A ‘GTL’ Memorial Day Weekend #MDW

Hi y’all! Hope everyone had a wonderful Memorial Day Weekend! I was actually thinking earlier about how, even though my weekend was more on the relaxing/ getting organized side, it actually still fit into my old-school “Guido Jersey”-themed Summer Kick-Off MDW’s… Ya know, back when I could more easily bounce back from a weekend of lush drinking and dancing on bar stools.

In case you didn’t know this about me, I’m from New Jersey. When I lived in California and someone asked me where I was from, they usually responded with, “But you don’t look like Snooki!?”, after I told them.” I, then, usually retaliated with: “You’re stereotyping.” And, also a: “Not everyone looks like they are DTF in New Jersey.” I always got a kick out of their faces after that one. 🤣

Anyways, I did go out Friday evening– Had a fun time catching up with a friend I met last year on a film set, (It was actually the first film I shot, just six months after my surgery) and then we met up with my coworkers at a Summer Kick-Off/ Birthday Party.

 

Saturday I hung out with my brother, sister and her family at her friends’ BBQ in Pennsylvania (not too many fist pumpers there), and then the rest of my weekend was more on the GTL scale (Gym, Tan, Laundry.) – which I’m completelyyyyy and utterly okay with. In fact, I’m proud of myself.

*Disclaimer, I do not go tanning anymore. I ruined my skin quite enough in college when I fried myself twice a week. The "T" for "Tan" nowadays represents some other form of grooming. In this case, mani/ped.

Any ways, I tell you all this because I know I spoke about patterns in my last post. Patterns and break downs/ panic attacks, etc. Well, earlier this week my “patterns” got the best of me and I finally cracked. Wasn’t exactly a good moment for me. However, it helped push me past the “awareness” period I was in, and into a “take action” zone. Enough was enough with all of this chaos. It was time to get organized. After weeks of living a chicken, running around with my head cut off lifestyle, I’m sure you can only imagine what my car and room looked like. (I’m a commuter, also remember that. Yeah… there’s the bigger picture.) So I spent the past few days “manicuring” my car and room- (don’t worry, my own nails and feet also got some necessary attention)- And now I feel like a whole new person!

It’s so true that if you are living in chaos and clutter, your mind will reflect chaos and clutter. So if you are feeling this way, don’t feel down on yourself for partying this weekend. That’s necessary too! All work and no play makes Jack/Jill a dull boy/girl. Just make a note, this week, to declutter and get organized. Which leads me to my next tip… Write. It. Downnnn!

A friend and I were talking a few months ago about how we have/ have had anxiety attacks (at that time I hadn’t had one in a while… Shot myself in the foot there, didn’t I?). We both live somewhat entrepreneurial lifestyles which can be great in many instances, but in others, it can be extremely complicated and stressful. The biggest and best thing I’ve learned lately is to write shiiiyyyat down. We saw each other again recently and talked about how writing our tasks down has made our lives so much easier and less complicated. Because even though you might have a great memory, you’re actually exhausting energy thinking about and grappling for the different tasks you have to accomplish. If it’s written right in front of you, you’re not exhausting any energy thinking about it, because it’s right there. It also feels sooooooo good to cross it off after you’ve accomplished it. Seriously, try it! And really strike it through. MUCH better than just placing a simple check next to it. Checkkkkkk! 😉👍🏻

Also along the lines of writing things down… Time Blocking. Now this is something people have been telling me to do for a couple of months now. And I know I need to do it. I even SAY I’m going to do it. And yet I still haven’t done it. Bottom line, I’m resisting and just need to tackle the damn task. So that’s my next goal “To Do”, after I’m done with this post. (See, I’m purposely writing this here to hold myself accountable. And I’m holding all of YOU accountable today, to help me with that. HA!).. And maybe it will inspire some of you to do the same thing, if this is something you need help with. I met a new friend at my sister’s friends’ BBQ (I looooove meeting new people BTW. It just fascinates me how there are so many people out there that are so interesting and have such wonderful stories to share 0:) Sorry, had to deter there to express that, for a moment.) Anywho, he’s ALL about time blocking- which was funny that the Universe/God introduced us. It’s like it was literally yelling at me, “TIME BLOCK ALREADY, CAROLINE! IT WORKS!!!” Okay, okay, okay alreadyyyyy…

Now, what does any of this have to do with Scoliosis? Also, like I said in my last post, Scoliosis takes place in the nerves. Your mind and nervous system is probably sending you in different directions, on a pretty continuous basis. That’s okay! You are most probably a very creative person. Which is AHHMAZINGGGG! Embrace it. But it is probably, also, your Achilles heel. Find the balance by writing things down. Just seeing your thoughts and “To Do” tasks down on paper can do wonders for your mind and assist you with staying on a more fluid and concise road. (Vs. the trepid, yet spastic and curvy road of your past.)

Listen, no one is perfect. And all of your flaws and past mistakes, are actually beautiful, imperfect and have made you who you are and are still bringing you to where you are going. Embrace them! And be kind to yourself… that’s another thing I think we all are working on. I know it can be tough to look in the mirror and see a body that is curved differently than others. It’s probably easier to pick yourself a part for a rib swaying in the wrong direction… or for that scar that you NEVER wear backless shirts to reveal… or for those rods you feel inside your muscles, that make you stiff or conscientious of the way you’re sitting or standing at a fitting, in a performance, at work or on a date. I know, I get it. But let it go. Those qualities are things about you that make you stronger, gentler and more intriguing. Do yoga, stop over-thinking everything and just breathe. You are imperfect. You are H U M A N. Breathe.

I stumbled across this card a very dear friend to me gave me, right around the time that I had just moved back from California and was about to have my spine fused. I was depressed and down on myself. I didn't TRULY value it's message, then. I mean, I got it, but when I saw it again, while cleaning my room this weekend, it made me genuinely happy. And that was when I knew I was TRULY on a road to the beauty in imperfections. I KNOW I would be a different person today if I hadn't made the mistakes I made or gone on the journeys I have been on. For all of them, and for all the people I have met along the way, or left behind in the past- I am so INCREDIBLY grateful. You have made me who I am, today. A fierce Woman Warrior, that I am truly proud of. Be proud of your journeys, as well... Life is beautiful and we only get one ✨💫🌟

I hope everyone has a wonderful week and thinks positive thoughts. It’s a short one, so if you have nothing positive to think about, remind yourself of that. Or go for a long walk, exercise, eat some Dark Chocolate (there’s healthy ones!)… get those endorphins going. Or better yet, go get yourself a manicure 💅💋😉

‘Til next post. XOXO,

Your Little Fighter 💫

Too Young For Sciatic Pain and Grey Hair

Well hello there, y’all! It’s been some time. So much to update you all on and where to begin… Hmmm. Well, lately I’ve been feeling stagnant and ready for some next steps. Although I still have some issues with my back, I’m generally in good health these days, so I’m finally ready to move out of my parents’ house again. I gave myself a deadline, which is great, however, when I make a decision to do something, I tend to dive-in to things full force and arms swinging. Which is what I did recently, and it ended in burnout.

Basically, I decided to activate my real estate license. Great! But I also decided to start working with renters at the same time that I was in the training program. (Not great.) By the end of three weeks, I was completely and utterly exhausted from driving all around creation after eight-hour class days, managed to suffer a panic attack, and then while washing my hands in the bathroom one day I looked up in the mirror and gasped. The light had hit my hairline just right… “Are those grey hairs?!?” Yep. “But I’m too young to be greying!!” Welp, apparently not. My Dad started going grey at age 25… same age as my baby brother, who is now starting to also see signs of the silver stuff.

Sigh. I didn’t really care about the greys though. (Silver hair is in, after all.) What I cared most about was the fact that I had a panic attack. The last time I had had a panic attack was less than two years ago, right before my surgery. And I felt like I had come such a long way with my health and managing my anxiety and stress levels. Why the F was I taking steps backwards?! Well, Caroline. Because it’s life and you are a human being. Deep breath. Sigh. Yeah… you’re right. And everything is a learning experience. And in this situation, I needed to take a step back and re-learn to listen to my body. Your gut is a very powerful thing and if you don’t listen to it, it will eventually build up inside you and MAKE you listen… cue the anxiety and panic.

So lets get down to the why of it. My co-workers keep asking me why I don’t like Real Estate. I explained it over and over again with each person, until finally I got tired of giving all of the excuses. Finally, one day, to one friend and coworker in particular, I explained something… “Scoliosis takes place in the nerves. Meaning that my nervous system is constantly on the fritz and automatically wants to twist and curve in different directions, on a normal basis. So I have to make a conscious effort to stand or sit straighter, on an every-day basis. So when outside people and events start pulling me in different directions, I have to work harder than most people to remain focused and stay the right course. (Very similar to ADD.) Add some renters, buyers or sellers to the mix, constantly pulling you in different directions, well it’s basically my recipe for disaster. (Again, I said “MY“. Someone else might be perfect for this! No judgement. Do you boos, and let me, do me.)

Most of my co-workers say that that is how it goes in the beginning and that eventually you learn how to curtail that and create a consistent schedule for yourself. But frankly, at this point in my life, I know myself pretty well and I have more respect for myself and my quality of life. Life’s too short. And we’re allot cut out for the same things. I can find another side job that I will actually enjoy. The Entertainment Industry already has a lot of ups and downs and sides to side… I don’t need another one leading me around in circles. And my body was trying to tell me that.

However, I don’t regret any of it. Everything is a learning experience and one more step in a new direction. That step was my push to take the bull by the horns and take a hold of my life and career again. It pushed me to reach out and ask for help. I know a lot of things about myself… I’m pretty conscious of the type of person I am. I know my flaws and my attributes. Now, with a little direction and help from a friend, it’s time to curtail them, with some guidance, and create a better plan to move forward. I’m going to start working with a coach and friend. This has reminded me that everyone needs a coach, from time to time, to get them re-focused and back in the game. It also reminded me to just take a step. It’s about the journey. And when you dive-in and start running too quickly, you’re heading in the direction of burnout, and that’s no good either.

In terms of my physical process with my Scoliosis, that too is also a work in progress. But I am doing sooooo much better than I was a few days, months and years ago. This I am fully aware of, however I still have my moments. As I’ve said before, yoga has been my blessing. It has helped my stiffness immensely and has made me more aware of the muscles and areas in my back and sides that are tight and need to be stretched out. Again, Scoliosis takes place in the nerves. So my muscles and other bones (ribs, hips, etc.) want to go back to the way they were prior to my surgery. The rods in my spine hold my spine in place, but I’m still working on strengthening and stretching the muscles into a position that will support them. So again, yoga really helps with this.

People also recommend pilates and core strengthening, which I have been doing. However, I’ve been made more aware, recently, of how tight, and even sore, my hip flexers are. But that is just me. Maybe you’ve had the surgery and yours are fine (or your going to, and yours will be). Everyone’s bodies, minds and spirits are different and I’ve learned to listen to what other people recommend, and take from it what will be beneficial and work for me.

The other thing yoga has done is make me super aware of my pattern. Patterns exist in our body and then we replicate them in our lives. I’ve realized, through exercises that a ‘Yoga for Scoliosis” Instructor gave me, that I constantly clench my left butt cheek muscle. My right leg is a bit longer than the other, so my left side has to work harder, in order to keep up. I’ve also been working more on my Root Chakra in my morning meditations, and noticed that, on those days that I concentrate more on this chakra, my sciatic pain is a lot more intense. I’m not sure if it’s a mental thing or a combo of the both, but for the past few months I’ve had the worst pain in my lower, left back side, butt and shooting pains down my left leg. It SUCKS! It’s almost like a gnawing pain – incase you’ve never experienced Sciatica. And if you’re around my age, there’s a very high likelihood that you have not. (Grrrrr…) Finally, one morning I had had enough and texted my Chiropractor. She is awesome and squeezed me in right away.

“Yeah, wow, you’re super tight. How long has it been this way?” I replied, “Oh, I don’t know… A couple months maybe?” “MONTHS!! Carolineeeee,” she half laughed, half scolded. I know, I know. But the thing is, I’ve also kind of prided myself recently on being able to work out a lot of my issues through yoga and on my own. But now I know not to wait that long again. Sometimes, yes, it’s good to work things out on your own. And other times… it’s okay to ask for help 😉 She could tell I was really upset, though, and getting down on myself. She soothed me, “I know, I know, you’re right. You’re too young for Sciatica and I’m sure you are frustrated. But the good news is, just a few sessions with me and you’ll be back to being right on track again.” Sigh. I was still frustrated but I felt better. It’s okay to feel sorry for yourself from time to time. You still have to go through the motions in order to reach an end goal. And the goal was to feel better again. SO, I needed to feel sad and release that emotion, in order to start feeling happy again. So… so be it. Deep breath. Cry. Let goooooo….


My friend sent me this image on Insta while he is touring through India. This is just a breath of fresh air at the foothills of the Himalayas, bordering China, that can remind you that there is always light out there. So take a breath and ~ L E T  G O ~

There’s a few other things I want to try for my rehabilitation still, but I’m taking baby steps with them all now… A friend gave me the name of a great Acupuncturist and my Hair Stylist gave me the name of a Chakra Healer. I also know I should be working occasionally with a personal trainer or doing a one-on-one yoga session to help me with concentrating more on, and strengthening, the left side of my body. BUT, with all of that, you need money. So the way to get there is tooooo… (buda-bum-bum) MAKE MORE MONEY! So that’s my new concentration. Which will lead me to the next, and then to the next, and then to the next. So that’s sort of where I’m at right now. I’ll give you more of an update as things progress. In the meantime, I’d advise all of you to start asking yourself more questions and tapping into areas of your bodies and guts more. Maybe you’ll learn something 😉 Oh and if you know anyone looking for a fabulously, talented actor, writer or print model for hire, let them know about me 😉

‘Til next time, my friends! Have an amazing week.

 

Exes and Oh’s,

Your Little Fighter

 

PS. For those of you with hip issues or experiencing Sciatic pain, one of my yoga instructors from Surya Yoga Jersey City (they're amazing and if you're local, definitely check them out) taught me to do forward folds, but with your entire backside pressed against the wall. Stand in front of a wall and bend over. Walk your hands in, all the way to your toes so that you're literally folded in half. Make sure your hips are open and your inner legs are working harder and your hips are pulling up. This has helped me immenselyyyy. Try it!

 

My First Surgery Freak Out!!!

I recorded this video a week before I was scheduled to have my scoliosis surgery with Dr. Thomas Errico at NYU Langone Hospital in New York City, and I was FREAKING OUT!!! (To say the least.) I know I seem calm in the video below, but I definitely was experiencing a TON of anxiety during it. Looking back at this and seeing how “calm” I appear to be, just makes so much sense as to why I was having anxiety and panic attacks. The textbook definition of anxiety is “a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease, typically about an imminent event or something with an uncertain outcome.” But what it doesn’t say, is that anxiety typically appears when a person isn’t allowing his or herself to fully feel their feelings.

I just finished an amazing book called, “The Untethered Soul” by Michael A. Singer. (If you didn’t read my last post, I made it a goal to finally finish this book. If you did read it, then you’ll be very proud of me because I DID IN FACT FINISHED IT!! YAYYY!!! 😀 😀 😀 ) I found it to be a particularly hard read because I basically was/am the epitome of the type of person the book is talking about… plus it has a lot of repetition in order to get through to people, but I found that particularly annoying. Buuuuut, it made me sit back and ask, “why?” “Why do I find it so annoying?” What am I avoiding?” Aha!

IMG_5957

Prior to all of this, I was living in California up until March of this year, and facing rejection after rejection after rejection, running from audition to audition and working SO hard on my acting career. I rarely rewarded myself or allowed myself time to have fun and was constantly being mean to myself (ie. reprimanding myself when I put on a pound or two or went out drinking for a night, didn’t get the part, etc… it was awful. I was awful.) I was tired of feeling loneliness, rejection and pain so I just started shutting it off every time a feeling came up… thus causing several anxiety attacks and constant panic. Basically, my adrenal glands were shot through the roof, my stomach hated me and I was so stressed I lost my period… all of this and chronic back, neck and head pain (because of my scoliosis).

So when I made the decision to have the surgery, it was April of 2015. August 11th sounded so far away! “Great!” I thought. “I have plenty of time to mentally prepare!” Welp, the date crept up on me and a week before I was about to have surgery, the anxiety attacks set in. (Hence the documentation of me in this video.) And side note, I was also filling in for my Dad’s secretary that day, so I also seem calm in the video because I was trying to keep it down in case one of his employees walked in.

Anyways, I’m really happy I documented my journey. Not only because I want to be able to give back to other people and provide informative videos to help others make the best decisions for themselves and their case, (I wish I had something as informative as this when I was on my journey) but also to have something to look back on that enables me to see how much I’ve grown. It’s crazy to me how calm I look in this video because I vividly remember how scared I was. Hell, I was SOBBING right before I recorded this video! And after it, I got into a fight with my Dad and walked out of the office. Yep! I was just SO stressed and didn’t know how to handle my feelings. After going through what I’ve gone through with my health, and then finishing “The Untethered Soul”, I feel like I’ve grown more in the last couple of months then I ever have in years! Life, my career, my aspirations, desires, relationships with family, friends, loved ones and God suddenly have come together and make so much more sense and are easier than before. Cuz now I know what is important in life. I’ve figured out my values and really have gotten a chance to truly BE. And be ME! I’m so proud of that and who I am 0:) I’m human though, and still have my “moments”, but that’s what life’s about after all… being human.

So, I post these videos only two months after my surgery and I am doing AWESOME! I’m recovering quickly and I’m already writing articles and web series and going out on auditions. In addition, my stomach issues have subsided, headaches are nowhere near as bad as they used to be, fatigue is nearly gone and I have so much more energy! ANDDD I even had some signs of a period again last week! (Sorry if that’s TMI for all the guys reading this but I want to be as detailed and honest as possible in these posts, and that just goes to show how stress-free my body has become! No more physicalmental or emotional imbalances 🙂 )

I do still have a ways to go with my healing (as you will see in my videos), but I am SO happy I made the decision I made. Please follow me on my journey and see how great it has been for my health all around, in future videos and posts. And please don’t hesitate to ask any questions you have or comment below. I’ll be happy to answer anything 🙂 Cheers and namaste!