Beauty, Sunday Confessions, Women

Sunday Confessions

 

 

As you may have noticed, last Sunday yours truly didn’t go to confession. At the beginning of August, I celebrated my 46th. birthday. It was a lovely day filled with beautiful birthday wishes and a few lovely surprises. This year I decided to give myself a present – the gift of time. That morning while sitting in my garden with my coffee, I vowed to myself and the cardinal sitting on my fence (whom I firmly believe is my Gramma Leah flying in to check on me) that I was going to give myself one day off a week. A day that wasn’t filled with laundry, cooking, cleaning, being my daughter’s private Uber service, running errands…you name it…I wasn’t going to do it. Being a wife and mother, I, as most of us do, take on every task, large or small, and wear ourselves thin. Our patience and our focus  lands on the back burner and in the end, we, our families and friends and even our dinner gets burned.

The first week, I gotta admit was tough. I had to keep telling myself, out loud, to slow down. I had to remind myself that the grocery store will still be there the next day and that left overs or takeout for dinner will not create the demise of my family. The second week it was much easier – of course it was the long weekend so I felt like I had a get out of jail free card. I woke up last Sunday morning, poured my cup of joe into my Mama Bird birthday mug and planted myself in my garden. I watched the bees buzzing, listened to the breeze in the trees and said hello to the cardinal – I’m telling you, it’s my Gramma Leah. Every morning she shows up within 5 feet of me, chirping away. It’s been happening for over 2 years now. Every morning, there is a cardinal chirping at me. I sat there for a while, then went inside, walked past the pile of dishes waiting by the sink, poured another cup of coffee and planted myself in front of my puzzle. Yes, my puzzle. I have loved puzzles since I was a kid, so I treated myself to a new one for the summer of 2018. This one will probably take me the whole summer to complete. In my infinite wisdom I purchased a 2000 piece Van Gogh’s Starry Night puzzle…and have now learned I need glasses.

My day continued as such, working on my puzzle, listening to music, laughing with my family, sitting in my garden having a Palm Bay. These events were on repeat all day, and it was wonderful. My hubby washed the dishes that were waiting on the counter and ordered Skip the Dishes for dinner …a dangerous thing this Skip the Dishes – getting to eat your favorite restaurant food in the comfort of your pajamas.

Here’s the deal. I know all to well that life gets in the way of best laid plans. Kids get sick. Pets get sprayed by skunks. Cars break down. Shift changes at work. The list is endless, I know. Carve some time out for yourself, put your name in your weekly agenda, make an appointment with yourself. Do a puzzle, get your nails done, read a book or simply sit in your garden. Making yourself a priority will make you a better person, for yourself and for those around you. Plain and Simple.

health and wellness, lifestyle

Sunday Confessions

 

I have been in the retail/customer service gig for over 30 years now. Yup…30 years. I have sold everything from lingerie to sports cars, hairspray to stilettos. In every sales arena, there has always been two commonalities, the customer and their perceived attitude. Over the years, a combination of experience and maturity led me to the conclusion that not everything and everyone are as they seem. That attitudes and opinions are often taken the wrong way or taken too personally. There is always something else going on behind the scenes. I had a few experiences yesterday with customers that led me to today’s blog. Take it as a reminder to not take the views of others, their words or actions personally.

I asked a woman if I could help her, if she was finding what she was looking for. She didn’t answer me, didn’t even look at me. I let her be and returned a few moments later when I saw her walking around in a pair of pumps she had chosen. I asked her how the fit was, if they were comfortable. She looked up at me and shrugged. I saw the size she was from the shoe box on the floor and went and found some similar styles. I brought them to her and asked if she liked any of them. She looked at them, then at me and told me she didn’t want to buy shoes but had to because she was going to her father’s funeral.

A man came up to me, quite agitated. He was looking for shoes for his mother. He didn’t know her size and was embarrassed that all he had to go on was his tracing of her foot on a piece of paper. I showed him a few styles that might work for her and offered some slipper styles too. He said “Only shoes! She will only wear shoes!”. Then he let out a huge sigh and apologized for raising his voice. His mother has Alzheimers and it had been a rough week.

A woman came up to me and asked me my name. I told her “My name is Sara”. She said “Okay, good to know.”. I asked her if she needed my help. She told me no. For the next few minutes I kept seeing her trying to catch my eye and when she did, she looked away. I saw she had different styles of sandals in her hand. I went over, asked for her shoe size and showed her the chairs we had available. I told her she could have a seat and would bring over the sandals for her to try. When I brought over the sandals, she stayed pretty quiet. I noticed she was struggling to do up the back strap, so I offered to help her. She looked up at me and said “That would be great. I am not having a good day”. Over the course of our conversion and trying on multiple styles of sandals, I came to find out she had many medical issues that affected her balance and her gait (her manner of walking). She also apologized for not speaking a lot at first, for she has anxiety buying shoes – she knows people are looking at her and she knows she will need help putting on shoes. All she ever wants is to feel normal and have shoes that a woman in her 40’s would wear, and not have to settle for the same shoes as her grandmother. Long story short, I found her two pairs of sandals that gave her great support and an even stride and that I would wear. As she was leaving, the woman that came in looking at the floor and hardly speaking was beaming and telling me how happy she was, she gave me a hug and told me that now she feels she can play tag with 3 year old at the park.

Maybe it’s the new moon. Maybe something’s in retrograde. All I know is that in less than 9 hours I spoke with people dealing with a loss of a child, a loss of a parent, having to put a parent in long term care, a loss of physical abilities, a loss of a job. At first they came across cold and abrupt, and honestly, dealing with those issues, who wouldn’t? I just let them be them and kept trying. Shower them with kindness, sooner or later, the wall comes down.

The purpose for today’s blog isn’t only sales related. It’s life related. You never know what another person is going through. It’s hard not to take opinions and attitudes personally, this I know too well. You gotta try to remember, it’s not about you. If you take the time to delve a little deeper, you may end up bringing a little light into another’s dark day.

 

 

Beauty, Women

Sunday Confessions

 

I woke to the sounds of birds chirping and the faint glow of the sunrise peeping through my window. It’s Sunday morning on my part of the globe. As I sit in my kitchen by my window, I feel the warmth of the summer sun, the  morning breeze cooling my shoulders. I see the steam rising off my fresh cup of coffee in my favorite mug and all is right with the world. As I was gazing out my window, wondering what to write about today, my mind was flooded with all the conversations I had with customers this week. As you know, I decided to take the offer of returning to the shoe store I once worked at. In the past I was in charge of the Ladies section. This time around, I am once again in the Ladies section, without the hassles of management. I go in four days a week and all I have to do is focus on selling and helping the customers, and it’s wonderful.

This past week, I lost count of the women who spoke poorly of themselves, and unfortunately of others. Women of all ages. Thinking their ankles were too thick to wear a strappy sandal. Women who thought they were too old to wear red heels. Women who thought their bunions were too ugly so they only wore running shoes so no one would see their feet. Women who thought their feet were too wide for the gold ballerina flat they adored. Women who thought their calves were too big or too slender. Women who thought their baby toe looked weird. What it all came down to was they were all worried about what others would think, never once giving a thought to what they themselves thought. Almost all of the women who were concerned about their “problem area” had one thing in common, someone had told them it was a “problem area”. One woman in particular stands out. She found a pair of sandals, flat with a little bow. I told her they looked really cute on her, because they did. She looked up at me, eyes sparkling, smiling ear to ear and said “I love them!”. Minutes later, I saw her putting them back in the box and returning them to the shelf. “Did you need another size?” I asked. “No. My friend said they were too young for me and I just look foolish.”. No smile and the sparkle in her eyes had vanished. She ended up sitting in a chair waiting on her friend. She didn’t want to look anymore or try on anything else.

First and foremost, Ladies and Gents, don’t do that. Don’t. One of the cruelest actions is putting your own insecurities on someone else. When you see that someone is happy or excited about a decision be excited for them, celebrate with them. Secondly, for all those out there, Ladies and Gents alike, stop worrying about the size of your ankles, your calves, your bunions, whatever it may be, stop worrying about what other people think. Trust me, no one is looking…and for the few who are, give them a copy of Knitting for Dummies and tell them to get a new hobby. Seriously, if they have time to look for thick ankles and bunions, their lives must be pretty empty and their self esteem and image is dwindling to say the least.

Be your own kind of beautiful, today and everyday. Be kind. Celebrate others achievements and choices, for they are theirs, not yours to deal with. Oh, and buy the shoes.

 

Beauty, health and wellness, lifestyle

Sunday Confessions

 

Here we are, Sunday has arrived and with it another installment of That Girl in the Red Coat’s Sunday Confessions. It’s Canada Day today, our national holiday, although with our 40+ degree tropical temperatures (105 for my Fahrenheit friends) it’s hard to believe we are in the Great White North. Being a holiday, today I am making my tale a short yet sweet one…much like yours truly.

Canadians are known for many things, maple syrup, hockey, double doubles, two-fours, poutine, the list is endless. We are also known as one of the most polite and kind people around the globe. We apologize to a shelf if we bump into for Christ sake. With all that is happening in the world today, I wanted to take a moment to remind us all that a little kindness goes a long way. Taking a moment out of your day or daydream for that matter to look someone in the eye when they speak to you may seem like nothing to you, it could mean the world to the person speaking to you. You may be the only person they see that day, or even that week. Looking them in the eye makes them feel like they matter, that someone sees the value of them. Holding the door for the person crossing the parking lot may be the only glimpse of God that person sees all month and you never know, it may restore a glimmer of hope in their soul. Helping a mom with three toddlers in tow get her groceries in the trunk as you are parked right beside her may give her a moment to take a breath and prevent a meltdown between mom and child and ensure a safe ride home. Giving your extra change to a child trying to count their nickels wondering if they can buy two popsicles can renew hope in miracles…trust me, I know this to be true. I have done this on more than one occasion and let me tell you, I now know what it feels like to be Santa…the look of sparkling wonder in those eyes is inexpressible.

Take a moment today to be kind, then tomorrow do the same, and the next day, and the day after that. In your world and the world outside your door, there is always time and a little room for kindness.

Beauty, health and wellness, lifestyle

Sunday Confessions

 

Here we are, another Sunday morning. It’s a dull, cloudy rainy morning in my corner of the globe. I used to hate rainy days, up until 2 years ago, when I read a quote “I love the rain, it washes away the stupid.”. The sound of rain hitting my window was my alarm clock this morning and instead of my go to groan “ugh…rain”, I laid there thinking “ahhh, thank you for washing away the stupid.”. Not only does the rain nourish the soil, it nourishes the soul. When we see the rain, it makes us stop in our tracks and really give our next move some thought. Do I go out today? Should I change my plans? Instead of just going through the motions of our day, we have to stop and think for a minute, actually focus on our day and our actions. I don’t know about you, but I must confess, I am guilty of being a slave to my calendar. Waking up, putting the coffee on, walking over to the calendar, crossing of the previous day, and going through the mental checklist of what’s happening that day, where I have to be, who I have to take somewhere and how I am going to do it and inevitably wondering why. Why do I have to do all this? Funny thing is, when it’s raining, I still do the same morning ritual, but the angst isn’t there. It’s almost as if the rain is telling me, “There is a lot to be done, but if you don’t get to it all today, it’s going to be okay.”. Which led me to the question, why do I need the rain to give me permission to slow it down, to take it easy? The answer is I don’t, and neither do you.

Growing up, (this will show my age) all the stores, except for pharmacies and your local corner stores, closed by 5 on Saturday and were closed Sundays. We were allowed to have weekends, time to take it easy, put our feet up and just be. No guilt that we should be doing something or going somewhere. Saying “I’ll get to it next week” was a reasonable thing to say, because many times you literally had to wait for the next week. I remember looking forward to weekends because I knew my Dad would be home. That my friends would be home. That I could play all day, I could do a puzzle, I could play Monopoly with my whole family without someone having to leave to run an errand or get back to the office. The only plan for a weekend was making sure you waited until 6:00 p.m. to make a long distance call, because it was a cheaper rate. It may just be nostalgia talking, it seems the world was more at ease, people were more mellow. Working non stop and burning the candles at both ends was frowned upon, unlike today where the opposite is true…if you aren’t stressed to the max and working 24/7, you are frowned upon. Bosses comparing your work to the work of others, the always present dangling carrot of a potential bonus “if you just do more”. Seriously, unless you are a world renowned brain surgeon, there is no need to feel guilty for not taking a call from work on your day off. I read another great quote that rings true with today’s tale “Take care of you, because if you died today, your job will be posted online before your obituary.”.

Take that road you’ve always wondered where it led. Join your grandmother on her evening walk (one of my treasured memories). Have a coffee with your parents. Take your child to your favorite childhood memory. Read that book you’ve wanted to read, hold it in your hands, smell the pages as you turn them and remember the wonder of a quiet moment to read a book. Bake a cake. Call an old friend, anytime…long distance calls are cheap these days. Veg out on the couch with your Cheetos and chardonnay watching the original 90210 reruns or simply stare out the window and wonder. Take a moment to take care of you, everyday, be it for an afternoon or even 15 minutes, take care of you. Why save it all for a rainy day?

 

Beauty, health and wellness, lifestyle, Parenting past 15, That girl in the red coat

Sunday Confessions

 

This August, yours truly will be 46. I have found my forties to be quite liberating. It is as if I have returned to my 8 year old self. I thought I was pretty cool. I could throw a football like a boy, I could double dutch like no one’s business, I never worried about what others thought of me, if you liked me, YAY! …if you didn’t, that was okay too. I had a 64 pack of Crayola crayons (with the built-in sharpener), I could make my parents laugh, life was good. Remember that person? Before the world got to you. You woke up everyday excited for the day, wondering what was around the next corner. Waking up with intention, be it to ride your bike without holding onto the handle bars or getting to the arcade in time to be the first in line for PacMan. Being picked first for basketball or coming home to a fresh pack of Oreo’s waiting for you on the kitchen table made you feel like you could conquer the world. Making a friend was as easy as saying “I like the color blue” and another person saying “Me too.”. If you argued with a friend and feelings were hurt, saying sorry was enough. If an explanation was needed and given, it was believed and words were forgiven. We didn’t hold grudges, and even if we tried, by the end of the day we literally forgot what happened and simply carried on.

I know many women who are 35 and under, and I see them struggling, with their self image, their friendships, their marriages, their parenting, you name it, the struggle is real. Today’s Sunday Confession is to help ease the anguish, to help women of any age to ease up on themselves and know that they are not alone.

  • there will be days you will look in the mirror and wonder “Where did I go?”and that’s ok. It happens to us all. I am here to tell you, you are still there, life is getting in the way. Take a breath and remember a time as a young girl you accomplished something on your own. Feel that memory. Take a moment to really feel it. Open your eyes.I promise when you look in the mirror you will see yourself.
  • do not be ashamed if you are not relishing being pregnant. I was sick from the moment of conception to the moment my daughter was delivered. When I say I was sick, I was sick. I threw up at least 15 times a day…if you need a washroom in the Kitchener Waterloo and surrounding area, I know where they ALL are. I am here to give you permission to not find your pregnancy magical. I am here to give you permission to find pregnancy weird, uncomfortable and down right gross at moments.
  • it is just fine if you like living on your own.
  • it is just fine if you do not want to have children…trust me, all the people telling you “it’s life changing” or “you’ll regret it” have probably yelled at their little miracles 10 times that day and are wondering who smells like spit up, them or the baby.
  • your thirties are your twenties, just with more financial stability (mostly). It’s okay to feel like you have know idea what you are doing. Trust me, the majority of us are winging it, or trying to mimic what we saw our parents do, who were probably mimicking their parents….see, we are all just trying to do our best.
  • the life you dreamed for yourself may not come to fruition. It’s gonna hurt. You’re going to feel like a failure. You are not. Pout for a while, throw a temper tantrum, have some chardonnay if needed, then let it go. In my experience, when life threw me curve ball and I felt like I just kept swinging and missing, sooner or later, I ended up hitting it out of the park.
  • try your best not to compare your life with your friend’s lives. Sure they may go on more trips then you, or have a better car or apartment, maybe they even have a house. More often than not, they are mortgaged to the hilt, credit cards are at their max and they are living paycheck to paycheck. Remember – Comparison is the thief of joy.
  • some kids eat paste, some wet the bed until they are 6, they will interrupt every single one of your conversations, they will ask 20000 questions before 10 a.m. on a Sunday. Being annoyed with them does not make you a bad parent.
  • there is no such thing as a perfect marriage, so stop knocking yourself out. It will be messy, there will be tears, arguments, resentment, laughs, embraces, every emotion under the sun. As my Gramma Leah said “the secret to a good marriage is not to fall out of love with each other at the same time”.
  • if you have to work full time and have your kids in daycare until they are in school, that’s what needs to be done, plain and simple. Let the “looks” from the neighbourhood Moms roll off your back. The opinions of others doesn’t pay the bills.
  • Your 30’s will have many bumps in the road, the journey is worth it

 

In my forties I have found I feel comfortable in my own skin, I like my reflection, and with each passing month, I find that the opinions of others do not mean as much to me as they used to and when asked my opinion, I give it. It isn’t always what one wants to hear, my opinion is honest. I have come to realize that if the intention behind your actions or words is not honest and true, there is no honor in them, to yourself or others and sooner rather than later, feelings are hurt and trust is lost.

For those struggling today, let me tell you, like a fine wine, life gets better with age. It may not pretty or what you hoped for. The way I see it, if you are fortunate enough to rekindle a spark within yourself, are able to realize your true value and let things go, learn from your mistakes and leave that baggage at the door, life is pretty good.

 

 

Beauty, health and wellness, lifestyle, That girl in the red coat, Women

Sunday Confessions

 

At least once a day, I have the thought or hear myself saying out loud “I should blog about that.”. Many of the topics did not pertain to beauty per say, so I wasn’t quite sure on how to go about it.  Yesterday, I was thinking of one of my most popular posts  https://thatgirlintheredcoat.com/2013/06/09/sunday-confession/

and yours truly had another AHA! moment….don’t you just love when that happens? Start a Sunday Confessions series…funny how the universe works, since I wrote Sunday Confession in June of 2013, and 5 years later, the idea for Sunday Confessions came about in June. My goal for Sunday Confessions is to bring light to the dark, to talk about all those things that people don’t talk about at parties. We all, at one point or another have felt tired, scared, unworthy, ugly, you name it, we have all felt it. By no means I am the guru on the mount, I am a woman who is, in the words of June Carter Cash, “just trying to matter.”.

I know that owning your truth will set you free, and I gotta practice what I preach. My Sunday confession this week is, yours truly is smoking again. Yes, it’s true. Since the tender age of 16, I have been a smoker. On and off for over 30 years. A crutch that I put away in the closet, that I bring out from time to time. I quit smoking when I was pregnant (24 years old) and gave it up completely until my daughter was 6 months old. My Grandpa Jack passed away when my daughter was 2 months old and my Grandpa Clarence passed away when my daughter was 4 months old, my husband was helping his mother with his father’s estate, we were buying our first home and well, I needed a crutch. Fast forward 3 years, at 28 I quit smoking when going through my first thyroid cyst scare…finding a lump will do that. I stayed smoke free for over 12 years…I did have a few during the funeral when my beloved Gramma Leah passed away, other than that, not a drag for over 12 years. Those familiar with my tales know of my hubby’s heart attack and health issues, and the obstacles my beautiful daughter has faced. That accompanied with financial stresses, loss a job, gain of a job followed by another loss of a job, loved ones health struggles, hell, life in general, I opened up the closet door and pulled out my old crutch. By no means am I putting the blame on them for puffing away again – the decision to smoke is completely on me. I know I may be receiving some calls and messages from my friends and loved ones after admitting this, of this I am sure. I am hoping for these notes of concern will be ones of support, not ridicule, for I am a firm believer of not kicking someone when they are down. I am well aware that smoking is bad for me, for my health, the major reason I know I have to quit, and not put that crutch back in the closet, but burn that sucker. One of the reasons for this confession is by no longer hiding the fact I am smoking will in turn help me to quit. Making myself accountable for my own actions, plain and simple.

The purpose for this Sunday Confession is to, pardon my french, own my shit, because if don’t own your shit, your shit is going to own you. Also, to give myself and you permission to admit a fault or a fall without guilt or shame. We all have struggles and insecurities. Some, like me mask it with a cigarette. Some mask it with alcohol, some with gambling. For some it’s posting only the perfect pictures to Facebook and Instagram. Maybe for you it’s always redecorating your home, or having your hair and makeup picture perfect before you dare leave your house. What ever it may be, we all have crutch, and there is no shame in owning that we do. The only shame to be felt is when you are not being honest with yourself – there is no beauty in that. We are all on a journey, we are all in search of something, we all are just trying to matter. We need to focus on what matters to ourselves, and I believe once we do that, everything will fall into place and be as it should. Whatever is bringing you shame, admit it, own it and it will no longer own you. Plain and Simple.