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.

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, 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.Β  Yesterday, I was thinking of one of my most popular postsΒ  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.