Posts Tagged ‘therapist’

It Was The Best of Times

September 10, 2022

It was the worst of times.

This Burning Man was the best and the hardest and the most magical and connected and hottest and Jesus fucking christ on a pogo stick, the worst entry and exodus I have had.

And.

I can’t wait to do it again.

Next year I will have all the things.

And do many of the things differently.

First.

No more tenting.

I’m figuring out a better way.

I just can’t do the dust coffin again.

I’m too old, and frankly, for the first time, truly ever, I can afford better accomodations.

I’m not saying I’m about to go out and buy an Airstream.

But I think I can swing a little camper trailer.

This burn I literally put up and took down my camp three times.

It was a disaster.

Fortunately.

I had a lot of lovely neighbors at my camp help me out.

And that was a learning lesson in humility.

I do not like asking for help.

I like helping.

I am really fucking good at helping others.

But asking for help?

Not so much.

I had to ask.

And ask a lot more than I was comfortable with.

I also had no choice.

Like.

When I got sick and had to go to the medics.

I had severe heat exhaustion, vomited, had hideous stomach cramps, dizziness and lightheadedness.

I knew I wasn’t doing well, but until I threw up I thought I was muddling along ok.

This literally happened my first day.

I still can’t believe I wound up in the medical tents on the first day I was there.

And thank god I let myself be taken.

I joked that my first “gift” on playa was a bag of fluids.

But really, thank God.

I didn’t realize how sick I was until I was in the tents.

And the beautiful, sweet people who took me there and sat with me there and helped me get back to camp were angels.

The next day I got to experience a playa miracle when a person who I barely knew magically provided a new tent for me.

Oh, wait, I left that part out.

In a nutshell, I land on playa Friday night at midnight, in a white out dust storm, Gate is closed, I sit for four hours before I finally get to Will Call to pick up my ticket and vehicle pass.

Then I spend an hour finding camp because none of the signs are up and I keep missing it.

Find camp around 5a.m., sit on the corner waiting for anyone to stir to find out where I am located, around 6:30a.m. some folks start getting up, figure out where I’m supposed to be camp, get somewhat situated, connect with the friend I’m setting up camp with, help him get settled and get shade structure up, start to get worried around noon as I haven’t gotten my own tent set up and it’s getting hot and I feel a dust storm coming (enough time on playa you can sometimes sense that shit in the wind), unravel may tent and start crying.

The “upgraded” new tent I had splurged on was a mesh top.

OHMYFUCKINGGOD kill me know.

I bought a dust coffin.

But with no other options.

I set up said dust coffin.

Storm sets in.

Sequester in dust coffin, try to nap, in a my dust mask and goggles and basically I could have just been on the open playa, there was so much dust, I was covered.

I might have slept an hour.

Maybe.

Which is why when I got sick, I got so sick, I had’t really slept in 36 hours, that and not enough food (I actually had been drinking a lot of water) led to the heat exhaustion, plus, well, duh, the heat.

So.

I’m telling my story about the multiple vans I had cancel on me, three separate reservations that all canceled on me and how I had to take my tiny Fiat and make the drive and basically halve the things I was bringing and I didn’t stage my tent and fuck my life, dust coffin, and the folks I was sitting with the next day commiserate, they’d had van cancellations too, and then.

HOLY SHIT.

My friend’s boyfriend goes behind the magic curtain and comes back with a tent, the same tent I used to use, so I know how to set it up, and it’s weather proof–no mesh top, no dust sifting down from the ceiling, “I’ve got a spare, you can use it,” he says.

So, I tore down dust coffin, and set up a new tent.

Two camp set ups in two days, extreme heat exhaustion, long wait to get in, not even on playa a day and a half and I thought, wow, this is really intense.

And it got wierder.

Harder.

Dustier.

And, as always, more magical in ways I could never expect.

I met and connected with new friends.

I reconnected with old friends.

I missed seeing a bunch of folks I for sure thought I was going to see.

I randomly bumped into someone I hadn’t seen in 8 years as I was pulling out on my bicycle from one art piece to head to another.

I got to go on an art car I have always dreamed of getting onto and rode one of the amazing mechanical carousel horses on it.

I danced.

One day, lost in a dust storm, shocker, I know, dust storms, I found myself so far beyond the area I was looking for that I just tried to find shelter to ride it out and stumbled upon a very, very, very lavish camp.

They had amazing music, and, holy shit, A/C.

I mean.

Fuck.

A huge common tent with A/C being piped into it.

There was also a lot and I do mean, A LOT, of drugs being very openly consumed.

I did not give a fuck.

I was sheltered in A/C dancing to amazing music.

I was never offered anything and I didn’t want anything and I didn’t care that there was so much wealth on display, all I did was, every once in a while, stop someone who was cavorting to ask for a water.

I was kept well hydrated and I danced for over three hours until the storm passed.

Then merrily took my tired knees back across playa on my bicycle.

I got to see my original poems hung up in the Museum of No Spectators, that brought big walloping tears to my eyes.

I had secret dream when I was young to see my art in a museum.

I was blown away by that.

Later in the week, with friends and family-an uncle on my father’s side of the family, I walked in my cap and gown and had a dear friend and the architect who designed the art piece, hood me in a graduation ceremony.

It was profound and moving and it meant an awful lot to me.

I also, promptly, got lost on the way back and wound up taking over an hour to find my way back.

Surreal to get lost in a place that I have been to so many times.

I star gazed in deep playa.

I cried in the middle of an art piece that moved me beyond words.

I danced in line waiting for ice.

I met a lot of international folks.

I got to know folks at my camp on a deeper more meaningful and intimate manner than I have ever experienced.

I don’t know how to write about one of the things that happened at camp that profoundly affected me without making it about me and I have been wondering for days about whether I would even write about it, or write a blog at all about Burning Man this year, though I have wanted to process it (my damn therapist had to cancel this week) but I do want to mention it lightly with respect and grace over drama.

I witnessed a death.

I was a first responder and performed CPR.

I was not a hero, but I was present and I am so very grateful that I was of service in the moments I was there.

I was also in shock at what had happened.

I leaned into people at my camp.

And I let myself cry when I could.

I only told a few people about what had happened.

Most of what I talked about was very minimal.

There was one person who heard the whole story, had been there when I walked out of the trailer stunned, held me as I shook with silent sobs and took very kind care of me.

I witnessed the camp come together in a way that stays with me, and I suspect, will always stay with me, to honor that person who passed and hold space for all those affected.

I told a woman who was there in the depths of the experience with me that this camp, which I had camped with twice prior, was now my camp for good, I was a member and I wanted a service position, I would be attending the business meeting and picking one up, commit to coming back, camp with them and be of service.

She welcomed me and suggested something to me and the next day I was elected to that position.

So.

I am going back next year, and every foreseeable year I can.

And I stayed, of course, I stayed, for the Temple burn.

Man burn was amazing and fun and I love me some pyro, yes, yes I do.

Temple was sweet, a touch sad, but not as forlorn as I have experienced it the few times I had been prior.

Honestly, I have only seen two Temple burns.

This burn was soft and sweet and though tears slid down my face a few times, it was not the horrendous vomiting of grief that I experienced after putting my best friends ashes in the Temple my first year.

Sidebar.

Yes. I do, now, know, that ashes are not welcomed there, but I was not aware of that at the time I went in 2007 for my first burn.

I can’t take those back.

And my best friend is always out there for me.

As I packed up my tiny car and got ready to sit in exodus for 6.5 hours, had I fucking known, ugh, I heard music from the camp next to me and I burst into tears.

You always get me at the end Burning Man, don’t you?

It was my friend’s favorite song playing.

It was like getting a soft kiss on my forehead, like he used to do, as I left the burn and headed home.

Tears wet on my face.

Gratitude for the intensity and the humility and the deep connections I made.

Shit.

I didn’t even tell you about the sauna in an Airstream I got to have, but I’ll save that for another day.

It is late.

And I have sleep to catch up on still.

I’ll see you in the dust next year.

You can’t get rid of me.

Seriously.

Burning Man, you got me for life.

Damn it.

Slow it down

June 21, 2022

Whelp.

I might have been ready to buy a house.

But the bank ain’t.

Oh well.

And actually.

Some relief.

It felt like it was moving a touch too fast.

I was beginning to feel anxiety about client’s cancelling and am I bringing in enough and how much is a mortgage payment going to be?

OH.

That’s a lot.

And fuck.

I better secure some more clients.

And shit.

I need to publish a book and can someone bequeath me some money.

I don’t really play the lotto, but maybe I better start.

Fun things the brain likes to cook up.

But, as it turns out, I am not in a position to buy anything.

This year.

I had a meeting, phone meeting, with the mortgage broker my real estate agent suggested.

And he was very clear.

Nothing to do here.

No bank is going to touch me.

I’m self-employed.

I need two years of stable income.

It’s not that I’m a risk per se, but that banks are very hesitant to loan money to the person who doesn’t have a proven track record of making money.

Cool.

I get that.

So the agent said, you appear to make enough and continue to make this much and you should be fine to get a loan.

Next year.

So.

The project is on hold and I’m not going anywhere.

Unless, yeah, some long lost relative has some money for me.

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.

That’s so not happening.

Anyway.

I actually felt a lot of relief when that happened, the mortgage broker saying, not this year and I’ll contact you about this time next year and then we’ll talk.

Gave me a reprieve.

Gave me some relief.

It’s not off the radar, but it’s some ways out.

And of course, time moves quick at my age, next year will be here before I know it.

Still.

Being able to take my foot off the gas and recognize that I don’t have to suddenly work more when I already work a lot, was a relief.

And.

Summer’s tough.

Folks travel.

I’ve had a lot of cancellations with people traveling.

And I’m ok with that.

There are still new clients coming in, I have a consultation tomorrow.

I picked up a new client last week.

Turn over happens.

That’s a part of my business.

Faith that things will move and taking the necessary actions and letting go, gently, of the results, is the best way forward with me.

I also hit up the MOHCD first time buyers program zoom.

Mayors Office of Housing and Community Development.

I had thought I had a chance at some of the loan programs they offer first time buyers.

And nope.

I don’t.

The city counts gross income.

EVEN for someone who is self-employed.

So it doesn’t matter that my business eats about half of what I make, the city will count all of what the business brings in.

Sigh.

So.

I make too much money.

Funny that.

Not quite enough money in some eyes and too much in others.

I did at least save a little time and exited the zoom early when I learned that piece of information.

I looked about my apartment, it’s a sweet little space, and I realized, hmm, I have plenty, I have more than enough.

I live a lovely life.

I have two cute cats.

I have a business that I run and own.

Literally.

I am an SCorp.

Well, my business is an SCorp.

I actually have 1,000 shares if you are interested in investing.

Not that I would ever go public.

Not that I even know if that’s an option.

Totally no clue, but yeah, my accountant filed the paper work for me, my business, to become a corporation rather than a sole proprietor.

Cool.

I have no idea what it means, except, that ultimately it’s supposed to save me some tax dollars.

Ok.

A lot of this is over my head.

I don’t know anyone in my family that is a business owner.

This is all unfamiliar territory.

But there are perks, so many.

I call my shots.

I schedule myself.

I still am loving the off on Fridays gig.

I love my job, that helps so much.

I am grateful for all the other jobs I’ve had as well, they have all served in one way or another–taught me how to listen, how to care take of others, how to watch for cues in the environment, having an open door policy when I was management in the service industry, all the confidences I have held over the years.

It all added up.

I shared with someone recently, that I have been groomed to be a therapist, I was built to be one.

I am grateful for it all.

It hasn’t been easy.

No.

Not at all.

But.

It has been beautiful.

And for that I am grateful.

And that house that I have built to reside in, the corporeal one this soul inhabits.

Well.

It’s damn solid and I am content.

So much so.

A house can wait.

My home is already secured.

In A Bind

March 16, 2022

And in some tears.

Sigh.

I had another post op appointment with my surgeon this morning.

He checked out my belt lipectomy, “it looks beautiful,” he said, very pleased.

I told him that I have been doing the scar massage twice a day and he applauded that and told me to continue, pointing out that the scarring on my back would fade with time.

The scar there is a bit wider from bending over, stretching, etc.

Basically I was told, keep up the good work and I’ll see you in six months.

“Any questions,” he asked?

“Actually, yes, what is this?” I asked, pointing to a bump I’ve noticed for a few weeks and that frankly spooked me a tiny bit, what is that thing?

My surgeon felt it and said, “nothing to worry about,” he could tell I’d been worrying.

(It’s some surgical instrument he left in there and he’ll need to go back in and retrieve it! Thanks brain, thanks for sharing.)

“It’s a surgical knot, it’s a stitch, it will dissolve with time, it’s fine,” he said, then, “anything else?”

“Yes, actually,” I said. “When can I stop wearing the binder?”

My surgeon smiled at me, “now, you don’t have to wear it anymore.”

Holy shit.

I was over the moon.

Really?

Yes, really.

“I’ll see you in six months,” and off he went on his busy surgeon way.

I looked at my binder, I folded it up and almost left it in the trash in the examine room, but part of me was like, slow your roll, you might want that later.

So I put it in my purse and put on my leggings and dress and cardigan and left the examination room to make an appointment with the receptionist.

“What days are good for you,” she asked.

“Fridays,” I said.

“Ok, that puts us into September, how about the 16th?”

I asked for an earlier spot and she got me in the week prior on the 9th.

I walked out the door, got gingerly in my car and drove home to get ready for my clients.

I shared excitedly with a few friends about not having to wear the binder.

I mean.

It’s been on 24 hours a day for just under five months.

I was so fucking excited to not wear it.

The only times I take it off are when I’m taking a shower.

Otherwise, all day long, all night long.

I ate breakfast without it, went into sessions without it on, checked in a lot with my body, it certainly feels much more vulnerable without the binder on, I can start with that.

Then.

I began to notice swelling happening.

Ugh.

I sort of sensed that would happen, I mean, even with the binder on I swell during the day, by the end of the day the binder is quite tight.

My belly is always the least swollen in the morning after I have slept.

So I didn’t fret too much.

But, boy oh boy, has my attention been there all day, especially as the swelling continued, to well, swell.

By 5:30p.m. I was like, great, this sucks.

Same at 6:30p.m.

My belly felt and looked to me like how it looked pre surgery. I felt scared and tender and I thought, fuck, I haven’t had dinner yet. And some wonderful part of my brain shared, “what the fuck was the point of getting the surgery if it looks the same as before?”

Fuck you brain.

Also.

It does not look the same, the surgeon always shows me the before photos, even swollen it looks different so stop being so damn mean to me.

Then I thought.

Ugh.

I can’t imagine eating like this.

What if it swells up even more?!

I can’t do it.

But.

I also know better than to not eat dinner.

I have an eating disorder, being mindful about eating my dinner and all my meals is really important to me.

So, with some chagrin, I went and put the binder back on.

Sigh.

Fuck.

Tears.

Resignation.

And.

Relief.

Ugh.

It feels better.

And yeah, maybe it is purely psychological, but after being a therapist holding my clients trauma all day, I’m ok with being gentle with myself and being ok with sure, maybe it’s a placebo, but whatever it feels better.

So just do it.

Listen to what your body is saying.

My body is also saying, get a god damn shoulder massage.

But I can’t get a back rub yet, well, I suppose I could have someone work on my shoulders in a chair, but I don’t think lying down on a massage table is quite an option for me yet.

Gotta wait, back.

Anyway.

I have it, the binder on now, and I reached out to a friend for support and it’s ok that I’m a little sad about it and I can realistically understand that it’s just been under 5 months, the full healing arc of the surgery is 9 months to a year.

And fuck.

My arms that I had done in July, still hurt at the end of the day.

They hurt now.

Not so much that I am overly distracted by it, but they hurt and that surgery was done 8 months ago.

So patience brain.

The body is in charge, not you.

Feel your feelings and be ok with process.

Soon you won’t be in a binder.

My friend suggested I take it in small steps, work up to wearing it less and less.

And really, I got to give myself props, I went from 10a.m. to 7:45p.m. not wearing it.

That’s pretty fucking good.

So, gently, slowly transitioning.

Without too many damn expectations.

And being ok with the process.

Listening to my body without judgment.

Poor thing has been judged too much as it is.

Baby Steps

March 8, 2022

I had an in person session today at my office.

It was good.

It was also good to actually meet this client in person as we have never met in person before.

They started with me during the first shelter in place lock down.

I am coming up on the anniversary of that event.

And having some anniversary feelings.

I remember well the week prior, two years ago, things were playing out in the on again off again relationship I had been desperately trying to figure out for years.

Not playing out well, in the end, that relationship ended.

I still have pangs over that.

Why didn’t he figure it out?

Why couldn’t we make it work?

Why?

Why, I am always reminded is not a spiritual question.

It doesn’t help and knowing why is some sort of balm my brain wants to have to explain away the inexplicable.

It just was.

It just couldn’t work.

I just didn’t work.

And no matter how hard I tried I only got hurt.

I have been thinking a lot about relationships, dating, who I am, what I want.

In some persistent way I have always stowed away this thought of marriage, commitment, partnership.

Yet.

I have never really gotten close.

Despite a former “semi” proposal when I was in my mid-twenties from my one and only really “long term” relationship.

Is five years a long term relationship?

Anyway.

Why marriage?

Why partnership?

Wearing a dress, having a ceremony?

Societal expectations?

Family expectations?

My expectations?

Expectations typically lead to resentments.

I do crave company and touch and physical connection, I’m not going to deny that; but historically marriage is actually not great for women.

In a heteronormative marriage that is.

They work more, care take more, do more of the household labor.

Men actually statistically reap huge benefits being married.

Women not so much.

So why do I want it?

When I think about what I want I think about the physical connection of being with a man, I like closeness and, I hate the fucking wording of this, one of my “love languages” is non-sexual physical touch.

I’m cuddly.

Which the last guy I dated did not provide.

I love sex.

Don’t get me wrong, sex is definitely still a need, that drive is still there at 49, and may it be for some time thank you very much, although a touch softer of a demand then it used to be.

But affection.

I crave affection.

Hand holding, massage, leaning into someone, having my head rubbed.

Sigh.

But does that have to preclude being married?

I mean.

I might be putting the cart before the horse.

Am I shutting myself down from potential connection thinking better do it for the long haul?

Also.

What do I need from a partnership that I’m not already giving myself?

I love to travel, I love my home, I have a great space (when it’s not being invaded by the sonic intrusion of DJ Douche Bag upstairs), I don’t share it with anyone.

Well.

My cats.

They do think they own everything.

I keep my space the way I like it.

I have my schedule the way I like it.

I do my own thing.

What do I think I am missing out on?

What if I wasn’t missing out on anything?

I think some of this is just being really comfortable with my life and starting to find a nicer balance now that I’m not in the PhD mode all the time and have gotten a modicum of space from the last surgery I had and some decent recovery in my body.

Also.

Thank God.

My back is feeling much better.

A very easy weekend, lots of rest, lots of heating pad.

I’m actually using the heating pad right now too.

It is just nice after my day at the office.

I still need to dial a few things in there.

I’m going to pop over to Black & Gold on Valencia and pick up a vintage coat rack I’ve been eye-balling for months.

I could use an alternative set up chargers for my MacBook and a small extension cord by my desk for all the things I need plugged in–not all of my sessions are in person, I still am doing plenty, the majority of my session via video.

And one more hanging plant for my office.

But other than that, it’s such a sweet, welcoming space and I was happy to be there in my sessions today.

I ran five, only one was in person, from my office and one from home this morning.

Tomorrow I will be at home fully, all my sessions are remote.

I will be going in again on Thursday as I have a client that wants to be coming back in person.

This client was one of the last, although not the last, clients I saw in person prior to lock down.

It will have been two years.

I’m so grateful for this small baby step into a different experience with therapy and seeing my clients.

It’s not “back to normal”.

I don’t know if it’s the new normal.

It’s just nice to be getting a little more engagement with the world.

And maybe that’s how I look at dating, partnership, relationships.

Just with some curiosity and lightness and that I don’t have to figure it out.

Figure it out is a shit slogan.

For now.

Everything is exactly the way it’s supposed to be.

It always is, truthfully.

I just sometimes get stuck in thinking it would be better if….

If what?

And why wait to be happy, when…

I am happy now.

And that is good enough.

It really is.

I Dumped Your Whiskey

February 11, 2022

Down the drain.

You brought over a bottle with you the first time I cooked a meal for you, a little weird, but I was trying to be a good hostess and you wanted a cocktail with dinner.

So, sure.

But you procure it, I’m not buying booze for anyone.

You left it on the counter when you left and I did think, hmm, do I really want this in my house?

But, I figured, well, I have neutrality and I’m certainly not tempted, so I put it in the cupboard over the stove behind the bottle of Bragg’s Amino’s and the bottle of balsamic vinegar.

And mostly forgot it.

Until recently.

I threw your toothbrush in the trash.

Granted. It wasn’t your toothbrush, it was an extra one from the dentist that I asked you to use when you asked me, “Can I kiss you,” and I said, “only if you brush your teeth.”

The combo smell of dinner at Absinthe with a client and three whiskey Manhattan’s on your breath was just too much for me to entertain kissing.

I composted your homemade raisin oatmeal cookie vanilla ice cream sandwich.

Yeah.

That went away too.

I’m not exactly mad.

Although I am a touch flummoxed.

What happened?

I mean, on one hand I have a pretty good sense, we weren’t quite as compatible as perhaps we were both pretending to be.

I’m sober.

You’re not.

It’s been a long time since I dated anyone who drank.

So there’s that.

But it was some other things too.

Not taking me out last Friday was definitely a disappointment.

Especially when I showed up at your house dressed to the nines, because as you told me last Wednesday night, “we’ll do something fun on Friday and have sex.”

Excellent.

Something “fun” on Friday turned out to be a well done steak on a plate in your house while you drank whiskey and smoked weed.

I can handle the booze to a point, but the weed, man, I don’t like it.

Especially when I asked from the beginning, literally I said it on our first date, I am allergic and I hate the way it smells, you can’t smoke weed around me, I can handle you drinking, but pot is too much–you also can’t snort cocaine off my boobs–to not have it smoked around me.

But I suppose when one is in their home, doing their thing, smoking their weed is par for the course.

I didn’t say anything when you lit up while we watched a movie, which, fyi, 1917 is fucking phenomenal, but I did pull away from you on the couch.

I just super hate the way it smells.

I recognized, from working with my therapist in a session earlier that day, that I wasn’t letting you know when I was disappointed.

I was also really disappointed to find out that you were going to go away for the weekend.

I guess you forgot that you had offered to help me move things into storage over the weekend too.

Sigh.

I mean, I understood, you had to go spend the weekend with a client in Tahoe.

Awesome.

Get your client on.

“Do you ski?” I asked.

“No, we’re just going to drink whiskey, smoke weed, and hang out in the hot tub.”

Ok, then.

You wanted me to spend the night, and that had been the plan, and Tahoe meant up early and hitting the road, so we compromised and I said I wouldn’t spend the night, but I would still come over.

But you know, I still thought we were going out.

And I did at least manage to say I was disappointed that we had to change up our plans.

I can see, however, that I was diminishing my feelings.

We had the sex.

Thanks.

I left and let you get sleep for getting up early to go drink whiskey and smoke weed and hot tub.

Aside.

WTF?

Maybe it’s just me, but my choice would have been hang out with a hot woman who’s fun and smart and creative and hella good in bed.

So, maybe I don’t drink whiskey.

So, maybe I don’t smoke pot.

But.

Fuck.

I have moves, and I have energy.

I am also five years older than you and have a lot more energy.

But this is not about you, I’m making this about me.

Meanwhile, I figured that like the other time you went out of town and didn’t text me while you were away, you’d do the same this time.

I also, honestly, didn’t feel like fishing for attention.

So I didn’t text you either.

But then when Monday came, when you told me you’d be back from Tahoe, I thought you’d check in with me.

Nope.

Nothing.

Crickets.

Zilch.

Five days with absolutely no contact.

Five.

I thought about texting, but truly, I think I’d already came to the conclusion that there were things that just weren’t working for me.

And.

In your actions, to not reach out, you spoke mighty loud.

You made a choice, which is your right, but it was a disappointment.

And.

It’s been fucking weird as hell, as each day has drifted by, that you didn’t text or call.

Not once.

Not after 11 times hanging out.

No phone calls.

No text messages.

I have questioned it, a lot, but I figure this is God doing for me what I couldn’t do for myself.

Ultimately you were saying it loud and clear, before the lack of connection, when you decided to Tahoe it up.

You don’t want to hang out with me.

And after this week, and the disappointment of last week.

I don’t want to hang out with you either.

I also have plenty to process with my therapist tomorrow.

Plenty.

Until then.

I hope you’re ok, like you didn’t drown in the hot tub or anything.

And I guess it means I’m still single.

I think I’ll pause for a moment before I jump back in.

Give it another day, but I do figure I’ll try the damn dating apps again.

And I’ll keep practicing speaking up when I feel something and not diminish it.

And I’ll eat my next damn steak rare.

Never eating a well done steak again.

That was fucking egregious.

Overwhelm

August 24, 2020

I got hit with it yesterday.

I was on a Zoom call.

When am I not on a Zoom call?

I was going over the lesson plan with the former professor of the Psychodynamic’s class that I am teaching this fall at CIIS.

The class that starts next weekend.

And.

I got panicked.

We had been on the call for a while, an hour and half maybe, she’s also my supervisor, so I was also doing client work, it wasn’t all class prep.

But, the last half hour of it was and I suddenly felt myself totally start to lose it.

Like a slow motion melt.

I should have known.

I was wearing cat eye makeup with black eye liner.

Guaranteed to have an emotional moment and cry, I mean, duh, I should know by this point.

But.

Yeah.

Anyway.

I teared up, I got blown up, and overwhelmed and sort of lost it.

I said, “wait, stop, I don’t understand what you just told me.”

It sounded something like, “PDF, blah, blah, blah, download, blah, blah, blah, upload to Canvas, blah, blah, blah, blah blah, just sent it to you, blah, then you blah, blah, blah, and that’s it!  You’re all set.”

I literally had zoned out.

I am not a great tech genius.

I am ok.

I mean, hey I publish this blog.

Although half the time I just think of it as turning on a light switch, I don’t understand how electricity works, just that when I flip the switch the light turns on.

Same here.

I sit down, I type some stuff, I edit it for spelling mistakes and then I hit the “publish” button.

I have no clue how it works.

You probably know this.

I don’t have some spiffy amazing page.

I don’t understand back end stuff.

My back end is what I am sitting on in my chair.

Basically what was happening was the back end stuff for the platform the school uses for online learning.

Also.

Let me reflect that when I agreed to teach this we were not in shelter in place, there was no pandemic (although there were some weird things going on out in the world.  I do remember telling my supervisor that I felt like something big was going to happen. I thought maybe there would be a dot.com bust not a pandemic), I was going to be teaching in person, lecturing in front of a class.

NOT ON A ZOOM CALL.

Fuck.

So figuring out how to handle the class and transition to online teaching and making PowerPoints (why God why?) and uploading this and creating that.

And fuck.

Vomit.

Shit.

I am the wrong person for doing this.

I am not going to lie.

I wish I wasn’t teaching.

I wish I could just quit.

Technically I could quit.

California is an “at will” state.

I could get fired at any time and I can quit at any time.

However.

I just don’t think I can quit five days before the class starts.

I can be an asshole, but I’m not that much of an asshole.

Also.

Jesus fuck am I glad I did not accept the core faculty position.

The thought of having to do more work like the work I have been doing to prepare for this class makes me want to throw up with anxiety.

I already have enough anxiety.

Which was pretty obvious to me yesterday.

I love my therapy clients, but everyone of them is stressed to the max, hello pandemic, the current political situation, riots, economy in the tank, and oh yeah, the fires.

The world is literally and figuratively on fire.

I have had a low grade constant headache for the last four days.

I hate even complaining about it.

I”m safe in San Francisco, but the smoke is bad, I don’t have to evacuate my home like so many people I know.

My supervisor had to evacuate her home three days ago.

I don’t have problems.

I do have a headache though.

Currently in California there are 560 wild fires happening.

There’s a lot of smoke.

I made myself go for a walk yesterday despite the smoke.

I could only handle being inside for so long.

And.

Yeah, the overwhelm thing and me crying on a Zoom call with my anxiety about getting all the tech crap set up for the class and I was kaput.

I had intended on working on my dissertation proposal defense yesterday and I just had no juice left.

I mean none.

I called a bunch of friends and left messages and tried to focus on listening to others instead of whining about my stuff.

And then.

Oh.

The loveliest thing.

I connected with a friend who also was out for a walk and we literally happened to be three blocks from each other.

I hadn’t seen him since right before shelter in place and it made me want to cry.

He’s housesitting in my neighborhood!

We walked, socially distant, in our masks, through the smoky streets of the Mission District and caught up and laughed and joked about hugging, but we did not.

I felt a lot better.

Not good enough to give my proposal any work, but better.

Truth.

I haven’t worked on it today either.

Except in my mind and in my heart and in my psyche.

That’s my soul.

My PhD work is around healing sexual abuse trauma.

Mine in particular.

And it’s a lot to hold.

I just have to acknowledge that.

When I’m strong and resourced and the world isn’t on fire or in a pandemic or a crazed political state, I am able to do the work.

Right now.

The work is letting myself off the hook.

Resourcing with friends.

Breathing deep (inside my sealed house).

Sleeping eight hours a night.

Watching silly light hearted tv (Glee).

Sitting with my cat.

Calling friends.

I’ll get the proposal done (another PowerPoint, ugh again).

I will teach the class next week.

I will be great in them both.

Because I am smart and strong and I am a good teacher and I will make mistakes and that’s ok too.

I will show the fuck up.

As I know from showing up in the past.

It really is 90% of the work.

The rest is non-judgmentally allowing myself to teach without expectations of perfection.

I’m perfectly imperfect just the way I am.

Recognizing that is the work.

So.

Yeah.

My proposal.

It will get done and I will be ok.

Everything is going to be ok.

It really is.

Hello Again

August 2, 2020

It feels like forever.

And it has been awhile.

But I am still here.

Still writing, though not so much on this platform

I have missed it, but I have also been too tired most days to log in and write.

I write in the mornings still, long hand, my three page a day habit, thank you The Artists Way, thirteen years and still going strong.

I have thought about this though, my blog, the thing that I would do religiously come rain or shine, good day, bad day, nothing really happened today day.

I sort of had a nothing happened today day, with highlights of, this is surreal, though I’m used to it.

Sort of.

We’re still deep in the pandemic and although it’s been five plus months now, there are times I’m still caught off guard with the strangeness of it.

Or that I am estranged from my friends, fellows, family, colleauges.

Oh the desire to hang out with friends at a coffee shop.

Although, truth, I did sort of last weekend.

I drove up to the Russian River area with a friend, one of the few people allowed in my bubble, and we did get coffee at a cafe in Guerneville.  There was no sitting inside, though, grab and go.

So many things are shut down, but when I get the chance to go to a cafe or a restaurant I have done so.

It happens quite infrequently.

I do better weathering things on my own.

I have been very safe and very cautious and kept pretty to myself since this has all been unfolding.

But yeah, a trip to the Russian River and being out in the sun felt extraordinary.

It’s not a big deal typically, but a bunch of months of quarantine and I felt like I was playing hooky, albeit wearing a mask, from the pandemic.

Also.

Just getting out into the sunshine was so good.

San Francisco, got to love her, has been having her typical “summer weather” which is cold, foggy, overcast and quite dreary.

Add that to the general malaise of the pandemic and it’s a bit depressing.

So when my friend suggested we head out of town and get some sun I hesitated, I have things to do (homework, prep for teaching, zoom meetings), but folded as soon as I googled the Russian River and saw the trees and sun and water.

I’m glad I did.

I am also grateful for getting out of the city.

I haven’t been outside of the Bay Area since before shelter in place.

I realized the last time I had gotten out it was Christmas when I went to Paris.

Now, that’s nothing to shake a stick at, but it also meant that I hadn’t left the city in over six months.

I don’t, fyi count Oakland, Berkeley, or Alameda, all places I have gone to, as getting outside the city…they just feel like continuations of it.

Though, San Francisco is definitely in transition, it is still the city, and once in a while to appreciate the city, I need to leave it.

I will go up one more time to the Russian River before summer ends.

Just a quick day trip to work on some teaching prep the weekend before I start teaching Psychodynamic’s.

I’m not exactly excited, truth be told, I haven’t felt like I’ve had much of a summer–my private practice therapy business has been full (and yes, I do know how lucky I am to have work to do) and I have been doing so much psychoanalytic theory reading, my brain feels about shot.

But.

I have finished, as of today all the books that are required reading for class.

I also, I haven’t shared much about this, turned down the core faculty position I was interviewing for.

I found out how much work was expected and how little money was being paid for it and I changed my mind about wanting to work for the school–I was making more money as a private professional nanny then what they were offering for a full time core faculty professor in a master’s program.

No thank you.

I kept thinking to myself that I did not work this hard to keep working harder for less money.

I felt bad, for a moment, when I told my individual supervisor who really wanted me to take on the teaching position, but I realized if I had taken it I would have been terribly resentful with myself for taking on so much work.

Especially since I am still working on my PhD.

It’s been a minute since I’ve been here, so I cannot recall if I have written about that the last time I was blogging.  But.  I have made some progress there.  I have my external third committee chair member and she has my dissertation proposal as does my internal second.

So.

I await their critiques and get to start working on a Power Point (ugh) to defend my proposal.

Once I defend the proposal I will move into PhD candidacy.

I am ready for that.

I am hoping that I will get to defend by the end of this month and then turn around and start doing the study part of my dissertation.

My hope is to do the study this fall and then do the writing for the dissertation in the spring.

I want to put in one more year and be done.

In fact.

That is my goal.

One more year at the school working on my PhD and teaching one master’s class, then I’m done.

I’ve been on this track for five years now.

I’m ready to finish it.

I have it in my sights and I am hopeful that I can put down my head and push through this last year.

I suspect things are going to be challenging with the pandemic continuing to rage and whatever weirdness is up and coming with the pending elections, but I shall keep busy, keep pushing and get through.

And.

When it’s all said and done and I have my doctorate.

I am going on a big fucking trip.

I’m thinking fly from San Francisco to London, train to Paris, then train to the South of France, rent a car there and tool around and then reverse the trip back.

Two, maybe three weeks.

That’s a carrot to work towards.

Seriously.

It’s Been A Minute

May 15, 2020

And I almost, but I didn’t, didn’t write.

I was all like.

Ooh, Hulu, get me some Hand Maid’s Tale.

Then I thought, really, when was the last time you blogged lady?

It’s been a minute.

There’s been a pandemic.

The thing is still happening.

And life for me did not slow down.

Pro tip: next pandemic, be enrolled in a PhD program.

I was so, so, so busy with this semester.

And it was hard, like hella hard, ridiculously hard, over the top.

Add one pandemic and make your academic career triple fold with stress and anxiety.

There were a few weeks when I couldn’t get it together.

I cried.

A lot.

I pushed back on my studies.

A LOT.

I did want to do it, I thought about dropping out, I didn’t.

I wouldn’t.

But I did think about it.

However, in the end I am so grateful I pushed through.

I wrote some tremendously good papers.

I scored a perfect 50/50 on my Method’s Comp Exam.

I had a professor tell me she cried while reading my work.

That was nice to hear.

I’m still waiting for my Lit Review to get returned to me, but the draft that I turned in before the final draft, well, the opening comment from the professor was “Excellent! Excellent! Excellent!” So I feel pretty confident that the final paper was well received.

It was a push though.

I was so grateful I rallied and got through.

I have one last goodbye Zoom class call on Saturday, but pretty much it’s done.

All done.

I have officially finished the three year course work in two years.

Now I head into the proposal phase of my PhD program.

Which I hope to get done over the summer.

There will be plenty to do and I gave myself this last week “off” sort of, to chill, although in reality I did no such thing as chill, I was just not doing homework.

I was instead training.

Yeah.

So many trainings, so many screens, so many videos.

I felt so burned out from it yesterday.

Over it.

OVER IT.

However, also ridiculously grateful.

I was hired to be an interim therapist for the Jefferson Union High School in Daily City.

Technically I was hired through Daily City Partnership, which is a non-profit that supports the high school.

I will start next Wednesday.

I will be seeing 10-15 teenagers a week, doing an hour of supervision, and and estimated four hours of paperwork.

20 hours total.

So pretty much right back to being busy.

And like I said, stupid grateful.

First, busy will help to deal with the shelter in place deal.

Second, those oh so elusive child and family hours.

I need them to get fully licensed as an MFT.

I am 261 hours away from the required 3,000 hours the state of California requires one to have to get the MFT license.

A part of that requirement is 500 child and family hours.

I have been acquiring them by working with couples, which count as “family” hours, but I don’t have enough couples in my current practice to get all the hours in an expedient way.

So when I was approached about being a therapist over the summer to support the high school kids I was thrilled.

Due to the situation with shelter in place and COVID-19 the school board allocated extra funds to bring in a therapist over the summer to support the kids.  Typically they don’t have a summer therapist, they get therapy during the school year.

But.

There’s been such a demand for it they decided to help the kids over the summer and I was approached and applied for it and last week Wednesday I was interviewed and hired on the spot.

That felt pretty damn good.

The pay is shit.

But.

It’s pay.

And really I need the hours so even if I didn’t get paid I would have probably taken the job.  In fact, dirty little secret, most therapist don’t get paid when they go after their child hours.  It’s pretty rare.  Most of the schools rely on unpaid interns.

I could rant about that quite a bit, but I don’t have the energy.

I am just super happy I get to help out some teenagers and get my child hours and get paid and get through the summer by staying busy.

I have 22 clients in my own private practice, which is pretty damn good, all things considered.

A lot of folks in my agency have lost clients.

And I did too, but I have also maintained clients, worked with them, drop my fees when and where I could, implemented a lower sliding scale, and I picked up a couple of clients too.

So I’m holding steady.

And God damn am I grateful I can work from home.

I feel so lucky about that.

I am still paying rent on my office, but so it goes.

I did let go of one of my offices, but I’m holding onto the other for a bit yet, I don’t know how long shelter in place will go and I don’t know how many of my clients will feel comfortable coming back into my office when it does, but I don’t want to give it up yet.

I know a lot of therapist have.

Many are going over completely to the idea of telehealth–video and/or phone sessions.

I will be doing a mix of it when things all settle out, whenever that is.

I now have clients in and outside of San Francisco because of being able to offer telehealth and I will keep these clients when I go back to my office.

Things are good.

Weird.

Don’t get me wrong.

Fuck.

I miss people.

I miss people something bad.

But I’m busy and grateful to have things to do and that I live by Ocean Beach and can take long walks, and I’m fed and housed and safe.  I’m very fortunate and I know it.

I hope you are well and taking gentle care.

Biggest hugs!

Stocked Up

March 30, 2020

Today I did the grocery shopping.

I mean.

I really did the grocery shopping.

REALLY, REALLY, REALLY.

I have more food in my house than I think I ever have had in my life.

Of course, I have never experienced being in a pandemic before, so there’s that.

I don’t connect much to the news, frankly it’s just a terror cycle, and I find that when I need to know something I find it out, or it gets to me via the grapevine.

Also.

That my agency has been sending me, really, all the information that I could really possibly digest and use.

But I got a little news from someone I work with who works with Kaiser and it was enough to get me thinking it’s time to stock up.

So.

Today I shopped.

I had not set out to be on a great grocery scavenger hunt.

It just sort of happened.

I got up at 8 a.m., trying to stay on a schedule, took a nice shower, got dressed, did my morning readings and prayers and made myself a nice breakfast.

Typical breakfast, oatmeal w/an apple and some blueberries.

Unsweetened vanilla almond milk latte.

Check the emails, look at school stuff, sort of, and not do anything about it.

More on that later.

Eat my oatmeal, drink my latte, write three pages long hand and then do hair and makeup.

Yeah.

I know.

Shelter in plance, blah, blah, blah.

Doing my hair and make up feels good.

And it’s nice to do it for myself, I’m not doing it for others, although I sense that I do model for people a nice way to take care of themselves.

I am also on zoom meetings every day of the week.

Today was the least amount of online time that I have had, only an hour and a few minutes.

The rest of the week I am on Zoom and Doxy and VSE and FaceTime a lot.

I mean.

A lot.

I am grateful, don’t get me wrong, but it can be a little overwhelming.

That being said, I do like to look nice for those too.

Yesterday someone mentioned my red lipstick.

Well.

Red lipstick makes me happy and I had bought this particular lipstick in Paris, so I always think of Paris when I put it on and that immediately cheers me up.

I mean, Paris, hello.

Anyway.

I also made lots of phone calls to make up for the lack of online video in my life, heh.

Most of my phone time was while I did laundry.

I don’t have laundry at my house and I want to rectify that as soon as this passes, I am going to move out.  I know the rents will drop and I will be able to find something better than where I am now, for hopefully less than what I pay now.

$2250 a month for a studio with no laundry on site, plus utilities.

It’s big for San Francisco standards, but I do find it ludicrous at times to be paying that much.

However.

I am in San Francisco.

Even on a lock down, it’s still San Francisco.

Oh.

Side bar.

The beach is now closed.

The city put up barricade fences to block off the parking lot from Fulton to Balboa Street.

I was very happy to see that.

The amount of traffic in the neighborhood declined greatly and it was nice to see the beach without crowds of people.

I felt a bit safer in the neighborhood.

Anyway.

Laundry at the mat up the street, Sparkle Laundry, the owner, Wilson, is awesome and the facilities are pretty clean.

But they are busy.

And I had no desire to hang out in the mat.

There was little extra space.

I mimicked what appeared to be what most people were doing, put the laundry in and leave the mat.  Most of the machines were full but very few people were actually in the laundry.

I did the same and sat in my car and caught up with a friend.

When the timer on my phone went off I hopped out, put my laundry in a dryer and headed to the grocery store.

The SafeWay was busy and the there was a long line (which actually made me feel a bit better, they have started protocols for shopping that were not in place the last few times I went), a line too long for me to stand in.

So I drove across the park and headed over to the Sunset side of the park.

And.

Walked right in to the little co-op market, Other Avenues, that I used to go to all the time when I lived in the Outer Sunset.

It was sweet to be in the store again and I made some impulse buys, like stickers and a pretty little wood serving tray set, who the hell am I going to be entertaining I thought later, but they were so pretty and sweet, they made me happy, and being happy was a small price to pay for me being the only person who will see them for awhile.

I also stocked up on my favorite candles and some bulk oatmeal.

I ran all the groceries home, then back to the laundry mat and on back home.

Scrub, scrub, scrub my hands and unload everything.

Two hour long phone calls and lunch and the friend who wanted to go for a beach walk canceled so I found myself with extra time and decided I would actually do a little more shopping.

I had and have the feeling that the next two weeks, especially, will be a time to hunker down.

It may just be that I am hunkering down as I have the next round of drafts to turn in for my PhD required courses, but I sense I am going to want to stay in as much as possible.

It feels a bit intense out there.

It could also be that I had to find back up emergency therapists to cover my clientele should I get sick, an agency directive that I dealt with this week, that had me thinking this, but I do feel that it might get hot for a bit and I would rather be prepared then have to go out for anything.

So Whole Foods and SafeWay.

And both times I got totally lucky, no line.

And both times when I left each store, huge lines.

I shopped super smart and got things that I can stretch and make into soup and all the things that I really like for breakfast and lunch and nice dinners.

I couldn’t find toilet paper anywhere, but I did score two boxes of tissues and if worst comes to worse, tissues are going to be just fine.

I also stopped at the gas station and made sure I have a full tank of gas, even though I won’t be driving anywhere soon.

I’m shopped out frankly, and it’s been a long day of running errands and getting myself set up for the week.

But set up I am.

I may disappear for a bit, but it’s not because I’m sick.

It’s because I have a sick amount of homework to deal with.

So.

Stay healthy and take gentle care.

You have my love and my thoughts.

Now as always.

Dance Party

March 20, 2020

Because ain’t nobody watching and I need to move my body.

And why the hell not?

I’m officially on day, what, three of shelter in place, and it’s getting goofy in here.

I live in a one room studio.

Thank God I have a deck.

My own deck, not my landlords, no access to anyone else, a good distance away from the neighbors, on the second floor, above the backyard that is never used (it’s a tangled jungle of over grown weeds and bushes), my deck floats, a little tiny haven.

A tiny piece of heaven.

With two white Adirondack chairs and flowers in pots from Sloat Garden Center that I bought a few months ago when only the faintest of faint whispers of the corona virus where in the air.

I do have to say, though, it felt like something was coming.

I didn’t think it was a virus.

I thought maybe the tech bubble was going to burst in San Francisco again.

I moved to SF a little while after the bubble burst and I was also here during the crash, it had the same feeling, something was looming.

But this?

I had not predicted this.

Shut in, shut down, shut away.

So yeah, I got my dance party on for a little while tonight, I still have the music going nice and loud.

I am alive.

I am in good health.

I am sheltered.

I am really grateful.

I am extraordinarily grateful.

I can still work.

I am still “seeing” clients.

Not in person anymore, I was the last woman standing in the building where my office is on Monday, I had thought I was going to have a full week of connecting one last time with my clients and I had just literally sent out emails to all my clients saying I could meet until March 23rd.

I was actually upset the first time I got that date from my agency, I was petulant, don’t tell me when I have to stop seeing clients in person, but I also recognized that this was not about me and that I needed to follow along, especially since I work for an agency and they are the ones signing my paycheck.

The money from my clients does not go into my pocket.

It goes into my bank account that my agency controls–I can put money in, but I can’t take money out.

So.

Yeah.

Need to comply, even if I felt really secure in my health and the protocols I was taking at my office to make sure that it was clean and sanitary and safe.

Sigh.

Therefor I was a bit bereft to get the email saying wrap it up and switch over to telehealth by the 23rd.

I stomped my foot a little, but I did draft all the emails and I did comply.

And then.

Ha.

Shelter in place was announced.

Literally twenty minutes after sending out the last client email saying, hey (much more formal, thank you, I’m not a complete heathen) there, happy to continue seeing you at my office, unless you don’t feel comfortable, then we can do video or telehealth, but yeah, I’m here all week.

Nope.

I am not in fact.

I get the email from my agency saying shelter in place is going into affect and I have to the end of day to see clients.

Well.

Fuck.

I craft a new email and start sending them out, while also fielding emails from clients who were coming in that day who didn’t want to anymore because, mother fuck, got to run to the grocery store and secure more toilet paper and beans and rice.

More sighs.

Of the five client sessions I had scheduled, one showed up in person, two did a video session, one rescheduled for later in the week and the other said, hey, we’ll get back to you once we figure out our lives.

More sighs.

I didn’t charge any cancellations fees, I sent out copious telehealth consent forms, I got myself together and I went into my office to see my last face to face client for who knows how long.

The shelter in place is at least until April 7th.

I have to say, I think it may go longer than that.

So I also did some pro-active things on my end.

Because even though I can work from home, I knew I was going to lose clients.

Lost one today.

And client sessions, either due to cancellations, clients running out of money who aren’t working, parents homeschooling kids, panic, fear of financial insecurity, etc.

That I knew I had to take care of myself.

I paid April rent early.

I reworked my spending plan and I cut out $700.

I might even be able to trim a little more.

I’m obviously not going anywhere.

I canceled, ugh, my trip to San Luis Obispo and my weekend at the Madonna Inn.

Bless their hearts, they gave me a full refund on my room.

Which I promptly spent stocking up on food and toiletries at Rainbow Co-op.

I have actually never spent as much as I did on one grocery shopping trip.

Mostly because I bought coffee in bulk (y’all worried about toilet paper, I’m making sure I can sustain my caffeine needs) and toiletries in triplicate.

I did buy plenty of food too.

My fridge has more in it than I think I ever have seen.

I shop two to three times a week since I don’t eat sugar and flour, I cook a lot and I eat fresh foods.

I managed to secure a lot o fresh stuff, but I also did get food to prepare and freeze and can.

And back up of my favorite breakfast foods and some nice sugar free chocolate, because I’m going to need a damn treat once in a while.

And though I cannot see where this all leads, I can see that I am really lucky that I live in my own beautiful space.

It may be a studio, but I don’t have room mates.

And.

Oh thank God.

I live two blocks from the beach.

So every day I have gone outside and walked to the ocean and watched the surfers still paddling out and felt the wind on my face and walk through Golden Gate Park and breathed in deeply the fresh air.

There are people out, but we give each other wide berth and there is much kindness when doing so.

There may come a time when I can’t go out and walk, but fingers crossed that won’t happen.

I do know, though, I cannot peer into the future and I can’t live in the anxiety of not knowing.

I have to stay present and presented minded and strong.

I have therapy clients to help.

I have service to do.

I need to stay focused and clear.

Which is why dance party.

I had to shake the ya ya’s out.

Big love to you and yours.

Be gentle and stay in good health.

And.

When the mood strikes.

Dance.

Really.

No one is looking.


%d bloggers like this: