Posts Tagged ‘therapist’

Here It Comes

August 20, 2019

I have two days left before I head down to Pacifica and step back into my PhD life.

Not that I haven’t already been in it.

Yesterday was a shit storm of homework, talking about the work, thinking about the work, reading, writing, posting to Canvas, the platform my online work is on, and feeling way too fucking anxious for my own good.

Seriously.

I had forgotten that ever present, low lying level of anxiety that being in school and working full time gives me.

I had a phone call with a friend in my cohort to talk about some collaborative processes regarding school and a proposal that we have to have done to present at the intensive and I just got bonkers.

I realized, yet again, that I was already behind the ball.

Thanks brain, nothing like making yourself feel bad after a really extraordinary Saturday.

More on that in a moment.

I tried to talk myself in from the ledge and I did ok, but reading and re-reading the syllabi made my stomach flip.

As once again I face the prospect of having to be in zoom meetings on days and times that I cannot as I will be working or seeing a therapy client.

And why?

WHY!?!

Are my electives more fucking work than my required course work?

Shit.

I was totally taken aback at my electives coursework.

Ugh.

I am not complaining, well, a little.

I just get the overwhelms.

And I know this feeling.

I have had it every semester.

I have had it every semester of my Master’s program and yes, for both the semesters in my first year of my PhD coursework.

And inevitably I find the time, it appears, like magic, a sloop on the sea back lit with moon light, and there is the path and I don’t really know how, but it all gets done.

It always does.

So.

I tried to reason a tiny bit with myself that this would be the same thing too and like every semester some weirdo shit happens with my financial aid, this year was no different, but things get worked out, as they did this year as well.

Everything gets worked out.

And.

If I don’t get A’s I’ll be alright.

I mean.

I’m going to fucking get A’s because that’s what I do and because I am a damn good writer.

Not that one can always tell from the writing in my blogs, but I do believe I am a good writer.

Not great, I won’t call what I do that, but good.

I am solid.

I am fluid.

I have good ideas.

I have poetic turns.

I have way with words, have I.

And I have a sense that I will have more time this semester than I did last year.

My work is transitioning.

Boy fucking howdy is it transitioning.

I had a pricking in my thumbs all last week that there was a conversation that needed to happen with the mom at work and I finally had the opportunity to address it and yes, my schedule is changing.

CHANGING.

I’m going to go down to three days a week come the third week in September, basically in a month, I will only be nannying three days a week.

And.

I will continue to transition down every time I pick up a client.

Which I did yesterday.

I am now at 18 clients.

I need two more to cover the costs of losing the nanny hours, but I suspect that I will secure them by the time I go down to three days a week.

And I need five more clients after that, I think, if I have done the math right, to be fully self-sustaining as a therapist.

That would be 25.

I want 30 though and possibly a few more.

As.

Well.

Clients cancel.

Things happen, stuff comes up at work, vacations, sick days, etc.

I need to have a buffer and account for that.

But even then.

When I think about it, when I let myself dream and drift a little, 30-35 clients, why, shit, that’s 10 hours a week less then I was working first semester of my PhD program last year.

I went into the program working 42-45 hours a week–as a nanny, I’m not including hours that I was seeing clients or doing group supervision and training with my agency.

At one point right at the beginning of the second semester I was working about 60 hours of work between the two and doing my PhD work, no wonder I felt crazed by the end of the semester.

And thankfully.

Second semester saw me drop down to 40 towards the end of the semester and then around the beginning of the summer 35 and then two weeks ago 30 and I’m staring down 20 hours when the transition happens.  The two older kids will be back in school and the family secured a daycare spot for the littlest guy.

20 hours of nanny work.

Actually that’s not even true, more like 18 since I picked up a client yesterday.

18 hours of nannying.

I mean.

I cannot even believe that.

I have been nannying for 12 1/2 years.

Thirteen maybe.

I am never quite sure about the number.

A long fucking time, how about that.

I really thought at one point that I would never not be a nanny and there was some self-esteem stuff tied up with that.

I had judgements about what I did as a profession.

I mean.

Who takes a nanny seriously?

Despite the enormous amount of work it takes to be a nanny, it is not seen as a credible career in Western society.

I have worked my ass off, however, as a nanny, and I can ascertain that most nannies do.

Not all of them.

I have seen some pretty lax shit happen in the parks, but it’s a damn lot of work.

It can also have the appearance of being fun and games all the time, going out to ice cream, going to parks, taking the monkeys to an arcade–got to do that today, me and the eldest hit up Free Gold Watch in the Haight, singing, taking long walks, being outside, playtime, nap time.

But it is work.

Work to stay present and balanced and even keeled when there’s crazy happening, when there’s screaming tantrums, when there’s diapers and vomit and sick kids or crazed sugar mania happening.

Work.

A lot of work.

And love.

Don’t get me wrong, there is so much love.

And.

I am done with it.

I have done it long enough.

I have paid my dues.

I can see the light at the end of the nanny tunnel and though I am a little afraid to go into the light.

(Don’t go into the light Carol Anne!)

Go I shall.

We strength and grace and assuredness that I will be held financially and be full self-supporting as a therapist.

I know I will.

I have extended office hours, I have rented extra office space, I have built it.

They will come.

Oh yes they will.

And the faster they come, the sooner I am done nannying.

Ooh la la.

Now.

Just to get through the anxiety of starting up school again.

Life.

It just keeps going.

It really does.

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One More Week

August 12, 2019

Of freedom.

From school.

Which is fucking hilarious as I carted around two gigantic text books today on the off chance of being somewhere I was going to read.

I learned to always carry my books with me, because inevitably the day will come when I don’t, (this past Saturday) when a client no shows and I have down time to read.

Or I’m at work and unexpectedly get time to read.

I probably won’t at all be able to do that at work tomorrow, I just don’t see it happening, but sometimes it does and as my time is super precious I use whatever I can get.

I have finished one of my text books for the fall semester and started in on another one and I am simultaneously reviewing a few articles for the class I will be guest lecturing on the 21st of September and reading a book for that class as well.

I did question myself a little about that today as I sat in a training in Berkeley for my agency, what am I doing teaching a class too this semester?!

But, I feel it’s good for me to do and I’m excited for the topic and the few people, outside of school, I have run it by, really like listening to me talk about it.

I find that encouraging, if someone who doesn’t have a background in psychology finds it fascinating, those who are pursuing the Master’s degree should like it too.

Or so I hope.

Regardless of whether they do or not,  I am learning as I prepare to teach.

Which is always how it goes.

Want to learn something on a deeper level?

Teach it.

I have had that experience over and over and over again.

And I’m grateful to get to go before an incoming Master’s cohort who are just beginning their journey and say here I am, in my second year of a PhD program, as a licensed Associate Marriage and Family Therapist with a burgeoning private practice.

I get to model what they can become and that’s really a sweet gift to give back.

I didn’t know how much work it was going to be and I’m pretty glad I didn’t, I did know I was right where I was supposed to be and I want to share all the things that I have gotten to learn over the past few years.

An hour and a half lecture will not encapsulate that, but it should be enough time to lecture on Reverie, which I find totally fascinating.

Reverie is something that happens in sessions where daydreams, wayward thoughts, fantasies, visions, intuitions, come to the therapist.

The first time it happened to me in a session, a dyad at school with a classmate, I got spooked.

I thought I had drifted off.

But there was something so potent about it, the image that came to mind, that I mentioned it to my professor who then told me that I had experienced  reverie and that it was clinically significant.

We discussed what I saw, how it was clinically relevant, and how to make an intervention around it.

It was fascinating.

It still is and there’s lots to talk about, and I won’t bore you with it at this time, since I don’t know that you’re really here to listen to me practice my lecture in Psychodynamics.

Heh.

Who knows why you’re here anyway.

I don’t.

I mean.

This blog has been dark for almost two years now, maybe actually it has been a little more than two years.

I don’t link it to social media.

I don’t post it anywhere.

This is just me noodling away at my keyboard.

There are perhaps of handful of folks that still follow me out there who know me, but most of the people that read this have no idea who I am.

Once in a while it gets read a whole bunch and I’ll be curious who has discovered it and why is it so fascinating.

Recently it was getting a ton of reads in, of all places, Hong Kong.

No idea why.

But for a few days, on and off for the last couple of months, literally hundreds of my blogs were being read in Hong Kong.

That was kind of cool to see.

I don’t know how many blogs I’m going to get out before the semester starts, I’ll be starting with some new clients this week and trying to get some homework done before the intensive.

One of my classes doesn’t have the syllabus up yet, which always makes me nervous, but the other two do and there is going to be some major work and a lot of reading to do this semester just for these two classes.

But.

I am not going to stop blogging.

Especially since I am going to actually try to incorporate my blog into a “Work In Progress” assignment for my class in Arts Based Research.

I know that I won’t be able to do a blog a day like I still managed to do with my Master’s degree.

That became really evident I am sure when my blogs took a total nose dive once I began my PhD and started building up my private practice.

The blog took such a hit.

But.

I have never stopped writing and I’m going to keep sending out these little missives to the Universe whenever I can.

It helps me to keep my writing chops and it helps me process all the things.

Like not speaking or being in contact with my ex and what that feels like.

Good and super hard all at the same time and scary and sad.

Or thinking about the time I was in Cuba, just recently and had an overwhelming spiritual experience at a Catholic church where Santoria is practiced.

Floods of tears, praying on my knees, and asking for forgiveness in front of a black Madonna.

Or when I was walking the cobblestone streets of Old Havana with my hair up, a long white dress on, a bright turquoise parasol protecting me from the sun and the feeling of awe in wonder at who I get to be in this life and where I get to go.

And.

Where I get to go home to.

San Francisco.

I am still here.

Hanging on at the edge of the city.

The ledge of the Western seaboard.

Two blocks from the Ocean.

The moon rise and the the dark breach of universe turning above me.

I am so fucking grateful to be alive.

It’s ok that I got my heart broke.

It’s ok that my rent’s ridiculous.

It’s ok that I’m still a nanny.

I get to do all these miraculous things.

It’s ok that I’m busy with my PhD and nervous to teach the class.

I get to do all these things.

Because.

I am graced.

Happy.

Joyous.

And so very.

Very.

Very.

Free.

Take One Step Towards

August 9, 2019

The Universe and the Universe throws hella new clients at you!

Holy crow.

Last Thursday I took a, for me, leap and connected with a woman who has an office in the same building I have my therapy office in.

She had tagged me in a post on social media about having office hours available.

I was really interested in one of the days, but, also, well, nervous, can I take on more rent?

I brought it up last week in Group Supervision and my supervisor interrupted me and said, “Who here thinks that Carmen should rent the office?”

Everyone raised their hands.

EVERYONE.

Ok then.

One of the members in my group succinctly pointed out that I have been steadily adding new clients and building my practice.

At the time of the conversation I had 15 clients.

I had 16 but one client moved.

And.

My group member was right, I have steadily increased my client load and I had the sense of “if you build it they will come.”

So  reached out that day and sent a direct text and inquired.

I got a response that it was available, but/and two other people had expressed interest.

Shit.

But they hadn’t confirmed.  I was adamant that I wanted the office, especially when I found out what the rent was and it was much less than I thought it would  be.

She said to be fair she would re-contact the interested parties and see where they stood and then let me know.

I thanked her and realized that I was ok no matter what happened.

Sure.

I wanted the office space, but really, having taken the action of just reaching out really felt good and positive.

Take action and let go of the results.

She got back the next afternoon.

I got the office!

Apparently my vigorous yes to taking the space swayed her and that I was ready to take on the space this month.

The lease is all drafted and dealt with–connected her to my agency and I get the key tomorrow!

I start with a client in the space next Monday.

I am using it for a client that had to cancel a standing session.

It was so nice to be able to offer the alternative space.

Then it gets crazy.

After the phone call with my new landlord I have my individual supervision and I excitedly share with my supervisor about the new office.

She is surprised and happy for me and adds that she knew I was interested in extra office hours but she didn’t realize how serious I was about it and would I also like to have Thursdays in the office?

HOLY SHIT.

My individual supervisor is also my landlord whom I sublet my office from, we share the office space.  She recently became core faculty at CIIS, my alma mater (my current “mater” for that matter, my PhD intensive is two and a half weeks away!) and has cut back her office hours.

Whoa.

I knew that was happening and I had soft ball pitched wanting extra office hours about a month ago but it didn’t seem like it was going to happen.

Until it did.

She told me to think about it and let her know.

I clapped my hands in glee like a small child in front of birthday cupcakes and said “yes!”

And like that.

I have office hours now Monday-Saturday!

My hope is that once I fill up on clients I will actually be able to stop seeing clients on Saturdays.  I need to right now, I see four clients and that’s a good chunk of change.  But if I can fill up the weekdays I can transition out of working Saturdays.

I haven’t had a full weekend off in years.

Literally.

I have been working six days a week and going to school full time for the last three and a half years.

I am so ready to have my weekends back!

Granted.

I will likely be working on my PhD, but who cares!

Weekends.

And!

I have a potential new client for next Thursday.

That part about saying yes to the office and yes to the Universe, well apparently the Universe heard and I got four referrals yesterday from Psychology Today as well as a referral from my individual supervisor.

I made contact with three of them, leaving the others messages but not hearing back.

I did two phone consultations yesterday, immediately landing one new client.

I also did a phone consult tonight and again, landed the client!

I have another phone consult tomorrow early evening in between clients and feel very positive about it having already made good e-mail connection.

I am over the moon.

I now have 17 clients!

My goal is 30 and then I can stop nannying.

I am so close.

I can almost taste it.

My charges can too, the little lady tonight asked me when I was leaving and I knew it wasn’t about when I was leaving at the end of my shift.

I told her not for a while yet, she was probably going to get me for another five or six months and I was planning on always being in her life and that rest assured she was my favorite client.

She gets very jealous when  leave to go see my clients, let me tell you.

My goal is six months tops.

I would love to be done by the end of the year, that has always been my original goal, but I figure I will just say six months from the first day I am in my additional office.

So by February 12th of 2020 I will be done being a nanny.

Fingers crossed and the river don’t rise.

Bring on the clients.

I am ready.

Happy.

Joyous.

Free.

To not be a nanny anymore.

I Passed!

June 21, 2019

I passed my motherfucking Law & Ethics exam!

I am so stoked.

And.

Tomorrow is the last day that I work for the family nannying for six weeks.

They are off to Europe and I am off.

Well.

Not really.

I’m still seeing therapy clients, and tomorrow will be a full day, work in the morning with the family helping them get all their ducks in a row before they fly out, plus four clients in the afternoon and early evening, and solo supervision.

Plus.

Four client sessions on Saturday.

But.

Then.

Freedom.

No weekend of studying and listening to the audio tapes and taking the mock exams.

I mean.

The relief is real.

Last Sunday I studied for three hours and took two mock exams.

I felt blown the fuck out.

I let myself have off completely on Monday.

I only listened to the pep talk, which was good and helpful and then I had a normal day at work.

Well.

Not really normal, all the kids were off from school and both parents were out, one traveling and one working long hours.

So I had all three kids all day long Monday.

In fact.

I got in an hour early and stayed 45 minutes late.

One parent got a delayed flight, so the other had to scrambled to cover me and get me out.

I was really grateful I had done all the rest of the studying on Sunday, despite being so tired of the material.

I didn’t do any studying after work Monday, in fact, the test prep folks don’t recommend it, I let all the work settle in and get situated, and hung out with my best friend and did the deal and went and ate at Marnee Thai.

Good company and good food.

No studying.

It helped.

I got up early Tuesday, ate a good breakfast, got my stuff ready for the day, I had to work and see clients.

And in retrospect that would be the only thing I change.

I was blown the fuck out by the time I got to work, my brain was scrambled and the adrenaline that had been coursing through my blood sucker punched me and I had a bit of a crash at work.

And I had all three kids and I had clients afterward.

The next time I take a test I will remember this.

Take the damn whole day off.

As there will be another test.

But not for about another year and a half, two years, which will be when I get all my hours accrued and it will be the last thing I have to do did get fully licensed as a MFT.

The board exam used to be one comprehensive test and it took four hours to do.

A few years back the BBS (Behavioral Board of Science) changed it and split it up into two exams.

The first exam, the Law & Ethics exam, has to be taken before you can renew your Associate Marriage and Family License.

The license has to be renewed after one year.

My license will expire on June 30th.

So I took it this past Tuesday, the 18th, to make sure that I had time and if something happened, like I got super sick, I could cancel and reschedule the test before my license expired.

There will be no expired license however.

I renewed the same day I passed my test.

The test was no joke.

And it was stress inducing.

Even the exam area was stressful.

No coats or jackets with pockets, no phone, no purse.

No watch.

I had to take off my watch.

The room was cold, thank God I had the sense to wear a cardigan, I had an intuition that the room was going to be heavily A/C’ed and it certainly was.

I did the test the exact way the prep course recommended.

Answered every question and marked the ones that I wanted to go back on.

I didn’t let myself get hung up on trying to figure anything out.

If I knew it, I knew it and answered.

If I didn’t know it, I spent a little extra time looking at the options, but I still answered it and then just marked it to come back to.

I did almost get stuck on the first one and then remembered, to do what was suggested, answer it, mark it, and move on.

I also took a bathroom break, which is allowed, but only for five minutes and they time you in and out.

I took three minutes.

I took the break after having finished the whole test.

The prep had recommended getting up, using the bathroom or walking around and letting your brain take a moment before going back into the test to the marked questions.

It was great advice and I came back in and answered all the marked questions, I had fifteen marked.

There were two questions that I thought were definitely experimental, the exam consists of 75 questions, 50 that you have to get right and 25 that are experimental, but the BBS doesn’t give a clue what the experimental ones are and I had absolutely no clue what the answers were.  I felt like I used good logic though, and that the purpose of the test, really what they are testing you on quite often, is if can you figure out the best answer by using logic.

The CA MFT Law and Ethics exam is comprised of 40% Law and 60% Ethics. Within the Law portion, 14% is dedicated to Confidentiality, Privilege and Consent, 16% to Limits of Confidentiality / Mandated Reporting, and 10% to Legal Standards for Professional Practice. Within Ethics, 18% is dedicated to Professional Competence and Preventing Harm, 27% to Therapeutic Relationships, and 15% to Business Practices and Policies.

Passing this exam on the first attempt is very important, as the Board of Behavioral Sciences (BBS) will require you to wait 90 days after failing the exam before you can retest, and you will need to take a 12-hour Continuing Education course on Law and Ethics and pay a $100 processing fee.

The California Law and Ethics exam consists of 75 multiple-choice questions. 50 questions are scored, and 25 questions are considered experimental and will not count toward your final score. The experimental questions can appear anywhere on the exam; the BBS does not indicate which questions will count and which are experimental.

I was told I would leave feeling like I wasn’t sure if I had passed.

I can say, this is true.

I really wasn’t sure.

I was hopeful.

But I wasn’t sure.

So.

The fucking relief when the exam paper printed up and the proctor handed me the results was huge.

HUGE.

They don’t let you know what your score is, only that you passed.

CONGRATULATIONS!

In all caps, just like that, you have passed the California Law and Ethics exam.

And like that it was done.

Such relief.

I almost burst into tears walking out of the test site.

I made myself sit in my car for a few minutes  before I headed out.

It was a damn big deal.

And I am very proud of myself for passing.

Super proud.

And so ready for a break.

Like.

Really fucking ready.

I just have to power through the next two days.

I can do that.

I got rainbow and sunshine and six weeks without nannying and a trip to Havana, Cuba to look forward to.

I passed my motherfucking Law & Ethics exam.

It was a good day.

 

So. Damn. Close.

June 14, 2019

One more week of my nanny gig.

Then.

The family leaves for six weeks for their annual summer vacation abroad.

I have six more days of work, officially a week from tomorrow will be the last day I nanny for the family for six weeks.

I love them.

I do.

And.

I am ready for a break.

Mostly as I haven’t really had a break yet.

I went from wrapping up my second semester of my PhD program to literally within days, starting to study for my Law & Ethics exam.

I am so over the studying.

I take the test on Tuesday.

I do feel quite prepared for it, but I’m still taking time to study as much as I can.

I am grateful that I scheduled it when I did, as the kids will be done with school tomorrow and on Monday I will go from having one for a half day, to having all three of the monkeys.

I had a little dry run on that today, doing the parents a favor and doing pickup from school with the littlest guy in tow, then running errands up in Noe Valley.

Running errands with three children is no joke.

I have a credit card in my name, small limit, that I use for the family, cafe visits for the kids, picking up groceries, dry cleaning, etc, and I got so busy doing things and juggling the bananas for the monkeys, I left the damn card at the fancy French bakery in Noe, Vive La Tart, when I had stopped to get them croissants for tomorrow.

Sometimes I just have to slow down.

And I did.

I paused and breathed and figured it out really quick that I had done what I had done and I retrieved the card without anything untoward happening aside from having to double back two blocks on the errands to pick it up.

It was worth it, in retrospect, just to watch the three of the kids holding hands and babbling at each other in Finnish.

When I engage with them in public it almost appears that I speak Finnish too, although, I don’t really.

Some basics.

Mom.

Dad.

No.

Elephant.

Crocodile.

Banana.

Milk.

I love you.

Potty.

Brother.

Sister.

Horses Ass.

Oh Yeah.

hahahaha.

Oops.

The middle girl picked that up last year from an uncle while they were visiting in Finland and likes to use it a lot.

A LOT.

Good thing that most people in the area don’t speak Finnish.

It was sweet to be out with them and they love going for rides in my car, which they have fondly dubbed, “The Marshmallow.”

I have an off white Fiat.

It does indeed look like a little marshmallow.

The mom makes sure to remimburse me money for gas for any times I use the Marshmallow.

It’s a nice thing to have.

I really have a nice job with them.

But I won’t lie.

I am ready for my therapy clients and less nanny hours.

I am hoping that over the vacation I will integrate more clients into my schedule.

I have expanded my hours and have more session time available.

Today I did a phone consultation, but it didn’t feel like the client was going to bite.

They are still the in the contemplation phase.

Sometimes it takes time to get into therapy.

Most people, at least in my experience, spend a bit of time thinking about going before they finally pull the trigger.

Which is fine.

I looked at the phone consult today as a way to practice and also to be of service to a person who wants some support.

It’s really nice to be of service.

I love being a therapist.

I know my practice will continue to grow and build.

I just need to get that pesky Law & Ethics exam out of the way.

Tuesday.

It will be here soon.

Then the week will wind down and the family will be off in a big jet plane and I will have down time.

Not complete vacation, I will still be seeing my clients, but I’m only in office four days a week right now.

I will have my complete time off summer vacation when I go to Havana, Cuba July 14th-23rd.

I am really ready for that.

But.

I will have, like I said, three days off a week, and much later starts to the day.

Time for little day trips, movie matinees, eating out lunches with friends, massages, museum visits, sitting in cafes with pleasure reading (what is that?!).

I am  very ready.

Soon.

It will happen soon.

Just a little more work before I get there.

So close I can taste the sleeping in.

So.

Damn.

Close.

Straight A’s

June 2, 2019

I got my grades back.

It’s official.

Straight A’s for the second semester.

Which means that I have a 4.0 for my first year of my PhD program.

I am pretty damn pleased.

Even if, in the grand scheme of things, nobody really gives a damn about my grades in a PhD program.

I don’t believe I have ever heard someone ask another person what their GPA was for a PhD.  Most folks just stop at, holy fuck, you got a PhD.

Holy fuck are my words.

I mean.

I certainly wouldn’t care what someone’s GPA is if they got a PhD, they got a PhD!

That’s some big work.

And.

Nevertheless.

I am quite pleased.

Really pleased.

It was a hard semester.

I really thought life was going to fucking end when I got shingles.

On top of the wicked bad break up and just feeling overwhelmed with being in a PhD program, trying to grow my private practice and working full time as a nanny.

It was a big deal for me to get straight A’s.

I’m one of the few people in my cohort working full time.

My cohort also is getting smaller.

Two more people dropped out and another two decided to do the three year course track versus the two year.

I am not doing that.

I am staying put with the two year run on getting the required course work out of the way and I hope to do the rest of the work in two years.

I think I could even do it in a year and a half if I follow the example of one of my TA’s who really busted ass.

I’m not going to push myself too hard, it’s a lot of work no matter what.

I’m not so focused on it at the moment anyhow.

I’m studying for something else.

My Law & Ethics exam for the BBS (Behavioral Board of Sciences) here in California.

An Associate MFT has to take the Law & Ethics exam to renew their license.

My license expires on June 30th.

I am set to take the test on Tuesday, June 18th at 9a.m.

I have to get 70% to pass the test.

It’s a tricky little thing and there’s a lot of picky details that have to be addressed.

I am using the Therapist Development Center’s test prep to study.

So far I’m about half way through the material, maybe a bit more.

I’ve studied a good bit so far, but haven’t hit the 70% yet on the test.

Today I took a practice exam and got 61%.

Ugh.

This is not to beat myself up.

The first time I took one of the practice tests I think I got 48%.

I didn’t study, you just take it and see where you are at then start studying.

So I have gotten better, but still need to improve.

I really am fairly confident though.

I have two more weeks of studying and the material builds on itself.

I also have taken the tests really fast.

You’re given 75 minutes to do the test.

My first prep test I did in 15 minutes.

The next I might have taken 18 minutes.

Today I took one and forced myself to slow down a bit.

I still finished it in 30 minutes, maybe 35.

I will be able to have more than ample time to go back and recheck questions that don’t make sense.

Some of them I just made stupid mistakes from reading a little too fast, some of it is just remembering to sort out all the weird numbers that you have to know.

When to report to Child Protective Services versus Adult Protective Services for instance, when there’s an abuse you make an immediate report but each service requires you to also turn in a written report and they’re different times.

Or.

What is the smallest font that you can use on a release form?

Or.

All the different ages around when a therapist has to report child abuse if a minor is having sex.

It makes sense once it’s digested, but it took me a few rounds of listening to the lectures to get it all sussed out in my head.

I really am not worried though.

I take tests well and I have plenty of time to make it through all the study materials and actually go through the lecture series a second time.

I’m really ready to give the studying a break though.

I am really ready for some time off from hitting the books.

I basically one weekend of “down time” between my last paper and having to start the studying for the exam.

Two more weeks.

Take the test.

Pass it.

And then get ready for my Havana, Cuba trip.

The family I nanny for will also leave for a summer trip and I will have some down time too.

I’ll have to stay local for the most part, but I think I might be able to sneak in a little road trip or maybe a couple of nights out of town, drive up the coast.

I see my clients on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays.

So a little road trip on a Sunday or a Monday seems like a thing.

Santa Cruz or maybe Monterey.

I haven’t been to Stinson in a long time either or Muir Beach.

I could go to Point Reyes and get oysters or do a drive up Mt. Tam.

Lots of options.

Just some more studying to do before I can.

And a moment.

A sweet little moment to acknowledge that I showed the fuck up for this semester despite life challenges.

And I got all motherfucking A’s.

I’ll take it.

Seriously.

 

Not Sure Where to Begin

April 30, 2019

But apparently I’m ready for dating.

I wasn’t expecting that when I told my therapist last Tuesday about some recent experiences doing inventory work.

Man.

I did some self-searching, some fearless and deep, and thoughtful, insightful thinking and writing.

I saw my patterns.

Especially my patterns around dating.

My ex fell into my patterns and completely obliterated them too.

He was much more than just another guy.

He broke the pattern.

He didn’t break me.

Although he did absolutely break my heart.

I seem, however, to be healing and the writing helps.

And the longer days of sunshine help and being busy as fuck wrapping up this semester of school certainly keeps my brain occupied.

My brain would like to create some trouble.

Like, Friday night coming home after work and seeing therapy clients it starts telling me this story about this place I used to go to on Friday nights.

Our Lady of Safeway.

This church on Church Street and Market.

I spent many, many, many Friday nights in that church.

It is in fact where I met my ex.

Oh how he used to shine at me.

Still makes me quiver thinking about that.

Sometimes the thoughts slip in and I don’t try too hard to keep them at bay.

Sometimes they are just sweet and sad and nostalgic, I find myself thinking about him as I fall asleep, the first time he said he loved me, the first time he brought me flowers after he had said he loved me, his face over the bouquet of flowers, so open and vulnerable and full of love, his eyes.

Oof.

Yeah, I might be getting through all of this but I’m still not over you lover.

And that’s ok.

I have given up on trying to be over you.

And as I mentioned, apparently I might be ready to date.

It just sort of popped out in my therapy session last week, all about seeing the patterns and seeing where I need to look at myself and what I want.

I have some very specific needs and wants and really being open and honest about them to myself.

As I expressed all of it my therapist stopped me and said, “wait, are you saying you’re ready to date?!”

“Yes!” I said without a pause and holy shit, I felt it, I am ready to date.

Oh.

I suppose.

A little weirded out by it too.

I basically haven’t dated in two years and over these last two years there were more than a few moments of me thinking, this is it he’s the love of my life, my soulmate, my best friend, he’s going to be the one, I don’t have to think about dating again or finding love.

I had found it.

But.

Well.

Though the love didn’t leave me, he did.

And that was his choice and I won’t disparage him for it.

So now I have to get the fuck on with my life.

To that end.

I wrote up my sexual ideal and really dug into it, basically coming up with a three page essay on what I am looking for in a partner, mate, boyfriend.

I really want a monogamous, committed, romantic, sober, non-smoking relationship.

And yeah, three other pages of things.

I read them out loud in my parked car on the corner of Cesar Chavez and Noe Street this past Saturday night to my person after we had done the deal up in Potrero Hill.

He then suggested I go home and read it out loud in first person.

See what I had to grow towards.

And the really awesome thing, I already have the majority of qualities I’m looking for in a partner.

I’m quite happy about that.

The surprise that came up for me is that I want to cohabitate with a partner.

I haven’t lived with a boyfriend in, wait for it, twenty years.

I’m ready to live with someone again.

Yeah.

I also had hopes that the person I was going to be living with was my ex, but that was just fantasy, wasn’t it.

Everything was just fantasy, beautiful, romantic, lovely, fantasy.

Exquisite in the night, sweeping, and intoxicating, but in reality, the light of day, it fell short and left me with such a hurting heart all the time.

I want reality now.

I am ready for that.

And I’m not expecting a Knight on a white horse, I’ve never needed a man to rescue me, but I do want a partner to compliment me.

Someone to travel with!

My person really made a point of that, “I see you going to Paris and staying in that gorgeous apartment in the Marais with a boyfriend,” he told me after I had finished reading out my ideal.

Me too!

I booked it thinking about how romantic it was and yeah, I certainly have some big high hopes that I will be traveling with a partner this Christmas.

My birthday and Christmas in the City of Lights with my boyfriend.

I know it’s a little early to ask for a Christmas present, but well, when you know you know.

I can’t quite envision it, but I can feel it.

And I have done so much work.

God, I have worked through so much grief over this break up, I could use a break.

So.

Yeah.

Hey God, it’s me.

I’m ready to date again.

Really.

There is So Much

March 23, 2019

To write about.

And where to begin?

I almost titled this blog, One Hour, as an homage to something quite big.

I also thought about naming it, “Are you Here?” as I suspect my ex is back in town.

At least it feels that way.

More about that later.

Then I thought I should write about my awesome and amazing Mike Doughty experience and having gotten to see him on Wednesday of this week and how I played hooky from clients and went out on a school night.

I didn’t really play hooky, I just rescheduled them for later in the week, I had one tonight and I’ll see the other tomorrow after my regular Saturday clients.

Then I thought, oh yeah, I should call this, “Vive La France!”

As I bought a ticket to Paris last night!

Yeah.

So.

All the things.

All of them.

So much going on.

Plus, of course, the school thing that is happening and how I managed to get all my papers done and turned in on time and also how I got back some really amazing comments on my last couple of papers.

“Clarity, erudition, adept usage of third person, meticulous APA style,” I could go on, but then I think that’s just ego.

I”m right on schedule with school at the moment and extremely happy about that, despite feeling a little disconnected from school since I did not get much time this week at work to do homework.

The family had the flu.

Like seriously bad, fevers, aches, chills, super bad sore throat, coughing.

I do not know how I escaped, but I did.

I also got my flu shot this year so that might have helped and as soon as the family was diagnosed with the flu at the doctors they called me and said call my doctor and get Tamiflu, which is a preventative medicine that will work if taken within 72 hours of exposure.

So I’ve been taking that all week and seemed to have skated by the flu.

Thank fucking God.

I cannot afford to be sick.

And.

I don’t like being sick.

Even the small part of me that rather enjoys lying around all day in bed.

The rest of me drives itself crazy when I’m sick.

So I’m super happy I avoided it.

But man, work was a tough one this week.

Which made it easy to ask off for time to work with a client.

Yes.

It’s official.

This week I got my tenth client.

I took a leap of faith when the person reached out and offered expanded hours beyond what I have available.

Meaning.

Wednesdays I work from 9 a.m. to 5p.m. then see clients at 5:30p.m., 6:30p.m. and 7:30p.m.

I offered the client a 4:30p.m. slot.

Technically I’m working as a nanny, but I’ve been in conversation for months now that at some point I would slowly begin the transitioning down of nanny hours for therapy hours.

I hesitated for just a brief moment but knew, really knew, that I had to offer hours that would overlap into my nanny shifts.

And the client took the Wednesday slot.

Which means I have to be done at the nanny gig by 4p.m. now on Wednesdays.

One hour less of being a nanny.

One hour more of being a therapist.

Plus.

This new client found me on Psychology Today and was not a referral from my agency, meaning the client is full fee.

Yippee!

The more full fee clients I get the faster I will transition out of nannying.

I mean, I love the family, but $30/hour versus $140 an hour.

Well.

I know what works better for me.

Anyway.

That’s therapy business.

Then there’s Paris business which in a way segues into ex-boyfriend business.

Yesterday at work I was checking e-mails in a brief moment of time when I wasn’t picking up used Kleenex, hydrating some small child, washing dishes, drawing, cuddling, or making hot tea with honey and saw an interesting email from a friend.

It was an e-mail that he forwarded that there was a one day sale happening for round trip tickets to Paris.

Oooh.

I wasn’t planning on going to Paris this year, I’ve been planning on going to Hawaii in July,(but still haven’t done anything about it as I’m waiting on my employers to let me know when they’re going to be in Finland and if, probably not, but if they are also planning on taking me to Helsinki with them)  going to Maui and staying in Paia, where my grandmother was born in 1928.

But.

I was curious about the flights and a little bug got in my ear and so I searched and shit, the price was too good to pass by.

So I picked the best time for me to go, end of the fall semester, in December.

Yes.

That’s right.

I’ll be in Paris on my birthday and for Christmas.

I fly out of SFO on December 17th, landing the next day at Charles de Gaulle on December 18th, my birthday, in the early afternoon.  I’ll fly back on December 27th.

So I’ll be there from my birthday through Christmas.

I will sit in cafes, go to museums (the Louvre, the D’Orsay, the Jeu de Paume, the Pompidou–which is open on Christmas, I know where I will be, wandering the galleries there for sure on Christmas day, the Orangerie, the Palais de Tokyo, the Grand Palais, the Petit Palais, the Musee de l’Art Moderne), walk everywhere, read books, go do the deal with the Paris fellowship, hang out with my best girlfriend from my Masters degree cohort…we’ve already made plans to go to the ballet (I messaged her right after I bought the ticket).

I got the ticket from Air France round trip, direct flights there and back for $579.32!

I still can’t believe that!

My girlfriend asked me why December after exclaiming at the cost of the ticket.

I told her that my birthday and Christmas have been really tied up with my ex the last two years and maybe its better for me to be in Paris then in San Francisco and really just do something for myself.

I always wanted him to come to Paris with me and I had even brought it up in the days before we broke up that I wanted to plan a trip with him there.

It is such a screamingly romantic city.

And he’s such a foodie, he would have loved it.

I’m still sad we didn’t get to experience that together.

She understood.

Plus, I told her that it makes sense with my school schedule and it’s the slowest time of year for therapy clients….the last two holiday seasons were really slow and I hear that it’s that way for most therapist.

So.

Yeah.

Booked that ticket.

I don’t think I’ll stay with my girlfriend, despite knowing she’d let me, I think I want a little more autonomy and she’s got young twins, who are super sweet and adorable, but the house isn’t huge and as much as I loved staying with them, I don’t want to stress them out at Christmas.

I figure I’ll Air BnB in the Marais where they live, it’s super central and I know it well enough, and just be an independent lady at Christmas time in the City of Lights.

God.

There’s more to say.

The feeling of my ex being in town, and wanting him to reach out or to somehow bump into him, it’s big, but I’ve not got time to write more.

I need to get up early, lots of clients tomorrow.

So.

I bid you adieu and I’ll see you on the flip.

 

All The Emilys

March 17, 2019

There’s actually quite a few of them in my life right now.

The sweet woman who texts me frequently throughout the week to see how I am doing after my break up.

Three weeks tomorrow.

Three weeks, feels like a lifetime of sorrow.

My hairdresser, also an Emily.

Who when I told her that I was thinking seriously of cutting off all the hair as an act of mourning said, “honey, why don’t you just come down to the salon and try on short hair wigs first, then you can decide if you still want to”.

Truth is I’m too busy to go to the salon to try on short hair wigs, although it sounds like hella fun and I could use some fun in my life.

I also suspect if I went near the salon I’d just tell her to fucking do it.

So it’s probably good that I’m too busy for the trip downtown to see her right now.

Let me see how I feel in a few more weeks and let the feeling pass.

I told myself the last time I washed it that I wasn’t going to cut it, it’s quite pretty at this length and I’m actually ok with the grey hairs that are starting to be sprinkled in the mix.

Then there’s the Emily I met last weekend at the Gabor Mate workshop I went to at CIIS (California Institute of Integral Studies).

I met her right at the end of the workshop on the second day.

She came up to me as I was gathering my things and said, “I just wanted to tell you, you are emanating power.  You have all weekend, your presence up front, you standing here right now.  You radiate power.”

I was not expecting to hear that!

And it was really nice.

I also felt what she was saying.

The workshop was deep and moving and there was a lot of trauma that came up in the things being discussed, but I for one felt good about how I was moving through it and that I have had deep, affective spiritual experiences that have helped me move through trauma.

I also feel that I lead by example and that is powerful.

But, to have it said to me, by a complete stranger felt like some sort of gift in the midst of my heartbreak and sorrow.

That even though I am sad and the grief is still so strong, I radiate power.

I introduced myself to her and she to me and I found out she works for a start-up tech company and that part of her job is to help tech workers going through burn out to work with their team of therapists.

I let her know I was a psychotherapist.

I wish I had given her my business card.

In fact, after I went to the bathroom I kept thinking I should go back and find her, but the truth is I didn’t like my business card.  My second iteration of it was not at all to my liking, I didn’t design it a women in my cohort did and it was freely done so no complaining about it, but well, the design was lacking panache and frankly came across as rather amateur.

I did not want to give this professional woman my crappy card.

I have since gone through a third design and I got my cards yesterday and they are perfect and I’m very happy.

Still.

It would have been nice to have given her my contact information.

The other Emily is my therapist.

I told her about the Emily at the workshop and how I actually didn’t want to tell her about it, it felt a little like bragging or boasting, but I also knew that wasn’t true and I have been embracing what it feels like to receive compliments, accept them and feel worthy of them.

It’s fucking important.

I mean,  I certainly express that to my clients, so I definitely need to express that to myself.

I told her and she confirmed it to me, that I was powerful and that I was showing up in amazing ways.

She also said what I’ve been going through was “flat-out brutal,” and that I was still going to work and holding space for my clients and showing up for school and doing so with grace.

Broken hearted and all.

I keep showing up.

But my God.

Sometimes it is so hard.

Then.

It’s not.

But I have had that experience just enough over this last few weeks to know that this is just me whistling in the dark.

I am still sad.

I still miss him like crazy.

I want to be in his arms, I want to feel his embrace, I want to feel at home again.

I want him to see me, I want to be pretty for him.

Shit.

There are dresses in my wardrobe I bought just for him and I want him to see me in them.

In fact, when I was getting dressed this morning I realized that so many of my dresses I have bought in the last year and a half have been for him.

I made myself buy a dress for me the other day.

And.

Yup.

I still want him to see me in it.

I loved dressing for him.

He had such style himself and it was super fun to be dating someone who like clothes like I do.

I love clothes.

I also love that I have a funky aesthetic.

Polished urban chic when I’m seeing clients.

Street funky and whimsical when I’m not.

There’s a little back and forth with it and I appreciate that.

I also bought myself some glitter lip gloss today.

He hated the glitter.

I said fuck it and fuck you, a little, and got some today.

I’m going to be a sparkle pony for a while, at least when I’m not seeing clients.

But my therapist really hit it on the head for me.

I am strong, I am powerful, I am moving through the pain.

It still sucks.

I feel angry, betrayed.

Oh man do I feel betrayed.

I feel like he gave up our love and I cannot bear how sad that makes me feel.

Shit.

Started crying.

Already had one crying session in my car tonight don’t need another right now.

My person just got back from three weeks in Japan.

Same three weeks I’ve been dealing with the break up.

So telling him tonight after we did the deal brought it all up super fresh and raw.

And though he’s not an Emily, he told me something valuable.

“Don’t forgive him yet,” he told me after I told him how I’ve been praying and working on forgiving my ex.

“You were betrayed, he did betray your love, you don’t have to forgive him yet, work on forgiving you and being gentle to you and you still get to be angry with him,” he finished and wiped tears from my face and gave me a big hug.

Fuck.

I am still so damn hurt.

It hurts so bad.

Ack.

And it’s exhausting.

I’m tired of being sad and tired.

I have a huge paper to write tomorrow and I need to rest.

But I’m grateful for this platform to work through the process and let out the emotions.

Better here then driving my car home.

I love you baby.

I hate what you chose.

And maybe I haven’t forgiven you yet, although I understand why you did, I don’t understand why you didn’t choose us or why you didn’t fight harder for us.

And I get it.

And I want to forgive you.

And I will.

Just.

Well.

Just not quite yet.

I’m going to be angry for a little while yet.

I have to let it out.

I have to.

Or it’s going to eat me alive.

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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