Attempt to write a more articulate piece…

I am attempting to write an articulate piece about urgent care. I’ve calmed down a little. I’m feeling guilty about trashing the RCMP, but not really. How does anyone get anything noticed if you don’t say anything?

Over the past three weeks, a lot of front-line workers have lacked the knowledge to recognize urgent mental health issues… In my opinion. Not just the RCMP.
My 10 ft angry mother is not pleased. How would you feel if it was your child, sister, mother?

The triage nurse at the mental health ward in Jubilee had security escort her out two weeks ago. Olivia was in full psychosis. She was having auditory hallucinations and threw her food tray. They put her out on the street. Literally. The RCMP. They have been at my house three times in the past week. Nothing was solved. (Well, I felt better after blasting them.) The receptionist at the walk-in clinic, who couldn’t wait 2 mins for me to grab her health card. Two minutes. It’s so frustrating.

My nosey neighbor from three doors down got a good show. I should tell her to read my blog if she wants the real story.

This is the time one says if she had a broken arm, she’d get taken to the hospital right away, Despite her age and mental health capacity.

Mental health is not something we can see. It’s invisible on the outside. It doesn’t bleed, it doesn’t split, it doesn’t need stitches. Because it’s something you can’t see, people suffer. A lot. No, she didn’t succumb to her suicide attempt a month ago. She regretted it immediately and went and had her charcoal milkshake, nevertheless, nobody tried to contact me.

The paramedics didn’t even get a chance to assess her. They were parked up the road waiting for the o.k from the cops. So the RCMP … (who last I checked are good at fighting crime not assessing patients) decided she didn’t need to talk to the paramedics. And again she is 23. And stubborn. I mean I just don’t understand. She was obviously not ok.

My darling child can be charming, and quite convincing… apparently, even when she is spiraling about a conspiracy against her, and clutching random papers to her chest. Her evidence.
She gave the officers the whole story. They must have known… no?
I was asked to wait outside.

All I had to do, was look into her eyes. It’s so hard when your child reaches the age of adult but can’t actually make rational decisions. And you have to stand by and rely on some 25-year-old white kid from around the corner to make the decision for you. I really don’t mean to be so disrespectful. Langford is picture-perfect, and most of my dealings with the RCMP have been positive. They helped me so much getting Rae out of my life. I mean it’s the system, right? But I also think the system needs some tweaking.

To be clear, she still has not physically seen a Dr. yet. A month… a month since she started showing crisis symptoms. And no medication actually prescribed to her. For a month I’ve been trying to figure something out for her. I am the one who has figured out immediate care. I am the one who decided to give her my insomnia medication, to make sure she sleeps, I am the one who has explained to every support person and Dr. what was going on, looking for suggestions. I am the one who is trying to make sure she doesn’t go down the drain with her intrusive, racing thoughts. I am the one who is taking her on four-hour walks so she’s exhausted, and doesn’t have the energy to think. This may be obvious care for a mom, but I am not a nurse, dr, or licensed health care person in any way. It’s scary man, and it’s hard!

The RCMP’s last suggestion? Basically wait for her to commit a crime, get a charge, and be arrested. Great, let me give her back her computer so she can continue to alienate herself from all her friends on social media. Maybe one of them will call the police, and you guys can come out here again. Not the ideal ‘last straw’.
So now what?

*A little housekeeping here, my blog content moving forward is for 19 years and up. To protect myself and my family, I will be adding a membership login to this part of my site. Your support means a lot to me and thank you 🙂

Lou

Stupidest thing I have heard today..

So it’s close to midnight am I am just going over my day. Recollecting one’s thoughts…as we do.

In the past three weeks I have;
Had her speak with my Dr, telephone appointment.
Gotten referrals set up for a mental health intake assessment – for this week.
Got her on a schedule, for sleep and food.  – For some this may be hard to believe, I need sleep as well. I also unfortunately don’t have restraints on her bed to force her into submission…(oops I mean sleep.)
Nor do I have any actual prescription medication to give her. Ya, that Benadryl really does the fucking trick. (I being sarcastic.)
Removed her phone and computer many, many times.
Unplugged the internet. That’s so great. That’s been really helpful to my younger daughter, online school, friends, entertainment, distraction, and all. (fuck off.)

Today we have;
Called the paramedics twice and the RCMP (they are always first.)
The RCMP has acknowledged – she is delusional and very unwell. Awesome help me, get her into the hospital.
Nope, nothing they can do because she is 23 and is refusing to go to the hospital.

So I’m lying in bed fully clothed waiting for the next fit to take hold so I can spring into action.
Her dad is sleeping outside the house in his truck.

The stupidest thing I heard today? “you know her sleep is really important..” – RCMP officer

Ohhhhh…Is that before or after I peel her off of the recycling bin she has climbed up on while screaming in a manic state? Or is it when she’s done telling me about the hackers that are listening and watching every word. Hmmm, maybe it’s after she verbally assaults and spits venom at us, her parents?

Yea, thanks Pillsbury doughboy. Fuck off and go suck an egg, you useless twat.

Run back to Langford and direct some traffic, you Ass Hat. Go live a fucking life.

Next time you try to offer to advise in your condescending tone. Consider this, have you ever actually left Vancouver Island? Have you ever actually worked a fucking shift in tent city?? Do you know anything…about mental illness??? Fuck you.

Go home and eat some more vanilla ice cream and lose the fucking hair gel, before I punch you in the fucking neck.

LHEP

I love the spring. I love watching it come alive.

I went for a walk this morning, it was so nice to move. Lately, I’ve had a thing about leaving the house. I have a touch of agoraphobia.

“Mom,  you can’t just have a touch,” says Jackie thrusting her phone in my general direction. “It’s hereditary…read this, plus Granny had it.” Jackie, my younger, intellectual GEN Z daughter declared after medic googling this morning. Thank-you Jackie.

I can’t imagine the person I used to be. I’d just jump in my massive truck and burn up and down the highway, hair and cigarettes flying. Not just the Pat Bay, Trans Canada, the 401, 416.  With no problem every day for years. The person I am now? Hell no.  The world is a totally different place now. One so very virtual, I’ve always done labor jobs, so I’m not so sure where I fit in. I am teaching myself skills so I can work online from home. I am honing them nicely. 

My friends say “you have done so much” … I guess I have. But I don’t really think of it that way.  I have reinvented myself more than once I guess. I have lived a fun life. I just applied for a job that requires a kind of background check. As a joke, my sister asked if I had passed. As a kid, I stole from the corner store, hid people in my closet, snuck the car out. Once in my teens, a girlfriend had a stolen credit card and we went shopping…straight to le Chateau for cute outfits. She was fearless and got a big old diamond ring.  I wonder what happened to her? I remember seeing her on Geroldo Rivera ten years later, I don’t remember the details but was absolutely impressed and not at all surprised that she had made it onto his show.

One of my old hairdressing clients reached out to me yesterday, as a hairdresser I could relate to so many people. Hairdressing was good training for my practitioner license in the interpersonal human relationships field.  I’m kinda badass now that I have both.

Gypsy

My little Liv.

My oldest daughter has moved home with me for a bit. She is creative, funny, smart, and very beautiful. She is also, in sharp contrast, very uncomfortable in her own skin. Twenty-three now must be a totally different place than it was for me. For one thing, I was married, for another, I did not get a cell phone until I was 32. Cell phones were around but not in any capacity as they are today…social media is so insidious.

It took me a week to get her here. She was living on the mainland. I asked her to come home more than once over the last month. The first two or three days she was here, she was manic…I mean so worked up she would not stop talking. She talked and talked and talked. She did yoga, for 36 hrs straight. She wouldn’t sleep and would spiral into self-hatred, fits of rage and tears soon to follow.

She has moved in and out of my home more than a few times. We have had our issues like any mother-daughter. I feel a lot of blame towards me coming from her, and pain and frustration at herself. She is very angry with herself. She’s so angry at the world. She finds it hard to listen and finds it hard to take accountability…I guess to make sense of the life that she can’t make sense of.

She and I have been doing a lot of therapy over the past two weeks. She’s come to realize a few things. She realizes that she feels invisible. And that she wants validity from people that will never give it to her. Last summer she was diagnosed with BPD, I’m not sure I understand or agree with that. Once when she was being what I thought was particularly irrational, I told her she was behaving just like my sister Dani. This “acting out”… is so much more than one’s personality or “throwing tantrums”. She may be bipolar- and I think we need to find a better therapist than she has seen. The symptoms are scary and familiar.

Dani was my first best friend. We did everything together when we were growing up. She is a hippy through and through, I love her to death. After a few years of not looking after her health- she was diagnosed as bipolar. Looking back, I remember very clearly her manic episodes when we were growing up. Anger, deep depression, and creative highs, filled with music. No sleep makes Dani a genius. She can sing any song, play any instrument she picks up, and write a song. Dani was not diagnosed till later in life and misunderstood. Just like I feel Liv is sometimes. She and Olivia were very close until about 10 years ago. Dani and I lost the closeness of our relationship. I really want it back. I think it happened in the confusion of our grief and addiction when my mother died. We were all a mess. She was on pills and smoking weed, I was drunk and high all of the time.

Dani and I loved our weed when we were teens, Olivia loves her weed as well. There is a lot of concern and blame from our family about Livs choice to smoke weed. Some research shows that weed and psychosis go hand in hand with adolescence. I have been reading about it to see what I can learn. The best defense is education when it comes to fighting for your own health care, right? Otherwise, it will slip through. I have read alternative studies that claim weed doesn’t have any long-term effects and after stopping use, any issues generally clear up. I am undecided about it yet until I read more.

The issue at hand is finding something that will actually work for Liv, like the individual she is. I have so much faith in her, if I taught her anything it’s to be strong when you need to be.

 

Rae

I met Rae in a bar after I had just finished a really emotional breakup with my husband. It was during my divorced party girl phase. He was beautiful. He had perfect teeth and a perfect body. He liked to party, but would never admit it. We were both heavy drinkers at that time and continued to be during our 9-year relationship. I was never head over heels in love with Rae, but we were good party buddies. He was a complete pothead and drank a 26er of Bacardi a couple of times a week. The salon was busier than ever, and I was partying hard.

My perception of him when we first met was that he was not the smartest guy, but handsome, kind, and quiet. In reality, he was a jealous, vain person and he never got any smarter.
He had a grandiose fantasy that he was this huge, Latino rap star. And he took it sooooo seriously..helping him take a photo was an ordeal. When we had sex, he would never look me in the eye. He would watch me, but when I looked at his face, he would look away, with no emotion in his eyes. Shark eyes.

Processing my last experience with him is a little like trying to move through the stone wall that’s built out front of my house. Without hands. A lot of pushing and shoving. Peter pan asks me where do I stop digging. I guess now. When I admit how much it has affected me.

He played many narcissistic mind games and would accuse me of the same. To the point where I thought, I was crazy. I used to get these really intense physical reactions when he was with me, he was suffocating. My chest would get really tight and I felt like I couldn’t breathe. We often had fights about my friends and family, he would try to isolate me from them. This particular fight was about my oldest daughter moving back to BC. He did not want her here, not just the house, the province. He shouted at me, and told me she was using me, and to not talk to her. During this fight he was standing over me, lecturing really intensely. He told me to not get up from the chair, I did not…I remember verbally disagreeing. Fuck….who knows. I was scared. I was physically paralyzed with fear, although at the time I did not realize it.

We broke up and got back together several times. This would be the same pattern over and over again for 9 years, I’d break up with him then get sucked back in with his stupid accent and his love bombing. Once I moved without telling him. He found me. During our last breakup, I left the province and did not ask him to come. Again, found me. Until finally, the abuse got so bad the RCMP was involved and he was arrested. He was escorted out of the house and sent packing back to whence he came. I have these really intense questions around it, how did I get there? Why did I keep going back? How did I let it get to that? My family was shocked, I had hidden all of it so well.

I haven’t seen Rae since that day, but it sticks with me. Sometimes I hear the things he used to say to me in my head. I hear it in his voice. I know I’m not done talking about him, but I’m done for now.

How to Murder your Life – by Cat Marnell

I love a juicy memoir!! Caitlin Elizabeth Marnell is an American writer and socialite based in New York City. She was a beauty editor at Conde Nast, wrote a column for vice and now offers alternate lifestyle advice on Patreon. How To Murder Your Life is a very fun read. It’s also really relatable. She describes growing up in an affluent lifestyle in upper New York State, who became addicted to Adderall as a teenager then moved into the life of “party girl” in NYC. She tells the story of a pretty serious poly addict. Stimulants are really her drug of choice, but she did it all. Codependency, enabling and the lonely chaos that goes along with addiction.

The Alcohol Experiment – by Anne Grace

The 30-day Alcohol-free experiment is where I started in September 2020. Covid so all the AA meetings were online, plus I wasn’t really sure that was what I wanted to do. For the rest of my life I mean – never drink again? That sounded pretty far-fetched to me at the time, but I am actually ok with that now. I am really happy to have made it 105 days without a drink.
I got A LOT out of this experiment and the online support groups. There is a daily reading or video and a daily journal to complete, I just looked back at mine. It was pretty cool to see I have made some progress.
This book was really useful because it helped me recognize what was triggering the constant “fall off the wagon” or relapse.
I didn’t stop drinking after I finished this book and the 30-day experiment. I think I made it to 36 days or something like that. It’s best for me to “practice being sober”. The third time’s a charm, right? January 1, 2021, is my date.
Reading about different people’s experiences of trying to cut down or quit, was quite inspirational. It offers a lot of virtual support. I joined the social media groups and it was really great to talk to other people in the same situation in real-time.

Triangle, Triangle…Triangle!!

I have been falling in and out of codependency my whole life. In and out of toxic relationships. All kinds of relationships, friends. lovers, family…in and out like waves. This is the first time I’ve really looked at it…not true, I’ve researched it before, and tried to work on it. But I actually really feel it this time. The more I read about it the more I learn about it, the more I recognize it.

Guess what? Classic behavior pattern for the child of an alcoholic.

People who knew my mom would say she was a creative, beautiful woman who was quick-witted and talented. Sing, dance, play the piano, act, sew, knit, cook, and do them all very, very well. People who really knew my mom would know that she was all these things plus, she was a troubled, sad, person, who couldn’t communicate and was a mean drunk. In all my therapy and reading, that is probably the worst, and most derogatory term to use, but it’s true.

She could be really difficult. I could walk into her house at any given time of the day, see her from the side and know, just know she was wasted. I would immediately go into caretaker mode, or rescuer role depending on what was going on, and then go into the suitable next step in the codependency drama triangle. She could hold her booze though, she never passed out on the couch, never vomited nor did she ever say or appear she was hungover, ever. Although I know from experience, the best cure for being hungover is just to not stop drinking. I could always hold my booze too, the first one to start and the last one to end. Apart from a few booze-fuelled fights with my most ex, I don’t really remember being mean to my friends or family. People liked to party with me, they always invited me on benders. I do have very specific times that I regret, some nights on the town. And some very fun ones that I don’t. Ever been to a party where people are not heavy drinkers? (regretful but fun). Or to one you’re not invited to but decided to crash it anyway in your dead mother’s fur coat? (Blackout regretful, not so fun)
I imagine my mom’s social life was like that, fun until it wasn’t and she’s calling me wasted saying she’s going to jump off a balcony. Not even kidding, the top floor too. The anxiety and depression that goes hand and hand with alcoholism is insane.

The one thing we codependents need to learn and to do is detach. Like mentally detach. It’s letting go of all the chaos. The chaos that goes along with living in a codependent state. You try to control everything, and in turn control, nothing, not even your own life…let that sink in, you get so caught up with what’s happening or “caretaking” (trying to control) your relationships that you ignore your own life.

Gross…. but that feels familiar doesn’t it? Here, let me relive taking care of my emotionally unavailable mother….forever, for every alcoholic and addict that I know in my life, (I live in BC…I know a few). Because it means I’m worthy.
Fucking upward reflection lizard brain. Brutal.

That is a really simplified version of my codependency, I have read a lot of academic papers and self-help books on this. The thing is, in codependency behavior caretaking is looked at as a problem. A negative thing, always ending in a victim role. Caretaking to the point where it turns the corner on the drama triangle into the victim role because “they didn’t listen to you” or do what you said, and don’t they realize how perfect their life would be if they just did what you said?! Then turn into the victim… oh poor me.

There isn’t a lot of information on the goodness of caretaking, or the compassion that goes along with it. I have helped a lot of people, who asked for it and wanted it. I feel good about it and they are happy about it. I actually love looking after people and caring for people. I guess the key is offering it for good, not evil. I am working on giving my relationships space to allow people to live their life or “truth” completely opposite of mine, while still having love and compassion for them.

Shutting off the chaos I am putting myself through. I mean, how many nights have I stressed and worried and thought about other people, and not my own thing. Work, relationships, kids, family, … honestly it is exhausting.

This apocalypse is probably not the perfect time to live out my life online, but I can’t help it.
I literally can’t stop. It’s hijacking my creative ability to do anything else! Stories are pouring out of me in big globs. Some are actually happy stories too. A few people like my writing and I like doing it. I am trying not to think about the people who may not agree with this, (and let’s face it I need to get back to actual life at some point). But for now, this is happening and helping me. And maybe getting some perspective might help other people too. A kinda social experiment on myself, that I didn’t really mean to start.

Karpman, S. (1968). Fairy tales and script drama analysis. Transactional Analysis Bulletin, 7(26), 39-43.

Poked the Bear

Well, I had a spectacular breakdown this week, it started with my new job, I thought I could handle it.. I thought it would be fairly easy and uncomplicated. It was …turns out I am not so easy and uncomplicated.

I have been working hard on my mental health, staying sober, exercising, meditating. But at the moment I feel like a crazy person. Let’s start with the panic attack I had at my new, now old job. After about three days of training, I mean really remedial training. I sat down to complete the corporate training online. It was pretty standard, lots of ethics preaching, be like us, Canadian Tire for a career and live a happy life. Middle-aged women, whose soul had slowly disappeared as their asses had slowly expanded. Lifers…lifers, That term seems extreme but the staff room felt like a prison cell, dark, dated ripped furniture, no joy, random people sitting eating their lunch with no conversation. No life, no joy, no ….nothing. I thought I can get through this, just eat outside, once the garden center opens I won’t have to train with Pete, the kind, older gentleman who was hired with me and could just not grasp the merchandise handheld computer. I was already helping him use the damn thing, It took me about two seconds to get it. I would be able to get outside, work with the plants and it would be ok.

My PTSD had other plans, you see PTSD is sneaky… it’s like that mean friend you have in high school, everything is great until she undermines you by stealing your boyfriend right from under your nose. And suddenly everybody hates you.
I think it’s under control but then I have these very dramatic explosions. Paranoid thoughts that I can’t control and that I actually believe …at the time. Racing thought, and physical pain in my body. That travels…one minute my elbow hurts, then it’s my hip, then my shoulder, and …and to top it off …a beautiful migraine, which will only be soothed with deep cold analgesic gel on my face…that shit is not meant for your face, But the stinging and smell is enough of a distraction along with a couple extra-strength Advil’s to make you forget about anything for an hour.

So I’m sitting down at the computer in the equally drab “conference” room at one of the two computers, following along with one of the other new hires. And it happens…I get a third of the way through, and I start to get this feeling of …no, nope…no…I couldn’t sit there for like one more second. The screen goes blurry, my heart starts racing in my chest. My ears start buzzing. The room is closing in. All I can think of is how to make my escape. Do I just bolt? Do I say something to someone? Which stairs will get me outta here the fastest without anyone noticing? I get my shit together for 2 secs. Got up from the computer, put my handheld computer on the conference table, and walked into the GM’s office. I told her it wasn’t for me. I gave some bullshit story and walked. I felt ok, I felt relieved, I thought whew…that’s over. I walked to the grocery store to pick up something for dinner and basically don’t remember that part. I know I came home with super random items because I was like a zombie.

Now I did not realize this at the time, at the time I thought it was just another spectacular fail, a walkout in true Louisa rebel fashion, It took me a week….a week to realize what had happened. I was thinking about it and guilting myself about it because I felt that I have been on EI long enough and it was time to join the land of the living. My mind had other ideas. You see I’ve been a bit of a hermit since I left Brentwood. I haven’t seen anyone except one other person, my daughters and Peter Pan. I’ve been walking, but by myself mostly, and the only other people I speak face to face with are the grocery store clerks and that’s it. In six months. That in itself isn’t so far-fetched with Covid restrictions going on. But it’s not great. And I have no desire either. I have been perfectly happy to sit in my house for days and do my own thing. I know I need to tell my Brentwood story but I’m not ready to process that yet. There are a lot of emotions involved and I’m not sure I can go there.
After crying and sulking for a week and getting some medical help, I feel a bit better. But not really. I’m afraid, I’m afraid that I won’t ever get better. I’m frustrated that I’ve been working really hard on inner peace and finding the self-awareness and strength to look inside myself. I feel stuck. And broken, unrepairable. I’m afraid that the people who love me will stop because I can be such a monster and say such horrible things when I’m having a crisis. I can’t think straight, my head spins and my mind races with unreasonable, paranoid thoughts and I believe them.
I’m so afraid.

Beauty and the Beast

Soooooo, … being house poor sucks

“Hey I know… let’s start a really specific business during covid, in a sector that is sucking and will continue to suck for a while!!” – High pitched upward reflection girl

I have been second guessing myself for awhile now. Probably like any Canadian, (or any person in the whole wide universe) knows, Covid is no fucking joke on our economy.

We need to rethink this thing. Not stop, just shift…Slow the fuck down and pay attention to the climate of the economy, and what is going on around me…you know in actual life? I have to consider what kind of life I’m creating for myself and my family. Peter Pan (the alias thats suits my bff) and I have talked about this a lot, and when he first brought it up, in my mind I thought crap, crap, crap… this feels familiar, and not in a good way. How many times have I done this? I have been here before. I decided I wanted to go back to school at the same time as opening a second salon. I worked at my salon, was a single supporting parent and went to school full time. I also took a job at Clinique to make it possible. Clinique was dead easy. Great products, set hours, and great commission on sales.

However….

“OMG…lets open a second salon AND go back to school full time!!” – High pitched upward reflection girl.

This is the part that feels familiar. all go, go, go, not a lot of think, think, think. I see a pattern, I just love taking the long way round… (eye roll)

How are we shifting the business? I’m working on that… we’ve decided to start by slowing down, and taking more time to source the ingredients I want. Not compromising. We want to keep it local, we want to contribute to our community in a useful way. It is after all, a labour of love, and brings me joy. Peter Pan is a very patient “product tester” and gives me lots of feedback. This tattooed gentleman is a gruff mans’s man, and doesn’t know much about spa products, that makes it really fun and also useful.

And fuck it, I am going to be myself.. write my blog and mess about about with the products.

Getting back to my deep hatred of being house poor, I am also feeling a little bit stir crazy in the house, so I applied for a job in my neighbourhood. I will now be working in a garden centre. I am actually pretty stoked. I am very interested in keeping my life uncomplicated. I’m happy with the way things are now. I get to look after my house, my family, my cats. I can walk there, walk home, I get to be outside and lift heavy stuff..two of my favourite things. I have spent so much time and energy rushing from one thing to the next, now that I’ve got my energy back and my spirit, I don’t want to mess with that.

I have worked hard to get to this spot. A place where I feel ok. I haven’t had a drink in three months, but as the weather gets warmer, I have thoughts about it a lot. I am trying to consciously stop and smell the roses even if they have thorns. I am mourning a little, mourning the loss of my addiction. Or the finding of it. The thought of starting a new job next week, and where I was at in my mind after my last job ended, is scaring me. My lizard brain … meaning that sneaky little fucking voice that weasels inside my head to say, “omg its not like you could never drink again” is persistent. Peter Pan says my addiction is doing push ups, just waiting to get up in there and take over.

I think lizard brain and upward reflection girl probably date, and it’s one of those train wrecks that you can’t look away from. A tele novella but without the romance. A lot of drama and someone always gets fucked, usually me.

I have caught myself getting ready to drink before, but not like this time. I think most recovering addicts know, when we fall off the wagon we actually plan our relapse. Start making plans to drink using any excuse. This wasn’t like that, this just snuck up on me. A few weeks ago I almost made myself a drink, I pulled out the vodka, glass, even had orange juice. I looked at it. It felt so natural, so right… I was kind of shocked at how it just snuck up on me, I didn’t even think about it… Until I did. I put the glass away and immediately went for a walk. That doesn’t usually happen. I don’t always feel the need to get wasted. Booze can sit in the house for days and I won’t even think about it. But it happened again, a couple days ago. All I wanted was Prosecco. I would have done pretty much anything to pick up a couple bottles for the night. Writing about this is keeping me accountable.

I just have to stay sane and keep up with my routines. I am creating products, writing, drinking lots of water with lemon…eating health food, tea coming out my ass. Exercising every day, long walks… Just thinking about walking makes me feel better, calmer. More in control of my mind and my more at peace in my soul. If anyone wants to join me even better (pm me on FB!). This week my daughter walked with me twice and even Peter Pan walked with me once, and he normally flies.

Travel and the Beauty Bizz

I have always hated the winters in Ontario. For a lot of Canadians, winter starts in October and lasts until April. That’s like 7 or 8 months of harsh, freeze your nose hairs, cold. Huge snowstorms coming off the lake, and freezing rain if the lake warms up. Nothing like chipping your car out from under ¼ inch of ice, a few times a day.

A lot of people who live in southeastern Ontario and Quebec travel south to the Caribbean and Southern Mexico during the winter. Its easy to get too, and there are tons of options for resorts packages. There really is something for everyone (pre Covid of course). I have been to resorts were all the guests are either from Alberta, Ontario, or Quebec. I can’t imagine the pain they feel this winter with Covid restrictions. One thing I love about living in Victoria is the short, mild, winter. Today is sunny, warm and it’s the 3rd of February. Glorious.

By the time I was in my 7th or 8th year of being self-employed, I was able to really start traveling. Somewhere hot, were I could go to do nothing and make no decisions for a week. I loved perusing the web sites and looking at all the venues a resort had to offer. And, of course, which spa treatments I was going to book first. Every vacation always had a spa treatment or two. My type of resort is a five-star, adults only where it has full spa services, and gives me a nice suite right on the beach.

The design of the resort and spa are always a big decider. I like to visit destination spas for two reasons. First, I always liked to feel out how the estheticians are in that particular spa or country. What did they do differently that we weren’t doing? Second, spa treatments are so good for your mind and body. Honestly so good. Most of the destination spas I have been to are pretty amazing. Not your run of mill day spas. My choices always have outdoor hydrotherapy pools, private for the spa guests. Often if I booked a long enough treatment, I would get the outdoor pool and the hydrotherapy area all to myself for an hr. Mineral water, spa treatments and get in a little sunbathing?? Yes please…. I am googling spas on the side as I write this, lol. Combining travel and beauty, my two big passions for a long time

Yes…I’m addicted to spas and travel, it’s what I’ve known my whole adult life. I guess I’m a lifer. I have been to destination spas all over the place, New York, Germany, Las Vegas, Bermuda, Bahamas, Cancun, Puerto Vallarta, Dominican Republic… Fairmonts, Wynns, MGMs, Boutique Resorts, Bathhouses, (that’s a good story) Spa Cottages, all kinds. I’ve written a quite a few academic papers on it as-well.

In the spirit of a blog, I am going to add a little beauty show story here. This happened in Vegas, you know what they say. For years I went to the massive Las Vegas International Beauty Show. I would always drag my best friend along, not that she minded… she is a lover of spas, plus she grew up in the hotel industry. Her family had owned hotels since she was small. If anyone appreciated a good hotel it was her. This friend and I have known each other for 30 years. I think at this time we known each other for about 15 years. She has a wicked sense of humour, and we get along like a house on fire. We always had a blast in Vegas. We would start drinking the minute we got on the plane. Actually, we would start the night before, and fly from Ottawa or Toronto, I think one time we flew from Montreal. Anyway as most beauty show goers know, they have all the latest innovations in beauty. All the big beauty companies offer educational classes, and most of the hair companies do platform shows. That basically means working on stage on a model and demonstrating a technique.

My girlfriend was a client at both my shops, as was her mum. She has super fine, very curly hair. Pretty challenging for me, and I was a classic hairdresser. Everywhere I went I brought my styling gear and I always made sure I did her hair, I loved it! We were walking through the show, or should I say staggering by…we been up gambling and drinking the whole night before and then topped it off with a champagne breakfast that morning. We were there to party but to also see the whole beauty show, three floors of the conference center at Mandalay Bay, a huge resort…massive.
So we were at it from 9 am till 4 pm every day, and parting pretty hard every night. I’m telling you Vegas pumps oxygen into the casinos, just for this reason. We were pretty continuously buzzed …but not like fall down drunk, considering how much we had consumed on very little sleep. On this particular morning we stopped to watch an artist, he called my friend up on stage. I think she was heckling him, this girlfriend has a way of getting a good banter going with anyone, so he called her up.

And there she sat for the longest 15 mins of our lives… he proceeded to flat iron and grease up half of her hair.. But only half, and not from the nape of her neck up either. He flattened it from one side of her head up, starting by her ear up to her part, then left the other half super curly. Then flamboyantly and swiftly moved onto the next model on stage. Before we knew what was happening, she was back beside me with a half-done hairstyle mad as hell and bitching as much as she could … I was laughing my fucking head off. Platform work is like that, never know what you’re going to get. She eventually calmed down, laughed and for the rest of the day too and told everyone who would listen. I love this girlfriend. Anyway I think we fixed it up but I honestly don’t remember much of that vacation.
Did I mention I’m sober currently? LOL

 

 

Out of COVID comes calm

I started this journey at the beginning of summer, leaving my resort managing job because I was very unhappy. I was drinking a lot, like every day, all day.  After a pretty dramatic departure, I continued to drink heavily for about two months. 

I have been a beauty industry entrepreneur for 20 years. I sold my two businesses and went back to school in 2015. I needed a change and I thought getting a Masters degree and a job in the corporate world was the way to go.  

Not for me…wow, so not for me. I didn’t realize how burnt out I’d become managing several departments. I felt overwhelmed and frustrated by closing and re-opening a resort during the Covid Pandemic, with a skeleton crew. 

I was struggling, a lot of people were struggling, and a lot of co-workers were struggling with me.

After lots of sulking and drinking on the couch, I decided to start walking. Sometimes I walked and drank. I walked A LOT during that time. It helped me think. I still walk a lot to clear my head. Eventually the drinking stopped, and while the walking continued, this business idea I had been mulling over for years came together. 

Before I started working on Element Amenities I felt stuck, stuck in my career, stuck in my relationships and defeated. I had high expectations of going back to school, which at this point it didn’t seem like it was worth the investment and life change. I had dreams of opening another business but I just couldn’t come up with something viable. I knew I didn’t want to own another brick and mortar beauty business.

I launched the first phase of this business in December. I had no idea if it would get any traction. I was and am still scared..my professional reputation is on the line. Could I actually make this idea work? 

Yes. 

I have wanted to launch a beauty company for years, I have been researching it for a very, very long time. 

I am ALL in. 

Recently I met with one of my “esti” friends for a walk (an esthetician). She is so excited for me. Having a professional of her caliber excited about something new feels amazing. She and I have always had a lot of respect for each other.  My closest friend and confidant supports me 100%. He acts as my sounding board, gives me good feedback and most importantly he helps me get out of my own way.  For that I am so, so grateful. Also the support and recognition I have received so far from industry professionals has given my confidence a real boost.  

Flash forward 6 months later, my life has changed significantly. I feel very alive.  I am looking after myself. I walk every day through my little neighbourhood for life supplies, (“The Beast” which I affectionately call my truck, has died, RIP) I drink herbal tea instead of wine, hang out with my cats and am creating something I love. I’m even down to one pack a day!

This business is starting to gain traction. I love this part about building something new, I’m on a total high, better than any drug. I realized yesterday, (while walking) that this is a familiar feeling. I felt this way while I built my last business, and with my first business – although I didn’t recognize it at the time. All I knew about starting a business at 28 was working “balls to the wall” to keep the bills paid. 

I love it when an idea comes together. 

A good friend once told me I have a unique skill set. She was right.