Month: November 2017

A Guide for Mindfulness

A Guide for Mindfulness

(A Poem) Take a deep breath and enjoy your brookside seat. Let the reflection run through you freely like a stream. There are small pools and slant angles in your mind to retreat. Set thoughts free to flow with the drifting by leaves. Let the […]

Mandatory Sentence: Gluten Free

Mandatory Sentence: Gluten Free

(A Poem) I have been diagnosed a suspected celiacs. Suspected sounds peculiar but I refused To be subjected to being the subject of Further testing. My mother cannot imbibe, It makes me regurgitate the protein. I’ll choose To believe I’m positive in my diagnosis, purely […]

It’s A Trust Thing

It’s A Trust Thing

My life growing up is a blur. I have repressed a lot of it. Every now and then something triggers me to react a certain way and I know it is because of something that happened in my childhood. One of the biggest problems I have is trusting people. Trusting them to be there. Trusting them to support me. Trusting them to encourage me. Trusting them to not bring me down.

I have a gigantic wall built up from being hurt so much and having trust broken throughout my life. Constant disappointments or lies laid each brick one by one until I was surrounded and safely enclosed. The problem with this is I would still let people come into my fortress because they could convince me they have changed. So I would trust them again and again and again. I will always want to see the best in people.

As an adult I have learned to build up my fortress even more which is a good and a bad thing. I don’t ask a lot of questions and I don’t open up easily if I’m unsure if I can trust you with information. I have my own little family I need to keep safe. I won’t let many people into our world because I have had someone close to me try and hurt my family with their own selfish actions. My desire to have more privacy is currently a bunker being built in the depths of my heart because in our current social, political, and economic environment there is none. The general human population and their relentless desire to hurt one another with words and/or actions leaves the taste of bile in my mouth. I can’t bring myself to want to participate in society.

 

My biggest trust obstacle: my siblings.

 

I have a lot of siblings. Technically I am an only child, but I have seven half siblings. I grew up in a house with my father and one younger sibling the majority of the time -  on the weekends I was with my mom I had two younger sisters in the house. All of my older siblings lived out of state so I never really got to know them. (Yep, middle child syndrome force is strong) I love all of my siblings and their families, I really do. However, I don’t share information openly with them. Out of the seven there are three that I am open, honest and vulnerable with. Why? Why can’t I be that way with all of them? Well the honest answer is I don’t trust them enough… yet. I don’t know how they feel about certain heated political issues, how they feel about education, how they feel about anxiety and depression, how they feel about healthy eating and fitness… I can’t trust them to not hurt me as a person because those are the things that make up who I am. I can’t trust that they won’t up and leave or take advantage of me. (Deep down some logical part of me knows they wouldn’t do these things, but I don’t know them well enough - I have faced enough disappointment for several lifetimes.)

I am working on trying to be more open with my other siblings but it is painful for me. I have social anxiety when I am in their presence. My inner brick layer starts adding to the three foot thick wall before I know what is happening. Somehow she applies a layer of concrete to my mouth before I dare try to speak in a meaningful conversation. Imagine being put in a room full of people that are experts on bio-engineering and trying to maintain a conversation with them.

Do you feel your skin crawling? Does your chest tighten? Do you start looking for exits so you can get fresh air into your lungs? That is what it is like with my siblings that I am not close with. I truly hate the feeling, and I want to feel comfortable with them like I do the other three.

How am I working on it?

Well if you ask my husband, I am not. I am not making a big enough effort to reach out and ask to hang out or go to grab coffee. (He is annoying close with two of his older siblings, I love it but it makes me feel bad for not being close to all of my siblings) I have made very small baby steps in trying to see my other siblings if something comes up I think we would all enjoy or I try to make it to birthday parties for my nieces and nephews. When one of them invites me to an event, I make an effort to budget for the event and a babysitter. The issue lies in these types of things come up about every six months, so the efforts are inconsistent and never fully planned out. Could I call or text them more often? Sure I could. I don’t though. My anxiety kicks in telling me that I am a bother or I may say the wrong thing because I don’t know them all that well.

Trust is a battle I hate to fight, but it’s a battle I can’t afford to lose anymore. It’s not that I don’t want to get to know them or others that come into my life, it’s a  matter of trusting how they will treat me later on when they have finished with me.

 

Later apples,

L. Bohlinger

You Gotta Do You

You Gotta Do You

The struggle to maintain and lose weight is a struggle most women (and men) face throughout their lives. It’s a constant battle of the right food, correct amount of intake, right exercise, finding the exercise you prefer to do…The list is never-ending. Here’s the truth- […]

My Monster Has a Name

My Monster Has a Name

My palms are clammy. My thoughts race. Electricity crackles in my rib cage rendering my lunges immobile. A voice, I’ll call her Reason, she scorns me, “Suck it up buttercup, you’ve got a job to do.” Reason is telling me I must stay put and […]

Nobody’s Hero

Nobody’s Hero

I was speaking with an old friend the other day and she said I was her hero for taking on so much in my life and still maintaining my cool. I simply shrugged and and just said thanks, but in my head I was thinking, “I am nobody’s hero”. Why would I say this to myself? It was not to bring myself down. It was simply me looking at my reality and the perceived reality seen by everyone else.

I recently became a Ph.D. student with a graduate assistant position to help pay for school. I workout 3-5 days a week. I have a full time job as a Gifted and Talented Coordinator. I am wife to an amazing man who supports me more than I realize. I am a mother to an almost three year old sassy little girl. I have another part time job at the local mall. I have two pups that keep me grounded. Then all the added responsibilities of just day to day life- cooking, cleaning, washing, drying, etc.

This life sounds chaotic right? It sounds like I should probably look at dropping a few things off my plate? Are you thinking: is this woman nuts? Well yes…I feel this way most days.

I suffer from anxiety. My anxiety comes out in very different ways depending on the situation. Social situations where there are a lot of people and it’s noisy- I lose my ability to hear well. It sounds like everyone is in a tunnel. When I am called out in front of a group of my peers at work without notice- I lose feeling in my hands and I start to sweat. When I am presenting in front of people I don’t know well- my voice shakes and noticeably. Plus I blackout, not pass out, I don’t remember anything I said or did during the presentation.

However, my anxiety also causes me to be very “type a” in all areas of my life. I make everything on the outside of my world look perfect because my inside world is full of chaos and darkness. It’s a lot of work but my anxiety tells me it has to be done this way. I have to make my life look perfect to the outside world, it’s not a choice. My house is clean- always. My daughter’s toys are put away and organized. My meals are prepped for the week. My daughter and I have our outfits picked out for the week. I have a set schedule for naps and bedtimes. This is just the tip of the iceberg of the things I make sure are in order to satisfy my anxiety.

Those of you that have anxiety like me you may understand the weight of that last statement- “satisfy my anxiety.” I cannot turn it off. Once my anxiety wants to focus and obsess over something I have to stay there until it’s done. For example: I woke up at two in the morning and stayed awake thinking about all the things that could go wrong with work, school, my daughter and all the things from my past that I messed up until my alarm told me I needed to get ready for work. Anxiety is not convenient. All I can do is find ways to persevere, when anxiety decides to show up.

So how do I cope? Well I have to exercise 3-5 days a week. I run, I lift weights, I do yoga. Yes it helps me stay fit and in shape, but I do it because if I don’t I would be paralyzed by my anxiety. I speak with a counselor twice a month. She helps me see how my anxiety is affecting me and my relationships. There is a stigma around seeing a counselor still, but I promise you if you haven’t tried it you need to. I write as much as I can. I have produced many a poem, story, or quick observation due to my anxiety. It is sometimes the most therapeutic tool I can use in the moment. I also crochet. The movement of the needle in each stitch is another moment of my anxiety disappearing.  

While I may look like I am super woman, and there are days that I do feel like I conquered the world, I am nobody’s hero. In a way I am my own demons, my own arch nemesis as every hero has one. I have my own demons just like any hero has theirs.

 

Later apples,

L. Bohlinger

Question Everything

Question Everything

In a time riddled with information and plagued with opinions, who do you trust? Where do you find your truth? Desperation can make a person do wonderfully horrible things and all too trusting in their dire hour. I was raised in a family where the […]

What’s your story apple?

What’s your story apple?

I’ve felt the crushing weight of asthma as your lungs fill with inflammation leaving no room for air. I understand the inability to control your mind and mouth from following various rabbit trails as they hop sporadically through your head. I’m intimate with chronic pain […]

How’d you get here apple?

How’d you get here apple?

I have been struggling with body image issues since I was a little girl. I always remember my mom saying things like, “I am not skinny enough” and “This dress makes me look fat.” I grew up trying to make myself skinny enough and not feel fat in the clothes I would wear, so I became obsessed with making sure I never looked fat or felt fat in anything I wore.

You would think that the simple answer would be to just wear loose clothing, but I chose a much different route. I decided not to eat. Now let me be clear, I did eat some I had to so I wouldn’t pass out and end up in the hospital. I only ate tiny amounts or unhealthy things. They only time I would eat is in front of my family if we decided to have a family dinner that night. I would load my plate and eat like normal, but I never ate full meals like that throughout the day. I would drink tons of soda, eat candy bars, and nibble on chips. I convinced myself that I wasn’t hungry, I would force myself to feel sick at the thought of food so I wouldn’t eat in fear of throwing it all back up. (I hate throwing up and would rather sit there nauseous for hours than throw up.)

This cycle of not eating and not exercising followed me throughout high school and college. I weighed 120 pounds and wore baggy clothes for most of high school. It was the only way I felt skinny enough. I never was though in my mind. When I got to college I dropped even more weight in the first 6 months because I didn’t have a lot of friends to hang out with or go to the dining hall with. So I would eat as little as possible and go back to my room.

Once I finally found friends to eat with I gained a ton of weight (in my mind); however, I was actually at a healthy weight for the first time it 6 years. I was fortunate to befriend a girl from high school that encouraged me to go to the campus rec center and work out with her. I was starting to finally feel comfortable in my own skin.

Then came the day when I started picking up on comments a family member was making about the weight I had gained and how I should watch it so I don’t gain too much. I started to revert back into not eating again. I still would go and work out, but be so hungry that I felt sick since I was putting zero calories back into my body after burning the few I did have in my system. I did yo-yo dieting from that point on and it didn’t do me any favors.

Once I finally graduated college and had a really good friend drop a ton of weight with proper eating and exercise I wanted to follow her lead and not listen to what anyone else had to say about my weight. I was lucky enough to live with this friend for part of grad school. We would go and eat together and workout together. Our workouts were some of my favorites because we would do circuits around the track and really push each other to go harder and faster in lifting and running. She had to move in January for a job, and working out just wasn’t the same anymore. I managed to maintain my weight and work out after she left because I was finally in a good place with how I felt about my own body.

Fast forward several years to now… I’m a mom. My body will never be the same since I have had it inhabited by a tiny human. Now I am struggling to lose the baby weight, but I am still focusing on my habits before having a baby. I may not lose all of the baby weight and get back to being my ideal weight, but I can remember to work out a few times a week and eat right. I am deathly afraid of saying things in front of my daughter to make her feel like she will never be skinny enough or clothes make her look fat. I want her to see her mom feeling comfortable in her own skin. I want to raise a daughter that is confident in her own skin, and not try to force herself into a mold that society has placed on women to be an unhealthy skinny.

I am still learning about my body and how to adjust foods and exercises for my new “mom” body, and I am still learning on how to feel confident in my new role as mom of a daughter that watches my every move. I hope I can share some insight into my health journey and give readers a new perspective or expand their knowledge. I’d like to give you, reader, the courage to believe that you can become more confident in your own skin as well.

 

Later apples,

L. Bohlinger