Posts Tagged ‘therapist’

Little Gold Star

January 20, 2019

Today I got my 14th star tattoo.

14 stars.

14 years of being sober.

I decided I need to give myself a gold star.

It’s been that kind of year.

When I reflected on all the things that I went through and all the places I’ve been, I think that I definitely earned it.

This past year I traveled to DC, New York, Paris, and Marseilles.

I graduated with a Master’s degree in Psychology.

I went through a buy out and moved.

That was some serious stress let me tell you.

I also started a private practice therapy business.

And.

A PhD program.

I also got my grades back from said program.

All “A”s.

ALL.

I was a little surprised to tell you the truth, I had an issue with a final paper I turned in for one of my classes and I didn’t think it was going to fly, the paper, that is–I digressed from the specific instructions the professor gave and did rather what I wanted to do.  It was the only paper for the class, although there were so many discussion posts that I feel like I actually wrote seven papers for the class, and I ran a huge risk doing it.

The risk paid off.

So, yeah, a gold star felt really appropriate.

2019-01-19 20.54.20-2

Yes.

It did hurt.

And it felt really right and I was, obviously, very happy with it.

Not only was I pleased with it, but it filled out the space perfect.  I am very satisfied with the way all my tattoos look and really have little desire to put anything else in that area.

Not sure where I’ll put the 15th, but let’s just let me focus on the 14th star.

It really was quite a year.

I walked through some really challenging things and came out the other side.

I reflected on a lot of that today as I went about my day.

I saw clients at my office, did lots of writing, read for one of my upcoming classes for this next semester (school starts next Thursday!), went to Let it Bleed on Polk Street, got an iced coffee for a treat, walked around the Tenderloin and took graffiti photographs, caught up with my friend DannyBoy at the shop, took myself out to lunch in Hayes Valley, had a coffee with a friend in the Mission at Maxfield’s House of Caffeine, went to Divisadero and got my nails done, and then hit my Saturday night commitment and did the deal.

It was a day.

I’m really happy with my life right now.

Oh, sure, romantically it’s strange, but you know, that will work itself out.

Or not.

I have ceased (fighting anyone or anything) trying to figure it out.

I’m just showing up every day and taking care of myself and I feel really good about what I did today for myself and my own care.

I also thought a lot about what I want to bring forward for this next year.

Get through the next semester of classes, add clients into my private practice, travel.

I also want to get through the Below Market Housing Homeowners workshop.

I really am going to go after buying a house in San Francisco.

My friend whom I met for coffee happens to be a realtor and we spent an hour going over what I need to do to get myself in line to actually do that.

She gave me a good idea of how much money I will need to have saved up, which will take some time (or not, who knows, money may fall out of the sky) to save, but I can do it.

Plus that I should get a credit card.

Which I’m not super stoked on the idea.

I had one that I’d gotten last year and then never used as it made me uncomfortable.

But.

My friend insisted I was really going to need a credit history that showed me paying off a card.

She said get one, pay it off every month and always pay more than the minimum payment.

If I do get another card, and that’s an if, I will definitely not let a balance roll over.

I just do not like the idea of having any credit card debt.

I do, however, like the idea of having a good credit score and something that shows I am a good risk for a home loan.

I shall take it under advisement.

I actually tried to re-open the credit card I had closed but I could not figure out how to do it and just sort of set it aside tonight when I got home.

I feel like I did a lot today just by sitting down and talking about it.

I will manifest a house in San Francisco.

See if I don’t.

In the mean time there is plenty of other things for me to do.

I do want to keep a soft focus on it though, always have it in my mind and see where I can expand my awareness of abundance.

I am continuing to practice that opening up to the universe, to the flow, to God, to abundance, I have continued to give away a little more than I typically do.

More tip in the tip jar, more money in the basket, continuing to pay my bills within 24 hours of getting them.

And!

Oh my gosh, this is definitely part of the gold star, I got approved to become an employee at my internship.

Which means that I will start bringing in more money.

I am so psyched about that.

I’m excited for this year.

I feel like all sorts of incredible things are going to happen.

I really do.

Faith.

I like that.

Faith, abundance, joy, honesty, integrity, serenity.

Words to live by.

Principles to underpin my gold star.

And!

Love.

Let me not forget that one.

Never forget that.

Seriously.

 

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Get Paid

January 5, 2019

It’s not going to be a lot.

But it’s going to be something.

Two things.

First I got a raise at the beginning of the year, 5%, which is lovely, and will go into effect my next paycheck.

The amount that will show up on my actual paycheck is pretty small.

Still, anything is helpful.

And.

I applied to become an employee with Grateful Heart last night.

Currently I am what is called a “volunteer.”

I don’t get paid anything.

My clients pay me and I deposit that money into a one way account.

Grateful Heart administration is the only entity that can withdraw anything from it.

I can’t touch it.

I recently turned in my hours, client hours, and how much I took in, to the administrative team, which keeps tabs on all the therapists in the community and double checks the accounts against the reporting that is being done.

I am scrupulous with the money coming in and I have documented everything correctly.

The fastest a new Associate Marriage Family Therapist can become an employee with Grateful Heart is three months.

January 1st marked three months for me with the agency.

I applied on January 3rd after reporting my client hours and income for the month of December.  I have to do it once a month and as I noted, it gets matched against the bank account.

Their policy is that once a $1,000 prudent reserve is met and three months of income have been established a volunteer can apply to become an employee.

I should get approved pretty quick.

Fingers crossed, we have had some administrative changes recently, new hires, etc, I can’t believe it would take a lot of effort to look over my accounts and verify that I have what it takes to become an employee.

I am not bringing in heaps of money.

But.

I am bringing it in.

In fact.

Applying for the position actually showed me how much I have been doing in regards to establishing myself as a new therapist in the community.

In my first month I brought in $700.

In my second month, $1700.

Last month, $2400.

My rent gets taken out and a hefty ($350) administrative fee, the rest is left in my account, which has begun to actually accrue some funds.

I have more than met the prudent reserve and I have money that I could actually be collecting.

For myself.

Like real income.

They have a formula to help you figure out what you can take out without dipping below the reserve and also that I have to be paid the minimum wage for the hours I claim.

Minimum wage in San Francisco is $15 an hour.

So basically I will get paid slightly less than half my nanny wage.

Ugh.

But.

I will be able to increase that fairly quickly, I believe, and I will, once I become an employee, be able to get compensated for office costs.

I will also get reimbursed for my own therapy.

And that money will not be taxed or charged the 12.5% fee that Grateful Heart will also start taking as soon as I become an employee.

So, rent, administrative costs, and 12.5% goes to them and I get the rest.

It is not enough to live on by any means.

However.

It is more coming in and since my rent is a $1,000 more a month than it used to be.

(ugh)

It really will help.

Especially getting the money back from my own personal therapy.

It made me sort of chuckle when I thought about it.

I’m doing therapy to get therapy.

Heh.

I was required by my Master’s program to work with a licensed MFT and I could have dropped her and the therapy once my program ended, I worked with her for a year.

But.

It’s been helpful and I sense that it’s better for me to stay with it for a while yet.

It’s been very supportive of my transition with school, the PhD program, moving, old childhood trauma, family of origin issues, etc.

So, I’ll keep doing it and getting some money back to pay for it will feel really nice.

I’m feeling a lot of relief knowing that some more income will be coming in and it’s also a nice way to see that all these years of work is actually beginning to pay off.

Not a lot of pay off.

Yet.

But it will happen.

I had set an intention on my birthday last month that this would be my last year as a nanny.

I will have 25 full fee, weekly, seriously committed, wonderful clients who I get to help and empower by the end of this upcoming year.

25 is the number of clients most therapists aim for.

One could do more, but you court burn out.

It’s a lot of work to show up and be present for people and listen and reflect and use theory and trainings and bear witness to trauma.

Horrible trauma.

And it’s a great gift too.

I am a good therapist.

I really am and I am proud of the work I have done to get where I am.

I’m excited to help more people.

I’m happy that I have a career.

Not that having been a nanny hasn’t been a beautiful career, it just has an end and I feel it coming close.

I’ve been doing it for 12 years.

Amongst some other things, but mostly nannying.

Which is its own kind of therapy, when it’s done well, I believe.

I have been out to the parks a lot lately and I’ve been finding myself really judgmental.

I draw kids to me like flies, I literally had my little girl charge today (alone most of the day, three parks, Souvla for lunch, two toy stores for stickers, balloons, ice cream from BiRite Creamery with rainbow sprinkles) up at Dolores Park and at one point found myself surrounded by five little monkeys demanding snacks.

Friends of hers from her private school.

It was adorable and also intense.

Good thing I had packed extra snacks.

Kids love me and I them, but sometimes it becomes quite obvious when  a child isn’t getting their needs filled–emotional, physical, intellectual–and like a heat seeking missile they will go to someone who does.

That was me a lot today.

I just wanted to shout out, put down your Iphones and pay attention to your children!

But.

I didn’t.

And I’m glad I didn’t, it would have looked rather untoward.

If I’m honest too, my current family hired me because the mom remembered seeing me at the playground with a former set of charges and something similar happened.

She told me later that she realized I was a treasure and that she had been ecstatic when she found out I was going to be available.

Anyway.

Here’s to drawing clients to me like I drew children to me today.

I also have to say, when I really let myself acknowledge it, children are honest and if they like you it says a lot and if they trust you it says a lot too.

I was trusted a lot today at the parks, I got to be surrounded by much happy love.

Which is beautiful and I hope that I will in turn pass that along to the clients I get to see tomorrow, and all my days thereafter.

 

The Last Moments

December 18, 2018

Of my 45th year.

Tomorrow is my birthday.

I will be 46 years old.

It’s a surreal number.

Really.

All of them have been a touch on the surreal side ever since passing 40.

But now, well, as I edge closer to 50 than 40 and my body slowly starts to fall apart, I can say yeah, I’m getting old.

Well.

At least older.

And I’m not kidding about the body thing.

I mean.

I can still shake my booty on the dance floor, or in my house as it stands, I just did some dancing to a really lovely remix of “Take You for a Ride on a Big Jet Plane” and I really did break it out.

But.

The signs of getting older are there.

Despite wearing my hair up in gigantic poufs today and donning pink glitter eyeshadow.

I don’t have clients on Mondays after my nanny gig, so I like to play a little with the makeup and the hair.

But you know.

There’s some wrinkles underneath that glitter and there’s definitely some grey hair in those poufs.

And, you know.

I’m ok with it.

I like who I am.

I have worked really fucking hard to get here and my body has managed to carry me through.

So what if it looks like it’s been well-traveled, it has.

Every wrinkle and grey hair a testament to how far I have come.

I did have a moment though, last night, when I was getting ready for bed and I was like, enough with all the stuff.

My aesthetician did some work to remove a patch of collagen that has been bothering me for years recently and I have to touch it up every night and morning to make sure it goes all the way away and I have begun washing my face with actual cleansing foam instead of soap.

She was horrified when I told her I washed my face with soap.

I felt like I was getting scolded by my mom.

So now, I use some cleansing foam and yes, I always use sunblock, she made that a big ass deal years ago.

God.

I sound all sorts of bougie right now.

I hadn’t seen my aesthetician for eight or nine years, I used to go to her when I had really bad cystic acne.

That is one nice thing of getting older, that damn acne finally went away, but I had it well into my early thirties.

In the last few years I have noticed my skin getting a tiny bit dryer and last year I noticed that I had stopped getting black heads at all.

I used to still get those guys.

It seems that the oil in my skin is drying up.

So now I use moisturizer too.

I’m sure these are things most women much younger than me are doing, but you know, I’m a simple lady with the routines, so this adding in of stuff feels new.

And.

Now I’m wearing a night guard at night so I don’t crack any more fucking teeth and have to get any more crowns.

No thank you.

But it’s weird.

And I have to remember to put it in at night, adding another thing I need to do, on top of also taking my reflux meds.

I swallowed the three tiny pills and popped my mouth guard in and snorted.

It has begun.

I’m taking pills at night and wearing a night guard next thing you know I’ll be wearing Depends.

Ugh.

Anyway.

I’m a lucky bitch and I know it.

I don’t look my age, so now that Mother Nature is actually showing me that I’m not immune to this whole getting older thing, I just want to respect it and embrace it.

I don’t want to struggle against it.

I’m going to be 46 in the morning.

And if it’s anything like 45’s been, it’s going to be a pretty damn good year.

In my 45th year I graduated with a Masters in Integral Counseling Psychology.

I traveled to D.C., New York, Paris, and Marseilles.

I got hired at a private practice internship and started subletting an office space as a licenced Associate Marriage Family Therapist.

I danced.

I sang in my car a lot.

I took walks on the beach.

I loved really, really, really hard.

I cried a lot.

I wrote a lot of poetry.

I started my first semester of a PhD program.

I’m one week away from finishing the semester!  I just posted my final discussion post and turned in my final project for my Creative Inquiry Scholarship for the 21st Century class.

It’s been a damn good year.

I’m happy with who I am and where I’m going, even if I cannot see the final destination, I don’t really need to know that anyway.

Oh!

And I moved!

I went through a buyout and walked through a tremendous amount of fear.

I bought my first ever couch.

And it’s pink velvet, so there.

I’ve done a lot of therapy work and feel better about myself and supported in the work i do as a therapist as well.

I bought art from friends.

I pushed myself out of my school, nanny, internship shell and got back into the fellowship in San Francisco a bit more.

I ate a lot of apples.

I like apples.

I wrote a lot of Morning Pages.

I wrote a few blogs, not as many as I might have considering the issues I had there for a while.  But huzzah!  I have, with much help, gotten the two sites separated and I was happy to post my first blog on my therapy site tonight.

I’ve had a damn good year.

I’m a very lucky girl.

Or woman.

I suppose at 46 it’s time to really step into that women role.

Well.

Except when I wear my bunny slippers.

I don’t care how old I get, I’ll probably always wear bunny slippers.

heh.

So here’s to making it alive, sober, abstinent, happy, joyous, and motherfucking free, one more time around the sun.

Thanks 45, it’s been fun.

Bring on 46.

Separation of Church and State

December 16, 2018

And it finally happened.

I am so grateful to report that after much time, many failed attempts, yelling at my computer, yelling at the WordPress chat help, not literally, although I do think I told one of the people on the chat that I was as computer conversant as a tired four-year old.

I really felt like throwing a tantrum with that chat and I excused myself from it quickly when I realized I might, probably not, but might throw my computer on the floor and stomp on it.

So it is with much happiness and relief that I can report my website, my professional website, and my personal blog are no longer connected.

Oh.

They still are, but not really, not in a way that anyone could figure out and my friend who helped me even made the suggestion to change my face on the profile picture so I couldn’t be recognized that way.

Hence the new icon which is a graffiti photo I took many years ago in Paris.

Six years ago it feels like.

Paris was much on my mind today.

And in many of my conversations.

I went and saw my dear friend Barnaby at his new shop in Oakland, East Bay Tattoo, and he touched up the color on my pink jackalope bunny tattoo that he gave me for my 40th birthday when we were living as room mates in Paris.

We both marveled at how far we’d come since that time in Paris.

We were both trying to figure things out and neither one of us thought that we’d actually be moving back here.

Barnaby landed in Oakland and I in the Outer Sunset.

Six years later he’s the father of two boys and he and his partner own a house in Oakland and he just opened a new shop.

Six years later I’m a psychotherapist, not going to tell you my name though, oh no, I don’t want you finding my website from my personal blog (this baby is dark, no social media, no LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, nada), I’m also a PhD student and I own a car!

I mean.

I remember how I felt leaving Paris when we did, my heart-felt bruised, I felt defeated, broken, I had tried so damn hard to make it work and Paris was not having it.

Not having me.

Although she has welcomed me back with open arms and love every time that I have gone back since.

I feel like I have learned so much about myself from my time spent in Paris.

So my friend and I reminisced and talked about all the things we did there and the conversations and all the things that we have done in the time between and how life is.

You know.

Life is pretty damn good.

Even though.

Fuck my life.

I just found out that my paper is due at 5p.m. instead of midnight.

And!!!

Hahhahahahahahahaha.

God.

I must be a little on edge about getting my shit done by all the deadlines.

I forgot, tomorrow is Sunday, not Monday.

The paper is due Monday.

Of course I’ll be working and not really have time to address the paper, so I’ve been planning all along to have the work done by Sunday night and turn it in Sunday night after I get back from doing the deal up in the Castro.

Whew.

What a goofy little moment of panic.

I was all sorts of mad.

Heh.

Ah.

Breathing deeply again.

So.

I will hopefully be posting on a much more regular basis on my blog now that I don’t have any worry about potential clients finding out about it.

I mean.

Ahem.

My most “popular” blog is about cocaine and vodka enemas, not something I want any perspective client to be reading about.

I know how that sounds.

I never have and never will administer or be given a cocaine vodka enema, but I had a friend tell me a story once and I was so horrified by the idea, I’d never heard of it and I guess it’s actually a thing, that I wrote a blog about it many moons ago and what do you know.

It’s the most searched for tag that leads people to my blog.

I have actually thought about deleting it, but you know, it’s actually well written and it does in fact allude to recovery, so maybe someone out there who happens to stumble upon it might get the idea that they actually have a better shot at life without shooting cocaine up their bum mixed with vodka.

Anyway.

There are lots of other things in my blog I’d rather not have my therapy clients find out.

Like I’ve been to Burning Man eleven times.

(Dirty hippy)

(Sex addict)

(addict in general)

(weirdo)

I won’t say that any of those things don’t apply, but ahem, you know, I’m happy with who I am and not really shy about sharing.

God forbid a client read any of the blogs I wrote about my brief and tumultuous jaunt on Tinder.

God was that a heap of crap.

With one or two shining moments, but mostly a lot of yuck.

And now.

Well.

THANK YOU FRIEND!

I don’t have to worry about it.

I can write happily and freely about everything.

Well.

heh.

I don’t actually write about everything either, you know a girl has to have a few things kept back.

At least for right now.

There may well be a time and place when that changes, but right now, yeah, there are a few things that don’t wind up in these posts and that’s alright too.

I’m just so happy to have my little blog space back.

I don’t mind that it’s gone so dark, it’s like my own little private universe with a few select friends that like to hang out and have a cup of coffee with me and catch up.

I’ve got some followers who know me in my personal life as a real bona fide person, and I’m cool with that, but the rest of the world can keep right on thinking of me as Auntie Bubba.

I’m very.

Very.

Very.

Cool with that.

More Books

August 15, 2018

In the mail today.

Two more.

Now I have a total of four books and two electronic books in my possession for my PhD program.

16 days and counting.

I talked with my therapist a bit about that, the PhD program looming, the internship and all that needs to be done, dotting the “i’s” and crossing the “t’s” as well as the overwhelm I felt after the orientation on Saturday.

Overwhelm, I am happy to say that is beginning to dissipate.

It was helpful that I heard back from the professor from whom I will be renting an office from and that she gave me the days and times I could use the space.

I will be using it that’s for sure.

It will mean a slight change in my schedule, but I think that it will work nicely.

I also will, fingers crossed, be taking on more clients than I currently run with.

Right now I’m at seven.

I want to go up to ten.

That is possible because the office is available on the weekends.

Both Saturday and Sunday.

But I won’t be using the office to see clients on Sunday–my new internship requires one Sunday a month to do trainings.

And well, from a historical perspective, Sundays are my day to do homework.

I did this Sunday, I foresee doing homework on many a Sunday for the next few years.

It’s my “day off.”

Bwahahahaha.

Sigh.

One day it will actually be a day off, but not for the foreseeable future.

That’s ok.

I’m happy to be getting the groundwork laid for my private practice.

I am really beginning to get excited.

If all goes as hoped I will see clients Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday nights after work from 6:30p.m. to 8:30p.m. and on Saturdays.

I’m thinking either noon to 4p.m. or 1 p.m. to 5p.m.

For a total of ten clients.

Which will be perfect to get me up and running and through the end of this year.

The office is available more than those times as well.

One of the days that it is available is also on Fridays, all day long.

I am hoping that once I finish out my contract with my family I will transition down to part-time with them.

I want to take Fridays off from nannying in January and build up my practice to all day Friday and all day Saturday.

I could also, if it works, which it may, take the office all day on Tuesday too.

Getting situated into this internship is huge for me.

There are a lot of things that I will have to do in the upcoming weeks, but I feel like I can handle them and once all the things are put into place, it will run like a well oiled machine.

I have a feeling that I will get up and running fairly quickly and I hope to be able to transition to being paid by February or March of next year.

I may be able to pull it off by January, but I’m not going to try to force it, I want things to unfold naturally and with ease.

I also will be doing a GoFundMe to get my office off the ground.

The clinical director spoke of a number of interns whom had used that platform to get the necessary start-up funds to begin their practices.

I had a friend who did a GoFundMe for me when I hurt my ankle so horrendously four years ago and was completely layed up and unable to work.

He got me rent and one month of my student loan payment taken care of.

He said it was really easy to do.

I can’t actually do the fundraising myself, nor can I donate to the pool in my own name.

The money has to either come from outside sources or from the fees I will be charging clients, which will eventually add up to enough to get me going and paid.

The GoFundMe helps get the ball rolling and establishes my office rent fund, administrative costs, group supervision, and insurance.

The internship basically is an umbrella under which I establish my own private practice.

They have faith that I will bring in money and clients and that I will serve the community.

I have faith as well.

Which is nice.

I also talked with my therapist, of course, about my ex and how the no contact went down and how that was also a big part of feeling overwhelmed and a bit at odds with the transitions happening.

Fuck.

So many transitions.

I mean, I haven’t even touched base on moving yet as a topic.

But that I was glad for the busy work that I got given on Saturday, it helped ameliorate the grief a little.

Or better.

I should say, it delayed it for a bit until I had the down time on Sunday to really let the sadness come out.

It came out.

It still is coming out, definitely in my therapy today, good hard cry there.

I also am aware that grief has no time line and there isn’t going to be a day sometime in the next week or two where I suddenly am 100%.

But there will be.

And I will make it there.

I will say, though, I was surprised today to remember, out of the blue, I think because tomorrow is Wednesday and we connected for the first time on a Wednesday, our first kiss.

My body shot through with electricity and I gasped in recollection.

Then.

Of course.

Sadness.

I don’t know when the feelings will come.

You would think they would come right now, I’m writing about it, I’m sitting in the spot, or damn near as close to it as I can, where he kissed me in my little tiny kitchen, and blew apart my body with the fire of chemistry that was lit by the kiss.

But no.

Not like it was earlier.

Just noodling along at work, prepping dinner and thinking about tomorrow being Wednesday.

Tomorrow being one week since I last saw him, heard from him, was held by him, kissed by him.

Of course I would get sad thinking of that.

But it was the kiss, the memory of that astonishing first kiss that floored me.

Who knows what tomorrow will bring.

Probably another book in the mail.

And feelings.

I am pretty sure there will be some of those as well.

There usually are.

Today

August 14, 2018

I was tired.

No bones about it.

It was a long day.

I woke up wishing the alarm had not gone off, which is unusual when I have gotten enough sleep.

Logically I had.

I had gotten eight hours.

But my brain did not want to get up, did not want to get out of bed, the grey foggy morning was not at all enticing.

I think I’ve just become exhausted with the emotional overwhelm and the finality of the ending of my relationship, the beginning of the new internship, and yes.

School.

Ugh.

School stars in 17 days.

Yesterday I started reading.

I have two books that have landed in my post box and two electronic books.

I haven’t even opened the electronic books, I hate e-books, I don’t have a reader, I’d have to read from my laptop or from my phone.

I like taking notes, I like underling things, I like carrying the book around so that I may read it when I have spare moments.

I did not have many spare moments today.

I thought I might, but both monkeys were home from camp and the baby and mom had her Monday morning meeting and I went from 0 to 60 the minute I walked through the door.

Which was fine.

I mean.

I was a touch disappointed that I couldn’t do any reading, but hey, it’s work, I’m lucky if I get down time and it does happen.

I just have to remind myself to keep bringing the books with me, the paperwork, the other things that I need to do so that when the down time does land I’m not there holding nothing but my Iphone and my Instagram feed.

The reading I did do was a scant fifteen minutes before my first client showed up.

It was my first client who said no definitively to going to the new internship with me.

I was not expecting the client to do so and or the following client who also demurred.

I am just really grateful for the time I have had working with them and to acknowledge that they will be missed.

So I have three clients who will go with, one on the fence, who I will see tomorrow, and another who is MIA.

I already know that client will also not be joining me at the new practice.

Private practice means higher prices, not all my clients can afford higher prices.

Jesus.

Speaking of.

I just remembered I had two emails, no three, that I needed to respond to from my new internship.

I was too busy juggling monkeys today to attend to them.

Plus.

When I got home I had two emails to deal with regarding my current internship.

Whew.

But they all have been addressed, I have tracked my hours for today’s clients, logged into my own Google calendar, updated things, and feel ready for the next tiny action.

I keep reminding myself that they are just going to be whatever next small action in front of me I can do.

There are a lot of balls in the air right now but I can move forward slowly if I just put focus on one thing at a time.

I mean.

I haven’t yet got my syllabi for the program, despite having been told they would be available in July (bwahahaha, I know this university and didn’t actually expect that to happen), so the reading I’m doing is pretty proactive and I can put it aside if I need to.

I do expect that in the next couple of days I will get the notification that I have syllabi up.

As for my current internship, I’m doing all the things, seeing clients, and having now alerted all my clients to the transition I can take the next steps forward to closing down our therapy treatments and transferring the clients who are staying with Liberation Institution.

I just responded to the new internship with the dates of availability I have for the next round of orientation.

2.5 hours.

Total of five hours of just orientation.

But you know, I felt so dropped with the training at my current internship, I am very happy to be getting this support from the new place.

Especially as I will be embarking on a very new endeavor and getting paid for the work I do.

I am very happy to think about that.

I also am very happy to think about staying with them for a while.

They have a bridge program that allows a licenced MFT to stay with them should I so choose, which would allow me to offset my student loan debt.

The internship is a non-profit.

Unless, fingers fucking crossed, the current administration dismantles it, there is student loan forgiveness if you work with a nonprofit for ten years.

I had flirted with the idea of staying with Liberation but knew that I couldn’t do it ten years without getting some sort of recompense.

It would mean a lot of extra side work.

But Grateful Heart will be a place I can work and get paid and I will be able to build my practice and I could be making double to triple what I make now as a nanny within a year to a year and a half.

And more once I licenced.

And more once I have my PhD.

I could still be working under the non-profit and supporting them by taking low-income clients, but also support myself and get my student loans paid off.

I’m going to have about 125-150,000 in loans once this is all said and done.

Maybe not quite that much, but I did the calculations for 150,000 to just give myself an idea of what that would look like if I stayed with Grateful Heart and I think, so far, that it’s well worth it.

Of course.

This is all speculation.

And this lady is tired.

But I do feel better for having one step at a time gotten through the day and realized that there is only so much I can do.

And.

Only so much I have to do.

Which are all things.

I get to do.

Waiting For

August 6, 2018

The offer letter.

It was supposed to come today.

I didn’t get it.

But that doesn’t mean I didn’t get the position!

“I’m offering the position to you, it’s yours,” she said emphatically 3/4s of the way through the interview.

I was so thrilled.

Yesterday morning I got up super early and headed over to Alameda to interview for the Grateful Heart Therapy private practice internship.

And I was hired.

The director let me know that she would be writing up the offer and sending it to me to officially accept today.

But.

Well, she had some things come up and I will get the letter tomorrow.

I was going to hold off on writing about it until I had the official letter in my hot little hands, but I have been very excited about it.

I really am, eventually, going to get paid for the work I do as a psychotherapist!

This is very exciting.

There will be some big transitions, but I feel like they are going to all work out well.

I was also extremely pleased to find out that the group supervision which is required for the first six months of the internship, the supervision that only happens on Thursdays, might also actually work for me.

There are a number of groups that meet on Thursdays and the incoming fall cohort would typically all be together, forming a sort of support team for each other as we all learn the ropes about how to craft and create and sustain our own private practices.

However.

I was told, the director knew that I have a full-time nanny position, that there might be some flexibility there for me.

I was happily surprised.

I was getting ready to tell my employer I wasn’t going to be able to work on Thursdays anymore and I was already trying to figure out how I would manage with the loss of one day of work a week until I am established with enough clients to pay my bills.

Which may take a few months.

But.

No.

The director told me that she knew of my dilemma and that though it was typical to start a new hire with other new hires, there was an opening in the earliest group of the day, Thursdays at 8:30a.m.

Granted.

Sigh.

This means getting up really early on Thursdays so that I can drive over to Alameda for group supervision until 10:30a.m and then driving back over the bridge to Glen Park for my nanny job, but fuck, it means I won’t lose out on income while I am making the transition.

I was super surprised that she made that offer.

Then I realized.

They really wanted me.

The director had already come up with a way to facilitate for my needs!

This was just moments before the position was offered to me, I felt this warm shift in the room and then, boom, she told me they wanted me and that she thought I was the perfect fit for the organization.

I could also tell that she was moved by my honesty and vulnerability in my interview.

Interviewing for a therapist position would be the place to be vulnerable, you might guess, and it paid off handsomely.

I am very pleased.

So today I reached out to my former professor and updated her on my situation, I will be renting office space from her and eventually she will be my solo supervisor.

For the first six months of the internship I will be with the group and I can continue to do so if I want, and/or implement supervision with my professor.

What Grateful Heart does is provide all the administrative support, overhead, insurance, and tax infrastructure that an AMFT (Associate Marriage Family Therapist) needs to be able to practice and get paid.

Effectively helping me to establish my own private practice.

So that by the time I have licensure I will already have a private practice up and running.

They will deal with my lease, they will pay my rent, they will pay my supervisor.

I will pay them $350 a month for the administrative work and to pay out my supervisor.

The money my clients pay will be directed to them, they take out fees, rent, supervision costs and then they will cut me a check out of what is left and it will be direct deposited  to my bank.

I will learn about how to get referrals, how to network, how to build up my own website.

Holy shit.

My own website.

I have been doing this blog for a long time, but I have never had my own website.

I have been thinking that I want to write a blog for my website, something therapeutically oriented, a sort of gift to clients or would be clients, a tool that can be used for their own self-care and as a way to promote my business.

I have to think about what I will call my practice.

I am nervous, but in a good way.

This is very exciting stuff.

I will leave my current internship at the Liberation Institute, where I was told rather sweetly by members in my group yesterday how much I will be missed, sometime in October.

Some of my clients will go with me.

Not all of them, however, I will be charging $80-$100 a session.

When I get licensed I will be charging $150-$200 a session.

And some of my current clients won’t be able to afford that, Liberation Institute is community mental health with an extraordinary sliding scale where no one is turned away for lack of funds.

But a few of my clients will be able to afford it and I suspect that a few may decide to stay with me as well, despite the raise in rates.

I am hopeful that I will get referrals from people I know in community as well as from my professor.

Even my own therapist said she would refer clients to me.

So it feels good.

Hopeful.

New.

Exciting.

I will share the letter with you tomorrow.

And whatever else happens as I move forward into this next phase of my developement.

Oh!

Before I forget.

I bought my books for my PhD program today too!

Things are really happening.

REALLY!

The Jumping Off Place

August 1, 2018

I was talking to my therapist about all the things today.

All the things.

My God.

So much to cover.

It’s been a busy few weeks since last I saw her.

The buyout happening.

Looking for a new place to live.

My upcoming interview with another private practice internship.

Relationship stuff unfolding.

Going back to work.

My PhD program starting in less than a month.

Paris.

France.

My relationship with Paris and France and how I have always looked for something there, something intangible, but with a similar feel for what I have looked for when I have gone to Burning Man.

That I’m not going to Burning Man this year.

And.

That I don’t feel at all bad about that, it feels right.

There is so much transition happening.

I am grieving the loss of my home.

I love my little home and it’s unfathomable to me where I am going to land next and things will be very different wherever that is.

The packing up and putting away of the life I created in this space will be hard.

Saying goodbye to it will be hard.

Thinking about it is hard.

You and I together, together in this room.

I have so many memories of this space with your face all over it.

Your body there, in that corner, on my bed, sitting, sleeping, everywhere I look, there you are.

And you are no longer here.

Removed.

Away.

Gone.

And like the feel of you in my bones, you are here in these walls, on these walls, the photos of us together, that will get packed up in a box and put away.

They won’t go up on the new walls of the new home and when I think about that.

Well.

I am sad.

I thought of it this morning and I cried.

Good thing I was on my way to therapy.

Ah.

Love.

How I shall miss you.

I miss you already.

And there is something terrifying and exciting about this next part of the journey as well.

I feel like I am at the pinnacle of a mountain about to leap off.

But instead of falling.

I see myself flying.

I just don’t know where I am going to land.

I do know.

It will be where God wants me to be and I do know that I won’t be dropped.

I will soar.

I will sail.

It doesn’t mean that I am not afraid, I am afraid.

I don’t know what to do without you.

I have believed, shit, I still believe, that we are meant to walk through this world together, hand in hand, side by side.

The ease I have with you.

The attachment I have for you.

How will I be without you?

I keep listening to this album by Herbert.

British electronic pop house music.

I got turned on to Herbert by a clerk at a record shop in Noe Valley back in 2007?

I was enthralled and for whatever reason, the music has seemed so apropos to what I am going through.

Tears fall down my face when I least expect.

Staring out the window at work looking at the avocado tree and thinking of you and all the other times I have sat and watch the wind ruffle through those leaves.

When I used to be so antsy with anticipation to leave work because I knew I was coming home to see you.

The feel of you on my skin, in my bones, against the line of my neck, the touch of breeze on my skin a whisper of where your mouth would soon be.

Gone.

But not the memories of  you.

I fear that those memories will fade when I move.

I won’t see the shadow of the bamboo blinds on the back door slatted with sunlight splayed on my bed, just that one spot when I rode astride you, my hair full of sunlight, your face golden, and your eyes, the pool of them that I fell into without having any idea of the ocean of love I had dived into.

How will I be when I can’t hold those memories of you within these small four walls?

Different.

I know.

I maybe, well, I don’t know yet, but I know it will be different.

Perhaps I won’t cry as much.

I can see you everywhere in this studio.

There is not a place your presence hasn’t touched.

You are everywhere.

Sometimes it is unbearable and sometimes it is sweet, although, truth–it was never bitter and I suspect it never will be.

I have no regrets my love.

I have none.

Nary a single thing I would have done differently.

It all carried me here.

You and I together, together in this room.

And I am at the top of the mountain and I cannot see through the fog and mist to the valley below.

I cannot tell where I will land.

Where I will go.

Only that go I must.

Only that.

I must leap.

I must leap.

I must.

I shall kiss the sky.

I shall pinion upward.

I shall.

But before I go.

I will take these last few sweet moments to hold you dear.

Darling.

Love of mine.

To hold you momentarily just a bit longer in this room.

Which really.

Is just another reflection of the room in my heart.

That room where you will never exit.

I promise.

Even when I cease to live here.

You will always live in me.

One Hell of a Day

July 10, 2018

I’m still not sure how I got through it.

But.

I did.

And I just had breakfast for dinner to celebrate.

Sort of.

I just made oatmeal and had a hard-boiled egg because I did not have the opportunity to get out and do grocery shopping and by the time I was done seeing clients tonight.

Well.

I was done.

I didn’t want to go out to eat either.

Besides.

I did have a very nice lunch at a place in the Castro today that I have never been too with my person and he convinced me to have the grilled romaine salad.

It was really good!

I will be back.

So.

I did  have some nice food today and you know, I do like oatmeal, it wasn’t a hardship for me to eat it.

It’s not like I’m eating stale nuts and flat water.

It was more that it was a big day, I had a lot going on, I did a lot, I did the deal, I spoke, I had a lot of things to organize this morning, research that I needed to do, places I needed to call.

Stuff and things.

I’m being a bit vague as not all of it is sorted out and I don’t need to report on something that hasn’t happened it.

Suffice to say.

Things are moving.

And after some intense moments, hopefully in a direction that is beneficial to all involved.

Speaking of moving.

I am really looking.

I did get a response back from one place, but no follow through.

I feel like this may happen a bit, I figure the demands for housing are so high that people who are posting are probably inundated with requests.

I will soon be posting to social media that I am looking too, so that may be another avenue of possibilities.

I haven’t done so yet, being in a sort of limbo here.

Clarity is on the horizon, it feels and things moving enough to say that I am actively looking, hell I’ve been actively looking for a bit, but that I will be letting my friends, family, and social  networks in on it as well.

I haven’t yet done that.

I’m hoping that is where the juice is at.

That someone I know will have something or know of something.

Word of mouth always feels like the best way to find something.

And it’s not a resource I have availed myself of yet.

I have also done other work these last couple of days, lots of emails about the internship.

I have already gotten back one letter of recommendation!

Which was so good to read!

It made me really happy to read it.

Especially right after I saw my clients tonight.

I had some big sessions tonight.

Here’s the letter:

Dear ___________________
I am very pleased to write this letter of recommendation for _________ AMFT. I have
worked with ______ for over a year at The Liberation Institute of San Francisco, and as her clinical supervisor in weekly group supervision and periodic individual consultations, I have close knowledge of her work with clients.

_______ possesses the qualities of an excellent professional psychotherapist. She is self-aware, compassionate, mature and fully dedicated to her work. She provides a caring, consistent holding environment for her clients and has the ability to form a solid working alliance with clients from a range of backgrounds, experiences, diverse life styles, and cultures.
________’s personal qualities and life experiences have informed her capacity to be a healing force for her clients. She has established effective therapeutic relationships with clients dealing with very challenging issues and has sustained long-term work with many as they have stabilized and made important changes in their lives. Given an interview opportunity she may share some about this.
In group supervision _______ has been a very valued contributor. She listens well to others and offers astute insights in a supportive way. She is open to others input and comes prepared with questions and things to share about her own work. Carmen also knows how to establish boundaries in the clinical situation, has a good grasp of professional ethics, and has helped others in the group by sharing her own experiences.
I believe ______ would be a strong asset to your organization and have no reservations
whatsoever in recommending her for a clinician position.

Yay!

God that was nice.

I don’t know if I’ll see the letter from my other supervisor or not, but he was happy to write me up one and I feel very comfortable that he will portray me well.

Grateful for the kind words, it’s nice to see how others think of my skills and abilities and I am happy to have another little piece of the next part of the puzzle in place.

And I got a response back from the woman who was going to be my supervisor and she expressed excitement for me and also that she would like to talk further about it.

We’re going to establish some contact tomorrow and figure that out.

I also made another coffee date with a friend for this week.

Which is super nice.

I am going to be coffee’ed up!

But I’m glad for that.

I have a coffee date tomorrow, a hiking/hot tub date and meet the new baby in Berkeley date on Wednesday, a coffee date and possible walk around the Mission Farmer’s Market on Thursday, and not one but two coffee dates on Friday! Plus maybe dinner Friday night too?

Grateful to get some connecting in.

I need it.

As I have alluded to, it’s been some stressful times and making plans with friends has really helped.

Really helped.

And soon, I feel certain, everything is going to fall into place.

And!

Let me not forget.

Paris.

I leave on Sunday.

Paris always makes everything feel better.

I am a very lucky girl.

Very.

Being Proactive

July 9, 2018

I got a lot done today!

I also forgot a couple of times what day of the week it is.

Heh.

It is not often that I have the luxury of forgetting what day of the week it is, but I did today.

It was sort of nice to just do the next thing in front of me and let go of the results.

Life goes pretty smooth when I do that.

I am happy to report I got up and went to yoga.

Two days in a row!

And despite having the next few days “free” in the mornings, I won’t make another yoga class until Thursday or possibly Friday.

The classes available don’t quite fit my schedule.

A schedule that does have a few time slots of delicious opening, but that I have made some time to see friends and do lunches, grab coffees, catch up and connect.

I’d rather connect with friends right now than worry about making another yoga class appear in my schedule.

Suffice to say.

I am glad I went though, it felt good and I felt good for going.

I also did meet with a lady today and do the deal and I got a lot of work done to apply for the paid internship that I have been researching.

Namely.

I updated my resume for the position and I reached out to two supervisors to write me letters of recommendation.

Both gave me a resounding yes they would be happy to do so.

That felt really good.

I’m about half way done with what the application requires for the internship.

There’s a lot they want to see.

The rest of it is a matter of sitting down and doing some writing and figuring out a mission statement for myself and my vision of a private practice.

Fortunately, in my last semester one of my classes, Integrative Seminar, made a big point about this and I feel like all I have to do is go back through the notes I took to be able to give the internship what it’s looking for.

I also have to do a business plan.

That feels a little more challenging, but they have some templates and I’ve been reading over everything and I believe I can come up with something that will do the job.

It is certainly good practice no matter what comes of it.

I do feel good about the internship though, my friend whom I spoke to about it really felt that I would be a good fit and after speaking with her, I feel the same.

I also have to acknowledge that in the 8 days since I found out the internship that I thought I would have had fallen through I have done a lot of footwork to find a new one.

I have researched and reached out.

I had a coffee date to sit with my friend and find out if it was a good fit for me.

I reached out to two supervisors for letters of recommendation.

I also reached out to the woman who I was going to intern with and asked her if she still had any interest in renting out office space to me.

I don’t know that it makes sense for me to rent my own office.

In fact.

I don’t think that I could afford it.

Hell.

When I look at what’s available on craigslist as I navigate through my current living situation, I can’t afford what’s out there to rent, let alone a full-time office space.

The best bet for me is to do what my friend does, she shares the office she works out of with another therapist.  She’s in her office two days a week with clients, the other five days the licensed MFT is using it.

I figure that the woman who was going to supervise me does have office space availability, I mean she did when we talked and unless something has changed she probably still does.

Thus the email inquiry.

I also asked if she might still want to supervise me, but under the auspices of the internship who would pay her the rent on the office and pay her a fee for supervision and then the internship with take out admin fees from my account and whatever is left over would be my paycheck.

It will probably take some months before I even get money, but if I do it right and I work at it in a steady way, I could be making a decent amount after about half a year.

Not enough to quit being a nanny, not by far, but enough to help pay the bills and maybe go down to part-time nannying instead of full-time.

Of course.

I also have my school program coming up to contend with.

I have been thinking it will be much like my Masters degree the last year of it, working pretty much full-time as a nanny for my current family, seeing clients after work, and then doing my homework on the weekends.

I will slowly accrue hours.

And that will be alright.

As long as I’m not stagnating.

It’s work, but work towards an end goal.

And I really like being a therapist.

It feels good and right and it feels like this is how I bring more love into the world.

I saw the Mister Rogers movie, “Won’t You Be My Neighbor” today with my person.

It was so good.

I was so happy he persuaded me to put aside our recovery work for an afternoon and just go duck into a movie theater and watch an amazing movie.

If you haven’t seen it, go!

It was astounding.

And I grew up watching Mister Rogers, so it felt especially poignant.

I also appreciated it and the principles of spirituality, basic child psychology, inclusion, and love that he was obviously basing his life work around.

It was a beautiful movie and I left feeling hopeful and happy that as things progress it’s all going to work out.

I just have to keep love in my heart and be honest in my person.

I have faith I can do that.

I really do.


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