Beauty, health and wellness, Women

Sticks and Stones

We all know the childhood chant “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names can never hurt me.”. Oh, how I wish that were true. There has been many a moment I would have taken a blow to the gut rather than an unkind or untrue phrase spoken. Physical bruises heal. Emotional ones, when it comes to healing, those suckers move at a turtles pace. I am 46 years old and there are still some words I cannot erase from my mind.

We’ve all heard them, I am sorry to say. We’ve been called a liar, useless, fat, ugly…you name it, at some point in our lives, someone has uttered these words to us, and sadly, we have uttered them to ourselves. What I find the most heartbreaking is when we let someone else’s words begin to define us. I admit, I have fallen victim to this, in the past and even in the present. I was beginning to listen to the shouts of self doubt that were unfortunately being boosted up by the words of others. Then one night, after a shit show of a day, I sat down in bed and looked over at a journal I had been given years ago. It’s Tiffany blue and embossed in gold were the words “be happy”. I reached over, cracked it open and began to write. I wrote how I feeling, what I was thinking. After, I felt better. My feelings were still hurt, I was still confused about what to do, but I felt better. The next night before bed, I wrote again. I have continued to do so each night. That’s the wonderful thing about writing in a journal, you get the questions out of your head and sooner or later, answers appear.

When I was younger, I heard my mother say something to a friend of hers that was going through a difficult separation “we hate in others what we hate in ourselves.”. I found myself writing that phrase in my journal. I also remember as a child being told “when you point a finger, there are three pointing back at you.”. While writing last night, I finally got it. I stepped outside of myself and took a good, hard look at the lives of those around me who haven’t been the nicest as of late. They are all going through something. Be it trouble at work, trouble with family, battling some inner demon, even battling addiction. I came to realize that when they were pointing the finger at me, they were also pointing it at themselves. To be clear, there is no excuse for hurtful words or actions. What I am saying is trying to understand where they are coming from may bring you some peace. I am well aware that I am not a saint. I have had my moments that I took the low road and went for the jugular. Over the years I have made a commitment to myself not to behave that way. I do my best to listen and understand. I will take whatever is coming to me, if I deserve it.

We all get angry. We all get down on ourselves. We all get frustrated with life, family, work, you name it. I think we should all be allowed to feel whatever we are feeling. I do not believe we should be allowed to be mean about it. There is no reason for that, there is no honor to yourself or the other person. Saying hurtful things for the sake of argument is childish. Plain and simple. I have come to feel sorry for those who have been hurtful for hurtful’s sake. In the wee small hours of the morning, for the rest of their lives, they will have to live with the fact that they purposefully hurt someone they love. That is something I wouldn’t wish upon anyone.

There is always a chance for kindness. As hard as it may be to do, we can stop saying something hurtful before we start. We can take a breath. When you feel like lashing out, take a moment to remember what you would do if you heard another person speaking this way. If you wouldn’t allow another person to speak in a hurtful way in your presence, maybe you shouldn’t either.

 

Beauty, Business, Hair Care

My morning Coffey

The following is a personal salon tale, it is about how I came to be that girl in the red coat. A few years ago, I found myself loathing my job. I had wandered off the beauty biz path and into another industry. I knew something was wrong when I found myself hoping the next phone call would be my daughter’s school stating she was sick, so I could go home for the day. I have always been known for my strong opinions, to tell it like it is. I am a firm believer in leading by example and not painting everyone with the same brush. That being said, my manager’s and I didn’t always see eye to eye.

I remember the day I came home, feeling like maybe it was me that was the problem. I was the only one speaking up and more or less being told to shut it. Working my butt off without a thank you while others texted and stood around looking busy and got a coffee “on the boss”.  After homework was checked and dishes were done I flopped into the couch, put on my best pout, turned on the television and there she was. Tabatha. Tabatha Coffey.  She wasn’t afraid to speak the truth, to lead by example, to show her integrity all while in the most awesome heels and great clothes. As I watched the first of many “Salon Takeovers” I felt the little flame ignite again. It was then and there I quietly promised myself somehow, someway I would get back to my beloved industry, I would return to the beauty biz, to my home away from home – and that I would meet Tabatha.

Now, remember, I am not a stylist nor an aesthetician.  In the past I had managed a Beauty Supply and Salon. I know, you are wondering how will she get back in the biz? Well, here’s how. I always kept in touch with my contacts from the biz, kept in contact with my old employer and stylists, kept up with all the newest products (thank you In Style ,Google and Tabatha.). I never stopped believing, as a child believes in the tooth fairy, that one day I would be back in the biz.

It happened. The powers that be, the universe, the Smurfs – take your pick – opened a door and I ran through it. My previous employer was selling her Beauty Supply/Salon. The new owner/head stylist and I met in passing one day as I went into the store to buy my hairspray. Long story short, the new owner offered me my old management position. I will be forever grateful to her. I was finally coming home. Oh yes, and I got to meet  Tabatha. Yes I did!!  I had bought her book – “It’s not really about the hair” and when I bought it I told my daughter I would meet her one day and she would sign my book. In 2011, Tabatha was at the ABA in Toronto and my new boss bought me a ticket to the show. I heard Tabatha speak, waited in line, and had my picture taken and book signed. I thanked her for inspiring me to get back in the biz, and she told me she loved the hue of my red coat.

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This past year I had the privilege of hearing her speak at the 2012 ABA in Toronto. Once again, she reinforced the fire in me and my belief in true customer service, professionalism, educating yourself and keeping your head in the game.

Tabatha Coffey is a true professional. She has poise, intelligence, creativity and above all else, balls. Yes ladies and gentlemen and feminists alike, I said it. Balls. She reminded me that it’s okay to have an educated opinion, to have pride in yourself and your work and not to care what people think. Tabatha helped me to be brave once more and to stop hiding my abilities.

Thank you Tabatha Coffey.

Yours truly, That girl in the red coat.