Anaín Bjorkquist

total eclipse of the heart

September eighth. Those two words sting. They reach deep into my chest wall, rattle my heart and squeeze it tight. So tight that I become breathless.

Breathe girl, breathe.

Then my limbs go numb. Especially my arms.

The same arms that are skilled at holding pain for others and carrying it far away from them become anchors.

Heaviness down my shoulders towards my elbows and no feeling below that.

All the feelings in my heart. All of them but especially nothingness.

September eighth. Nineteen years later you aren’t any easier.

Today, as I write this I am twice the age I was on that day.

Nineteen years ago, I was nineteen facing the darkest moment I have yet to live. I was giving birth to the only daughter I’d ever have. Two days earlier, at a prenatal checkup it had been discovered that she had died in utero.

This wasn’t what I had planned for her. To this day I would do anything to bring her back. To have a mother-daughter relationship with her. To see if maybe being on the mother side of that relationship would heal very deep wounds I carry. But no I find myself choking on these tears trying my best to type away with these hands I can’t feel.

There are so many ifs. So many memories that have never ever occurred that clearly play in my mind’s eye. They were only wishes in my heart. Shattered by that one moment in which the doctor couldn’t find her heartbeat.

Followed by Air Force doctors showcasing her textbook Turner’s Syndrome to one another before telling me that she was dead. Inside. Of. Me. In those moments all I wanted to do was run the hell away from everyone and everything. Especially my body.

September eighth, I have come to the realization that you might never be easy on me. So, here it goes all the things that I’ve held inside for so long…

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what boundaries

As I was emerging the winner of a lifelong battle with depression, I realized that boundaries were the only way to keep my stressful life from overwhelming me. Boundaries kept me sane, helped me figure out who/what to pour my love and energy into and assured that my heart wouldn’t be easily shattered again.

Years ago, I wrote that boundaries are the best way to make sure you are valued, so about a year ago when I heard Danielle LaPorte’s “Open, gentle heart. Big fucking fence.” I thought yesssssssssssssss!!! Hell yes! She was speaking my heart with all the eloquence.

Press play if you’ve never heard it or want to be reminded of her genius poem on boundaries.

Boundaries are also, as Danielle said, a way to protect your heart so that you can keep it wide open.

You need to protect your heart. Fiercely.

Protecting your heart becomes easy enough after one has experienced enough heartache.

It doesn’t take too long to learn that those that tell you that you are too emotional usually don’t care much about your feelings.

One or two perpetual line jumpers is all it takes to put up a “big, fucking fence” around your heart. Continue Reading

be the asshole. be the bitch.

One of the things that is very important to me as a parent is helping each of my sons embrace the “light” and “dark” parts of their personalities. To help them notice when they are in the wrong, when their being strong is perceived as wrong and when it is truly somewhere in the middle. Empathy, respect and love for themselves + others are daily lessons I teach them.

Yet, they still fall short at times because privilege. We all have so much of it that it is easy to take it for granted.

So, when it comes to them acting like privileged jerks, I do not hesitate to check them.

Tuck your privilege son. You don’t realize how good you have it. Tuck that shit in and have some empathy.

That might sound harsh but it is something I say to my boys from time to time when they fail to realize that they have it better than others. When my boys lack empathy, it is my job to call them out on it and to help them put themselves in the shoes of the other person. Case in point…

I was driving my boys to school the other morning. It was 7:45 am and it was already very warm out. A girl was walking across a street and we had to wait for her to cross to make our right turn towards the road headed to the school.

“AH! Can she take more of her sweet time?” one of my boys complained loudly.

“Tuck your privilege son! She’s got to walk to school. You are comfy in this car. Do you want to walk to school? To have to deal with crossing high traffic streets? To walk in the heat or cold or rain? You are so lucky that you always have at least one parent able to take you and pick you up, everyday and at anytime.”

His face instantly went heavy and turned sad. He got it. I am also certain he regretted what he had said instantly. A few minutes later when he was getting out of the car at school he said, “I am lucky mom. I am sorry for being such a jerk.”

In that moment he had been a privileged jerk. He had no right to gripe then.

But what about the times when standing in their power means being considered an asshole?

One of my sons is awesome about setting up boundaries, knowing what he wants and not tolerating being disrespected. That son is quick to cut people from his life that don’t respect his boundaries or that disrespect him strictly because he is certain of what he wants in life. One of his life goals, to have a group of friends that are strong-minded, intelligent, respect themselves and want to do something with their lives.

Sometimes having a goal like that means that others think he is an “asshole” because he doesn’t want to deal with people that succumb to peer pressure or that don’t respect themselves. But is he an asshole?

Yes, sometimes he is an intolerant asshole; he especially can be towards his brothers. That’s the truth of it. We are still teaching him that they are very different from him. Yet, outside of our home more often than not when others think he is being an asshole, what it really means is that he is standing in his power and upholding his boundaries. And in those times I tell him this…

Son it is okay to sometimes be the asshole. Seriously. Embrace it.

As a child I was never taught to stand in my power and had no clue that there were such things as boundaries. When by nature, I attempted to take my own power back or draw a line in the sand, even in my own home, this was considered being a bitch. Being taught to go against my natural defenses caused me to distrust my intuition, pick partners that would take advantage of me or invest much of my power in saving others from being mistreated and used.

So many years wasted saving others that benefited from me having weak boundaries and poor self love.

All the pain was worth learning that in life it is important to be useful yet not allow yourself to be used.

 

And more on that in my next post. But for now I want you to know this…

Stand in your power. Have strong boundaries. Don’t be afraid to…

Be the asshole. Be the bitch.

By all means necessary love yourself enough to not get used up and become less-than your best.

© Anaín Bjorkquist August 14, 2015 ~ All Rights Reserved.

when it all blows up

This week the Celestial Planning Committee wants me to practice what I preach.

And it has been incredibly hard to do just that. Literally, that’s all I’ve been trying to do this week.

Well, not really. This week I of course did tons of other things but most of my energy has been going to thinking about how to embody the lessons I teach my clients because this week almost everything that could go wrong has. And my horoscope promised a super great month?!

This week I’ve had a hard time being a good mom…

My almost ten year old is testing ALL his boundaries.

I’ve had to have really tough conversations with my fifteen year old about #blacklivesmatter for him to usually respond “nothing will ever change.” Had a heart-wrenching conversation with him about why people call men and women with super strong boundaries assholes or bitches (more on this in my next post).

Thank the CPC for my middle son picking up that I was feeling extra raw and showing me more appreciation and love than ever.

Then on the business front I’ve watched something close to my heart just go up in flames and I’ve hesitated pulling the trigger on what needs to be done with that.

I can’t seem to find the energy to dedicate to a project that deserves all my love because it is so hard to pour out good when you feel nothing but emptiness.

But this too shall pass.

These hard weeks always make me feel absolutely grateful for the days full of ease. And these tears that are running down my face feel like last night’s rare Bay Area thunderstorm feel – cleansing and spectacular because of their rarity. Yes! I think that having a good deep cry from time to time is vital to letting go of the pain.

These awful weeks used to be my everyday.

This looking up from an absolutely empty well yet still giving because that is your nature and searching for a hint of aliveness in the tiniest joy. This. USED. To. Be. My. EVERYDAY!

But it no longer is. The fucking nothing will not win because I have five reasons why depression will not ever win!

And the first one is…ME!

Even through this toughest week ever, I know in my core, that I am everything I say I am because being those things are my priority.

I am a woman that has beat depression because I LIVE regardless of depression.

I am a woman that chooses pleasure over perfection because it is my path to ease when I am overwhelmed.

I am a woman that has created everything after being given absolutely nothing.

And if you can take anything from this I hope that it is this…

Don’t fucking give up because you “staying in the game” enrages all the forces fighting hard to knock you out.

And you’re not crazy thinking that on this planet there are people that don’t want you to win because evil and miserable people really do exist. If there weren’t then magazines wouldn’t make millions trying to showcase all the “troubles” of the rich and famous.

Say it with me, “I am going to win! Without help. Without validation. Without permission. I am going to win. I am the hero of this story… I don’t need to be saved.”

I swear I am going to win this battle with motherhood and all the other battles too.

And that’s all for today, Beautiful One! Thank you for reading.

This little blog has been saving my life since 2009. And I hope that at the very least it helps you feel a little less lonely.

Fuck depression & overwhelm.

© Anaín Bjorkquist August 7, 2015 ~ All Rights Reserved.

K is for Kismet

Long before becoming a woman, I thought that I would never be fortunate enough to be considered one of the beautiful ones. I was certain that I was destined to forever be ugly. Today, as a grown woman I know that every woman has the power to claim the label beautiful.

Beauty has little to do with your physical form or fitting into society’s limiting beauty standards.

Beauty is about owning that pleasure is your birthright and spending your days cultivating a life that lights you up from the inside out.

If nobody ever taught you that or if you have yet to come to that realization on your own, that last sentence can sound like a completely empty nicety or self-love slogan.

But words have meaning and the very definition of beauty is what I use to help my clients reclaim the word.

Full Definition of BEAUTY

1:  the quality or aggregate of qualities in a person or thing that gives pleasure to the senses or pleasurably exalts the mind or spirit : loveliness

2:  a beautiful person or thing; especially :  a beautiful woman

3:  a particularly graceful, ornamental, or excellent quality

4:  a brilliant, extreme, or egregious example or instance beauty

5:  bottom 9

There in the definition of beauty is all the permission you need to dive deep into exploring with all your senses what pleases your mind and spirit.

Right this minute you can disregard society’s standards of physical attractiveness.

That bold act will free you from falling to all the marketing schemes of the “beauty” industry. When you stop thinking about what you don’t want to look like you can start focusing on how you want to feel and what you want to experience.

“It isn’t that simple!” my clients protest.

But it is because you already have everything you need to change how you think about beauty.

Fire up your senses…all of them!

Today, I’d like to focus on the two senses that women suppress the most because they worry about beauty.

Sense of taste… More than likely, taste is your most lustful sense yet far too often women ignore their desires for flavor because of diet culture. Trusting your hunger might even sound like taking the fast lane towards weight gain but it is actually the opposite.

What foods bring up sensations of pleasure when you think about their taste? Bonus points for foods that you love the sight, sound or feel of.

I want you to create an afternoon snack around one or more of these foods.

For me, this usually looks like a big bowl of strawberries, raspberries and blackberries with just a touch of whipped cream over them. On an extra hot day, it can be as simple as a slice of watermelon. A very cold + super juicy slice of watermelon that I can enjoy while sitting poolside and letting the juices run down my hands and arms. Eating it like I did when I was a little girl – without a care in the world.

Taking time to eat either of these snacks is an experience for me. A break from my long days that can be tiresome and stressful. Making sure that I have these items that bring my palette joy and my body energy in my fridge is an act of self-care + self-love.

There is beauty in eating what you like, when you like regardless of the number on the scale.

 

There is power in knowing what brings your taste buds pleasure that also fuels your body to function at its healthiest. This power gives you the ability to change the cards life dealt you genetically when it comes to health and wellness.

I dare you to make eating a full sensory experience!

Sense of touch… What do you think of when I say touch? Do you imagine touching a hot or cold object? Did running your hand on something smooth or rough come to mind? What about taking your own hands to nurture yourself with touch?

Does the thought of touching yourself make you feel a bit uneasy, maybe even a little dirty?

Well, I wasn’t talking about that kind of sexy touch. What I am referring to is the tremendous pleasure that your limbs can bring your body, relaxing your mind and lightening the load on your spirit.

I want you to take an hour after your next shower to spoil your skin from head to toe with your favorite lotion.

Make sure to go nice and slow. Watch the process, enjoy the scent of the lotion (if your skin can tolerate scented lotions) and make it a point to use your non-dominant hand as much as the dominant one. Lean into how it feels. Play with the amount of pressure you put on your skin. Try different strokes. For extra credit, use your feet to distribute the lotion down your legs.

Years ago, I had a lover that had the softest skin in all the Universe, his secret was his post shower sensual lotion ritual. I remember making fun of him for taking so much time to do something as basic as put lotion on until the day I met a man that wanted to spoil me in this way. Later in life I found out that many of my male friends had similar rituals, while many of my girlfriends rushed through it without enjoying the process.

It is difficult to feel beautiful when your body is dying to be touched.

 

There is power in taking it into your own hands to provide your body the touch it needs to feel a sense of aliveness. This power helps you attract lovers that are also more alive and tuned in to their body’s needs.

I dare you to make touching yourself part of your daily ritual. Lotion optional. 

Beauty is spending your days cultivating a life that lights you up from the inside out and this is what fate brought you here for. You are kismet. You have the power to control what happens in your future and to decide how you define beauty.

You are one of the beautiful ones if you are fierce enough to choose pleasure over society’s beauty standards.

© Anaín Bjorkquist July 30, 2015 ~ All Rights Reserved.

This post is part of The Layers of Beauty Tour created by GG Renee of All the Many Layers. Follow the tour through the blogs of 25 women exploring the complexities of womanhood and beauty from A to Z. Click here to keep up with each post and enter to win a giveaway package of goodies for your mind, body and soul. #LayersAtoZTour