About Me

 
Laurie Pawlik Kienlen bouncing back from life

Me, horseback riding in Jamaica.

How do you bounce back from disease, poverty, loss? As “The Bounce Back Babe”, I know – I’m like one of those punching bags that keeps falling down and popping right back up.

“The Bounce Back Babe” is my new handle – but I also considered:

  • The Adept Adapter (my husband’s favourite)
  • Willow Woman (because willows bend but don’t break)
  • The Comeback Kid
  • The Spitfire Survivor
  • Grow Girl

Can you see the theme? Resilience, survival, adaptation to change, flowing with what life brings. I love change, and I want to help people cope with big and little life changes.

I love writing tips-based articles to help people, but I want to be more specific about the direction and focus of my life.

My most recent website is New Beginnings, and it’s devoted to helping people cope with endings, transitions, and fresh starts in life. I’m currently working on my MSW (Master’s of Social Work) at the University of British Columbia (UBC) – so I know what it’s like to embark on a new beginning!

 

fresh start
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How “The Bounce Back Babe” Was Born

I want to go beyond The Adventurous Writer and my Quips and Tips blogs. Last week I wrote a paper for one of my social work classes – I chose to write about an Infertility Support Group for Couples Who Can’t Have Children.

Then, while walking in the forest and talking to God (with my dog Georgie squirrel hunting nearby), I took a moment of silence to reflect on not having children. Now that I’m 42, I’ve accepted that biological children aren’t a possibility for us. We found out we have no sperm 5 years ago, but I always thought a miracle would happen.

I’m starting to seriously accept the idea of a childless future…and I turned to God.

“What else with you do with your life?” He asked. I realized I spent the first half of my chasing – and finding – happiness. I got two university degrees, lived in Africa for 3 years, lived on Bowen Island, got married, became a freelance writer, learned how to make money blogging, moved to a gorgeous house in Deep Cove with two different ocean views, got a dog, got rid of that dog, got a second dog, take annual vacations to exotic places…I’m a hedonist (pleasure seeker).

But I’ve also suffered.

I grew up in poverty and lived in 3 foster homes. My mom is schizophrenic and single; she underwent several hospitalizations and shock treatments when I was growing up. I didn’t meet my dad until I was 29 – when I went to Jerusalem, Israel and looked him up.

Recently, I wrote Help for Foster Kids – 6 Ways to Overcome Shame and Powerlessness. It took me a long time to recognize how oppressive and stigmatizing foster care is, even when the foster homes are excellent.

When I was 18, a guy broke into my apartment and tried to rape me. I wrote about bouncing back from that, to help other women survive similar experiences.

When I was 29, I was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis. I thought the disease would kill me so I made peace with dying. It turns out colitis is chronic, but some people barely notice they have it because they learn how to keep it in remission.

And my husband and I can’t have kids. We tried the non-invasive type of fertility treatments (IUI), but I refused the heavier stuff (IVF). I wrote  Accepting a Childfree Life – How to be Happy Without Having Children to help other couples (and individuals!).

Plus, I’m a failed writer. Sure, I make a living blogging (I earned almost $6,000 last month, but that’s an outlier because of my extremely popular Halloween articles. Most months, I earn half that). I see myself as a failed writer because I can get literary agents to represent me, but have never been published by a traditional publisher. I wrote 5 ebooks that I sell, but it’s not the same.

AND – my sister stopped talking to me 5 years ago. That was one of the most painful moments of my life, when she said she didn’t want me in her life anymore. She couldn’t even tell me why. I suspect it has something to do with me moving to Africa for 3 years, because that’s when she first started pulling away (she even gave me a going away card with a plane falling from the sky. She wrote, “Why are you DOING this?”). Even though her decision to cut me out of her life has way more to do with her issues than who I am, it’s still the worst thing that has ever happened to me.

That’s when I wrote How to Let Go of Someone You Love.

Back to The Bounce Back Babe

And that’s why I’m the Bounce Back Babe! Because I’m happy, optimistic, healthy, smart, and positive even though I’ve suffered. I’m in my first year of my MSW (Master’s of Social Work) at UBC (the University of British Columbia), and I’m learning that not everyone can overcome poverty, a mentally ill mother, foster homes, no dad, chronic illness, and infertility and still be one of the happiest people on the block.

I like The Bounce Back Babe as my moniker because it not only symbolizes where I’ve been, it helps me remember where I’m going. No matter what happens to me, I will bounce back. And I will do my best to stay healthy, fit, and happy (a babe!).

In this blog, I will continue to help people cope with the crappy parts of life. Quips and Tips is meant to be a source of light, inspiration, and connection – as well as a place to vent.

I’d love to hear what you bounced back from! Feel free to comment below, or on any of my articles.

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  17 Responses to “About Me”

  1. Laurie,

    When I came across your article and blog, I couldn’t stop reading! Your story is very inspiring – keep up the great work :)

  2. I emailed you – thanks Carolyn!

  3. Hi! I NEED to have your postal mail address to let you know you one a COUPON for $1.00 off the wine that I wrote about this morning on UBC blog entry for the day! So can you contact me with your address at carolyncavies@yahoo.com Thanks and congrats!

  4. Hi Carolyn,

    Thanks for this – how exciting! I appreciate it :-)

    Blessings,
    Laurie

  5. Hi! I didn’t have your email address to let you know you one a COUPON for $1.00 off the wine that I wrote about this morning on UBC blog entry for the day! So can you contact me with your address at carolyncavies@yahoo.com Thanks and congrats!

  6. Tracy,

    Thank you so much for your comments! I really appreciate your words, and am very glad you’re here. I’m re-reading Corinthians so I can see what you’re talking about :-)

    Blessings,
    Laurie

  7. Laurie,

    Thanks for your honesty! You may not be a traditional publishing success story, but I know that your honest writing has touched the lives of many. I see 2 Corinthians 1 lived out through your writing. What an inspiration you are!!

  8. Dear Laura,

    Thank for your interest in interviewing me for your Journalism assignment! However, I am going to Peru in a few hours, and don’t have time to answer your questions.

    I’m sorry I can’t be more helpful — if you can wait until I return on Feb 26, then I can answer your questions then!

    Blessings,
    Laurie

  9. Dear Laurie,
    I am taking a Journalism class in College. This week assigment is to write an article about Valentine’s Day and it should have 3 interviews. I started doing research online and I found your excellent blog with a lot of tips that can help me write my article. But in order to do that I have to ask you some questions. There is a lot of info about yourself online so it is hard not to be repetitive. Forgive me if the info I am asking, you have alredy posted. Here they are:

    List your favorites (book, movie or play, quote, poem, website, type of food or individual dish, music genre, song, band or individual musician, perfume, clothing style or designer, etc.)
    What are your greatest stresses and what causes you the most anxiety in your life?
    What is most rewarding about your job; what makes it all worthwhile?
    What are the most critical problems faced by people in your field in this city/state/country? How do you think these problems should be handled?
    What’s the hardest thing for you about being a blogger? How do you address that?
    Favorite weekend activity?
    What’s your favorite funny story about yourself?
    Name one thing about yourself that most people don’t know.
    What makes you laugh?
    Do you have any plans to spend a different Valentine’s day?

    Thanks so much in advance.

    Warm regards,

    Laura

  10. Dear Pete,

    You made my day – thank you so much for your comments! Sometimes I wonder what difference I make, so it’s good to hear from my fellow writers :-)

    Laurie

  11. Just wanted to let you know that I’ve been reading your blogs on writing for some time now, and I’ve learned so much from you! You were the inspiration that started my desire to self-publish some of my writing, and your advice has been indispensible. I really appreciate your experiences and your willingness to share your advice. Please keep it up, because I know there are a lot more “writers” like me who just need the extra push and advice that you provide to start their career.

  12. Hi Dale,

    Thanks for your comment! I think you’re doing such a great thing with your blog – I love the idea of building a community to help people who are bouncing back and healing from heart disease.

    I’ll go check your site out now.

    Blessings,
    Laurie

  13. Laurie,

    I just celebrated my one year anniversary from an emergenccy open heart procedure. My blog HeartFeltNews.com is my way of trying to help others in what I refer to as Our Community – those who have experienced heart disease, want to avoid it, or care for someone is dealing with it.

    My brief story is one of ignoring clear and obvious signs that something was very wrong, and very luckily going to the doctor just before I would have had a fatal heart attack – at age 53. I continue my recovery every day and I’m learning every day more about who the members of Our Community are.

    Very few days go by that I don’t think about how lucky I am to have been given a “second chance.” It has bee a humbling experience.

  14. Dear Nicola,

    Thank you for being here! I really appreciate your kind words, and hope that you continue to find inspiration and encouragement on this site.

    Some days are certainly heavier and harder than others, aren’t they? I heard Jian Ghomeshi interview a professor yesterday; he said we shouldn’t expect to be happy all the time. Life can’t be all ups — there has to be downs — and we have to learn how to ride the downs.

    I hope you keep in touch during the ups and downs!

    Laurie

  15. Laurie, I happened on this site and I’m glad I did, I’m living in North Vancouver and was pleased to see you live nearby! You have amazed and re-inspired me and I want nothing more than to be inspired to become the positive, happy woman I was a few years ago after reading your story. I’ve had some setbacks in the last few years, including losing a lot of money to a dating scam and am suffering still as I struggle to make ends meet (my income is mostly low) after losing my “cushion” to the scam. I’m living alone which I don’t do well, my daughter moved back down the road to live with her dad (and older brother) as it truly is her “home” and I only wanted her to be happy so I let her go. It wasn’t a reflection of my mothering abilities at all. I spend as much time as possible with her and see her most days as she goes to the highschool just down the street from my home, but I miss having her living here. Anyway, I have been with my boyfriend nearly 3 years now and I just posted on the site about his “need to be alone” shutting me out when he’s suffering with anxiety hoping there will be some other women who have similar issues. My boyfriend love each other deeply and are very content and happy when we’re together but he shuts down sometimes. thank you Laurie for being such a great inspiration and role model for me.

  16. Thank you so much, Dava! I really appreciate your kind words :-)

  17. You aren’t ONLY the Bounce Back Babe, you are also a Energetic Inspiration. You are one busy lady. Thanks for sharing your trials and successes with us. (Also, the fact that you haven’t been published yet says more about the failure of the industry than your failure as a writer.)