Tag Archives: anxiety

From Massage Spa Therapist to Physical Therapist


Life usually knows what a person needs.  I find myself forgetting sometimes that life is my greatest teacher.  And even though I really do want to believe in coincidences, I don’t.

Just a week prior to my first session with my pelvic physical therapist, my aunt gave me a gift for a 90-minute massage to the spa therapist.  So, even though my aunt was coming with me to the spa, I couldn’t help my anxiety levels because this was my first time and the idea of a stranger touching my body intimately was a bit nerve-wracking.

All these normal tiny question-based fears crept up like a cold draft in a haunted apartment like:  Will my naked body look okay?  What about that little bit of cellulite in my inner thighs?  Will they notice and are they going to feel it when they massage me?  Am I going to perspire like a madwoman because of my revved up anxiety levels and stink the whole place up like a skunk?

Ah, so with all the dread, it finally came time to strip down to my bra and panties at the locker room which brought back memories of never wanting to get undress in gym class at junior high and how other girls would make fun of me because I prefer privacy over publicity.  But I managed to get into the lovely plush robe despite the fact that some eyes were peering my way.  I confidently shook it off and strolled nervously into the massage room.

It was beautiful!  Dim lighting, meditative music, candle atmosphere.  Then it was time to undo my bra.  My panty I could leave on!  And I managed to get through it.  But because I went through this experience, I was able to not completely freak or walk out the door when I had to strip my pants and panty at the physical therapist place.

The first real session (not the initial evaluation) with my pelvic physical therapist was surprising but expected since I’ve done my research.  Still, I was freaking out internally.  The dim lights, classical music, and earthly décor put me at ease to an extent, but the rest of the time I’m sporting a deadpan expression with brewing spades and acid in the pit of my stomach.

For me, there’s nothing comfortable being half naked and having this talkative nice lady massage and stretch my stomach, pelvis, inner thighs, sit bones, hips, glutes and lower back.  Nothing.  As if nothing could top that, she brought out the vagina dilators, gloves and lube.  And I reassured myself, “This doesn’t make you gay.  This is medical procedure.  This appears sexual but isn’t sexual at all.  Relax.”

This was when I had to channel my anxiety and awkward levels to asking her a million questions about her life and her career and everything else in between, so I wouldn’t die too much in the present moment of vagina dilators.  All I could think is, if I can handle a 90-minute plus massage with wraps, hot oil and hot stones, I can handle someone sticking dilators inside me, regardless if they’re the same gender.

*pats back*

-Pennington

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Different Now


queen 3

Things are different now.  And of course, it’s expected as nothing in life remains the same.  I’ve become aware just how much I’ve held onto things I shouldn’t have due to fear like ideas, fantasies, job, people, places and things.  It’s strange holding onto something and being afraid of losing it.

Where does that come from?  How many reasons do we need to hold onto something?  How many reasons do we need for us to let go?  It’s kind of crazy because as people we live every day of our lives with things changing all the time, so what are we afraid of?

It’s scary to think of what we do, and what we say and how we are shaped by things simply because we’re doing what we can to keep it.  I know I bring a force that unfortunately places resistance to what is, which in the end, means I will suffer more than I must to maintain a keeping.  Well, is it worth it?

The past few years I’ve been learning and practicing with each new day how nothing is meant to last.  Everything is in an impermanent state – every face, feeling, state of mind, impression and precious moments.  And that’s something I’ve learned is okay.  As a matter of fact, with each change came more blessings and visions I could never imagine due to being rigid within my ways.

I did want things to remain the same for me like my identification with the fitness lifestyle and having my body conditioned.  However, everything is different as it’s supposed to be.  If it weren’t different, then I wouldn’t be different, but because I’m different, everything else is different.  It’s been different going back to the gym.  Sometimes it depresses me.

I still suffer from the physical trauma of having broken my ankle.  Trauma can remain in the body like the way muscle memory does.  I’ve been working on it for years now.  With trauma comes some undesirable associations like intrusive thoughts.  So, for instance, going to the gym and getting on a bike gives me anxiety as I believe (imagined; possibly irrational, but feels real) I’ll break my ankle again.  Before I get on the bike, an image will flash where I reinjure my ankle by slipping off the bike in horrible fashion – a visualization I would love to do without.

Aside from the mental intrusive thoughts, images or flashbacks I have, there are other things that come, which I call the lingering side effects of things that may never go away.  I’ll rock out on a cardio machine (preferably the bike) and within twenty-five minutes my feet will start to hurt and swell, each fueling one another.  Sometimes the pain creeps where my metal rod and screws are.  Other times the pain comes directly from the arches of my feet and travels upwards in an ache that makes me shudder and vulnerable.

Sometimes I stop for 30 seconds because I don’t want the machine to reset my time.  Other times I loosen my shoelace or take my sneakers off, so I can continue with my sixty plus minutes of cardio.  These things do depress me, especially if I look back on my past and feel like I was better than.  I don’t want to look back there because there is nothing there for me but pains of what I had, which will give me present sadness and if I’m not careful will rob me of all the blessings I do have today.

So, I don’t do plyometrics anymore.  I don’t jog anymore.  Maybe I will l someday despite the syndesmotic widening in my right ankle.  I focus on the blessings of having all my limbs.  I focus on how far I’ve come like when walking a single block would flare everything in my body because I had to learn how to walk again, which essentially meant walking the fire for me.  I focus on the resiliency and how good I feel when the endorphins fly like a thousand butterflies heading to the sunlight to fuel their wings with solar energy.

Things are different.  I’m forged by a new fire.  And it’s okay.

– 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

Distorted Gauge


image

Since February I’ve had a pattern of working out straight for 2 weeks (multiple workouts) and the next 2 weeks I’ll idly be standing by wishing hard on a star that I could unearth the motivation I require to make muscle gains and decrease body weight/bodyfat – as well as gaining that feeling of being normal again (after breaking my ankle) while increasing my sexiness also.

Fast-forward to May I made my debut in the gym 9 months later.  I thought being at my second home would give me all the motivation I needed – that being around the energy of like-minded folks would get my desire burning high.  But the truth is most of those folks in the gym wouldn’t know what it’s like to be me.  And currently speaking, I’m not sure what it’s fully like to be me anymore.  I’ve been transitioning into the unknown on a myriad trip.

Ever since I broke my ankle, my existence has changed.  Everything has become distorted, painful, effervescent, unique, spiritual or unidentified.  I still have complications, and I must obtain a second and third opinion from new surgeons, in order to gain some knowledge, so things are less unknown.

However, things have changed rapidly, and now I can set up back in the gym, but I’m intimidated simply by stepping on the elliptical machine, even though I force myself, so I don’t look like a scared cat in front of others.  Aside from the intimidation, I have constant shooting pains in my foot and they go upwards and I visualize these pains as shooting stars that go into the cosmos of my calves – and I wonder why I’m in a gym at all? And one glance at the chin up assisted machine and it looks like a skyscraper both mentally and physically – how am I to climb it without being frighten on the descending part for I can slip and break my ankle again?

I feel the anxiety of nerves freeze me in place in the center of the gym and I hope nobody notices my own little drama and sense of defeat.  I hope no one notices and this is why I cover myself with an overbearing hoodie to hide behind.  I’m overweight by my standards and I don’t know how I’m not myself anymore?  I am not the gym rat I used to know.  And should I be this gym obsessed person just because I’ve been one for over a decade?  Should I act as if nothing changed when everything changed in my life?  Or should I act as if everything changed as it did and proceed accordingly?

The next month I wrestled with doubling and tripling workouts in a single day at the gym despite my innermost disruptive sentiments.  I wanted to believe I can work through this by moving forward and forcing myself on these machines that used to be my favorite friends.  I do what common people do and bring guests with me so we can workout for the purpose of keeping accountable and motivated.  Well, I burned myself out in a month and a half.  I believe I did this subconsciously until the real answer tore from its denial system and decided to surface: I disliked going to the gym.

There are things I can’t do at the moment that I miss so much like Walking Lunges or Single Stiff-Legged Deadlifts. I can’t bend my foot in half without my arch giving way to a pain quite massive that I lose all hope in working out at all.  I don’t have the balance to stay on one foot for more than 20 seconds on a good day.  And I do focus on all the things I could do like push ups, shoulder presses, seated rows and such, but not even this keeps me motivated.  The next month in the middle of June I told all my guests I can no longer go to the gym 5-6 times a week which includes the multiple sessions in a day.  I’m breaking up with the gym for a little while.  I can probably go once or twice a week on the days where my mood is as bright as the sun.  I need a mental and physical breakthrough, and until this time comes I’ve changed gears.

Now I’m back at home with workouts.  I don’t have to hide from anyone, but myself (at times).  I feel freer and am creative with the dumbbells and barbell I have at home.  I pressure myself less on who I used to be since I’m not that person in and out the gym right now.  I have different goals, and one starts with the shape of my mentality.  Side notes consist of:  Taking turns doing multiple sessions in a single day from Wii Fit, fitness DVD’s and writing my own strength-training programs.  Home workouts seem to be more intense especially when mixed with less rest time.

One day I can go hard on my body, whether it is my Legs or Yoga, and the next day I have to pull back the reigns because the sour pain in my ankle won’t let up.  It all becomes about creating balance.  It all becomes about my preparation now for when I do go back to the gym with a body and mind-frame that would be better than even the person I used to know.  I’m a different person now, and this is a fact.  I have a different body now – another fact.  And what remains is that I’m just in the midst of trying to figure everything out in the meantime.

To be continued.. work in progress.

-Pennington

Limerence


Woman-with-rose

I’m uncertain why I enjoy being obsessive over you?
The lingo of the mind, both voluntary and involuntary
The play room of the bloom. I’m heartless obsessing over you.
You give me a wink and my heart fetches for invisible adoration.
It’s easy to be consumed by this dopamine. These chemical reactions.
The biology in me conducting your science, your returning interactions.

You make me angry by saying you’re a different guy.
All I gather is hot and cold, hot and mischievously cold.
Your presence lights up the sky with pots of gold, uncontrolled.
I’m aware we’re aiming in the direction of part-time,

But to no avail and what is amiss? I’m not completely sold.
I know I’m afraid to ruin the image of you in my head.
To think that you’ll turn out to be a regular guy,
Full arrays of dreadful imaginations similar to Drop Dead Fred.

You make me angry by not giving me what I want:
A photo, the opposite of obscurity, a penny for your thoughts sir.
This passion has bled brick red with familiar haunts
Of subtle bouts of nonchalant and errs.

-Pennington_Hall©

Simply A Goal: A Means Of An End


Strange, how it is, going to a true bachelor’s house and feeling the air humping around.  The invisibility of an individual’s current completely confound because there’s (always) the mission of gaining ground.  Or at least, attempt to pretend to follow along the trend?   

Stepping in quite shallow and scend, to view the moonlighting lanterns display across the pad.  I grow anxious like a deadbeat dad, in knowing, this night is only meant to be a fad and whatever happens good or bad.  I’m mature enough to know how to throw shit back and put it on the regret tab.

Still I can’t help but take note how there weren’t any sight of photographs to determine the familiarity or strangeness of people’s faces or what their race is.  Interesting, how deep space is even in the heart and bundles of mixed embraces.

Chairs on the Terrence.  Cheap thrills like clearance.  My hand fills up with a social drinker’s agenda (although I’m not proud of myself in this moment) and it would behoove me not to treat this like an errand.  But like a woman to flashy things I want to sleep with this baron.  Otherwise my fantasies would distract me barren. 

And like him, I have a good hand and an even better pokerface he’ll never read.  It’s the reason why two of us could play this game where intimacy isn’t intimacy only greed that bleeds. 

-Pennington

Even The Best Can Break Down!



This is personal.  So skip this if you always expect moi to maintain her strong-ness working at an optimum level of 110%.  

Firstly, I dedicate this Post to @WriteWendy.  Also her Org and Tumblr .  Entirely because she’s honest and raw with her own Life and I’m taking a page out her book and releasing a moment to do the same simply because she greatly inspires me.  Thanks Wendy with all my muscle fibers, heart and soul.

Yesterday I decided to do the impossible and visit my dying mother in the hospital.  Heading over there all I could feel was a bundle of heightened anxiety in the pit of my stomach that felt just like when I threaten juniors to fight in the cafeteria.  I’ve always been about entertainment in one way or another.  But seeing my mother isn’t delighting in the least.  It’s fucking devastating!  So much so that when I look into her face all I want to do is break down and cry.  There are many many reminders.

I haven’t seen her in a year.  It’s partly punishment.  It’s partly about keeping my entire sanity intact.  I heard my mother gasp in surprise as the nurse told her your daughter is here as she was changing in her personal bathroom.  I don’t know why (except that maybe the nurse was taken aback by my mother’s expression), but I felt compelled to tell the nurse I haven’t seen my mother in a long time.  Naturally she asked, “Do you live far?”  No, it’s just we really don’t get along.

For a moment she changed my loathsome perception of nurses with what she had to say:  We only have one mother.  Sometimes when people act harsh and angry, especially when they’re sick.  It’s because they believe nobody loves them.  They want somebody to take care of them and be there for them.  Don’t you notice when you give them love they are much calmer? Whatever she did to you as a kid, leave it there.  Come by and visit often.

When I finally saw my mom, I didn’t know what to say. I didn’t recognize her face.  I tried my hardest to cover the grimace but she caught it through my stricken eyes, I know I gained a lot of weight, right?  My reply:  A little.  I analyzed her face and it seems like someone stuffed two vineyard tomatoes under her cheeks how they flourish in furious mush.  I was heartbroken. 😦

Then I roamed my eyes to her hair and many of her strands were gray.  And I’m not sure what it was about youth or age or the past to present or what contradictions within me lied with wanting to run out and buy her a black tint so she can cover them?  I’m not used to seeing my mother succumb to weakness or being anything less than what she is now.  She’s a pretty good trooper with a million disguises putting politicians to shame.  And for her not to hide in plain sight just made me feel awful as I wanted to do it for her.  Jeweled travesties.  Make sense?

Mother and I chatted for what seem like a brief moment where when she decided to lay down on her bed she told me:  I missed you so much.  I haven’t seen you in a long time.  During this little time I had to reflect between what she said and what I felt with her asking me where my brother (her favorite) is and why has she never come out with the courage to tell me just how hard her ill existence is?  She grabbed out for my hand, held it and fell right to sleep.  I stuck around for a little while, wrote a note as to not wake her and thanked the nurse for being so welcoming.

But as soon as I left her room, I managed to get lost in the hospital.  I swear it was a metaphor for how I was feeling at that moment.  Before I stepped foot outside I saw a neon flashing sign: FOOD! I looked over the menu, reaching into my pockets to buy anything to shove my fucked up emotions down.  I didn’t.  I had a semi-long walk to the train station and before I made it.  I walked into 3 different food stores (including a pizza shop) just to browse food while each and everyone of them were offering their services.  Fucking gluttons! 😉

Holding back tears, thinking to myself:  How does all the parties, all the drugs, all the fun my entire family has ever had in life come down to letting go of life and losing absolutely everything in return?  How?  But I know the answers.  I know why I’m cynical.  But in the end it’s not the end.  Yet the somewhat happy ending concluded with sucking up the emotional guts to visit my mother and finally make it home successfully with healthy and whole foods from the market.

*smiles*

-Pennington