Posts Tagged ‘stepfather’

You Got Some ‘Splain’in

September 3, 2016

To do.

I have not told you guys something!

I’m off Tinder.


It’s official.

I cancelled the app and deleted it off my phone.

Now comes the hard part.

The sit and wait part, the let it happen without looking for it part, the re-integration of lost things and places and experiences, the growing up part.


Oh, dare I say it.

The adulting part.

I did some work at Burning Man and not all of it was fluffing, a lot of it was spiritual work, growth, therapeutic work, allowing myself to look at it like a dusty spa of spirituality and a sort of recovery conference in the desert.

I got my God on.

Heck, I even did a shaman journey.

Yeah, I know, shush.

I have been living in California for 14 years, please, it rubs off.

And I was ready for it.


When I ran into my friend who was at the first camp I stayed with ten burns ago.  We hugged and reconnected and talked and I shared my experiences being in graduate school for therapy and psychology and that I want to pursue a doctorate now, I mean, really, it might be time for a new playa name, Dr. Carmen has a nice ring to it you know.


We chatted, he’s a therapist and he also does shaman work and I recalled a time when he had offered to take me on a spirit journey and how I sort of pooh poohed it.


I found myself wanting to ask when I saw him this past week at the burn.


I found a great big lump of fear on my chest.


How interesting.

When I feel that much resistance to something it is rather indicative to me that it’s time to do some work on something.


I asked, and I admitted my fear and then we laughed and he said, of course and then asked me to ponder a question or to sit and be with what it was that I wanted to address.

What popped into my head?

Sober boyfriend.

Yeah, like that.

We met the next day in the heat of the afternoon, in the middle of a white out dust storm.

Things were said, deals were done, navigation of emotions, experiences, lots and lots of therapeutic theory.

He knows his stuff and I recognized a lot of the techniques he used and I wasn’t uncomfortable with the way it went, despite, yes, there being some fear there too, but mostly a curiosity to see what would arrive and an eagerness to address these baffling relationship issues that seem to crop up for me often when I am least expecting or most wanting to have a relationship.

It’s like a wall, glass, that I can feel, that I can see through, but can’t quite figure out how to get to the other side.

We talked and talked and got down to some root things, which when expressed from his perspective was obvious, so obvious, it made me feel a bit baffled then I realized how I am most often unable to see what others see so clearly, I have no perspective on my own life or abilities.


Hearing all the things come out of my friends mouth, with a broader perspective of my history, trauma, and adult male patterning that I did when I was a little girl.



Of course I tend toward being single.

Hello safety.

I am either chasing after the unavailable boy or I am being the mother to said boy.

I don’t date adult men.

I don’t know how since I hadn’t seen healthy adult relationships growing up as a little girl.

I often tend toward two ways of being in relation to men I want to date.

I have been the mother–my longest lasting relationship was five years and I was definitely the care taker.

And then.

A long series of men, boys, that I chased, who were not often, or ever really interested in dating me romantically.

These paradigms made a lot of sense to me and I think I have been dancing around this knowledge for such a long time that when it was finally revealed it was less a great big aha moment, but more of a softening and relaxing into myself.

I had a lot of compassion for myself and a gentleness that I found so tender that I was in tears just from the relief of that.


My friend made some suggestions.

Stop chasing.

Stop being the mother.

Write it out.

What does an adult man look like, what qualities do I want?

And lastly.

Be patient.

Don’t expect it overnight and stop looking for it.

It won’t be the impetuous passion of a sixteen year old in a romantic crush.

It will probably not be someone I’m crazy wild about at first glance, it will be softer, and I will be pursued and I will be seen and my power, who I am will be my calling card.

He will be strong.

He will not complete me.

I won’t have to mother, and I will not chase.

What a relief.

At first when I deleted Tinder I was pretty ok with it.



I did re-install the app for a half day.


I realized.


It doesn’t serve, not after the experience in the dome, in the dust, in the heat, my heart opened, the little girl response to dating laid to rest in the resplendent gold dust light.

My friend said write about it, at least once a day, a paragraph, what my adult man looks like, what I want.




Text him when I start dating.

It won’t be long.

I’m ready.

I am happy, healthy, smart, employed, in graduate school, sober, loving, lovable, funny.

It’s on.

And I’m done with the dating apps and the chase.

I am here and available.

And I don’t need to chase.

I am fucking awesome.

I would date me in a heart beat.

I don’t need fireworks, although passion is lovely, I’m not going to try to make anything happen.

I don’t need to.

It already is.



Silence of the Lamb

January 12, 2015

You have been silenced by your grandfather and the abuse he perpetuated, the silence from your father who was not there, and the silence enforced upon you by your stepfather.

I heard it like that.

In italics.


Times New Roman.

It may as well have been underscored as well.

Point well made.

Point taken.

And one small point for me and my process and showing up to sit in another cafe on another Sunday in San Francisco and cry and let go and ask for suggestions and be given a set of amends to go about.

It is a never-ending process it appears.

This unfolding and unwrapping of self and all its manifestations.

So today I practice not being silent, I practice speaking up and saying who I am and what I do.

I also allow myself to be creative and to grow that way too.

“Oh, it’s the first thing that came to mind,” he said emphatically around a bite of salad.  “I totally agree.”

I had mentioned that when meeting another person I work with yesterday at another cafe in the city, today I was in the Castro, yesterday in the Inner Sunset, I had been given the exact same instructions.

This is what happens when even decades later, almost three, I cry in a booth at a table around an old resentment.

Those things which I think I should be or have done or am not allowed to do haunt me in ways that I just don’t even realize until the pain surfaces and the tears melt and slide down my face.


Here I go again.

I have been directed to make some amends, I have done them before and I am certain that I will continue to do so the rest of my life.

That’s just the way it goes.

I have a lot to amend.

I have learned a way of living that I have to unlearn.

The silence being one of them.

Silent scorn.

Dropping a wall of silence on a situation, not saying what I think or feel or need, disappearing, getting small.

“Girl, God does not make 6 foot Amazonian princesses to be silent,” he paused with drama, “please.”

I am not six-foot.

Although I walk around like I am.

Not the point.

Point is that I do try to get small, wrap up in myself, go unnoticed.

Although it may be hard to ignore me and my glitter dipped self.

“You get to express yourself creatively, that is your amends, and you know what to do.”


I do.

One act of not being silent is to allow myself to move forward with graduate school adventures.


I did it.

I finished and submitted, along with my $65 fee, my application to the California Institute of Integral Studies for their Intensive Masters Degree in Integral Counseling Psychology.


I had to redo the application that I had saved online as I could not find the one I saved and just figured it would be more hassle than just starting over.

I reviewed, re-read, edited, and tightened up my six page, 1800 word, autobiographical statement, wrote a one page statement of intent, and did a CV.

I also sent out the forms for my letter of recommendations for the two women I have asked to recommend me to the program along with the above mentioned essays so that they could use them as reference material to write the letters.

My transcript order was received by the University of Wisconsin, Madison and sent out this past Friday to the institute.

While all that was cooking, so was I.

I made myself a nice pot of three bean chili with chicken and celery, black olives, and fire roasted tomatoes, onions, garlic, and brown rice.

I have three mason jars full and two containers for the freezer.

I think I used the cooking as a way to keep myself calm while I was in the process of finishing up the application.

I knew, too, that I was going to do it today.

It was just time.

And in that spirit of its time.

I so too, shall start playing cello again.

“What defect comes up for you when you think of your stepfather?” He asked me.

The picture I get is always the same one, although, there were plenty of not so pretty ones in the mix, the first thing that always comes up is this:  walking in the snow at night down Windsor Road with my mother and stepfather.

We are not quite to the block the post office is on.

The snow is falling thick and heavy and my mother is wearing an ugly pair of boots that my stepfather got her–she hates them, but they are warm and she says nothing.

And I say nothing.

I am trapped between two adults choosing the path ahead for me with no say in the matter, my heart already broken by the move to Windsor and the loss of playing cello in the orchestra I had grown into and become so wildly fond of.

Mister Zeigler of Madison, Wisconsin, orchestra conductor for Gompers Middle School, where ever you are, however you are, I always have and always will owe you a great debt of gratitude for the gift of playing cello in your orchestra.

And for interceding on my behalf when my parents decided to pull me out.

My stepfather made that decision.

And so many others.

The one that was being made that cold snowy night was whether to allow me to take the advanced placement ACT test early as allowed certain students so that they could matriculate into upper level course in the highschool.






Why had I bothered even asking?

My stepfather would not hear my mom’s arguments in favor of and I was to be taught a lesson, so quickly learned, so hard to let go, that I was not allowed to ask.

That I was to be silenced.

My words.

My art.

My creativity.

My music.

You are not allowed to make noise.

Perhaps that is why having had now almost ten years of self-reflection and constant daily growth I grow loud in my dress at times and my voice, in my passion for life, in my need to create and love and dance and sing, even though often off-key.

“Go get yourself a cello,” he said.


I got my application out.

Now I can get my cello on.

The world.

It spins constant and continuous, and sometimes the orbit brings me back to an old standard and I get to listen to it anew and perhaps find a new way of introducing an old love to my life again.

I won’t silence myself.

Bring on the music.

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