Who Keeps Moving the Goal?

Happy New Year. I know most everyone begins to think about a new healthy lifestyle when the new year begins. I’ve been on this journey for a couple of years now. So, I’m kinda an old hat at this.

What I have found is that focusing on a healthy lifestyle can be freeing and daunting all in one. However long you’ve been moving forward.

And, I am so proud of myself. Truly.

I have started and stopped and started and stopped so many diet plans, exercise plans, and all other sorts of plans where others were telling me what I needed to do to get healthy; instead of listening to me and my body about what it needed and wanted to do to be healthy.

I finally listened to my body and that was indeed the trick. It told me I had to change lifestyles… well duh! I guess I just didn’t want to listen. I mean, it was so hard!

Until it wasn’t.

You and your body and your mind go around in circles. And, when you do change your lifestyle and strive to become healthier it’s the number on the scale you focus on. It’s the number on the clothes you want to see get smaller. It’s that goal weight you keep reaching for.

And, I got there – and them some.

I reached my goal! Never in my wildest dreams would have I thought that would have happened.

But I did. Even past it by 5 pounds!

And what happens? You reach your goal and you look in the mirror and see this…

I have a lot of loose skin now. And, since I already moved past the vulnerable point in the last post I’ll just continue to go to the deep end and show you one more photo.

See that flap? That “squish”? You won’t find that just on my arms. I have that on my neck, breasts, belly, bum, and thighs. So, pretty much all over. And, it’s pretty gross.

That’s what age and a 136-pound weight loss will do. Your skin doesn’t have enough collagen to snap back and it just becomes saggy and squishy.

It’s a tad embarrassing, not gonna lie. How am I going to meet someone like this?

“I dream that someone will love me as a person so wholly that it won’t matter that I have gray pubic hair or sagging breasts.”

Teri Hatcher

So, while I have been moving toward this weight and size goal, I didn’t really think of what would come of it.

And, now comes the new goal… saving up the funds to afford the multiple surgeries I will need to bring everything back together.

Insurance will take care of a small portion, but everything else will be on my dime. And, that’s ok. I reached this health goal I can do this next one too.

I’m seriously considering having a cabaret and see if folks will offer a few bucks to hear me sing a tune or two. That and sell a kidney or lung.

But even so, I feel more confident now than when I was larger – saggy, squishy skin and all.

“Beauty is about being confident in your own skin. It’s about knowing and accepting who you are.”

Ellen DeGeneres

Even though my goals have shifted and changed through this healthy adventure, one thing is for sure – I got this! Because…

“Happiness and confidence are the prettiest things you can wear”

Taylor Swift

And that is one goal I am happy to continue to reach.

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.

What’s Normal

What’s Normal

A very vulnerable post lies ahead because there’s a lot of truth here. More than I usually share. And, I have shared a lot.

You see, I have always despised photos of me being taken. I have been so ashamed of my body for years and years and years that, well you get it.

And mirrors? I hate full-length mirrors. I would have mirrors where I could only see my face because I was told I was pretty once and held on to that all my life.

Yet, all I have ever wanted to be was “normal.”

While I don’t really know what “normal” feels like since I’ve never been normal in my life, I just knew, looking at my sister, that I wished I was more like her. Tiny. Petite. Curvy. That was my image of “normal.” Eats what she wants, but knows when to stop. She wouldn’t use food for comfort. Or to satisfy an emptiness. Or to fight boredom or loneliness. Or to dull the pain. She ate for nourishment. Like a “normal” person would.

Or I would be out and see other women – healthy, comfortable in their clothes, comfortable with themselves, and just wished, and wished, and wished I could be like them.

“Comparison is an act of violence against the self.”

Iyanla Vanzant

At my largest, I was 315 pounds. I have never really told anyone that. Lucky you. Can you imagine that on a 5’2″ frame?

Yep. That’s me. 315 pound me. I haven’t shown this photo to anyone. My bestie took it because I was dancing with her son. If I would have known the camera was pointing toward me I probably would have used him as a human shield and hid behind him. Like that was going to save me.

See how long the pants are? I would trick myself into wearing high platform heels thinking that it could “slim” me. Talk about delusional.

You’re also seeing a very depressed me. Pretending like everything is ok. Like this is “normal.”

There is nothing normal about this person.


Diabetes. Heart condition. Cholesterol. Depression. Anxiety. Can’t walk more than a few steps before running out of breath. Sedentary. Every bone in my body hurt. Of course, they did! Look at what they were carrying!

But I had a kid, a glorious, amazing child. I had to put a smile on my face and keep moving forward.

I was put on a medication that helped curb my appetite and I was able to lose some weight. But it wasn’t enough. I needed more help. So, I had gastric sleeve surgery and lost 95 pounds!

Yay! Felt like I was getting my life back. I returned to the theatre because I wasn’t so ashamed of myself and my body. One show, two shows, three. Opportunities kept coming. I was beginning to feel like a “normal” person!

It was wonderful.

Full-length photos were not as embarrassing. See? That’s me in my first show back!

Until my knees decided they had enough. Plus, going out and eating and drinking after shows weren’t the best idea. Yet, there I was.

And the weight started to pack on again.

Guess I didn’t learn my lesson, because I gained back half the weight I had lost.

My life kept going in circles. I had to lose weight, but couldn’t really move because my knees hurt so badly, so I’d get more depressed and eat more. More. More. More.

Yet all I wanted was to be normal.

“The hardest thing I ever tried is being normal.”


Then the broken leg. But, you already know that story. And, if you don’t just go back a few posts and you’ll see it.

Then, I needed a knee replacement.

My doctor, bless her, suggested a diabetes medication called Ozempic. You see, my diabetes was also out of control and it needed help too. This medication is wonderful. My diabetes is now in remission. And, it has helped with inflammation. But most of all it helped with weight loss!

I’ve been on Oz for 14 months now. I’ve stalled for weeks at a time. I started at 285 pounds. I am now 159.

“Brave is finding a new normal.”

Gina LaPapa

So, here I am!

If someone would have told me I would reach this point, 9 pounds from my goal, in a size 10 jeans – petite even – in a medium top… well, I would have called them crazy.

I have collar bones and a neck. A wobbly neck to be sure, but a neck all the same. One where I can wear dangly earrings and not feel silly.

I’m not afraid of full-length mirrors anymore. Nor will I shy away from a full-body photograph. In fact, I had to take one myself because I just couldn’t believe what I was seeing!

But most of all it feels good to have a taste of what “normal” feels like. And, I gotta say, it’s damn fantastic!

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.

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.”


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”


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.



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.


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.”


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.”


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.


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.


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.


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?


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.


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.


But wait, there’s more…

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)






R-S Theatrics

Solid Lines Productions


The Tesseract Theatre Company

St. Louis Repertory Theatre

Mustard Seed Theatre

Theatre Nuevo

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