A Screw Loose

A Screw Loose

I haven’t really been told that I have a screw loose. I’m a pretty solid person. At least I believe so.

So imagine my surprise when the surgeon told me, after my knee replacement two and a half months ago, that the screws on the femur repair were loose. And, that the femur break hadn’t healed. And, that my leg was being held together by the rod and some soft tissue. And, that he was surprised that I was on my feet at all, let alone walking 1 – 2 miles most days a week.

So that was fun information.

There I was, walking around on it like nothing was wrong.

Was I stupid or simply naive? Or determined? Or maybe I had more than the screws in my leg loose… I’ll go with determined.

“I am too positive to be doubtful, too optimistic to be fearful, and to determined to be defeated.”

Anonymous

Prior to breaking my femur, I had spoken to surgeons about knee replacement. But I had to wait.

You see, surgeons don’t like replacing parts on overweight people. They talk about your being more prone to infection or that you will not recover well or a whole host of other bad things that could happen all because you are overweight.

I was told to lose 40 pounds and then go back to see the last surgeon I spoke with.

Funny thing is, I had lost 90 pounds after gastric sleeve surgery years ago and gained some of that back already by the time I went to see this surgeon. Yippee.

Then, of course, I broke my femur. So… those extra pounds I had gained saw more friends join them since I was so sedentary and fighting to gain my mobility back. I couldn’t really walk and walking was my form of exercise.

Walking is also my zen. My time alone. Outdoors. I love walking. It was nice when I was finally able to walk more than a few feet at a time. Even if it was with a walker or a cane.

“Walking is man’s best medicine”

Hippocrates

So, it took a while to get back on my feet after the break, but, damn it felt good when I started to be able to walk again. I worked back up to being able to walk, with a cane, 1 – 2 miles most days of the week. It took two and a half years, but I got there. And the weight started to come off again.

It felt good.

But what has been the very best thing is that I was given the determination to lose the weight I needed to – to have knee replacement approved, to be able to recover, to be able to get on my feet quicker.

The replacement was major. I have the scars and the x-rays to prove it. It was a lot more than what the surgeon was really expecting.

Now, however, with physical therapy and a lot of hard work, I am on my feet walking unassisted. It’s been three years since I was able to walk unassisted. I will never take that for granted again!

And my stamina is building. I can only walk about 1.5 – 2 miles on a good day; usually split among a couple of walks so that I don’t tire my knee too much. Damn it feels good.

“Walking is magic!”

Carmen & Piglet

And since getting back on my feet I have lost another 20 pounds. That’s a total of 90 pounds altogether – in a year of ups and downs and twists and turns. And, that loose screw? Not an issue any longer.

I’m bionic baby! Want to go for a walk?


Carmen is a single mom who acts, sings, drinks way too much coffee, and writes stuff as she authentically navigates life. Sometimes it’s interesting, sometimes not so much. You can decide. But if something moves you, drop a line, share it far and wide, and let me know what you think! Be sure to check out her business website, Heart-Centered Marketing and Business Solutions.


Bolita

Bolita

In Spanish, Bolita means a little ball. The -ito or -ita after a word is a diminutive in Spanish and slightly changes the meaning of the word. 

For example:

Perro = Perrito (Dog = Little Dog)

Amor = Amorcito (Lover = Sweetheart)

Chica = Chicita (Girl = Little Girl)

Cute, right?

When I was little I was round. You see, I’m the first child of Mexican parents who migrated to the United States when they first married. So, I’m a first-generation Mexican/American.

When I was born my parents still held to the majority of their cultural beliefs. And, in many Latino families (especially back then) children who were chubby were considered healthy and happy. So, growing up I was indeed made to be “healthy and happy.”

Well, the happy part was right. My parents loved and doted on me. But the eating … oh boy!

What started as “Oh look, she wants another egg. Give her her third egg! ” Or, “She’s crying, she must be hungry.” “She’s been a good girl, give her a candy.” “You’re so cute, have a donut!” quite literally morphed into my food issues to this day.

So I ate. And ate. And ate. And when I was a toddler I was big and round. And my parents started to call me “Bolita”

Bola = Bolita (Ball = Little Ball)

Not so cute. But of course, I was too young to know the difference.

Other family members and friends picked up on the nickname and called me Bolita too. So, it stuck.

And, as I grew up I got rounder and rounder.

“You can’t leave the table until you finish everything on your plate!”

Thus started my relationship with food. And hatred for my first nickname.

A person’s relationship with food is one of their most important relationships.

Ned Vizzinni

I’ve struggled with weight all my life. I’ve gained and lost hundreds of pounds. Gone on and dropped off so many “diets” and broken so many New Years’ resolutions. Been called so many more horrible names throughout grade school and middle school.

In high school, I was a size 16 and kids called me fat. I was a cheerleader and was bullied into getting the largest size uniform because the kids said nothing else would fit me. I was told that I was a Weeble Wobble – remember those? “Weebles Wobble but they don’t fall down?” I was told that “you don’t walk like a fat girl.”

Thankfully, by middle school, my parents started to call me Nena, or little girl. It turned into Neni. That nickname is still with me. I like that one.

The food you eat can either be the safest and most powerful form of medicine, or the slowest form of poison.

Ann Wigmore

Food was my comfort. Food was my refuge. Food made me happy. Food was my drug of choice. And, since everyone already thought I was fat – and I believed them – I allowed myself to become what they believed I was. Fat.

Fast forward to adulthood and quite frankly it wasn’t any better. I just got larger and larger. It never really stopped me from doing anything.

I moved to New York, auditioned for shows, sang with a band, hiked, biked, danced.

But, when I was called to come home from New York due to a family emergency, I ballooned. And, then some!

Had a child. Worked. Sang. And got depressed because I wasn’t doing all the things I loved anymore. And, I got even bigger.

I had a doctor’s appointment and the scale clocked me at such a high number that I couldn’t believe it. And, my blood sugar numbers were so high that I was killing myself from the inside out.

Enough! I have a kid. I have parents to watch over. I have shows I want to do! I needed to get a handle on the why of my eating.

While overeating may be seen by some an indulgence of self, it is in fact a profound rejection of self. It is a moment of self-betrayal and self-punishment, and anything but commitment to one’s own well-being.

Marianne Williamson

So in 2016, I had gastric sleeve surgery. And made a lot of progress, lost a lot of weight. But didn’t really learn the reasons behind my eating disorder. I did feel better about myself and got back on stage. Gained confidence.

Slowly the weight came back. I gained back 3/4 of the weight I lost. In my defense, I did break my leg and couldn’t do much exercise. Of course, that was also a really good excuse.

My knees hurt. I can’t walk up stairs without effort. I couldn’t walk a mile (or more) like I use to. A broken leg may have set me back a bit, but its arthritis in my knees from all the weight they had been carrying that took it over the edge.

And my blood sugar levels started to increase again. And the depression started to rear its ugly head. And my confidence began to wane.

My doctor said I had to do something, anything. So I began walking the dog. And, I was doing well. Then my doctor had to prescribe different medicines to help with my diabetes, which in turn helped curb my appetite. And, I joined Noom so I could learn the “hows” and “whys” I eat.

In the last 7 months, I have lost 70 pounds. What I had regained from surgery and then some!

Yep! That’s a lot. I’m walking at least a mile, mile and a half every day. Blood sugars are at a normal level. I was in two shows. I feel great!

(In fact, in the second show they told me that from the first measurement to the first preview day I had lost 4″ in my waist!)

But most importantly, I’m learning more about my addiction. I’m learning what foods cause me to bloat, cause me to feel bad. What causes my cravings. What do I want to reach for when I’m down. What to do when feeling depressed or anxious. I had this knowledge but never really put it to good use.

And, I need to write again. This blog is really my journal of sorts. You may not want or need to read it, but I certainly need to write it. Thank you for indulging me.

Little Bolita is no longer. I’m through with being a ball, little or not!

And the size 16 from high school? I’m now a size 14 – soon to try a size 12!

A healthy outside starts from the inside .

Robert Urich

Bye-bye Bolita. You can call me Neni.


Carmen is a single mom who acts, sings, drinks way too much coffee, and writes stuff as she authentically navigates life. Sometimes it’s interesting, sometimes not so much. You can decide. But if something moves you, drop a line, share it far and wide, and let me know what you think! Be sure to check out her business website, Heart-Centered Marketing and Business Solutions.


Adapting and Moving Forward

By now the entire world probably knows that I broke my leg almost two years ago. And, if you didn’t, just look down a few posts and you’ll find all the wonderful and gross details.

I’m an upbeat person and tackled the return to my feet with optimism and a smile on my face. But internally? Well, even though I kept telling myself that I create my own reality and that I need to see the future in a positive light, there was a small speck in the recesses of my mind that didn’t believe that I would be on stage again.

And, that broke my heart.

I had let go of my dream to be on stage once early in my life. Now having returned to the stage after a long stretch of time (30 years) the thought of not continuing was devastating.

Having broken my leg right before COVID struck put a damper on my physical therapy. So, walking with a walker was a thing for a long time. In fact, my first physical therapist told the doctor that she didn’t think I was going to get much better than being on a walker.

Talk about a sucker punch.

But, dammit, that was not going to be my future! NOPE! If I create my own reality, I wasn’t going to let someone else dictate what I can and cannot do.

Many beautiful dreams die prematurely because the dreamers don’t have enough fuel to drive through the rocky roads and the patience to wait. Don’t let your dreams die.

Bernard Kelvin Clive

My dream was never really to make a big, new career in theatre – although that wouldn’t be a bad thing. But, responsibilities at home are still a necessity and St. Louis theatre is marvelous. Besides, I have a successful business with a great friend and business partner, so, I’m happy with how my theatrical life was going.

But my leg. Ugh

And, with theatre coming back, well… where did I fit in now? I didn’t even think of auditioning until I felt stronger to do so.

Watching audition notices come and go, theatre got placed on the back burner – again!

Then I got a phone call. Would I please read for a part in a musical?

Me? Ummm… I am still using a walker. I’m working toward a cane, but that’s probably where I’ll be when this show goes up. I can’t even do stairs yet. Are you sure you want me?

Here I was – a great opportunity in front of me and I was trying to talk them out of even seeing me read! What the hell was I thinking?

The unexpected opportunities can create more value than your original picture.

Susan Jeffers

So I read and I sang and I spoke with the director and the music director and all the powers that be and they cast me. Don’t worry they said, they will work with me and my cane!

And, I cried.

So many happy tears. Not only because theatre was opening back up, but because I was going to be on stage again – even with a cane!

Billy Elliot, The Musical with COCA was the best gift that came to me at just the right time, with just the right people, at just the right place. And, I will always be grateful for their generosity of me and my cane.

So attentive. Making sure I was comfortable. Making sure I was safe. Making sure I was accepted. Me and my cane.

What a wonderful and unexpected blessing.

Be grateful for the tiny details of your life and make room for the unexpected and beautiful blessings.

Henry van Dyke

I hadn’t signed up for auditions because I thought no one would want me all wobbly with a cane. I had that thought that my acting days were over – at least for now. But I was wrong. And, really wrong.

In fact, I have had more opportunities present themselves and I am forever grateful. Short plays, one-acts, virtual, musicals. And, more requests to read/sing for other shows. Whether they come to pass or not, I was asked. Me! Even with a cane. Even with a wobble.

And, screw that first physical therapist! I’m getting stronger and walking better through training and water PT.

I may not be able to do stairs very well, but dammit, I’m on two feet.

I may wobble with a cane but I can get on stage and do what I love to do.

Just keep giving me the chance. You’ll see me adapt and keep moving forward! Because life – like a show – goes on!


Carmen is a single mom who acts, sings, drinks way too much coffee, and writes stuff as she authentically navigates life. Sometimes it’s interesting, sometimes not so much. You can decide. But if something moves you, drop a line, share it far and wide, and let me know what you think! Be sure to check out her business website, Heart-Centered Marketing and Business Solutions.


Who Do You Think You Are?

No. It really doesn’t go away. This feeling that I don’t belong. Or that I really don’t have what it takes to do what I do. Doubting my abilities. Doubting my power.

Who do I think I am?

That was very much the feeling this past month.

My business partner, Julie, and I have a successful business. We do good work. We make things happen. Our clients love us. And, we love them! Things have been going great!

But we were challenged this month. Things weren’t going so well with a specific client. You know when you get that “feeling.” Something was a little off. Then emails from a third party started showing up in our inbox with requests for said client. Ummm…Ok. Of course, we can send them what you need, no problem.

More requests. More information was exchanged.

The initial project was going well. Everything we had done up until then was great and well received. It was future work that was being worked on by others.

We needed to have a conversation. A serious one. And, get clarification – yet, we were scared to do so. Why?

Well, I knew why.

“That imposter or phony feeling at work or school rarely has anything to do with our abilities, but has more to do with that fearful voice inside of us that scolds and asks, “Who do you think you are?”

Brene Brown

I started doubting my ability and wondering where I went wrong with this client. My perfectionism was starting to rear its ugly head. The combination of these two was almost crippling. And, I was not a fan.

So we stopped. And, we reviewed. And, we learned where we could have moved things a bit differently.

We allowed this client to take us off our very successful process – and we learned our lesson there!

And, we also realized that we cannot make others like us. Or listen to us. Or agree with us. But we can continue to be authentic to who we really are. Heart-Centered. Just like our business name implies: Heart-Centered Marketing and Business Solutions.

We must continue to be authentic to ourselves. We are good at what we do. And as a team, we are fucking fantastic!

No, we are never going to please everyone all the time. Whether that is on stage for me or through our work. My need to be liked was overtaking my knowledge that this is not a popularity contest. This is business. And, in business, you won’t make all the sales. Or continue on all the projects. We just hope that they take with them a little of our authenticity and magic in support of their passion.

And, that is ok. And, perhaps they will return to work with us again.

And, while I know we are good at what we do, we don’t need to be that egotistical. But not a shrinking violet either. We have to stand our sacred ground. Know that we know what we are doing and help those clients that believe in us and us in them.

Because we do.

Don’t Shrink. Don’t Puff Up. Stand On Your Sacred Ground.

Brene Brown

We gained our wonderful bank of clients by being authentic. And, one of our clients actually told us that by being authentic and heart-centered, the business will find us.

Boy, is he right.

Now, we will also market ourselves and do all the things we do for our clients. You know, business things. But, afterall…

Authenticity is magnetic.

RKG

Who do we think we are?

We are two women who own a successful marketing and business solutions company. We attract all the best, successful, creative, and wonderful clients. We know our shit.

We may have lost a client and we have to realize that the longer we are in business that it may actually happen again. And, that’s ok. As long as we continue to be true to ourselves, expand our knowledge, keep up with trends, we’ll be fine.

Imposter Syndrom is now in check.

We are Heart-Centered Marketing and Business Solutions.


Carmen is a single mom who acts, sings, drinks way too much coffee, and writes stuff as she authentically navigates life. Sometimes it’s interesting, sometimes not so much. You can decide. But if something moves you, drop a line, share it far and wide, and let me know what you think! Be sure to check out her business website, Heart-Centered Marketing and Business Solutions.


Well Hello, You…

It’s been a hot minute. I haven’t had the umph enough to write for the last… oh gracious, how long has it been?

Not because I don’t have anything to say. It’s just that it started to feel very repetitive. I mean…Covid kinda had a way of doing that to folks. Or was it that Quarantine had a way of doing that to folks?

Potato. Potahto.

It’s been a year since the CDC announced that Covid was a thing.

A year since the world stood still. A year of isolation in lockdown. A year of InstaCart and Zoom. A year without theatre and concerts.

A year without hugs and lunches and birthday parties and working out of a Starbucks for the afternoon.

A year of tremendous loss. A year of tremendous pain.

Geez. It’s been a year.

A year of such levels of anxiety that I didn’t fully realize I had. That is until…the vaccine.

The joy of having an appointment and having my parents and aunt get shot-up was palpable. Because of my health issues and being their caretaker gave me the opportunity to have the vaccine too.

The weight was unbearable, even if I didn’t really feel it as such until after the shot was given and we had the little card in our hand. I didn’t realize how much weight was on my shoulders to keep my elderly parents safe. How much anxiety I felt when I had to go out – what would I bring back with me?

I actually shed a tear after our second shot.

Yet, after a year there are still things you do that have become habit. Washing your hands and wearing a mask is always a good idea. So is social distancing – unless I know you really well, you can stay 6′ away.

But, no, I won’t be dining in a restaurant any time soon. It’s still too early for me to feel comfortable. Maybe a patio… not sure yet.

Charlie: “What day is it?”

Mom: “Tuesday”

Charlie: “Is there still Corona Virus?”

Mom: “Yes”

Charlie: “Ok”

Charlie, 4 years old

With the shot becoming more available, everyone is anxious to get “back to normal,” whatever that means.

Gosh, I do miss people. I miss my friends. I miss going to places. I miss theatre. I miss concerts.

But there are some things that came out of Covid necessity that I hope will stick around. I really like Target Drive-up… can we keep that? Or curb-side pick up at Schnucks. I’m a fan of that too.

Any curbside pick up for that matter! It may have been born of necessity, but dang it sure is convenient.

You can still make something beautiful and something powerful out of a really bad situation.

Gabe Grunwald

It’s been a year. I have seen unprecedented kindness and I have seen great sadness and grief within this year. The largest human loss in this one year. People struggling with their isolation. Losing their jobs. People getting Covid because they decided they couldn’t stay inside any longer. And while it has been a year, there is light at the end of the tunnel.

So, please. Hold on a while longer, because I really want to give you all a hug!

Wash your hands. Wash your spirit. Watch out for one another.

Curanderismo, The Healing Art of Mexico

Carmen is a single mom who acts, sings, drinks way too much coffee and writes stuff as she authentically navigates life. Sometimes it’s interesting, sometimes not so much. You can decide. But if something moves you, drop a line, share it far and wide, and let me know what you think! Be sure to check out her business website, Heart-Centered Marketing and Business Solutions.


Lucky or Good

A couple of weeks ago there was a theory that I’d be in surgery right now. Or recovering. Or laying in a hospital bed. Or, whatever… anywhere but at home working away.

If I had really taken what the ER doctors were telling me to heart, I would have given in and let their thoughts take over my recovery. Wasn’t going to happen. Now, don’t get me wrong. I had a moment or two when I started to feel sorry for myself. I began to wallow and texted a couple of people of the diagnoses.

But when I took stock of my true feelings, I reminded myself that I needed to take a breath. Remind myself that things can be ok. They’ll be ok.

When I hurt my knee … again … and went to the ER for x-rays, I was not necessarily worried as I was disappointed. Like, “damnit, really!?”

When they told me the results of the x-rays, “torn quadriceps tendon,” I was not necessarily concerned. More like, “Oh, Come On!”

When they told me the only way to repair this situation was surgery, I wasn’t nervous. It was truly, “Seriously?”

Chin up, Carmen. Sit quietly and truly listen to what your body is trying to tell you.

Yea, I got nothing.

“Everything happens for a reason. Luck and fate are the same thing. It just depends on how you look at life.”

Anonymous

I talked to my leg. I talked to my knee. I encouraged them to retain their strength as I sat in the ER. Or was I trying to convince myself, really?

Maybe a little of both. The ER nurse thought I was daffy.

I had come so far already, I was not about to slip back to yet another surgery. Yet another 6-8 weeks of rehab. Not gonna happen.

I focused on all the good in my life. I focused on the new business that was thriving with my business partner. I focused on the last few weeks I have with my kiddo before she moves to Chicago. I focused on the beautiful weather. I focused on a healthy leg, a strong knee.

“When you focus on the good, the good gets better.”

Jade Marie

I was discharged with an immobilizer on my leg. Don’t bend it for any reason! Don’t remove the immobilizer unless you’re going to shower. Yet, I was told in the ER that I needed to try to put some weight on the leg. So, as we arrived to the house that night I talked to my knee and my leg again. You know, words of encouragement. “We can do this!” “You can handle the weight, knee! I know you can” “Don’t be scared, it’s just one step at a time.”

Got out of the car. Step one. Took a step on my toe. Step two.

See? We got this!

“You can handle more weight, knee. Because at this rate, we’re not getting in the house until tomorrow morning! Let’s go!”

Took another step with more weight and POP!

“Be patient and tough; someday this pain will be useful to you.”

Ovid

To be honest, I yelled out so loudly I’m surprised that dogs didn’t bark and babies didn’t cry! It freaking hurt! Bad. It took my breath away and I had a tear in my eye.

But, when I stopped cursing I knew I had to keep walking because I wasn’t even half-way up the drive way to get to the house. So, I did.

And, I took another step. And, another. And, it didn’t hurt as badly anymore.

Oh sure it was sore, but the pain wasn’t bad and I it seemed as though I had movement in my knee again.

Saw my orthopedic surgeon the following week. His intern came in the office first and was prepping me to accept my fate – more surgery. They had an opening the following week, he said. Well, we’ll see about that!

My surgeon came in. Removed the immobilizer and touched my leg. With a quizzical brow he asked me to lift it up. I did. Then he asked me to lower it slowly. I did. He asked me to lift it again and then he held my leg up. Can I keep my leg lifted, he asked? Pffft! Of course!

He turned to the intern with a surprised look.

We need new xrays!

So, come to find out that my kneecap got lodged under the hardware of the repaired femur! The xray from the ER looked horrible. The kneecap looked like it was over my shin!

Apparently, when I took that Painful Popping Step my kneecap forced its way out from under the femur and back in to place.

The surgeon turned to me and said, “Sometimes it is better to be lucky than good.”

Nah, I’m good. Because my knee and I knew we were just fine. We had already come to that agreement.


Carmen is a single mom who acts, sings, drinks way too much coffee and writes stuff as she authentically navigates life. Sometimes it’s interesting, sometimes not so much. You can decide. But if something moves you, drop a line, share it far and wide, and let me know what you think! Be sure to check out her business website, Heart-Centered Marketing and Business Solutions.


Cock-eyed Optimist

Thank you to everyone who sent a note of concern, prayers, well-wishes, good vibes, and all the wonderful posts in the last couple of days since I posted what happened with my leg. They are very much appreciated! Gracias!

There was a common comment in some private messages asking how I could be so positive. My answer? Well…what’s the alternative?

I know there is a lot to be angry about lately… and I know that’s an understatement. But, you see, I’m an optimist. I’ve always been. I can’t seem to help myself. I always see things on the sunny side of life, glass-half-full, with a smile on my face. Guess I was just born that way. Or maybe I learned as I got older to have more faith in myself than allow the outside forces to dictate who I was and how I should feel.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I have my moments. I worry. I overthink sometimes. I get pissed. I use to hold grudges – that was never a good look. But I also know that I control my own reality. So, when I begin to worry or be down, or something wants to make me feel “off-kilter,” I shake it off. My kid hates when I tell her to do the same.

Just shake it off. Keep moving forward. One step at a time. Don’t get discouraged.

“MOM!”

Okay, okay. Guess I had to learn to be optimistic rather than discouraged at times, too.

One of the things I learned the hard way was that it doesn’t pay to get discouraged. Keeping busy and making optimism a way of life can restore your faith in yourself.

Lucille Ball

And in 2020, with so much happening around us, it’s easy to get discouraged.

Covid-19.

And, George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Elijah McClain, and so many others …

And, the protests.

And, Portland.

And, the government.

And, the police state.

And, the school system.

And, demanding parents.

And, anti-masks.

And virtual classrooms.

And, social distance.

And, no hugs.

And, all the craziness that have now been thrust upon everyone.

Optimism can be difficult to maintain.

I am too positive to be doubtful. Too optimistic to be fearful and too determined to be defeated.

Unknown

And, people ask me, “how can you still be so optimistic about our future?”

I have to be. It’s in my DNA. And, damnit, I am not going to give in to those forces that want to determine whether or not we are all worthy, valued, loved, joyful. Because you know what?

WE CREATE OUR OWN REALITY.

I can’t control the world – shit, who can? But I can have an impact on MY world. I can do my part to keep people safe. To keep my family safe. To find joy and love and worth in my world.

To vote and encourage voting for change.

To try and uplift those around me when they need a hand.

To cry when it does feel like too much.

To dance when my leg feels good.

To sing even when my family tells me to “please stop.”

To smile, even when I’m wearing a mask.

And, breathe.

And pray for those that are on the front line fighting for our rights because they are there for all of us.

And know, that while the pendulum may not have finished pivoting backward, it must begin to return to center.

Hope is not optimism, which expects things to turn out well, but something rooted in the conviction that there is good worth working for.

Seamus Heaney

So each day I meditate. I have my crystals. I light my candles. I listen to music. I don’t wallow – that takes too much time and energy.

Why? Because I have hope in my heart.

I know this way of being, of thinking, isn’t for everyone. But just as my beautiful and equally optimistic friend, Melanie, told me when she heard about this new leg injury, “Well, the cha-cha is forward and backward…so just keep dancing.”

Dance with me, please!

I hope that we can all begin to be even the tiniest bit optimistic – for a world in peace. A world of understanding. A world of equality. A world without COVID. A world that appreciates its inhabitants. All of them. A world of love. A world without pain. And, I know that is a BIG HOPE!

But, hey, I’m a cock-eyed optimist.


Carmen is a single mom who acts, sings, drinks coffee and writes stuff as she authentically navigates life. Sometimes it’s interesting, sometimes not so much. You can decide. But if something moves you, drop a line, share it far and wide, and let me know what you think! Be sure to check out her business website, Heart-Centered Marketing and Business Solutions.


Rupture | A Change in Direction, Again

It’s been an interesting, sometimes volatile, difficult, painful, traumatic 8 months. So many changes in our world and in my life. Broken femur. COVID. Quarantine. Masks. Physical Therapy. Social Distancing. Racist Police. BLM. Closed Businesses. Incompetent Government. Protests. Virtual Classes. Shuttered Restaurants. Job Losses. Dashed Dreams.

Not to mention theatre closings, darkened Broadway, cancelled concerts.

It’s too much to handle sometimes. Our lives, relationships, dreams, futures were ruptured, breached, disturbed.

Back a few years ago I had made the decision to return to the stage and find my way back to being a professional actress. And, I did. It was marvelous.

I was ready to work toward making the theatre my main profession. I knew it was going to take time but felt I was on my way. Until everything changed and everything stopped. The world. The country. My leg.

And now, in the crazy year of 2020, everyone has had to consider how to change focus and find new ways of making ends meet. Find new work opportunities. Find new ways of making money. New ways of trying to pay bills. New ways of existing.

Me too. Not only because I was unable to work in theatre again, but because I have just begun walking without assistance in the house. Progress from a broken femur has been moving forward. Feeling stronger. I felt good.

Then a couple of days ago I was stretching my leg, bent it in toward my chest and suddenly I couldn’t extend it back out again. It hurt so bad to try to extend my leg that I just knew that I had dislocated my knee. Of course, that’s what I thought when I broke my leg too, but I digress. So, now what?

Called my primary doctor who told me to go get it x-rayed.

Ruptured Quadricep Tendon.

Well, shit.

I’m now back in a leg immobilizer.

I may need another surgery to repair the rupture.

I’m not a fan of the word “rupture.” Or “surgery.”

Just how many steps backward am I supposed to take to make a few steps forward?

An arrow can only be shot by pulling it backward. So when life is dragging you back with difficulties, it means that it’s going to launch you into something great. So just focus, and keep aiming.

Unknown

Last year I made a new friend.

I had been dabbling as a marketing consultant. Helping with online newsletters, social media, updating websites. And, then I made a friend with a woman doing something similar.

It was kismet. It was instant synergy. It was magic.

Our knowledge complemented one another so well. And, not only did we become good friends, but we also decided to become business partners. Figured, it was going to be a great way to supplement my theatrical career. Every actor has some kind of “side-hustle” anyway to make ends meet. And, after my break, it seemed like a good idea since I was primarily on my tush most of the time anyway.

Sometimes the most ordinary things could be made extraordinary, simply by doing them with the right people.

Nicholas Sparks

Little did I know that this new focus was going to be, not only a life line, but true joy.

I am sure that it has a lot to do with my friend. She is funny, thoughtful, brilliant, creative, and just a wonderful human being. Since we began working together we have found clients, gained an employee, made a real change in how we work individually and together. And, it’s only been about seven months since we seriously got started.

I have an outlet that allows my creativity to come forward. I am enjoying my days and look forward to getting up each day to see what the day holds.

In these trying times, I am so fortunate.

It only takes one idea, one second in time, one friend, one dream, one leap of faith, to change everything, forever.

Mike Dooley, The Universe

I am always of the belief that You Create Your Own Reality (Seth Speaks) and that Thoughts Become Things (Mike Dooley, TUT). I didn’t realize when I was forward-thinking of financial abundance that it would take me in this direction. I had my sights set on a theatrical career. How about that?

And, while I am confused about my leg wanting more attention, I am grateful that I have my business partner by my side to show me what to be joyful for. Although my focus has changed, theatre is still very much in my future. But I am truly happy to be focusing on this path and finding success. Most especially of having a new friend with whom to ride the waves of change that have taken us both in a different direction!


Carmen is a single mom who acts, sings, drinks coffee and writes stuff as she authentically navigates life. Sometimes it’s interesting, sometimes not so much. You can decide. But if something moves you, drop a line, share it far and wide, and let me know what you think! Be sure to check out her business website, Heart-Centered Marketing and Business Solutions.


The Power of Silence

I love sleeping with the window open most of the year. In the summer I let the a/c do the work, but the rest of the year… nothing like some fresh air.

Our house is on the top of a hill in our subdivision. We look out our back on to a common ground with houses surrounding it and a little creek at the bottom of a hill.

When the house was first built we had farms surrounding us. We could hear the cows mooing and horses neighing. Roosters would wake us up early in the morning.

We could also hear the train so clearly in the distance. I love hearing the train whistle. Something so romantic about a train whistle.

Nowadays with the growth of our area and subdivisions taking over all the farms we have a lot of houses and a lot of movement and a lot of noise. Children playing. Lawns being mowed. Highways and hospitals. Cars up and down the streets.

Thankfully, I can still hear the train on clear nights – along with the whistle. At night, I can also hear the traffic on the highway. Each big rig rumbles as it speeds by. Almost like white noise to me as I fall asleep.

As we manage the hustle and bustle of our busy lives, finding opportunities to quietly be with ourselves may help us tend to the details of what we value most.

Jenny Oh

I rarely get up to go to the bathroom once I go to bed. Sorry TMI, I know. But bear with me.

When I was getting back in bed I looked out my bedroom window and suddenly realized how quiet it was. It was so still. No noise at all. Completely silent.

No traffic. No train. Nothing.

The silence was deafening.

It was eery. Unnerving.

Sometimes, simply by sitting, the soul collects wisdom.

Zen proverb

I stood there at the window for a long moment. Waiting to hear something. Anything. A dog bark, perhaps?

Nope. No sirens. No planes. Not even a dog.

Perhaps it was time to get out the white noise app on my phone!

But then I took a deep breath. Became present again. Counted my blessings. Was grateful for being safe and happy and healthy.

And, grateful for Netflix and Spotify and InstaCart and my daughter and my parents and my dog.

So, I gave in to the quiet. And, I meditated.

I prayed for those isolated alone. I prayed for those on the front line. I prayed for those who know much more about the tsunami that is on its way to us and yet are ready and willing to go and fight and keep us healthy.

The quieter you become the more you are able to hear.

Rumi

Us humans, we are not accustomed to being silenced. To sitting still. We are social animals, after all!

Week two in social distancing and self-isolation is getting tough for a lot of people. We understand why it is necessary, yet we are getting stir crazy. We get bored easily. Even the most introverted person needs human connection.

But what if in this silence we can all begin to find our humanity again.

My daughter first mentioned to me that this may well be a reset button for the world. Having to stay in and regroup, realign, relearn, reconnect, and realize how much we do have.

This is an awakening of global proportions! We are all being asked – the World is being asked – to stop and be still in order for us all to heal. In order to save each other. To realize how much we are connected and how much more connection is needed.

Let me sit here, on the threshold of two worlds. Lost in the eloquence of silence.

Rumi

There is an opportunity in the devastation. An opportunity to hit the reset button on earth. Our lives.

Be still. Be grateful. Be in the moment.

We are in the beginning stages of the biggest collective awakening ever seen in the history of mankind.

John Walsh

If we all can sit in silence, even for a moment, and send our collective energy on to the collective vulnerability we are experiencing – can you imagine?! What a world we can begin to build from here.

Ok… call me crazy. I know. But we are never going to be the same after this. So, why can’t we imagine something better?

A seed grows with no sound but a tree falls with huge noise. Destruction has noise, but creation is quiet. This is the power of silence…grow silently.

Anonymous

When we can begin to gather once again, can we remember how much we missed and cared about each other when we were not together? May we build a collective of caring and loving people. May we be more patient with each other and understand the vulnerable. May we be more accepting of our differences and see how they make us stronger as a collective. May we see how fortunate we are and appreciate what we have.

Silence may not be welcomed and can be very inconvenient. Silence can be deadly and boring and annoying and frustrating and overwhelming and overpowering. But sometimes… just sometimes, silence is the best answer.

May you all find peace and solace in these times of COVID-19. May your silence be filled with reawakening and love. I send you all so much love and positive energy to fill your days with gratitude and sunshine.

Paciencia y fe, my friends. Patience and faith.

Wash your hands. Wash your spirit. And, please, watch over each other with love. And, perhaps sleep with your window open so you too can hear the silence.


Carmen is a single mom who acts, sings, drinks coffee and writes stuff as she authentically navigates life. Sometimes it’s interesting, sometimes not so much. You can decide. But if something moves you, drop a line, share it far and wide, and let me know what you think!


One Step at a Time

One Step at a Time

Sometimes for the many steps we take forward, there are a couple back. It sucks. But it happens. My leg is getting stronger every day. (#brokenfemurssuck) My physical therapist has helped me get stronger and on my feet that I forget it’s only been a month and a half of therapy so far.

I’m walking using a walker.

I’m riding a bike.

I’m doing leg presses.

I’m driving.

I’m mastering steps. I’m stepping up an 8” step now. 

I’ve been practicing steps at home since the ramp out my front door will be taken soon. I’ve gone up and down a step at home to let Piglet out! And I’m so proud of myself for doing so. 

Then…the last time I went up the kitchen step my knee buckled and I fell. Down the basement stairs. 

All. The. Way. Down. Head. First. 

“Falling down is a part of life. Getting back up is living.”

~ Anonymous

Now, thankfully, we have a baby gate at the top of the stairs to keep my cousins dog from going downstairs. I fell on the gate and practically slid down the stairs instead of bounce. 

And, thankfully, the basement is carpeted. So when I reached the bottom head first I didn’t hit anything hard. 

Then my walker followed me down. Now that hurt! 

I have bruises in places that I can’t understand how they got there. But when I took inventory everything was still intact and moving as they should. 

“Be mindful of your thoughts and words for they are the pen writing that which will manifest.”

~ Sanjo Jendayi

My dad kept saying the week before when I was going up and down that step that he as worried that I would fall down the basement stairs. I kept reassuring him that I was fine. 

I guess we were both right. Two manifestations converging. That’s what I was thinking as I was falling. 

When I reached the basement I realized how long it had been since I was down there. Now, that was a weird thought. 

Then I realized, my phone was on the kitchen table and I had to figure out how to get back up the stairs. 

I’m smart. I’m strong. I do leg presses now, ya know. 

I maneuvered myself around. I got my booty on the first step. Then began hoisting myself up with the railing and lifting myself with my legs backward, seated, up the stairs. 

When I finally got to the top I realized I ran out of railing. Oh boy! My therapist and I never discussed how to get off the floor if you’re on the ground. Plus, my walker was still in the basement. 

I got on my belly and did one of those elbow, military crawls across the kitchen floor to the table. Sat up. Reached the phone. Texted my neighbor. 

“If you want to find who’s a true friend, screw up or go through a challenging time…then see who sticks around.”

~ Karen Salomanson

God bless my BFF neighbor and her wonderful firefighter husband. They are more family than friends. They came running and got me off the floor. 

And I started laughing. Hard. 

Hey, it’s better than crying. 

“Smile when you’re hurt. Laugh when you want to cry. Have faith in yourself when nothing seems right. Believe in your heart. Trust that even though its hard now, in the end you’ll be okay.”

~ Anonymous

I’m fine. I go to therapy the next day and tell them what happened. They went easy on me that day. But I still did leg presses and I still practiced going up and down a step. Can’t lose progress! 

“This is my journey. There is no time or space for fear.”

~ Carmen

The next morning Piglet needed out again. My mom in the shower I decided I needed to go up and down the step. This time in the living room. Not going near those basement steps in a while.  But, I was not going to let fear take over either.

No big deal. Going down is the easy part. 

So I took my step down and as I went to get my good foot down the step, my knee buckled out from under me and I fell backward on to the step. And as my knees bent when I fell back it twisted a bit and the pain was harsh! 

My leg is swollen again. And it hurts somewhat to walk.

Damn it! One step forward…

Went to physical therapy. She said to call the doctor. 

New X-rays. Knee is still good. Just angry. 

Can’t say I’m too happy either. I was supposed to be on a cane by now. 

“Fall seven times, stand up eight.”

~ Japanese Proverb

So the ramp out front will be staying a while longer. I’ll be going to therapy for at least another month. And I’m still using a walker. 

But hey. I’m driving. I’m doing leg presses. I’m riding a bike. I’m getting stronger. I’m laughing. I’m living. I’m here.

Getting through the journey may be hard at times – but, getting through it will always take one step at a time. #betheturtle


Carmen is a single mom who acts, sings, drinks coffee and writes stuff as she authentically navigates life. Sometimes it’s interesting, sometimes not so much. You can decide. But if something moves you, drop a line, share it far and wide, and let me know what you think!


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What’s Next?

Heart-Centered Marketing and Business Solutions has my focus and creative energy.

And, seeing what my leg is trying to tell me on how to move forward… again!

Elizabeth Ashby (Columbia College Masters in Directing – Chicago)

Center of Contemporary Arts (COCA)

 

 

 

 

 

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St. Louis Repertory Theatre

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