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!

 

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