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

Who knew?

Those of you who follow my blog and those of you who know me personally know all too well I always look for the positive in everything. I search for the underlying lessons. I seek out the light in the darkness. These past few months have been a true test to this. Someone dear and precious to me has been struggling…a story that is not mine to tell. Watching them struggle, seeing what it was doing to them and in turn to me and others was getting too much to bear. I found myself not being myself, or feeling like myself. Knots in my stomach, sleepless nights, lack of appetite…you name it, I had it. After a night of almost no sleep I reached a breaking point. Here I was, sleepless, bed head to the tenth degree, having a mental breakdown and it wasn’t even 7:30 a.m. I had been reading everything I could get my hands on to help spark my pilot light. I even reached for my bible…to no avail. Seriously, someone has to write a cliff notes for the bible. I scoured that sucker and couldn’t find any comfort. I am a spiritual person. I do believe in a higher power, and energy. There is something or someone greater than us. Call it God, the universe, the Smurfs, whatever. It’s there. In my frustration and down right tantrum I almost threw it across the room. Instead, I reached out to the husband of one of my best friends. He is a pastor. I asked him for guidance, for a scripture that may help me regain perspective. Within minutes, I mean minutes, I had a response. This was it,

“Don’t worry about anything;instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand.” – Philippians 4:6-7

Well, let me tell you. The tears ran down my face, ugly face, snot nosed crying for over 30 minutes. A peace came over me. I cannot explain it, nor do I feel I have to. All I can tell you is reading that passage catapulted me back to myself. After I stopped crying and somewhat regained my composure, I started to feel that knot in my stomach again. I literally stopped walking through my living room, took a deep breath, and said a prayer about what I was worried about. I asked for strength and courage. I stated what I wanted for myself and others. I made myself picture it in my mind before I took another step…if I have a peeping Tom, he got quite a show. The knot went away. On my way to work that day, as I pulled into my parking spot, the knot came back and my mind flooded with all the what if’s and the memories of the past events. I put my car in park, shut of the engine and stated out loud to myself, the universe and the dude waiting at the bus stop what I needed. The knot went away. It’s been over 2 months now, and guess what? The knot went away.

I am not a guru on the mount, nor am I an expert. In the words of the beloved June Carter Cash, I am a woman who is “just trying to matter”. Praying, positive affirmations, whatever it is, only work if you do. Yes, the scripture made me feel better. Yes, praying made the knot go away. I also had to do the work, walk the walk and talk the talk if you will. I had to own my shit. Own my part in all the craziness going on. When you are honest with yourself, it may not be pretty, but trust me, you will feel beautiful.

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, 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.

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.

 

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

Step back

It may have taken 22 years, but yours truly took a vacation. Yes, you read that correctly, 22 years. My beloved and I flew across the country to Vancouver, rocked out to the Def Leppard/Journey concert, ate at Gotham, the best steak house in town, strolled the streets of GasTown, Burnaby, and the glorious waterfronts with mountains on every horizon. We ate breakfast at a “You gotta eat here” restaurant. It was lovely. Except for a few Facebook posts and Instagram stories for our family and friends, yours truly unplugged from social media, my blog, my job, my day to day stresses, my to do lists, everything. I was present in every hour and every minute of my day. My hubby and I were able to complete conversations, to sit in silence together and just be. Time moved slower in Vancouver, maybe I was in vacation mode, maybe it was the scent of Mary Jane in the air around every corner (I shit you not.). All I know is I felt more zen than I had in a while, and the lovely thing is that feeling of zen flew home with me back to Ontario.

Over the past months, as you are well aware, I have been trying to find my place in this blogging arena. I started as a beauty blogger, giving tips and tricks and product knowledge. I wrote of my daily retail experiences and customer dramas…the lady thinking I stole her light bulb, the countless ladies showing me their ingrown hairs along their bikini line, the gents asking me about how to trim their nether regions….check out my Tales of Truth series for the full effect. I also wrote about lifestyle, kindness, the ugly things we don’t talk about at parties – and to tell you the truth, those were the blogs that flowed out of me, that were the best received and that brought me the most fulfillment and in turn ,the most opportunities. One of the things I learned while in Vancouver, other than those folks like their marijuana, is that I wasn’t being true to myself where my writing is concerned. I was trying to hold on to who I used to be and what I used to write about. I am no longer that woman, career wise or in my own mind. She still resides within me, but she has changed. She has matured, She has been through some shit and come out clean on the other side. She has something to offer. I have something to offer. I cannot articulate my reasoning. All I know is that it is time to stop being afraid of what may or may not lie ahead. Change is a good thing. Stepping back makes inspiration move forward.

I will continue to write product reviews and how to’s, for I love to help women and men feel good about their hair and in turn their appearance. I will continue to tell my Tales of Truth because I find it amazing the things people say to complete strangers, it’s funny and quite frankly cathartic. I will continue to write about kindness, for I believe it makes the world go round and in these days, we need it more than ever. From time to time, I may get political, for there are events happening in this world that are morally wrong, plain and simple.

I have no idea where this will lead or what may transpire. My intention, as always is to educate and inspire. To help people think of things differently, not to agree with me, but to open the door a crack to peek at what is on the other side.

Be beautiful to each other.

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

Find your path

 

I woke up this morning feeling lost. Wondering what the hell was I doing with my life? I know I talk a big game but I too suffer from the midweek blahs as I like to call them. Maybe it’s the planets in retrograde. Maybe it’s my lack of exercise. Maybe it’s hormones. Yes, I had a hysterectomy 9 years ago, but I still have my ovaries, so it could be hormones…the joys of womanhood in your forties. So, I plopped myself with a pout and my coffee in hand into my favorite chair and started scrolling through my feeds. I came across a post that I instantly shared via my Instagram story, Instagram feed and Facebook page. Reader’s Digest version – it spoke of patience and that what you need and desire for a feeling a free life will come. It will come. To be gentle with yourself.

My struggle with life is more of a professional one. Many paths are inviting me to stroll down them. Honestly, I am done with strolling down paths others have laid out before me. I know that is why I am feeling the way I am today. I have been taking the easy road lately. I have been choosing the comfortable options. I know better, but have not been doing better – hence today’s tale. I made myself sit down and write today. I have been blogging for 6 years now, but for some reason it began to scare me. My mind filled with thoughts of worrying about what others will think, worrying that others will think my blog has no format or flow. …and just as those thoughts almost overtook my courage this gem by Tayna Markul came across via P!NK’s Instagram

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

…so here I am, speaking my truth instead of trying to be good.

 

Admitting our truths is scary. Trying to be good, hell, it’s frightening. Trying to be good is faking it, and I am done with faking it. My life isn’t all moonlight and roses. No one’s is…and that’s okay. So, here’s a little another nugget to help you have a better day and find your path, the one you choose, not the one chosen for you.

  • for those going through a separation or divorce – there is no shame to be felt. Be gentle with yourself – it just didn’t go as you had hoped
  • for those scorned by love – keep loving. Keep believing in love – if you don’t believe it can exist, it cannot find it’s way to your door
  • for those whose children are struggling with mental health issues – it’s not your fault, it is nothing to be ashamed of, it’s okay to talk about it and it’s okay to be frustrated by it.
  • it’s okay to love someone and not like them at the same time
  • it’s okay to want more – it’s not okay to punish others because you don’t have more
  • if you want something, you gotta do the work
  • if you want something, be okay with being scared
  • no one, I mean no one has all their shit together.

Stop comparing your life to the lives of others. Right now I am back at my old job. Shoe sales. My old employer asked me to come back, so I did. On my terms, with a schedule that works best for me. When I was first offered the position I thought “what will people say?” …then I remembered the opinions of others don’t pay my bills. My life is my life. Your life is your life. We are all just trying to get through and trying to matter.

Do what you have to do until you can do what you want to do. Stop trying to be good. Feel the fright, embrace it and find your path. Plain and simple.