Posts Tagged ‘therapist’

Smoky Voice

October 18, 2017

Sultry yes.

But sore and dry throat is tired.

It was smoky again today.

I was disheartened to say the least when I went outside to get on my scooter and head in to my therapy session in Noe Valley.

I was looking forward to seeing my therapist as we had to cancel last week.

She was affected by the fires in Sonoma and Napa.

I have been affected too, but in lesser ways and in ways that I have felt loath to gripe about as my hierarchy of needs have been basically met.

Yet.

There has been suffering and there has been a constant feeling of sickness and showing up for work has been hard, keeping the kids inside all day long for over a week and they all, ALL, of them now have the croup.

It is heart breaking listening to them cough.

The mom has it too.

Knock on wood, I haven’t gotten it and I know that the ugly feeling in my lungs is not from a cold.

It’s from the smoke and whatever nasty particles I have been inhaling.

My lungs feel tender and my throat super sore and raw and my head has been hurting all day.

I also have gotten spacey and a little dizzy a few times.

The EPA had the air quality showing unhealthy for most of the day.

And that’s pretty much how I have felt, unhealthy.

Granted.

I am able to work and able to get myself going, I’ve just not been my best and I’m such a healthy person in general, that I feel a bit depleted.

It was hard to hold space for my clients tonight at my internship and I felt pretty out of it.

I had thought for a moment about cancelling clients tonight, but I figured I would just muscle through.

I did it, but it was tough and I’m really grateful to be home.

I am also grateful that the unhealthy air is projected to be moderate tomorrow, not good yet, but better than today and fingers crossed it will continue to get better.

There are still fires burning, it’s not over yet.

I can’t quite wrap my head around that, fires still burning, fires not contained yet, the fires have been going on now for ten days.

TEN.

It’s hard to fathom.

The losses, the wreckage, the ravaging of the land.

I was praying last night before bed and I was thanking God that the family I used to work for wasn’t in Glen Ellen when the fires broke out.

They have a vacation home there and they’d been there just the weekend before.

I literally started crying when I realized how close they were to the fires, I don’t know if the property made it out, but I was overwhelmed with gratitude that the family, the boys, the dog, hadn’t been there, I would have lost my mind if they had.

Lost it.

So it’s hard for me to fathom those that did lose it all and sad for it, heartbroken.

And also aware that I have to keep my spirits up, that people need me, that I need to take care of myself.

My therapist and I discussed that a lot today, how being a caregiver, being in the helping field, being a nurturer, that I had to focus on doing for myself, because getting sucked into the drama of it or the trauma news cycle via social media, I would not be helping any one at all.

Grateful for her perspective and all the other things that I get to work out with her.

I am super grateful to be back in therapy and I just realized I forgot to add the hour to my BBS (Behavioral Board of Science) tracking.

Excuse me a moment, that has to happen right now.

There, that’s better.

Under current BBS requirements I can count my own personal therapy towards the 3,000 hours I need to accrue.

Which is awesome.

And.

The best part.

They count as three hours.

I book one hour and it gets counted as three.

Granted.

I am only allowed to accrue 300 hours of personal therapy towards my license, but I will take any extra hours any where that I can.

I also talked about the stress of getting hours or wondering how I was going to get them all before the licence requirements change.

As of January 2021 the BBS will be changing a number of things.

One of them will be that personal psychotherapy will no longer count.

The other is that Couples Therapy will not count double as it currently does.

So I want to make sure that I can get all my hours done by December 2020.

That’s not that far away.

I have had not anxiety, per se, but a little concern, now that I am in the actively doing therapy process, about how the fuck I’m going to get all the hours.

I am working full-time to support living in San Francisco.

How will I squeeze more hours into my schedule?

I want to vomit thinking about it.

I have so much going on and I want to have a life, a teeny, tiny bit of a life, I need my human connection, I need my recovery,

Ugh.

I can’t speculate on how it will happen, I will just keep practicing faith and I will pick up extra hours here and there whenever and wherever I can.

It will happen.

And thankfully, my last semester of the Master’s degree is only two classes plus practicum (which is for all intents and purposes my internship), so I won’t be running with the same full class load that I am now.

And who knows what will happen.

I could come into money, I could win the lottery, I could get a paid internship, I don’t know, and I don’t have to.

I just know that I will keep trying and keep doing the best I can and I know that I am doing that.

I am holding my own.

Not always with the most grace, but with strength and integrity and valor.

I am doing the work.

And in the end.

Every time I go back to it.

I am so worth the effort.

Therefore I will be ok.

Because.

Well.

I already am.

Just for today.

I am exactly where I am need to be.

Seriously.

 

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Bye Bye

October 17, 2017

Faceplant.

I took Facebook off my phone today.

It gave me a great big scary warning about losing content and I was like, what the fuck ever.

Let me lose political arguments.

Terror.

Sniping.

Ugliness.

Trauma.

Policy intrigue.

And frankly a great big suck of my time.

I was on Facebook a bit more than I typically am via my phone today as the baby was sick and the only way to nap was to get him in the carrier and rock him until he could sleep.

It took a while and the screaming was tremendous, mostly just because the poor little guy was exhausted, he has croup.

In fact.

All my little monkeys have it.

Thanks to some kids who came to school sick last week and it spread like wildfire.

So today I had two boys, both who were sick and not so happy.

I did get to have them out in the world today as I helped the mom with some errands and for a very sweet hour I had the baby napping in the stroller and my big guy curled up on my lap telling me stories while he nibbled a pastry from Arizmendi bakery.

I got sunshine on my face, good snuggles, and sweet connection.

So.

When we got back to the house and I had the baby again I ended up being on my phone a bit, but the more I was on it, the more annoyed I got.

I have been contemplating taking myself off Facebook entirely, since the current administration and even a bit before it, I was beginning to have a lot of negative feelings about the forum.

First of all.

It’s extraordinarily challenging, I find, to see horror story after horror story, the fires in Sonoma and Napa, the mass gun shooting in Vegas, the hurricane in Puerto Rico, to name just a few, all the celebrity and musician deaths, deaths in my community and fellowship, the suicide at Burning Man, Jesus fuck, all of it and more, and then see Facebook selling me shit.

I am at once terrorized by the horror show of the world and then I am being sold some period panties, or a dress or high heels or what the fuck?

I can’t take in both information.

I can’t want to look at a pair of shoes and then feel extraordinary guilt that I can buy a pair of shoes when people in Puerto Rico haven’t had electricity for a month.

I can’t see story after story after story of women who have been raped and sexually assaulted and then see an ad for a dating site.

Fuck off.

It’s too much.

So.

When I found myself being disturbed, I put down my phone and I focused on what was happening right there in the moment.

I looked at the room I was in.

I felt the weight of the baby on my chest, his warmth and heaviness.

And then I closed my eyes.

Oh.

Why.

This is lovely!

I meditated and then.

Yes.

It happened.

I fell asleep!

I had what I like to call “naptation.”

It’s the best ever.

I couldn’t have slept more than ten minutes, a nap snack if you will, but wow, I felt so much better and refreshed and not irate at the world and upset.

I was present.

It was pretty damn nice.

Then.

Later at my office when I went into see my clients I realized that looking at social media tends to destabilize me and there have been more than a few incidents when I will be idly flipping through Facebook and see something disturbing and then I’m lost in la la land and minutes fly by and I’ve been sucked in and I’m upset now.

Well, fuck me, that’s not how I want to hold my therapy frame.

No.

I want to be calm and serene and ready and empathic to whatever my client brings in, not whatever algorithm Facebook has my feed on.

Fuck that.

So.

I deleted it off my phone.

Yes.

I do still have an account.

And I did not delete the messenger app.

I actually use that more often than one would think, especially with my classmates.

And, irony, school is one of the reasons I won’t get rid of it entirely, my cohort has a closed private group where we facilitate conversations about school and I have found the connection really important.

Facebook still has some things that I want to keep and there are friends and family that are out-of-town that I like to keep in touch with.

But.

No more on my phone.

I don’t like it and I don’t like how often I can be pulled out of the moment, out of the present, and away into something else.

I want to be present for what or whom is in front of me.

I remember when I realized that I could turn off the volume on my phone when I went to bed and not be woken up by a beep or ping or tweet.

I haven’t put my phone in night mode, except once accidentally, that was hilarious, yet, but I am close to doing that as well.

No interruptions.

Just pure sweet sleep.

I also try very hard to turn off my phone and put it away when I am with someone, I don’t like how distracting it is.

As I lean in more to being a therapist as I see what works for me and how I can better show up for friends, for those I love, for my fellowship and my clients, I lean further and further away from social media.

It was such a lot of fun, but it stopped being fun a long time ago.

When I stopped posting my blog to social media I noticed a distinct shift in how I use it and I have to say, I really don’t need the validation of people commenting on my blog from Facebook.

I missed it for a little while, but what I realized, what I have always known, is that the process of writing is what is important.

If someone gets something from what I write, well, huzzah, but ultimately, it is for me and I am grateful for that, that I kept it up and that I continue to do so and I can give a fuck about Facebook.

I think it will get along very well without me.

Probably won’t notice at all that I am gone.

And that is fine with me.

I don’t mind living under the radar.

That’s where the interesting stuff happens most of the time anyway.

Seriously.

I Like Being A

October 7, 2017

Therapist.

I said it out loud in my empty office as I put my last client’s file away and locked the cabinet.

Then I laughed.

It’s true.

I do.

It was a good night.

Good sessions.

And it’s Friday.

So that’s always a bonus.

This was my first week running at full steam.

Eight clients=eight sessions.

Plus.

One hour of solo supervision.

Two hours of group supervision, which technically is tomorrow.

And.

One hour of my own therapy.

And so, this is what it feels like.

At the end of the week, to shut the file drawer and say that “I like being a therapist,” well, it feels really good.

Miraculous almost.

That I’m putting in the hours and I’m finding what I am doing fulfilling.

It feels really fucking good, who am I kidding.

I’m not sure like is a strong enough word.

Although, I’m not sure a stronger word is there to replace it, love seems too committed, there’s a lot of stuff that I find challenging and there’s a learning curve and I have loads of challenges.

But.

Then again.

It may become love, I certainly love my clients.

In an empathetic therapeutic way.

What I am hearing, from my clients now, too, is that they are hearing me, there is a symbiosis, a back a forth, there is a relationship that is being created.

All my clients are rebooked for their next sessions.

Oh.

I won’t meet with all eight next week, I have a client on vacation, but that client has rescheduled.

And when clients have to reschedule I am being asked if they can make up the time.

That is so validating I can hardly bear it.

I feel like I am doing a good job.

And yes, there is a better job I am sure that I could do, but considering where I am at in my burgeoning career I’m doing pretty damn good.

I’m also making sure that I follow what I speak.

That I do what I suggest or reflect back to my clients.

Granted.

I did not tell any of my clients to go home and slide into a pair of bunny slippers, which I just did and damn it feels good.

But I do make self-care suggestions and that is what I got to do when I came home.

Open mail.

I don’t ever leave mail to be un-opened, I learned a long time ago when I first got into recovery how important it was to respond to my mail.

And.

Yes.

It was a bill.

For my scooter insurance.

And.

I have paid it.

That’s another thing that I was taught, pay your bills within 24 hours of receiving them.

I usually pay it immediately, I don’t even let 24 hours lapse, I get the bill I pay the bill.

Then I balance my checkbook so that I know exactly to the penny what I can spend.

That feels good to know that, to know exactly how much is in my account and what I can do with that money.

Then, after paying my bill.

I did my laundry.

I put fresh sheets on my bed this morning and wanted to wash all my linens and do a few loads of laundry, lots of nice fresh towels and sheets, thank you very much.

And.

I don’t want to have to think about doing laundry over the weekend, I just want the weekend to be mine

Oh my God.

Yes.

I made it to the weekend.

Sweet.

I am so happy.

So excited.

I have been looking forward to the weekend for a while now, let me tell you, it’s going to be fucking amazing, I just know it.

After laundry I opened up my package, I got my light box.

I haven’t set it up yet, but I have it and I’m happy that I was proactive, the light fades so fast and it used to be that I was riding my scooter home into the sunset, now I’m still riding into The Sunset, but it’s dark.

I live in the Outer Sunset neighborhood of San Francisco if that above made no sense.

I amuse the hell out of myself.

And digress much?

After package opening, bill paying, folding laundry, and getting myself sorted I made myself a nice hot dinner, roasted chicken and brown rice with peas and corn.

So freaking good.

I was hungry and nothing like a nice hot meal at the end of a long week and a long day.

I am very happy to say that I am doing what I would suggest to anyone I work with.

Self-care.

It’s so where it’s at.

I can’t help anyone at all unless I can take care of myself first.

But when I do, watch out!

I am able to do so much.

It’s amazing.

This, my blog, also counts as self-care, the writing a practice that never fails to sustain and fulfill me, allowing me to process emotions and thoughts and work through whatever needs to be worked through, I get it all out here and my head is clear.

I go to bed with a clear conscious and not a lot of chatter.

Oh.

There’s occasionally noise in there, but the other thing about my long day, well, I generally fall asleep pretty quick and that’s nice too.

When I am tired the last thing I need is a racing brain.

I like quiet.

And yes, there are things I think about, lovely things, but I feel like I am holding them next to me, sleeping with my arm wrapped about them in a loving way.

I awoke this morning early.

I had to pee.

Happens.

I tend to drink tea before going to bed it’s a ritual and it too calms me down and mellows me out, warms me up and makes me sleepy and cozy.

I like being cozy.

So.

I generally do get up once in the night to use the bathroom.

And oh!

The moon!

It was full, so full, amazing, bright white light shining through the blinds on my back studio door.

So powerful.

When I woke up proper, it was still there, just at the horizon, riding low in the pinks and soft lavender of early sunrise, just over the ocean.

I stood and stared at it and welcomed it.

I felt blessed in seeing the beauty and it reminding me of love.

How I can see it, acknowledge it, hold it, and be so aware of its beauty.

It made for quite the start to my day.

And now, here at the end, as I’m sleepy and warm, I suspect, it will carry me through my night and into the light of a brand new day.

Saturday.

Oh how I have been waiting for you my friend.

Stupid with excitement.

And no little love.

Almost There

October 6, 2017

Almost to the weekend.

So close I can taste it.

I am ready.

I am so ready.

It’s been a long week, not horrible, just long.

I’ve seen my therapist, had a huge aha moment with her, felt some things get inwardly re-arranged and they’re still settling.

I saw my supervisor and we had an amazing session.

I have seen six clients this week.

I have two more to see tomorrow.

I have worked full days at work.

I have one more to go.

One more.

Then.

Saturday.

OH.

How I have been dreaming about you.

It just can’t get to me fast enough.

And the week has gone by pretty quick, for which I am grateful.

Sometimes anticipation of an event can make the time getting there super painful.

Exquisite pain.

“It’s almost Christmas!” My little girl charge said twirling around in her ballet leotard and tutu.

I hate to break it to you kiddo, but it’s the first week in October, it’s going to be a minute.

Despite, yes, ugh, seeing the first Christmas decorations up at Nordstrom’s Rack last weekend when I went to do some clothing shopping.

I mean, sure, they had some Halloween stuff up too, but really the bulk of it was Christmas stuff.

I was a touch horrified.

Let me enjoy the autumn please.

Let me have my Halloween.

“What are you going to be for Halloween?” My oldest boy charge asked me.

He was not satisfied with my response of “a nanny.”

“Come on!” He demanded.

“Um, a grad student?” I smiled.

“No!” He said, literally stomping his foot.

“What about a psychotherapist?” I added, trying not to chuckle too much at his expense, he was so serious.

“That’s not a costume!” He opened his eyes really big and huffed out air from his cheeks.

I don’t have a costume, although I could pull off a pin-up girl really easily, I have a couple of dresses that are retro pin-up.

But pin-up might be, um, well, a tad sexy for my nanny day job.

I might wear of Day of the Dead skull print dress.

It’s also a touch on the pin-up side, but I can down play the make up and hair, and make it cute instead of sexy.

Child appropriate.

I won’t see my therapist that day, she’ll be out of town, but I will have clients, at least I think I will have one, I have to double-check, it feels like one of them recently cancelled for that day, but I can’t remember off the top of my head.

So.

Whatever I do wear needs to translate to going in to my internship and seeing clients.

I get a head of myself.

It’s not Halloween yet.

Nor is it Christmas.

I am just anticipating my weekend.

And that’s enough.

I’m almost done with my antibiotics too.

Which is nice, they upset my tummy a bit.

I have one more day and then done with them.

I still have had intermittent tooth pain, but I’m dealing.

Just taking ibuprofen and trying to stay hydrated.

I feel like drinking more water is always helpful, no matter what.

I hope the pain passes.

I had it come on pretty bad yesterday at the end of the work day and it was distracting at my internship, then I woke up this morning and nothing.

A bit of pain in the late afternoon today, but end of day at work was doable.

It’s been not so hot over the past week.

I do hope it passes.

If it continues or gets worse I’m just going to suck it up and make another appointment and let my dentist poke around in there some more.

Not excited for that.

So.

Hey tooth fairy.

Cut this lady a little slack.

The dentist didn’t see any cavities, nothing showed up on the x-ray, so stop hounding me for a tooth, I ain’t got one to give.

Anyway.

Who cars about my teeth when the weekend is almost here.

I’m not excited, really, ha.

I have to also remember, in all the excitement to book my ticket for travel.

I need to book by October 15th.

Which means I should do it this weekend as next weekend, October 13th-15th, is a school weekend.

I am happy that I can still use the ticket and book flight.

It’s nice to look forward to travel.

Even if I won’t necessarily take it for a little while.

I will still get to take it and I won’t be throwing $435 down the drain.

I have wasted plenty of money on lesser things, but travel is sacred to me.

I love to get on a plane and go.

Oh.

I always want to come back home, but I do like to go somewhere new and explore it, sometimes I also want to go to somewhere I know.

I will always have a lech to travel to Paris, always.

It is familiar and still foreign enough and though I have been many times, there always is something new to see.

I almost found myself applying for a two month artist in residency for next year.

But then.

Haha.

I remember, um, you might be in school those two months.

Not going to happen.

It’s a prestigious fellowship.

It’s two months rent and $1,000 a month to support your time plus travel expenses.

Nothing to sneeze at.

I applied for it once, I think that’s why I got the notice in my e-mail today.

But I had to laugh after I took a minute to realize, of course I can’t go for two months to Paris in 2018 since I’m in school and have other really important obligations, but I laughed at the photo the fellowship was using as an enticement.

It was two people romantic and laughing in the sun on a bridge near Pont Neuf.

Which is a gorgeous and magical.

But the fellowship is for February and March.

Which are not sunny months at all.

AT ALL.

They are dark and cold and dreary and wet and rainy.

That photo definetly taken in summer or late spring.

Not way it was FEBRUARY.

Also it’s why, I bet, they do the fellowship at that time because it’s probably the least traveled time to go to Paris, thus cheaper, than any other time, maybe August, which is when the city basically shuts down in the heat and everybody leaves to go on vacation.

It was a lovely fantasy, though, to indulge in for a minute.

But really.

My time needs to be focused here.

Here is where it’s at.

All the things.

And Friday.

Hello weekend.

I have waited so long for you.

I can taste your nearness and it is maddening.

Seriously.

 

Committed Monogamous

October 4, 2017

Relationships are dangerous.

Oh holy fucking shit.

That’s it.

It only took 44 plus years.

And one scary, traumatizing, controlling partner to ruin me for traditional dating.

Not that I think that traditional dating is the answer.

There is no answer.

There is no right.

There is no wrong.

There is only the feeling of love and I don’t have a particular expectation around how I find that love or let myself have that love.

Oh.

I suppose I have definitely introjected the idea that I need to be married to be a whole person, to be enough, that I am somehow not lovable unless married.

And then.

There is the other, not so conscious thing that has been happening for me for over past eighteen years.

I say eighteen years because that is when I broke up with the one man I was in a significant long-term relationship.

We were together for five years.

We probably shouldn’t have been together for more than five minutes, but I’m not going to judge that young very lost, very sad, very fearful woman.

I didn’t know better and I got sucked in.

I got suckered in by my own naive ideas about what love was and how to be in a relationship.

What the fuck did I know about being in a relationship that had any kind of sustainability at the age of 21?

Especially when I look at where I had been the few years prior to the start of the relationship.

Homeless.

Helping out with my sister and her daughter and her first husband.

Helping out my mom, my dad, anyone who fucking asked because I only had this idea that if people needed me I had some sort of value.

That I might be enough, when I felt, although it was not acknowledged, I couldn’t acknowledge it to myself until I had two, almost three years sober, that I didn’t love myself.

That I had no idea how to do it because the love I had been shown was so deadly that I couldn’t escape it fast enough.

In fantasy, in sci-fi books, in chocolate bars, in music, in school, in the backyard of the house in Windsor, in crushing on “unattainable” boys who weren’t interested in me.

It was safer that way.

I found ways to fill that hole of loss of love.

Food became a big one.

Taking care of other people, that was great, focus on someone else and don’t think about myself, my needs, my wants, my desires.

I mean.

I wasn’t allowed to have needs, wants desires, so why even bother?

I would only be disappointed.

I came into my therapy session today talking about the weather, the turn of seasons into Fall, that I was being proactive, that I had purchased a light box to deal with the SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) that I have a history of experiencing.

I segued into a being proud of myself moment for acknowledging that yes, I could have gone to a 7 a.m. yoga class today, but then I would have been crazy pressured to make my therapy session, I would have gotten a quick fast shower, but no coffee, no breakfast, and just barely slapping some make up on and well, I like my makeup.

Not to mention my morning latte and bowl of oatmeal.

Plus I also knew that I wanted to be available for a phone call and if I went to yoga, I’d get less sleep, not eat, no coffee, and miss a phone call from a very important person.

I woke up this morning and reset my alarm, I knew I wasn’t going to yoga and I knew it was the thing to do.

I had my nice breakfast, I had my nice latte, I put on my makeup.

I do remember thinking to myself, heck, I could wear eyeliner today, but therapy.

I mean.

I do have a tendency to cry.

Then I thought, fuck, life is wonderful, what do I have to cry about?

But.

I trusted my gut.

Yeah, I still wore blue eye shadow, it was tasteful, I swear, but I didn’t give myself the winged black kohl liner look that would have put the vavoom on my makeup.

I restrained myself just in case I might cry.

Guess what?

I cried.

My therapist and I were talking about relationships, marriage, family and then I was talking about my ex.

I was talking about five years of living with an addict who was super controlling, although I had no idea at the time.

I talked about what it was like when I decided to break up with him and what happened.

I talked about how he hit me.

I talked about how he knew that I had been hit as a child and it was my boundary, and how he broke it.

I talked about being scared.

I talked about how he stalked me for two years before I could finally pull the trigger and call the cops.

I didn’t talk about the nightmares, but, ugh, they were awful.

I did talk about the police being called and that there were messages on my machine and how not even after listening to a half of the first one the police were ordering a restraining order on my ex.

We went to court after the initial one was filed.

My ex stood in court and asked for the longest one he could get

He knew himself.

He knew he would keep haunting me if he didn’t ask for the longest restraining order he could get.

It was for two years.

We saw each other about two weeks after it expired.

We had one last 24 hours of trying to make something work that was never meant to work.

I said my goodbye.

I was moving to California.

We spoke one last time when his grandmother died.

I had helped with her when she was becoming to senile to help herself.

I will never forget giving her a bath and her tiny frail little body and how she just sat in the tub and let me bathe her and wash her hair.

He thought I should know.

A lot of emotions came up as I talked to my therapist.

How I didn’t want to tell her about how he spit on me in front of my friends, in the face, because I was leaving him.

I will never forget the shocked look on my best friends husbands face, he was frozen in active disbelief of what was happening.

Another friends’ boyfriend intervened.

We drove back to my house with my ex tailing us like an insane man.

My friend’s husband managed to lose him and we took a circuitous way back to my house and, yes, I literally threw clothes into garbage bags and ran back to my friend’s car.

It was January.

It was cold.

I was heart-broken, lost, and in shock.

“Committed monogamous relationships are dangerous for you,” my therapist said with distinct clarity.

I had expressed that I hadn’t really been in a long-term relationship since I had left my ex.

And then she flipped the frame.

And then she gave me the most beautiful perspective.

She told me how it was something a lot of people did, they replicated the same relationships they grew up.

My father, alcoholic, violent.

My stepfather, misogynist, violent, I always remember the blood on the floor from the broken back window of the kitchen in Windsor when my mother had locked him out and he broke the window with his bare fist and turned the lock, the look of his hand, that image is frozen in my brain, bloodied grasping for the lock and turning it, how we ran out the front door and spent the night at my grandparents.

How we went back the next day.

The years of terror that followed that I wouldn’t let myself see as terrorizing.

Of course committed monogamous relationships are dangerous.

Jesus Fuck did you see what happened to my mom?

Did you see what happened to me the one time I get into a long-term relationship.

Not to mention the three-month crazy man I dated when I was 19 who introduced me to crack cocaine and threatened to kill me in a drug induced delusional state.

But who’s counting.

Then she gave me the gift.

She showed me that I had done the best I could to keep myself safe, that I had rules and bylaws  and ways of keeping myself so busy that I couldn’t date.

I spent the last fifteen years trying to figure it out and she went and did it in a session.

Oh.

Of course.

I did a lot of the work too, and she’s right, I did keep myself protected, but I also acknowledge that after a while it stopped working and I longed for a different experience.

And I’m having one and I’m amazed at my life and I’m ok with the fact that I spent so much time and effort taking care of that small little girl who kept being put in dangerous situations through efforts to maintain a “committed monogamous relationship.”

But.

Well.

I’ve grown up.

And emotional intimacy, though still a frightening area, is not the scary thing that I thought it was, it is sweet and sacred and amazing.

I had to go what I went through and I’m not sorry for it.

I am so grateful for getting out, that’s all, that I got out, that I grew, that I changed, it took years and so much work.

So much work.

But.

Fuck.

Worth it.

So worth all of it.

My therapist went over time with me today, it was the first time ever I had talked about the relationship in therapy and I touched into the terror and fear and pain that I was so busy keeping at bay, she brought me back.

She made sure I was back in the present.

She let me talk about the love in my life, the resources I have, my resiliency and that I wasn’t that person anymore, and that I had done an amazing job at taking care of myself.

She urged self-care and tender compassion for myself today.

I think I did ok.

I showed up at work and I showed up for my clients.

And I bought chocolate persimmons today at the market after I got out of my session.

I love persimmons.

I love myself.

I am lovable and worthy of love.

I am enough.

God damn.

Am I ever.

I fucking did it.

 

Sleep

September 29, 2017

It does wonders.

I still could have slept another hour or fifteen, or so it felt, when I woke up, but I had gotten nearly 7 hours and that was miraculous after a long slog of a day with little sleep.

I am super grateful that tomorrow is Friday.

And that the mom had gotten mixed up with dates and I don’t have to come in early tomorrow.

I will next week.

But tomorrow.

Fuck.

I might even get eight hours of sleep.

It sounds so sexy it makes me shiver in delicious anticipation.

And just being the end of the week brings me some relief.

I’m almost there.

I still have a rather long day tomorrow, full day of work, client at my internship, but I don’t have a second client in the evening until next Friday, so I’ll be out by 7:30p.m. and able to make a friend’s birthday dinner at Fang on Howard Street.

I am also supposed to go dancing with the posse of ladies afterward at Public Works for Afrolicious.

I’m on the fence about that.

Originally I wasn’t going to be able to do dinner and felt an obligation to make a commitment to my friend and say yes to the dancing.

Now.

Well.

Fuck.

It’s been a long week.

I mean.

It really has.

And I’m still not in the clear.

I don’t have a day off until Sunday.

So.

Yeah.

I’m keeping the door wide open to just doing dinner and saying, love you, but I can’t make the dancing.

And.

I love dancing.

I haven’t really danced since Burning Man and god only knows when before that.

But, yes, I do like to dance.

And the music is sure to be good.

I mean.

Really good.

I’m not committing though, not yet, I just need to see how I feel and not try to be a hero and push too hard.

If I have the energy, I’ll go for it and bounce home by midnight so that I can still get up and go to yoga in the morning on Saturday before I go into my internship.

I do know this much.

I am getting a god damn mani/pedi/waxing on Saturday.

I hate looking sloppy and my nails look like ass.

It’s always an indication to me that I am busy when my manicure looks bad.

It’s a time suck, an enjoyable one, but it takes time and when I have a school weekend, like I did last weekend, I don’t have the time.

Oh.

I tried.

I had a little tiny window Saturday between my last class and my first client, but the salon was full and couldn’t get me in for even just a manicure.

Note to self.

Make an appointment so I can get a spot.

I can’t go another week without doing the nails.

It’s a part of my self-care and it’s something I very much like to do for myself.

It’s a couple of hours of sitting still, flipping through magazines, letting someone pamper me, relaxing, using the massage buttons on the chair.

Yeah.

Definitely making some time to do that.

Then my normal Saturday night get together with my fellows over in the NOPA.

I might go out to dinner that night too, but not certain.

I also have homework to attend to, I do need to do some reading.

I actually got in a couple of articles yesterday evening, despite the fact that I had such a long day, I did a 45 minute stretch and got my CBT reading done so that I can actually know what the fuck is being talked about in my webinar on Sunday and I knocked out an article in my Child and Elderly Abuse class.

Little bits and pieces as I go.

It will get done.

I didn’t have much down time at work this week to address homework, but I have brought a book with me every day, just in case.

I never know what the time will bring, just that it’s important to utilize it when it occurs.

I hope to let myself have a little down time too.

I do what I can.

When I can.

I believe in abundance, my time is expansive.

I also acknowledge that my schedule is fucking full and it’s a lot when I step back and look at it.

But boy.

The time goes by.

And.

It won’t always be like this.

It just won’t.

It’s part of what I have to do right now.

Get the degree, get the degree, get the degree.

Eye on the prize.

Eyes softly on the prize.

I don’t want it to be the sole focus of my life.

I have people in my life who are my life and I can’t just be a soul hiding in a room studying all the time.

Or working all the time.

I need connection.

I need love

I need sunshine.

I need star shine.

I need love.

Oh.

I already said that.

But.

For the sake of telling myself that I am allowed.

I need love.

I can’t just send it out, to my clients, my family, my friends, to my job, without getting some back.

And thank God.

I am getting it back.

I am so grateful for that love.

Beyond words.

I realize that I have strength.

But I cannot be strong in a vacuum.

So.

I will do my best this weekend to let myself balance all my commitments and comings and goings and be nice to myself and maybe, I’ll get some flowers, or something else sweet for myself, be romantic, woo my heart, be gentle.

Heh.

See.

I’m making an opportunity to go shopping.

I see myself here.

Oh.

But.

It’s allowed.

Let me allow myself some sweetness for all the hard work I put in.

It’s allowed.

I am lovable and worthy of love.

And.

Maybe.

Yes.

A new pair of shoes too.

Heh.

 

So, So, So

September 28, 2017

Tired.

Like wiped out.

Of course I got up today at 4:30 a.m. so that might be a part of it.

But.

I also realized that I haven’t had a day off in, what, ten days?

I always forget that about mid-week after a weekend of classes.

Oh yeah, I didn’t have any days off because I was in school over the weekend.

Which means I worked my full-time job, went to therapy, went to group supervision, went to solo supervision, and saw 8 clients last week, then I had a full weekend of classes.

And come Monday I went right back to work, solo supervision, therapy, clients, etc.

I have two more days of work, two more days of clients, group supervision on Saturday and a CBT webinar I have to do on Sunday.

Sunday is shaping up to not be much of a day off, but I will have some down time.

Which will likely be filled with school work, but I will also try to slide in a yoga class or two during the weekend and god, I so need a mani/pedi and face waxing.

Yeah.

I said face.

I’m this close to getting electrolysis.

It’s a luxury expense, but then I think about the money I spend to have it done and I could have probably already have paid for it ten times over.

Some things feel like luxury.

Some things I don’t think about dropping money on.

I see a gift for someone that I know they will like.

And money is not a problem.

I have it.

Yesterday, for instance, I totally was only getting my charge some stickers.

I mean, rainbow stickers, maybe a couple of horses and some hearts, but nothing over a couple of dollars.

I also had an ulterior motive, I wanted to pick up a card for my best friend whom I miss awful bad and so being close to Serendipity in the Mission I decided, heck, kill two birds with one stone.

Get my charge some stickers and pick up a card.

Except.

Ha.

She saw a stuffed unicorn with rainbow mane and tail and it was over.

I mean.

It was magnetic, the girl just went straight to a basket of unicorn stuffies and grabbed hers right out.

“_______________ I want this one!”

And then she did it.

She turned the eyes on me.

I have never had her do that to me before.

My god.

The child has some power.

I took the unicorn and looked at the price tag.

I could afford it, in fact I had taken some money out earlier in the day when I was shopping up at Whole Foods in Noe Valley, and I had almost exactly what the unicorn cost.

I got it for her.

The happiness in her face.

I will never forget that look.

I also had to take a picture, those big, sweet, melty eyes and how she held that unicorn, oh my gosh.

And then today.

I was in early, early to help out the parents who need me to do a drop off to the school and she brought the unicorn in to be her quiet time nap cuddle toy.

I was beyond thrilled.

It felt very special that she had to have it with her and I’m so grateful I got her something that she loves so much.

The mom was telling me how much it means to them that their kids get a long with me so well, that they had actually been looking for a nanny for over a year when they found me and they are very happy with me.

We’ve booked ourselves out all the way through the school year.

Which means basically that I have a job for as long as I need.

My contract will end on January 1st of this year.

I have no doubts at all that we will be renewing and at that time I will ask for a cost of living raise.

San Francisco has not gotten any cheaper to live in and I am so getting a car.

That came up yesterday in my therapy session, what it means to have a car, the last time I had a car, to rent it or own it, my finances, how I can navigate getting one.

My therapist said, “having a car in this profession is a deep kind of self-care.”

And the moment she said it I knew how true that was, to be able to come and go on my schedule, to not be seeing clients wet from having ridden my scooter from my day job to my internship in the rain, to not be riding in risky weather.

Getting a car is a deep movement into self-care for me.

I’m ready to do it.

I have to figure out time, of course, it feels like it just slips through my fingers, but I think that the week and a half that my family is away for Thanksgiving will be a good time to do it.

Mid-November.

I may have to deal with some rain before that time and I can take cars.

If time opens up for me before that I will do so, if not, I’ll mark November 16th as the day I want to have my new car by.

That’s a the Thursday before Thanksgiving and my family will be flying out the evening before on their vacation.

I’ll have a day off during the middle of the week when it’s not too busy, not a Saturday at 2p.m. when everyone in the world is out looking at cars.

That’s the current thought around that.

And it’s exciting.

I got a portion of my financial aid released to me, a few more dollars into my savings account and I’m in need of some clothing staples, and maybe one nice new dress, and the rest will be earmarked toward the car.

I’m really going to do this.

And I’ll make sure I’m well rested for it, not going to the dealership tired.

Oof.

Anyway.

I’m starting to ramble and I just want a hot tea, a pear, and a snippet of a video.

Then off to bed.

My bed looks so good right now.

I cannot wait to crawl under the covers.

Seriously.

It’s going to be good.

So.

So.

So.

Good.

Homework

September 17, 2017

What homework?

Fuck me.

I am not ready for it yet, but I know I have to get my good girl study habits into action.

Especially since I ran into one of my professors today at my internship.

At least she could sympathize with me about my “plight.”

Full time work, full-time grad school, practicum 10-15 hours a week.

But that doesn’t mean she doesn’t expect my paper to not be on time.

I got a message from her about it and also, thank God, a question from one of my fellows in the cohort asking about a test that I had not registered in my brain that um, I have to take tomorrow.

FUCK.

Doesn’t my school know I have a life?

I mean.

Seriously.

Ugh.

And I do have a plan, of course I do and I will get my homework done and I’m not so worried about it.

I always get it done and I am very aware of how efficiently I am able to read and write.

Thank God, again and again and again, for my daily writing practice.

I have two papers to write tomorrow and the test to take for my CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) class.

Plus.

A fuck ton of reading.

I had thought I might get to some of my reading today, but between just some general housekeeping that I really needed to do, laundry and letting myself take it relatively easy this morning, relatively is a relative statement, I did a 80 minute yoga class, took a shower, made breakfast, wrote for thirty minutes, put fresh sheets on the bed, did two loads of laundry, took out trash and recycling, e-mailed clients, paid bills, juggled schedules, I didn’t have quite as much time this morning to attend to reading and I didn’t really want to push it.

I threw my reading in my bag along with lunch and hit up my internship.

Two hours of group supervision and then a couples consult and then I had nothing left in me.

I didn’t want to do homework, I just wanted to get the fuck out of Dodge.

I thought I might have stayed an hour or so at my office and just knock out some reading, but I decided that what I really needed was a little personal down time and I went and got a manicure.

It was perfect.

A phone call with my best friend.

A flip through a trashy magazine.

And some electric blue fingernails.

And well.

Now.

Now I feel ready to tackle the homework.

But.

Not tonight.

Nope.

I am going to continue to let myself enjoy my evening and have a relaxing night.

No homework, no anxiety.

A little care taking of me.

A little slowing down.

I have plenty to do tomorrow.

It’s true.

I’ll go to yoga and do breakfast and write here at the house.

I have a lady coming over at 1pm to do some work and doing of the deal.

Then a coffee date with a friend.

Then the homework.

And I bet I will get my CBT homework done between my breakfast and meeting with my first person at 1 p.m.

I also have to do a little grocery shopping and I will need to do food prep.

I am also banking on having some extra time at work to do the reading that I need to do.

The mom is out-of-town with the baby, I won’t have my normal morning routine with my youngest charge.

Oh.

There will still be plenty to do and in some instances some extra work, but I won’t have active charges until 2:15p.m. every day.

I’ll be at the house and make wicked fast work of whatever household things I need to deal with and then give myself at least an hour if not two of reading.

I’ll get it done.

I always do.

I know how full my life can get and it may seem untenable and challenging and too much, but it won’t be like this always.

And I have winnowed out some things, for instance I was unregistered over the weekend for the ALC ride, my bicycle rep still tried to talk me into doing it, but I gracefully turned it down and that’s one less thing on my plate.

I am going to acknowledge that yes, my calendar is still hella full, but I know time will coalesce and things will happen that allow me to have fun and not take myself or my situation so damn serious.

A client will cancel, I’ll get out of work early, some circumstance will arise and I will have a surprise gift of time.

It always happens.

I’m super grateful for that too.

I’ll get through this year.

I’ll get my Masters degree.

I’ve always wanted one.

I’ll have achieved one more step toward my career goal.

I don’t have to do it all tomorrow.

Or tonight for that matter.

I did enough today.

I am enough.

I am lovable and worthy of love.

I affirm myself.

I am capable and strong and I have such lovely people in my life.

I do.

I do.

I am blessed beyond words.

So very blessed.

 

Smashed With Love

September 15, 2017

I had a reunion today with one of my favorite charges.

I have been on the look out for him since school started.

The family I used to work for and the family I work for now have their children in the same school.

I do school pick up for my charges four to five days a week.

And.

I ran into one of the boys I used to work with today.

Or.

I should say.

He ran into me.

Literally.

Full tilt gallop from across the playground.

I was nearly bowled over.

I had no idea he was coming.

I was looking for my charge and then heard my name being called out, and it took a moment for me to realize that the voice calling my name was not the voice of my current charge, but a past charge.

And then.

He leapt into my arms.

He knew I would be there to catch him and I was.

My whole body responded before my brain had a chance to even register what had happened.

All I knew was that my arms were full of this sweet little boy.

“I miss you! I miss you! I miss you!” He cried and hugged me so hard.

I told him how much I have missed him and how much I love him and it was such a sweet reunion.

I nearly burst into tears.

This situation, being at the same school, with two different families, is a new one for me.

The first few times my former charge saw me were so achingly painful I dreaded going to do school pick up.

Part of me yearned to see them, my boys, such sweet, sweet boys.

And.

Part of me couldn’t bear it.

I missed them so badly and they didn’t understand why I wasn’t with them any longer and was with my new family and when was I coming back?

Now.

8 months later.

They seem to have gotten it.

And there’s some distance from the hurt and the loss and the grieving I did when I said good-bye to them.

Now it seems tender, but it doesn’t have the same sting, and though I thought I might cry, I did not, yes, oh yes, I gave him many fierce hugs and told him multiple times how much I loved him, but I didn’t lose it.

He ran off with my little girl charge and they went to the monkey bars and it did my heart something good to watch the two of them play.

It did my heart real good.

My charges were all about the love today.

There was much holding hands, there were many hugs, there were no tantrums.

It was magic.

I even had a little time before the mom came in this morning to make a few check in phone calls and get myself oriented for the week.

And get my clients sussed out for the next few weeks.

I have been given another client.

And with that.

I now have eight.

Which is where I will stay, at least for the semester.

I will pick up consults on Saturdays that I am not in class, but aside from that, I have my eight clients.

I am a therapist.

I mean.

I really am doing this.

“What’s a therapist?” My oldest charge asked me today, “is that what you’re in school for, and how come you’re still in school, is it like a career thing?”

He’s very astute for seven.

“Yes,” I told him, ruffling his hair.

He and I were solo at this point in the day, mom and little sister had a dance class to go to and he and I were headed home on MUNI.

“A therapist is someone who helps you communicate with your emotions, sometimes they help you communicate with other people too,” I told him.

“A therapist helps you with your feelings,” I continued.

“Oh yeah, I remember,” he said and reached for my hand, “and you’re a therapist!”

“Yes,” I smiled, “yes, I am.”

“But you’re still my nanny, right?” He asked, a tiny note of concern in his voice.

“Yes, I’m still you’re nanny,” I replied, slowing down a little as he thought it through.

“But you won’t be forever, you’ll graduate from school and you’ll be a therapist all the time?” He asked, then stopped walking and added, “but that’s not for a while yet, right?  You’re still many nanny for a while.”

“Yes, it will be a while before I have a practice all my own and we’ll have lots of time together before that happens,” I assured him.

“And then you can be my therapist!” He concluded and grabbed my hand happy to have figured out a way to keep me permanently in his life.

Oh my heart.

It just was squashed with his love.

I hope you never, ever, ever, need a therapist darling boy.

Although, I know how helpful it is, it’s super helpful.

Just to have someone listen to you, to attend to you, to help you navigate through emotional states and processes.

Even if there’s not a trauma to work through.

Therapy is some super helpful stuff.

And really, if I’m honest about it, in a way, I am this child’s therapist.

We do a lot of play therapy and a lot of narrative therapy.

Of course.

I don’t tell him that.

For him, it is just play, that’s how children process emotions, they play.

So he and I play a lot, we color, we tell stories, well, he tells me stories, all the time, and I get to listen and ask questions.

He’s very excited, for instance, about the new Iphone.

“Are you going to get one?” He asked me.

“Nope, I don’t have a $1,000 to spend on a phone,” I told him.

He was not pleased with this answer, he’s very pro Apple products.

“Don’t you have something you can sell?” He asked, “you know, to get money to buy the phone?”

I laughed out loud.

I love how he thinks.

He’s very solution oriented.

I love my charges.

Past.

And present.

I’m so grateful for them, for all the sweet love I have gotten to have, for the laughter, for the naps, for the snuggles and hugs and the joy of them.

Children astound me.

The bright faces of God shining with love.

How lucky, graced really, I am to get to do this work.

Luckiest girl in the world.

Seriously.

That’s Not Mine

September 13, 2017

It’s yours.

Or.

It is mine?

Or is it both?

Turns out yesterday it was both/and.

I hate that.

Both.

And.

I had a client working through some traumatic stuff in session yesterday and I realized later that I had taken some of it with me.

It was hard to shake.

Why was it so hard to shake?

I talked to my therapist today about it.

We isolated it and moved through it and all sorts of stuff came up.

Jesus fucking Christ.

All the stuff.

Fortunately, and I mean this in the sincerest way possible, fortunately, I have been doing self-examination and inventory and work on myself for such a long time that I was able to work through it.

I can’t and won’t divulge what happen in session with my client.

That’s a breach of ethics and I am honor bound to keep those things within the walls of my office.

But.

I can say that what happened had a resounding feel to me of something that had happened to me.

I couldn’t quite pin it.

I know that there was an extraordinary amount of emotion in the room when I worked with my client last night.

I relayed to my therapist things that happened for me in my body, what it felt like, the counter transference that happened and the transference.

And.

That I recognized that some of what I was feeling was my clients and some of what I was feeling was mine.

Thank God for a great therapist.

We isolated it.

Or.

I isolated it.

She did what therapist do, good therapists, she held the field, she let me find my way, she made some connections for me that I didn’t see, she held me with empathy, she validated my experience, she reflected and gave me perspective.

And.

Holy shit.

There it was.

And I broke down and bawled.

Great big ugly tears.

Relieved to get it out.

Although it tried to stick for a second.

It tried really hard.

It did not want to come out.

I was choked with grief.

Stricken.

I got it out though and I named the emotions I was feeling.

Trying to stuff them all into the crumpled ball of tissue in my moist hand.

Guilt.

Shame.

Unendurable guilt.

For getting out, for doing better, for surviving.

For being financially “well off.”

Bwahhahahahaaha.

Have you seen my student loan statement?

I have.

Meh.

Anyway.

Though I may have a fuck ton of student loans, fuck it, I’m worth the investment, I am, I am, I also have a modicum of financial security and I have a nice little home and I have nice little things.

I have a scooter.

I have a bicycle.

I have security.

In so much as I continue working at the pace I am working.

I don’t have much of a security blanket in the savings account.

But hey.

I have a savings account.

When I think about how successful I am in comparison to my mom or my sister and how I have always managed to find a way out, I sometimes, more so than I want to admit, have guilt.

And then.

I belittle my experiences or my own traumas, because, man, they had and have it bad too, and I’ve found a way through.

There is no way through but through.

It’s painful.

But.

Fuck.

It’s so worth it.

And I also see that I am not responsible for my sister, for my mother, for my father, my nieces.

I am, and can only be, responsible for myself.

But the guilt.

It hit me hard.

I was feeling awkward about an upcoming birthday in my family and I was relaying how many times, so many, too many to count, that I have sent gifts trying to foster some sense of connection and love to my family.

And.

Have not received it.

Oh.

I know there’s love.

But I haven’t the emotional connection to my family that I was trying to cultivate, a sort of reciprocation of love and that I need to let go of trying to get it the same way I have been doing so for decades.

We, my therapist and I, talked about how I might be able to establish connection, about what I could do.

I have to say it felt futile.

I was fucking flummoxed.

Then.

As I sat and the grief washed over me and I saw how hard I had tried to do something, taking the same action time and time again, that maybe there was another way.

Maybe.

I don’t know.

But I sussed a few things out and suddenly I had an answer.

It may not be “the” answer.

But.

It felt good to process it all out and find the connections and see how the traumatic experience that I bore witness to when I was with my client last night led me to work through and settle out something that has been nagging me for decades in my relationship to my sister and my nieces.

I don’t have a lot of close family.

Just my sister.

I have almost no relationship whatsoever with either of my nieces.

Although I helped significantly in the first years of my oldest niece’s life.

And I love her so much.

After I moved away from Wisconsin our relationship grew very thin.

My sister had troubles of her own and many challenges that I could not face for her.

Fuck.

I had to deal with my own shit.

The last time I saw my oldest niece was over fifteen years ago.

She was nine.

In a few days she will be 25.

I was nineteen when she was born.

I was the first person to hold her.

I saw her crowning.

I saw my sister endure the most excruciating pain.

I rocked that baby to sleep so many nights, I sang her songs, I can feel the heaviness of her carrier in my arms now.

I loved her beyond any previously known capacity to love.

And that is enough.

I gave what I could when I could and when the paths of my family and mine diverged, it was right to go the way I did.

To allow others the dignity of their own experiences.

To allow others to feel the weight of their choices, the consequences, good, bad, indifferent, to their actions, and not interfere.

I can still love my sister, my mother, my father, my nieces.

I can still love my cousins and aunts, uncles, my remaining grandparent.

But.

I don’t have to do so at the expense of myself.

I don’t have to lose myself in care taking.

I mean.

hahahaha.

Who the fuck am I kidding?

I’m a therapist in training, I may very well lose myself in it all over again, the care taking thing, but I also get to have boundaries and frames and I get to help in a way that won’t drain me.

At least that is what I have hope for.

I have a deep capacity for love and my experiences have borne this out.

I have and will always love my family.

I just won’t put their needs before mine any longer.

I deserve better.

And.

Well.

Fuck.

So do they.

Who the hell am I to decide how they should live their lives.

They have their own God.

As do I.

Thank God.

Grace.

Over.

Drama.

For the most part.

I was a hot mess yesterday and today in therapy but it got worked out and it got worked out fast.  So grateful for that.

Beyond words.

And though it may not seem cause for celebration.

It is.

And.

I am.

Yes.

The luckiest girl in the world.

Seriously.

I am.


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