Protection Mode

So lately I’ve tried, on countless occasions, to write a new blog entry. I think I have three drafts sitting in my pending posts section of my WordPress account, right now… One I wrote after my Grandmother passed away on Thanksgiving Day, the other I wrote last week, after the SAG Awards, and the other one…? Hmmm… I forget. (Ha!) But I’ve been very critical about them all so I haven’t posted any of them. Probably because my life has been so all over the place lately, so I feel like my writing has reflected the same– It’s lost it’s flow.

You would think that now that I’m back in Yoga classes, that my writing would flow more… Nope. Maybe it’s because I’ve been getting it all out in yoga, causing my creative voice to become stagnant. Maybe I actually need my heady, all over the place mindset, in order to do good work? They say that the best artists produce their best work during tortuous or traumatic times in their lives… Does anyone watch, The Affair? Noah, for instance, produced a best-selling novel during a traumatic, “all over the place” time in his life, but yet when he was grounded again and happy, the writing didn’t “flow”. And! Look at Hemingway! Ugh, sighhhhh. 😏 I hope and pray that isn’t the case with me…

Regardless, I’m pushing myself to write this and publish it this time, because of what happened to me tonight in yoga class. So bear with my peeps, I’ll eventually get it all out. But before I do, a little background for you… I’ve been crazy stressed for the past two weeks and I couldn’t figure out WHY! I mean, I had an idea, but I didn’t really think any of it was affecting me that badly until last week when constipation set in. 😳 Dun, dun, dun! 🙈 Yep.

Now, if you have been reading my posts and following my journey with my health and scoliosis surgery, you’ll know the issues I have dealt with in the past with IBS… And how upsetting it was after my surgery, when the pain killers made me constipated. So when this set in again, I started to geek out. Hell, I’m still upset about it! I haven’t dealt with an issue like this in a really, really long time!! In fact, it’s been just the opposite. I haven’t been able to stop going, before this. WTF, man?!

So, I started to think about it (shocker), and have begun to connect the dots. Basically, it leads to a few different issues. One being, I’m doing too much. (Double Shocker. 🙄) Hey, at least I’m aware, now, of when I am going down this path. And the first step to change is awareness, so… there ya go.

Last week I had an audition for a great Workshop Studio in NYC and I had to prepare two different monologues. I felt like I really knew the material and they were perrrrfect for me! (Or so I thought.) Granted one was a bit older for me, but only by a few years. However, the woman who auditioned me, informed me that I’m “way too young to be doing this type of material.” I bit my tongue, and then thought to myself, “Lady, if you knew how old I actually am, maybe you would change your tune.”… Probably not though. (The industry is based on a look and if you look like you’re 25-26, you’re going to be cast 23-25. Go figure.)

Anyways, I haven’t been auditioning lately so I was a little nervous. I knew the material, but a few lines in, I asked to start over because I could feel that I wasn’t being present. I did… and the woman on the other side of the table did not look happy. She immediately started jotting down notes and I could feel myself being judged. Whatever, keep going, Caroline.

After performing my two monologues, I probably looked down at my sides* a total of three times throughout the two monologues. Well, apparently that wasn’t acceptable. Basically she told me she “doesn’t usually do this,” but she was going to make an exception for me and tell me in advance that she was accepting me into the program… HOWEVER, I have a lot of work to do. She continued to go on and say that because I have a B.A. in Journalism and not. B.F.A. in Theater, I need to work harder. “Not to say NY is a snooty town, but it pretty much is and we are about the work here. There’s no excuse for you not being off book. This isn’t LA.” She then proceeded to tell me that she thinks I’m just used to LA and that I need to get my game face on if I want to do well in the program. “How long have you been back here?” “A year-and-a-half ,” I replied. Judgement written all over her face… especially while she perused my resume and questioned me on being on “America’s Next Top Model”. (I know what you’re thinking and she is actually a very good-looking, young woman, whom is also an actor,  so it’s not like she had it out for me or anything.)

But, I never made an excuse for myself. I never told her that I moved back to the east coast to have back surgery and still struggle with the healing process or cry sometimes on my way home from yoga. (I mean, why would I tell a perfect stranger that?) I used to be a pretty open book about it, but recently I’ve gotten to a place of people needing to earn to learn my story. Probably because I’m in a more stable place in my life and more accepting of who I am, what I’ve been through and where I am going… or perhaps this just ties in with me being in protection mode. I don’t know yet… 🤷🏼‍♀️

Anyways, I didn’t want her pity and I don’t want yours. I am fully aware of the fact that I am alive and healthy and don’t have some traumatic, life-altering disease, HOWEVER I am human, and everyone is entitled to feel a little sorry for themselves from time to time… like by crying to yourself and singing along loudly to Zayn and Taylor Swift’s “I Don’t Wanna Live Forever” on your commute home from yoga class once in a while. (I guess I just answered the above on what place in my life I’m actually in, huh? 😄) So, I put my big girl pants on and thanked her, because honestly, she was right.

*Sides are the script or dialogue you are given to read from in an audition setting.

Basically, I’m aware of the fact that I’m spreading myself too thin… commuting to work, making sure I get my work outs in, running into and out of the city for auditions, meetings and classes, writing, shooting and editing my own sketches, starting to look around for an apartment and setting a timeline (Wooooo!! 👏🏻), working on marketing myself and then still trying to balance a social life and family… I’m exhausted!! And putting only 20% into each of them. I hate not being good at something, and 20% just isn’t going to cut it… especially when I know I can do better. So this is when I start getting down on myself, stressing out and I guess that’s where my body is now… Reacting with constipation. Sigh 😔

So all this leads to my big epiphany that I had in yoga class tonight… We did a move and the instructor told us to keep breathing and concentrating on the positioning and being in our bodies. “Get out of your heads,” she said. Well that definitely snapped me back to reality, because it’s something I am continuously working on. She said to be mindful of where our mind went, as she instructed us to move into another position. This time I focused on the move and releasing… suddenly I had a big “Aha!” moment! I was in protection mode!

Let’s rewind a moment… Another thing I’ve been doing over the past two weeks is adding an “Om” to my chakra meditations. (I do a Chakra Meditation every morning and it has done wonders for me!… until the “Om” was added.) Yes, it definitely made me feel more grounded that week, BUT this was when the constipation started. (Aha! … and Eek!!) I made the correlation and confessed it to my chiropractor this past weekend (only after I forewarned her with, “Can I say something to you and have you not think I’m bat shit crazy?…”). Thank goodness she knows about and is into this kind of stuff, because she agreed that it is correlated and that it was probably working different muscles and different breathing techniques than my body is normally used to. If you’re not into this stuff, you’re probably reading this and thinking, this girl is NUTS! (My Mom does, so it’s okay.)

I had my 1.5 year check up on my surgery yesterday and drove into the city to see Dr. Errico. My Mom came with me and we have an hour drive in, so I told her about the “Om”-ing… well, she couldn’t wrap her head around the fact that my body would react that way to exerting a sound. “You just need to pray more,” she half laughed/ half scolded. I responded by telling her that meditation, yoga and chanting is prayer 🙏🏻 😇- (love you, Ma! 😘 )

I realize that I’m pretty body aware, so it is a little extreme that I would respond this way to an “Om” sound. However, I’m also kind of a hippy so it kind of makes sense. ✌🏻Growing up, my favorite Disney Movie was Pocahontas. I would always pretend to really “feel” and be extra in touch with the trees, the breeze, the grass, etc., while trying to talk to the squirrels and rabbits as they ran away from me. (I know, I know, I’m weird.) I used to lay in the grass and stare up at the blue sky and twirling, whirling clouds and I would SWEAR that the world around me was having an inner conversation with me. It’s hard to explain… I just felt very “in touch” with nature, I guess… Grounded perhaps? I suppose you feel those extra things when your younger… and it’s more socially acceptable when your neighbor walks by and catches you belting “Colors of The Wind” at the top of your voice and beckoning for John Smith to come rescue you… Yeah,.. not so much as we get older. Although NYC is a pretty crazy place, so maybe no one would even notice? 🤷🏼‍♀️

Anyways, back to my yoga “Aha”… as I laid there in the 98 degree classroom (side note, hot yoga has helped loosen and stretch my muscles immensely!), pulling my right leg closer to me, I realized that I’ve been protecting myself, EXTRA, over the past few weeks. Some of it is with guys… (I don’t know- dating is hard, I guess? And I’m a bit of a commitment-phobe.) Basically, I’m afraid of settling. And it sucks! Because I have the biggest sweethearts who will bend over backwards for me, asking me out- and yet I want nothing to do with them! But a guy who doesn’t seem as interested? Well, you pretty much have me, hook, line and sinker. Sigh. 🙄

I’ve talked to my Mom about this repetitively… “Why the F do I like the chase so much??” Maybe it’s because I know they aren’t the “settling down types”, and I’m still not completely ready to settle down, myself… so perhaps I look at them as fun and safe? And then these other guys who would probably treat me like a princess, terrify the fuck out of me. 😳 “Ugh, why did you just touch my waist like that?” “Why are you checking on me to make sure I got home okay? I’m a fucking adult woman, damn it!” “Why are you being so F-ing NICE?!” (See! Told you. I’m crazy.) One of my girlfriends tells me I’m sick. Ha! However my other girlfriends I’ve spoken to about this have made me feel better about my craziness by saying that those guys just aren’t the ones for ME. Which I do agree with… ‘Cuz if I was really into the person, I’d totally be down with doors being held open for me, romantic dinners, cuddle sessions… the whole shebang. Right? 🤔 But instead, I’ve let myself go into a clenched up, “Ahhh stay away from me, I don’t like you like that!” 🙅🏼 protection mode to heed these guys away. Can’t we just be friends?? Sigh… which just leads you to the forever-debated issue over whether men and women can just be friends. Hmmmm… #FoodForThought

So… basically, what I’ve determined is that I need to really focus on working on letting go and trusting myself, again. (Because it’s life, and we all go back and forth… this just seems to be one of the things I am always grappling with, apparently.) I knew the dialogue in that audition room. It was emotionally engrained in me. But I felt her judgemental gaze and clammed up a few times; looking to the page as my crutch, instead of trusting the fact that I’m an awesome actress and “I got this”. 💪🏻 That was actually the one excuse I gave her when she was giving me her constructive criticism… I started to explain that me looking to the page was more the fact that I needed to trust myself more, rather than me not knowing the dialogue. But she just shook her head and stated that it “still goes back to preparation”. Sigh. 😔 Whatever. You can always work harder to make yourself better, so I’ll take it and learn from it. 👍🏻

And then with the guys… I don’t know. I guess I need to trust the fact that I know my own feelings, and no one can force someone to like them… so, just let go and enjoy the ride. It doesn’t mean that if I accept an invitation and go on a few dates with a guy and make out with them a bunch of times, that they are going to automatically hydro-shift into boyfriend mode on me. (GAH!!! That freaks me out just thinking about it 😰). Deep breaths, Caroline, deep breaths. And let go…

I will actually say that I’m proud of myself, though, for letting go of one guy, in particular. Because I was pretty hung up on him. We’ll call him “Yoga Boy”. I met him at a Yoga Event and I knew him and his friends were pretty much just there to pick up chicks. I also knew, through speaking with him, that he was younger than me. Not by much, but when a guy is a few years younger than a female, they might as well be ten years behind them, when it comes to maturity (sorry boys, but it’s true). But basically, what happened was, we had a lot of mixed communication caused by only communicating via text… and Snapchat (LOL- don’t judge me! 🙈), and he never did a very good job with properly asking me out. It was always us trying to meet up after something, or going to a class at some point when the other got out of work… it was just very ambiguous and “safe”. No set plans were ever made, except for the first time we hung out after the Yoga Event. (And guess who invited who? 🤘🏻) … Now, I will admit, some of it was my doing, with my crazy-chaotic schedule and he probably just didn’t want to deal with it anymore. However, he wasn’t the most chivalrous of men I’ve ever attempted to date. And he’s a few years younger… I guess they’re still set in their way of hanging out in groups, then? I dunno… Regardless, I allowed myself to get a little hung up on it “not working out” because, although we only hung out once and locked lips while we were both slightly intoxicated 😜, as naive as this sounds, I felt like we had a more passionate connection. (Aka, it was the beginning, so we had a physical attraction.) But I also just felt like I didn’t put my best foot forward by mimicking his childish communication skills. I’m usually a pretty communicative and open person, but instead I succumbed to the chase and “playing hard to get”. So Long story short, I over thought all of it. Plus we are Snapchat friends and seeing someone on a slightly ego-centric social media ap every day makes your mind wander… #WhatCanISay #Human 🤷🏼‍♀️✌🏻💁🏼

Anyways, I’ve let it go, now. I realized that anything or anyone that is that hard or complicated, is just not meant to be. Plus, I have a date tomorrow night with a guy I met on Super Bowl Sunday and after all of those games and the protection mode I put myself in with the other guys, it was SO refreshing how he asked me out ☺️ He actually had a pretty clever pick up line that made me laugh. (I’m not into the pick up lines, HOWEVER, if it’s something clever and it makes me laugh, you’re pretty much guaranteed at least a drink or coffee date with me.) But he also asked what my favorite food was and offered to take me to dinner. Now, I’m not usually into having dinner with someone on the first date (commitment-phobe, remember? ✌🏻), but I don’t know… something about him kind of intrigued me 🤔 We’ll see, though… I did have a couple of Shocktops and a whiskey shot in me that evening, sooooooo… 🍻🥃 (Go Giants! 😋… Inside joke if you follow me on Instagram or YouTube.)

Alright, I think that’s all for now… Hopefully this post wasn’t too all over the place and somehow, someone related to it. I’ll probably go back and tailor the other posts sitting in my Saved Drafts section and eventually post them for y’all, but for now, I just felt like I really needed to get this one out… so thanks for reading. 🤗 Sorry there aren’t any pictures this time… again, I just felt like I needed to get this out in order to get the ball rolling again on the blogging. I know I say this all the time, but I really do hope to write more again for you (If anyone even still reads this- Ha!)

Oh! And this is probably TMI, but after getting all of my feelings out in this post, I took a break to go to the bathroom! Wooooo!!!! (Or should I say, Poooooo!! 💩💩💩💩💩) Score!!!! 🙌🏻😜 Hahahaha 😂

Oh and one more thing! I definitely need to do another post soon because I need to explain to you how I bruised my rib cage. It hurts like a mother f-er right now! 😡 Sorry, just wanted to throw that in there just to show how I really AM all over the place and how yoga and Pilates are really becoming a blessing for me 😇🙏🏻🤗

So… ’til next post my fellow crazies. Exes and Oh’s ❤️😘

Your Little Fighter,

CareBear ✌🏻

**UPDATE**- The following morning after I posted this, I came across a meditation specifically designed to relieve constipation on YouTube, and then went about my morning stretches. Well, after I was done with the stretches? I pooped again!! See? Chakra healing and meditations really do affect the body! Here’s the link if you’re having similar problems and curious… You’ll probably be pleasantly surprised! But the trick is to stay open!! To everything in life 😉 Hugs your way xoxo

Two Weeks Post-Op

Sometimes, I think it’s great to tap into that inner confidence and “have no shame” and other times… wellllllll, let’s just say, you should have a little. Apparently, right after I recorded this video, I recorded another one informing everyone that I finally “passed gas”. Ha! Well, although I think it is important for those looking into having this surgery to know that you will be extremely medicated for several weeks (or months, depending on your surgery’s extent and your own pain tolerance) and your muscles will be in “sleep mode” for a while… I don’t think it’s necessary for me to post myself talking about it, though. (See what too much medication can do to a person?? 😛 )

Which leads me to saying, I was HEAVILY medicated in this video. I’m also very thin and look almost ill. I look this way for several reasons… One, your metabolism is sped up a great deal after surgery. My doctor later explained to me that this happens, because your body and nerves are doing extra work to help “repair” your back and readjust to its new alignment. So therefore, you lose weight. (Our bodies are so fascinating, aren’t they?!)

Two, I wasn’t eating that much. For various reasons – One, the pain levels are so extreme that it really makes you have no appetite. Two, you’re on A LOT of medication and they, also, make you have no appetite. Three, because you are so constipated that when you do eat, you feel like your food has nowhere to go… Because you’re so friggin’ backed-up! (Yeah… so this is where I can apologize for the TMI while, at the same time, not really feel bad about saying it… Perhaps because it is written in a blog and not broadcasted across Social Media – ha!)

The constipation… yeah. It sucks. Not going to lie to you guys – I HATEDDDDD it! Sometimes I cried about just the constipation alone. Probably more so because I hate the feeling of not being in control of my own body. (I was never one to take hallucinogens or any of those types of drugs for that same reason.) So not being able to have a bowel movement when I KNEW my body needed to was a pretty shitty experience for me. (No pun intended… but funny that I used it – hahaha! 😛 I crack myself up sometimes. Deal with it.) One day, I remember looking down at my stomach and thinking I looked pregnant. Another time, I remembered eating something and experiencing stabbing pains after having just a few bites because the food had nowhere to go… Or the new food was attempting to push the old food out. (Emphatical on the “attempt”.)

I remember the nurses recommending Senokot. Yeah, that didn’t work. Plus I had already been taking it in the hospital and it did shit. (Not cause me to “shit”. It did nothing for me, is what I’m saying… Just want to clarify again there 😉 ) Stool softeners helped later down the road, but what helped get the ball rolling, was my mother giving me an enigma. I then kept up with Smoothe Move Tea, stool softeners and aloe water, daily. (And not the “Aloe King” aloe water that has all the added sugar in it. Plain aloe water. Put it in a smoothie or mix it with regular water, if you don’t like the taste. Sugar causes constipation as well, so when you’re suffering from bowel problems, best to stay away from it and go the cleaner route.) Eventually I got back to having a normal bowel movement. But that took time… and me weaning off of the pain meds. So if you’re going through this right now – be patient. You’ll eventually poop, I promise 😉

Poop Emoji

Which brings me to the pain medication. Ugh. What a doozy. So I was on Hydromorphone – 5mg (aka Dilaudid). Plus muscle relaxers and a Nuerontin. Every four hours. I was high as a kite and it’s probably the reason why I don’t remember a lot of things… I don’t really remember recording this video. (And I’m sure the “not eating very much” didn’t make any of it any better.

I never felt “pain-free”, but some days, the pain was more bearable than others. It was like a nagging, uncomfortable, gnawing feeling in your bones and muscles. My Mother reminded me the other day about the first time I took a shower. She would have to come in and help me wash my legs after I finished with my torso, because I couldn’t bend or really lift my legs on my own. I would also walk around the neighborhood in a high as F*** state of mind… but hey, it helped!! (Oh yeah! So walking helps the MOST with constipation. Need to tell you that. Walk, walk, walk, and then walk some more. Because that is actually going to be your saving grace. It’s what helped me finally get back on a regular schedule because you’re lower extremities are moving and are “activating”. Plus it helps with your state of mind. Especially for me because I’m a heady person. So it was great to get me out of the house and out of my head and just walk around and enjoy life around me again. I actually still walk almost every day! It’s really a great workout for your mind, body and soul 0:) … But hey! That’s just me. Every BODY is different 😉 )

IMG_5612

Back to the medication… We switched me to Percosets, which did zilch. I think I even had a weird reaction and felt itchy??? I’m not sure though but something like that seems familiar to me. But I know it didn’t do ANYTHING for the pain. So we went back to the Dilaudid. My Mom would come into my room during the night, and wake me up every four hours to give me my pain medication, and every eight hours for the muscle relaxers. So again, to paint the picture more for you, I was high as Fuuuuuuuu** and I still felt uncomfortable. But thank God for pain meds! I don’t even want to know what that pain would’ve felt like, had I not been on anything. So yeah, they suck and have their side effects but hey, they helped get me through all of it and they’ll help you too.

Eventually when I called to get another renewal the nurse asked me how often I was taking it. I told her and she was like, “Ummmm okay. I believe it’s time to start weaning off…” (Yeah, okay lady.) She filled another prescription for me and when I saw Dr. Errico at my follow-up appointment, six weeks post-op, he started weaning me off then. By that time I was feeling sooooooo much better and was actually eager to start the weaning process. (I’m not a pill popper. Never have been, never will be. I’m sensitive to medications, vitamins, basically anything that is “foreign” to my body – so this was an exciting triumph for me.) Sounds crazy and like a distant dream to those of you that perhaps just had your surgery… But don’t worry, you’ll get there too. I promise! 😉

Breathing. Remember when I told you that when I woke up from my surgery I started gasping for air and exclaimed that I couldn’t breathe? And how the nurse told my Mom not to worry – that I needed to get used to my lungs being in a new place? Well that’s why they give you this fancy little contraption.

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To help your lungs get a little work-out in and learn to expand again… but in a new position. It’s also to help prevent pneumonia from setting in. (When you have a big surgery, such as this one, sometimes patients are susceptible to pneumonia because you aren’t moving as much and mucous builds up.) I didn’t get pneumonia, but I did get sick.

My “thing” is sinus infections. Everyone has a “thing”… Some type of weakness that attacks when your immune system is low. Maybe yours is stomach bugs? Or colds? Coughs, migraines, whatever… we all have them. Mine is always sinus related. And that’s what happened… (Another reason why I look a bit “sickly” in the video.) I probably, also, got sick because I wasn’t eating that much :/ Another thing I’ve learned throughout years of being chronically ill and not feeling like myself, is how important it is to take care of yourself. If you aren’t eating and feeding your body, you aren’t gaining fuel or energy. If you work as hard as I do, and aren’t fueling up, you’re running on empty. Eventually, your car dies… or in my case, needs to be “serviced” 😉

So my advice to you: I know you don’t want to eat – I didn’t either. But try. Try really, really hard. I promise it will be helpful and you’ll feel better in the long run. I eventually figured this out… just took a small sinus infection to get me there 😉

So I think that’s all for now… I’ll try to get another post in this weekend and give a small update on what’s been going on in my life. I’ll say that I’m extremelyyyyyy tired and have A LOT going on but it’s all good things! Production company is coming along and I feel like I’ve taken another step in my acting career… but that’s all stories for a different day. Thanks for reading and see y’all again soon!

 

Till next time… Exes and Oh’s!

Your little Fighter,

Care Bear

IMG_5647                                              PS this is my family dog. Isn't he the cutest?! He thinks he's a puppy... He's not. He's ten human-years old. Your only as old as you feel, eh? :P