Tag Archives: Challenge

On Writing


Before the love of writing started I began with reading lots and lots of books – all kinds really.  Then for a few years came book reports.  I enjoyed breaking down a story as well as making drawings for the report cover, particularly as a way to stand out from the rest of the classmates.  After book reports I started to write around the age of 9.

I wrote short stories back then, mostly horror because my family was big on watching horror films and I needed an outlet for my reoccurring nightmares.  So I wrote and wrote and each time I felt my heart become more and more alive.  I remember I enjoyed writing not just because I felt full of life, but because all my teachers said I was good at it.  And whenever someone gave me constructive criticism I was determined to get better.  Eventually I won a writing medal at elementary school because of that attitude.

In Junior High I would go on to write graded screenplays for the entire class to act out on.  By seventh grade I turned my attention to deeper writing like journaling and confessional poetry and during this time short stories were put on hold (and for the most part still is) as my writing began to take on a form of therapy.  With being a loner and feeling like an outcast from family and school, I learned to create friendships with my writing.  Then in later years, I learned about blogging.

So, even though I wouldn’t change a thing, it wasn’t until very recent that I realized I tend to write predominantly when I’m feeling glum (manic), bitter, displeased, enraged or dispirited.  Then of course there are the feelings of when I’m hyped, full of mania (highs) and excitability with huge shots of adrenaline when I train before, during or after.  Once in a blue I write when I’m happy, obsessive or in love too, but my heart lies with writing sorrow first.  So what’s the dilemma?

One dilemma is I believe I’ve limited myself to writing with and/or about certain emotions, so when I’m actually happy I find it difficult to write or get inspired to write.

During the time I was on a mood-stabilizing pill I stopped writing for 3 months completely (which is absurd), not just because it changed my persona to a degree, but because I had less bipolar episodes, less sadness, less excitability, less highs and lows.  I was somewhere in the middle, but not quite.  I wasn’t necessarily happy, but wasn’t necessarily sad.  Maybe neutral? But it made it difficult to find any drive to write.  Now, I’m trying to come up with solutions and creative ways to write about anything and everything to push myself over the boundaries I’ve created.

The second dilemma aside from finding inspiration through negative tone emotions is I started working on a book (a novel).  But, the problem for me is I stopped writing short stories decades ago, so I doubt my abilities since I’ve been out of practice.  Writing in narrative, I find to be more difficult than say, writing a poem, prose or a blog.  This is another challenge I’ve been trying to work on AND I’m open to suggestions from anyone who is kind enough to share.

Thanks for reading.

-Pennington

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Ballet Beautiful Vids


New entry.  Here’s the link.

-Pennington

Ballet Training Life



Ballet Training thus far has been a really interesting journey.  It’s about 4 months (or a little more) and I’ve grown to take immense pleasure in Ballet Beautiful (and other Ballet Conditioning work I’ve come across).  I always liked Ballet, but I can appreciate it more now that I perform Ballet-inspired movement (and some actual Ballet exercises).

Ballet has been very tricky in some areas like getting the form down.  There’s a lot going on most of the time – movements come from all angles and are done simultaneously at the same time.  For example: Picture yourself balancing on one leg while the other leg is in midair lifting up/down/sideways/bending or performing large circles while you swaying your arms up/down/side/waving.  It’s challenging and the focus needed has to surpass 100%.


There’s a lot of balance and concentration involve, but it’s all good because I’m a special kind of woman who’s built for this with my work ethics.  I have the capacity to push myself beyond my mind’s or body’s limitations especially since I have to deal with burning arches and aching cores throughout each exercise.  Not to mention dealing with borderline cramping even if you’re simply bending or stretching to one side or backwards without arching the spine.

There’s also the act of practicing stability and working through a super intense muscle burn along with having super muscle control.  What I enjoy the most is getting through the first exercise sequence of 4 sets in counts of 8’s at a rapid pace because the exercises are so difficult particularly Ballet Beautiful that for you to finish without pausing is a HUGE accomplishment.  And although there’s a lot to learn I’m keeping my mind and body open as I carry on flexibility in every technique and exercise I approach.

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I benefit from using different muscles than what I’m used to.  The techniques and exercises I’m performing have further enlightened my sense of physical awareness for instance engaging the center.  I currently pull in through the center even when I do dishes or take a shower.  Back then the only time I engaged my core was during a weightlifting session since it’s very important to do when you’re Deadlifting, performing the Military Press and Barbell Squatting.  Sometimes I think my core is lacking, but I think the only reason why I think this is because of the fat on top.  There’s nothing wrong with my core – it’s much stronger than I give it credit for.

There’s also the ease of gaining lower back, hip inner/outer, glutes and ankle flexibility.  As is, there are positions (including Yoga) where I couldn’t get the top of my foot flat and now I’ve made gains where I can flatten my foot another centimeter or a full inch – which is outstanding as FUCK!  To get this foot and ankle where I want it to be has been a mission.  I’ve been given the wrong information from stupid surgeons saying if I can’t make any gains in 6 months to a year from the accident then I won’t be able to make any improvements.  However, since Ballet Beautiful I’m making tiny gains after a year and naturally this makes me very happy.  Plus I’ll take any miniature gain I can get.

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There’s the minimizing of cellulite behind the back of my upper thigh right under the glutes and no matter how many lunges I’ve done in the past that’s been something hard to knock off when you have extra weight on.  I have extra weight but the cellulite is still minimized like some kind of magic trick.  The best part is (although I don’t need it) I’ve received an even higher instantaneous butt lift at the same time my cellulite is disappearing.  In the beginning I was scared of losing my curves with Ballet Beautiful, but I haven’t lost any – it’s all being enhanced.

As far as the flexibility is concerned, well I’m back to the flexibility and have even surpassed the flexibility in certain poses (including yoga).  Holy crap!  You don’t even understand how awesome this is for me as I used to stretch intensely for an hour, and sometimes overstretch to the point where I would actually hurt my muscles and couldn’t stretch for a week or more.  I used to think I have to stretch at least 5 times a week in order to get to where I want to be (one of the goals is a front/middle split), but it’s not true.  Ballet Beautiful is magical when it comes to simply just performing exercises and having you become flexible within the process where lengthening happens literally overnight.  I will say – better flexibility also means better sex.  (I apologize.  I had to throw this in here.)

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I love exercises that are different and difficult.  So it intrigues me very much to perform exercises that have a lot of internal and external rotations.  I’m carving out the larger muscles I’ve built over the years simply by building all the small muscles and vice versa.  This creates an even better and more efficient foundation.  I like having to create and work for better isometric contractions.  I like that there are new rules I have to learn like rounding my back during exercises or going through a full extension through the knee as opposed to never locking out like weightlifting and bodybuilding.

I like leveling up my fitness and I enjoy cross-training again.  I like being introduced to a whole wide world of new muscles.  I like feeling as if with less weightlifting – I’m allowing my body to become more symmetrical.  I’m decreasing size (mass/bulk) and even bodyfat at a pace I didn’t think would be possible with my exceptionally low thyroid and such.  And did I mention my posture?  It’s also changed immediately!

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Just like weightlifting – ballet exercises give me the feeling of constant motion in physical existence as well as completeness in the present moment within the body.  To close this long entry I’m still learning everything I’m sensing from head to toe with Ballet Beautiful.  This is one reason why trying to write about my Ballet Training has been different as I feel these entries don’t flow as well as I wanted to.  I digress.. I believe I’ve exceeded the phase of novelty, so this isn’t a phase I’m going through and I’m into ballet-inspired workouts which is not to be confused with actual dance ballet and such.

Happy Training everyone!

-Pennington

The (New) Affair of Jogging


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Tonight I broke in my Saucony running sneakers.

I haven’t attempted jogging or running since last summer, mostly because I was going to do a 5K Obstacle Race and after that race (which sadly I didn’t get to do because I showed up 3 minutes late) I had zero motivation to continue jogging or running.  Still, a desire aches deep within.  This evening, during my initial 5 minute walk on the Treadmill I felt like I was strolling, cushioned by eternal clouds all around my tender feet and ankles; how lost I felt within instant change from my regular cross-training battered Nike sneakers.  With a Cheshire-cat grin on my face I said, “I can get used to these clouds,” just when my mind shotgun me a warning, “Better not get comfortable, you’re going to need every ounce of yourself tonight.  We’re starting back at square one.”

And this entry won’t be about every little thing I did (although I’ll add a little in for the sake of healthy reminders and anew celebration), but of some observations I learned this evening.  I’m happy because although my body was already exhausted from the burdens of continual soreness, I fought for every minute I walked and every minute I jogged.  And even though I couldn’t finish strong with the pace of 5.5 towards the ending, I placed extra mileage (4.5 speed) on these sneakers and feet because I want nothing to stop me.

The small moments of invincibility I’ll take on any day in which I battled long, hard and steady for.  Towards the last countdown of the game, over the hill of more than 3 and a half miles I gave myself a few fist pumps and thumbs up even if people thought I was a crazy loser at the rear Treadmills.  But I earned the crown of headache-jogging and for a moment, I earned the world of guts once again.

I took in quite a few observations about jogging and getting close to the ideal of going at a running pace for my short legs which stopped at a 5.5 speed.  The most basic observation being the amount of focus I have to demand and generate at sheer will.  I have a habit of looking down at my feet/legs or even at the numbers increasing or decreasing on cardio machines at the gym.  But looking down takes my focus away from jogging and allows my mind to drift even when I don’t want it too.

At one point I had to decrease the 5.5 to 5.3 because I could sense my balance being off track and I was going to no doubt bust my ass if I continued on that speed.  I lowered it for a moment to regain my focus again and not look down at my feet or try to change my music on the ipod.  Instead I just stared up at the television where the label on the board wrote out: TNT.  OH!  And every now and again, I stared at this flamboyant guy who jogged worse than flailing wrist forward females, in which, put my mind at ease about being a self-conscious beginner jogger.

The other observation was about the need to relax myself while trying to find the poise of fluidity and balance.  I don’t make any excuses for my body fat or the solid muscle I do have on my structure.  But with both the fat and muscle generally it’s difficult for me to feel relaxed and/or light.  I’m on edge even when I sit down on a train reading a good book and my hands are close to bunching in a fist and my arms are never fully extended because of tension I hold tightly to my body.  The small moments when I do feel light, it’s a rarity, kind of like allowing myself to trust in a stranger; unfamiliar territory, needless to say along with grandeur vulnerability.

So, in turn, having to trust myself while learning how to loosen up and let go throughout jogging is a test I must study to overcome.  I’ve come a long way with this, as well, because when I first attempted jogging and running years ago, it wasn’t until I took off my headphones that I heard the loud thunder of my feet hitting the Treadmill belt.  Apparently, I was a little too good when it came to stomping and probably better at hurting my joints in the process.  Tonight I focused and auto-suggested to myself how I’m light as a feather and balance become me.  There were clear moments of fluidity and of a highness that offered itself to me in the form of joy and glide.

Short side note here:  There’s nothing like jogging when it comes to my body.  I wonder if it’s due to the fact that I’m inefficient at it currently.  But, seriously, nothing taxes my body like a jog or short run.  Nothing!  I wonder if I’m one of those people who aren’t built for jogging or running and if it’s something I could just be spinning my wheels on?

Another observation or rather, a question balloons:  How soon is too soon to push beyond the limits of what I think I can perceive?  I’m aware of my body in many areas, but there are moments when I can never be too careful (aside from thinking the worse fantasies of falling on the Treadmill and somehow splitting my kneecap open).  I know my body well enough to know I need at least a 5 minute warm up before jogging.  Then I could only jog or attempt running for 5-7 minutes at a time because anymore than that and my left shin starts to give out.  So I walk for 5 and jog for 5 minutes and repeated this until the point where my body is getting tired, but it seems like my mind gets tired at the same time as my body.  Actually, it’s hard to know which is fatiguing first.

However, my lungs can handle it well and my legs have done more than enough strength-training and Plyometrics to where they don’t tire as quickly as someone who’s never done that type of training before.  But my feet aren’t strong and neither are my shins when I compare them to my lungs and the rest of my legs.  Eventually the shin splints and dead feet start to weigh me down.  This usually takes anywhere from a total of 20-30 minutes of jogging.  (Again, I’ve never been consistent with jogging.)  Tonight I had this feeling where my legs seemed to outdo my brain and it was running quicker than I thought I could; running so much I had to decrease the speed as my stability once again was getting out of control and I was going to fall.  So, finding the balance (that has nothing to do with the mind/body itself), but of my limitation is another challenge.

It took me approximately one month and a half to break in my running sneakers.  This is a fresh new start to the world of jogging and running for me.  This time I want to be consistent.  I’ve made up my mind long ago to be well-rounded when it comes to fitness.  I don’t only want to be good at one thing and nothing can replace my first love of dumbbells and weight-training.  Still, I want to be good at multiple things fitness-related.  Originally the goal was to run for a total of 30 minutes.  I came up short and reached 25 minutes.  I added an extra 5 minutes even though I felt like I had barely anything else to give because my body was failing me right from the beginning as my chest, traps, shoulders, back and lower abs were and still are completely sore from a workout the other night.  I felt this made the jog excruciating in a sense.  Nevertheless, I most likely prefer it to be this way.

Next time I’ll see if I could push more or at the least get better time while having my body on much fresher and recovered terms.   After my delightful jog (the only thing that gets me sweaty in no time and for some reason also gives me water retention the longer I go), I stretched for 35-40 minutes.  That’s one of the worthwhile benefits I found with jogging; the stretch after is remarkable as my entire body had zero choice in the matter, but to yield to laxity.

This is just the beginning of something different.

-Pennington

Dangerous like a Disease of the Skin


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I slide my body up and down against the wall, subtle foreplay within the public eye, or behind the private curtains of my shower and pretend it’s you.

What is this frenzy? This fire of insane desire.
The ability to cry without tearing just from observing the field of your view.

Early morning I inhale dreams of what we could be like smoke rising from my coffee, adrenaline on caffeine. Intricate and romantic as if we played the parts of honey bees.

I’m unclear as to what enchantment you cast upon me without true intention, initially under a pale moonlight. Yet I’m certain of what spell I’ve directed onto you with deep impression in sight.

You my dear are provoked like skin to satin.
And you make my days darling similar to carbs that fatten.

What compels me to touch myself even through the plague of my nightmares?
What compels me to call you near my endless thoughts like the Lord’s Prayer?

It’s not over until I declare it is. Rejection is a challenge I take pleasure in.
It’s patience that’s unforgiving. But I’m dangerous like a disease of the skin.

-Pennington©