Yesterday was my birthday. I had the whole day planned out because I didn’t want to be alone, not even for a minute. I woke up alone–we’ll work on that for next year. But around 10am people started coming over for brunch at my apartment. I made green smoothies (mango, banana, orange, spinach, cashew, and coconut water), and my friend Clyde brought homemade spring rolls. Some friends from school and other places came over and brought flowers. There was some dancing in my bedroom to some songs from my birthday playlist. Around noon people started leaving but luckily one person with a car was left who was willing to give the rest of us a ride to South Park.
The afternoon festivities took place at South Park. With Maryann’s beetle, four of us built a bridge from brunch to South Park which also included a coffee stop, the mere mention of which made me jump up and down while clapping my hands. Getting coffee with friends should be an essential part of every one of my birthdays, methinks. At South Park we laid out blankets and read each other stories. Jens showed up and brought some french toast which he cut into tiny pieces so that everyone could enjoy it. He also narrated with a German accent the story to a book with no words. Other surprise friends showed up and made me squeal with glee. The readings we did made for discussions other than “So what do you do?” or “So how do you know Vera?”, which was delightful. Instead we talked about the social acceptability of self-praise, the validity of signaling who you are through your clothing, and the privilege that comes with certain hair styles, such as long dreads or dyed black hair. It was awesome. Since South Park has adult size swings, there were also several episodes of swinging on swings. I think swinging on swings should also be an essential part of every one of my birthdays.
For the evening, I had a dinner reservation for 8, which I ended up canceling because nobody had definitively confirmed. Instead I ate french fries and drank drinks with a girlfriend. Then I retreated to my very own hotel room at the Good Hotel which I had booked as a treat for myself. I was all alone again at the end of the day, and this time I quite enjoyed it.
V: Since you won’t be able to make it to my birthday this Sunday, would you be willing to do something else that shows me that you care?
T: I already did. I turned over all your pigs.
As part of my graduate program, I have to do practicum for a year. For a while I thought I wanted to do this at a rehab or eating disorder clinic. But when I discovered Gestalt last summer, I knew that I wanted to do practicum at the only place in the Bay Area that offers a Gestalt-focused practicum: the Integral Counseling Center at Church Street, which also happens to be within walking distance of my house.
This place is one of three counseling centers run by my school. Admission is very competitive because each semester about 60 students apply for only 5 spots at each of the centers. At first I applied to all three centers but then I decided that I really only wanted to work at Church and withdrew the other two applications. I knew that this was a very risky move; in fact I often called it “dumb and crazy.” But it felt right. I figured if I didn’t get in, I’d try again the next semester, and the next. I might have to graduate a year later but at least I’d get the kind of training I really want.
I had my interview on February 27 and felt really good about how it went. But I had to wait until March 14 to find out if I got in. On March 14 between 9 and 11am I was going to get a phone call either from the center if I got in or from my school’s practicum coordinator if I didn’t. At around 9:15 I got a text from one of my favorite classmates saying “I got in! Did you?” I texted back “Don’t know yet” and lived through a very torturous five minutes. At 9:20 I got my call from the clinic manager inviting me to start practicum in September of this year. I was so happy! I don’t remember the last time I was this happy about something.
V: “I’d wrestle with you.”
P: “You’re so Gestalt.”
V: You’re so fucking adorable; I can’t stand it.
J: [cute face]
V: It’s hard for me.
J: I’m sorry.
I had put How to Be a Womanon my wishlista few months ago, and ever since then it had been staring at me at every single bookstore I went to. Each time I saw it, I decided not to get it for three reasons:
1) I already had a tall stack of unread books lying around.
2) That book is so popular, surely I’d be able to borrow it from one of my female friends.
3) It was on my wishlist, so surely someone was going to get me it for Christmas.
Finally, during Christmas break in Denver, with a lot of time on my hands, when the book stared at me at yet another bookstore, I finally bought it. And then finished it within about four days.
One part absolutely made my day, possibly even my year. It’s the part where Caitlin talks about how it doesn’t matter if your breasts sag because the only people likely to ever see them “are going to approach them in an attitude of immense gratefulness, i.e., hungry children and men who are about to get laid.”
My intention for 2013 is to experiment.
When I was in Germany visiting my family recently, I went to my brother’s girlfriend’s 30th birthday party at her and my brother’s house. During the early part of it, my parents were there and her parents and her sister and maybe an aunt or too. Most of the older generation were sitting at a table and I decided to join them by squatting next to my mom. My mom put her arm around me, and my brother’s girlfriend’s aunt (I think) started asking questions about me and my having moved to the U.S. and living in San Francisco. My dad said, laughing, “I made the mistake of recommending an exchange student year in the U.S. to her. She’s been gone ever since.”
Feeling my mom’s arm around me and hearing my dad talk about me that way felt really warm.
Male friend: “Do you feel feminine?”
MF: “Do you feel feminine when you’re at work writing code?”
Me: “Yeah. I’m very aware of my boobs there. And that most of the people around me don’t have any.”
After a pretty deep conversation today, I said to my classmate:
“I’ll be right back.”
“Do you have to go pee?”
“No. I have to go pass gas.”
“Can I go with you?”