Updated Aspects (Training)


Shanna comic

The other half of this blog is here entitled Updated Aspect (Life) if interested.

Lately I’ve been having trouble getting into the gym to get in more cardio work.  Lifting has never been a problem once I enter the gym with my mind in the zone, scowl and broad shoulders.  Still, the emphasis is cardio because I have a lot of weight to lose by my standards.  This bad habit started when my ankle broke and when I isolated myself from the world.  I tried going back to the gym to be the fitness buff I was, but nothing was the same.  It was me against trauma, coming to terms with mental illness and recovering from the worst year of my life.

Nevertheless I needed to feel a rush; I needed to balance out the chemicals in my brain somehow.  I wanted to feel alive again.  I wanted to feel my body in motion, so I learned pretty quickly how to workout at home.  I looked at the upsides of home workouts:  not being bothered by anyone or anything.  Working out at home was safe and therefore it became my retreat.  I never thought I’d make fitness at home my full-time job.  I never thought I would pay a subscription to stream videos.  I also never thought I’d canceled a gym membership after being a gym-goer for 13 years.

Of course a month and a half later my headspace was in a much better place after I canceled the gym membership, but it still took a year and a half for me to get back into the gym a few times a week.  Still, a dilemma hovered big as an elephant – getting to the gym on a regular basis seem to be a problem.  This is also something I’ve never had before.  I started feeling like one of those average people.  I’ve never felt gym ordinary before.  I’ve always been the one to rise above the starting point.  Again, nothing is the same.  I’m in no rush to lose weight, which is very unlike me.  I used to drop 8lbs in a month, month after month like I was going to compete somewhere on stage.  Not this time.

The bright side is when I do go to the gym my adrenaline takes over and I forget about the time or when’s the last time I ate or what else I have to do after I stroll out the gym at midnight.  I don’t stop until I have nothing more in the tank – my usual – and I thank God that’s still the same to this day.  My mind-muscle connection is even more in depth, which I find both absurd and incredible.  I’m starting to believe for the first time in my life that less can actually be more.

I’ve changed my training style again.  I used to move around heavy weight all the time.  I toned it down.  I used to do a lot of volume.  I can’t say I toned that down.  Right now I’m focused on basic exercises (not unique ones) and variations of the basics.  I like working with my bodyweight.  I leave the isolated movements and core training for Ballet Beautiful and other Ballet-inspired workouts.  I do tons of unilateral sets since my accident – I still feel an imbalance within my body.  I do pump out high reps; mostly because I was always a 5-10 rep woman.  But how will my body react long-term when the switch has been/is 20 reps and over?  I also do strength-training at home in circuit-training fashion at least 2 times a s week.  Also, twerking which is a fun way to do cardio at home.

I notice other things I don’t do anymore in the gym I used to do is scout out who I wanted to compete with for poundages or on cardio machines.  At this moment, I don’t have the urge to compete with anyone anymore because I’m in my own groove and free in my own zone.  This is both good and bad.  Good because fuck everybody else in the gym – I’m here for me yet bad because you can always get extra drive and push yourself further when you and the stranger are knowingly competing with one another.

So, what about this gym ordinary thing?  I’ve been giving thought to what I have to do to make sure I get into the gym at least 2-3 times a week every month.  I shouldn’t be comparing myself to the 5-6 times a week of cardio I used to do especially because I’m not feeling it.  At the moment, I don’t want to live in the gym like I used to.  I want to perform more than the minimum, but live out of the gym.  But, what can I do differently?  What did I used to do before to get in the gym multiple times a week for hours at a time?

Well, for one I didn’t make excuses.  Two, I always made sure to established good work ethic every single time I stepped foot in any gym.  Three I would think about the professional fitness enthusiasts and how busy their lives are and just how they make time to get their cardio in multiples times a week.  If they could do it, so could I.  Four, I need to create a set routine, one I can’t easily get out of and also with at least 3-4 back up plans just like I used to do.

However, I think I kept this long enough.  Also, I’m open to suggestions.  Please don’t say running, jogging or walking because I’ll cut you with my ankle bone.  Walking still hurts me and this is one of the main reasons I go to the gym to do cardio because I can sit on a machine (bike) and burn calories away with minimal pain.

Happy training!

-Pennington

Reminiscing Mother


Me and Mom

1963-2016

My new therapist wants me to open the mystery door about my mother’s death because apparently I’m not depressed enough for her.  Ha!  It’s been a little over a year and a half and I still haven’t come to terms with how I feel about my mother’s death except I’m happy she’s no longer suffering in this cruel world.

Sometimes I go to the river by the busy highway and speak to her directly or through the universe.  I light candles for her in her honor every few months.  My partner and I get her blue flowers also as tribute.  At times, I believe, one reason why I cemented my journey and involvement with ballet-inspired workouts is because I remembered in her childhood she wanted to be a Ballerina, so I honor her by learning and performing ballet.  Last, but not least, I hung her last painting high up on the wall of a bridge over water over a plush purple night that looks a lot like the bridge I eerily live close to nowadays.

And I’m not sure if because death came and went, or because of my denial, but it’s pretty weird how the older I get and the more I stare in the mirror, the more I realize how much I look like my mother’s daughter.  I guess everyone saw it before me.  Maybe I wasn’t looking hard enough before.  Who knows?

The truth is I haven’t been able to sit down and stare longer than five seconds on any of my mother’s photos.  I’ve seen a lot of her different dimensions at different times and the longer I stare at a photo, the more all those dimensions pop out and the more I may have to relive memories that leave me open and scarred.

The longer I stare, the quicker my eyes start to flood and the quicker I start to counter and strain to contain the waterworks.  I’m not a sappy person.  I don’t forget my cruel childhood, but death has a weird way of sitting you down and making you think about your mortality and everybody else’s even if you don’t want to sit down and think about it.  And even though I can be heavily into death itself and metaphysics and pits of darkness, it seems at the age of thirty-four death seems realer than ever.

*

Death has also made me think more about how ending memories are probably the most important ones.  This intrigued me because I’m all about beginnings, so for closing memories to leave a devastating mark haunts me.  What’s worse is I didn’t even get to say goodbye while she was conscious.  By the time I went to travel to the hospital to see her I was in a wheelchair with a very painful throbbing ankle in a heavy cast.  It was hell for my foot to not be elevated, but I believe I was numb inside from my mother’s death.  So much was taken from me in a matter of weeks from mobility and now her.

It was awful having the knowledge of how the doctors had to sedate her until she was finally gone because the pain in her intestines would be too much for her to handle.  And that’s what hurts the most.  I think about how hard her life has always been.  I think about all the times I didn’t want to be happy in my own life because I felt guilty because she was always out there suffering with an incurable disease.  My last memory of her alive was observing her writhing in massive pain.  I knew in the way she talked, it was psychologically different from anything I’ve ever heard her say.  In her words, in the way she spoke she was already gone.

It was hard to stomach mentally and it was harder to stomach visually how she could no longer go to the bathroom on her own and how the nurses were the ones bathing her in the room on her bed.  But on the last day I saw her I caressed her hair.  I remembered kissing her on her warm forehead telling her I’ll visit again very soon, but soon after I broke my ankle and I was already far far away from reaching her.

My mother was dying since I was nine years old.  I became desensitized to every near death and actual near death experience she’s ever has, so when this became the day, it was as if life played a hardcore prank on me.  It just seemed like every time she survived another one and another one and another one, but not this time.

Who knew that was going to be the last time I saw her talking or breathing?  Who knew that would’ve been the last kiss I gave her on her warm forehead?  I think some people have fantasies about how they want people to go before they die.  I always thought I’d see her one last time with my brother in the hospital room and we would both take turns saying, “We forgive you for everything.  We know you did the best you could.  We’ll always love you.”

But nothing ever turns out the way you expect in life and that’s just how it is.  So now I think about the other ending memories, the ones way before she went back into the hospital for a gazillion time.  I think about how even though I didn’t have the best relationship with her throughout my life, she did branch into a second mother towards the ending of her life.  She was a newer mother, better mature.  During that process, I believe a big part of her learned to really appreciate me because I was there to the end unlike my brother who stopped showing up to the hospital and didn’t even come to see her at her own funeral.

*

I’m left with the ending memories like how I did visit her more often in the hospice.  How I left the house with $50 bucks one day and took her to a street fair where I bought her food, had her play games until she won a stuffed animal and I went back home with a $1 in my pocket.  At the time, for a moment I was upset, but I quickly thought about how she wasn’t going to be around forever – so this is something I’m supposed to do and it was something that came out of my heart anyway.  Plus I wanted her to have a good time and not worry about death coming closer and closer.

I think about the ending memories and how I would take her out on pass for a few hours to enjoy new foods, to get her soda and cigarettes, to enjoy the sun and we would sit in the park and watch the hot guys play soccer.  I think about how for a very long time before I even thought about taking her out and seeing her often, for a time I stopped seeing her altogether.  I stopped seeing her for so long with the intention to make her suffer like she did me and when I came in the hospice room she hugged me tightly and cried so much.  I was still pretty numb at the time.  I’ve always been.

I never thought she felt like that about me – love.  Or how my friend (who now is my current partner) passed me a cigarette behind her back while we walked to the pizza shop out on pass and she scolded him lovingly, “Are you getting my daughter into smoking now?”  And that was the first time in a long time where I thought, “Hey, she must care about me.”

-Pennington

Barrier Break


A year and a half ago my life changed when I fell backwards on the skateboard and my foot got caught in the back of my other leg just before my bodyweight came crashing down on it and I broke my ankle.  My life changed just because I wanted to have fun, just because I desired to take risk, just because I desired to feel emancipated.  I made a choice despite peer pressure.  I made a choice despite my beginner status.  I made a choice because of adrenaline because of confidence and that single moment changed my life in a nanosecond.

After the cast, wheelchair, crutches and learning how to walk all over again I became afraid of everything from tying my sneakers to going outside.  I also didn’t like anyone.  I felt I couldn’t relate anymore with others.  The people who I thought would be there when the chips were down weren’t even there.  So I kept myself in isolation because this felt easiest.  I wasn’t feeling the world.  During the process I questioned the world.  I debated on my entire existence.  I no longer identified with the biggest part of my life – fitness.  I only identified with healing and recovery.

So I became afraid of everything living in a repeated trauma.  The body is an amazing machine.  Still, the psychological portion is where my issue exists.  For a good amount of time I didn’t want to walk on my crutches from fear of injuring and falling again.  After the cast came off and I could walk without an extreme limp I had the problem of wanting to step in the shower because I could slip in there too.  To this day I fight through many different mental and physical barriers.  I tell myself, “I’m a warrior.  I’m fine.  I can do this.  Everything will be okay.”

But no matter how wintry or full of spring it is, going outside is another battle because stepping on or stepping off the curb sends an apprehensive trigger within.  Then in a split second an image appears with a thousand ankles all lined diagonal breaking at the same time and the bones make a big sharp crunch sound.  This is where I remain frozen.  I get lightheaded.  I feel the panic and anxiety creeping like mad ants throughout my entire body.  I stand on the sidewalk like a lost little lamb trying to hide my terror from everyone outside.  I stand under the shade for 5-20 minutes or find the nearest bench I can sit and rely on.  I try to shake it out my head like it’s the nightmare it has been for over a year plus but it’s painfully difficult.  I wonder when these fears and worries will take flight?

Time, strength, online friends, partner support and my current therapist have been by my side.  I had to break wall after concrete wall in order to get to an elevated place.  What I learned is recovery comes in different stages.  Healing takes forever and a day even with positive self-talk.  Now I have to push through a new obstacle – one I used to love doing actually – riding a bike.  Before the accident I remembered loving to cycle.  I remembered the feeling of the wind giving me foreplay all over my body with its soft breeze.  I remembered feeling like a madwoman cycling and eating down bridge after bridge like some sort of luxury freedom like a huge accomplishment.

But now I’m scared.  Once again mental preparation becomes my only way through.  Like everything else, I’ve come very far, and baby steps are how I work back to the old or with the new.

 -Pennington

ballet-inspired: core


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The other half of me: Link here! Thank you for reading.🙂

-Pennington

Individuality of One


tigra

I don’t want to teach.  I don’t want a leech.  I don’t want you hanging over my head like a gorgeous chandelier.  I don’t want you knowing anything about my severe bipolar gears.  I don’t want your arm wrapped around mine.  I don’t pine when impermanence is exorbitant and stands like an almighty saint on my shrine.

I don’t want every moment to be bursting of sunrays.  I don’t want to use you for every essay.  I don’t want your breath around me twenty-four hours a day.  I don’t want any part of your happiness or your pity party or blame.  I don’t want to share our pains and heavy existential hurricanes.  I don’t want to be the “ex” to your exclaim.

I’m not into pacts by blood or marriages and certificates.  I’m not into the mothering and the smothering of willingness.  I’m not into decreasing my space into a tiny box to suit anyone or anything because I am ubiquitous.  I’m not into cuddles that make a person feel connected to humanity.  I’m not into systems manufacturing normality.  I’m not into turning a blind eye to lesser insanities.

I’m not into him and hers and the chest of drawers.  I’m not into sacrificing my time and energy for you and yours.  I’m not into folklore when trying to coexist has been known to set across great wars.  I’m not into careless tongues that mouth everything undone. I’m not into romantic love and the drug it promises only once you dare to plunge.  I’m not into the togetherness of us, but the individuality of one.

Pennington

MEDS


drugs

God.  I apologize to everyone.  I haven’t been inspired lately.  I write on the side when I can (and I suppose I can put up all my Part 2 postings that were to be continued despite how awful they read?), but it’s hard to feel like I can write something blog-worthy and share it with the rest of you guys.  I can only write from the heart or what I’m personally experiencing at the moment so I’ll share some recent events with you’s. How’s that?  Thanks for reading!

*

I’ve been on an interesting ride these last few years when it comes to seeing therapists and psychiatrists.  At the age of twelve I was diagnosed with Depression.  I had old features, black circles under eyes, razor cuts on my arms and protruding ribs from starving myself at the time to show for it.  However, decades later it seemed I’ve graduated a few years ago (2013) because now new psychiatrists and therapists have diagnosed me: Bipolar.  This explains all the wicked instant mood swings, triggers that were really landmines and how come many of my relationships as well as friendships have failed.

Of course I debated with these so-called experts about nature and nurture because I’m suspicious of everything and everyone that isn’t me.  I debated about all the things that come from my family’s blood and all the things that come from social disease and conditioning.  Still, in the center I fought with myself and knew the truth: There were cracks in the instances and in between all these instances is where I was getting worse.

I’d go into subterranean dark places for leisure, fun and to isolate myself from the world.  I’d write in essays, poems and prose my suicidal ideations which continued from childhood.  I’d meet with a new friend called anxiety again and again and again questioning the past, present and future concerning everything that became (or was) broken.  Was I going to make it another day in this physical realm? My other good friend (since I was 5) came knocking hard on my door and I’d go through all my cycles of chronic loneliness, hopelessness and meaninglessness and stare at the bottomless grief that arrives to taint and place a million holes in my mind, spirit and heart.

Those cracks in the instances became clear as well as my past history when I was going through one of my most tragic experiences at the age of 12 – signed over to two mental hospitals for over six months – I was fed medication for the supposed imbalances in my brain.  First was Prozac, and then came Lithium.  And of course, I didn’t agree with medication being fed to anyone less than 18 years of age, but my mother didn’t share the same views as her 12 year old.  I had zero control as any kid does at that age and was subjected to doctor’s tests, special diets, wondering what was love and how did it look like and was it true I wasn’t normal and these two medications would be the cure everybody else was looking for?

Prozac made me hyper – so hyper that cartwheels became my favorite thing to perform.  I couldn’t stop!  However throughout the day I’d have hallucinations (of what? I don’t remember anymore – but I’m sure I wrote about it in a lost book for the universe to know) and during the night when I closed my eyes to go to sleep I’d have white flashes come over my eyes like strobe lights.  And when I finally fell into deep sleep, the nightmares were horrible – once I dreamt of giving birth to a demonic alien baby.  (Why would a 12 year old dream of having a baby?)

After the hyperactivity, doctors thought to give me Lithium because my grandmother took it and they had reason to believe it succeeded. (I’m not sure how?)  But something tells me this was all a plot for me to lie on their silver platter to undergo a Spinal Tap procedure.  Lithium had its own issues and the dosage was higher – I had to take it 3 times a day.  With this medication came weekly blood work because mercury and other dangerous things a doctor wouldn’t inform you about were concerns. Then there were countless yeast infections my tiny body couldn’t handle.  Lastly, long-term usage meant my kidney and thyroid would be altered, better yet, damaged to a degree in the future.

So every time a current psychiatrist or therapist would bring up the idea of medication to balance the chemicals in my brain – it’s not a wonder why I would say FUCK NO for years on end!  But a few months ago before bringing on the New Year, I made one of the biggest decisions of my adult life and figured I’ll try medication to stabilize my moods and prevent sudden manic highs and lowly lows.  The reason why I decided to try it is because I’m committed to fixing all aspects of myself.

Then again, who’s to say I need fixing if it’s not someone outside me like a relative, a partner or a societal authoritative figure who keeps claiming there’s something about me I need to fix?

 

To be continued.

-Hall

Chewing Gum


chewing gum 2.

You know what’s to come. 
You hear war drums.
You heard about the hunter in me.
You know I’m butter toffee.
You heard I bruise egos.
You know I’m blacker than Negroes. 
You heard I have a million sins.
You know I don’t fix things.

You can’t stop yourself.
You like the pains and welts.
You know the sum of what’s to come.
You love my Puerto Rican in your rum.
You like the ecstasy and high I bring.
You enjoy how I leave you on brink.
You like the bountiful sex I give.
You love me so much to forgive.

You know exactly what’s to come.
You can hear the bass and thrums.
I can’t bring you safety baby.
I’m high, low, manic, crazy.
I’m not stupid to guard your heart.
I can’t even blueprint my art.
I can’t be like you:  Lost in love.
I’m dead inside – a little too tough.

You know shamelessly what’s to come.
Interestingly enough you’re off the cuff.
I’m going to hurt you like the others.
I’ll haunt like the suffering of mothers.
I’m going to give you a world of hurt.
I wouldn’t be able to without teamwork.
You heard of ruin and what’s to come.
Now you’re my next chewing gum.

-Pennington

The World As I See It from Ballet-Inspired Training


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In weightlifting it’s about contractions with the muscles.  Examples are:  Tightening, squeezing, static holding and rarely locking out the arms.

In Ballet, it’s about the extension.  Example:  Locking out to a degree; lengthening, reaching; stretching outwards with the body long through the neck, arms, through the knees and ankles.

In weightlifting it’s about how many calluses you build on your hand – it’s a sign of respect and work ethics.  In Ballet, it’s about how you carry your grace through your hands and how you group your fingers together in poise.

In weightlifting it’s about strapping your wrists tight for the most important lifts.  In ballet, it’s about keeping the wrists flexible and allowing the wrist to go limp while you have graceful curvature of the fingers.

In weightlifting it’s about never rounding your back.  In Ballet, it’s about rounding your back.

In weightlifting it’s about arching the back.  In Ballet, it’s about the tailbone being tucked underneath for straight back alignment and not what textbook fitness call “happy cat.”

In weightlifting it’s about engaging your core.  In Ballet, it’s about pulling “inward” through the center.

In weightlifting it’s about static stretching.  In Ballet, it’s about a combination of stretching from dynamic and ballistic, while searching for angles that work best for you in stretching even if seems like you’re coming out of alignment within a single stretch (evidently with the know-how of not hurting yourself).

In weightlifting it’s about muscles being timed and under tension.  In Ballet, it’s about moving your body as effortlessly as possible allowing the body to move freely with zero muscle tension.

In weightlifting it’s about muscle bellies.  In Ballet, it’s about body lines.

image


Of course whether I explained things correctly or not isn’t what this entry’s about since these are my experiences and how I personally perceive them to be.

I hope you found my observations to be as interesting as I found it interesting to reflect.

Happy Training!

-Pennington

Nitty-Gritty


2 (2)

Your cigarettes crowd my air.
It sickens the oxygen the flowers breathe.
It haunts the fabric of my clothes.
It leaves the depression of your reminder
Ill at strong will.  I stomach your fill.

Your book Art of War sits on my permeable crate.
It signifies new habits of homecoming and comebacks.
The page sits lifeless – it waits and its intelligence is in the
Heart of archaic art.  It tarries like Tarot.

Your gun control in the closet speaks stealthily.
It lusts with its silver:  Look at me!  Look at me!
It’s built soulless.  Two-faced coughing Gemini spryly.
It’s all or nothing.  Great responsibility or irresponsibility.
Pity, no.  Pithy, yes.  That is the nitty-gritty.

-Pennington