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

Sunday Confessions

 

 

“Isn’t it strange that we talk least about the things we think about the most?” – Charles Lindbergh

I am a lover of quotes. I have been for as long as I can remember. Quotes and sayings that grabbed my attention or the attention of others were and still are my favorites. I fondly remember shopping with my mother in a gift shop in Elora Ontario. I was 8 years old and fancy shoe laces were all the rage. The shop had a display of them and as I was looking at them and planning my performance to my mother in hopes of getting her to buy me a pair, my eyes landed on a pair of laces that I thought were the letters of the alphabet…they weren’t the letters of the alphabet…they read “BULLSHIT”. I giggled and gasped at the same time. My mother came over and I threw caution to the wind and told her I found a pair I liked. I pointed them out to her, she read them and laughed out loud, took them off the display and bought them for me. I wore my “BULLSHIT” shoelaces with pride, to school, to the playground, even to my grandparents house. Back to the tale at hand.

The above quote I came across a few days ago on Instagram and have not been able to stop thinking about it. It made me think of all the things that I think about, but do not say. Sure I make a sarcastic quip to lighten the mood, and will give my honest opinion when asked, I do not however always talk about what is going on behind the scenes. I put on my game face and head on out the door. Over the past weeks, being given time to actually complete a thought and do some soul searching via conversations with friends and finding a fabulous book -Rising Strong by Brene Brown, I have been able to, slowly but surely, leave the house without my game face. What you see is what you get. I have been able to shed my skin of shame (as I like to call it) and just be me. Becoming honest with myself is allowing me to become honest with those around me. So many of us are dealing with some type of pain or anguish yet feel shame for doing so. Let the shame go, it’s a waste of energy, it serves no purpose. Sharing your stories will set you free, your stories may even set someone else free for they will realize they are not alone. For the naysayers out there I have a perfect example, a personal one.

My daughter deals with anxiety and depression. Her high school years were not gentle and kind. Over the years we tried to get her some help to deal with her thoughts and feelings, to no avail. It was frustrating to say the least, not only for her, but as her Mother for it is my job to protect her, to show her there is good in the world. How was I to get her to believe that when one door closes another opens when every door seemed to slam in her face? Over the years we did our best to support her, all the while telling her to speak to someone. She didn’t trust the system for it had failed her so many times before. Finally, God, the powers that be, the Smurfs, whichever you want to believe in heard our plea, saw our efforts and a door opened, my daughter was heard, was taken seriously and is slowly but surely gaining control of herself, her emotions and her anxiety. I know, I hear you …”what’s your point? Where’s your example?”. Here it is. Last year while working with my friend at her shop, a friend of hers came in for her morning Matcha. She looked exhausted. She looked distraught. She was on the verge of tears. I overheard her conversation with my friend, it was about her daughter. She was 17, not eating, depressed, anxious, couldn’t make it through the day at high school. Her Mother was at a loss and didn’t know what to do. I went over, excused myself for entering the conversation and told her I felt I needed to. My voice was shaking as I told her about my daughter. Why was my voice shaking? What was so wrong about speaking the truth? It was at that moment I realized that I was blaming myself for my daughter’s anxieties and in turn by doing so was making her issues about me, which serves no purpose and does not help my daughter in any way, shape or form. As I was speaking to this woman, her tears slowed, her breathing calmed, my voice stopped shaking and we both felt lighter. I told her “Don’t do what I did. This is not your fault and we have to remember this is not about us. I am here to tell you there is light at the end of this tunnel. It will get better”. I went home that day and told my daughter about the conversation and I apologized to her. I apologized for always trying to fix it, that I realized all the while I was trying to make it better for her, because of my fear and shame of being seen as a bad Mother, I was not helping at all. By speaking my truth to another, I let go of my feelings of shame I hadn’t even realized I was carrying and I released another of their feelings of shame.

We all have stories that ain’t so pretty. We all know someone, or are ourselves dealing with;

  • loss
  • divorce
  • addiction
  • mental health issues
  • parenting issues – form having your toddler ripping off it’s diaper to having to put a parent in diapers.
  • are we doing enough
  • are we doing too much
  • bad hair day meltdown

…the list is endless. Here’s the deal Beauties. There is no shame in speaking your truth, what ever it may be. In the immortal words of Dr. Suess ” Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.”.

 

 

 

 

Beauty, Business, communication, Hair Care, health and wellness, That girl in the red coat, Women, writing

Listen for what you cannot hear

Beauty – a combination of qualities, such as shape, color or form, that pleases the aesthetic senses, especially the sight.

I hear the familiar chirp of the Salon’s door chime and as I look up from my purchase order, I see two sparkling eyes staring at me from just above the counter. Standing on her tippy toes, a young girl reaches out her hand and with a squeal, shakes her hand, giving me a prompt to shake her hand. Her mother, standing behind her lets me know that the young girl is deaf, so she likes to shake hands since she cannot say the word hello. I smiled at the little girl, and gave her a wave hello. I came out from behind the counter and gave a “come with us” wave to the girl as I went to help her Mother find the product she was after. As I was explaining how to use the product, I felt a little hand grab mine and little fingers intertwine with mine. I looked down to those sparkling eyes and smile. The young girl pointed to my hair and let out another squeal. It seems her favorite color is purple and yours truly has a swipe of purple throughout my hair. So, I bent down and let her play with my hair. She smiled and squealed and ended up rubbing my head where it is shaved. I showed her Mother the testers of purple hair chalk so her daughter could have purple hair too. Her Mother applied it and once it was done, I motioned to the girl to follow me. I took her over to our biggest mirror, bent down to her level, smiled and pointed to her reflection that she too had purple hair. Her Mother signed it was time to go and as I walked to the counter, my new found purple haired twin kept holding my hand, smiling and squealing. As they were leaving, the Mother thanked me for my help and my kindness and told me that I had made her daughter’s day. Funny thing is, it was her daughter who made mine, and I was sure to let her know it.

After the Mother/Daughter duo left, it got me to thinking. How many other Salon’s had they been to? How many other shop’s had they been in? How many other people did the young girl reach out her hand, only to have it ignored? How many people forgot about just being kind? For a successful Salon, you need more than a great colorist, good coffee and fully stocked shelves. You need to be attentive, sympathetic and empathetic. You need to pay attention to the sights and sounds of your Salon and your clientele and customers. You need to take those extra minutes to explain how to style your client’s new ‘do, or to bend down and let a child touch your purple hair.

Taking a moment to be kind to another human being, especially a child, adds beauty to the world. Plain and simple.

 

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

The Mother Load

Another Mother’s Day has come and gone. Being in the Salon/retail biz, I get to witness the preparations and the aftermath of Mother’s Day celebrations. From tears to tantrums to whimpers, I have seen and heard it all. Just this past weekend as I was buying my fruits and veggies I saw a grown man with red roses in one hand and pink roses in the other with a look of panic, shark coming at you in open water panic, over the decision of which flowers to buy. At the shop I helped a gent buy his wife her Mother’s Day gift. He came in, leaned on the counter and told me “You have to help me! I need that oil that comes in the blue box. I don’t know the name of it, but I have to get it for my wife!”. At our shop, our Salon management system keeps record of our client/customers purchases, so I asked for her name and phone number, saw she likes Moroccanoil, took him over to the display and got the oil off the shelf for him. He sighed with relief. He thanked me five times in a row. I was told I was a “lifesaver!”. All over a bottle of oil. Now, you all are aware that I am a mother, and I love shiny things and receiving presents. This being said, making your loved ones have a panic attack or risk of a coronary over their decision of what to get you for Mother’s day is well, stupid. Yeah, I said it. Before you get all in an uproar, take a breath. I am here to confess. I used to be the woman who made her hubby feel just as the poor gent with the roses. I am not proud of it. What I am proud of is that I am no longer that woman.

When I was a girl, I was easy to please. As a young woman, easy to please. As a new bride, easy to please…until, as all women do at some point in their lives, I began to listen to the wrong people and the wrong opinions. I remember when it happened. It was one of my first Christmas’s as a new bride when a few of my “friends” told me that my decorations were simple and the my hubby’s treasured gifts were silly. I thought my little tree was cute – it was my first tree with my hubby. I thought it was wonderful that I received Corning Ware for Christmas, because I really wanted it. I didn’t realize that getting homeware or a vacuum was tacky – I thought it was awesome, because it was what I wanted. In the blink of an eye,  I began to compare myself with others. What were they doing? What gifts did they request? I became someone I didn’t know. I became the woman who thought every holiday had to be an occasion, an event to end all events. I would worry what others would think of me and how I celebrated special days or special occasions. I would worry about what others would say about the gift I received – if they measured up to the status quo of what a Mother’s Day gift should be. I would make myself and my family crazy trying to create the perfect day…and every time, the day would end with me standing in the kitchen, washing food off of platters that I didn’t get to enjoy or even eat for that matter, being exhausted, emotionally and physically, looking at the gift I received wondering why I asked for it. It took a few years, but I realized that this just isn’t me and it just isn’t working. I came to realize that my husband had been right all of these years. I decided to take a page from my hubby’s book and decided to stop making such a big deal over holidays and occasions. Once the pressure was off, I actually began to enjoy Mother’s Day again, and so did my family.

Ladies, I know the following opinion may not be a popular one, and if you do not agree, that is okay, this is my journey and you are on your own. When it comes to Mother’s Day, birthdays and celebrations in general – ease up. Take a breath. Take the time to enjoy your time. Stop sighing and stomping because you received the vacuum you have been eyeing and talking about every time it’s on sale in the flyer. Think about it for a minute – did you ever stop and think that maybe your husband had been scanning the internet and sale flyers waiting to be able to afford the exact model you wanted? – yeah, let that sink in for a minute. …and that maybe your kids were so excited to see their Dad give their Mom that thing she keeps talking about. Stop worrying if you will get a ring bigger than your neighbor’s and how you will pay it off if it is. Stop trying to make everything perfect, because it will never be perfect – there’s no such thing. Stop comparing yourself and your life to others – perfectly said by Will Smith “We spend money we do not have, on things we do not need, to impress people that do not care.”. It’s time to start being present. It’s time to start being thankful. It’s time to start letting things be what they are going to be. It’s time to start being concerned about the opinions of your loved ones and what they think of you and your life.

This year I received two of the best Mother’s Day gifts  – the first was 4 days before Mother’s Day. I had worked a 43 hour week and came home to a clean house, clean kitchen and tenderloin with all the trimmings waiting for me, just because. The second was a lovely letter from my girl. I had a quiet day, got some errands done, caught up on Mad Men and laundry, enjoyed a blizzard from Dairy Queen with my girl, made supper and enjoyed some wine with my husband. No tears. No anxiety. No worries of who got what, what they would think of my gifts and no worries of being able to afford this Mother’s Day. I really have hit the Mother Load. I hope you can too.

Beauty, communication, Hair Care, health and wellness, parenting, That girl in the red coat, Uncategorized, Women, writing

Deal with it.

The last month has been a real eye opener, not only at the Salon, but everywhere I look, and with every conversation I have. Maybe the planets are aligned..or misaligned for that matter. Maybe it is due to getting the stupid cut out (hysterectomy). Maybe it is that I am on the cusp of my 42nd birthday…who knows. All I know is this, “If you don’t deal with your shit…your shit is gonna deal with you” (came across this a few months ago…and ain’t it the truth). From a woman who thought that becoming a blonde at home would be nice & easy and make her partner take notice, a woman thinking that a pixie cut was all she needed to make her boss see her worth for that promotion to V.P. of marketing and a woman thinking she had everything under control because she made a list everyday…I have seen it all. What did they all have in common? Masking the real issues…not dealing with their shit. No amount of box dye will fix the problems in the bedroom, or will take chocolate brown tresses to platinum blonde. A great hair cut may get you some attention, but a great head shot does not a great V.P. make. As for the list maker, sure, you may be organized, but as you check off “sew button on shirt”, your child may have hurt feelings that need mending. You checked off “pick up cupcakes” for the family celebration…but you weren’t present. “Pick up prescriptions” -checked off, listened to hubby’s response to how he was feeling – but didn’t really hear him. Ladies & Gents, I know of what I speak, for yours truly is the list maker. It took me almost 42 years, I finally realized, lists are great, for the grocery store, for daily chores. They are meant to keep your tasks organized – not your life. Big difference. HUGE.

Sorry to disappoint, I will not be sharing the personal tales of my own shit dealing with me – for not all the tales are mine to share and I respect the privacy of my beautiful girl and my lovely hubby. The purpose for today’s tale is to remind you, and myself to ease up, slow down, pay attention and be present. It is true Beauties – if you don’t deal with your shit…your shit is gonna deal with you – and your shit doesn’t care what time of day, where you are or who you are with…it’s gonna pop up and deal with you. So take it from me, it’s best to deal with it, what ever it may be. Shit ain’t always pretty – hence the fitting name – shit. It’s gotta be dealt with. It’s gotta be said. It’s gotta be hashed out, then it’s gotta be put down and left there. Not just for those you love, but for yourself.

– want to spice it up in the boudoir? Talk to your partner…sometimes renting a movie (nudge nudge, wink wink) is all you need to get new idea’s brought up…pun intended.

– if your partner thinks blondes are more fun, save yourself the cost of a color correction and buy a wig – trust me…they aren’t looking at your hair color… they’re not.

– want that new promotion? Get your credentials together. Put together a presentation about you and why they need you – not why you need them.

– when someone is speaking to you, listen to them. Really hear them. Put down your phone, look up from your laptop, mute the television and pay attention. If you aren’t listening, you can miss what is being said, and damage can be done, feelings can be hurt.

– when someone is ill or has a health issue – let them bring it up. They know what they are going through, they know how they are feeling. They do not need to be reminded of it, with every conversation.

– when your child wants to speak to you, stop and listen. It may be about the cute puppy they saw on YouTube or it may be about the funny thing their bff said. It may also be about how they are feeling about their reflection…pay attention.

 

As for lists, if you have to make a list, remember it is only a piece of paper with some things written on it. It will not explode in 10 minutes if all tasks are not crossed off by 2 p.m. …something I gotta remember.

 

 

 

 

 

Beauty, communication, Hair Care, health and wellness, Uncategorized, Women, writing

Sunday Confession

Today’s tale is for the young ladies and the mother’s out there. Today’s tale is also a personal one. It is a confession of sorts. I am not in a church, I am not catholic, not a priest’s profile through a screen to be seen (I think it’s a screen, like I said, I am not catholic.).

As you know, I am  a manager of a Salon/Retail shop. Want to know something funny about that? For most of my life I thought I was ugly. Yep, my career and passion is in the beauty biz and I used to be the girl who thought I was too ugly to get my picture taken, thought I was too ugly to go to my neighborhood’s block party when I was 14, I thought I was too fat to go to the clubs with my girlfriends – something only I knew. I did everything in my power to hide this fact from everyone. I look back at the pictures I allowed myself to be in and I want to give myself a shake. I was pretty. I was not fat. I actually had a nice ass, not a fat ass like a lovely girl pointed out in grade 10.

Everyday, yes, I am sad to say, I hear young girls say the most horrible things about themselves, or worse, I hear the mother of the young girl say horrible things about her daughter, in front of her daughter.  I am not an expert by any means, I am a woman who wasted many years and missed out on many things all over my lack of self esteem and because I listened to the wrong people and didn’t listen to myself. I wanted to share this tale in hope that a  young girl will read it and realize how awesome she really is. I am a mother of a 16 year old daughter and I hear and see what she goes through, and what her lovely friends go through, so, being me I have compiled a list, a go to list if you will, for those days that are just too much.

– when you get a pixie cut, some people are going to tell you that you look like a boy. You don’t. You look awesome, they just don’t have the guts to be themselves and try something new.

– your oily scalp will go away. It’s hormonal. To help get through this unfortunate phase, a dry shampoo like Joico’s Instant Refresh, Quantum’s Refresher or KMS HAIR PLAY Make Over Spray is an awesome tool to have on hand. Just spray it on your scalp, rub it in and VOILA! Not a oily strand to be seen.

– people who tell you that you are fat are just being assholes. Plain and simple.

– if you are 15 or 40, I am sorry to say, there will always be someone out there that will say something nasty, especially when you are happy. It’s not personal, you just happened to be the nearest target for them to spew their venom at. Trust me, they would yell at Jesus Christ  himself that he wasn’t making the water into wine fast enough.

– if you want to try being a blonde for a while, go for it – AT THE SALON. Do not attempt to do this on your own – it is not nice and easy. It’s not.

– before you judge your mother too harshly, take a look at her relationship with her mother. Sometimes mother’s just don’t know any better. You can’t change it, you can only change how you decide to let it affect you.

– your mom was just as insecure as you are right now. She may still be as insecure as you. To all the mother’s out there, the jig is up. We can’t guide our daughter’s if we are lost ourselves.

– when a friend is being nasty, take a breath and think, will this person be in my life 6 months from now? If the answer is yes, be patient and try to find out what the problem is. If the answer is no, Adios amigo.

– if you are dating a boy who says nasty things to you – DUMP HIM! You can’t fix him.

– your BFF is wonderful, she is also the same age as you, so she can’t help you as much as a counselor or a doctor if you are dealing with an abusive situation at home or have questions about sex. *by the way – jumping up and down after sex will not keep you from getting pregnant. – Yep…2013 and people are still saying that.

– everyone feels the same way you do. EVERYONE. From the head cheerleader to the tuba player in the school band. Some of them just hide it better.

– although it may feel like it, not everyone is looking at you. Sorry to break the news to you, sometimes it isn’t all about you. I know right?! This revelation was a shocker for me too.

– when someone has hurt your feelings, try not to let it control your life. More times than not, they don’t even realize nor care that your feelings are hurt. They are going on with their day without giving you or their words a second thought. Don’t let them live rent free in your head.

It is okay to be yourself. It may get a little scary. You may find certain people distancing themselves from you, and that is okay. They are making room for all the awesome people trying to get into your life, to raise you up, help you see your beauty, to help you be yourself, to help you be happy.

Beauty, Business, communication, Hair Care, health and wellness, Uncategorized, Women, writing

Raising the bar?

When I was a child, I was the kid who would fight the bully. Not for myself, for my friend, or for the kid being punched, kicked, tripped, be given a wedgie or shoved into a locker. Boy or girl, if you were the bully, sooner or later, we would go toe to toe. Whenever I saw someone being bullied I would get fired up and want to stop it.

Everyday, I am sad to say, I see at least one woman being ugly. Ugly to herself, her child, her stylist or to me. Gossiping about the woman who just left, pointing at her daughter’s oily scalp, teasing her 15 year old son that he must be a girl under all that muscle because he likes his favorite hair gel, or pointing at my (faded) thyroidectomy scar and saying “don’t you want to cover that with a necklace or something?”. It’s time like these that, for a split second, in my minds eye, I am back in the school yard and am about to go toe to toe with the bully.

A few days ago, I read something I found to be pretty ugly.(I try to stay off of the soapbox but couldn’t shake this one.). A well known website with a huge following, aimed at women, empowering women and giving them a voice and a forum, tweeted how they were “going to ask someone to work with them, until they read their Twitter stream.”. You see, they didn’t agree with the opinions/expletives expressed on this person’s Twitter stream. Before you get all “freedom of speech” and “everyone is entitled to their opinion”, calm the hell down and let me explain. For a site that stands for empowering women – how is gossiping empowering? Yes, gossiping. Yeah, I said it.

Think about it, how is tweeting “was gonna choose someone until I read their twitter stream” any different than telling everyone but your stylist that you hate your new color? There is no difference. If you have a problem/issue with someone, speak to them directly. I would not have agreed, but I could have respected them if they had named said “offender”. How many women read that tweet and began to doubt themselves? How many women read that tweet and thought they needed to edit themselves to be accepted into the inner circle of this website that is for women and mothers? How the hell is that empowering? As women, we need to raise each other up, not push each other down. Generations of women fought for our equality, fought for us to have a voice, fought for us to have more options than housewife or secretary, fought for equality in the workplace, fought against the stigma that all women do is gossip and pick apart other women. Heading a company/website/twitter feed that is aimed at empowering women, you need to show some professionalism, and the above was anything but. If the aim was to help women watch what they tweet about and how they handle their twitter feed, they missed the mark. All it did was remind us of the high school cafeteria, being asked to sit at the cool kids table, only to have someone pull the chair out from under us.

I am 100% for free speech. I believe everyone is entitled to an opinion. I am a firm believer in being yourself, saying what you want and allowing others to say what they want. I do not think I need to agree with everyone nor like everyone, nor do they have to agree with me or like me. What I am for is kindness. Plain and simple.

Beauty, communication, Hair Care, health and wellness, Uncategorized, Women, writing

I have seen the enemy and she is us.

As I sit here, all that keeps coming to my minds eye are the Dove commercials. You know the ones. The commercials that tell us how girls will stop sports because of their body image…and then my mind’s eye flashes to the mothers and daughters who come into the shop and the mother speaks about the daughter like she isn’t even there. Yes, I agree that the media has a part to play in the self esteem issues of girls and young women, hell of women in general…but I think we are each other’s worst enemy. As Pogo stated “I have seen the enemy and he is us”. In this case, she is us.

Every day, I mean every damn day a woman comes in to the shop and says things like “Oh…I’m too stupid to do my hair”, “I need big hair so people don’t see my big ass”, “Her hair is so greasy it looks like an oil slick” – this coming from a mother talking about her daughter who is right beside her. Did you ever stop to think that maybe, just maybe you are so upset right now and say such things because you are doing what people expect of you instead of what you want to do? Maybe you are being nasty instead of supportive of your best friend’s new hair color because she has the guts to do what she likes instead of what her mother/husband tells her would look good. As for our daughters, ladies, be kind. There is no excuse, none, for a grown woman to pick apart a young girl’s oily scalp or oily complexion. Especially in public, that is just cruel, plain and simple. By the way, that doesn’t fly in my shop. I will always side with the young lady who is being bullied by her mother. That’s right. I said bullied. To be clear – literally pointing your finger and pointing out pimples and oily scalp = mean. Quietly asking for advice to help get rid of oily scalp while arm is around daughter’s shoulder = kind.

It is time to stop being so damn mean and so damn afraid. That’s right, afraid. Dig through meanness and you will find fear. If you are over the age of 21, it is time to stop being afraid of what your mother is going to think. Maybe your mother didn’t know any better, but we do and as Maya Angelou said “when you know better, you do better”. It’s time to do better, to each other and to the young ladies behind us. Ladies, if your best friend goes blonde, she did it for her, not to steal your husband. Your daughter dyed her hair black because she thought it would be cool, not because she is joining a cult. If you like to do your hair and makeup, it does not make you a shallow person or a bad mother. Stop being afraid of what people are going to think or say. Like I always say, people are going to talk no matter what you do so why not really give ’em something to talk about.

It is time to make the room change when we enter it instead of blending into the furnishings.