Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Stuff and Nonsense

If you would have told me four weeks ago that I would soon be sitting in a therapist's office attending clinical supervision because I had decided to be a therapist after all, I think I would have thought you were crazy. Or if I happened to believe that what you were telling me was true, then I think I might have become severely depressed. Because this is not the vision that I had of my life. This is not the direction that I planned to be heading. Not only would I have been sad, I would have been furious at the turn of events. I had planned to write; or attempt to write; or fantasize about writing. But use the degree that I spent so much time and effort to achieve, never. Yet this morning I was sitting in a therapist's office attending clinical supervision, and I must confess that it was surreal. What the hell was I doing there?

Something feels different; I kind of feel more grown up. It's sort of like I have opened the door to having a career, and it looks as though I am in control. I realize that control is an illusion, however, I don't know a better way to put this than that it feels as though I am not at someone's mercy. I can choose the hours that I see clients, and I like that. However, I have no control over whether or not my imaginary clients will materialize into flesh and blood people that want to become my real counseling clients. Perhaps I am becoming a more balanced person. Maybe my life doesn't have to be all or nothing, maybe I can be creative and a therapist, or a creative therapist.

This is completely not what I planned to write about if I wrote anything at all. What I really wanted to write about was how ambivalent I feel about Facebook and blogging and technology. But I got off track. I once again find myself somewhat at peace with FB. I go through phases where I feel so disgusted with having the ability to share with a group of friends and acquaintances my most meaningless and random thoughts or even my bathroom habits if I was so inclined. In those moments of virtual doubt and confusion, I wish that I could be alone in a jungle with just me and an antelope or two, sans iPhone. I ask myself if it really matters if I have friends or if I am in touch with anyone. In those moments I am perfectly happy with myself, my little family, and my humble life, and feel no need to let any of you know about my receding gums, or that my roots are growing in too fast, or that I just can't seem to get my arms in shape at this stage in my life.

I'm back in the game for the moment, and I'm enjoying it.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

The Next Chapter

I suppose that lately I haven't been making any great observations about life, so I haven't had much to say. However, it seems that my life is moving in an unexpected direction since I started the blog and that is something to talk about. It is an amazing process that I am going through and  I'm not certain where I will end up. In October I would have never imagined that five months later I would be filling out paperwork to become a Licensed Professional Counselor. I was so opposed to going back into the counseling field, and a large part of that was due to having worked in clinical settings which I found particularly difficult. In a weeks time I have my paperwork almost complete; I found a wonderful clinical supervisor, and most importantly I will be offering counseling at the Open Mind Center, which is a healthy and relaxing environment that is not a clinical setting. If licensure meant that I would have to work at a mental health agency, then I have to admit that the whole process would not be worth it to me. I don't care enough about being licensed to put myself in a situation in which it would be a daily struggle for me to maintain my sanity.

Another wonderful thing that has happened has been my writing for the online women's magazine Ask Miss A. It's exciting to go to interesting places and interview interesting people. My daughter and I had press passes for Tuesday night to attend Burn the Floor at the Fox Theatre. A few months ago I would never have imagined that I would be getting press passes in the near future or anytime in the future. The whole evening was such a delicious treat for us, and I feel so much gratitude for being presented with the opportunity to attend.

Even with these happy and unexpected occurrences in my life, I still feel incredibly ungrounded most of the time. I feel as though I am neither here nor there, and I find that feeling to be more than a little unsettling. However, when I think about the changes in my life, I definitely feel that I am being guided by an invisible force and that I am loved. There is the doubting part of me that I can never seem to shake free from, however, there is another part of me that is comforted in the subtle experience that my life is headed somewhere and it could be somewhere good, somewhere that I may not have imagined, which makes it all the more exciting. Although I don't fully understand it right now, I believe that I am entering into the next chapter of my life and that it has the potential of being quite a powerful and liberating experience. 

Friday, March 18, 2011

Pen, Paper, and Process

Yesterday morning while waiting for a workshop to begin on Counseling Supervision from an Existential Perspective, I picked up my pen and began writing in my journal. I hadn't attended any kind of counseling workshop during the past year and a half, and I was feeling a little unsettled about being there and returning to a world that I had left behind. The room was freezing; there were depressing overhead lights; I was hungry, and there was a tightness in my stomach that would not go away. However, when I picked up the pen and started to write it felt like I had tapped into some sort of salvation. I needed the thoughts and feelings to come out of me and land on the page. It gave me comfort, the comfort that I have not been turning to this past month, but it was still there waiting for me to pick up my pen and return to myself.

For much of the day after leaving the workshop, I felt disoriented, as if I was disconnected from people and life. Later in the day I remembered that I felt the same way after my mother's death. The anniversary of my mother's death was the day before. I was right back in the disconnected feeling, the whole world had turned upside down.

Last night I gave a blogging class at the Open Mind Center. Two dynamic and insightful women attended my class, and as usually happens when I give a class at OMC I felt that I was given a gift by the participants presence there. Being with them brought me back to reality. We had insightful and lively discussions, and in the end we returned to the message that writing has the ability to connect us to our selves on a deeper level and to give back to the world around us even if only one person is reading what we have written.

Today I feel encouraged at the prospect of giving more classes and the hope that more people will come to value the process of journaling and maintaining a blog. Mostly, I feel a sense of relief to find that pen, paper, and process are still waiting for me despite my neglect and inattention. 

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Writing is Not Like Riding a Bike

I feel a little sad right now in regard to writing, or not writing for that matter. One of the reasons why I started the blog was to encourage me to write everyday. When I kept the blog up to date I found that my writing kept improving and evolving. However, recently not only have I let the blog slide, but I also stopped my daily journaling and morning pages. For me writing is not like riding a bike. Once I take a break it's as if I've forgotten everything that I learned and I no longer have access to good and meaningful words. My writing is not the only thing that suffers, my relationship to my self suffers as well. When I'm at my best I am writing straight from my heart. I don't have to think about what I want to say, the words just flow through me. Over the course of the last month, since I haven't been writing, I have lost that ability to tap into myself and access my creativity. I struggle right now as I am writing this post to know what words to write next. But I knew this was bound to happen if I stopped writing everyday. So this doesn't come as any surprise, but still I am frustrated by the thought that that I am incapable of producing anything meaningful.

Now that I have committed myself to pursuing licensure for counseling, I am worried that I will get sidetracked and my writing will suffer even more. I am aware of my weaknesses and I am aware of the things that I let take me off course. I don't want to lose the most vital part of myself: the ability and desire to create.

I would love to have someone to write with once a week. I can see me and my imaginary writing friend sitting in a coffee shop writing together for an hour. It's a sweet vision, and it's something that could definitely exist in reality, I just need to find that person. Right now as far as writing goes, I mainly need to find myself again.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

When the Time is Right

I finished my master's degree in counseling six years ago, however, since that time I never felt particularly drawn to start the process of working toward licensure. I have wanted to focus more on writing than on therapy, and the whole process of applying to become an LAPC (Licensed Associate Professional Counselor), seemed pretty daunting. And to be quite frank, I'm not sure that there has been a time within the last six years that I would have been up to starting the process because it actually is daunting. But something shifted in me last Thursday evening when I was supposed to give a group journaling workshop at the Open Mind Center and ended up being my first individual journaling session.

My student had signed up for the group, however, she ended up being the only person to sign up, so it wasn't a group, which ended up being a very good thing for both of us. During the session I was feeling insecure and worried that I was doing a disservice to her somehow, and that she would walk away without getting anything beneficial. However, mid way through the session something shifted in her while she was writing, and at that moment something shifted in me as well. I realized that I wanted to use journaling as a therapeutic tool with people, and I realized that in order to do that I needed to start the process of applying for licensure.

Yesterday I began making phone calls, requesting documents, and filling out paperwork to become an LAPC. It finally feels like the right thing to do, and like something that I want to do. It would be all too easy for me to beat myself up for not starting this years ago, as I would already be an LPC by now. But I'm not beating myself up, because I realize that I was not ready even last Wednesday to start this process. It's big, intimidating, and you have to really want it to tackle it. I didn't really want it before and it was far too much for me to handle. Now I want it. I put off doing a lot of things because it is easy for me to feel like I am on overload, however, when I really want something I start pursuing it immediately and put everything I have in to accomplishing and reaching my goal. That's how I feel right now. There is no waivering for me with this, there is no putting off. I want it and I'm going for it. The time is right.

Because I have decided to pursue becoming licensed does not mean that I have forgotten about writing and what is most important to me. Expressing my creativity through writing is what centers me in my heart, however, I realize that I can also use writing in a therapeutic way that will help other people and also fulfill a need in me. I'm not quite sure what that need is yet. Possibly it is the need to be helpful to others in a hands on way that involves something that I love: writing.

I feel as though my journey has shifted and that the path ahead has gotten a little less narrow.This is an exciting time in my life. I am ready for change.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Period Girl Comes Clean

Period girl proved to be one of my more popular posts, and I have to wonder if it was because I mislead you with the title. I have asked myself "Did they really believe that they were going to be reading about menstruation?" I think that the answer is yes, some of you began reading that blog post with the hope that all of your questions and concerns about menstruation would be answered. But I tricked you. You know what? I think that many of you liked being tricked. Although you were hoping to become more enlightened regarding a woman's period, you were just as happy to read about punctuation, and emoticons. Did I say that right La Belette? Was it emoticons I was writing about? Over the course of the past few days I have given some consideration, albeit not considerable, to the thought of changing the blog's title to Period Girl. I think that it might be good for business. I have also toyed with the thought of starting another blog devoted to beautiful women with big noses. It might be called Noses of Note. I would feature a different nose every day.

A bit of lightness and fluff can be a good thing on a Friday. I will write again with substance sometime soon, but not today.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Period Girl

Before I started using Facebook I ended my sentences with periods. However, frequently I now end a written sentence or a conversation with a smiley face :), a wink ;), or the ever popular exclamation point!. It's really quite unnatural for me to end sentences this way, but now it's become something that I feel that I must do in order to present a facade of being happy, peppy, or just plain excited about life. I don't end normal every day conversations with a shout, or an exclamation of joy, unless I have just been presented with a really lovely piece of chicken.That's just not who I am. In real life I don't even know how to wink, I guess I'm not visually coordinated enough to pull it off, and I can't really think of many occasions where I would end a sentence with a wink anyway. I suppose that I just want to fit in and seem as sparkling as everyone else in cyber world. But at heart I am still a period girl.

Thursday, March 3, 2011


So as it turns out, my interest for the blog has returned, not full force but a spark. Something in me shut down when I found myself feeling exposed and vulnerable. The truth is, I hardly ever allow myself to really feel vulnerable in "real" life. I stuff down all emotions that will lead me to that bad place that I don't want to go. I am extremely guarded and self-protective and I hate feeling vulnerable, ever. So, I don't let people in and when they try to enter my world, they frequently find that the gates are locked, or if they manage to sneak in past the guard and around to the back entrance they will eventually find themselves expelled.

The only time that I ever really allow myself to be exposed is through writing. When I write I feel safe, strong, and confident enough to share myself openly and vulnerably with others. I'm not sure that I need or want to give that up right now. I want to thank La Belette Rouge for sharing herself so openly, warmly, and lovingly through her writing. She makes the prospect of keeping and maintaining a blog an attractive and appealing idea for me. She inspires me to continue communicating through this means. Thank you La Belette.

I am better in writing than I am in person. In person I come off as shy, cold, or aloof. Really I am just scared. With my husband and daughter and with my friend Pamela, the real me emerges. Funny and crazy. But even with the people close to me I don't want to be vulnerable. But I can show up in my writing as an authentic version of me, and that will have to do for now.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

The Gift of Praise

Last night my daughter told me that one of her teachers loves her now because my daughter is working extra hard and taking more initiative in class. I asked her how that made her feel, her face lit up and she said that it felt really good. My daughter got off to a rocky start this year with this particular teacher, so much so that my daughter believed that the teacher was out to get her through most of the first semester of school. My daughter has started turning things around in most of her classes, putting in more effort and acting more responsibly. Her teachers have responded with praise and encouragement. Guess what? The praise and encouragement that my daughter has been receiving motivates my daughter to keep doing better. Watching what has been unfolding for my daughter at school has been a good lesson for me as a parent. As a parent it can be so easy to reach for a critical remark or become overly focused on what your child is doing wrong. However, criticism never really works. On a personal level, I can tell you that having my flaws and mistakes pointed out seldom if ever produces any benefit for me. However, if you show a bit of confidence in me I will be more likely to rise to the occasion.

Every child needs discipline and boundaries to truly flourish in life, and along with that comes the need for praise and acknowledgment for all that they are doing right, or even attempting to do right. I am reminded of a book about writing that I recently read, in which the author talks about the art of being a good reader when reading another person's work. In a nut shell she said that praise strengthens a person's work and criticism has the opposite effect. We don't have to praise bad behavior or bad writing for that matter, we just need to focus on what is working, and as we focus our gaze on the good we will find a storehouse of more good awaits us.