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.

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

…speaking of Beauty

In the age of Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, you name it, it seems that beauty is all around us. Everyone has beautiful hair, beautiful clothes, beautiful vacation destinations, beautiful homes, hell, even beautiful pets. Being on the cusp of 46 years in this earthly realm, I know that everything you see and everything you hear may not always be true. Unfortunately , being bombarded by all these pictures, posts and hashtags on a daily basis, many women I know and hold dear to my heart are feeling less than beautiful. Feeling like they don’t measure up or feel like they are missing out or made the wrong life choices, be it marriage or their new hair style. All of this came to a head for yours truly a few days ago when I was chatting with my daughter. She is now 21 and going through what we all did at 21. Trying to figure out where our lives will lead. Wondering what path is the correct path to take. Feeling like the only person in the world going through this strife. Wondering why everyone else seems to have it all together. Wondering what’s wrong with me?

As we were chatting, the conversation came around to social media…being a parent of a millennial, this is a constant issue. I reminded her, as I have to remind myself, that people don’t post the ugly, only the pretty. I posed her the question I have posed to many others, “Wouldn’t it be lovely if more people posted and spoke of the ugly?”. One of the many reasons I am proud of my girl is she is honest with her posts, be it her achievements or her struggles. It’s a scary thing to put yourself out there, warts and all, and I for one believe people should be applauded for it. I also told her, much to her chagrin, that those feelings will pop up many times over the course of her life, that they are not only a factor of being 21. What she, and we all need to focus on is what matters most. Our inner beauty, for it doesn’t matter how coiffed our hair is or how we achieved the perfect smoky eye if our soul and our mind cannot see it, or feel the wonder that is us.

At some time in our lives, we have all felt fat. We have all felt ugly. We have all shrugged at our reflection under the horrible lighting in the change room. We have all felt our stomach drop when invited to a pool party knowing we have to put on a bathing suit. We have all burnt dinner. We have all yelled at our kids for something that was not their fault. We have all dismissed our spouses. We have all “forgotten” to call our parents. We have all lost our shit. Speaking from personal experience, all of the above happened when I was focusing outward, not inward. Think of it this way, you remodel your bathroom, it is Pinterest worthy. If the plumbing wasn’t put in correctly…it ain’t so pretty. I came across a great passage courtesy of Iain Thomas…

“…and every day. The world will drag you by the hand, yelling “This is important! And this is important! And this is important! You need to worry about this! And this! And this!”

And each day, it’s up to you to yank your hand back, put it to your heart and say “No. This is what is important.”.

Comparison is the thief of joy Beauties. There is no comfort in that. Where there is comfort is in our commonality, in our stories of short comings and how we overcame them, in speaking of the ugliness that came along with pulling ourselves out of the mud, how we brushed off the dirt to find we were fresh and clean underneath.

As for all the pictures and posts you will see today, see them for what they are. Moments. Be happy for others achievements. Celebrate their moment of happiness. Remember, we are all just trying to get through the day, and most of all, be your own beautiful. In the end, in the wee small hours of the morning, that is all that really matters, what you think of you and how you feel about yourself.

In the immortal words of  L.M. Montgomery’s character Anne Shirley “Tomorrow is always fresh, with no mistakes in it yet.”.

 

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

Share and share alike

Everywhere you look, people are sharing. Sharing “likes” on Facebook, sharing pics on Instagram, tweeting their latest opinion on Twitter, snapping a moment on Snapchat. I often find myself wondering, what is real and what is not. Over the past weeks, you may have noticed that yours truly hadn’t been sharing much on my blog. It wasn’t for lack of material or opinions…as those who know me know all too well, when it comes to opinions I have a deep well to draw from. The reason for my lack of sharing you ask? My life and the lives of those I hold dear needed some attention, some tending to if you will. I also needed some tending to. I realized I had to take a step back and take a good look at what I was doing, where I was going and where I wanted to go. Now, before you all start to create scenario’s in your head to spill at the watercooler, let me make things clear. No one is ill. No one is leaving anyone. No one has been arrested. I came to realize that the powers that be that directed me onto this road after the closure of the shop had given me a gift. That gift being time.

I used to have time. I used to make time. I stayed home with my daughter until she was 5. Back then I would make time for me. I would make time for chats with my hubby, walks, coffee with friends, well, for life, plain and simple. I would make time for me so I could enjoy the time with my daughter, so I could enjoy the multitude of questions posed by a toddler – 100 before 7:00a.m. ( I counted one day – hey it was educational…I taught my daughter to count to 100 didn’t I?). Over the past weeks, I realized that I hadn’t made time since my daughter crossed the threshold into her kindergarten class. I went right back to work, full force. Always moving on to the next thing, finding the next idea. Over coming financial struggles, dealing with plant closures and lay offs, taking any amount of hours given so we could keep our home. Those days are long gone, but the memory of them still reside. I had put myself in survivor mode and forgotten to change the record. I had become so focused on working and keeping my house, paying off debts and having money in the bank that I hadn’t realized that I still had my house, the majority of the debt is paid off and there is money in the bank.

I realized something last week. I am always telling the women I know to make time for themselves. I thought I was. It wasn’t until last night as I was painting my nails that I realized this was the first time in along time I was painting my nails, for me. Not for an Instagram shot, not for work. For me. On the weekend, I was having a really good hair day, so I took a selfie. For me. Yes, I put it on Instagram, but I put it up there for me. If no one had liked it, I would have been fine with it. People liking it was a perk. I did it for me. I have adored photo’s since I was a child. I could and can sit and look at photo’s for hours. I wanted that picture because whenever I look at it, I remember how I felt and remembering happiness is a good thing.

The moral of today’s tale? If you are going to share your moments, your opinions, your snaps and your chats, make them worth remembering, for you. Create moments worth sharing. Do not create moments just so you can share them. Plain and simple.

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

Womankind?

I want you to picture two women in a shop. Another woman walks in and recognizes her friend and stops to say hello. Pleasantries are shared. Introductions are made. “So great to see you! You look terrific! Lets catch up over coffee…soon!”. As our third lovely lass is leaving the shop, her heel not even over the threshold, the two women begin “Did you see her hair?”. “Hmmppt…doesn’t she think she is all that since losing weight.”. “I wonder who she slept with to get that job?”. “What’s with the red hair? Doesn’t she know how foolish she looks?”. “I think she drinks too much.” as they saunter up to the counter.

This is a sampling of the daily, yes daily conversations I hear and am sadly sometimes apart of, everyday. I am not proud of this and when I realize what I am a part of, I try to stop it, or at least my part in it. Once I realize what is happening, I am usually excluded from these conversations soon after they begin because I tend to call people out on their shit. The minute I ask “What makes you say that?” or “How is she doing anyway?” or “Oh good for her! That’s awesome!” most women look at me like I have 3 heads and am speaking Chinese, then begin to carry on the conversation with whomever is closest and I am slowly but surely “uninvited” to the conversation.

Ever since I was a child, I never understood meanness or bullies. In fact, I was the kid who would end up getting in a scrap with the school yard bully. I don’t know why, I just had no room for someone being mean to someone else. I would always give them fair warning about what was to come. Some listened. Some did not. Jeans were torn. Eyes were blackened. Tears were shed (of course I held my in until no one was around, had to keep up appearances). In the end, the bully started to leave more kids alone. Some times we ended up becoming friends. Fast forward 30 years and I still cannot understand nor abide meanness and bullying. On the cusp of 44, I can no longer tell the bully to meet me behind the school, but I can speak my mind and speak up for the woman who is not present for the dissection of her image, her decisions and her life. I don’t know what it is about women, we are the first to unite against any man who disrespects a woman, yet we are also the first to disrespect a fellow woman for her choice of skirt length or hair color.

A few years ago, when I saw and heard what my then 15 year old daughter and girls her age were going through, Sunday Confession was born.

https://thatgirlintheredcoat.com/2013/06/09/sunday-confession/

Today’s I have some reminders for those of us over 21, who should know better and should do better. Be kind. Seriously, it really is that easy.

  • Primary school playground antics belong on the playground.
  • High School is over.
  • Life is not a popularity contest.
  • Gossip is tacky
  • Do not be two faced, with anyone. There is not enough makeup in the world to cover that up.
  • If you see someone you don’t like when you are at the grocery store, do not cower under your shopping cart in hopes that they don’t see you. Do what your mother taught you, smile and say hello as you pass them.
  • When a woman changes her hair or hair color and loves it, do not ask her “Does your husband still kiss you with that hair?” – I have had more than one woman ask me this gem…and the answer is yes, every day.
  • If you wouldn’t give another woman your opinion to her face, please refrain from tweeting it or making it your status update.
  • You do not have to agree or respect another woman’s choices, nor does she have to agree with or respect yours.
  • When the day is done, who cares if you breast feed or bottle feed your baby. All that matters is that they are being fed….and it’s no one’s business what you choose to do with your baby.
  • When a woman loses weight, do not automatically assume her marriage is in trouble – another gem of a question/accusation tossed my way.
  • Reading “50 Shades of Grey” does not mean a woman is easy. …if anything it probably means her partner is very happy.
  • No one is what they “post” to be. (cannot take credit for that one, came across it a while back and love it)
  • When you hear of another woman’s accomplishment, celebrate it and her.
  • Unless you are the Madame of a brothel, it’s really none of your business who a woman has or has not slept with.
  • If you don’t want everyone knowing your business, don’t tell them.

The next time you are about to belittle another woman’s accomplishment, her life choices, her sexual partner or her hair color, remember this…what you say about the other woman says more about you than them.

 

 

 

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

Man in the Mirror

In the age of equality, I feel I must write about this today. Today’s tale is for those who want to like their reflection. For those who want to turn heads. For those who want a compliment on their appearance. For those who feel insecure about the changes in their skin, their hair and their bodies. For those who are trying to find the person they once knew, who don’t recognize that person looking back at them in the mirror. Today’s tale is for all the Gents. Yes, for the Gents.

As of late I have realized two things. First, all gents want to look good. Second, when a gent wants to look good, more often than not, he is teased or cursed for it. …and this needs to stop.

I met a man last week that was concerned about his hairline. He was so embarrassed by it, he wouldn’t remove his hat. I let him know that no one else was in the shop, that he didn’t have to take off his hat, he just had to lift the front a little so I could see his hairline, then I would know what products would be best for him. As he raised his cap, his eyes went directly to the floor. I thanked him, I looked at his hairline and told him to remove his hat, since there was nothing to be worried about. He looked at me and said “…but my wife told me last night that my hairline was receding and I should just shave my head.”. It was then that I got out my Nioxin manual and showed him pictures of receding hair lines and hair loss and asked him “Do you look like that?”. He smirked and said “No.”. I explained that yes, maybe his hair line was finer than it used to be, then I told him so was mine and lifted up my bangs to show him. Finally, consistent eye contact! After a few minutes, we decided an updated cut may be the answer and applying some product in his hair to keep it in place. I told him my secret “Getting my hair to look like this…it’s all smoke and mirrors my friend. Smoke and mirrors!” to which he laughed, then thanked me for my time and my courtesy and for not making him feel silly or vain.

I am about to tell you something so that you will know, and someday your children will know…men want to like their reflection, for themselves. Men feel just as insecure as women about aging. Men want their spouses/partners to find them sexy and attractive and worry that they don’t measure up – no pun intended – get your mind out of the gutter. Men know that their hair line is changing, they do not need it pointed out. Think about it ladies…what would happen if a man pointed out your ever so slightly saggy neck. If you are going to tell a man to “just shave your head” because he is beginning to thin a tad, you better be ready for him to say “just get botox” when a line is spotted.  Those familiar with my blog know I have written of this before, see link below;

https://thatgirlintheredcoat.com/2012/11/02/receding-hairlines-and-muffin-tops/

…and from time to time, I will continue to write about this for making fun of anyone or belittling anyone who is trying to improve themselves is unkind and ugly. Plain and simple. If you want to be treated as an equal, be careful how you treat others, for you get what you give.

ThatGirlx3

 

 

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

Believe

believe – accept (something) as true; feel sure of the truth of

Those familiar with my Salon Tales, you know I am a believer that all things are possible. I am 42 and I still think a little pixie dust goes a long way. Today’s tale is a personal one – it’s going to be short, sweet and sassy – like yours truly.

Some great things have happened for me over the past weeks. Yours truly has been invited by sarynaKey to blog about their fabulous products and I will be a featured blogger on http://www.justpencilmein.ca .

IMG_20150112_140505      IMG_20150115_072508

Actually, some pretty fantastic things have been happening for me since I began my blog, from being published on websites like http://www.salonmagazine.ca to being invited to some pretty spectacular events, like the Contessa’s and Joico’s Spring Trend Show. Two of  the best things happened just last week. The first, as I was having coffee with an old friend. She told me that I looked fabulous – from the inside out. I agreed with her. I look in the mirror and I love what I see. I feel the spring in my step when I walk down the street or the grocery aisle.  I no longer fear the change room or trying on a new outfit. The second, my daughter told me I am laughing more. She is right, I am. I gotta admit it, once you start living the life you imagine for yourself and start believing in yourself, good things begin to happen. Not to get all “the Secret” on you, but, thoughts become things and what you focus on does become stronger….oh, and eating well and getting off your ass helps…who knew?!

To be clear, I still have melt down moments. I still lay in bed after shutting off my alarm whining that “I don’t wanna get up!”. I still get pissed off that things aren’t happening fast enough – as you all know – my patience is a work in process. I still look at my exercise bicycle and tell it “to stop mocking me”…and yes, I still venture through the drive thru. I am not as social as I once was – for now. You see, I married young and started a family and now I am focusing on my career, so my free time is precious and my daughter is about to be 18 and still likes to spend time with me and my hubby is still the cutest, sexiest and funniest guy I know – so they get first dibs.

May today’s tale give you that extra nudge you may need to go after what ever it is you want. It can happen. It can.