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

2020 Vision

Here we are. The first day of a new year and a new decade. Every time I scroll through Instagram, Facebook or Twitter I see post after post of the decade challenge, descriptions and memories of the past ten years. Achievements, celebrations, life changing moments, you name it, it’s been posted. Few posts celebrate the lows, the struggles, the set backs.

Over the past week, all I could think about was writing again. All I could think about was how I started this blog, all that had transpired in my life, professionally and personally that steered me away from writing. No matter how hard I tried to place blame on any and all events, I came to one irrefutable truth. I was the reason I wasn’t following my gut, my passion, my calling…name it what you will, it was me and me alone that allowed my circumstances to control my life, my actions or lack there of.

I look back on myself and my life 10 years ago. It began selling shoes, missing the beauty industry I adored and the shop I had run for many years. Then the powers that be gave me an opportunity and I grabbed it! Managing the Salon/Shop I adored. Soon after, I began my blog and opportunity after opportunity came my way. Writing for beauty sites and online magazines, consulting Salons on how to improve their retail presence and sales. Being invited to Beauty industry galas. Things kept falling into my lap. Sadly, in 2016, the shop closed. I tried to keep writing, but the fire within was slowly growing dim. A dear friend of mine had a cheese shop and she was looking for some help over the lunch hours. I thought it would be fun, so I said yes. 15 hours a week turned into 40 and I was enjoying it. Learning new things, helping increase the retail presence and forging relationships with the regulars. Yet I was still longing for something. I felt like the world was spinning around me and I was standing still. Sadly, the shop closed. I took a few months off from working. My husband has supported my writing and my drive from the start. He said “take this time to focus on your blog, your consulting, whatever it is you want.”. I found myself staring at my computer, re posting old blogs. I had no idea which road to take. Do I continue to consult? Do I continue to write about Beauty? Do I continue to review products? Do I write about parenting? Do I write about lifestyle? Do I write about kindness? Do I write about how not to be an asshole? …. exhausting reading this huh? Try thinking it all…the…time.  All the while having real life staring me in the face. Husband having a heart attack in 2012 at 39. Father having a heart attack a week later. ( I told them both to stop competing for my attention). My lovely, beautiful, intelligent daughter struggling with mental health issues and trying to get her the help she needed. Be a good wife. Be a good daughter. Be a good Mother. Laundry to be done, child to raise, marriage to keep intact, pay the bills, get the groceries. …this is how I know there is a higher power…god, the universe, the smurfs, whatever you call it, it’s real. I know it’s real because I firmly believe that is how I got through this past decade. There was many a morning I did not want to get out of bed, many a day I did not want to leave the house, but something helped me. Something got me moving, and I may think I’m all that, but even I’m not that good.

Even though I had the support of my family to focus on me, there were bills to be paid. My old employer at the shoe store heard I was free and offered me a job. Whatever hours or days I could give. So here I am, 10 years later, back where I started from. Funny thing, most people find that sad. I get many a “Oh…so you’re back there again huh?” comments. To be honest, I felt the same way for the first few months. Once again, a higher power knew what I did not. That this is exactly where I was and am supposed to be right now. My life for the last 18 months was turned upside down and all around. … a tale for another time.  Being back at this job allowed me to change my day off at a moments notice. Being able to tell my boss “I gotta go” in the middle of a shift and him responding “Do what you gotta do, see you tomorrow.”. It also gave me the time for me. I had time to read, to educate myself, to take a hard look at my life and my responsibilities. To take a hard look at myself, to be accountable about my part in how my life was going, professionally and personally, to own my shit if you will. I may physically be back where I started, emotionally and mentally, far from it.

I have no idea where my feet will land next. I do know this. It is up to me and me alone to decide. To do the work. To put forth the intentions AND the effort. No one, I mean no one is going to do it for me, nor is it anyone’s fault I am unfulfilled but my own. It is up to you and you alone to fill your cup, and today, it may just be a small drop, but my cup is beginning to fill.

 

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

Reminder

I woke up this morning with words and phrases swirling around in my head. Conversations I’ve had with friends, words that were spoken out of haste or anger, from me and directed at me from strangers, family and friends. Snapshots of memories, past and present playing like an after school special. I’ve been reading more than one book at at time this past month before bed, jumping between Unfu*k yourself! – Gary John Bishop, The Subtle Art of not Giving a Fuck – Mark Manson, Life will be the death of me – Chelsea Handler and Girl Stop Apologizing – Rachel Hollis, which is probably the reason for this morning’s array of thoughts, visions and emotions, all before 8 a.m..

As I shuffled into the kitchen for my first of many morning cups of coffee, I went to my “mug shelf “. Yes, I have a mug shelf. There’s just something wonderful about pretty mugs, or a mug that makes you smile or says something sassy or inspirational. Say what you want, side eye me if you will, we all have that something that we like. I like pretty things to look at when I start my day, because you never know what life is going to throw at you, so why not start your day your way. Enough about my mugs, As I reached for my “you did not wake up to mediocre” mug, a story that is not mine to tell popped into my head. Then another, and another. What I realized is all my stories and the stories from friends and family alike all had two things in common. #1 = Fear. Fear of not being enough. Fear of not being loved. Fear of not being able to love. Fear of failure. Fear of success. Fear of the opinions of others. Fear of not measuring up. The list of fears is endless. #2 = we all have the same fears. Not always at the same time or to the same extent, but we all feel the same way. The sad part of this commonality? More often than not, no one talks about it. We all are guilty of acting like everything’s fine, everything’s great, nothing to see here. Instagram posts with the “fun in the sun” hashtag, but the fight before the picture and the silent treatment after the picture didn’t happen. The “love your spouse” posts on Facebook, all the while your husband is sleeping on the couch. I am not the guru on the mount, nor am I an expert, but I’ve been around the block a time or two, and in my not so humble opinion, everyone showing the highlight reel of their life adds to everyone’s fear.

Life can be easy, beautiful and wondrous. It can also be hard and a shit show. We cannot control anything or anyone but ourselves. Most importantly, almost everything that is happening in your life is not about you. Your boss is a jerk to you, your child is struggling with life, your parents didn’t hug you enough, your friend isn’t texting you back, plans are cancelled – whatever it is, more often than not, I’m sorry to say, it’s not about you, it just feels like it is. You are overweight and don’t like your body? That is about you. Your friend is overweight and doesn’t like their body? That is not about you. In the past, and sorry to say even in the present I have been and am guilty of making the reactions and words of others personal. Hearing their words and automatically thinking about myself instead of listening and thinking about them. I would hear the words that fit my mood or my fear if you will, to solidify my reasoning of self doubt and to prove my fear was relevant. In the end, all that was left was two or more people feeling frustrated, ignored and scared.

What I have learned and am continuing to learn is this. It is okay to have fear, it is not okay to let that fear define you. Let yourself feel it, then face it. If you can’t do it on your own, ask for help, from a friend, a coworker, a counselor, your minister – take your pick. We all make mistakes, we all fear making them. Mistakes are going to happen. You will stumble, you will fail, you will forget to pick your kids up after school, you will miss a deadline. It may feel like the end of the world, trust me, it’s not. Take a breath. Take a hard look at the situation. Assess it. Look to see where there may be another answer or room for improvement. Ask yourself “what am I to learn from this?” instead of asking “why is this happening to me?”. I know, easier said then done. Trust me, I know. I. Know. One other thing I know, you and I did not wake up to be mediocre.

 

 

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

Seven Year Itch

 

Yesterday as I plopped into my favorite chair with my morning cup of Joe I heard the all too familiar bottle cap notification coming from my phone. It was an email alerting me of my 7 year anniversary as a blogger. 7 years. Within seconds my mind was flooded with images from the past 7 years. Nervously circling the table, staring at the computer, deciding to just go for it and write. Coming home from work to find a laptop waiting for me, given to me by my hubby with a “Happy Birthday” screensaver (which is still my screensaver by the way). Kristen Johnston reading my blog and retweeting it. Wynonna Judd sharing my “Kindness 101” blog that ended up getting over 700 views within hours. https://thatgirlintheredcoat.com/2012/07/21/kindness-101/    Major hair companies following my tales. Magazine editor’s and Hollywood stars following my blog. Writing opportunities coming my way. Strangers thanking me for my hair advice. Strangers laughing at my “Tales of Truth” series. My blog being read across the globe. The list of memories is endless.

Fast forward to today. For those of you familiar with my blog, you are well aware of the struggles I have been having trying to decide which direction my blog and I should take. I began this blog while managing a Salon/retail shop and once the shop closed I felt I didn’t have a platform of which to write. Every single fear and anxiety reared it’s ugly head and I am sad to say, more often than not, they won the battle, not me. I was having coffee with a dear friend yesterday and when I told her of my blogging anniversary I received a high five. During our conversation I came to the realization that I started this blog to spread information and to educate and enlighten, not only for hair care, but for all aspects of daily life, from business to self care to parenting, speaking my truth in hopes that it may give others the courage to do the same. As a reminder that a little kindness goes a long way.

When I woke up this morning, I found myself wondering if my blog related trepidation was due to the 7 year mark. We’ve all heard of the 7 year itch where relationships/marriage is concerned. Maybe it’s the same with goals. It’s all nerves and excitement at the beginning. Lots of new and exciting things happen. Milestones are reached. Celebrations seem to be every other month. Then things slow down, hit a plateau. It doesn’t seem to be as exciting, the shine is off the diamond if you will. It begins to feel like a chore. Other avenues are catching your eye. You feel like throwing in the towel. At least that’s how it felt for me. What I have come to realize and accept is that things change. Who I was when I began this blog I will never be again, and that’s okay. 7 years have passed and I have more experience, in work and in life. I have more of an understanding of who I was, who I am and who I intend to be. I feel I am a good writer. I enjoy it. It’s cathartic. I came to realize my lack of posts for the past 12 months was due to one thing – I was trying to be something and someone I am not. Writing blogs with others opinions in mind, not my own. I began this blog without any thought of what people would think, just the hope that someone would enjoy it and get something out of it. It’s time to get back to that.

Thank you to all my readers, my followers, my family, my friends and those who have shared my tales. More are on the way… hope you enjoy them.

 

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

Your Blue Monday Motivator

It’s Monday morning. It’s cold, like minus 23 degrees without the windchill cold. As my feet hit the hardwood this morning, I remembered to buy a rug. After grabbing my coffee, I plopped myself into my favorite chair and started scrolling through my phone. I was bombarded by two posts. Posts of the lunar eclipse and blood moon – which I was able to witness from my backyard last night. Not a cloud in the sky, bitter cold air, but clear skies none the less. The other were posts about “Blue Monday”. I didn’t realize New Order’s song Blue Monday had it’s own day. Taking a closer look I came to realize that Blue Monday has nothing to do with New Order, it has to do with this Monday being the most depressive Monday of the New Year. I didn’t know this was a thing. Someone, somewhere at sometime decided this was the day that people felt bad about themselves, their New Year resolution short comings, their life choices, their shoes…you name it, it’s the day to feel blue.

I am not an expert, nor am I a guru on the mount. What I am is a woman who has been around, seen some things and survived some shit. I am a wife, a mother, a daughter, a friend. I have had some awesome days and some pretty crap filled weeks. What I have come to realize is life is what you make it Beauties. Plain and Simple. That being said, I thought I would whip up a little list to help you out, on this bluest of Mondays.

  • Look up. The sun may be shining.
  • Help your neighbour. If it’s garbage day, see if they need help getting it to the curb. The snow plow went by, so help them dig out the end of their driveway.
  • Bake a cake. For no reason other to eat it. Smother layers of icing all over it and enjoy.
  • Write a letter to a friend. … not an email, not a text, a letter. Remember the feeling of receiving a letter in the mail? We need more of that.
  • Feed the birds. Go to the park or sit in your own back yard. Trust me, if you have bird seed, they’ll show up.
  • Find your favorite CD and blast it out of the speakers, in your living room or in your car. Sing your heart out and fill up your soul.
  • Instead of your morning shower, run a hot bath.
  • Wear that red lipstick that has been sitting in your vanity drawer.
  • Wrap your hands around your coffee cup, feel the warmth, and smell the delicious aroma.
  • Make a hot chocolate that would put Starbucks to shame. Lather that baby with whipped cream and chocolate sprinkles.
  • Paint your nails, the brightest of pinks or the darkest of reds.
  • Take a moment to remember a favorite memory. We all have a few free minutes a day, even if it’s when you are in the bathroom. Trust me, this works. Your mind has no sense of time, so when you think of a happy memory, your body will respond as if it’s happening right now. …something to remember when you recollect the negative.

It may seem simple and even silly to some. More often than not, it’s the little things that make all the difference. As for yours truly, the only “blue” of my Blue Monday is the sky.

Beauty, Hair Care, health and wellness

Monday Motivator

It’s the first Monday of 2019. The holidays are officially over. The kids are back in school. For those of us in retail, holiday hours have come to and end. Our schedules are no longer filled with office Christmas parties and Holiday open houses. Life, for the most part, is getting back to normal, back to the daily grind.

All our Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram feeds are filled with “New Year! New Me!” quotes and memes. Many a fine lady and gentleman are seeking something new, be it a diet plan, a fitness regime, and as always, a new hair style. I began this blog, 6 years ago, to educate the masses about their hair. Which products to use, which products were for specific hair types and most importantly, how to use them. From pomades to flat irons, I tried to cover all the bases and answer any and all questions. As I sat down with my trusty laptop with my coffee in hand, I decided today would be a great day to go through my archives and share my what’s what of hair products, styling tools, etc. . Knowledge is power my friends, and with the proper tools and know how, the one thing you will be sure of is your hair. With all the happenings in the world today, it may seem silly and trivial to be worried about your hair. The way I see it, if you feel good about yourself, when you like your reflection and feel confident in yourself, you tend not to worry about the little things like split ends and are more aware of what is going on around you… it gets you out of your own way. So without further adieu here are a few articles to help you have a better understanding of your hair, your hair products and maybe, just maybe, a better understanding of yourself.

 

Thinking of an at home color experience?

https://thatgirlintheredcoat.com/2012/07/17/proceed-with-caution/

 

All flat irons are not meant for all hair types…

https://thatgirlintheredcoat.com/2012/07/11/would-a-flat-iron-by-any-other-name-still-be-as-good/

 

Before you pick up your favorite shampoo at the discount store…

https://thatgirlintheredcoat.com/2013/01/15/divert-your-attention/

 

A what’s what of hair products 

https://thatgirlintheredcoat.com/2013/10/27/what-does-this-do/

 

AC/DC isn’t just a band…not all blow dryers are created equal 

https://thatgirlintheredcoat.com/2013/03/18/blow-out/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Beauty, health and wellness, lifestyle, Women

New Intentions

… a little New Years tale.

 

Intention(noun) a determination to act in a certain way  – Merriam-Webster Dictionary

 

Here we are. January 2, 2019. Our Instagram, Facebook and Twitter feeds are filled with everyone’s New Year resolution of “New year! New me!”, usually accompanied with a meme. Many have asked me what my New Year’s resolutions were for 2019. My answer was always the same. I do not have any. In the past, whenever I uttered a resolution, made my list of New Year’s to do, I always fell short and ended up feeling like a fool or worse, a failure. So, I no longer make resolutions, I create intentions. My New Year’s Intentions… it just feels better, sounds better to have intentions. The word itself, for me at least, has a positive power to it. It comes from a place of gratitude and grace. It brings with it a sense of hope. Something I have for myself, my friends and love ones.

This year, and all the years to come, my wish for you is intention. To find what it is that brings a smile to your face, a warmth to your soul. To find what it is that makes you want to see your own reflection. Once we set an intention, and truly believe it, the world, the universe, God, the smurfs – take your pick, will be drawn to it. It may not happen overnight or even in 6 months, but know this. It will happen. It ain’t gonna be pretty, there will be many days of doubt, ugly face cries, stomps and tantrums that would put a toddler to shame. There will also be moments of pure peace, of joy, of laughter. You will feel that same pride that you felt when you mastered your bicycle without training wheels, or the first time you hit a home run. You will begin to remember who you really are, and once you remember that, the world is your oyster darling.

Create the world you want to see – That Girl in the Red Coat

 

Beauty, health and wellness, lifestyle, Sunday Confessions

Sunday Confessions

 

As of late everyone seems to be saying the same thing. Everyone wonders what is happening in the world. Between what is happening in the U.S.A., Brexit, the debate of the existence of Climate Change (which is a real thing), we all seem to be lost, wondering which road to take, which side to stand on and wishing for a simpler time.

A few weeks ago, while my beloved and I were discussing such topics, he said “Remember Little House on the Prairie? It was a great show. That is what family and community should be about.”. That’s when a thought transpired in my mind. I looked at him and said “If that’s the world you want, you can have it”. He looked at me like I had three heads and was speaking in Mandarin. I clarified my thought for him, just as I am going to do for you. When our actions are based in kindness, kindness will spread. When we speak with truth, truth will spread. When are intentions come from a place of light and love, light and love will spread. It’s inevitable. When we face our fear, be it of saying the wrong thing or trying something out of our comfort zone, the fear slowly disappears. We lead by example, to our children, to our family, to our coworker, even to strangers we pass on the street. Speaking your truth not only sets you free, it can unlock the shackles of others.

We have no control of the world entire, nor do we have any control over the actions and words of others. What we do have control over is our own words and actions. The simplest of actions can make the biggest impact.

  • Hold the door open for a stranger.
  • Help an elderly person get their groceries in their car.
  • Offer your child a ride to school or work.
  • Leave a love note in your spouse’s lunch.
  • Call a friend just to say hello.
  • Send flowers, to anyone, just because.
  • When someone is speaking to you, look them in the eye and be present. When you are overwhelmed and someone needs your attention, kindly say “I want to be here for  you, I need a minute.”.
  • When you are feeling unheard, do not get angry. Tell the person you are speaking to “I need your attention. This is important to me”.
  • Support others achievements, never dismiss them. Someone tells you they have decided to be clown, celebrate it. …I however will be in the back of the room for I hate clowns, but I will still be there, cheering them on…from afar.
  • Listen and respect the opinions of others, for you want others to listen and respect yours. You do not have to agree with them. …more often than not, if you take the time to listen, you will find the root of their opinion and maybe, just maybe, you can help shed some light on their lack of information and leave them with something to ponder. …or they may do the same for you.
  • Be grateful, even if your day feels like a shit show. Be grateful. If you can walk, talk and wipe your own ass…that’s a pretty good day.

Create the world you want to see. Plain and simple.

communication, lifestyle, parenting, Sunday Confessions, Women

Sunday Confessions

 

Over the past weeks something has been occurring that has left me, well, a little perplexed. As you know, I have returned to the shoe store 4 days a week. I have been assigned to my old stomping grounds, the Ladies section. I found myself checking the calendar last week to assure myself that it was 2018. I felt like I had gone back in time. Why you ask? Well, it seems that the 1950’s mentality that the man has final say in how the money is spent and he decides what shoe or boot you should be wearing still exists. I shit you not. I have witnessed women telling me they loved the fit of the shoe, that it didn’t hurt their bunion and it was exactly what they were looking for only to have their significant other say “You chose that? Seriously?”. I have also been witness to a man telling his wife she was kidding herself to think the boot she was trying on looked good. I have lost count of the moments I watched the light fade from a woman’s eyes, her head bow down and heard her say “you’re right.”. Women that I know make their own money, women that are lawyers and doctors telling me that they have to get the “OK from the boss” before purchasing their shoes. Pardon my french, this is bullshit and it needs to stop.

What I am about to say may ruffle some feathers, of this I am sure. As women, we teach people how to treat us. Sure, it is a jerk move to belittle your wife. On the flip side Ladies, you let it happen. You have a voice. You have an opinion. You know what you like and don’t like. You know how to treat people and how you want to be treated. You know what is kind and what is not. It really is this simple. Both men and women need to call each other out on inappropriate behavior and comments. Trust me, I have seen women belittle their husband’s footwear choices as well…which is ridiculous if you stop and think about it. Unless you are a part of the psychic network, there is no way to know how a shoe feels and fits on someone else’s foot. I don’t care if it’s a loafer that has bunnies all over it, if the person likes it, it feels good on their foot and it brings a smile to their face, simply smile and let them buy the god damn shoe. Here’s a little go to list for you;

  • Do not tell anyone how the shoe on their foot feels. It makes no sense, you cannot possibly feel what it feels like on their foot and you sound like a fool.
  • Do not tell a women her ankles still look fat when she is trying on high heels
  • Do not tell your 40 year old wife her shoe choice reminds you of your Mother
  • Do not tell your husband he needs “old man shoes” to match his “old man hairline” …yes, I am sad to say I have heard this on more than one occasion
  • When your 10 year old daughter has large feet and needs a ladies size 11, do not say “if this keeps going she’ll be wearing ugly clodhoppers for life” – first of all, that’s mean and ugly. Secondly, most shoe companies make cute shoes and boots up to a Ladies size 13.
  • If you have a job and make your own money, you should not need your spouses approval to buy yourself shoes, man or woman.
  • Never make fun of someones choices. Trust me, I think there are a lot of ugly shoes out there. Key words are “I think”. Just because I don’t like them does not mean someone else will adore them.

If you find yourself saying something to your spouse that if anyone else said to them, they would end up with a fat lip…you probably shouldn’t be saying it either. This applies to everything, not just foot apparel. Be kind. Plain and simple.

 

 

health and wellness, Sunday Confessions, That girl in the red coat, Women

Sunday Confessions

Truth – (noun) the quality or state of being true

 

I have a truth to share. I talk a big game about being true to yourself, believing in yourself and setting your sight on what you want and going for it. Most days, I hit a home run in that department. Some days, I am not capable of getting up to bat. Over the past weeks I have been in search of divine intervention, answers to questions I can’t seem to even articulate, yet I know they are there. I have been taking on the responsibility of other people’s problems, thinking that I could change things for them … like I really have that kind of power. I have found myself comparing myself to others, their achievements and what not. …I know, I know. Not even a month ago I blogged how comparison is the thief of joy. I’m just a woman trying to speak her truth and own it.

I read a quote years ago along the lines of “when you are feeling depressed, first check that you are not surrounded by assholes”. I have come to realize that I have been allowing the negativity of others and their snide, passive aggressive “compliments” to seep into my daily thoughts. I cannot stop what people say, I can stop what I let it do to me. I also had to remind myself that I can offer advice or my opinion, I cannot control what the other person will do with it, if they will heed my advice and help themselves, or just dismiss it all together and , in the end, it’s completely on me if I let myself hold onto the hurt of feeling dismissed. Trust me, as I sit here and write this I am wishing I could lay blame on others, the easier route in the short term, harder for the long term.

Today is Remembrance Day in Canada. Beginning at 11:00 a.m. I sat and watch the coverage of the ceremony. As I was watching the elderly veterans, I found myself wanting to kick my own ass. Here I am, a woman, living in a free country, allowed to vote, to walk down the street, earn a living, own a home, have an education. All because over the past 100 years, people I would never know or meet, gave up their lives for my freedoms. When I stopped and thought for a moment, really let it sink in, I realized that I should be grateful that I can have my moments of missing the mark, of wondering what if, of feeling like I am a failure. Why should I be grateful? I have the time to have these thoughts, to process them, to get them out of my system and keep on keepin’ on. Seriously. My biggest problem today is how I feel about myself or how I let someone make me feel. For the last 100 years men and women died for freedoms they never got to relish. Today, all over the world, children are being forced into war, families are being ripped apart at the border because they are fleeing such countries. Women are walking 2 -10 miles a day in hopes of getting clean water. Families in first world countries are one paycheck away from losing their homes. Hell, I am a woman who is able to speak her mind and has the freedom of speech, something I shall never take for granted, for there are women around the globe risking their lives just to be able to get groceries by themselves. Needless to say, I have gained some perspective.

We all have bad days. We all feel inadequate at some point. We all feel dismissed or ignored. We all fall victim to comparisons. In the end, it’s up to us to gain some perspective, take a hard look at ourselves and who we surround ourselves with, and most of all, to be grateful, for the up’s, the down’s and the all around’s.

 

lifestyle, parenting, Sunday Confessions, That girl in the red coat, Women

Sunday Confessions

Unless you have been living under a rock, in a coma or seeking seclusion in a Tibetan monastery, you are well aware of the political and cultural climate for women. It is 2018 and although we have made monumental strides towards equality, I am afraid, as of late, we have hit a plateau and in some arenas, we are facing stepping backwards. I listen to my daughter, who at 21 years of age is well in the middle of this mix. I hear her concerns, her fears, her hopes, her dreams. I raised her to be fair, to be kind, to stand up for what is right and to stand up for herself. I wanted to raise her the way I was raised. You see, I was fortunate to be raised by a loving and supportive mother and father. I was especially fortunate to be raised by a father who treated me as his child, not his daughter. It wasn’t until I went to school that I realized the differences between girls and boys. …don’t get me wrong, I knew about our biological differences, that only girls could get pregnant and carry a baby and that boys could pee standing up. Other than that, I thought we were the same, equal. I could double dutch like the best of them and could throw a perfect spiral. I could pretend I was a princess while wearing a pretty dress and imagine I was Babe Ruth whenever I was up to bat.

…before anyone gets on the soap box, I know all too well that girls and women are not the only people dealing with discrimination and adversity. Today’s tale is a focus on women and girls. I promise you, others will get their turn.

It wasn’t until I was 10 years old that I realized I would have to fight to prove I was just as good as a boy. We moved to Winnipeg, I was in grade 5 and my first day at the new school we had gym class. The teacher, a man, told the class it was calisthenics day and to start with push ups. So, I got down, assumed the position and began. The teacher came up to me, said “Oh no, you have to do your push ups like a girl.”. I had no idea what he was talking about. “Like a girl?” I asked. He said “Yes. Like a girl. Bend your knees, like the other girls.”. I looked around and they all bent their knees instead of being in a plank position. I looked at him and said “I’ve never seen that before. I don’t know how to do that. I’m doing it my way.”. To which he responded “Like a boy? Hmmm.”. When spring rolled around, it was time for baseball, my favorite sport at the time. I got up to plate and he placed a t-ball stand in front of me. I asked “What’s that for?”. He told me “Girls are afraid of the ball and can’t hit a pitch.”. I kicked the stand over, looked the him in the eye, and told the pitcher “Pitch it!”. …this is how I know there is a god, I hit that ball out of the park on my first swing. I thanked Jesus all the way around the bases.

Fast forward to high school. In Winnipeg, I was in french immersion for 3 years, so when we moved back to Ontario, I was a little lost in science. I had learned the basics in french. I asked my science teacher, another man, to clarify if I had the theory correct. As I was trying to explain I had learned it in french and wanted to make sure I had it right, I was told “Don’t worry so much. You only need one science credit. Pretty girls don’t need science.”. I was also told by a male teacher in grade 11 that “most girls get bored with computers” when I was getting lost in computer programming, a course I chose as an elective because I thought it was cool when my dad and I programmed our commodore vic 20 when I was 11.

In my sales career, spanning 25 years, men have told me;

  • I ask too many questions and if I can’t answer a customer’s question, just get one of the guys. – while selling cars
  • I should smile more
  • I get too emotional – when a fellow sales person scooped my deal and my commissions and I dared to stand up for myself. I had an appointment booked and the customer was under my name in the system, until the rat changed it.
  • “Wow! You have brains with your beauty”.
  • “Better ask your husband if it’s okay that you have to work late”
  • I wear too much makeup
  • I need to wear more makeup
  • I wear too much jewelry
  • I need to wear more jewelry
  • I am better being the face of the business, not to worry so much about what goes on behind the scenes.

Thanks to my stubborn nature, my need to fight for the underdog, my father raising me that I could do anything anyone else could do, my darling hubby who always has my back and a few good men that stood out from the crowd and fought for me and with me, I never let those remarks define me. Oh they stung and pissed me off to no end. I refused to let them define me. Then and now.

It’s 2018 and the fact that girls and women still hear these phrases (and worse) disgust me. Plain and Simple. Here’s the deal. In my book, you are either a good person or an ass. You either use your words to lift others up or to push them down. You are either kind, or you’re not. I don’t care if you are a man or a woman. I don’t care the color of your skin or if you believe in Christ, Buddha or the smurfs. Treat others as you want to be treated. Plain and simple.