Posts Tagged ‘teachability’

Rounding The Corner

April 10, 2016

Heading into home.

Almost there.

One more day and it’s a half day.

And I’m done with my reading and my papers, except the one due next week, but let me not go there quite yet.

One more day.

Then one more weekend of classes.

And a lot more papers.

Not too bad on the readings.

I won’t get too swept away in thinking about it.

I’m making it through and I had a good day.

I did not wake up on the wrong side of the bed today, in fact, I woke up pretty well rested all things considered, perhaps the most sleep I have managed to get on a school night since the beginning of my classes.

It wasn’t eight hours.

But it might have been seven.

Considering that most of the nights before I have class average five to six, this was big.

And I could feel it.

I didn’t feel rushed this morning.

I didn’t feel out of step.

I had a nice morning routine and I had a nice breakfast and a couple cups of coffee before heading out the door.

I called for a car.

I got to class almost 25 minutes before it began!

I wasn’t expecting to catch a ride so fast and the traffic was light.

It was actually rather nice to get to school early.

I put away my food and chatted with fellows in other cohorts, I heated up a third cup of coffee, yeah, like that, and I made my way to my first class.

I participated and I got to share some things that were challenging and difficult, but also really quite powerful and I got to see where I have grown.

I also had a much better dyad as the client today and I went into it with an attitude of how to best be of service to the situation.

Because this woman is not really my therapist.

She is my fellow cohort member, she is a student, she is there to learn just as much as I.

I think it went better and I didn’t feel quite so angry after leaving the session as I did yesterday.

I had a nice lunch with a couple of my classmates.

I drank tea with a professor and TA in between classes in the cafe.

I hugged another TA, of course I asked first, and made a nice connection with him.

We have friends in common.

And it is really edifying to have that connection with someone in my program.

A fellow amongst fellows.

So to speak.

The weekend is two-thirds done.

To think it was about a year ago, March 6th, that I received my acceptance letter to the school.

So much has changed since then.

I could not have forecasted the year and how it was to be in any way and it is a very powerful perspective to have.

One that I hold with great gratitude.

I really do show up.

I really do the work.

And there is other work that must be attended to as well.

I slipped into bed last night and just as I was falling asleep I had a little thought and an image sneak into my head.

The image was a bottle of rose wine and a wine glass on a table with a white cloth at an outdoor cafe.

Rose?

What the fuck?

I didn’t fucking drink wine when I was out there.

I did blow and swilled high end IPA’s and bitter ales.

I drank vodka martinis.

On the rocks.

Dirty.

Extra olives.

Blue cheese stuffed if you got them, bitches.

Rose?

That was never a choice I made.

Then the thought, sneaky little fucker, right as I am drifting off to sleep.

“Well, I’ll get good and drunk when the weekend is over.”

What the fuck?

Who put that there?

Oh.

Yeah.

My disease.

I’m not cured.

I have a reprieve.

But I haven’t had as much of that reprieve when I am in a school weekend and yeah, yesterday was long, I was cranky for no identifiable reasons (I found many during the day, but none of them quite stuck), of course my disease is going to pipe up.

When I am vulnerable.

On the cusp of sleep.

I actually shook myself awake, “no fucking way,” I said.

I opened my eyes, I looked up at the night sky out the back door of my studio and saw the sky, dark and vibrant and full of stars and said, “I don’t want to drink.”

And closed my eyes and fell promptly to sleep.

Arising only once before my alarm to go to the bathroom and pee.

I love my cup of tea at the end of the night, but it does facilitate getting up and using the bathroom during the night.

I got my sleep, though, and I checked in with my people on the car ride into class.

It was a good day.

And.

I have one day left.

A half day.

I’ll be out by 4 p.m.

Free to grab dinner somewhere or do the deal or both.

Free to breathe and stretch and walk around and not be sitting in a desk.

Free to be in awe and wonder that I am a graduate school student.

“OH, I have such big respect for psychologist’s,” my drive said tonight, then related a story about getting some much needed help when he was younger and in a bad spot in his life.

“Psychology saved my life,” he said, “you’re going to be a great psychologist.”

I hope so.

That may be in the future.

I had another idea for a possible dissertation topic regarding a theory on Mystification as it’s used in marketing and media to sell a certain kind of body to women and the constant reinforcing of the idea that women are not good enough, despite what they may believe, mystification, to sell products in a Westernized consumeristic culture.

Ahem.

Yeah.

I get ahead of myself.

“I’m going for my Master’s right now,” I said, “psychologist is not on my plate at the moment.”

“It will be, I can tell,” he said with complete assurance and conviction.

Grateful to hear that, even from a complete stranger on a rainy night giving me a ride home through the hilly streets of San Francisco.

The Universe has faith in me and for every small step I take.

Every moment I show up on time and prepared for class.

Every time I make myself vulnerable to the learning and having the humility to be teachable.

Well.

The Universe take a thousand steps towards me.

I am met.

I am held.

I am almost done with the weekend!

Now.

It’s tea time.

Excuse me while I unwind and get my last things done before my last day of classes for my second to last weekend of my first year of graduate school.

What am amazing journey it’s already been.

Luckiest girl in the world.

 

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Another Weekend Down

October 5, 2015

BAM.

Second full weekend of school, excluding the retreat (graduate school boot camp, remember), has now finished.

Of course there is the fall out.

The homework.

It is about to really begin.

I have a lot of papers that I have to do and a lot of reading that I have to do.

That is par for the course, of course.

I’ve got the paper for Human Development, the one for Therapeutic Communications, the one for psychoanalytic class, and now, yes, the one for T-Group.

I have four freaking papers plus I have to do a proposal for my Human Development class in regards to my final project.

Gack.

I got a message today, that I just read in my e-mail: “practice compassion for yourself, grad school is hard, graduate school to be a therapist is RIDICULOUSLY hard.

I laughed.

She was right.

It is hard.

The work load is heavy, but there was some relief today in that T-Group has officially finished.

Yes.

I have to write a big paper for the class.

And.

Yes.

I am sad that it is over.

And not sad.

Not sad at all.

Relieved.

As well that it is over.

Although I gleaned so much for it, so much learning, so much pushing of myself, so much finding the leading edge of who I am and pushing over the other side into territories completely unknown.

I also may have found my graduate school mentor, who is not my graduate school advisor–I haven’t met with him yet, although we exchanged some pleasantries the first weekend over orientation.

Nope.

My T-Group facilitator is the woman of whom I speak.

I approached her after, after having thanked her, thanked the group, and thanked myself, in a way, for showing up and doing the work and witnessing all the work, I imagine that was really hard to, to hold that space for all of us bumbling about as we learned how to do the work of self-investigation and how to resolve conflicts in relationships.

Relationship ruptures and repairs.

Of which I saw quite a few.

Of which I participated in a few.

I got to see where I have assumptions and how that colors my world view.

I also saw, yet again, it just keeps happening.

That I do not see myself the way that others see me.

“You are so smart.”

Yeah.

I know.

But.

I don’t know.

I know too, that there was a little projection onto the facilitator, which happens in group therapy work, the tendency to bring in the family of origin dynamics and play them out in front of the group, whether it is unconscious or not, and how the feelings for the facilitator also had something to do with a positive mother figure for me.

Someone who was unabashedly available to support me and my growth and my leaning without judgement.

And.

All the while seeing me.

“I see you,” she told me.

And.

I felt seen.

I don’t often.

All of that I take responsibility for, I don’t allow myself, even here, to be completely seen.

The fear of what it means to be vulnerable will often overwhelm me.

I could actually feel myself girding my loins, so to speak, and gilding the lily.

Not so much to speak.

But I put on a little mask today, I choose my weapons well and I knew I was doing it.

First, I put up the hair and I made it big.

Then I put on the eyes and made them big.

And.

I put on my favorite pair of tights that are black and have the lyrics to “Be My Little Baby” on them and a pair of blue jean shorts and a favorite shirt and I put on the big dangling earrings.

Meaning.

I put on the Carmen costume.

It’s a costume I know well and it comes complete with full cats eye makeup and eyeliner.

Because that is how I roll.

And I roll well.

My ego.

That is.

But it doesn’t mean that the mask didn’t slip or that I didn’t take it off.

I did.

The mask slipped right off the minute I opened my mouth.

I opened my mouth a lot.

I started off the group and I led with my feelings and I led with my heart.

I was my authentic person and I was more than my authentic person as I learned what else I needed to allow in to fully embrace all that is and was me in those moments.

There’s a lot of me.

A lot of feelings.

Vulnerability.

Love.

Gratitude.

Grief.

Acceptance.

Joy.

Ebullience.

Kindness.

Empathy.

Compassion.

Generosity of spirit.

Confusion.

Anger.

More sadness.

Grief.

Grief.

Grief.

Then.

LOVE AND MORE LOVE AND LOVE, LOVE, LOVE.

And maybe even a little more love.

There’s poetry.

That is one thing that I found out about myself and that I thanked my facilitator for–the acknowledgement of my language, the depth of my words, even that I make up words, but that they work, that I am able to negotiate my way through the world, at least through T-Group, but really, I do suspect, through the world, with aplomb, and beautiful words.

When the class ended I said I realized even more fully how much a poet I am.

The language of love.

The language of need.

The Eros of lack.

The desire to be full subsumed in language.

It is my intoxicant.

What I learned from T-Group was another way of communication.

Lead with my feelings, reflect to the person what I am feeling, let them know what the interaction brings up for me emotionally.

Then.

Give them feedback.

And if I need something, make a request.

Most often today it was being a mirror and opening space for my group members to reflect.

But I did do work and I could tell.

The tears they never fully stopped running down my face.

But.

I was not a completely ignorant warrior with my eye make up, the cat eye was elevated so my eyeliner did not run.

The tears flowed.

Like they so often do.

And I learned.

Oh.

Ever so much more.

And gratitude.

Well.

It continues to deepen each day I showed up and each day that I continue to show up.

For my life.

For this page.

For my recovery.

Is the perfect.

(dust)

Storm.

My life imperfection perfected.

Moves a pace.

Grace (full) like a cat.

And playful too.

That soft underbelly of my soul just there revealed, but not reviled.

That warm animal.

Me.

That soft hearted tenderness.

You.

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
For a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about your despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting —
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.

-Wild Geese, Mary Oliver

Out Of The Frying Pan

August 17, 2015

Into the fire.

Or intermediately into the fire?

I mean, I suppose the fire will be when I go to Burning Man, but wow.

It’s hot out there folks.

Today, my last day at the Noetic Institute up in Petaluma it hit 99 degrees.

Tomorrow, here in Glenn Ellen it will be 97 degrees.

That is warm.

At least for this San Franciscan lady.

I suppose it’s just preparation for the high temperatures I’m going to hit up in Black Rock City, so hey, might as well get used to it.

It, the heat, actually did not feel too bad for me.

And it wasn’t outside that I felt the most heat.

It was in the class room.

In the T-Group model that I spent a lot of time in today, all of today, and all of yesterday ( Friday and part of Thursday was well), and, dude, intense does not do it justice.

The good news is that I lived through it to tell the tale and I did not run, I did not hide.

Although, if I am honest, which I was not able to really sit down and do last night since I was still so thick in the heat of it, I did flee.

I, however, waited for the class to be done before I fled and I did not make a scene.

What I did not realize until I was almost in full-blown panic attack, was that I was having a panic attack.

I got myself to my dorm room and I swear I might have hyperventilated if I had stayed in my room.

I dashed out the dorm and tumbled down the steps.

I found a friend.

A dear.

Sweet.

Wonderful.

Amazing new friend.

And she walked with me to the dark of the hillside and let me spill it all out and have myself a good cry, and should you be wondering did I tell her about T-Group, no, I did not.

What happens in T-Group stays the fuck in T-Group.

I did however tell her about the flight or fight that came up for me, the deep shaming I experienced and the rush of anger that had preceded it.

I have not been that angry in so long I was not able to name the emotion for a moment.

I think it’s been a couple of years since I have experienced the level of anger that consumed me.

My skin got so hot I literally had and sustained a red flush on my chest and face for about 45 minutes, perhaps an hour.

I had so much adrenalin and so much blood coursing through my hands and chest and face, it was the most intense feeling and yes, that’s right, I got to have it again today.

But.

Not as bad.

And no panic attack this time.

The T-Group model, I believe, is meant to elicit an emotional response but what I saw was historical for me and I was triggered, and I hate, hate, hate that word, but that is what happened and I haven’t been triggered so hard before.

Ever.

I feel, in hindsight that it was happening, this build up, for a while, and I wasn’t able to name it.

I can name so many emotions, I have a veritable language bouquet of emotive feeling words that I can use and use them I do.

But anger?

I had no idea that it would take that much to get me to feel it, no, that’s not correct, I was getting signals from my body, but I chose to ignore them because I didn’t think they were such a big deal.

The small irritations that happened.

Annoyance that built and built and built and at some point boiled over.

What I learned was that I have to speak my mind much faster than what I think I do.

I have to express and lay a boundary–that’s a big part of the nature of the groups–way before I feel like I do.

I kept brushing it aside, the annoyance, the gnat of a feeling, go away, you’re not worth it.

And every time I ignored that feeling, out of fear of confrontation, which is another point of the T-Group-not to avoid conflict but to learn how to navigate through it– because of that fear I wasn’t sure I’d be able to control or navigate, it got bigger.

Doing the opposite of what the model was trying to teach me to do.

Until the explosion last night.

Which wasn’t seen by anyone other than my dear friend.

I suspect that people in my group were aware that I was really uncomfortable with the emotion and that I was straining to contain it, but no one knew the extent and what do we not do outside of the T-Group?

Process.

It all has to be done in the container the model provides.

So.

It erupted and there I was exhausted, wrung, blown open and I hadn’t even gone in for the night, and I still had to pack my bags–we had to have all of our things out of the dormitories by 9 a.m. when classes started.

I had originally thought, oh, if check out is at 9 a.m. then the classes end on Saturday.

Boy.

Was I wrong.

Classes were held today.

Granted they were truncated, for which I am so grateful, but we still had them all day long and our breaks for meals were cut into to accommodate the new schedule.

After breakfast.

Right to T-Group.

And there it was the trepidation, the fear, the anxiety.

I kept walking through it, I kept showing up for my group and I am so grateful I did.

But yes, in the afternoon the issue did come to a head and I was able to address it.

With a gallon of tears and the second hottest body temp of my experience–yesterday’s anger reaction prior to the panic attack being the hottest.

I got it out.

The conflict was resolved.

But.

I soaked through my shirt with sweat.

In an air-conditioned room.

I still can’t believe that happened.

And.

Yes.

I learned.

OH DID I LEARN.

Grateful for the learning lesson, grateful to be pushed so hard, grateful to also be held so securely and safely with my facilitator who help me to do the work without doing it for me.

I learned.

Teachability, what a gift.

I also got some fantastic feedback and a deep love and gratitude for the process.

Did I like it?

Hell fucking no.

Did I have the courage to walk through the fear and do the learning anyway?

Yes.

And just for that I know that I am going to be an amazing psycho-analyst.

I really am.

I still have so much to learn and do.

Oh Jesus, sweet baby Jesus, in the manager.

Do I have work to do.

Oh man, I have some papers to write and reading to do.

But.

I am well established.

I am on my way.

I am in it.

I through the fire.

It was hot.

I have been made the stronger for the forging.

And.

The steel was worthy of the flame.

Too Much

August 8, 2015

It’s just too much.

Fuck.

I just opened another attachment for school.

Who do these people think they are?

At 4:45p.m. on a Friday I receive an e-mail from one of the professor’s for the retreat saying how he expects everyone will have read all the materials for the first day of class on Monday and oh yeah, by the way, he’s updated the syllabus with additional readings and another book.

Which needs to be read by the start of class.

Fuck you man.

I mean.

It’s Friday, the retreat starts in two days, you want me to go out and get another book and have that read in addition to the reader and the book I already have for the class.

Are you smoking crack?

And then.

A breath.

Some perspective.

I’m not going to have the reading finished.

I’m just not.

I will have a lot of it done.

I will have more done than some of the folks in my cohort, who apparently have been having a challenging time getting the course readers.

Yo.

Walk, drive, MUNI your ass down to Copy Central at Mission and 2nd and get a nice fat, heavy surprise.

It’ll cost about $208 and weigh in around 32 lbs.

Happy retreat!

Who’s idea is it to call this a retreat?

Fuck.

I opened another attachment that was sent around 5 p.m.

Apparently all bases better get covered since it starts in less 48 hours, this one with more pertinent information about arriving and protocol for the facility and the likes.

Oh.

And hey, there’s the schedule for the week.

Oh my God.

Oh my God.

Fuck.

(This blog should not be further read by any one easily offended by profanity)

Fuckity fuck fuck fuck.

The check in for the retreat is between 3pm and 4pm on Sunday.

Then there’s 4 hours, no wait, I just checked, 5 hours of meetings.

Ack.

So much for relaxing into the environment or doing any last-minute reading for the week.

I will squeak it in somewhere I promise.

Then the real deal starts Monday, as I said, retreat my ass, this is not a retreat, its graduate school boot camp.

I feel like I’ll be doing mental push ups until I puke up my hastily eaten organic locally sourced breakfast.

Classes start every day of the retreat at 9:15 a.m. and they end?

When.

What?

Did I see that, let me check again.

Oh.

FUCK ME.

At 9:15 p.m.

Every day.

EVERY DAY.

I know, I’m hollering at you, I’m sorry, I’m fucking freaking out.

“They do this to you,” my person said to me last night as we sat and talked about what graduate school first semester was going to be like, “they do it to everyone, they don’t actually expect that you are going to be able to read all the assigned readings, you’ll learn what’s important, you’ll learn to skim, you’ll pick it up.”

I guess.

All I’m picking up right now is my heart off the floor.

I was excited this morning.

Then the excitement faded.

Then, and this may be the first time I have said it, I said out loud, “what was I thinking?”

Meaning.

Really?

Graduate school, what was I thinking.

Hey listen I heard Mark Zuckerberg and his wife are expecting their first baby and um, I’m a hella good nanny, and I live in San Francisco and hey, want to hire a fabulous nanny?

I come with great references.

I really wanted to crawl into my shell today, retreat back into the world of nannying and just be a person amongst little people.

Le sigh.

I know that’s not the solution.

I know it’s not.

I know this is what I’m supposed to be doing.

I know it.

But man, I have to say it, I’m scared.

I’m not out of my league, I know I can do this, it’s just, well, it’s a lot and I knew it was going to be a lot, but wow, it’s a lot.

Then.

I ran into two pivotal people in my life tonight.

Two people who meant so much to me about 10 1/2 years ago.

One a woman who approached me in the basement of a church on 18th and Dolores (now intriguingly enough the new Children’s Day School middle school annex, where my little guys will eventually end up as they are both currently enrolled in pre-school and kindergarten) and asked me how I was doing and when I said I was fine and burst into tears she took me out to coffee at Dolores Park Cafe and changed my life forever.

She looked amazing.

It’s been almost eight years since I have seen her.

It was a total surprise and I whipped off the sweatshirt that was on the chair next to me and offered it to her.

My heart just over full with gratitude and joy to see her, hug her, smile into her eyes.

Then.

A man came in, homeless, after the cup of coffee, the sweeties on the counter, but he stayed and he spoke up and holy shit.

I knew him too.

He did not look good.

He looked like rough trade.

And my heart broke open listening to him.

I had met him that my second day going back to that same church basement, scared to walk through the door, he welcomed me, showed me a place at the table, showed me the ropes, became my friend.

And was in utter awe of the man.

And.

Not to put too fine a point on it, I had a flaming hard crush on him.

“Whatever gets you to go,” she would tell me, “one day you’ll look back and be amazed at who you used to find attractive.”

Oh man, was she right.

Without wanting to, I spoke up, I had to.

I shared.

I shared my solution and my gratitude and about starting graduate school on Monday, even if I don’t have all the stuff read and I feel utterly unprepared for this next step, I know I can and I will show up.

The man cam up to me after and said congratulations.

I said, “it’s really good to see you, I’m glad you stayed.”

“You don’t remember me do you?” I asked, trying to not let the tears well up in front of him, oh my poor sweet friend.

“I do, I do remember you, you look amazing, you’ve changed so much, I well, you know, Sarah and I we got kind of crazy, then got it back together and moved to Seattle and things were really good (SARAH!  Fuck I forgot about you too, my friend, I hope you are better off love, wherever you are, however you are, you have my love) and then, well, people started dying and I started using again, and now, well, five days.”

I leaned up and hugged his gaunt frame, “stay, just stay.”

He crushed me in a hug then ran out the door.

He was gone by the time I hit the sidewalk.

It’s not too much what I have.

I am so fortunate and so fucking lucky.

Oops.

More of that profanity.

I may be overwhelmed sometimes, but I have been told and I completely believe it, that God does not give me more than I can handle.

It would appear that I can handle this then.

Grateful for the opportunity to feel overwhelmed.

Grateful for graduate school and a stranger who took me out to coffee ten and half years ago and changed the course of my life.

Forever.

So grateful.

I can’t even breathe.

Oh wait.

Yes.

There.

I can.

I will.

I am.

Your Assignment

July 30, 2015

Should you so accept.

Is to.

Have fun.

Aw.

Man.

Really?

I’m sorry, didn’t you see that gigantic stack of reading I have to do on the table in my little kitchen area–which is also now my study area/work desk/cry in my coffee and stress area.

No.

Fun is out of the question.

“I think you shouldn’t do any reading the weekend,” he said to me at the Church Street Café this evening as lay my head down on the table and the tears seeped out of my eyes.

I sat back up.

“That’s not an option,” I said.

In fact, as I was leaving my domicile this evening to take the N-Judah to Church and Duboce I walked out the door as the mail man was delivering another textbook to my house.

Five down.

Two to go.

And this sucker was a big one.

I spent about an hour and a half reading this afternoon after running some errands and grocery shopping.

Yes, people, I did sleep in.

And yes it was glorious, but at some point the call of the bed faded to the call of breakfast and I got up and went on my merry way.

I was supposed to be harkening to the call of fun, but I did not answer the door when it called.

Instead it took me 90 minutes to read 30 pages in the text-book for Human Development.

I had looked at the syllabus and thought, oh hey, only three chapters to read in this one, no biggie, I can totally knock that out before I go meet my person at Church at Market at 6:30p.m. in fact, I may even have time to sneak up to Whole Foods and grab a couple of things that I couldn’t get between Outer Avenues, my food co-op up on 44th and Judah, and Safeway.

But no.

That’s not what happened.

I was barely able to finish one chapter, truth be told, I did not actually finish the chapter.

The chapter was 50 pages.

The three chapters are composed of 150 pages, slightly longer than I had first surmised.

And I’m still thinking in novel size books, not text books, this tome I was reading, is just that, a tome.

It is a big hefty ass book.

If it were an ass it would be callipygian.

I digress.

The book is a text-book, the language is scholarly, and again, I am finding that the concepts are not beyond my grasp, but that I have to read with a different kind of eye, that I have to slow down and make sure that I am absorbing the ideas.

There are a lot of ideas going on.

And there are a lot of words on the page.

I would say double what a novel is and so, yeah, it’s taking me longer.

I have to remind myself, too, that I am not in the reader mode yet, I am discovering what I need to do, how I  need to sit, where I need to sit for that matter.

How I read.

I mean, yes, I do have an undergraduate degree, but it was in English Literature and well, people I’m a fiction reader, so the reading for that was not so difficult, nor arduous.

I’m reading literal ideas and thoughts, it’s not so much a narrative, but a fact gathering, complying, and understanding.

I’m also getting a very holistic, as in whole picture, view of what my field is going to be covering.

Ultimately I will be a therapist and I am certain that the skills really necessary to have are not going to all come out of a text-book; however, they are going to be based there and the knowledge needs to be firmly implanted in my brain.

I made the decision while reading the text-book for my Human Development course that I was going to need to go back and actively read the text with a notebook and answer the questions that were coming up in the material–it’s summarized at the end of each section with some tidy little bits of what you’ll need to know, and although I got the gist of the material, I couldn’t spit it right back out.

I’m going to either read all the chapters and then re-read them with a notebook or start from the beginning and re-read using a notebook.

Fortunately, I have some.

Notebooks that is.

I picked up some today while I was out doing my grocery shopping.

Four glitter notebooks.

I’m not sure what that says about me.

But I feel that Freud would approve.

And if not Freud, that anal motherfucker, perhaps Erickson.

I feel a plethora of new knowledge getting slid into my brain and despite not knowing how to accommodate it all and how that it’s all going to get in there, I do enjoy learning and I am grateful that I am going to continue to grow in my knowledge base and to continue to be teachable.

So that, ultimately, I can be of service.

That’s where it’s at.

Irony?

I have to enjoy my life a little too.

I need to strike a balance.

I need to have some fun in there.

I may play hooky, for real tomorrow and figure out what that is going to look like and how I will be flexible enough to let it in, the fun that is.

I have been given this suggestion before and I absolutely do need to implement it.

I may not go off camping, although there is a narrow percentage of possibility on my plate, so if I don’t, I need to do something here in town–go to the DeYoung, see the Turner Exhibit; go to Free Gold Watch and play pinball; go to  a matinée–when I was the last time I went to a movie in the middle of the day?

Or take the ferry out to Sausalito and play tourist.

That is always something I enjoy doing.

Fun will be had.

Damn it.

Let it begin now.

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.

Done.

But not done.

Oh.

Wait.

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

Fuck.

When the hell am I going to do that.

Ok.

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

Fuck.

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.”

Oh.

Um.

What’s a pdf?

Ok.

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.

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.

Ha.

Wide Awake

November 1, 2014

I knew I was going into dangerous territory and I did it anyway.

I had an energy drink.

I cannot recall the last time I had one, granted it was sugar-free, I am still rocking that no sugar thing, but it was highly caffeinated.

More so than I have been in some time and I should be in bed, should be sleeping, should be making out, should be doing something.

However, I have been dropped off and left to my own devices.

Which is fine.

Strange.

Not exactly how I thought tonight would end, but not uncomfortable, just curious.

Things don’t have to go the way I think they should or might for them to be exactly perfect.

Tonight was exactly perfect.

Meaning everything happened for a reason.

Everything didn’t happen for a reason.

There was some awkwardness tonight on the date, and it could have been any number of reasons, being out in a large group of people, it’s Halloween, we are seeing each other for the third time in one week, expectations, who knows.

There was a lack of connection, a wall went up, and I wondered, what did I do wrong?

Then I realized, what ever is happening, or again, not quite happening, almost, but the reservation, the distraction, it wasn’t something I was doing, it was just what it was.

Life.

Dating.

Humanity.

It was quiet.

It was restrained.

There was a space, and better, better described, there was a space between, although, again, the drawing in, that weakening at times.

I actually wished we were alone to just keep being around one another.

I felt awkward and I realize that a lot of that had to do with the venue, a big dance party with a lot of people is challenging, and we are new at being around one another.

I also recognized something tonight that I was already doing without realizing it, not taking action around dating in general, more than one person, I was told to get out there with a bunch of guys.

Not mess around so much, but date more than one person.

It’s been a one person week.

And maybe that’s too much focus on one man.

Although I cannot fathom kissing anyone else.

Riding home tonight there was a lot of silence.

I didn’t feel uncomfortable with it, curious, but not so much so that I felt I needed to plumb some psychological depths, not my place, not my desire.

Quiet time, a quiet moment, can be just as loud as a brisk conversation, much can be said.

I felt finally drawn in as we drifted down Lincoln Ave, hand in hand, my head on his shoulder, watching the sky flash by, the tree tops, the bottoms of the clouds glazed with light from the street lamps, a scrap of cloud, the moon smothered behind low clouds dropping into the horizon.

There is a magnetism I feel with this man, and also a push a way, a step back, a pausing that I was standing still for, waiting to see what would happen.

I want more.

I need more time.

Time to sit.

Time to hold hands.

I already know I want to sleep with him, that I don’t feel is the question, it’s the space between.

The languor in my skin and the tightening of muscles in my arms, the electric pull, where there are no thoughts or doubts, just connection.

And if there is not space for that, then there shouldn’t be space for anything further.

I should pause.

Let the room breathe, let myself breathe, move easy, thick, honey slow, open up, see what is unfolding, make no judgements or myself, my process, of the learning that is happening.

“You go on dates to learn,” he told me. “Not about him, but about you.”

What have I learned?

That this thing is hard.

That being drawn to someone is real and illusive all at the same time.

Raw and intimate.

And then distant and distracted.

I cannot know another’s thoughts or desires and I am learning what mine are.

I want to be wanted.

I can see that.

I want to be beautiful and desired.

What woman does not?

I want to be with a partner.

I don’t want to write that.

It feels like a jinx.

But that’s what I went into the bathroom to pray for, direction, guidance, how to show up for him and be of service to the situation.

I wasn’t sure I even needed to pee when I went to the bathroom, but I felt confused and needed to just take a moment and breathe and sit quietly and ask for direction.

How do I show up and be myself and not push for something more than is available?

How do I bring without taking or expecting.

I surrender.

I had a wonderful date.

It really was good.

Don’t let me fool you into thinking that I didn’t have an awesome time.

It was just different from I expected and that’s ok.

I don’t need to figure it out.

I danced.

I laughed.

I had some wonderful food and saw friends that I don’t get to see very often.

I held hands and kissed a man I am deeply attracted to.

There was more silence than I expected, but that doesn’t mean things weren’t communicated.

Things were.

I understand.

And there is nowhere to go, no conclusion to have, no outcome to be forced.

I spent time with someone I like, at the end of the day, at the end of the song when there is just the final note fading off, a reverberation of feeling, my head on his shoulder, holding hands, driving down Lincoln Avenue with the wash of deep indigo sky and the ragged black of eucalyptus trees swaying in the air blowing by.

There was intimacy.

Touch.

Contact.

And that is rare.

Uncommon.

Fine.

I don’t need to ask for more than that.

Even when I wanted more kisses at the end of the night.

There is something to be said for leaving wanting more.

And I have a feeling.

More will be revealed.

It usually is.

 

Not My Day Today

July 10, 2014

But not altogether not, not my day.

If that makes sense.

It was a long day and I realize that it’s also been an emotional thing, going back to work, showing up, being present for the boys, and they are such lovely boys, that and the pain that accompanies me while at work.

And the fact that the little guy is teething.

Hard.

Really hard.

Worst teething reaction I have experienced with a charge, worst.

Poor baby is cutting molars that look like gigantic Lego pieces in his gum line.

He can’t sleep.

He doesn’t want to eat much.

He’s fractious because he can’t sleep, the pain of the teething wakes him up.

I can only give him so much Tylenol or risk him getting ill from that.

So, I wore the fuzzy pink sweater and he spent a lot of time nuzzled into that today.

My other little guy was awesome and sweet and a good little egg and helped by playing with his toys and not demanding a lot of extra attention.

It was loud and noisy at the house too as the construction continues and the door opens and shuts and the workers come and go and I am just out of my element with the whole thing.

So yeah, when I asked for a raise for working the Burning Man event this year and it did not go over so well, I felt like the last nail in the coffin of my week was hammered home.

I won’t get what I asked for but I will get a raise.

I have to.

My cost of living is just higher than it’s ever been before and not having asked for a raise ever needs to change.

Of course I am all invested in the outcome.

Of course I have already figured out I can do the event without getting a raise, should it come to that, I can eke it out for the month of September.  But why?  Work really hard, harder than I do now, and make less.

Yeah.

I know, I am at Burning Man, yay.

But the fact is I am tied to my job and I like working hard and so there’s that, and I know that there are a lot of privileges I receive from working the even the way I have, I am not inured to those things, nope.

But its work.

Hard work.

Long hours.

Hot days.

Dirty work.

Rewarding work.

But emotionally, physically, spiritually exhausting.

Sometimes I wonder if I go through with it all so that I get to have the classic playa meltdown and thereafter allow myself to indulge in some spiritual intoxication when it is all resolved.

If, perhaps, I am getting high off the anxiety and the stress of doing my job so that I can get an adrenalin fix through the drama of it.

What ever it is I have to trust that a. I will go to Burning Man and b. I will get paid what I need to make it by.

I love being a nanny at Burning Man.

There is something special and unique in the service that I give by going out there and taking care of a child.  I get some ego hits off that too, I am aware of it, I like being special and unique.

I do.

I love being Mary Fucking Poppins.

I love the look on people’s faces when I tell them what I do while I am there.

I love that I am good at what I do.

I take pride in it.

I hate, however, asking for what I need.

It is hard and I already have this idea that I am privileged by getting the experience that I get to have, staying where I stay, seeing the people I see, having a sort of all access pass to the back stage working of one of the greatest, if not the greatest show, on earth.

But this lady has to pay the rent too.

So.

Yeah.

It didn’t quite go as I wanted, but I know what I am worth, so I asked.

I thought I wasn’t attached to the results, and it turns out, shocker, that I am.

That’s ok too.

Burning Man is about art and creation and lest we all forget, hoping and wishing that the playa will provide, it is also about radical self-reliance.

I find that has to stretch past the event into my daily life, I have to be fully self-supporting to the best of my abilities, I have to take care of the home fires while sitting around the fires at the event.

I think I am now off into rambling land with this blog.

But I know I have some inventory to write, some patterns to change, some letting go of defects, and a whole lot of acceptance to work through.

Yippee.

Pause for a moment, must flip the bag of peas on my ankle.

Yup.

Still needing to rest, ice, compress, and elevate the ankle.

And this to shall pass.

Everything is alright.

I just had a day.

They happen.

I have made it half way through the week, two more days to go.

It’s all going to be just fine.

I know it.

Grateful for inventory and other people’s perspective and that I still get to learn something about myself and what an awesome way to learn.

I get to go to the best classroom on Earth.

Black Rock City.

I’ll be seeing you in the dust soon.

With or without a pay raise.

But definitely in with some glitter.

Jeebus and the Big Poop

May 29, 2014

“JeeeeeSusss!”

“JeeeeSusss!”

“JeeeeeSusss!”

He ran around the kitchen giggling like a maniac and hollering out “Jesus” at the top of his lungs.

“Shh, honey, that’s enough,” but I sort of had a grin in my voice and I could not even take myself seriously.

“Jesus!”

He looked up at me, “Jesus?!”

“JESUS!”

“Ok, that’s it, no more,” I hesitated, is it a curse word?

It was said like a profanity, he overheard it in the stroller at the corner of Stanyan and Waller by a woman walking across the street who got startled by a turning car.

It’s not like he was saying “fuck!”

Or damn it or shit or douche bag.

Nope.

He was just taking the lords name in vain and it was making me laugh.

But I also didn’t want the mom to come home to her two-year old son running around saying, “Jesus!” loud, proud, and bold.

It turns out it was ok, though,he had a change-up pretty immediately.

“Big poop!”

Ok.

I know what to do about that one.

I scooped him up and took care of business.

My two-year old charge has got a vocabulary to beat the band and he’s talking and telling stories and occasionally making up words that when we carry on a conversation will make perfect sense, then I catch myself, what are we talking about?

There are lots of conversations about airplanes, his biggest obsession.

And then many more about the train that he got for his birthday.

He got a lot of amazing toys.

Toys that I sometimes want to sit down and play with.

Most of the time, though, I am just trying to keep them out of the mouth of the 16 month old, who is getting better about putting floor snacks in his mouth, but he does still have a tendency to revert to getting his fiber from the carpet fuzz.

I don’t swear in front of my charges, but other people do.

Kids do.

Adults do.

Sometimes I want to be the school yard monitor and tell someone to pipe the heck down, see, I said heck, but I tend to keep my comments to myself.

It’s been a good week with the boys and I feel like I have my mojo back after a rocky start to the week.  Which wasn’t really rocky, it was just getting back into the flow after the big music festival weekend and all the travelling.

Next stop.

Wisconsin.

Although, I might, actually I better book that now, get a little road trip with a friend who is leaving for a very long, cross-country road trip from here to New York at the end of June.

We compared notes as he will be somewhere in the Midwest around the time that I will be in Wisconsin.

But not quite at the same time.

So, a small road trip on the back of his “new” motorcycle that he got to do the cross country ride.

We talked about heading down to Santa Cruz and doing the boardwalk.

Which I have never done.

I’ve been down to Santa Cruz twice since I have lived in California.

Neither time did I hit the boardwalk.  There could be some fun to be had there. And it seems the perfect distance for a ride on a motorcycle.

Not too long, but long enough and along the gorgeous Pacific Ocean.

I am in.

My friend who I bought the scooter from, said scooter that is working, thank you very much, suggested we might also make the trip down to Santa Cruz as well on our scooters.

Not quite sure about doing that yet, but I did get my scooter over 40 mph when we went out riding.

He came over Monday afternoon and I showed him how I was starting it and he checked it over, including the fender, which he pulled out a little more and said that the cost to repair it was going to be nada, and basically I was doing two small things that weren’t working to my advantage in getting the scooter started.

And voila!

Vroom!

Started right on up.

I was over choking the engine and he suspects that I was putting too much oil in the gas tank when I had topped it off.

So I ran out the gas and when I got back to the neighborhood after our riding adventure I took it down to the gas station a few blocks away, filled it up ($3.00 even) and added half the oil I had been.

Running like a top.

It’s still vintage and old, so I may have to fiddle about, but it works and it, the problem, was not the scooter, but me.

We took our rides out, he has a brand new white Vespa, and my old vintage black Vespa, and got lots of looks and thumbs up and whistles.

It was fun.

We went up the coast just a tiny bit, hitting Lands End, which I probably hadn’t been to in years, parked, sat and watched the ocean and the sky, the Golden Gate Bridge spanning the bay and I gave him a big hug.

It’s really good to have friends.

We soaked up the ambiance of San Francisco, then hopped back on the scooters, headed down the Great Highway we got up to 40 mph and I got to feel how fast that is.

Truth be told, I have taken it up to 40 a couple of times on Lincoln Avenue, keeping with the speed of traffic, but it was different being on the Great Highway and I appreciated knowing what it felt like.

A stop for coffee at Java Beach on Sloat, then we rode up through Portola and over Twin Peaks.

Holy shit batman.

I never thought I would be taking a scooter up and over Twin Peaks, my own scooter, with me driving it.

The wind was fierce and I probably said Jeebus under my breath a few times, truth be told, but fortunately, I did not have a big poop.

I did feel like peeing my pants once or twice, but made it over without any bodily fluids being split.

It was pretty exciting.

And I am ever so grateful to continue to learn and grow.

Sometimes I feel like the two-year old discovering all there is to discover.

Sometimes I feel like running around and yelling “JESUS!” at the top of my lungs.

Good thing some one taught me to use my inside voice a little while back.

 

 

 

The Learning

February 10, 2014

It never ends.

I don’t believe I will get proficient at anything anymore.

I don’t have that much time.

I do hope, and at times I even believe, that I have become proficient at the blogging.

It does not mean that the blogging is always good, it just means that I have a sort of system and I stick to it.  Just by doing the showing up to the empty screen every day for over three and a half years now has taught me, how to, well, show up.

That is pretty much what I did today.

I showed up.

I did not talk myself out of it, although when I made the transfer from the N-Judah to the 22 bus line I just about wanted to.

The bus smelled like stale spilt beer, wet dog, and homeless guys.

The windows were smogged over with steam and half the seats were wet from the windows that must have all been open when the rain really began to come down today.

But I showed up any way, finding my way to the studio, Coconuts & Avocado’s, on 15th at Folsom Street.

The music was going in the back ground and the band were dancing in a stage area and there were big lights and people rushing about and my employer who had asked me earlier this week to assist her.

She was working on makeup for one of the female singers and invited me to take a look around.

One of the female singers, already in full makeup, who was having her hair done in another chair, asked me to go video tape the guys doing their dance routine and I happily did, taking her phone and finding a spot on the floor positioned between some scaffolding and huge white screens.

The PAs and PDs and the assistant to the assistant and the PM and the Director all scurrying about the set with blue scrub stockings on their feet so as to not besmirched the clean white set, it was really fun and intense and goofy and neat.

Yeah, I said neat.

It was neat.

It was also a job, a lot of people had been up all night making sure the art design team had all the sets done, and the make up and the hair team was coordinating with the wardrobe team and the director intent upon what the camera man was doing and showing the band how she wanted them to move.

I felt like a sponge.

Soak it up lady.

I don’t know the exact particulars of how I learn, but I learn a lot just by observing and taking it all in.  I have a great memory and the opening of the eyes, the ears, and the intent on taking as much in as I can get has always served me well.

My first task as assistant to the lead make up artist was to blot sweat off one of the male band members brow and hair-line.

I actually did not do any make up today.

But I learned a lot about it.

A whole lot.

Mostly by watching and asking a few questions and being willing to learn.

The things I did do were small and, to my mind, meaningless, but as it turns out, to others invaluable.

“I asked you because you are professional and you show up and you show up on time with a good attitude,” my boss said.

“You would not believe the people who come in and are cranky to be working, 50% of the job is just being nice and relaxed around the client.”

I probably know this at some basic levels, I think I have always.

If you make the client comfortable then you are more likely to be asked to return.

If you act like it is a privilege to be there, then you will be asked to return.

I am good at these things and though I have often down played them as not really negotiable talents, I realize that they are–not everybody is adept at being a people person.

Aside from being Miss Congeniality, I also held some make up for the main artist as she was on set, cleaned up a little, helped the Art Director procure some things for a set, told the band member where the bathroom was, offered my experience going to Burning Man to one of the female singers, and just tried to be helpful where ever I could, tidying here and there, putting people at ease when I could.

I think my shining moment was seeing one of the guys in the band sweating pretty profusely and having anticipated he was going to need to be wiped down, was waiting in the wings of the set.

He walked off, trying to not wipe of his face on his shirt sleeve, while looking around the set.

I stepped forward out of the wing and offered him the napkins to blot his face.

That was it.

No biggie.

But it felt nice and I realize that really, at its most basic,  so much for me gets to be done with a smile and a small bit of anticipation of what may need to be addressed.

I was also invited to assist again with the makeup and next time do a little bit more.

I did not get paid for the work.

I got some snacks and $15 for a hot dinner and a MUNI ride home.

I got, however, paid in spades with experience and a budding new community of connections and possible future work.

I also met a new, to me, band, Lucius, who are frankly awesome and I will be downloading their album here shortly after posting this blog.

I learned a lot about makeup.

I leaned about how to do a better baby doll eye lash then the ones I have done before, I watched how the make up artist did airbrushed foundation on the legs of the female singers, I saw what you really need to have a decent kit, I got some great instruction on lip lining and foundation and where to go if I want to pursue this line of fun.

I got to hang out with female singers and listen to them sing 90s pop songs in the wardrobe and make up area.

I got to meet a new set of people.

I even ran into someone who had just started working there as a production assistant whom I had not seen since before I left for Paris.

“What are you doing here!” She exclaimed and jumped up and down and squeezed me and I knew, too, that I might have just been there to help ease some anxiety for her in a new job.

That was a cool and unexpected thing to get to be a part of.

So many things to learn.

I don’t know that I will ever find out all things about any one subject, but it sure is fun to be a Jill of all Trades in this world and to be looked upon as someone who does a good job and is worth investing the time into.

And to get to see the inside of a really cool music video.

Not a bad way to spend a Sunday.

Not bad at all.


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