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.

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.

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, 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, 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, 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.