health and wellness, lifestyle, Parenting past 15, Sunday Confessions

Sunday Confessions

Fear – An unpleasant emotion caused by the threat of danger, pain or harm (Oxford Dictionary)

Many of my friends and loved ones have been going through some shit lately. Some big, some small. When you dig down deep enough, you will find fear is the culprit. Fear is the seed that is making that vine grow. Branching out into all aspects of life, family, friends, work, you name it, it’s trying to grab hold. I was talking with my daughter a few nights ago about this exact thing. She is going through some stuff (not going to share it – not my story to tell) and she inferred that I wasn’t afraid of anything. You see, I am an optimist. I try to see the good in all things. I prefer to raise people up which in turn makes me look like I have my shit together and have no fear. Sweet child, you couldn’t be more wrong.

During my 46 years in this earthly realm, yours truly has felt her share of fear. When I was a child I was afraid of monsters under my bed, my house catching on fire, spiders, bees and heights. I put my children’s Bible under my bed = no more monsters = no more fear. I wore my housecoat and slippers to bed so in case of of a fire I was ready to flee = no more fear. I saw my Auntie Jo squish a spider with her bare hands = no more fear…still a little freaked out by those 8 legged monstrosities. I found out that bees help things grow and once stung by one I got ice cream to make me feel better = no more fear. As for the heights…after falling 12 feet off the playground equipment the fear was gone. I realized I wasn’t afraid of heights, I was afraid of the pain of landing after the fall. Now I knew what to expect.

Fast forward 35 years and the fears I face aren’t as easy to overcome. My family gene pool offers ovarian cancer, breast cancer, dementia and Alzheimer’s. My husband had a heart attack at 39. He is fine. His heart is good. I still wake up to check if he’s breathing, just as I did when my daughter was a wee baby – you know, getting eye level with their stomach to see if it rises. Our lovely daughter deals with issues of anxiety and depression. I still get a knot in my stomach when she sounds funny on the phone or I receive a random text. …by the way, that is why I do not like texting – no emotion so you never know it’s context. Drives me crazy. Most of the time there is nothing the matter, but fear makes me think otherwise.

I’m going to tell you what I told my daughter. A little fear is good, it keeps you aware. A lot of fear is bad, it blinds you to what is right in front of you. We all have fears. We all have anxieties. Mostly over the things we don’t have any control of. I can eat well, do what the Doctor and Oprah tell me to do and guess what? I could still get cancer. I have no control over what happens to my husband or our daughter. All I can do is love them and remind them of their health issues and help them to practice self care and love.

In this life all we can control is our behavior, how we decide to see people and treat them. In my experience, kindness is a fear killer. It really is. Whenever I have been fearful of something new, be it work or life, I kill it with kindness. I also make myself remember all the fears I have conquered, from fear of falling off my bike when I was six, to fear of driving into the heart of the dragon – the 400/401 highway in Toronto when I was 43, and all the other fears in between.

Be gentle with yourself for you are doing the best you can. Fear will always be lurking in the shadows. I believe that kindness is light, so if you have light, there is no need to fear the dark.

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

When there’s a will, there’s a way

As I was sitting in my kitchen this morning, staring at my blank screen, contemplating my life, wondering if I was making the right choices, a shadow flickered out of the corner of my eye. I looked out my window to see a bird perched on my rose bush. It’s been blooming for over a month now and until this morning I never noticed the  single rose blooming on a branch that was connected to a dead branch. Way up above the rest of the blooms, there it was, a rose blooming from a dead branch that is over 4 feet long, has a rose, in full bloom, it all it’s glory.

That’s when it hit me. If there’s a will, there’s a way. Always. If this rose could figure out a way to grow and bloom from a dead branch, anything is possible.

Since the shop closed, 2 years ago now, I have been trying to figure out my next step. Well, that is what I said I was doing, honestly,I was coasting along hoping my next step would just arrive at my front door along with my Amazon orders. It wasn’t until this past April, when, once again, I was faced with another small business closure and in turn, a job loss. I saw it as a nudge from the universe to focus on my writing,my consulting and my brand. You see, I thought I could only do one or the other, either work or write/consult. Over the past 6 weeks, I have been networking, blogging, making things happen if you will, all the while taking care of everything “household” from dishes to cooking to cleaning the gutters…yes, I cleaned the gutters. I bought a new ladder and everything. A little scared about how excited I was about a new ladder…must have something to do with my forties. I had many job offers come my way, even an old employer asking if I was interested in coming back. I turned down the offers, except one. My old employer’s offer. I met with him and offered my services on a on-call basis. He was happy with that, although it felt he had hoped for more. For the next 10 days, it kept playing on my mind. Last week a situation that I thought forced my hand made me call my old boss and tell him I would take the job, four days a week and gave him the hours I was comfortable with. He agreed and I left the meeting with smiles from employees, the owner and a hug from my old manager saying “So happy to have you back.”. The situation that I thought forced my hand isn’t important. What is important is I realized my hand wasn’t forced, I just needed a big push to make a decision, and that was it. I had been contemplating the offer for over a week, wavering over the opinions of others, fear it would end up being the same experience as it had been 8 years ago, worrying that I would lose myself and in turn my writing. Deep down I knew it was the best move for me right now. Have a job that provides an income for the household while still having 3 days to focus on and build my blog and brand.

When I saw the rose this morning, I literally had an Oprah AHA! moment. Here I was worrying I couldn’t do both, when all the while I have been doing both. Actually, I have been doing more than two things at once. Depending on the day, I can have four to six tasks at hand and sooner or later, they all get done and done well. I started my blog and my brand while working 40 – 44 hours a week running a Salon/retail shop and everything that entailed, running a household and raising a teenage millennial…if I could do that, hell, this will be a walk in the park.

What you want in life comes to you, if you let it. You gotta put in the time, the work, the sweat, the tears. When doubt and fear rear their ugly mugs, tell’em to shove it and keep going. It won’t always be pretty. It may not happen when you want it to happen, it will when you need it to happen. Many times  we feel everything is going to pot. It’s not, it’s just that we are in the middle of our story. When there’s a will, there’s a way. If a rose can figure that out, I think we can too.

 

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

…from the inside out

“Trade expectation for appreciation” – Tony Robbins.

It was Sunday morning. I was sitting on the couch, staring out my window while mindlessly flipping through the channels, pondering my circumstances, when I heard the above quote. I turned away from my window to see Tony Robbins speaking with Oprah, on Super Soul Sunday. This wasn’t the first time Mr. Robbins appeared in my living room. About a month ago, whenever I was on Facebook or twitter it seemed someone was posting about his Netflix documentary “I am not your guru”. So, being me, I had to see what all the hype was about. I grabbed my water and a snack, got comfy on the couch and turned on Netflix. I have to admit, I was a little skeptical. Being 44, I was familiar with Tony Robbins and his motivational workshops and books. I had given them a try in the past, however nothing ever seemed to resonate in me. I would get a spark, but the fire never stayed lit. Until now. There I was, sitting up, leaning towards the television with tears running down my cheek. Did I happen to mention I was 10 minutes in? Maybe it is my age. Maybe it is where I am in my life. Maybe it is because I am more open than I used to be. Whatever the reason, it was beautiful. It was powerful, magical even. It has been 4 weeks since I have watched it, and I think about it at least once a day. It was the first time I felt I actually saw the real Tony Robbins. No bullshit. No politically correct rhetoric. It was the most refreshing moment I had seen and heard in a long while, and it was exactly what the Dr. ordered.

 

For those who follow my blog, you know that the shop/Salon I manage is closing at the end of the month. The past few weeks have been trying to say the least. Every customer that comes through the door has the same questions “You’re closing?”, “This is so unfair! What am I going to do?”, “Where will I get my product now?”, “What are you going to do now?”, “Guess you are shit out of luck with no job huh?” and countless other negative comments and inquiries. After 3 weeks of repeating myself, smiling, being courteous, I have to admit, their opinions and statements were beginning to sink in and were setting up shop in my mind. I was starting to expect the worst, which is not my style.

Fast forward to this past weekend. Just as yours truly was allowing the “what if’s” to make their way into my mind and allowing fear to control what I expected my plans to turn out like, what do I hear at the exact moment I was getting all stressed about my expectations but Mr. Robbins himself stating “trade expectation for appreciation.”. …okay there universe…I get it. I feel the nudge. So, that is exactly what I did. Yes, it was weird at first. Yes, I had to really concentrate on appreciating. Yes, I felt a little foolish. Then I realized it felt weird and foolish because I was thinking of what others would say or think instead of thinking of what I think and what I want to say. Then I remembered a quote I came across months ago “I used to care about people’s opinions until I tried to pay my bills with them”, enough said.

What is happening in your life does not define you. It only defines you if you let it. Plain and Simple.

 

 

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

What is looking for you?

As per usual, I sat down to to tell you all a tale of the newest addition to the Joico family of products, alas, it will have to be a tale for another time. It is Sunday morning in my corner of the world, the sun is shining, tulips from my garden are blooming on my kitchen table, a cool morning breeze is making the steam from my coffee glisten in the morning light and I am happy. I am…two words that I had, in all honesty, never appreciated their importance, until about a month ago.

I was surfing You Tube, after watching all the episodes (for the tenth time) of Comedians in cars getting coffee with Jerry Seinfeld, I started searching all the Oprah’s Master Class episodes and came across her Life Class with Joel Osteen. (Yes, I know it is Sunday, and no I am not gonna ask you if you have found Jesus…first – that is none of my business, and second…I didn’t know he was lost.). Back to the tale at hand. “Whatever follows “I am” will come looking for you”. Can you say “LIGHT BULB!”. (I would say AHA! …but Oprah kinda owns that one.). Something else Joel said was “If you want to know what your life will look like in 5 years…listen to how you are speaking today.”. Yikes…in a good way. In my minds eye I flashed back to 2008, to myself, sitting on my bathroom floor, giving over to whatever forces may be…god, the universe, the smurfs…to help me let go of my fears and my insecurities and get me back to me. Back to present day, I am back in the business I love, I actually believe I am pretty, I no longer feel fat nor base my identity on my looks, I am stronger in all senses of the word, I am a writer, I took the leap and started my blog, I met Tabatha Coffey. I am pretty awesome, if I do say so myself…and I often do.

At the shop and in the Salon, I hear so many women, and men say “I am old”, “I am ugly”, “I am useless” and many other sad, lonely phrases. I never quite paid attention until I heard Joel’s take on the matter. As you know, my tales are about educating and enlightening us all about the world of beauty. My tales may not always be about how to apply Root Boost (before blow drying, separate your hair at the roots, spray the root boost directly at scalp, rub into roots, then blow dry…couldn’t help myself). Some of my tales will be to help you find the beauty within yourself, your family, the world. Beauty is out there, it is right beside you, it is in you, if you choose to see it, hear it, speak it.

Remember …whatever follows “I am” is gonna come looking for you…so the question is this…what is looking for you?

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

How do you look?

So it has been over a week since my last tale. I could come up with every excuse in the book, the truth is I didn’t make myself a priority. As you know, I am a wife to a wonderful man and a mother to a glorious 16 year old young woman. Calm down ladies…I know I am not the only “career” mother out there…this is not a competition nor an episode of “The real housewives”…it is just a tale for today. Now, back to the tale at hand. As you also know I am the manager of a salon/retail shop. Everyday I make sure my hair is coiffed just so and my makeup applied and my pants pressed, and I look good. Yeah, I said it. What I came to realize this past week is I may have looked good on the outside…but my inside left a little to be desired.Not to sound all “Oprah”, I had given away my power. As last week progressed I could see that I wasn’t the only one.

I had a few customers that were, let say, interesting. One woman was being quite abrupt with her answers to my questions about what kind of hold she wanted from her hairspray. So, being me, I asked her if there was something I had done to upset her. She stared in silence. After about 10 seconds she said “I am sorry, I just got this new cut that I didn’t want. My stylist said I was to old for a bob and that I needed a short style.”. (I get severely pissed when I hear this, and I hear this often. Yo Stylists! Who are you to tell people that they are too old for a cut? Seriously…get a grip and become a professional). So, I assured her the cut was cute (which it was) and sold her some KMS Hair Play Molding Paste for some funky styling and she likes her hair to look shiny so we added some SOMA Prism shine spray to the mix…and I also gave her our Salon price list.

I had a customer this week that introduced herself as “stupid and useless”. I shit you not, that is what she answered when I asked “How ya doin’ today”. You see, she was trying to grow out her hair for her daughter’s wedding in the fall and gave up because she listened to the wrong people – the people who told her that a flat iron was “too complicated” for her. (Who the hell are these people?!?). I took her over to our flat iron demo display and told her to pick one up as I picked one up. We both were in the mirror’s reflection, so I told her to copy what I was doing. After about 30 seconds a smile crept across her face and she said “I can grow out my hair!”. I looked her straight in the eye and told her to stop listening to the “Can’t” people in her life and listen for the “Can” people…they are out there. They are a little harder to hear over the annoying antics of the “can’t” court jesters.

A woman has lost some weight. She has lost 22 pounds over the course of 8 months. She began to exercise. She began to eat a healthy diet in support of her husband’s health issues. She didn’t lose the weight to “show off” or “rekindle her twenties” or “to keep her marriage alive” or because she was having a “cougar crisis”. The weight loss was a positive perk of embracing a healthier lifestyle, for her family and herself. That woman is me, and yes, the above comments have been directed at me. 10 years ago, I would have listened to the nasty comments and gone and ate a cake…or two. Guess what buttercup…not anymore. I have come to realize that those who are negative, nasty or assholes – take your pick, are empty inside…plain and simple. They are so miserable that they have to pull you down to their level so no one will see how crappy their lives are. Funny thing is, they cannot even fathom the idea that no one really gives a shit, except them and others like them.

I know I say it all the time, but I was raised on Little House on the Prairie and Happy Days so get used to it. BE KIND. Raise others up, do not push them down. Your BFF gets a new cut and loves it? Love it with her. A friend is struggling with her hatred of her thighs? Go to the gym with her – don’t agree and tell her she “really needs to work on that”. A friend loses weight? Applaud her efforts and ask her how she did it. Do not  mock her and ask her “cutting out the calories trying to be a cougar?”.

“If you don’t look good, we don’t look good”. – Mr. Vidal Sassoon

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

Different but the same

Over the past few days I have had many salon tales come into my mind. So many tales to tell but how do I choose which one? I began this blog with the soul purpose of educating and enlightening the masses about the world of beauty and professional hair care products with easy to follow tips and opening doors that seemed to be locked and letting you join the club. I also wanted to wake up stylists and salon owners from their nightmare of what they thought was good customer service.

My primary goal is and will always be the same, to educate and enlighten. Over the past few months my tales have begun to travel down different roads, from customer service to product knowledge to how to be kind, not just at the Salon but where ever one may roam. You see, I am finding more and more, everyday, that beauty isn’t just the visual. It’s the emotional, the physical and the spiritual….maybe it’s because it is Sunday and I am missing my grandmother…who knows. Yeah, yeah…I know…you’ve watched Oprah and read “The Secret” so this isn’t news to you…or is it? Funny thing is, most Oprah and Secret die hards that have a library of all the #1 New York Times best sellers about self help and self love and loving your fellow man are the same people who mock their teenage daughter’s in public about their oily scalp and acne prone skin, or call their sons “tinkerbell” because he wants his hair style done just so and can’t live without KMS Molding Paste. Don’t get me wrong, I slip up all the time, did it last week when my daughter and I were out and I exclaimed and pointed at a sale item (I love a good deal). The item was Always overnight pads. Oops. I apologized on the spot. I am sure there is a doll with a pin in it in her room somewhere.

Being me, I have to clarify. Drives my husband CRAZY. I wanted to let you all know that I will always give you the newest product knowledge and information I get my hands on. I will give the tips you need for a great cut or Salon experience. I promise to continue with tales of my daily adventures in the Salon and all the tales of flying flat irons and mumblers and screamers. I will also keep telling the tales of kindness, the tales of inner and outer beauty. There is so much beauty around us, from the sound of our children giggling to the sound of our loved one sleeping beside us, the way the sun casts a shadow, the way the wind feels blowing through your hair while driving, the beauty of seeing someone, really seeing them and raising them up from such a simple act.

Want to change your perspective? Want to be more kind and stop being an ass? Just like being an ass, kindness is practiced. It takes effort, an effort with a great reward. You cannot just say you are going to be kind and then it happens. That’s like saying you are Jewish just because you attended a Bar Mitzvah.

What ever you put in, you get out. Plain and simple.

Beauty, Business, communication, health and wellness, Uncategorized, writing

An attack of thanks

I live in Canada and this coming weekend is our Thanksgiving holiday. This has been an interesting week for me. You see, in 2011, on the Thanksgiving weekend, my husband had a heart attack. I was at work on the Saturday when he called to say he had come home from work early, he wasn’t feeling well. He told me how he was feeling and I told him to get to the hospital and  would meet him there. Thankfully my mother lives down the street so she drove him and kept a loving watch over our daughter. After I called my boss who told me “close the shop…don’t worry about it.” a woman walked in the shop saying she was looking for a blow dryer. I told her I was closing up because my husband was on the way to the hospital, “It looks like a heart attack” I said, to which she responded “So you’re not gonna sell me a blow dryer?” I shit you not. That is what she said. I told her to get the hell out. It just came out. All I could think of was my husband, my daughter, my life, the feeling of my husband hugging me, the way his hand looked and felt in mine and I needed to get to him. As she left the store she shook her hands at her husband saying “she won’t sell me a hair dryer!”. Wow.

Long story short, no damage was done to the heart muscle, hubby had an angioplasty done. Seems his D2 artery was malformed from birth, hence the heart attack. Eight days later my Dad had a heart attack. He had an extra artery that was blocked. Again, no damage to the heart muscle. Those two, always competing for my attention.

So, as I said earlier, it’s been a strange week for me. As strange as this sounds, I am thankful for all of it, the heart attacks, the rude customer, all of it. Because of my experience with the doctor’s and the hospitals, I was able to help my mother, I could honestly say “I understand.”. I was reminded of all the reasons I love my husband. I remembered all the special memories of my father, things I hadn’t thought of in decades. I was able to show my daughter strength and how to look fear in the eye and kick it’s ass. I am thankful for such an understanding boss and the support of the best Salon team in existence. I am thankful for the “blow dryer rant” for now I am able to deal with crazy, rude customers…it just rolls of my back.

What I am getting at is this. Don’t wait until the Thanksgiving holiday to be thankful for what you have. No, I am not having an Oprah “AHA” moment and no, I haven’t found my savior…it is the right thing to do, plain and simple. Live your life, love your family and yourself, do what is best for you and your loved ones,hug your children, visit your parents, laugh every day. Oh…and it won’t kill you to wait for a blow dryer…trust me.