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Good Times Never Seem So Good

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Welcome to my blog!

This is a place where I want to share my take on three of the most important things in my life: theatre, body positivity, and creativity. It’s named after a lyric in “Sweet Caroline”: “Good times never seem so good” because I want to share the good times in my life with all of you.

About me: My name is Caroline and I’m a collage student at DeSales University currently earning my bachelors in Theatre Design/Technology with a focus in stage management. I love theatre, body positivity, and being creative which is what I’m here to share.

Feeling Down About Your Body

I’ve been working this year to lose weight so I can become an organ donor for my dad, but sometimes I just feel so down about myself. Despite having a positive outlook on this experience, I didn’t realize how having a weight goal and putting more thought and effort into me weight and body would effect me emotionally. I’ve noticed that when I get out of the shower and before I get dressed, I stare at my stomach a lot. I have stretch marks and it isn’t a small stomach and I have been feeling so ashamed of it lately. Sometimes I think I see results but then I get down on myself. I go between huge bursts of confidence but then I look at myself more and more and think that I’m gaining weight instead if losing it. It’s frustrating because I didn’t think about having setbacks in this part of my life. But setbacks are a part of being human. To have doubts and question what you’re doing is a normal part of human nature. Life would not be life withouts setbacks. Nobody is ever fully confident in how they look. When I tell my friends that I feel down about my body, I’m always surrounded by intense words of love and reassurance and they point out everything about me that they admire and I feel on top of the world. Sometimes you need to let go of your fears and think more in terms of how my friends do.

I put this post down for a week because of classwork and the other day, I looked at myself in a window and just thought, “damn, I look good.” It was this moment that I reminded myself that everything is going to be okay. Having confidence in yourself is a damn good thing and don’t be afraid of it. Life is a rollercoaster full of ups and downs and you need to remember that whenever you feel down, you can only go up from there.

 

Suck the Marrow Out of Life

“I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of
life” from Henry David Thoreau’s Walden

If you are a fan of the Dead Poets Society, you know that Mr. Keating and his students strove to break the embrace of conformity in order to take life and get all they could out of it. We are in 2019, a new year. It is an opportunity to turn towards optimism for you and your fellow-man. I am currently taking a class called “Women in the World” and we have been discussing women’s place in the world and how women have shaped history and society. In the beginning of the semester, we had an open-class discussion about what it’s like to be a woman in the world today and it was one of the most empowering conversations I have ever had. I felt so connected to everyone in the class, even the people I don’t even know. It makes me feel so strong and confident knowing that there are other strong, smart, and determined women in my life who value being a woman and want to continue to fight for equality amongst all humand despite gender, race, sexuality, social status, etc. This class has made me realize that I have the power to forge a path for myself and future generations as a woman who wants to strive for respect and partnership between men and women.

Lately, I have been having a lot of thoughts and conversations about life after college and how it is my job to make opportunities for myself and get the most I can out of life. One of the best things I can do for myself is to make things happen for myself. If you aren’t going out to get jobs and pursue your passions, then what are you doing? Are you waiting for the phone to ring and just assume that people will randomly happen upon you? That’s not realistic. To quote Hannah Montana, “Life’s what you make it, so let’s make it rock.” You are in charge of the life you lead and it is up to you to bring it to its fullest potential. You are the CEO of your life and no CEO has ever been successful without putting everything out on the line and taking a chance on what makes them happy. Whether you are in theatre, film, dance, nursing, communication, finance, etc., it is up to you to put everything out there and take a chance on yourself.

Watch Dead Poet’s Society and let the words of this wonderful film fuel your inspiration. Fill yourself with self-love and appreciation that will propel you forward. Find your passions in life and achieve greatness.

School Stress

Now that most people I know have been getting into the swing of a new semester, I want to talk about something that is constantly present in my life: school stress. Everyone experiences this because in school, especially college, you are expected to do so much at a high standard and sometimes it’s hard to keep up. I’ve had my fair share of breakdowns where I sob on the phone to my mom and then binge watch a RomCom on Netflix with a pint of Ben and Jerry’s and as I’ve grown as an adult and a student, I’ve discovered ways for me to manage this stress.

One of the biggest tools I use is lists. This is so simple and really makes a difference. When you have a lot to do in a short period of time, it feels like the world is spinning and is about to collapse on you. What I have learned to do is make a list of every thing I need to do, in order from what’s due first to last, and guesstimate how much time I think it will take me to accomplish each task. This way I can plan my days accordingly to what I think I will accomplish when. Then, I can cross everything off and that’s so unbelievable therapeutic to do!

Another great thing for me to do is vent my feelings to people. Sometimes all I need is to call my parents or my best friend and just freak out about what’s bothering me. They always give me good advice after and it’s nice to know that someone has listened and is sympathetic to what you’re going through. My mom is a teacher and sometimes when I get stressed while studying, she gives me good tips.

My mind wanders like you wouldn’t believe, especially when I try to go to sleep and when I’ve been particularly stressed during the day, I often struggle to sleep and get even more stressed. Something my roommate suggested is that I occasionally take a melatonin tablet when I struggle to fall asleep and it has made a huge difference in my life. Melatonin is the natural chemical in your brain that activates when you are tired and by taking a tablet of melatonin, you are kick starting this natural chemical and it helps you fall asleep faster. If I know I have a big day coming up, the night before I’ll try to get to bed early and take a meletonin and sleep like a log.

These are three things that have made a huge difference in my life. If you have tried any of these and have opinions to share, please do! Also, if you have any tips to help with stress, I’d love to hear about them!

Growing Through Trauma

It was a few days before my 16th birthday. I was in the kitchen doing homework when I heard my dog barking outside. This was usual for her because she’s see other animals, people, or hear noises that would set off her curiosity. But this day, her bark sounded desperate, full of fear, so I went outside to investigate. I went to the back deck and I saw him, a man I didn’t know, a stranger in my back yard. Next thing I know, he’s coming at me and tried to put his hands around my neck. I run into my house and go to close the door but he starts pushing against the other side and I’m in tights, so I start sliding backward, unable to keep the door fully closed. All I know is that I’m terrified and don’t have a weapon on me so I begin to scream for my dad, who works from home and thank God he was home that day. The man starts to push harder against the door when my dad storms into the room and chases him out of our yard. He ran to a neighbor across the street who was able to catch him and he and my dad kept him still until the police arrived. My mom came home to find me in tears. I couldn’t process what had happened. Then it hit me. We couldn’t find our dog. She was 6 years old and so small. She was usually so eager to greet my mom when she got home from work but she wasn’t there. We began screaming her name, running around the front and back yard and eventually the neighborhood searching for her but she was nowhere to be found. Eventually I looked behind the shed in our back yard and saw a small patch of white fur buried in a pile of leaves. I gently called for my sweet little Bella and she emerged from her hiding place. She slowly came towards me and I gathered her in my arms and rushed her inside. There was no physical harm to her and my mom and I showered her with love and treats for the rest of the night. The next thing I know, the man is taken away and I was left with the memories of what had happened. I was surprised that the police hadn’t come to my door to speak to me. Later that night, a police officer came to our door to explain that the man had been extremely high on acid and was hospitalized for it. I never knew what came of him.

This memory haunted me heavily for the next year. I refused to do my homework alone in the kitchen, I always made sure the door was locked, even when everyone was home, and I started to fear that he would come back. I went to therapy but nothing would stop my fears. The next year, I went to a neighbor’s New Year’s Eve party and a friend of the neighbor casually mentioned to me that another friend of hers was out to dinner with the mother of the guy who attacked me and didn’t understand why I was having issues grasping this. It hit me hard because I now had a name to put on him. I knew that he lived in the neighborhood next to mine. I knew that he was so close at all times and I was now more terrified than ever. I felt so betrayed that so many people I thought I was close to, people who were best friends with my mom, knew who this guy was and didn’t think to tell me. I went into a mental breakdown and ran home from the party in a complete panic. I don’t remember making it to 2015 because I was too busy rocking myself to sleep. I searched the internet for this guy but I couldn’t find him anywhere. I then found his mom’s Facebook and his face was everywhere. I was becoming more and more haunted by this man and it was becoming my own personal hell where I was the only person affected by what had happened. I remembered that my therapist said I should send him a letter to try to gain closure but I couldn’t bring myself to do it. I then, sent his mother a message on facebook professing my forgiveness for her son for what had happened because I hoped that there would be a reconciliation to bring me closure. She never responded. I never had my closure. And despite saying I forgave him, I knew it wasn’t true.

Fast forward 6 years and I still think about him. When I’m out alone, I get scared that he’s following me into the grocery store or is going to break into my house at school to hurt me. My mom recently brought him up and all of these emotions started flooding back to me. I didn’t handle it responsibly so I sought solace in a bottle of wine and some hard ciders. I started to panic so I did something my drunken state thought would be a good idea: I wrote to the guy’s mother again. She never responded.

It’s been six years since the incident happened in the middle of November 2013 and although I’m usually alright, I still have triggers that bring this up for me. Sometimes it’s people in TV or film, sometimes it’s overhearing people talking about hard drugs. It can be anything, really. Just because something happened a long time ago, doesn’t mean that you won’t have triggers to bring it up to you again. It’s hard being strong when your family is constantly telling you that they never have to worry about you because you always have it together. That couldn’t be farther from the truth. All I can do at this point is try to grow from what I have learned from this. It’s become aparent that I do my best growth in this situation by myself. I have never had comfort from anyone regarding this. It’s a private journey that I must bear and it’s so hard sometimes. I have grown in my knowledge of keeping my defenses up and I am much more wary of people. It has definitely affected my trust, but I feel that anyone in this situation would have the same thing happen to them.

To the man who did this to me, I know you will never read this but here are my words to you. You made a mistake. Your anger and frustration from your parent’s divorce pushed you towards hard drugs and you seriously hurt a teenage girl. It’s been 6 years and she still has times where she struggles to cope. I want to forgive you but in the meantime, I can’t. So it’s with a strong and sound heart and mind that I say, FUCK YOU.

My Progress So Far

Now that we are in the new year, part of my resolution was to bring myself to be the healthiest I can be so that I can be an organ donor for my dad. So far, I have been tracking my food and going for walks or using my parents’ elliptical every day and I am very proud of the work I have been putting in. I’ll admit that I haven’t been the absolute healthiest on this journey. I have indulged in some sweets almost every day and I need to exercise more self-control. I had a bad morning last week where I looked at myself in the mirror and I was so upset with the way I looked. Then I got even more upset because I was thinking so poorly of myself. It’s important that I feel confident in myself and put myself to a true and healthy routine. I have loved getting into the habit of taking a break from whatever laziness I have put myself to and taking a half an hour or so to be active. It’s a great way for me to feel productive, which I love, and I get to confidently say that I did something to improve my health and am closer to my goal of being healthy enough to be a donor.

I have been trying to phrase this journey as me trying to be healthier so I can be a donor and I avoid solely thinking about losing weight or becoming thinner. This has been helpful in shaping how I think about myself and my adjusting lifestyle. Pushing myself to be more positive has, so far, been the biggest thing making me continue. Instead of thinking, “ugh I have to go work out now…” I think about how nice it would be to go for a nice long walk in the fresh air, or I think about how nice it would be to go ham on the elliptical and then shower off all the sweat. If I go extra hard on a workout, I treat myself to some awesome skin care after just to keep up the pampering of my body. Working out in a way is pampering yourself because for me, when I’m done, it makes me feel better about myself. Even though I may regret it in the middle of it, I’ve never come down from a workout and regretted anything I did.

I can’t wait to see how I keep going throughout this month and the rest of this year. It hasn’t been long, but I really am proud of everything I’ve done. I hope this can inspire anyone else looking into a lifestyle change!

Favorite Skincare Products of 2018

I take my skin care very seriously because I like having nice, soft skin and I don’t wear makeup very often. Below Is a collective image of every product I used in 2018. I have dry skin, and I found all of these products to be very nice.

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Going in order of when I use the products in my routine, I’ll give my review and whether or not I want to use it after I finish it.

First is the Stem Cellular Cleansing Oil by Juice Beauty. I use this to take off my makeup and it really cuts through the product and melts the makeup away, even on my full glam nights with intense contour and glitter. It retails for $34 at Ulta. I have found that the Pacifica Coconut Cleansing Oil is a good dupe for this, retailing at $15.

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Here are the ingredients: Juice Beauty Proprietary Blend Of Fruit Stem Cells: Apple Buds, Grape Buds & Lemon Leaf.
Helianthus Annuus (Organic Sunflower Seed Oil/Huile De Graines De Tournesol Bio)*, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride+ , Polysorbate 80, Vitis Vinifera (Organic Grape Seed Oil/Huile De Pépins De Raisin Bio)*, Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate (Vitamin C/Vitamine C), Tocopherol (Vitamin E/Vitamine E), Pyrus Malus (Organic Apple Juice/Jus De Pomme Bio)*, Citrus Medica Limonum (Organic Lemon Juice/Jus De Citron Bio)*, Malus Domestica (Apple Fruit Cell Culture Extract/Extrait De Culture Cellulaire De Pomme), Vitis Vinifera (Grape Fruit Cell Extract/Extrait De Cellule De Raisin), Citrus Medica Limonum (Lemon Leaf Cell Extract/Extrait De Cellule Des Feuilles De Citron), Litsea Cubeba (May Chang Oil/Huile De Chang Mai), Cinnamomum Camphora (Ho Wood Oil/Huile De Camphre).

*Certified Organic Ingredient / Ingrediént Certifié Bio
+ Plant Derived / Origine Végétale

I follow up this product with another from The Ordinary. After the retinol serum, I use the Hylauronic Acid 2% + B5 Serum. This has such a rich consistency and my feels feels so rich and my skin looks amazing after I use this product. I will absolutely purchase it again once I’m out. This product retails for about $7.

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Here are the ingredients: Aqua (Water), Sodium Hyaluronate, Pentylene Glycol, Propanediol, Sodium Hyaluronate Crosspolymer, Panthenol, Ahnfeltia Concinna Extract, Glycerin, Trisodium Ethylenediamine Disuccinate, Citric Acid, Isoceteth-20, Ethoxydiglycol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Hexylene Glycol, 1,2-Hexanediol, Phenoxyethanol, Caprylyl Glycol.

After this, I have been using the L’Oreal Age Perfect Eye Renewal. This is an okay product. It feels nice on the skin but it didn’t last long. I have very dry skin under my eyes and the smooth sensation didn’t last long after application. This retails for $12. I will be looking into a new product when this runs out.

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For a fresh spritz, I have been using the Mario Badescu Rose Water Facial Spray. I love this product because it cools me down on a hot day and is a nice way to add some hydrating freshness to your skin. It can also work as a setting spray if need be. I like to use this if I get too overheated while applying my makeup to freshen up and give myself a chance to set my makeup before I sweat it off. I am absolutely buying this again. This product retails for $7.

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Here are the ingredients: Aqua (Water, Eau), Propylene Glycol, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Rosa Canina Extract, Thymus Vulgaris (Thyme) Leaf Extract, Fucus Vesiculosus Extract, Gardenia Florida Fruit Extract, Caprylyl Glycol, Hexylene Glycol, Polysorbate 20, Parfum (Fragrance), Phenoxyethanol, Sodium Chloride, Citronellol, Geraniol, CI 17200 (Red 33), CI 42090 (Blue 1).

Last but not least, I have been using the Garnier Micellar Water, but usually not to remove a full face of makeup. This product has been so handy to fix small mistakes while I do my makeup and it is a fantastic product to use when cleaning your brushes. I don’t often use it to remove my face makeup because I don’t like using wipes unless I have nothing else. I prefer to remove my makeup with a cleanser. This is a great product that retails for $9.

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Here are the ingredients: Aqua/Water, Cyclopentasiloxane, Isohexadecane, Potassium Phosphate, Sodium Chloride, Hexylene Glycol, Dipotassium Phosphate, Disodium EDTA, Decyl Glucoside, Polyaminopropyl Biguanide

I hope this has been eye-opening for anyone reading this. These are all of the products I tried in 2018 and my opinions on them. If you have any great products to recommend, I’d love to hear about them!

Looming Anxious Thoughts – My Senior Project

There are often times where I feel a small pang of anxiety looming over me because of thoughts of what I can’t control. For me, this is mainly the thought of everything that I have yet to do or the future that awaits me beyond college. One of the biggest things on my mind is this big senior project I have going on. It’s called Act 3 (technically it’s Integrating Experience) and for this class, the senior theatre majors must form a company put on an entire children’s show. This includes picking the show, electing people to positions, designing the show’s lights, sound, costumes, sets, and props, casting the show, and putting everything on its feet. I am the production manager for our show, which is called The Princess King. It is a charming tale about defying expectations and stereotypes regarding gender and status.

I have a big job, making sure that everythings stays organized, and it’s the first time I’ve had an opportunity to do this. To make matters worse, the faculty usually expects students to learn from their predecessors so I’ll have to rely on people who don’t even go to school any more to help me with odd questions… Or I’ll have to figure them out for my own. I am interested in production management as another career path but this role is of not the typical production manager so it is unfortunately not teaching me much in terms of what I should expect should I hope to take on more responsibilities in this type of role in a professional setting.  It scares me knowing that I’m not confident in how I should do my job and I worry I’ll let people down. All I want in the world is to help put on a show that we will all be proud of and be a leader that my class can rely on and trust throughout the entire process. I want to be confident and I think to get me there, I must make a list of everything I can expect so that I don’t get overwhelmed when things come up. Making lists is a good way for me to get my anxiety together and I hope that will help with this.

I have an incredible support system within my senior class and outside and I know that I will have help. I just need to trust myself.

Feeling Lost

It’s easy to feel like you have no idea what you’re doing, like you’re lost in your own life. There have been times when I look at myself in the mirror and don’t even recognize myself and it’s times like this when I feel so small and scared. It’s times like now where my future is pretty vague and I have no idea where I’m going. This is a major factor that fuels my anxiety. It’s times when I feel like this where I feel the most doubt and fear in life and I don’t really know where to turn next. I wish that I didn’t have these feelings but this is a part of life- to question the next step. If we didn’t feel lost from time to time, we wouldn’t find our next path. Sometimes we need to dig deep in our hearts and minds to discover what we are meant to do next. I often forget to do this and assume that I’m headed toward a dark place. I often struggle to see the light at the end of the tunnel because I’m scared of what will be on the other side. But that’s the beauty of life. We are never privy to the knowledge of what is yet to come. It is something that we must discover with each passing moment of each day. It is okay to question your next step, but you must trust that you will find your way. It’s like the verse in Amazing Grace, “I once was lost, but now am found. Was blind but now I see.” Don’t let yourself be blind to your future. Embrace it with confidence. This is an easy sentiment to write into a blog post and isn’t as easy to follow through with in life. I need to trust that I will find a way into a bright future despite feeling lost at the moment.

If anyone has any suggestions for bringing yourself out of dark thoughts, I’d love to hear about them.

Things Stage Management Has Taught Me

Being a stage manager is a really cool job. It allows me to be heavily involved in productions without having to be onstage. There’s a bit of a stigma for theatre majors because people say that we need something to fall back on since it isn’t the most stable field. But there are so many important that this job has taught me that I know I am extremely prepared for my future.

Communication

As a stage manager, I am expected to be in constant communication with my actors, assistants, designers, technicians, the director, front of house, management, administration, and run crew. It is important that I am in good communication with all of these fields because it keeps a production organized and it ensures safety. This is something that is important in any field, and stage management has really given me a crash course in this.

Organization

One of the main duties of a stage manager is to keep the entire production organized from rehearsals throughout the performances. Stage managers keep extensive amounts of paperwork detailing prop lists, prop tracking, scene shifts, entrances and exits, blocking, scene breakdowns, and so much more depending on the needs of the production. If a stage manager is disorganized, the entire production falls apart. If I’m not two steps ahead of the director during rehearsal, then we aren’t running according to schedule. Organization is key to this job, as it is for many other fields.

Patience

Patience really is a virtue that is so important to uphold for anyone, and especially for me in my role as a stage manager. Actors aren’t always the easiest people to work with. They have a lot of memorizing and research to do when getting into character and working in rehearsal and for some, this puts them on edge. I have had my fair share of unpleasant encounters with people at work but I have learned that being patient and rising above any bad encounters, it makes you a stronger person and better person to work with.

The art of multitasking

Multitasking is something that I have become a pro at, especially during college. I have learned how to tackle multiple tasks at once to save time and my sanity. This is really great because it allows me to become more organized and check more things off my to-do list at once.

It’s okay to ask for help

This is something that I struggled with for a long time. I always wanted to be wonder woman but that isn’t always possible. This last year especially has taught me that I don’t need to be a super hero all the time. I have people around me who love me and care about me and would help me if I ask. If you ask for help when you need it, it shows that you’re comfortable bringing more hands onto your project to make sure that it gets done right.

Honesty and integrity

Honesty and integrity are important for any person with any job or life. as a stage manager, I am a leader. And as a leader, it is my responsibility to set a good example for myself and the people around me and practive being the best person I can be. Not only has practicing this been beneficial to my career, it has been beneficial to my personal life as well.

Gaining Weight in College

When you go to college, something everyone talks to you about is the dreaded “Freshman Fifteen”. This alludes to the fact that most people, if not everyone, gains a little weight in college. This is a major fact for me as I have gained close to 40 pounds in the last three years. In high school, I was extremely often. I was a part of my school’s dance team which had me practicing 4 hours a week in addition to games, dance classes at a studio for 4 hours a week, and I acted in plays, keeping me on my feet a few hours every week. Once I got to college, a mix between my more sedentary lifestyle, eating unhealthy food (because it’s cheaper), and alcohol took its toll on my body. Below are pictures of me at prom and me at the PSF gala last summer. It’s me but the look of my body is completely different.

 

Gaining weight in college is totally normal, but you shouldn’t let it get you down. Most colleges have exercising facilities on campus that you have full access to. Take advantage before these are no longer at your disposal. One of the most annoying things about grocery shopping on a college budget is the fact that the healthier food is so much more expensive than the less healthy options. It’s easy to fall into habits of going for the cheaper options because you can afford it. When you’re at the dining hall, focus on the types of food you are getting. Go for healthier options more often so you know you are getting quality food in your system.

A great resource that I have been using since highschool is an app called My Fitness Pal. This is an app that allows you to track how much you need to eat in a day in order to lose some weight. You also track your exercise and water intake. It’s great because you customize it to your needs and lifestyle. If you have a more active lifestyle, the app will encourage you to eat more throughout your day. If you have a very sedentary lifestyle, the app will encourage you to eat less but still in a very healthy and reasonable way.  Throughout the day, you keep a diary of your food, water, and exercise and it gives you an idea of how you are progressing from week to week. When you load a food item or beverage, if it has a bar code, you can scan it into the app and it will give you all of the nutritional facts that are on the lable. You can also search all the food you eat in a day and it will give you several options to show you the calories and other nutritional facts. Below are a few pictures to give you an idea of what the app looks like.

I highly recommend checking this app out if you want to become healthier but don’t know where to start. It does a lot of the work for you and is a good motivator to keep up healthy habits since you must physically enter the food and exercise throughout your day.

Part of what I want to do this year is improve my health so I can become a kidney donor for my dad. This is overwhelming for me because I want to succeed but I get so self-conscious when I work out because I fear that people will judge the overweight girl at the gym. Luckily, my parents own an elliptical and I can work out at home but it isn’t healthy for me to assume that people will think poorly of me for wanting to exercise. I can’t let my fear of what other people will think of me get in the way of me pushing myself. If i truly want to get in better shape, the person I need to worry about is me. Fitness is a lifestyle that takes dedication and a strong will to keep it up. This is something that I will definitely struggle with moving on, but that’s okay.