Who am I?!

Lately, I have been asking myself, “who am I?” This is because I am in a place in my life where I am doing things totally outside my comfort zone. It is a weird place to be in… I am doing all of these things and I feel really good. But it is also confusing because I am doing things I normally wouldn’t! I am definitely excited for the person I am becoming. I am continually growing… I am learning… I am awesome. I don’t know if I have ever been able to say that I am awesome and actually believed myself.

I think it started with moving to a new city where I didn’t know ANYONE.  Sure, moving to Wyoming from Michigan was a big deal. But when I moved to Torrington, I knew someone. But when I moved to Buffalo there was a plan that fell through. But I went through with it anyway. My secondary plan in Torrington was going to happen, so I needed to do something. I needed to finish my degree and start a career that I was excited about. So I did it. I moved to a city where I knew no one. I met with someone who was going to supervise me through my internship. Little did I know that she was going to be someone who has changed my life. She taught me. She guided me. She encouraged me. I think the encouragement was what meant the most. She believed in me and made me keep going when I was wanting to quit. For that, I am eternally grateful. So I kept going. I graduated a year ago with my Masters degree, which was unbelievable to me at the time. Now, I know that I was and am fully capable. Of course, this doesn’t mean that I don’t have doubts, because I certainly do. However, I feel like those doubts don’t last as long and aren’t as overwhelming. I feel like I am doing well in my job and actually making a difference. I love the clients I have been able to work with. They teach me so much. I love when I work with people who actually want to change. I love working with kids who are able to work through so much through play. Because of that move to a new city, I have had the opportunity to do, see, and learn so many things. I went to South Africa… what?! I got to see Elephants in their natural habitat. I saw giraffes, hippos, lions, and so many more! I got to meet people from the UK, Singapore, Africa, and Australia. I got to go to California for the first time. I got to meet with 5 other people who are passionate about sandplay therapy. I now have friends in different states and different countries. I got to learn from the greatest minds.  Sometimes, I still don’t believe it is all real.

Another thing I have been doing that is totally not me and is putting me out of my comfort zone is selling lipsense. I never thought I would be doing any sort of selling a product like that, but here I am, loving it. I am excited about it. I love the way it makes me feel and I love giving that to other people. A couple of years ago… even 6 months ago, I wouldn’t have even thought about doing this.

I love who I am and where I am going. I am excited for the future and to make even more changes into a more positive person. I am excited to continue learning and helping the people I see every day. Thank you to all of you who are in my life on this journey.

Who am I?!

California Dreamin…

Well this trip to California started out eventful and really hasn’t stopped being interesting. We flew out of Casper and already knew that we had a short connection in Denver to get to Palm Springs. The lady at the airport in Casper assured us that we would be landing upstairs and so it wouldn’t be too tough to make our connecting flight. Ha. She was wrong. Not only were we downstairs at Denver Airport, but our plane was at least 15 minutes late leaving Casper so we started out cutting it close. We got to Denver and HUSTLED to our gate and got there and “final boarding” was across the screen. We were one of the last few on the plane, but we made it. I sat down in my seat, a middle seat, between two men. We were sitting there, getting ready to take off, and the man on my left side had his phone out and was texting someone. I know I was not meant to see it, but I did. He texted someone and said “fat chick next to me.” Why… why do people have to be so mean? He doesn’t know anything about me. He also said that the stewardess was huge too. He doesn’t know anything about her. Ugh. It just made me feel so sad. He even said “she seems proud.” What does that even mean? Does it mean that I have on nice clothes, do my hair and makeup?  Are all “fat people” supposed to be wearing slobby clothes, with holes in them, and food stains on them? I know I am overweight. I have gone to the doctor so I can start feeling better in order to do something about it. He doesn’t know I felt so exhausted at night, that the thought of even typing out my casenotes filled me with dread. But none of that matters; he just wanted to be a judgmental asshole.  That frustrated me and pissed me off for the whole flight. So I put in my earbuds and listened to a podcast the whole flight, with my arms crossed, so I didn’t touch him with my dreaded fat.

Anyway… we started our descent into Palm Springs and IT WAS SCARY. It was probably the scariest descent I’ve ever had. The plane was bouncing all over, we were up and down, side to side, bumping and swaying. Many people were gasping and you could hear the fear as people talked. Asshole to the left was calm. Macho man next to me was scared… like me. You could see him looking out the window, grabbing the seat in front of him, and looking around. I was gripping the seat in front of me and holding my breath.  Luckily Rose was sitting behind me and she was seated next to some amazing people. Listening to them talk and laugh was soothing. We were getting close to landing and all of a sudden the plane picked up speed and started going up again. Asshole next to me says this is fairly common landing in Palm Springs and we will probably circle around and try to land again. The copilot came on the speaker and said they were going to weigh their options and try to come up with a plan. A few minutes later, they said that they were going to land in Ontario, which we learned was 71 miles north of Palm Springs. Asshole thought it was weird. He said he has never experienced having to land at another airport. Turns out, we were low on fuel, so we needed to land to refuel. The copilot came on and said that once we landed we could have some options, such as trying to fly in again, being bussed to Palm Springs, or something else. When we landed, we didn’t have the option of a bus, however, we were told that we could get off the plane but we could be on our own as far as getting back to Palm Springs and getting our luggage. We opted to stay on the plane. A little over an hour later, we took off and were headed back. The landing this time wasn’t any less scary, but we were able to land. As soon as the plane touched down, the plane erupted in applause. We made it and we were so happy. Now I am a little nervous to leave in a couple of weeks, but that is later…

The Palm Springs/Palm Desert area is gorgeous. There are amazing homes, beautiful buildings, and gorgeous palm trees. We have eaten at some lovely places and drove around and seen beautiful things. We are staying at a Holiday Inn express and it is pretty nice. However, we have a creeper here. On Saturday, Rose and I went to the pool to sun and swim. A gentleman came into the pool area and started talking to us as we were in the pool. Nothing too crazy, just why we were here, etc.  However, Rose went back to the room to use the bathroom and I kept laying in the sun. As this guy was about to leave, he stopped in front of my lounge chair and said “I am in room 149 if you guys want to stop by.” I just said ok… it was kind of weird. Rose and I had a laugh about it later. This morning we were downstairs eating breakfast and we saw 149 again. He stopped in front of our table and said “I’m still in 149.”  We both just said ok and left it at that. Rose had to go get things set up for class, so I stayed back at the hotel and decided to lay in the sun and pool again. I was alone in the pool area when out of the corner of my eye, I saw a bald head look into the pool area. He turned around and I just had a feeling he was going to come back in his swim trunks. Sure as shit, there he was. And he sat in the lounger next to me. I didn’t say anything for a while and when I got too hot, I went for a swim in the pool. I stood and took off my shorts and as I turned to face him, I saw his eyes quickly close. I got out of the pool and laid back down and we said hello. He asked where my friend was and I told him she was at a meeting. Then he said “I thought I made you guys leave the hotel, I saw you with your bags this morning. [we had to move rooms today.] Eventually he went into the pool. I used that as my opportunity to get out of the pool and go to my room without being followed. I don’t know if he would’ve followed me but I felt uncomfortable.

So that is that! Class starts tomorrow and I am really excited to go learn, meet new people, and see a friend I met in South Africa. More to come soon!

California Dreamin…

Heading in the right direction…

I went to the doctor today. First of all, I feel hopeful. I had a doctor that actually listened to me. She wanted to help me. That in itself was amazing and gave me hope. I was emotional [no surprise there…] but all of this stuff that has been going on has taken a toll on me. I just want to feel better.  I hope I am heading in that direction.

Well, there is nothing wrong with my thyroid. My a1c is normal, I am not diabetic. There are probably a lot of other tests the doctor could’ve ran, but being without health insurance, she didn’t want to run them because they are expensive.  She said that there wasn’t anything screaming out at her that she thought I might have, that would require a test, so for now we are treating for fibromyalgia. Most of my pain and symptoms are pointing to that. The sleep part might be because I wake up in the middle of the night in pain. I am going to try medicine for that and go back to the doctor in 4-6 weeks to see how it is helping.

I am looking forward to this working. I want to be going into a positive direction. I want more energy throughout the day. I want to sleep through the night without being in so much pain. I don’t want to feel lazy because I am so tired. I’m ready to feel good again.

Heading in the right direction…

Vulnerability…

I have been having a lot of emotions lately and quite frankly, it is exhausting. I feel like I need to write a lot, but I have been sitting here, just staring at my computer screen… I know I have things to say, but I don’t know what to say or how to say it.

I am exhausted. I am struggling to find motivation to do some things. I get out of bed and I can go to work, but when I get home, it is a struggle to make dinner, do the dishes, do laundry, or write my case notes. I hate admitting it. I feel lazy. I’m not lazy. I want to do things… I just feel so tired. All the damn time… I don’t know what to do. I wake up feeling tired. I struggle to sleep at night. Some nights I sleep fairly well, but I still wake up feeling so tired. I go to work and can do my job, but I get home and I just sit. My dishes will pile up before I actually do them… I hate talking about this. I feel vulnerable and that I will be judged. But I am hoping that writing about it will be helpful in a way… who knows…

I am also struggling with the emotions that come with me doing the job I am doing. I want to be helpful. I want to be the best that I can be. But some days, it feels like I am failing. Some days, I wonder if I am doing my job well. Some days, I feel like I just can’t do it. But then I also have many times where I feel like I am doing well. I feel like I am making a difference. I feel like I am doing what I am supposed to do. That up and down of emotions takes a lot out of me. I just want to do well. I want help people.

I miss the therapist I had when I was living in Torrington. Talking to him was helpful. I am setting something up to talk with him over the phone soon.

I don’t want this to sound too negative. I really am happy with my life and my job. I just hate the exhaustion. The up and down emotions exhaust me. I want to be confident that I am doing my job well and that I am helping people.

Vulnerability…

To have kids or not to have kids!

I have had some interesting talks lately with people about having children.  I find it disturbing the sorts of comments people get when they say that they don’t want to have children! I hear things like:

*But you’d make such a great mother!

*You will want to later, I’m sure.

*Your life doesn’t have meaning until you have a child.

*What if your husband wants kids?

*But I want to have grandchildren!

*Do you hate kids?

Why do we have to comment things like that? Why can’t we accept each other and the choices we make? This is new territory for me. Growing up, I always thought I would get married and have children. I thought it was what I was “supposed to do.” I never thought I had a choice. I thought by the time I was 31 I would have been married for a while with at least 2 kids. Well that’s a big nope! And I couldn’t be happier with my life.  At this point in my life, I don’t want children… and that’s ok. Yes, I might make a good mother. Yes, my life has meaning right now, without children. If my husband really wants kids and I don’t, we probably wouldn’t be married. I feel like that is an important conversation to have before marriage. No, I don’t hate kids. I love kids. I love being around them. I work with many kids! Because I work with kids, I love that I can go home to myself. I can relax and take care of myself so that I can take care of the kiddos I work with. I love visiting my friends that have kids and spending time with them. I love children. Just because someone decides to not have kids, does not mean they hate kids. Why can’t we, as decent humans, accept decisions from other people and treat each other with respect? What is good for me may not be good for you. And that is ok.

To have kids or not to have kids!

A reflection…

It is New Year’s Day and I have been seeing posts all over facebook of people reflecting on the past year. I have seen so many people talk about how 2016 was a horrible year. However, I feel like it was pretty good.

2016 was the year that I graduated with my Master’s degree. That is something I never EVER thought would happen. When I applied for my Master’s program, I didn’t even think I would be accepted. I hadn’t done well in my undergrad and thought for sure that it would affect me continuing in my education. But I applied anyway. So so thankful I did and so thankful that I graduated. Walking across the stage, being hooded… it was all amazing. I am so thankful that I was able to do that and I am doing something that I absolutely love.

Speaking of my job, 2016 has brought me more confidence in my work. I work with two amazing counselors who are available to listen to me, guide me, help me, and teach me. Jamie and Rose have been huge blessings in my life. I am building my caseload, getting to know people in the community, going to meetings, being more confident in what I do and say. I am becoming more comfortable making phone calls and talking to parents. I have also taken on clients that are outside my comfort zone. Now, with saying this, it means that I still have a long ways to go. I will always be learning and I love that so much.

I also took my first international trip in 2016. In September I went, with Rose, to South Africa. That was the most amazing trip I have ever taken. I can’t wait to go back. I am still thinking about all of the experiences I had there. I still cannot believe that I was in Africa. It is opened up a desire to do more traveling. It has also given me the opportunity to meet people from other countries. Now I want to go to London, Singapore, Iceland, and Australia.

I am looking fondly on 2016 and looking forward to 2017 with hope. I know it is going to be another good year. I can’t wait to see how!

A reflection…

Africa part 2

I have been meaning to type this out much sooner than this… however, I have really struggled getting back into a normal routine of work and life. I have felt exhausted and just overall not feeling well. But here this is.

Monday morning came bright and early. We left Amakoekoe at 4am. There we drove. And drove. And drove. It was quite a drive from Joburg to Kruger, but the scenery was beautiful and we did make pit stops. Anyone who knows me, knows I have a hard time with long drives! Anyway, we got to Kruger too early to check into our little houses, so we went for a little drive around the park. Our first safari! We were told to not expect a lot, due to the time of day, however, we drove around anyway. When we first got to the park, we stopped on the crocodile bridge for our first glimpse of wildlife. We saw crocodiles in the river and even got to see one jumping out of the water, trying to get food. Onward into the park, we began driving around. We actually got to see some wildlife! We saw giraffes, rhinos, and elephants!! I won’t lie, I got a little teary eyed when I saw my first elephant. It was incredible. After we were able to check into our houses, which were adorable! house
As soon as we got into our house, Rose saw something scurry up the wall and was freaked out! I looked around and didn’t see anything. I thought she was crazy. I was laying down on my bed while she was cautiously looking around the room. I kept telling her she was seeing things, until I looked up to the ceiling and saw a furry head. It looked like a squirrel. He was very cute. Rose was not amused. We walked to lunch and then went to our first meeting, which was a meet and greet. Rose and I went to bed early and slept hard. We had to wake up early for safari.

Tuesday morning we woke up early to be ready to leave for safari at 6am. It was an elephant day! We got to see a young elephant pulling up a root in order to try and get some food. The land was so dry. It was very sad to see.

elephant

We also saw a lot of giraffes that day. It was amazing. We were crowding the windows trying to get the perfect picture. Each day, someone new got to sit in front. Everyone was happy to move around so that everyone could see. It was nice. After a long safari and having to change the start time of our conference, we finally got there. Our speakers were amazing and really lit a fire in my heart to learn as much as I can about sandplay.

On Thursday’s safari, we were able to see the big 5 [elephant, cape buffalo, lion, rhino, and leopard] in ONE DAY. Some people go on safari and don’t see the big five at all. We were so blessed to be able to see them all in one day.

Friday morning, when the alarm went off, I seriously considered not going on safari. I was tired. I wanted sleep. But I dragged my butt out of bed and into the shower. Boy, am I glad that I didn’t skip safari! That was the day that we saw hyena’s, wild dogs, and THOUSANDS of cape buffalo. They were crossing the street in front of us and did not stop coming. Eventually, we had to inch our way through the buffalo in order to continue on our safari. That was also the day that I got to see a baby elephant nursing on his momma! Omg!! Cesar switched spots with me in the van so I was able to take pictures and videos.

elephants

The safari’s were incredible. I could have watched the elephants for hours and hours. I didn’t ever want to stop. The conference was amazing too. The people I met will forever be a part of my life and I am so grateful.

group.jpg

I can’t wait to go back. I can’t wait to take the classes in California. I can’t wait to keep learning. This experience that scared me to death, turned out to be so incredible.

 

Africa part 2