm to go off so that I could go to yoga.

Haha.

Can’t sleep in even if I wanted to.

And it was good, I needed to connect with the outside world right away.

Although, I didn’t get out of bed to do so, just lay in bed talking on the phone for an hour.

Slight aside.

Talking on the phone is magic.

I am happy that I have people in my life that still like to talk.

There was luxuriating in the being in bed and not making myself go to yoga, don’t worry, I’ll be going tomorrow, there’s only so much “laziness” I can condone in myself, and being gentle and soft and slow and letting the morning have its way with me.

And it was extraordinary, I didn’t feel rushed and yet I did get all sorts of things done.

I wrote a lot this morning, always helps.

I got a hold of the dealership where I am interested in getting a car from and started some preliminary work, submitted an application and talked to the manager of the sales department and got some good insight.

I wrote my mom’s birthday card and got that in the post.

And.

I made chicken soup with spicy Andouille sausage.

Yup.

All before I left for my internship.

So when my group supervisor asked what I was doing for self-care, baking popped right out of my mouth and was followed up by, “making soup.”

Comfort.

And.

Love.

The best kind of self-care.

Showing up for myself.

And showing others how much they mean to me.

So much gratitude for my life.

So much love.

So, so, so much.

Luckiest girl in the world.

Seriously.

Scheduling

October 27, 2017

And moving forward.

I spent a great deal of time talking with the mom today at work regarding the rest of the school year.

What the family needs.

What I need.

It’s been a little over ten months with them.

We are going to sit down and renegotiate the contract in December, make sure my health insurance needs are being met, talk about vacation times, and schedules moving forward past spring when I graduate in May.

I asked off for a little travel time in February.

And I asked off for May 18th.

Which is the day before I graduate, the day before the commencement ceremony.

I suspect that my mom is going to want to spend some time with me.

She has told me that she and her partner will come to San Francisco to see me walk, to see my graduate with my Master’s Degree.

I have some feelings around that and no little nervousness, I haven’t seen my mom in a while and there’s a sense of wanting to show her a different San Francisco than the last time she was here.

Oh.

I didn’t entirely disappoint, I think.

I took her to Hawthorne Lane for dinner.

I took her out to the bars.

I took her to Coit Tower.

I can’t remember if we did Twin Peaks.

I took her to Chow on Church Street.

Philz Coffee before it was hip and Phil flirted his ass off with her.

I got her quesadilla’s from El Farolito, super quesadilla suiza with carne asada.

I took her to Tartine.

I did pretty good

I also ditched her at some point to get absolutely shit faced obliterated.

I was just going to go out for a few drinks with a friend at Blondie’s in the Mission.

I had already been with my mom for a week, I had taken her to London, on my credit card which I was soon to max out, but it still had a few dollars on it, hung out with her, fed her, bought her smokes, and drinks, and tuk tuk rides around Buckingham palace, to the Wheel, to the National Gallery, to see a show, we saw Stomp, I took her to a fancy tea place where we got stinking tossed on fancy ass over the top expensive cocktails.

So.

I was ready for a little mom break.

I ran down to El Farolito and got her the quesadilla.

I called my friend and said, “I need a margarita, I need a break from my mom,” and she said, “I’ll see you at Blondie’s in a half hour.”

I got my mom situated in my apartment on the couch in the living room, my room-mate was out-of-town, thank God.

And I got dressed and fled into the night.

I had two double margarita’s on the rocks with extra salted rim and when my friend said “let’s have another!”  I got a little scared.

I could feel it coming on.

It was probably coming on before I even got off the plane at SFO.

I think I knew.

I could feel it in my body, I knew it in my conscious even if I wasn’t saying it out loud.

I was going to score.

I had all the reasons in the world to get fucked up.

I had been with my mom for a week in a hotel room in London, flown there and back with her, I deserved a fucking drink.

But I knew if I kept drinking, well, something else was going to get up in the mix.

I looked at my friend and said a bit under my breath, “if I drink more I’m going to want to do blow.”

I said this because this was the friend who had used to be sober who had done that AA thing and had said to me once while we were on a run that maybe I might have a problem because of how I didn’t like myself when I used.

I had no idea what the fuck she was talking about and was aghast.

I didn’t like myself?

Truth was I fucking hated myself, but I couldn’t let myself see it.

She had told me that all I had to do is let her know if I wanted to use and she would help me to not pick up.

What ever that meant.

So in that moment, two double margarita’s in, with the urge to call my dealer on my phone and arrange a little something, something for delivery, I said, to the best of my ability what I thought was a plea for help.

Her response?

“I could definitely do some blow!”

Fuck me.

I sighed.

I know I sighed.

I got my phone out of my purse and I dialed my dealer and arranged for him to meet us at Blondie’s.

I went across the street.

“Hey, where are you going,” the cute guy sitting next to me said.

I flippantly replied, “my friend wants to do some blow so I’m going to the ATM across the street to get some cash before my dealer shows up.”

“Holy shit!” He jumped up, “me too, can I get some too?”

And like that, I had a new friend.

I was so popular.

Ugh.

I will spare you the dirty details of the night.

It was so close to my bottom that it was a pretty intense scene.

And I remember all of it, oh yes I do.

Right down to getting back to the house, while my mom was still asleep in the living room, with a couple of grams of blow in my bra, what I hadn’t yet used, to chop and snort and cram as much in as I could before she woke up.

I was that kind of addict.

I did not fucking matter that my mom was in the front room, probably heard me come in, probably knew what I was doing, nope, didn’t matter.

Because once I started, the party was not over until every fucking last bit was gone.

Suffice to say my mom’s last day in town was a bit of a rough one.

I muggled through.

I guess what I’m getting around to is that maybe I’ll want to show her a nicer time than I did before.

We are both in different places, and I also hope to have some time to celebrate my graduating from graduate school.

A nice meal somewhere with friends, good coffee, laughter, connection, company.

A party.

I should throw myself a little party.

Ah, May, you’re a bit away.

But when my employer and I walked through the months and worked on getting my schedule lined up with theirs, well, there you were, a tiny bit bashful but a little smile on your face, a daisy tucked up behind your ear, saying here I am, let’s have some fun.

Yes.

Of course, my dear.

Let’s.

Hello My Old Friend

August 7, 2017

So nice to get re-acquainted.

Not.

Fuck me man.

I got anxious today.

Now.

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

But.

Shit.

I’d sort of forgotten.

Good grief.

It snuck up on me today.

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

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

I did loads of writing.

I did loads of laundry.

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

I did yoga.

I had lots of lovely phone conversations today.

I went grocery shopping.

I cooked food for dinner.

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

Man.

It has been foggy.

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

I went and got right with God.

I did some meditation.

Life is great!

And.

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

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

Oh.

Hello.

I had forgotten you.

And.

Oh.

Hello.

Fuck off.

I don’t need you around.

I mean.

I really don’t.

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

And it’s always a bad future.

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

Nope.

It’s a.

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

Kind of future.

And I still might fail.

And that’s ok.

I mean.

It is at least familiar.

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

And I didn’t have a panic attack.

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

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

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

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

Yay!

Anxiety.

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

I stopped right around my five years of sobriety.

I came off them real easy.

I had been on the lowest dosage anyway.

But.

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

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

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

The anxiety dissipated.

And.

The depression fell away.

I lost lots of weight.

I got happy.

Sure.

Shit happened.

Life happened.

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

Nothing.

Until.

I started grad school.

Anxiety nightmares.

Stress dreams.

Mild depression each winter semester.

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

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

Now.

Today.

Not so much.

But.

It was there.

And truth be told.

It annoyed me.

It pissed me off.

I was like.

No.

NO.

I am not doing this again.

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

AND.

It never has been that bad.

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

Not once.

Not.

Never.

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

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

Oh.

Sure.

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

But I was pretty steady through it all.

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

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

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

Made a phone call to my person.

Wrote out a gratitude list.

And went about my day.

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

Not a psycho.

Haha.

Sorry.

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

Or is it?

Anyway.

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

But.

Overall.

I got this.

I got my books ordered.

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

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

I worked through the anxiety.

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

All in all.

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

Haven’t they all been?

But.

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

Plus.

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

I’m going to be just fine.

Because.

I already am.

Today.

Right now.

In this beautiful moment.

There is nothing wrong, and my life.

Well.

Let me just say.

It’s fucking fabulous.

Amazing really.

Luckiest girl in the world.

Seriously.

Growing Up

February 8, 2017

Moving on.

Letting go of the things that don’t serve me.

Letting go of ways and means of being that I have been.

Shedding.

Fuck.

It feels really good.

I had to have a little hand holding tonight as I took some suggestions regarding my personal life and relationships.

“No body treats you like that,” he said to me, “and I will not stand here and let you be treated like that, now unfriend.”

BAM.

I sent a message and let go of the results.

I changed.

Like that.

It has taken years to get to this point and to let go, of this old idea that I somehow need to give you more than me, that I am not enough, that I have to buy your love, respect, or that I need to give you something for you to be my friend, lover, partner.

Nope.

I am enough and I deserve to be treated well.

I stood up for myself.

Not by myself, though, I had to have some hand holding.

I had gotten the suggestion this evening and it matched up with how I was feeling, even though I was afraid to take the action required, I knew, deep within me, that it was the thing to do.

And.

I realized that I can’t do it alone.

I needed his help.

“Wait, can I just do this now, with you here, I don’t know if I can do it when I get home,” I said.  I mean.  I knew I would, but I knew it would be easier for me to do it with my person there sitting across the table, warm, supporting, holding me through the process of letting go and moving on.

There is no there there.

“I expect to get blow back from this,” I said as I sent out the message and then took the next suggestion and cleaned some house.

“Doesn’t matter, you did your part, you cleaned your side of the street, how the other person responds doesn’t matter,” he said.

He took my hands and held them as I shed a few tears, took a deep breath and did the next action in front of me.

The relief of standing up for myself, asking for what I want, and really I do not have any expectations that the want will be met at all, none, nada, in fact, and that somehow made it easier and harder at the same time.

But let go I did.

And I realized I just made a huge amount of room for what will work in my life, for friendships, relationships, jobs, school, for letting in the love and going where the love is and being happier in my person and with myself.

Such stunning relief.

Let go.

Move on.

With love.

With unconditional regard for others and what they need to do to grow and be.

It’s not my business.

 

My business.

Is.

Me.

 

What works best, how will I grow, how may I serve, what does that look like.

I left my person with such deep gratitude and love.

I have grown so much since working with him and I have such respect for the work.

It awes me.

And I change.

It is good.

It is so good.

I am so excited for what this year is going to bring.

The travel I get to do.

I’m planning a trip to Puerto Rico.

Another to Anchorage.

One to Portland.

And.

Of course.

Burning Man.

Yes.

I know.

I am working full-time and going to school full time and I will be interning.

How the hell am I going to pull it off?

I don’t know.

But get pulled off it will.

I am thinking that I may camp somewhere new this year, my dear friend from my first camp that split off and started his own invited me to camp with them this year.

Go where the love is.

Go where I am wanted and appreciated.

And.

Don’t go to work.

I have worked every year.

I have paid my dues.

Maybe.

Just maybe go this year and don’t work, oh, I know, I’ll help out, wherever I am camped, that is what I do, but on my terms and not tied to anyone, not tied to a scheduled, not leashed to a job.

Just a camp.

Just a spot to put up my tent and be.

Just me.

Just the playa.

Just Burning Man.

That’s such a lovely thought.

A goal.

My year is already so littered with love and goodness, travel, art, school, friends, getting to be in San Francisco, getting my practicum placement, getting to be an intern, getting to start helping clients and accruing the hours toward my license.

And it’s just the beginning of February.

And.

It is just the beginning.

This thirteenth year of being in recovery is going to blow the top off.

I can feel it.

I am expanding.

My heart growing.

I am shedding old skin and stepping out new.

It feels extraordinary and freeing and magical.

Alive.

And let me not forget.

I am also going to Paris in May.

I mean.

My life is extraordinary.

I am so grateful I keep showing up, suiting up, doing the damn deal, living by spiritual principles.

I’m not a saint.

I’m going to fuck up.

But that too is a gift and an opportunity to grow more.

All this growth.

I am graced to get to do it.

It can be a struggle.

Or it can be a surrender.

Today.

It was melting surrender, a washing away, a saying goodbye, a letting go, with the rain sluicing down the gutters and the fog prowling on soft cat feet, as I listened to Bon Entendeur streaming from my headphones as the N-Judah barreled its way down towards Ocean Beach, I looked at my reflection across the way in the mirrored window of the train.

I smiled.

So much joy.

Such simple shifts.

And boom.

A giant leap forward in my life and in my recovery.

I can’t wait to see what happens next.

Seriously.

It’s going to be fucking amazing.

AMAZING.

It’s Official!

February 7, 2017

Hi Carmen,
It is my pleasure to officially offer you an internship at the Liberation Institute. It was wonderful meeting with you and I’ve no doubt that you’d be a great addition to our therapeutic community.
Next steps:
We need you to reply with one of the following answers:
– Yes, I officially accept! 

or

– No, I officially decline.

or

– I need more time to decide.

Please let me know if you’ll be joining us!
If you have questions or concerns, just let me know.
Thanks!
What do you think I said?
Ha.
Of course.
I said yes.
I said I “officially accept!”
And I did.
And it’s official.
I’m an intern.
Holy shit.
So nice to have this part of the journey out-of-the-way, I was much more anxious about it than I needed to be, so much more anxious, and for naught, it worked out perfect.
It was on God’s time.
Not mine.
In fact.
I hadn’t even had the Liberation Institute on my radar, I was going to go work for UCSF or one of the CIIS sites.
I had my plans.
God chuckled, and said, hey, what about over here?
I said, nah, I’ve got this.
Then I realized, as I do so often, that no, in fact, I do not have this and yes, actually, the Liberation Institute is indeed the place where I am supposed to be.
How may I fit myself to be of maximum service to my fellows?
And there it was.
After I responded yes and then text my two besties in the program and sharing the news, and yes, I did, I called my mom.
It’s nice to call your mom with the big news.
We had a good catch up chat and she asked when I was going to be graduating and I said May of 2018 and she’s going to come out and see me get my Masters degree.
I was so touched by that.
And grateful.
Then I got another message from my new supervisor, saying, “hooray!  Welcome aboard Carmen.”
How nice to have someone excited to work with me.
My supervisor outlined what I need to do next, basically get paperwork through my school and I’ll be able to attend to that this up coming weekend when I am in school for the second weekend of the semester.
I’ll pick up the paper work and then I’ll meet with my supervisor in March to do the next part.
And I will also do my interview of him for my Community Mental Health class at that time.
Yes, I will.
Two birds, one stone.
It feels really so nice to be here, to be taking these next steps.
I know there is still so much more work to do, but this just feels so good, so right, so affirming to have this happen, and I’ve been assured by many in my cohort that of course it was going to happen, but still.
When it does.
Oh.
That is a damn nice feeling.
Yes, yes it is.
And it was really swell, yeah, I said swell, to also relay the news to my employer who was happy for me and also relieved, even if she didn’t express that as much as the happy, that I won’t have to change-up my hours, that I will be with them, that we are on the same page, that I can do the internship and still be their nanny.
Yup.
The grad school nanny.
Not a role I ever thought I would be in.
Not a hat I thought I would wear.
But I’ll wear it.
Jaunty and slightly askew.
Rakish like.
Happy to be in said position.
I got such nice compliments from the mom today too, about how nice it was to come home and not have to make dinner and that they really liked my food so much and, well, that too makes me happy.
I do so enjoy cooking for others.
I made them two kinds of pasta tonight.
One a fusilli with fresh pesto.
And.
Spaghetti with meat sauce and herbed tomatoes.
Lots of fresh grated parmesan and a happy clan of people.
I was let go a few minutes early and hopped out the door and was able to catch my 6:30 pm regular get together and see some folks there.
I was invited to fellowship and I ended up going.
And then.
I ended up bailing.
I love my people.
But I can’t eat at Pasquale’s.
It’s all pizza and pasta and as I started to get a little panicky about eating and making something work when I had planned on eating at home and so I bounced.
I felt a little bad, but not too much.
Sometimes I need company.
And sometimes I just have to eat my own food.
I’ll make up for it this week.
I promise.
I have dinner plans to meet with my person tomorrow after work, so that will do as a start.
It was really nice to check in with him today and tick off the things that I had done, taking his suggestions around some stuff that came up for me yesterday, relating that I had put my big girl pants on and made an appointment at the dentist.
Yes.
An internship and an appointment to go to the dentist.
Adulting all over the place.
I also shared that I had gotten the news about the internship.
It was nice to share the news.
I mean, I had known, the interview went so well, but until one gets the official letter, well, it wasn’t official.
Now it is.
I really am so pleased.
Life continues to open up and bloom and it’s such a gift to be witnessing it.
I hadn’t expected to be on this path and I am blown away again and again at how right it is, how it feels to pursue, how competent I feel in moving forward and how humbled that yes, after all, I am supposed to help people.
That my main talent is to be a helper.
First and foremost.
To myself.
But then for so many others.
I am thrilled.
And.
Honored.
I am.
Grateful.
I am.
Graced.
I am.
All the things.

On The Upswing

January 13, 2017

I still called in sick today.

But.

I am feeling better.

Better and better and better.

I am listening to music.

Always a good sign.

I took a hot shower, really good sign, I couldn’t fathom getting in the shower yesterday, the fact that I managed to brush my teeth yesterday felt like a hero move.

Today I brushed them and flossed them and hey, I might do that one more time before I go to bed.

I am feeling a bit sassier.

A bit sexier.

Doesn’t hurt that a lady took care of her lady needs.

I mean.

I had a window.

I took it.

Ahem.

I went grocery shopping.

Although, it was the biggest challenge of my day and I did have a few minutes in the store when I found myself just standing in an aisle wondering what the fuck I was there for and whether once I remembered it was going to be worth it to be in the aisle at all.

I missed a few things.

But I got most of what I needed to get and really it was enough.

It was enough.

I was scared to call in sick this morning, but I knew I was going to.

Especially as last night I lay in my pillows, propped three high so that I could breathe, and cried because the pain in my face-my cheeks were so sore from the sinus pain-was too much for me to go to sleep.

I was tired and I couldn’t sleep.

I finally fell asleep almost two hours after I had gone to bed.

No good.

I woke up feeling tentatively better, but in no way ready or prepared to get up and go to work.

I sent a message to the mom and the dad and said hey, I am calling in, I’m still too symptomatic, I am so very sorry.

They were very sweet.

The mom said no worries, rest and get better soon.

I turned off my phone, closed my eyes and slept for four hours.

Four hours.

And when I woke up I felt like I might actually be able to face the world.

Granted, it was 11:30 a.m.

The world had already been doing much its own thing for hours.

I stripped my bed and re-made it with fresh sheets and threw some laundry in the wash.

I made some coffee and oatmeal and returned a few messages.

I did my morning prayer and routine.

I sent out some gratitude lists to some folks and I did some writing.

Four pages.

And I knew I had it in me to get out to the grocery store.

Maybe not much further than that.

But that I could do.

I am grateful I did.

I am now set and stocked for the school weekend.

Yeah.

That.

Starts tomorrow.

Second semester of my second year of the three-year program.

Gett’er done.

I made a nice lunch.

I sat and did some reading.

And I got it all done.

All that I could get done.

I am still shy a couple of books for my Trauma class.

But I finished all the readings for my Couples Therapy Class and for my Community Mental Health class.

I am a little astounded that I got through all that reading.

Slow and steady and two days home sick.

I didn’t gel out in front of my laptop and watch a bunch of videos.

And because I got so much sleep today I didn’t feel the need to nap.

I mean.

I lay low.

I didn’t go out again after I went grocery shopping and the extent of my exercise was folding my laundry and making my bed and taking out the recycling.

I took the homeopath cold remedy medicine and sucked on a few zinc lozenges.

I read.

I chatted with a friend who later Facetimed me.

You know you’re friends when you accept a Facetime call in no make up and your hair in braids.

I mean at least my socks matched my pajama top and my pajama pants were right side in the entire day, so I suppose I was in a great position to take a call.

But it was super sweet to see her face and I’m excited to reconnect with all my school friends tomorrow.

I showed her the dozen roses I bought myself today at the store.

Buy your own damn flowers.

They are pretty soft pink roses tipped darker pink, long-stemmed and an apt dozen.

Because when you got twelve years (t-minus two hours and twenty-two minutes, unless I decided to run over to the 7-11 and score some crap.) you get yourself a dozen roses.

I wanted to wake up tomorrow on my anniversary with a pretty reminder of how far I have come and to acknowledge to myself that I am capable of giving myself everything I need.

I will gladly accept and take in your love but first I have to love myself enough to know that I am worthy.

I am worthy of your love.

As I am worthy of loving myself.

Such a fucking simple concept.

So hard to get.

“We’ll love you until you learn to love yourself,” he said to me, gripping my shoulders and looking at me with his sweet piercing blue eyes.

I believed him then.

I believe him now.

He has long passed, but his words remain with me, deeply entrenched into my being.

An affirmation of my basic humanity that I had so long stifled I didn’t even realize I had buried it.

There.

Right there.

And shoved it down and denied it and let it fester and rankle in the recesses of my heart where there should be light and not canker sores and sorrow.

The balm of that love settled upon me and care took me until I could take care of myself.

Until I could happily buy myself a dozen roses, cook myself a damn fine dinner (roasted chicken, hello and thank you) to take care of my sexual needs myself, to do my laundry, to comfort and soothe myself, to wear nice warm socks and drink tea that I like.

To listen to music I like.

Her good teeth smile was winding down.

Engines sputter ghosts out of gasoline fumes.

You had it but you sold it.

I am literally in tears of gratitude and joy.

The first time I heard this song.

True dreams.

True dreams.

True dreams.

Of Wichita.

Dancing in the living room at the house on Franklin Street.

My boyfriend had put the cassette in the boom box and when it came on I was floored I was sideways plastered with the glory of the words and how they resonated.

Listening to an updated version of it on the eve of this anniversary.

So many days and years and drunks and drugs later.

So many hang overs and calling in sick when I wasn’t really sick.

The bushes I threw up in before going into my lunch shift at Hawthorne Lane.

The demoralization of listening to what the line cooks side about what I was up to last night.

All the girls who were in relationships and said, “hey girl, take one for the team,” and then tell us all about it, in gory, glorious detail.

All those humiliations and stumbles.

And then the ultimate bottom and the climb up.

The long, slow, stupid, terrifying climb out.

Into the sunshine.

Blinding and overwhelming.

Held and taken care of and carried.

To this moment.

Full of light and love and music and joy.

My musical hero singing to me on the stereo.

A man I met in person and got to talk to and hang out with in someone’s kitchen this past September.

No biggie.

Because that’s my life now.

Full of surprises and insights and gifts.

Dozens of gifts.

Too many to list or count.

But I hold them all here.

In my heart.

Which is so much bigger than I ever knew.

Full of love for you.

For of love for me.

Seriously.

I let you love me until I learned to love myself.

I did it.

I really.

Really.

Did.

 

 


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