Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Missed a day

But who cares?  Its a process, right?

My patience is wearing so thin any more.  I mean, most wouldn't notice.  I'm a pretty copacetic dude on the outside. But on the inside, man I can't even deal any more.

One thing that really gets me?  Knee jerk postmodern exception citing.  Because that's what Po-Mo is - citing exceptions.  No generalization is universal - that's the whole idea (ignoring the universality of the rule of course). Well enough.  Cool.  Great idea.  Good.

But you know what's redundant?  When someone says "Most of the time, xyz" and someone else says "Uh-uh!  Sometimes its abc!"

I think that's what most means, isn't it?  Do we really have a disagreement here?

It isn't though someone said "PoMo grad students are always and universally jerks" and so we are obligated by intellectual honesty to point out that "no - of course there are PoMo grad students who are not at all jerks and I personally met one a few years ago in a far away land who would be devastated at this gross generalization."

But if we said "Most PoMo grad students (or NaNoWriMo bloggers) are jerks." there would be no reason at all to point out an exception, right?  I mean maybe we can say "ok show me the statistics on that." to dispute the assertion of 'most' but then we'd be regressing to a modernist position and that just wouldn't be right at all because phallologocentrism etc.

On the other hand, my iPad has an electric piano app that can lock in key signatures and scale modes so I can play with little more than some basic musical and rhythmic sensibility - like I'm all Dr. John and shit.  So there is hope for life.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Hah one minute to spare.

Or.... its still Monday in California.  NaNoWriMo day 2.

So what's active for me today. Not getting everything done that I think I ought to.  By a long shot.  Not in my day job.  Not in my night job. Not at home. Not in my relationships.  Sure, its obvious I have to learn to let things go - but whoever said it was easy to learn.

I'm listening to an interview I did with a good friend on relationships.  We are talking about polyamory.  On the one hand I'm super impressed with myself.  I sound great.  I sound like I know what the hell I'm talking about.  On the other hand I think who am I to think I know anything at all.  I have a huge case of imposter syndrome.  And on the third hand I'm always a little self conscious about my voice.  Its always a bit nasal, a bit pitched up into my head, as if I'm always trying to sound harmless or young or feminine or something.  I'm kind of like Hagrid.  More and more people are comparing me to Hagrid, which I really hate.  Yeah, Hagrid was lovable, but he was also a big clumsy oaf, a doofus, and really just not sexy at all.

I've been learning to swing dance.  I feel like Hagrid trying to swing dance. I feel more than a little ridiculous. When what I want is to feel graceful, expressive, joyful.  Instead I feel heavy, clumsy, unfit.

I met with my supervisor today - about my problem case.  I won't give any even remotely accurate details here, because privacy, but suffice to say its a challenge for me.  They have very strong defenses.  My usual bag of tricks just bounces off of them. And they make me very sad for them.  Their need for love is so strong - like a huge gaping wound - and they are so skilled it blocking out any chance at all of receiving it. Its my first challenge as a counselor I think.  My first real one.  What do I do when I really can't fool myself into thinking I'm "fixing" them at all (or fool them).

Yes, yes, of course we don't fix our clients, yadda yadda yadda.  I've got the degree.  Now can we just dump the doublespeak for a minute?

And the answer is that I hold hope.  That's my whole job.  For 50 minutes a week I visit them in their hopeless space and I sit there with them and believe in hope. I keep one hand on the shore while I swim with them.  And when we're done, I get to climb out, dry off, and breath deep of all the hope that is in my life.  They have to stay there.  Until and unless I can get them to take a chance on hope again.

Its a pretty hard job.  But what the hell, I wanted to do something worth doing.  If working hard to help someone find hope isn't worth it, then really I think my standards are just way, way too high.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

NaNoWriMo - sorta.

ok so I'm not writing a novel.  I'm just going to try to write every day.  It often seems like I have a lot I want to say and nowhere to say it.  Often I censor myself - there are things I won't say just because of who I might upset or what kind of fight it will cause or what it might mean for my career(s) if the "wrong" person were to read it.  Or maybe my ideas just aren't formed.  Or I don't really think I can fully support them - they're too speculative or subjective or something.  Or I don't know how it should all fit together thematically.

I'm kinda tired of that.  I feel blocked.  Stuck.  So screw it, I'm going to try to write everyday and see what happens.

Its going to be about all kinds of crap.  Integral theory. Kink. Polyamory. Counseling. Psychology. Politics. Geek/Nerd culture. Marriage. Parenthood. Romance. Music. You name it. Who knows? I may even write some fiction.

Self-care is on my mind a lot these days.  Its a term we throw around in counseling circles - it means, how the hell do we stay sane, energized, healthy, fresh, happy, content, etc., when we're asking ourselves to help people shoulder their burdens. Often it boils down to just stopping being so hard on yourself.  I mean we're devoting huge amounts of our energy to helping people for fuck's sake. And it isn't as if counseling is a hugely lucrative career.  If we are careful and make some wise choices with how we run our practice we can do pretty well - but lets face it, if you are entering a helping profession what are the odds that you're just a natural born entrepreneur and small business owner-operator.  The number of counselors who seem to bleed themselves dry with overly aggressive sliding scales, for instance, always shocks me.  

(not to say sliding scales are bad - people need sliding scales - not every one has insurance or can afford therapy - yadda-yadda-yadda-etc-etc.  Can we just assume that I'm not a cold-hearted bastard please? I'm totally sure I'm getting into counseling because I just can't wait to really sock it to people's pocket books. Yes I know I'm projecting.  And no, I'm not at all sure someone isn't reading this right now thinking exactly that I'm somehow insulting sliding scales.  Because our call-out, politically correct, trigger warning culture has beat this into me deeply.)

But anyway, back to self-care. Now that my professional internship is in full swing at the *same* time that my day job is beginning to heat up - I'm finding myself feeling pretty beat, pretty often.  I'm getting older.  I've never taken great care of myself.  I'm always prone to neglecting my own needs in favor of someone else's.  Its just how I was raised.  And the hell of it is, I kind of think my family (of origin) thinks I'm too selfish and inconsiderate sometimes - when as far as I'm concerned *the* struggle of my life is learning how to be appropriately selfish and let other people take care of themselves.  I'm nowhere *near* selfish enough.  I sacrifice my own needs and wants in the name of people I care about (and even people I don't particularly care about) constantly.

Obviously a recipe for burn-out - which I've already done a couple of times even in lines of work that are not at all about taking care of fundamental human needs.  So an important area of focus for me is getting my hands wrapped around self-care.

You would think it would be obvious but its not.  Sometimes you just have to take the day off and veg-out in front of the TV.  Sometimes what you really need is a work-out.  Sometimes you need to do something creative.  Sometimes you need to just let yourself be the least creative, most reactive, most neurotic, tired, whiny, grumpy, selfish person.  Just go ahead and watch the presidential debates and throw things at the TV.  That can be self-care.  Just letting yourself go from standards of decorum and thoughtfulness and how an evolved self-aware person should be spending their time.  Just tell your super-ego to go fuck itself and crank up the South Park.  In the scheme of things, just who the hell am I hurting? Are more people *really* going to die in Syria if I laugh my ass off at some very offensive comedian for an hour or two?  Obviously not, but boy part of me really thinks so.  Part of me is just standing there, tapping his toes, crossing his arms, pursing his lips, shaking his head sadly.

I really want to strangle that part of me.  Just punch his face in.  He isn't helpful.  He isn't moral. He isn't helping me be a good person - he's undermining me by trying to convince me I'm a *bad* person.  Well, I'm not.  Ok, maybe I've done a shitty job of breaking up with a few girlfriends.  Maybe way back when my job barely covered my student loans and living expenses I borrowed a few paper clips from the corporate supply closet.  Maybe I've unthoughtfully said things that hurt someone's feelings (usually followed by weeks of apologies).  Yes, maybe there are a few things I've done in my life that I *really* wish I hadn't.

But that's it. My prissy little tattletale superego can go fuck itself. I have better things to do with my time and energy. I have my family to support. Friends to love. Clients who I'm trying to help.

And now, I was planning to do some paperwork for the state licensing board.  But fuck that, I'm going to crank up the electric piano instead.  Then if its *lucky* my laundry will get done.